Alice-Azania Jarvis: I got lucky with a free Freeview

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The Independent Online

Ok, so I got lucky. Last week I mentioned that I was tempted to start investing in my TV. Not by buying a new one, some monstrosity with a flat screen and lots of D capacities (3D, HD, World Domination). No, I'm perfectly happy with the miniature model I currently have; given that it dates back to the early 1990s, I fancy it counts as vintage.

What I was talking about was buying a box. You know the ones: you plug them into your telly and they miraculously open up a whole new world of television channels, packed full of glossy, shiny shows.

I was in two minds about it for several reasons. Firstly, I'm concerned this means I'm getting old. Once upon a time, my spending priorities would revolve around grande lattes from Starbucks and cheap white wine. Now it's television and less cheap, red wine. Second of all, spending is, well, spending – something I try to avoid.

It was some time after I'd resolved to refrain from expanding my viewing repertoire that I got lucky. Freeview called me. They'd read my column and wanted to know if my TV was HD ready. I said it wasn't, they sounded disappointed and said goodbye. Then they called again. Did it have a red cable? I don't know, I said. Again, they sounded disappointed.

And then they emailed. Would I like to try out a Freeview box and see if I liked it? If I did, then a similar one wouldn't be too expensive to buy (a quick Amazon search reveals they're about £20 which, I suppose, is a reasonably good deal). Of course, I said yes – no point looking a gift horse in the mouth, is there? – so now I am the proud owner of a borrowed Freeview box and can start to flick through the "digital" section of the TV guide.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you how it works because I haven't set it up yet. It's currently sitting in a bag next to my desk, while I figure out the best way to negotiate the bus-Tube-Tube walk home. Still, the promise is there – and, best of all, I haven't had to spend a penny.

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