Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Seeing change and not

Earlier this week, we were out on our deck and were talking about the TV aerial (photo above). It was the first time I’d stopped to realise that most of it is now useless. It made me stop and think how much things have changed, and how quickly.

The VHF aerial (the lowest parts of the aerial) haven’t been used in Auckland since December, 2013, when the old analog TV network was turned off. I blogged about the digital switchover back in 2012, when the first regions went digital-only. At the time, it didn’t affect us because we had Sky TV, the satellite pay TV services, which was already digital.

We dropped Sky a few months ago while we were living at our old house, and switched to Freeview, the free to air digital television network. We could use the sky satellite dish to receive the standard resolution signals, or we could use UHF for high definition channels. We’d already had a special UHF aerial installed, and used that.

The new house had no Sky dish, so we hooked up the UHF aerial here (the uppermost part of the aerial in the photo above), and it’s been fine. But, to me, it was just a TV aerial until Nigel pointed out the redundant VHF aerial, which is now nothing more than a roost for birds (and the reason we talked about it at all was because I was telling Nigel that was why plants kept growing in our gutters.

There’s another aerial mast up higher on the roof, orginally used for some sort of wireless Internet receiver, also apparently not usable anymore. So, we plan on having a new, better UHF aerial installed up there, and we’ll remove the current aerial—goodbye birds’ perch and plants-in-gutters.

Today I was out on the deck looking at the sky, and happened to notice that a neighbour’s house had a similar, though bigger, aerial up on their roof, Obviously they don’t use theirs anymore, either, but I wondered if they’d thought of removing it. Then I wondered how many houses all over the country must still have those useless aerials up on the roof.

TV aerials were once ubiquitous. Before Sky’s satellite TV service, all television was received by aerial. Now there are more choices for broadcast, and also Internet streaming is a viable option, a developement that happened faster than many of us thought it would. Yet those old aerials are still all over the place, and would be a reminder of old, abandoned technology—if people thought about them at all. Until the other day, I was like most people and never thought about the aerial—or, more specifically, the useless parts.

Technology changes quickly, and this particular revolution was televised.

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