Sunday, 14 December 2014

TV is Dead, Long Live TV!

Did I tell you we'd moved house? Sorry...

But one more thing that is worth discussing is a complete change to our telly-viewing. Gone are the (three? four?) TVs (I know, shameful isn't it) that used to stand (largely unwatched) in lounge, kitchen and a couple of the bedrooms (well, there were aerial points in every room and a clever distribution system for the signal!) to be replaced with one - yes, one TV plus...

My iPad.

Let me explain. Thanks to Talk Talk inviting me to become an ambassador for nine months, we've done away with Freeview, Sky+ and the rest and relied on their YouView box along with a TV Plus package. The beauty of this is that I can sign up for, say, a month's boost of Sky Sports or similar without having to subscribe for any longer. And it's cheaper. In fact, with what we save, I'm paying for fibre-optic broadband into the bargain. Which is where our telly-viewing comes in.

But not just ours, oh no! Apparently it's becoming more and more common to view TV this way, via PC or laptop or - more likely - tablet or even phone. According to Ofcom almost a million homes now have broadband but no telly, and BBC iPlayer requests from tablets or mobiles have risen from 25% to 47% in the past 18 months alone.

Of course, sitting on the sofa (or reclining in the bath or lying in bed) with you iPad requires a decent broadband connection. And I'm delighted to say that our Talk Talk fibre optic line has been a model of stability and speed. (They're not paying me to say that. I'm paying them for the privilege of having it. The ambassadorial programme doesn't extend to the fibre optic broadband, more's the pity!)

But I digress. Telly is now not so much a shared family activity as a rather fragmented - but much more discriminatory - individual experience. Gone are the days when we all sit round the big (or not so big... our main telly used to be a 28-inch cathode-ray-tube antique that my eldest complained you needed binoculars to see) TV being alternately bored, gripped, annoyed or enthralled by whatever family viewing option had been chosen. We no longer have to sit through stuff we don't want to see or watch what we want to watch when it's being broadcast, if that happens to be inconvenient.

It's a revolution, at least in our household. And - as someone who has often had a love-hate relationship with the telly, I'm a fan. Because I can see the day when we might actually be able to dispense with the box in the corner altogether.

TV is dead. Long live TV!

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