Thursday, October 30, 2008

In this digital age

This week's Radio Times included a "Digital TV" supplement. The UK's digital switchover is about to begin, and RT - as the nation's premier TV listings magazine - is doing its bit to ensure the populace are educated in what's happening and what they'll need to do to carry one watching telly.

We've already made the move to digital using a Freeview PVR, but as we're considering installing Freesat in the next few weeks so we can enjoy HD programmes in time for Christmas, I thought I'd give the 15-page guide a flick through to see if it could tell me anything new. Anything I haven't already gleaned from reading t'Interweb.

On reaching page 8, I found I was being patronised and subjected to outrageous ageism. The magazine begins to describe a series of "average" example family units, and the steps they need to take to cope with digital. First up, it's "the Harrisons" who, the leaflet tells us, are "a couple in their mid-50s. They have to move to digital because of the nationwide switchover." Here they are, as pictured in the rag:

Just look at them. In their fifties? Bloody cheek! They look more like they're in their late seventies. And look at that furniture! I think the graphics designer was confused and thinks he was asked to draw a scene from the NINETEEN fifties. Ducks on the wall? Twee little standard lamp? And their TV (which I've cropped from the picture) looks like something from Rediffusion. Good grief. Let me tell you, ALL the 50-year-olds I know are more than au fait with digital thengyoverymuds. Ahead of the curve, if anything.

The "questions" these poor old farts ask are more like something you'd hear from pensioners too. "Do I need a new television" (because these are the kind of people who don't replace their telly until it breaks, right?); "Can we still use our VHS recorder?" (because let's face it, 50-year-old couldn't possibly have heard of PVRs, right?) and on, and on.

You have to get to the next page and read about "the Khans" - who are clearly in their early thirties and hence SO much more clued up about everything - before you see sensible questions. See, they're already using Freeview, so they're asking whether they need a special PVR for Freeview, among other things. As an aside, the leaflet also tries to claim that PVR is a deprecated term, and that the "correct" term is now DTR - for Digital Television Recorder.

Someone needs to get their facts straight. The Topfield website - home of one of the most popular PVRs on the market - still refers to it as a PVR, and Wikipedia, while its major listing is under DVR (Digital Video Recorder) still admits PVR as an alternate term and lists DTR as Digital TV Receiver. But MUCH more important than that, stop patronising people in their fifties. Don't you know fifty is the new thirty??

No comments: