Being modern: The red button

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The Independent Culture

There was a time, not so very long ago, when we were all terrified of big red buttons. Back when Khrushchev and JFK had their fingers hovering over them – whether figuratively or metaphorically.

But a very different image has since supplanted that of the missile crisis, now we all have digital tellies. And that image, ladeez and gennermen – cue drum roll, bugle fanfare, fingers tapping on desk – is one of interactive choice. Whatever that might look like. Probably a red button, to be honest.

Which is convenient, because that red button will be touted everywhere over the coming months. Forget a summer of sport; this is the summer of selection.

Watching Wimbledon? Click on the red button and you'll be able to see the games on those outer courts that no one but you (and people who have turned up in SW17 too late to bag a good seat) care about.

Watching Euro 2012? Get the alternate audios (as if the principal commentary isn't bad enough), rolling highlights and tactical camviews (which presumably means a view from a blimp).

Watching the Olympics? Well, you've already missed live coverage of the torch relay (and if you haven't, you really need to get out more), but there's going to be 24-hour, non-stop coverage of sports that don't get the big-channel treatment.

Watching the cricket? Hit that big boy and listen in to good old TMS while viewing a scorecard. It's almost like being there. Almost.

And if you don't like sport... you're screwed. Only kidding! You can always catch Glasto highlights/alternative tents, complete with annoying yoot presenters.

All that lot is on the Beeb, of course. Other broadcasters did once use the technology as a voting device, but most now offer auxiliary content on their myriad digital channels or ask people to go online if they really want to interact.

And don't get us wrong, it is very nice to have all these extras. There's just one problem: we want to watch endless re-runs of that goal, while our partner/ flatmate/children want to watch Corrie/ a film/Iggle Piggle. Which button do we press to sort that out?