30/03/2012 08:47 BST | Updated 29/05/2012 06:12 BST

Why I'll Miss Analogue Television... And Why You Will Too


Well depending on where you live, it's actually already happened or will happen, or is happening between 2009 and the end of April in 2012, but you know, sod off I don't have time to adjust my writing for your own geographical location. IN FACT YOU KNOW WHAT I FIND IT RATHER INSULTING.

The switchover is actually quite monumental when you think about it. Analogue TV has been around since the age when you could only listen to radio via a can of baked beans and some string, has never screwed up or become unfashionable (until the last decade or so) and was a universal technological innovation that we all loved, one that required no tip-top internet speed to acquire, no top-of-the-range system to purchase first. All you needed was a knock-off TV SUBSTANTIALLY DISCOUNTED at the Co-op (like a Sarny or a Tashibo) for £20 and you were set, set for life.

Now don't get me wrong Digital TV has got its perks, many perks in fact (I've just gotten into a show on the Food Network where two female cooks in Washington make dresses out of cupcakes for no reason), but analogue TV had it all going on. Think of it. When the last signal switch gets switched off at Alexandra Palace (or wherever)...

1. Thunderstorms will be less exciting.

When you were younger and a big summer storm was on the way (as in British Summer Storm when nothing will be damaged but all the pigeons will be startled), your TV signal used to f-u-z-z for about six or seven seconds every time a lightning bolt hit something within a thirty mile radius. You know, that farting noise when everything will go wiggily. Chris Tarrant's head would turn red, then green, then red and orange within two and a half seconds. When I was younger, and was more frightened of thunderstorms than I am now, I would see the sudden movement of the TV signal going in and out of an approaching storm in the same way that the scared kid in Jurassic Park sees that bottle of water bounces bigger and bigger before that massive T-REX goes "RAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH IT'S THE NINETIES."

Now, all you're going to see when an apocalyptic piece of light rain in the horizon is your TV signal won't fuzz, but instead some massive corporate logo announcing that you've got 'no signal'. The blue screen of death will ensue. It is like shit weather has been brought to you by Microsoft Windows.

2. More choice is bollocks.

Just like with Sky Atlantic showing the new series of Mad Men just to its cherished 'Sky' customers, more and more shows are going to be shown down increasingly confusing and vague valleys that only certain people can afford.

Think of the near future. Posh people across the land will cackle into their soy chai lattes about that new Bear Grylls thing that you cannot get on a basic subscription, you'll spend your Friday nights increasingly soullessly flicking between '4MUSIC' and 'VIVA' minding the adverts whilst your Sky / Virgin friends are two-and-throwing across a musical pony fantasy land with a quad-billion of channels that rewinds and fast-forwards every PPI Insurance advert THERE EVER HAS BEEN AND EVER WILL BE.

3. Channel launches are going to be much less exciting from now on.

The launch of Channel 5, when I was eight, was possibly the most exciting moment of my life. It was interrupted by my grandmother disconnecting the TV set to do the hoovering mind, but the other 35 minutes of watching a clock counting down on-screen leading to an unexpected appearance by the Spice Girls was an utter joy to behold. It was very much like the day when you were five and you were given a balloon at the opening of a local Woolworths, or the opening of a new shopping centre when 'DJ Duncan' will drop some beats leading to the appearance of some of the lesser known Gladiators outside an AllSports. Unforgettable moments that you'll remember for the rest of your life.

But now what do have instead? A BILLION channels exploding and imploding simultaneously, with new channels with banal names like 'TYCOON' and 'BACON' and +11 bollocks, disappearing and reappearing without you noticing, or caring. No more balloons kids. It is deflated. Like your hopes and dreams.


4. Teletext is rubbish these days.

Funky text. Jazz organ. BBC TWO. Late night. Pages looking like it was constructed by Lego on a bad day.

And what is BBC Interactive or Teletext like these days on digital?

It's shit.

5. Working out how to use your manual remote control.

The joy when you were younger of receiving a new bright and shiny modern television with what seems to be a home cook oven attached to the back, plugging it into the wall and sticking that other wire into a place where you think a conventional wire cannot fit, and then alas trying to 'Find Channels' for the first time.

No wait you've clicked on the colour settings.

Oh god its gone monochrome.

I know, I wonder what happens if I turn the 'brightness' to 0? Oh look everyone on TV looks like they're in a cave!

Alright, you've got it back now. Maybe press the menu button to get back to where you were.

Okay now you've selected a button called 'Variation'. Nobody knows or understands 'Variation' is.

Okay now you've selected a button called 'Index Repositioning'. Nobody knows or understands 'Index Repositioning' is.

Okay you've now selected a button called 'Manual Disc'. Nobody knows or understands what 'Manual Disc' is.

You do this for approximately three hours.

These days they've found all of the channels for you, like you're a child who can't have any control over anything any more. Okay on Freeview you still mess with a couple of buttons to get it working, but back in the day there was a level of unparalleled satisfaction when you've managed not to make every consecutive channel on your remote above the number 4 BBC TWO in a dodgy blender. No longer will you have the matter of whether or not you have Channel 5 within your part of the United Kingdom as a topic of conversation...

Progession. Don't you just hate it?