For some reason, my Sunday Times today, didn’t have a copy of the Culture section. So I won’t know how to avoid the total crap on the television over Christmas!
At least as I only watch BBC1 to 4 and Sky Sports1 and 2, I can probably find out what’s on, by just flicking channels.
At present there are a hundred or so TV and radio channels, most of which are free-to-air, but some like Sky Sports One and Two are available through various subscription methods like BT Vision, which I have.
When the switch-over is complete and everybody in the UK can get their free-to-air channels in a digital form, terrestrially if they want to, the old analogue signal can be switched off and the spectrum released can be sold off.
I had thought that this free spectrum would end up with those providing mobile services, but it would appear that there’s nothing technically to stop a broadcaster buying spectrum and using it to broadcast other services, whether they be free-to-air or by subscription.
I did say technically, as they would probably have to be regulated by the British authorities.
So would this have attractions for other broadcasters? The obvious candidate would be Sky, as it might like to setup a new Freeview multiplexer to broadcast all their channels terrestrially, probably using similar technology to that used by BT Vision.
It would also allow a powerful sports body such as the Premier League or Formula One to have their own channel.
I think the days in the UK, where you needed a satellite dish to get certain channels may well be numbered. I don’t think Sky will be objecting, as they know how to price a service to maximise the revenue. They are also one of the partners in Freeview.
It has been fascinating watching Team SKY control the most difficult stage in the Tour de France today. As ever ITV’s coverage has been ruined by advertising breaks. At least there is a decent commentary onf BBC Radio 5 Live.
I suppose if Team SKY get some of their riders on the podium in Paris, we might get the Tour coverage on one of their channels.
At the moment, I’m listening to the last match in the Glasgow Premier League at Celtic Park. It is usually on one of the main Sky channels, but today it is on Sky Sports 4. Are those of us who get our Sky through BT Vision being censored? Or do they expect it will be too red-blooded for English tastes? Especially, as from what I can gather from the commentary, the Celtic crowd have been giving the Rangers fans a warm and very bigoted welcome. I think that if say some of the banners unfurled by the home fans, appeared at say an Ipswich against Norwich fixture, they would certainly be confiscated.
All of this is a minor battle compared to what happens in the next few weeks. Rangers will probably loose a lot of their best players and the transfer embargo they are under will mean they won’t be able to sign any more.
What puzzles me about Rangers, is that the Inland Revenue didn’t fully investigate the non-payment of tax by the club a couple of years earlier? After all, if this forces the club into liquidation, then it will be the English at fault. Could it be, that Prudence didn’t want it to happen under his watch?
As a taxpayer, I have a right to know, about all the tax and contract mandering that happened in Scotland in the last days of the worst government we’ve had since Lord North.
I have been listening to the Malaysian Grand Prix today on BBC Radio 5 Live.
It has been a disaster for Sky, as for most of the race, it has been raining cats and dogs.
So as the late great Brian Redhead once said. “If television had been invented first, radio would be the dominant medium, as the pictures are better!”
The BBC commentators are proving him right, by bringing interesting guests to the microphone, explaining everything that is going on extremely well. But then, the BBC has had all that practice with cricket.
If I was paranoid, after reading Brian Redhead’s Wikipedia entry, I’d think I had a ruptured appendix, as he died of one, after complaining of pain in his left side and leg. But I’ve had my pain for years, so it’s probably nothing to worry about.
I’ve always enjoyed this football tournament, as I said here.
But this year it’s on Eurosport and the only way to see that is by using Sky. All you get is highlights on ITV4 and that’s not in my guide.
I was listening yesterday to the BBC’s morning phone-in and they were talking about debts and especially how people have got into trouble over Christmas.
If I look at my finances over the last year, they have improved somewhat and I felt that although I’m living on my savings until my house is sold, I’ve probably got almost a year more before my avings run out, than when I moved here in December 2010.
So what major savings have I made.
The first is the the television, phones and broadband. I like Sky Sports, and the big saving is that I can’t have an obvious dish here, as it’s a Conservation Area. Although, I could probably hide one on the roof! I did try Virgin by cable to get Sky Sports 1 and 2. Now I’ve switched to BT Vision with of course Freeview. I now pay about £50 a month to get phone calls, broadband and Sky Sports 1 and 2.
I don’t seem to miss out on watching anything I want to, but the saving is a thousand on Virgin Media and a couple of thousand compared to Sky.
Note that I only rarely watch films on television and generally stick to the four BBC channels, the two Sky Sports channels and radio.
The biggest saving is not having a car. I don’t miss it one bit, although perhaps it would have helped on Christmas Day to get to my son’s. But with the amount of money I save, I can afford the occasional black cab or mini-cab.
Getting rid of the car has other benefits too in addition to the obvious financial and logistical ones.
You walk a lot more, which is obviously good for you. I always walk with my eyes open too and I see things in shop windows that I might like to buy to improve my lifestyle or things that are just interesting in the street.
Walking is a real joy in a city and in no way inferior to walking in the country. In fact, I think it is more thought-provoking.
So how many people with serious debt problems have still got the expensive television, the full Sky and an expensive car?
A couple of months ago, I compared the two systems for getting TV and broadband.
The only thing, I didn’t have was any sensible price comparison. My last seven months of Virgin cost me an avverage of £132.75 and I’ve just paid my first BT bill without any setup charges. It was £45.85, which is a saving of about a thousand pounds by using BT instead of Virgin.
I’m also still getting junk mail from Virgin.
When I first moved, I went the Virgin Media route and subscribed to Sky Sports 1 and 2.
A couple of months ago, I threw the cable out, as Virgin Media couldn’t give me a working landline telephone.
I now have BT broadband, with which I use BT Vision to get the same Sky channels.
I don’t regret the changes one bit.
- BT is much cheaper. Not sure totally how much, as I haven’t had a bill with all my landline calls. It looks like it might be about £70 compared to £130 for Virgin.
- The BT service appears to be more reliable. Virgin cable seemed to go up and down like a whore’s drawers. Perhaps this was partly due to the state of their boxes in the street, which had had the doors removed.
- Since I signed up with BT, I think I’ve only had one spam e-mail or leaflet in the mail. Virgin still keep sending them, although in the last week, they seem to have stopped. Perhaps, they’ve got the message.
- With BT, if I lose broadband, I still have the TV without Sky through Freeview.
- I know this is personal taste, but I think the BT website is easier to use. The login is certainly better.
So bye-bye Virgin and never may you grace my door again.
I suspect though it will be all irrevelant in the future, who your broadband supplier is. You’ll get all your TV channels other than the free-to-air ones on subscription of some sort through it.
I suspect too, that you’ll be able to subscribe to advert-free versions of things like Sky. At a premium of course.