Wednesday, 9 May 2012

We’re all Digital now – so what?

After years of advising and reminding us of the impending change they finally turned our old Analogue TV signals off in favour of a new digital TV service.

So, with the old analogue TV signal turned off the powers-that-be turned up the strength of the Digital TV signal.  Excellent, Great, Love It…but where’s the benefit to me?

First I lost BBC2 (no biggie but annoying none the less), then I lost the rest of the channels (meaning no Take Me Out, The Voice or BGT!?!) so time to act.  I had to rescan the digital channels on my TVs which, because I’d forgotten how to do it, was challenging but it wasn’t exactly exciting.  So far, no benefit.

After the rescan I found that the TV in my home worked…just like it did pre the switchover?  I had a Digital Freeview TV before the switchover and after the rescan it was working exactly the same as it did before.  I think the picture quality is a little better but still no huge benefit that I could really see.

Outside though, apparently here’s where everything had changed and when I stepped outside my house I found that indeed it had. 

Remember those tiny 3” TVs we all had as kids?  The ones with the retractable aerial, fuzzy picture, poor sound, faux leather case and that we eventually threw out because they cost £00s in batteries?  Well nostalgia leads me to believe that balancing on the arm of a park bench to get an half decent TV picture on a mini TV was fun but it wasn’t was it.  It sucked.  Now though, a digital version of the same TV works, and it works well, purely down to the stronger digital TV signal I’ve got.

Now that’s all well and good but what else does the digital switchover give me because I’m not planning to add a tiny TV set to the essentials I usually carry to work with me.  I’m already carrying a book, food, wallet, keys and iPhone etc so I’m not sure I want anything else.

If this new Digital signal was so good then what I was looking for was a small gadget that lets me watch TV on my iPhone but not by via a website or by streaming the content over 3G (and thereby killing my mobile tariff data allowance) but using this new Digital signal.

In my head I started to invent the perfect product and just before phoning the patent office (and mentally retiring on the proceeds following worldwide market introduction and licencing) I thought I’d have a quick search online which brought good news and bad news.

The bad news was that I couldn’t retire because the good news is that these kind of products are already available. sell one for my iPhone 4s for £79.99 (it’s called myTV2GO-m).  It’s basically a Freeview TV tuner which plugs into my iPhone so I can watch Live TV and it also records to my iPhone too.  I’m in heaven!  OK, now this Digital Switchover is starting to press my buttons, so what else can I do?

Turns out this same device I bought works on an iPad 2 which is great but I don’t have one, I do however have an original iPad.  One more click online and I’m looking at a product that works for the iPad, iPod, iPhone, MAC & PCs (this one’s called myTV2GO). 

It’s a bit different because it works over WiFi connection (which is in the device itself) but the principle is the same, it’s a Freeview TV tuner from which I can watch Live TV and which also records to my devices (and still no 3G killing my data tariff). 

So now, I and the rest of my clan can use the iPad etc as an additional TV in the house too.  Cool but what about my main household PC could I now get TV on that?

No need to invent this one because I bought an USB TV tuner for my PC some time ago however I’ve never had much success because I don’t have access to a roof top aerial where the PC is.  Now though, this new digital signal means when I connected a small mobile aerial to it I could also watch Freeview TV on my PC too, this means I can use my PC like a set top box (watch, record, pause Live TV etc).

I am now officially a fan of the switchover.  In June this year, when I’m at work, I’ll be able to record the European Championship football and watch the games on my way home.  When I’m back at home my wife can watch Corrie on the iPad or PC whilst I’m watching the football on the main TV. 

Throughout the Summer I can do the same with the usual mix of Golf, Tennis and whatever else is on (Bargain Hunt maybe!!).  Not to mention the fact I’ll be camping during the summer holiday and my kids can watch TV on their iPods…meaning I get some peace and quiet. 

Then there are the Olympics, I didn’t get any tickets I applied for but now I’ll be watching.  So as much as I’d like the whole Summer off to watch sport this it isn’t going to happen (I’ve got bills to pay) but recording them to my phone whilst I’m at work and watching them on the journey back home is OK by me.

Looks like the digital switchover could just be a big issue for my life.

Twitter: @shamkat 

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