Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Ante Up

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  • Andre,

    I have three analogue televisions that keep my two baby/toddlers, two 7&9 year-old boys and my wife and I able to watch TV separately. I bought one of them brand new in 1991 and gifted it to my Mum in 1996 when I upgraded and she returned it last year still kicking. I object to paying $450 for "Freeview" let alone the exorbitant telco fees charged by uncontrolled ravaging US investors who own Telecom and control the pricing of the industry to be streamed 4G material. Like (insert swear word here" and join the real world. Two-thirds of all working people earn $17 or less an hour. I don't, but would still find the changeover costly. It is not just that they are cancelling TVNZ7... it is that they are making a billion dollars of working equipment obsolescent on behalf of TV and Freeview machine manufacturers... I find Sky very boring - I have seen everything the History or Documentary Channel run after three months and then it is wall-to-wall repeats. The Labour and National governments have left us with nothing unless we are willing to pay extra for it. TVNZ7 is awesome so I bought a Freeview machine to view it but it broke down after 2 months. Shall I blame the Asian deregulated manufacturer or the government that demanded I deal with them?

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 371 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to izogi,

    Hi Russell. I agree, but I also think it worth emphasising that there's more to public television than screening programmes that don't fit the target demographic for advertisers.

    No it isn't. As Russell pointed out to me on Twitter yesterday there are a lot of local documentaries - and a fair chunk of public money, FWIW - that TVNZ and Three just aren't interested in showing. Hell, if we must have a 'public broadcaster' it would be damn nice if they got slightly wider circulation than a handful of off-peak screenings on the festival circuit.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Hans Versluys,

    Re: cumulative viewing figures. Not sure where you get those figures from but according to Nielsen cumes TVNZ 7 averages 1.16m a month in 2011 (highest: Oct 2011 1.41m). Maori TV averages 2.01m (highest: Sep 2011 2.64m). Highest rating Sky channel is The Box at 1.4m a month (UKTV averages at 1.26m)

    From the Save TVNZ 7 release. I may have misinterpreted what they were saying, but that's very different from the figures in that release. I've already annotated the original post thus and I'll add the correct cume figures now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    Thanks for your reasoned response...

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 371 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    In light of all this, maybe TVNZ and SKY HQ could be the next Occupy Auckland targets? I no longer bother with a TV these days, just so I can immunise myself from the prolefeed machine.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5443 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    In light of all this, maybe TVNZ and SKY HQ could be the next Occupy Auckland targets? I

    They made for an excellent rabble down at Backbenchers last night. Plenty of others bringing noise (at times a little too much). It was a fun night, even if Roche did sound like she'd swallowed helium.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Matt Crawford,

    Andre,

    I'm not particularly sympathetic to your cries of Freeview being too expensive, when you want to upgrade three televisions. Maybe you could tighten the belt and subsist on just one or two Freeview capable television sets?

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 58 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Andre,

    I object to paying $450 for “Freeview”

    Freeview HD decoders regular come down as low as $130 now. For $450 you can get a whole new Freeview-integrated TV.

    It is not just that they are cancelling TVNZ7… it is that they are making a billion dollars of working equipment obsolescent on behalf of TV and Freeview machine manufacturers…

    Well, no. Staying with analogue broadcast simply wasn't an option. It doesn't do justice to the programmes, broadcasters can't even but the equipment any more and it ties up a buttload of spectrum with an old technology that already accounts for a minority share of viewing.

    I gather there will be public assistance for the purchase of Freeview kit for the stragglers, come switchover time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to George Darroch,

    even if Roche did sound like she’d swallowed helium.

    Breathing from those ACT balloons most likely. Are those helium balloons supposed to represent their policies?.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Freeview HD decoders regular come down as low as $130 now. For $450 you can get a whole new Freeview-integrated TV.

    Only if you live in an area covered by terrestrial broadcast. They claim that is 95% of the population, if I recall correctly, when Freeview was launched we were told that this number would be 95% of all households. I have a sneaky feeling that National scuppered that number.
    So, if you live north of Whangarei or out by where Islander lives, you will need a satellite dish and a satellite decoder (more expensive than a terrestrial one) and someone to set up the dish, they are buggers to get right without the right equipment.
    Freeview TVs are terrestrial and so would not work outside the coverage footprint, I have met several people that got suckered by the Warehouse in Kaitaia into buying a TV which will be useless when the switch over happens.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    So, if you live north of Whangarei or out by where Islander lives, you will need a satellite dish and a satellite decoder (more expensive than a terrestrial one) and someone to set up the dish, they are buggers to get right without the right equipment.

