A view on the digital switchover: So farewell, BBC2

March 4, 2010 5 Comments »
digital switchover

The digital switchover isn't to everyone's taste

I suppose I should turn on my television to say goodbye to BBC2 tonight. By the time this is published, I won’t have the option, as Cardiff leads the nation into analogue oblivion.

Because, shock, horror – I HAVEN’T CONVERTED TO DIGITAL. I put that in green caps. just to completely convince you that I am seriously eccentric, possibly mad. I don’t know anyone else who has held out like this. When I turn on my set tomorrow and see– what? blankness? fuzzy lines? – perhaps I’ll feel like someone seeing a solar eclipse while everyone else was looking the other way.

What explains this peculiar inaction on my part? It’s not lack of awareness, or of technological ability. I’m pretty clued up on both counts.

It’s not that I can’t afford a set top box. My annoyance at a society constantly forcing us to replace or upgrade perfectly good gadgets and appliances is only a contributory factor.

I just don’t watch much television. Over the last decade or more, my average TV watching has decreased to about 2 or 3 hours a week. Sometimes, weeks go by without turning on the box, and if it weren’t for rugby and nature documentaries, it would be less than that. I prefer reality to ‘reality TV’. There’s nothing on BBC2 tonight that would encourage me to watch it for the last time.

There always seems to be something more interesting to do with my life than watching television. Like live music or theatre if I want to be entertained. Less predictable, but much more exciting when it works well. Or doing something with my computer if I’m home: emailing friends, family and many contacts world-wide, doing work for organisations that I support, editing photos and film, planning a trip somewhere, even writing this blog.

Do I resent my BBC licence fee? Not at all. I’d be willing to pay it just for what my grandparents (little knowing how techie and cool the word would become) called the ‘wireless’. I listen to radio for 50+ hours a week. It’s on in the house and in the car. I can do other stuff while I’m listening and I listen almost entirely to BBC stations. Radios 2 and 3 for ‘specialist’ genre music shows, 4 for news, debate and drama, Wales for local information, news, traffic and more specialist music programmes.

Throw in the BBC web site and iPlayer and I’m happy to pay a few pounds a week, even though it’s the television that requires the licence. (As you may have realised, I can continue to watch TV on-line, so I do have a back up strategy until I can be bothered to get an STB or some other digital solution). Fans of Radio 6 and the Asian Network will be distressed at their proposed closure. However, I think the Beeb’s new strategy is broadly correct, doing more of the stuff that they do better than anyone else, or that no one else does at all. I’ve skimmed the 80 pages (!) and read the parts that interest me. I like the proposals for R2 , including “Shifting specialist and feature programming into higher-profile slots, including regular documentaries (on music etc), live concerts, comedy and jazz”. Moving the best of R6 to R2 and the other stations should deliver some really good and varied music broadcasting.

I’m also feeling postive about the technological direction the BBC is taking. After the wonderful iPlayer, comes Project Canvas, which will bring iPlayer functionality to your HD TV – it’s another reason to defer personal spending on, for example, HD Freeview. Read about these developments here.

Now I’m going to tell the BBC what I think about the proposed changes here – why not do the same?

Related Posts


  1. hpyquz2 March 4, 2010 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    "Cardiff leads the nation into analogue oblivion"

    Not quite. At least three other transmitters have already switched – http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/when_do_i_switch/wales

  2. Richard Hine March 6, 2010 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    Yes, you make some very good points Paul. Like you, I 'consume' far more radio (BBC mainly) than TV and find reality far more interesting and worthy of my precious time than 'reality' TV! Your point about being constantly forced to 'upgrade' equipment aside, I'm of the opinion that analogue TV (much like analogue music in the listening stakes) actually provided a better picture most of the time than Digital did! I know that the introduction of HD (and possibly the ramping up of power to digital services now that analogue is being switched off) will improve the quality, but again, more/different equipment, installation costs and monthly premiums will be required.

    I admire anybody who can take the time to read the BBC's Strategic Review (even if you did just skim it) – perhaps your next Blog could be a summary of said review?! Only half serious on that point!

    Good writing Paul, look forward to your next post :-)

  3. PaulSeligman March 9, 2010 at 10:12 am - Reply

    Update: I was surprised to find that I still had a picture where BBC2 used to be – then realised it was showing ITV! The button formerly known as ITV is the one that is now blank.

  4. 10 yard dumpster upper marlboro md May 31, 2012 at 4:30 am - Reply

    Can I make a suggestion? I feel youve bought something great here. But what should you extra a couple links to a net web page that backs up what youre saying? Or possibly you would give us 1 matter to take a look at, 1 matter that may connect what youre saying to something tangible? Only a suggestion. Anyway, in my language, there arent a lot superior source such as this.

  5. cupones de hostgator May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Hello there, i believe that i saw you actually visited my website so i got here to return the choose?. Therefore i’m attempting to to find things to improve the site! I suppose its adequate to utilize some of your opinions!!

Leave A Response