In 2004, during an after-work cocktail at the Vampire lounge in Stockholm, the Swedish government decided if would be a laugh if the country shut down the analogue TV net and went over completely to digital TV.
Figure 1: Tips for future viewing
There has been a whole lot of discussion about this in Sweden over the last couple of years, but for the life of me I can’t understand it. My TV signal comes through a cable, and I imagine that something will change in the way that signal is sent. The way I understand it, instead of photons they will now use gluons. And gluons, being sticky, fall out of the wire less often.
Just a few weeks ago, I got a big fat shiny leaflet that basically told me: “It is a really BIG CHANGE to move from analogue TV to digital TV! You are a cable subscriber and so you will not notice anything or have to do anything.” Wait a second…if I will not notice any change, then why are they telling me? If I need to do nothing, and it does not affect me at all, why do I need to know about it? Don’t they think I have enough to worry about, with global warming and the price of pine-nuts and everything?
The real reason for this changeover is, of course, economic. They can apparently squeeze more signals into a digital stream, and therefore more sports and shit movie channels, and I assume it will allow the TV companies to save costs and fire a few people here or there.
We will also need to buy more gadgets. If you now receive your TV signal through an antenna, in the old-school fashion, you will need a digital decoding box for each TV you have. And you will no longer be able to watch one channel while recording another, unless you have a separate digital box for the video. This seems like a HUGE pain in the arse, taking away one of the main reasons for having a video recorder, and the old people in this country (not to mention the 35-year-old physicists) are going to have a hell of a time understanding this.
Apparently the digital TV net paves the way for HDTV and other digital services. Hurrah, I say in an ironic manner, an even bigger choice of fatuous rubbish pouring from the little box and turning my brain to cheese! And I get the option to buy lots of more energy-sucking hardware while throwing out some other hardware that is now obsolete.
Figure 2: Theda Bara, possibly on a TV
To be honest, I couldn’t really care how my TV is delivered, as I neither pay for it nor would care very much it is disappeared completely. But this is another prime example of something being done for all the wrong reasons. Progress does not always move forward.