English: mobile screen (AIRSCREEN) Deutsch: mo...This week I bought a new TV. It’s very big.

The decision was a long time in the making.

Do I actually need a TV? I rarely watch live TV and only occasionally record something to watch later. So I could probably live without it. It would be easy enough to watch the occasional programme on iplayer and borrow or buy series on DVD . That way I would get the space back and save on the TV license. The downside would be the ongoing hassle of being plagued by the ghastly Capita for whom the license fee is a form of 21st century Danegeld.

Using services that you haven’t paid for, such as iplayer isn’t just immoral:  if you really value them, it’s also irrational and ultimately self-defeating. These services cost money to run . Personally, I would pay for Radio 4 voluntarily, in the same way that I pay for things like Wikipedia  – such an arrangement might even encourage the old boys club that runs it to take their noses out of the tax trough long enough to recover the organization’s public service ethos.

So, I pay my license to support Radio 4, the World Service (from next year) and the website. And if I’ve paid the license, I might as well have a TV.

BBC Test Card JDo I need a new TV?. Yes and no. The old TV (actually the second one I’ve ever owned and my first colour set) still works perfectly well with the aid of a digi-box and my gut instinct is not to replace something that isn’t broken or in need of repair.

The problem is that it was small to begin with (13″ = 8″ x 8″ viewing area) and the digital format means that the picture is even smaller. Changing tastes involving  a shift to more visually orientated content (more wildlife and less drama) and deteriorating eyesight finally tipped the balance.

The Test Card E 625 Lines test cardGoodness, it was complicated. I’ve had several conversations with someone at PC World about whether a viewing distance of 2.5 to 3  metres meant that the ideal screen size was 39″ or 42″ . Curries (bizarrely, the same company as PC World) say 46″-55″; Which? says 42″; Digital Trends suggests 40″-50″. In the end I plumped for 39″ (on special offer), although I was quite tempted by 32″ . Am currently at the “perhaps I should have opted for  something smaller ” stage, but this may be because I need a period of adjustment

Anyway, the die is cast. It does HD, connects OK to the digi-box (which also has a hard disc (HDD) for recorded programmes and a DVD player). Using the HDD means that you don’t get the advantage of the HD, but it’s good enough. DVD quality seems to be dependent of the quality of the original recording. Haven’t tried it with my VHS yet (yes, I still have tapes – one of the great scandals of our age is the failure of the BBC to digitally remaster Fay Weldon’s unsurpassed dramatization of Pride and Prejudice– although you can now get a transferred-to-DVD copy from that Dutch company).

All I’ve got to do now is get used to it and cancel the “free for the first month” support contract – the one they hope I’ll forget about and carry on paying them five quid a month for from here to eternity. This was a special “managerial discretion” offer – presumably based on the assumption that, being female and middle-aged, I probably don’t understand complex pieces of technology like TV sets.

Bush AC41 valve radioListen honey, most people in my demographic cut their teeth on valve radios wirelesses and are veterans of user guides written by people with the Japanese equivalent of ‘O’ Level English. We do not need dedicated 24-hour help desks – we could run them.

Off to watch Sherlock (my Christmas present).

Image credits:
Open air screen, test cards: Wikipedia;
Radio: Original user guide