Ally Pally with Freeview

by royalpavilion

This is the National Media Museum's set

A Marconiphone Model 702 from 1936. This is the National Media Museum's set

The BBC News website has a story today (21 July) about a 1936 Marconiphone television receiver being used to receive digital television channels via a Freeview box. The set apparently turned up as a result of a competition run by  Digital UK, the organisation co-ordinating the switch to digital television. The story is to support Digital UK’s contention that ‘just about any television, however old, can be used to show digital channels’ (BBC website quote).

What a great way to get that message across! No sooner do we get used to the idea that you don’t need to have an HD-ready flat-screen set with integral digital tuner (although it helps), than the news comes out that all you need is a pre-war set working on the 405-line Marconi-EMI standard and a Freeview box. Oh, and perhaps a 625-to-405-line standards converter with time-base correction and preferably a gizmo to strip out the chrominance. (Not sure where you can buy those. They don’t have them in Comet.)

Of course, there is a risk in showing an antiques-collecting electrical engineer*  watching Freeview channels on his old Marconiphone with all the sophisticated gubbins necessary to make it happen. The message that really comes across is that watching digital channels is not the simple plug-and-play operation that it is meant to be.

This could set television back 70 years! (or do I mean a television set from 70 years back?)

*aka nerd to the television viewing public still resistant to digital