Monday, October 03, 2011

My Set Top Box F*cked River Song

Alex KingstonYou’ve got to love digital technology.

Our set top box is like a virtual octopus. It can multitask. And I don’t mean do stuff sequentially. I mean it can do lots of stuff all at the same time. It can record one channel whilst allowing you to watch another. It can even record 2 channels at once whilst allowing you to play back a recording you made earlier. It can even pause a live programme should you need a loo break and then resume playing it when you are ready so that you don’t miss a single second of your favourite show. Apparently the technical term for this activity is “deferring”.

It’s a cool and convenient little facility and no mistake.

And so we decided to employ it during the season finale of Doctor Who.

Now, I need to give you some additional technical information here. It won’t sound very technical but believe me it is. We were watching Doctor Who. Got that? We had programmed our set top box to record Merlin straight afterwards (eldest boy’s bed time, etc, but he wanted to watch it the next day). OK? Still with me? It should not have been a problem.

Due to a few household happenings and an unplanned for loo break, however, we’d ended up having to defer Doctor Who. It should be fine, I thought, cos this clever technological monstrosity can record 2 things at once so even if we defer Doctor Who until it overlaps Merlin it will be able to cope. We won’t miss a damned thing.

So. Cut to us all sucking up the spectacular sci-fi feast that was the Doctor Who finale. I’m not going to give any spoilers here (sweetie) but it was brilliant. The best DW season finale ever. Packed to the gills, overflowing with ideas, spectacle and heart stopping emotion. The finest bit of television I’ve seen for a long time. If you haven’t seen it yet you’re in for a treat. Superb acting from everyone but especially Matt Smith. And he got to snog Alex Kingston. On the top of a pyramid. Lucky git.

But I digress.

We were 5 minutes away from the end. The Doctor was dead. Seemingly so. River Song (Alex Kingston) and Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) were discussing his demise over a bottle of red. River laughed: but of course the Doctor isn’t dead!

Well, we’d already guessed that given that they’ve lined up Outnumbered's foxy mum, Claire Skinner, for the DW Christmas special. We just needed to know the clever plot device that had allowed this to happen.

How did he escape? How did he do it?

The small ingenious cogs of the script began to turn. The moment, the finale denouement was about to be revealed...

And the bloody set top box stops deferring Doctor Who and suddenly switches straight to real time and commences recording Merlin.

Aaaaargh!

No. No. No.

It can record 2 sodding things at once! How can it not cope with this?! It’s supposed to be clever, for Heaven’s sake!

Doh. Because it can’t record 2 separate things that are being broadcast consecutively on the same channel. The programmed recording takes precedence over the ad hoc ‘live’ recording. It can’t cope with overlapping.

Gah!

Hence, my set top box f*cked River Song. And while I am secretly admiring of that singularly enviable feat (in a metaphorical sense) I am mainly seething at its black, soft moulded casing this morning and considering swapping it out for a top loading VCR.

‘Cos we had to do something that I haven’t done since I was a teenager.

We had to wait for the repeat to be broadcast in order to see what we’d missed (which, being modern times, was shown the very next day on BBC3).

Yes, I know that’s only 24 hours but in this modern world of instant gratification and immediate sensory download that’s like watching Star Wars at the cinema as a kid and then having to wait 5 whole years for it to be finally released on video before you can watch it again.

The great god technology is dead.

Long live technology.



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35 comments:

Modern Military Mother said...

Is this an old Merlin or the new season??? F*cking technology!!! I love it but I hate too. I need a goblin geek pet that lives under the stairs in goblin bliss to do all this kind of shit. So do you probably - I feel your pain. I really do!

Steve said...

MMM: brand new season of Merlin. Brand new! Morgana is going to get seriously bad on people's asses and I can't wait.

Hey! Whatever happened to our set visit? :-(

Owen said...

Steve, the answer is obvious... you are just going to have to convert one of your extra rooms into a second TV room, buy a second set top box, second TV, second antenna, second subscription... with two systems in parallel, you'll never miss another minute ! And you'll get some extra exercise as you dash from one room to the other to keep all the juggled balls, errr, tv shows on the air, in the air... Ok, you may need to win the lottery first to pay for all that extra equipment, but then you could even have a second house for that second tv room, maybe even a second family, you could just slip into a parallel universe !

Nana Go-Go said...

Don`t talk of technology to me - I`m having to shoot over to Google Chrome to post this and every other comment I want to issue because me trusty old neolithic laptop can`t cope with the new version of IE, allegedly!But I don`t want to keep Chrome as my default browser because it doesn`t have a `favourites` menu in the taskbar...unless someone can enlighten me? Didn`t see any Sat night telly because I had to watch `Tangled` with the two-year-old in my life! Then again first thing Sunday morning! If I hear `Rapunzel,Rapunzel, let down your hair` once more, it`ll be too soon!
Might have guessed you`d have the hots for Morgana! You`re such a cliche sometimes, Steve!(purely from an artistic standpoint, them Knights aren`t too bad to look at!).Cliche, Moi? Never!Have a good week my friend. (I`m on hols and totally ignoring the mountain of domestic trivia I have to get through this week).

joebloggs said...

Did you not poke it with your sonic screwdriver?

Steve said...

Owen: a second house in a second parallel universe? Are you crazy? I haven't finished paying off the mortgage in this one yet!

Nana Go-Go: have got Tangled for our little boy's birthday next Sunday... I will soon know exactly how you feel. As for being a cliche? Me? I just do exactly what it says on the tin.

