Sunday, 25 March 2012

Switch on... Tune In... Cop out...

The 21st of March 2012 marks the day when analogue television finally said goodbye in Southern England after 58 years of service. Every television is set to the digital standard, meaning the biggest change since colour first came to the region. With this the Ceefax service and analogue only exists in the London area, but not for much longer as they are they last region to go fully digital. 

But in doing this, it has caused problems not only for viewers by not getting a full service that teletext could provide and some features have disappeared. In Germany, a teletext service was kept after their switchover. The short-sightedness seems to have been apparent by the BBC, meaning that services especially involving transport have been left out such as plane arrivals, train engineering works etc. This mean that people have to find the information out via websites, which may not be as accurate. 

Britain has been using the Freeview system now for what will be ten years in October for its free digital television services, in that time it has been a success especially in take up of digital services following the collapse of ITV Digital. Though now it faces a crossroads, with extra capacity being created in the system to allow for new channels to allowed to be broadcast. Where as the main base was the five main terrestrial channels at first, there are a whole plethora of channels on offer catering to a range of tastes. But this has allowed seemingly the service to be brought downmarket with adult chat channels being broadcast, so as such it has become like satellite television in a way with more and more obscure channels arriving. 

It maybe time for Ofcom to show their teeth in this matter to allow some channels, but also to regulate as them as well because before time, things can get out of control. Purpose needs to be used, but similar to the launch of Sky and BSB at the end of the 80's which dealt with more choice for the viewer, soon enough more channels were needed to be able to build the company up, though will Freeview end up having to sell itself to survive? Hopefully not, maybe the five main broadcasters will be its saviour after all.

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