Adios Analogue TV

Apr 06, 2012 No Comments by

So, that’s pretty much it; analogue TV is dead, long live digital TV.  If anyone out there who has the wherewithal to buy a new TV is still clinging to their old cathode ray tube (CRT) monstrosity out of some codgerish nostalgic whimsy, please stop it.  Throw it away. There might be another post somewhere else on this site that suggests you could just buy a cheap Freeview digital tuner and plug that into your Logie Baird Snazz-o-rama but unless it’s something like a Bang & Olufsen and so has significant design cred, just take it to the nearest tip and bid it good riddance.

We know, this doesn’t seem very Fogey-ish but the whole point of Tech Fogey is to point up the good stuff while saving you from wasting your time and sanity on the dross.  And there has never been a better time to buy a new TV.  They are sooooo cheap and sooooo much better than they used to be.  In the early 90s TF paid over £750 for a 32” Samsung CRT TV.  Geoff Capes would have struggled to lift it.  It still works (in its new home) but that same money today would buy us a 50” flat-screen Full HD plasma TV with cash left over for a Blu-ray player and a batch of discs.  And there is no comparison. The pin-sharp high definition vividness of a movie on Blu-ray disc is a joy.  Hook this lot up to a surround sound system and your living room becomes a mini-Odeon without all the crap – jabbering oafs, painful seats, crushingly expensive snacks, that makes actual cinema-going so wretched.

But since we appreciate you’re not easily persuaded here are some nudge factors:


Is it stating the bleedin’ obvious to say that any TV picture is made up of thousands of tiny dots known as pixels?  The pixels are arranged in lines; top to bottom of the screen and side to side.  More lines/pixels = a clearer picture.  It’s the same with megapixels and digital cameras.  More megapixels = more information = better, clearer pictures.

Old TVs and HD

The new logo that signifies Full HD 1080p

A typical CRT TV will have 576 horizontal lines.  An ‘HD Ready’ TV can display at 720  horizontal lines.  A ‘Full HD’ set can display 1080 horizontal lines.  The ‘i’ and ‘p’ which appear after 720 or 1080 stand for interlaced and progressive and relate to how the TV scans the images.  All you need to know is that ‘p’ is better.  1080p is Full HD, 1080i is not.  Sky broadcast its HD at 1080i.  Just to confuse the issue, the bureaucrats who legislate such details have now changed the HD certification logos.  Previously ‘HD Ready’ meant 720p; now there is a new logo: HD Ready 1080p, which is the same as Full HD.  The previous HD Ready (ie 720p) logo has now been replaced with one that just says HD TV.  Confusing bollocks.

Which screen technology: plasma or LCD?

Some in the geek fraternity have decided that plasma screens aren’t as good as LCD screens for a few utterly trivial non-reasons.  This nonsense was bad for people who made plasma screens but is wonderful for you, the consumer, because it means they’re often cheaper than the LCD equivalent.  There is a new screen technology called OLED (organic light emitting diode) but it’s expensive so wait until it gets cheaper.  3D is becoming less expensive as manufacturers become ever more desperate to flog us this ridiculous technology but please try and ignore it.  If we all do, 3D will go away.  Hopefully for good.  There are some great deals to be had at  Just click here and check out what’s on offer.  Go for a brand you know such as Sony, Samsung, LG, Toshiba, Panasonic or Sharp.  Philips have stopped making TVs but those that are still out there are very good.

Freeview HD

If you don’t want to go down the Sky/Virgin subscription route get Freeview HD.  A man in overalls will have to come to your house to fit a fancy new aerial but at least you’ll then have some HD to watch on your new, HD TV.  There are still hundreds of thousands of people with HD TVs but no HD content to watch, which is daft.

Recording stuff

If you get a TV that has Freeview HD built in that doesn’t mean you will be able to record programmes – the TV just has a digital tuner inside, not a hard disc for making recordings.  There are so-called set top boxes (which, given the thinness of flat screen TVs go anywhere but) that have digital HD tuners inside and allow you to record programmes onto a hard disc.  The Humax Foxsat HDR is the box to have.  There are three variants with 320GB, 500GB and 1TB hard drives that cost around £200, £250 and £280 respectively.  Aerial installation costs vary depending on the logistic of your property but shouldn’t be more than £150.

So the advice here is to buy:

Full HD TV without an HD tuner inside.  Get a decent size set.  42” or thereabouts.

Blu-ray disc player. There are some good machines in the Fogey 5.  They all also play standard definition DVDs and will ‘upscale’ them so they appear sort-of HD-ish.

Humax Foxsat HDR tuner/recorder


That’s all you’ll need.  Enjoy.