Television the drug of the nation, or television, window into the nation's psyche? Certainly a home to egos and super-egos, but perhaps less and less a reflection of how each country lives and relaxes. A large percentage of people today spend more time on the internet than they do watching television, and with video on demand or replayed programmes available on the internet after their scheduled slots, fewer and fewer people are watching the same shows at set times.The principal victim of the digital era though is the old-fashioned television set. With digital signals, the receptor can take any form, right down to a hand-held telephone terminal. The box in this street corner has had its chips. Rejected and thrown out of a warm home, it was too cumbersome and took up too much space in a streamlined world. Final insult, it has been cut open, its guts spilling out across the pavement.
A wounded beast, this creature still has its antennae on its shell. Evolution will soon render these useless, leaving this dinosaur alone to a future of fossilisation. The steering coils were merely mortal, the cathode ray tube gunned into surrender. The life-support wires are still plugged in, but the electrons are negative and frequencies getting lower.Digital television is the brave new world, but is the medium also writing its own testament? Today I get most of my information through the internet, but when I arrived in France in the 1990s, I learned the language and a lot about the country by watching television. The first things I learned were that French television was not good, and that apparently nothing at all happened outside Paris. Almost every programme lasted for a minimum of two hours, and was either stuffy, serious highbrow or desperate, inane lowbrow. Nothing was middlebrow, very little entertained, but it still helped me to improve my French. Today, my television is still a large box in the corner, but I'm not sure I'll bother upgrading.