Wednesday, November 17, 2010

So. Freeview. It’s A Bit Shit

It’s been about 4 weeks since we ditched the cable TV package and bought a mid range, mid price set top box from Argos. More than enough time for the new system to bed-in and outlive the initial honeymoon period.

Sure we can record one channel while watching another. Sure we can even record two different channels at the same time while watching one of them. Or we can even record stuff while watching stuff we’ve already recorded. And the rather capacious harddrive means we can store entire series and entire film oeuvres and still have room for the odd sitcom or two shoehorned on top.

Long live the great god Technology.

Except the reception is patchy and intermittent. This despite blowing the best part of £200 on a brand spanking new TV aerial and “booster box” – apparently the latter was necessary because our house is in a “slight dip” which is further aggravated by the presence of a 3 storey apartment block a couple of roads away whose sole purpose in life (aside from acting like a Chav hatchery) is to block out the TV signal that legitimately should be ours.

But here’s the thing: the reception seems to go at more or less the same time every night. 8.0pm approaches and the picture pixelates and the sound pops and jumps like that annoying comedian from the 70’s who’s main shtick was to pretend to have a dodgy hearing aid and would thus speak like this: “-llo can y- h- me? I’m h-ing tr-ble w- my h-ing ai-“

Yeah, right, ‘cos the ol’ voicebox is controlled by a device you plug into your ears, isn’t it, you st-pid b-st-d?

We’ve tried turning it off and on. We’ve tried changing channels. We’ve tried blowing onto the box in case, you know, it’s overheated playing back The Sarah Jane Adventures to the kids (well, Rani is a bit of a babe).

But all to no avail.

Reception is scrambled.

So something must be occurring around the same time every night and interfering with our TV reception. My money is on the students next door. I daresay 8pm sees them opening their coffin lids to finally start their day and all logging-on en masse to Windows Messenger and Facebook to see if anybody actually gives a shit about their status (“drank 8 bottles of tiger beer last night am well wasted”).

I can’t think what else it can be.

Either way if my Freeview box can’t cope with a little bit of interference then the great god Technology is dead and buried in my book. I mean, we never had reception problems like this when I was a kid. We only had 3 channels and they all worked fine. The only time the TV would go on the fritz was when a seagull would sit on the TV aerial or there’d be a thunderstorm somewhere in the Birmingham area.

Freeview? What a misnomer. It’s anything but free and half the time you can’t view anything.

Still, at least I can record static and white noise from 2 different TV channels whilst watching a digital snowstorm on a third.

Every cloud, eh?



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37 comments:

Rol said...

Maybe this is a sign from god to switch off your television set and go out and do something less boring instead... as they used to say on Why Don't You?

The Dotterel said...

You said it! Let me know if you find anything worth watching... when you can, that is.

Steve said...

Rol: possibly but there are only so many homemade Mousetrap games I can make out of loo roll and sellotape before I want to go out and kill someone (which by definition is a lot less boring intead).

TheDotterel: have to say, the static is sometimes an improvement.

Being Me said...

Oh thank goodness. I thought I wasn't going to have anything to say (it all went sailing right over my head) until the funny bit about the students and their status updates. I laughed. Out loud. For I am easily amused like that.

Steve said...

Being Me: your amusement has been worth the hours of lost television time. Well. Maybe not hours. Minutes. ;-)

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

We have Sky and though 'tis a wonderful thing, we always have problems recording stuff at 9pm. Maybe the wobble starts at 8pm at your gaff then moves eastwards and buggers up my recordings an hour later?

Kelloggsville said...

Maybe you should threaten to blow the Chav Hatchery sky high...I understand that you will get the full Sky package in Pentonville.

Sarah said...

Funny how one's house is always in a dip or behind something, or in a black hole, or elsewhere that necessitates the purchase of extra expensive material.

I bought a tele that gets TNT, a free digital thingy that the whole of France will have when it turns off analogue but guess what, we're in a black hole necessitating guess what - the purchase of expensive material.

Bizarre what happens at 8-ish though. Must be the whole area turning on at the same time and the bandwidth can't cope. Have you complained to the supplier?

I agree that life was a lot simpler when there were three channels that all worked whatever the weather, seagulls excepted.

Steve said...

Trish: Blimey, I didn't realize that the students nextdoor (a) had transport and (b) were motivated enough to use it!

Kelloggsville: yeah, but all that sex and violence... there'd be no point ever turning the TV on.

Sarah: that's the trouble with Freeview; I'm not sure who the supplier is or if the makers of the set top box will even accept liability - they'll blame the TV aerial people and they'll blame Chav Towers. And all the while my viewing of The Gadget Show gets foobarred!

Clippy Mat said...