    Or if you have an existing Sky dish you get a $99 Freeview satellite decoder and plug it in.

    I have a sneaky feeling that National scuppered that number.

    I’ll check that out for you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Or if you have an existing Sky dish you get a $99 Freeview satellite decoder and plug it in.

    Yeah. The satellite decoders are cheaper that the terrestrial ones.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Or if you have an existing Sky dish you get a $99 Freeview satellite decoder and plug it in.

    You can indeed, $91 from J B hifi, but still a lot for the folks of Northland, the forgotten people.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    I checked with Sam Irvine, the GM of Freeview. He said:

    Terrestrial coverage is 87% . Launch was to 75% and that was meant to be the final coverage which is why the Freeview, free to air, digital satellite solution was launched to cover the rest of new Zealand. Not economic to go past 87% . it takes 36 sites to cover 87% of the population and it would take 300+ to cover 99% of the population with terrestrial – just too costly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Well, I'm buggered.
    Last time I checked my figures were correct, about 6 months back. I distinctly remember the 95% figure, perhaps that was projected and as for the satellite decoders being cheaper I see that they are, now.
    Bloody goalposts.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    ACT sacs...

    Are those helium balloons supposed
    to represent their policies?.

    Yup, squander scarce natural,
    or costly to create, resources
    while floating lofty ideals...

    When they obviously
    have enough hot air to
    gas bag with already!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Are those helium balloons supposed to represent their policies?.

    Heh, in the Sandringham Festival, Labour had the only Helium balloons. The National ones came with strings attached, lacked buoyancy, immediately deflated and ended up on the rubbish heap.

    Just sayin'.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2450 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to JacksonP,

    The National ones came with strings attached, lacked buoyancy, immediately deflated and ended up on the rubbish heap.

    Here's hoping...

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas,

    Hi, the TVNZ 7 ratings figures that I used came from a Chris Barton article in the Herald a month ago and Sky themselves. I'm grateful to Nielsen for giving me the definitive figures (without charge) and they confirm Hans' figures to be correct. Apologies and proof that you can't believe everything you read in the papers.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    from a William Gibson interview:

    INTERVIEWER:
    For someone who so often writes about the future of technology, you seem to have a real romance for artifacts of earlier eras.
    GIBSON:
    It’s harder to imagine the past that went away than it is to imagine the future. What we were prior to our latest batch of technology is, in a way, unknowable. It would be harder to accurately imagine what New York City was like the day before the advent of broadcast television than to imagine what it will be like after life-size broadcast holography comes online. But actually the New York without the television is more mysterious, because we’ve already been there and nobody paid any attention. That world is gone.

    My great-grandfather was born into a world where there was no recorded music. It’s very, very difficult to conceive of a world in which there is no possibility of audio recording at all. Some people were extremely upset by the first Edison recordings. It nauseated them, terrified them. It sounded like the devil, they said, this evil unnatural technology that offered the potential of hearing the dead speak. We don’t think about that when we’re driving somewhere and turn on the radio. We take it for granted.

    INTERVIEWER:
    Was television a big deal in your childhood?

    GIBSON:
    I can remember my father bringing home our first set—this ornate wooden cabinet that was the size of a small refrigerator, with a round cathode-ray picture tube and wooden speaker grilles over elaborate fabric. Like a piece of archaic furniture, even then. Everybody would gather around at a particular time for a broadcast—a baseball game or a variety show or something. And then it would go back to a mandala that was called a test pattern, or nothing—static.

    We know that something happened then. We know that broadcast television did something—did everything—to us, and that now we aren’t the same, though broadcast television, in that sense, is already almost over. I can remember seeing the emergence of broadcast television, but I can’t tell what it did to us because I became that which watched broadcast television.

    The strongest impacts of an emergent technology are always unanticipated. You can’t know what people are going to do until they get their hands on it and start using it on a daily basis, using it to make a buck and using it for criminal purposes and all the different things that people do. The people who invented pagers, for instance, never imagined that they would change the shape of urban drug dealing all over the world. But pagers so completely changed drug dealing that they ultimately resulted in pay phones being removed from cities as part of a strategy to prevent them from becoming illicit drug markets. We’re increasingly aware that our society is driven by these unpredictable uses we find for the products of our imagination.

    my bolding for emphasis
    (h/t to my brother for forwarding it to me)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    An excellent analysis, Russell. I guess calling on ratings ('reach' in particular) is useful in this context even though I believe the Peoplemeter measurement system to be a load of horse-poop. The best solution to finding a way to pay is targeting Sky and their unfettered monopoly, but even Labour seems too scared to venture that idea.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

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