You can’t say we haven’t been warned! The Federal Government has gone to great lengths to prepare the country for the switchover to digital TV. It’s already happened in some parts of the country and on Tuesday December 3rd it will be Sydney’s turn as the old analog signal is turned off for good. Finito!
Despite the distribution of free set top boxes and an extensive advertising campaign there’s bound to be the unsuspecting viewer who wonders why their old cathode ray has suddenly gone kaput. Sure they will be in a minority but the sudden cultural shock could be devastating with a flood of frantic calls to 000. Perhaps paramedics dispatched to treat the traumatised need to be armed with an ample supply of set top boxes so normal TV reception can resume ASAP.
For most of us the ‘analogalypse’ will be no big deal although expect a last minute flood of tube TVs littering the streets and providing a real headache for council clean ups. During the last few years thousands of otherwise perfectly good TVs have ended up on pavements and in garbage dumps across the state. Many became part of a nasty trade in evil E-waste, shipped to third world countries, for breakdown and recycling in conditions that unleashed a toxic wasteland.
Fortunately the brakes seem to have been put on this insidious practice, however the problem of what to do with thousands of the old analog sets remains. We would love to have seen an initiative on the part of governments and councils encouraging some creative recycling whereby at least part of the old TV was retained for domestic use. As you can see from the pic above, a hollowed out set makes a perfect kitty house and far more entertaining viewing than most of the crap that is currently on TV.
Why buy one of those fish tank DVDs for your flat screen when you can have a real live tank of tropical fish lovingly displayed in your old TV? Similarly the old style sets make a great home for guinea pigs, mice, lizards and with a few modifications even the much loved budgie. Pets aside some of the larger analog sets can easily hold a microwave oven, which not only gives you added protection against radiation leaks, but throws new light on the concept of the TV cooking show.
It’s unlikely Sydneysiders will mark the switch over with a series of festive house parties, all gathered around an old analog TV, champagne glasses in hand, waiting for that magic moment when the TV screen goes blank – although it’s a damn good idea! Perhaps the City Of Sydney Council might mark the occasion by building this year’s Christmas tree in Martin Place out of the thousands of old discarded sets they have collected.
Finally, it was once part of the rock ’n’ roll ethos that misbehaving rock stars, prone to trashing hotel rooms, delighted in hurling the old cathode ray sets from their hotel windows. The current flat screens just don’t have the same explosive impact when they hit the pavement below. Maybe some of our more progressive hotels, prepared to cater for the wildest whims of visiting celebrities, could offer old-school TVs as part of their twenty-four hour room service. A safe hurling area could be cordoned off at ground level and sets launched from above whenever a drug-infused rage demanded!