Friday, August 13, 2010

Digital TV = Fingernail-curling frustration

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A SUBSTANTIAL mood of frustration is seething behind the doors of many Australian households.Again we can blame the digital age but this time the cause is neither the home computer nor the internet connection. The internet hook-up gauntlet seems surprisingly to be leaving fewer bruises on confidence with technology as 'techno-time' has continued its forward march with refinements. But just as one set of fingernail-curling circumstances subsides, another has emerged. And the level of mass annoyance was immediately evident when this writer visited to find a synonym for this article.

AT the top of the list of the sponsor notices on the 'frustration' page was, the Federal Government site explaining the changeover to digital television. This association undoubedtly proves that reception problems are widespread.Sudden disruption of the images and loss of sound on digital TVs risks driving the nation crazy. Just how many times can a dad miss seeing his league side cross the try line, a mum miss a judgment on a cooking show or a daughter miss the punchline in her favourite soapie before they call in an expert to track the fault.

'PIXELATION' - in this sense meaning a breakdown in the image - has graduated from the ranks of computer jargon to true 'household status' with a vengeance.The term has also featured in the Classifieds as antenna experts including Birkdale's Tony Woodcock offer to end the frustration for suffering families. Tony and wife Jenny have equipped their firm, Antenna Express Installation, with state-of-the-art test equipment and proudly proclaim: "This business employs or engages antenna installers who have been endorsed under the Australian Government's Antenna Installer Endorsement Scheme."

TONY has been in the antenna trade since he was a Sky installer in New Zealand in the mid-1990s. He came to Australia in 1998 and climbed on roofs around the nation for Foxtel before the couple settled down about six years ago in their Redland City base. Tony has found most digital reception problems, such as pixelation, stem from the use of older antenna systems. "It is very important to have the correct antenna in the correct position on the roof because factors such as trees, the general terrain and the height of the nextdoor house can all have an effect," he says.

A FEW of Tony's clients have been lucky enough to have just a small fault in the wall plug but he says the interference can come from anywhere in the cabling and connection system. In addition, this digital age has a new technical term, 'impulse noise', describing certain types of interference, for instance from the household electrical systems,Tony says the modern 'quad-shielded' coaxial cables have four layers of protection against impulse noise. However, he says the fault tracking requires an individual assessment in each case.

IF you see Tony on the roofs around the Redlands, give him a wave for me.Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

This column has appeared in the Redland Times.

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