New technology is not always better

Last week we changed our Digital TV box. We’d had the old one for over 10 years. It still worked. It had a few annoying things like when we were watching Catchup TV the image would suddenly pixelate — now and again. Bu we found we could overcome this by restarting and then fast forwarding. It was annoying mid-film. But you made a cup of tea and then picked up where you left off. It didn’t happen often enough to be a real nuisance.

But the new box is already a big annoyance. It takes quite a while to start up. It reminds me of an old valve TV where you had to wait for it to warm up. Note: I can barely remember them — I’m not that old.

Another factor is the HDMI — if you switch on the TV before the Digital box the HDMI communication seem problematic. But if you do this in reverse it works better. Imagine if for every phone call you had to tell the other person to put their phone down and to call you back.

Then when you want to find a channel — the old box we tended to use channel numbers. But we have HD channels now — so we don’t know their numbers. So to find a channel we have to press HOME then search around on the HD sub-menu. OK, we could write those channel numbers down. But then that’s not really the point of technology where you have to search your home to find a slip of paper to watch a TV programme in HD. It would have been better to let you choose the old 101 channel then say do you want HD?

OK so we’ll probably learn the new channel numbers — but we have over 10 years to unlearn.

Then there’s when you want to watch something later. You have to choose the programme and tell it to record and notify. Previously we could tell it to switch automatically and we didn’t have to record it. Now we have to be there at the moment the notice appears to re-select not to record otherwise it records. I’m not sure how many seconds you get — but I’ve never caught it in time to stop it recording.

Then when you want to delete the recording — it’s a fairly lengthy procedure as well. Why not a Del button equivalent?

On the plus side we have HD. But to be honest within a few minutes do you really notice? It’s like somebody giving you mash potatoe they mash for an hour and expecting you to say it tastes better. My brain simply adjusted and said — yeah that’s normal.

20 years ago I had a prototype Philips VHS recorder. It could record a TV programme without adverts. It had an on-screen menu of TV programmes I’d recorded and I could give them my own descriptions. Better still I’d written the guide for it. Now that was better technology!

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