Letter: Who wants digital?
Thursday 12 August 1999
Sir: As a normal selective television viewer, I am satisfied with the present picture quality and sufficiently skilled to be able to record and play back programmes which happen to overlap or to run when it doesn't suit me to watch them. I can also cope (just about) with scanning the printed programmes of five channels.
Nothing that is being offered in this new "digital" system seems likely to give me any advantage. And unless the mysterious "black box" we hear about is a lot cleverer than I suspect, it looks to me as if the new system will shortly render my present video recorder and possibly the TV set (both in new condition) unusable.
The only thing I would really ask for as a viewer is better programmes. The standard seems to have dropped quite a lot.
The change to digital must surely be inspired by potential profit for both technicians and programme-makers. I cannot believe that the increase in output is likely to improve quality - more likely the opposite.
Personally, I would be delighted if we could have an unsensational, unconfrontational, more deeply considered and balanced news programme (more like World Service Radio), and one or two other decent programmes, as well as some fun in an evening. This may be difficult for ratings-led providers to do, but is something a revised BBC could strive for.
Talk of losing my ability to record one channel whilst watching another, and having to buy new equipment - and then raising the licence fee to get more of what I don't want - seems perverse to say the least. I wonder if the politicians yet realise how emotional an issue this is, and how sensitive it could be politically.
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