UK will lead digital TV
I'm actually quite sad that the news today tells us that by 2010 the UK will be leading the digital television conversion. According to reports we will have around 95% of households with digital TV compared to 66% in the US and 50% in Germany. Except this will come at a price for some of these households, and for some of them a hefty price indeed as they buy TV's with no idea if they will be future proof or appropriate.
The BBC carry the report today.
The UK already has the world's highest level of digital TV viewers at nearly 70%
The switch over starts in 2007 and will be completed by 2012, ready or not, you're going to lose your analogue signal. Now for most this isn't such a great deal, you can buy a freeview box and just plug it into your existing television, but for quite a few households this is confusing, if they are told that they are going to have to move to digital TV surely that means a new TV?
Adverts for the changeover in the UK aren't really helping, with CGI and glitz and glamour they proclaim that you will have to get digital TV, and do little else to explain that a few short sentances. Go into a high street store and ask about it and do you expect to get unbiased advice and end up walking away with a £20 set top Freeview box? I'm sure you won't.
The Government know it all though, and apparently they have it covered, from the BBC again:
Pensioners and people with significant disabilities will need substantial help to switch to digital television, a nine-month government trial indicates.
The study of 400 homes in Bolton found 74% still had problems adjusting four weeks after switching to digital TV.
Now the question would be, did the people conducting the survey turn up on the day and hand over a box and say right, let's see how you do? Or did they just say, go get digital TV now as the adverts and press are telling us?
I think there's a distinct lack of information. I know my parents, who are very literate with technology, went out and ended up with a digital TV to go along with their Sky box. Well they can afford it, and it's all very well that they get it anyway, but that's not the point, there was sales pressure involved and they didn't need it. More to the point they were told nothing about what type of digital connections the TV provides, nor do they know that HDMI may not be the standard for long, if the TV is capable of 1080i or p, etc, etc. They don't even know if it is an HD ready TV.
Now that's just one example, and if I was with them I'd have thoroughly researched it, but not every home has a person like me or you. So what are they going to do? Look up an online retailer for their cheap £20 Freeview? End up with an unnecessary and low specification digital TV that might or might not be HD ready?
I'm going to be starting my search for new HD and digital home cinema equipment very soon, and I'm hoping to chronicle it all on the blog, but before I start that and look for all the pitfalls, do you know what you need and what you don't? Do your parents and not so savvy friends?