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All posts by MikeB

Below are all of MikeB's postings, with the most recent are at the bottom of the page.

Nicholas Anderson: The BBC was given an impossible situation. Indeed, it was engineered to be one, right from the start.

Gordon Browne gave over 75s free TV licences, and paid the BBC for them. Osbourne basically said 'I want to be generous to a demographic that tends to vote, and vote Tory, at that, but dont want to pay for it'. Basically, he promised a free round of drinks in a pub, but then made sure that the pub had to pay for it.

That cost was a dagger at the heart of the BBC - its a huge sum, especially since many of that age group can easily pay for it themselves. Whats depressing is that not only the print media, but even C4 and the BBC itself fell into the same line of questioning.

They should be taking the government to task, not the BBC. Whatever the BBC does, it will get damaged. Which was almost certainly the point in the first place.

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Dorothy Wilson: Which products do they advertise? That book based on the series Gentleman Jack? Dr Who DVDs? The BBC doesnt advertise, although it sensibly does tell you about its upcoming programmes and other services, such as Iplayer and BBC Sounds.

If you search this website, you will find a full range of articles Brian did about 3 years ago about the BBC and its costs, and the efficiency of the licence fee, subscribing, etc. The bottom line was simple - its much cheaper, universal, and doesnt lead to the collapse of commercial TV. And in theory, its out of the grubby reach of the government of the day.

If you want to complain about the decision the BBC has had to make, blame the government.

Firstly, you can blame them for putting a gun to the head of the BBC during the last charter settlement to pay for something that the taxpayer had been funding. Its as if George Osborne had gone into a pub, shouted that he was buying a round of drinks for everyone in the place, and as soon as the drinks were poured, left, saying he didnt have any cash. He looked great, but someone had to pick up the tab.

And blame the government for the state of UK pensions. Although there is a certain amount of cynicism about heat allowances etc are often shielded from cuts due to the fact that pensioners generally vote far more than their grandchildren, and 60% of them Tory, the reality is that pensions are far lower as a percentage of earnings than most other developed countries.…rld/

The UK is probably more generous than might first appear with other states in Europe, Do pensioners in the rest of the EU get more cash than the elderly in the UK? - Full Fact , but the pension in countries like the Netherlands is higher overall.

My dad can certainly afford his TV licence, but not all can, and there is provision for that in the BBCs plans. But it was pretty much designed to bankrupt the BBC, and they had to do something.

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StevensOnln1: Realistically, you cannot buy a TV that isnt smart these days - consumers expect (and manufacturers assume) that a TV will be smart. That means Iplayer, C5, likely C4, and possibly ITV Hub (always relatively problematic), plus Netflix and Amazon Prime (mostly) and You Tube, plus other services. Wifi will also be standard.

In fact, if a TV doesnt have at least those services, its likely not a very good TV.

Blu Ray players, PVR's etc will also generally be smart as well, and of course things like Chromecast /Amazon Firestick or games machines can be used to make an existing TV smart as well.

They are great to use catchup or access extra services.

And its via a smart TV that you are going to get 4K services (and 8K), at least for the meantime, unless you have Sky Q or Virgin - no chance of broadcast on terrestial, as you rightly point out.

Of course, I do get customers asking, even now, if TV's have freeview built in!

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StevensOnln1: You did the right thing, but even if you just wanted a basic 24/32in Tv for the bedroom, they will generally have wifi and basic catchup. Its just more cost effective in terms of economies of scale.

And they are probably paying less in real terms for the TV etc, even if it does now come with wifi, etc (and an HD tuner). About 11 years ago, an HD Ready 32in Samsung with Freeview was about ?450, and that was for a 50hz screen. Solidly decent, but not top of the range.
Until about a month ago, I could get you an entry level (but decent for the money) 4K LG 55in, with wifi, smart, etc. for ?499.

A lot of my customers have no idea about smart stuff. Thats OK - they are buying a TV, and if they dont want to use all those functions, thats up to them. As long as it works well for them, has a decent picture and is the right size, everything is fine.

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mikesey: Why is it nonsense? The article is perfectly reasonable, factual, and it could have appeared in many other publications.

The BBC was forced by the Government to pay for something that the government up to then had paid for itself. That money has to come from somewhere, and if the BBC licencepayer has to cover the cost of a freebie to every single 75 year old plus (which includes my father), something has to give.

The BBC paying for this is essentially cutting 20% of its budget. Thats 20% less to spend on stuff, and even worse, the number of 75s will only increase over time, leading to ever higher costs.

If the government wants to make all 75s pay for their licence fee (in exactly the same way they have to pay for their broadband), then they should say so. If they want to pay for it, again, thats up to them. But putting a gun to the BBCs head and make them pay for something not in their gift - thats extortion.

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david faulkner: That is really strange - Panasonics have really sensitive tuners (if anything too good, hence the 95-100% strength).

A couple of things do occur.

Your only 20 miles from Talcneston, but that area is a pain for reception, hence the lite transmitters. I dont know if the lites carry 107 on HD (I am in north cambridgeshire, and my parents in law on the coast get their main signal from Belmont), but if they dont and you have accidently locked onto one, that might explain it. But if you are getting the full range, then its not that.

Might be worth doing a system upgrade - just to make sure the software is up to date. It cant do any harm.

Other than that, I am at a loss. Its a lovely TV, and should be fine. If you have a sat dish attached to it, then that should pick it up anyway and your other equipment already does, but all the same, its a bit odd!

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Ian Haddow: 95% is far too high a strength - search for 'too much of a good thing' on this site and the page will give you ideas on how to cure it.

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Stafford: There is no reason why the power should have been reduced, but there is a high likelihood that your aerial system has a fault, and therefore its there that you should start to look for the problem.

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Wednesday 1 April 2020 6:09PM

Agreed - the BBC has been pulling its punches for a long time. C4 covers stuff that the BBC just does not mention (I am watching it right now, and will be surprised if the BBC 10 O'Clock News covers the crisis in the same way) . The same happened with Brexit, with a 'bothsideism' that didnt help save it from the Daily Mail, but also drove the rest of us nuts.

The likes of Kunseburg are more interested in photo ops, drama and off the record briefings from 'senior sources', generally repeated without context or examination. They also seem to adopt government language - 'Nightingale Hospitals' sounds great, but ultimately they are not really hospitals. And not a lot about lack of PPE, testing, time wasted or the poor followup to the exercise undergone in 2016.

But the problem is thats not unsolvable, and the rest of the BBC does great work. The government is doing that classic thing that conservatives in the US found effective - scream of bias and then 'starve the beast' - cutting off as much funding as possible, put more an more pressure on it, and pushing it to collapse.

And sadly, a lot more people, often former allies, will happily cheer them on. Dr Ann Fry tweeted about the 'Contagion' experiment they did for the BBC (its excellent and on Iplayer, btw) - and how it was due to the BBC's commitment to science it got made in the first place. As she said, you'll miss it when its gone.

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