Digital Television is Not Better Than Analog

For the past several years we have been beaten over the head over and over again by pundits touting the advantages of digital this and digital that over their analog counterparts. While digital does have it’s advantages, specifically that it is possible to ensure a complete and accurate reproduction, it does—at least currently—have it’s disadvantages as well. As anyone who views videos on their computer knows, a small bit of corruption in a video file can not only ruin the whole video, but in fact bring the whole system to a halt, effectively crashing it. Broadcast television is no different.

In the old days of analog, if there was a problem with a video like a crumpled tape or interference, the effect would be that there would be some momentary static or lines on the video or some distortion of sound. In many cases small corruptions would produce nonoticeablele effect at all.

Today, digital television brings us high definition but it also brings us nasty corruption effects. With digital broadcasting, if there is even a small bit of corruption in the signal, on the media, or interference, then the video will break up into many little blocks, the sound will completely cut out or turn into awful horrible noises, and the whole thing will freeze. This is due to the way video files are processed by most video playback software.

Sometimes as in this case progress goes takes a backward detour.

Blockbuster No Late Fees

Blockbuster has a series of commercials advertising their no-late-fee policy. All of them are thoroughly stupid but one in particular is mind-numbingly moronic. It features a young woman who says that she keeps having to return movies before she has a chance to watch them. She goes on to say that she has rented one movie three times and still has not seen it. She caps it by asking “that’s the point to renting isn’t it?” This is supposed to be a good reason for their policy but only highlights the advertising agency’s—and ultimately Blockbuster’s—stupidity. What kind of person rents a movie when they do not have time to watch it? Normal people rent movies on weekends, holidays, days off, and so on. They rent movies when they know they have enough time to watch the bloody thing. She would not need to keep the movies longer if she stopped renting when she’s busy.

The only ones dumber than the advertising agents who came up with the spot are the Blockbuster executives who approved it.