Wednesday 07 Dec 2016

Digital Revolution
Jennifer Flaten

Digital TV is coming! Digital TV is coming! Are you prepared? Oh wait, you are, Oh well excuse me. It must only be us Wisconsinites, who require a constant reminder that the revolution is coming.

For those of you who are unaware, although I don't see how that could be possible, after a certain date, your TV set won't work unless, of course, you have the magical converter box or the all mighty cable/satellite hook up.

So why do the TV folks feel the need to hammer us over the head with this information? It could be because we have so many cheap bastards that still use rabbit ears. On the other hand, it could be because Wisconsin contains a bunch of technophobes. It is no lie; there are people around here who view the telephone as a passing fad.

Have you stopped to question the amount of time and effort that is going into informing us that our TV sets will no longer work after the digital conversion?

It seems like on any given day the "Digital TV Is Coming" ad appears no less then once an hour on every station. In fact, I'm pretty sure more money went into advertising the TV change over then both presidential candidates, combined, spent on their ads.

The local TV stations even decided to do a test. This was supposed to help you determine if your set was ready. It was supposed to be smooth and simple. The stations, at the appointed time would send out the all-digital signal.

So much for simple, apparently, there was some sort of snafu, one of those little technical glitches, nothing big at all. Sets that should have worked didn't, and those that should have been dead as a doornail picked up a faint signal. Uh oh.

Well, you can imagine the amount of trouble that caused! Panicked calls and complaints flooded the local stations. I am pretty sure they are working up an ad right now that will explain the glitch and remind you that digital TV is, in fact, coming.

I know the local paper had an article devoted to explaining the technical error. Geez, it is embarrassing, so much time and effort wasted on such a trivial thing. The other states must be laughing at us, in all digital, of course.

I'm surprised that neither of the candidates has managed to tie in the coming of digital TV with their presidential campaign.

I can just see it now, a new presidential advertisement, claiming, "Vote for me and I will personally come to your house and make sure your set works after the digital conversion."

Whichever candidate makes that promise is a shoo-in for president.

I can't quite grasp why it is necessary to repeat it incessantly. Even Public Television, one of the last bastions of smart TV, has commercials running with a soothing announcer telling you all will be well as long as you get the box or get cable.

What is it, I wonder, that has TVs stations so afraid? Is it because they imagine that when the TVs stop working after the change over viewers will storm the TV station brandishing pitchforks and torches, demanding the ability to see the latest episode of 90210.

Because heaven knows, if you miss an episode of a TV program you never, ever get another chance to see it again.

Oh wait, there are reruns, endless reruns and of course, DVDs and YouTube. However, those things take effort, and we certainly can't expect the average viewer to make an effort to watch a program.

No, no, better to have it delivered on a timely basis right to people's sets. People shouldn't have to make an effort to watch programming. I mean put something on and they will watch it, no matter how vile or boring the program is they will watch, while waiting for something better to come on, and while they are watching this mindless drivel, you can put on ads for all sorts of things. You can run advertisements for things that no one really needs, but if you advertise them enough, people will surely buy them. Like digital satellite and TV converter boxes.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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