It's gorra be sumfin' to do wiv the Chav Hatchery. They's all upta sumfin crazee at 8 oclock, innit.
;-)

Steve said...

Clippy Mat: too right... they's all shoppin' for shit on the shoppin' channels ain't they, somefin classy like for their mams and all their stepfathers...

the fly in the web said...

Um....you need to move to Costa Rica and install a free download called Expat Shield which makes it look as if the IP address is in the UK...then you can get BBC and ITV in full glory...except if a hurricane has taken out the telephone line.
We're out in the sticks, on the end of a line and the broadband is super.
Apart from hurricanes.

Needless to say I installed this in order to be able to listen to the Ashes series....and the only thing I've watched all the way through has been Downton Abbey which was crap of stellar proportions....when they mix up Trollope with Surtees there is no more to be said.

Steve said...

The fly in the web: Costa Rica? That's a helluva long way to go to get decent telly reception... but it would get us out of our "dip" and well out of range of the Chav citadel... is watching cricket complusory or could I opt out on that? Hmm. The idea is growing on me...

the fly in the web said...

No chavs...tempted?

Steve said...

The fly in the web: no chavs? Get me a dakari lined up at the bar; I'm on my way.

Nota Bene said...

Wasn't there a horror film about watching white noise on a TV screen? Don't you die after three days?
Answer soon please...at least before 72 hours is up

Steve said...

Nota Bene: not sure; all I can think of is Poltergeist... "Mommy, they're here!" If I turn my back and then find all the furniture instantly rearranged I'll know you're onto something!

Gorilla Bananas said...

How about getting your window cleaner to put up a satellite dish for you?

Mark said...

Ah, the 'criminal content' blog - still showing on the spam filter at work despite my reporting an error.

Surely the point is that virtually all TV is crap.

Sorry got to go - Strictly replay will be on soon

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: and face another lecture on the scourge of communism that is overtaking the Western banking world? No fear. I'd rather give the telly up and be lumbered with Mercia FM.

Steve said...

Mark: I'm basking in the glory of being the author of a recidivistic blog... fame and street cred at last! And you're right; all TV is crap (well, nearly all) but I demand the right it to watch with a clear picture and CD quality sound!

Alienne said...

Well I certainly agree that practically everything on telly these days is rubbish (with the very occasional honourable exception); I don't watch enough to know if we get any wobbles around here (we did have to get a new digital aerial because of the enormous victorian church at the end of the road blocking the signal) but I think the younger daughter might have mentioned it if we did seeing as she spends so much time watching it.

Steve said...

Alienne: you mean they didn't knock the church down to ensure the quality of the signal? Where are their priorities?!

Owen said...

It's probably something to do with the zombie army of chavs all plugging in their curling irons at the same time before coming over to see the students... I'd start seriously thinking about Somalia, you can get a satellite dish there....

Steve said...

Owen: a satellite dish? I bet I could get my own TV station in Somalia!

lunarossa said...

From my experience with Freeview, it gets disrupted mainly by strong winds and bad weather and as these are the main conditions in the UK, you cannot expect good reception for long periods of time. Sky is probably better but I'd rather give up TV for the rest of my life than installing Sky...Ciao. A.

Steve said...

Lunarossa: I feel the same way; it'll be a cold day in hell before I ever get into bed with Sky.

Alienne said...

I know, it's terrible isn't it! I agree entirely with you and lunarossa on Sky

Steve said...

Alienne: looks like we'll all be digging out the ol' wireless set this winter!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

That's hilarious - the post I mean, really well written! Pity about the reception though, what a pain in the arse that must be. I think I'd have a nervous breakdown if it were happening to mine.

CJ xx

Steve said...

CJ: I have to say it does make you watch telly in the evening with a certain sense of trepidation around the 8pm mark. It's like you're waiting for it to happen to get it out of the way... and then just as you think it won't happen tonight... fssst!

Posh Totty said...

We love our freeview box in the same way you love yours ;o)

Steve said...

Posh Totty: so, not at all then? ;-)

rb said...

I used to have something similar to that happen when I lived in Aberystwyth - but at 5pm. I always took it as a sign from the Taffia that I should switch to S4C which always worked perfectly.

The radio always used to go funny at 5pm as well there.

But that was in the days before everything was digital.

What a pain for you. I always get very grumpy when technology does not do what it says on the tin.

Steve said...

RB: it makes me wonder what other technological events are happening at 8pm that I don't know about that are interfering with my television viewing! Why haven't I been invited?!

Suburbia said...

'Chav Hatchery'! Still laughing! (sorry for not taking your problem seriously!)

Though there is nothing bloody on anyway, just a load of weirdo 'C' listers eating bugs. I really hate TV!

Steve said...

Suburbia: I know. On the bright side I have rediscovered my love of books.