There can be no denying, from the student whizz kids to the lonely hermit living in a solitary flat and ignoring the progress of time,we now live in a technologically rich era. We have touch screen mobile phones with video links to allow us to talk ‘facetime’ with loved ones on another continent as easily as in the same room. We can tell our house to turn on the tv and record a program as we travel home on a delayed train or we can allow our fridge to send a message to our grocery supplier when we are dangerously close to running out of sliced ham.
But how much of these new improvements do we actually need and how much is in fact not new but a revamp of an existing product? How often do you pay for a ‘new’ system to perform a task that you already have a product for?
It was a conversation my wife had with a telesales person that started me questioning the validity of these new technological wonders.
The sales person was trying to introduce my good lady wife to the delights of a Sky+ package.
“But Madam, you can record a show in case you miss it and watch it later.”
“I can watch it later on +1 or the next day. In some cases, I can watch it two hours later on ITV 2+1 or some other channel.”
“You might be away for a few days. You can set the tv to record episodes over several days”
“Or I could watch the omnibus on sunday…”
Needless to say, the poor sales troll gave up and strove on to better things and more productive calls but my mind had already been set on a course.
If you already have freeview or sky or one of the myriad other subscription packages, you can invariably find a channel with Top Gear , Come Dine With Me or one of the soaps at almost any time of day or night. It has been known to happen that we have sat down and decided to watch a programme, decided we had seen that episode and turned to another channel showing it, only to find it is the same episode. It may be rare but is certainly not impossible to find the same episode of the same show on three or more channels and on the +1 versions all at the same time or within an hour of each other.
Now for the confusing conflict. The same people that show or host shows that repeat every hour and on infinite channels are the same people who try to sell you the Hard Drive Recording players. The other companies, those who run the numerous channels which have now expanded exponentially to include not only 1-4 channels but also +1 versions , now promote their own websites with built in players to help you catch up on anything you may have somehow still managed to miss.
Surely, if you miss your favourite show when it is originally debuted, then miss the repeat an hour later or the catch up on the other channels, and haven’t got time to wait for the omnibus or late night repeat at the end of the week one day before the next episode, can’t find it on Youtube and it hasn’t been put on the website yet, your life is too busy for television!
The problem I see is the prospect of being coerced into buying two conflicting products from the same supplier or at least two products that do the same thing and offer no advantage over each other. I can see where many less technically knowledgeable people may be caught out. I’d say by unscrupulous sales people but I don’t believe there are any scruples to be had in this game.
Maybe I’m looking too far into this but it does seem to be an overkill of unnecessary products.
Oh, and if anyone has missed this blog, it will be on WordPress+1 in a hour, on youtube tomorrow and available as a dvd , bluray disc and download by friday!
Failing that, the book is being made into a film next year…