Joe: yes, but unfortunately my sonic screwdriver is smaller on the outside than it is on the inside.

libby said...

I watched Dr.Who....in real time...the plot made me very discombobulated...I kept thinking 'is he?' 'is that?' where/what/why..................I would SO not make an able assistant to this man...but I loved the wedding/kiss!

John Gray said...

saw Alex Kingston.. got all excited then read on about soddin dr Who....
bless......

the only opinion I have about the new dr is that he is ugly as sin....
how shallow is that?

joebloggs said...

Funny, she said it was EVEN smaller on the inside than on the out....


sorry couldn't resist!

Steve said...

Libby: from what I saw on Doctor Who Confidential they edited the kiss quite a bit. It was a proper snog on the set. Plainly, they didn't want to scare the children.

John: he's an unusual looking man but rather sweet. Like a misshapen but much loved teddy bear.

Joe: that's because she has an orifice like the sodding Tardis. OK?

;-)

Dicky said...

Have to admit I was slightly confused by this series DW. In fact if I'd missed the last 5 mins it wouldn't have mattered. Alex Song, Amy Pond - Mmmmm which to choose? Sorry, went off on a tangent there.

Great post Steve, I hope you went all Basil Fawlty on that set top box?

Another Goldfish said...

A poorly timed grandmother's birthday meant we were at a huge family dinner instead of watching the Doctor Who final.

We finally got home at midnight & decided we couldn't wait another minute. We grabbed some snacks, turned on the DVR and settled down. We only got as far as Churchill asking the time when it suddenly turned itself off. Infernal thing had some sort of recording error and hadn't recorded the whole show!

We ended up turning to iPlayer, so the crisis was averted...but it was a close thing!

Steve said...

Dicky: hit it with a tree branch seventeen times and then threw a typewriter at it. One of the old fashioned kind. Yep.

Another Goldfish: thank God for iPlayer! Shrines should be built in its honour... though obviously in areas that won't offend other religious denominations (especially those that are still using hardcopy text rather than Bluetooth wifi connection).

Marginalia said...

Boy, I bet you're so jealous

Steve said...

Marginalia: of Matt Smith? Or people with better technology?

Marginalia said...

Yeah right!

Steve said...

Marginalia: OK. On both counts.

Modern Military Mother said...

I know!! I chased it up today but I was too late. Next year - I will sort it out.

Steve said...

MMM: *sob* *sob* This means that someone else got to help Katie McGrath into her dresses... and I wasn't even there to see it let alone get my zipper stuck... er, I mean, her zipper stuck. Yes. That's what I meant. ;-)

Kelloggsville said...

doesn't it go straight onto iplayer?

English Rider said...

I feel your pain. An unofficial cliff-hanger of an ending before the real cliff-hanger ending. Tottering on the brink for 24 whole hours. Arghhh!

Steve said...

Kelloggsville: that thought onlt occurred to me, alas, today. But to be honest, gathering around a computer screen isn't the same as gathering around a telly.

English Rider: it was an agony! A sheer 1440 minutes of sheer agony!

Gorilla Bananas said...

Let that be a lesson to you. Before your favourite TV programme starts, put on your man nappy so you don't have to pause it for a pee-pee break. And be grateful you don't have to use a chamber pot like in the olden days.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: man nappy?! Real men just piss down the back of the sofa.

Yes. OK. I have a man nappy.

Nota Bene said...

You need a tardis

The Sagittarian said...

I kinda lost you at 'we were watching Dr Who...'

TimeWarden said...

I'm not a great lover of technology either! I've been using this computer in safe mode for the past three months now and it's not as safe as they'd have you believe as AVG doesn't work!!

No sound either, so music and TV is a no go. No good going back to VHS for me as a year after purchasing the TOSHIBA it would stop during recording, then later record without sound.

Buying an AIWA VCR didn't solve the problem as PDC (Programme Delivery Control) wasn't all it was cracked up to be either.

Should I mention my record player? Won't play 33rpm at a constant speed! Do you think I should invest in a Tesselector as they seem to function reasonably well?!

Steve said...

Nota Bene: if I had a Tardis the last thing I'd be doing would be catching up on TV programmes.

Amanda: I thought you were a fan?

TimeWarden: good grief! You sound positively jinxed. Have you tried Stone Age technology? Tends to be longer lasting and doesn't need AC/DC power input.

lunarossa said...

Hi Steve, I hope you have caught up with DW on iplayer or something similar by now! I've had for a month now and I really hate it. It sometimes records a programm and next time it does not. It seems to have its own life and power of decision. I should have opted for a plain dvd recorder...Ciao. A.x

Being Me said...

Top. Loading. VCR??? Wash your mouth out!

Steve said...

Lunarossa: yes, our does that. We set it to record an entire series and then suddenly it decides to miss an episode out. We carefully monitor ours now. Let it know who the boss is. I recommend the occasionally beating too.

Being Me: yeah. You love it when I talk dirty.

Suburbia said...

At least you only had to wait 24 hours. Years ago, if you'd miss programmed your VCR, you'd just have to go round asking complete strangers if they had a copy that wasn't on Betamax!

Steve said...

Suburbia: ah... betamax, those were the days. Do you remember hand-spooling when the tape messed up?

The Sagittarian said...

I am a big fan, and I went off into a kind of trance...we've just had the episode The Girl who waited. (And spent a good part of the weekend watching DT re-runs)

Steve said...

Amanda: it took me a while to accept Matt Smith but he converted me within a few episodes. I now think he's brilliant. An old head on young shoulders - perfect for the Doctor.