Thursday, 3 September 2009

Turn on, tune in, get tetchy

Technology is very unforgiving to the sizeable proportion of the population who can't afford to upgrade to a widescreen TV, or HD TV, or Blu-Ray, etc etc etc. I was watching something or other last night and realised, at a vital point in the plot where a RELEVANT PIECE OF INFORMATION was shown, I could only see the middle section because the picture was cut off at the sides. I got unreasonably grumpy about this, and actually found myself making "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" noises out loud - along the lines of "Well! They'd better not think I'm going to rush out and buy some vastly expensive piece of widescreen kit just because they're bullying me into it, oh no."... more or less what I was saying 15-20 years ago (my memory is hazy) about upgrading from vinyl/cassette to CD. However. It does have some diverting side-effects, such as the fact that the onscreen guide can't fit long programme titles side by side, so overlaps them. Curious hybrids we have sadly been unable to to watch include:

Real Housewives Of The Bill
Britain's Sexiest Newsnight
The X-Files: I Want To Meet The Fockers
Three Men And a Little Taxi Driver
I Know What You Did In Bruges
Slap Her, She's Being John Malkovitch
The Lion, The Witch, And Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Shrek (an all-star cast in that one!)

And, doubtless, many many more. (late addition: here are some of them)
Sleeping With Dirt
Churchill's Antiques Roadshow
Unseen Russia For God's Sake
Masterchef The Hairy Gary Rhodes
Holy Warriors: Richard The Disappearing
Oblivion: The Ten Biggest Hits Of The 90s
Liar Liar The Bachelor
I Now Pronounce You Chuck And The Breakfast Club

Unfortunately since the remote (or, as we and many millions of others call it, "the doofer") has pretty much ceased to work, we may be forced into buying a giant flat slab of LCD and hang it on the wall as if it's some kind of artwork. Sigh.


Frieda Babbley said...

Yes, I remember the time well. I still don't understand the switch over from cassettes and vinyl to cd's. Honestly, I never thought it would catch on. Pooh that I don't still have a record player.
Sad for me as well as I won't be watching any of those curious hybrids either. I may have to break down and have a real cry (perhaps this could be turned into a reality tv show? bleghk!) I do hope you don't have plaster walls, as most people do... quite a feat trying to hang those "fine art televesion"s.

Lucy Fishwife said...

Hi Frieda - I was forced to make the CD change when I wanted to buy the soundtrack from "Grosse Pointe Blank" and it wasn't available on cassette. That was my downfall. I'm determined to keep any new TV firmly in its place though, which is NOT on the wall masquerading as a Rembrandt, but on a clunky Ikea unit in the corner.

Brother Tobias said...

We have the same problem, but the entertainment value of overlapping programme guides hadn't struck me; it's going to be much more fun now.

I feel much the same about digital radio. When they switch off the signal all our radios are going to be so much junk, and we seem to have dozens (workshop, garage, bathroom, clock radios in bedrooms. I think I'll just have to wake up to the World Service instead. Not a bad idea actually.

Lucy Fishwife said...

Hello BT! Yes, the radio is also a worry, because the ones we have are either part of a stereo (which will then become an expensive and bulky CD player)or a tiny radio in the bathroom which we may recycle to make a planter or something. Re World service - I now have 4 friends who claim to be unable to sleep unless the WS is burbling away at hypnagogic levels throughout the night.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

I loathe both widescreen and HD TV and would not invest in them even if I could afford to. What is the point of having all the crap TV magnified?

It won't make it one iota better or more interesting.

Touch wood, I have not yet experienced the problem you are talking about - I hope it stays that way!

Lucy Fishwife said...

Hi Laura! I don't begrudge the technological advance they represent (after all where would we be without similar advances like colour film etc) but I HATE and RESENT the way we're being pushed into acquiring them - the chopped off letterbox format on TV, and as BT pointed out, the imminent digitisation of radio - it's all corporate greed and backhanders to the government. She says crossly. Apart from that, how are you?

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's Capitalism masquerading as progress...

The gov says it wants all homes to have computers, Broadband, etc etc. Are we all more educated, more well-informed as a result...? Are teenagers all turning into mini-Stephen Frys or Stephen Hawkings? No, technology just becomes a useless commodity, a marker. These days I find people who drive old cars and have to bang their telly to make it work infinitely more interesting than anyone else.

Rant over - the Elysium turned up 10 days after ordering. So a zillion thanks! (No customs! Yipee!) I've currently developed a strange obsession with 'Secret Obsession'. I can't work out what it is that gives it that zesty 'Tang'...


Lucy Fishwife said...

E-Lizzy - hurrah for no customs tax! Still fuming after a somewhat embarrassing Victoria's Secret incident which involved rain, stamps and a hugely visible label detailing contents (nothing indecent but you know). May blog about it when I'm feeling outraged enough. Hmm Secret Obsession. Will check it out.

Nota Bene said...

I thought everyone called it the thingamebob. I get called doofus, what does that mean?

...and I gather that even before we all have HD widescreen they're going to bring in 3D TV. But I'm very pleased about digital radio...only way I can get a decent station in Brighton

French Fancy... said...

This post crept in and I didn't see it - I wonder what I was doing that I was so dopey.

We've got the tiniest flat screen telly in the world that sits in the corner of our living room and you have to crane you eyes to make anything out. We suffer this because we've also got a projector and use the wall as a screeen, so if something good comes on (which seldom happens) or if we decide to watch a DVD (that's more like it) then we have our home cinema at our disposal.

Don't get a flat screen telly, get a projector - you can get a good one these days for about £450 and you can then watch stuff as it was meant to be seen. Of course it does mean that you can't hang pictures on one wall and you need to paint it white, but it's a small price to pay

mantua maker said...

ooo I like the idea of a projector - but don't you need a large room to get the best - biggest - picture?

Lucy Fishwife said...

NB - "Doofer" has a more pleasing two-syllable slacker laziness to it, I find - "thingumabob" is just too long a word when you're slobbing on the sofa and a mere grunt will suffice. 3D TV???? God more future expenditure to fear.

FF - (and indeed MM) - The wallspace required would involve getting rid of a mirror, two pictures and raising the picture rail. Otherwise I'm intrigued and interested, in a "Cinema Paradiso" kind of way.

ScentScelf said...

Hold out for Smell-O-Vision, I say.

I caved long ago...too many tech heads sharing this house with me...and I have to say, it is FANTASTIC if you like restored old/good new films. But they don't hang on my wall at that level that most people use, which is really too high for comfortable viewing and replicates being in row 2 at the cinema and truly requires a booming sound system so you can crank it and whoooOOOOSH BANG here the THx effects and leave halfway through with a headache.

Again, *not* the in-house experience. Hear you on being pushed...but that would be my cell phone rant, which I shan't start here.