Goggle eyed at goggle boxes

I’ve just realised I know nothing whatsoever about TV.

I mean, I know how HD works and what Blu-Ray is, but I’m totally outside the mainstream of British TV viewers. I’ve got a DVD player and a boxy TV set that doesn’t get a viewable signal, both bought around 2003. (Fuzzy TV is a problem known to everybody living near Canary Wharf; that building’s shiny sides play havoc with TV reception, and if I look out of my balcony there’s an edge of 1 Canada Square pointing directly at me.) And that’s all. I’m not even sure if this TV is ready for the big analogue switch-off.

But now I spend around two evenings a week at home, I’m in the market for something that’ll feed my movie hunger. Sky’s leaflet looked quite good, and what’s more their CRM marketing infrastructure seemed sound (unique offer code, a trick often planned but rarely executed well) which gave them points with me. £16.50 plus a free box thing – not bad. But how do I actually choose?

I have no idea what a Sky installation would involve. There’s an existing dish thing stuck to the outside of my house, but I’ve no idea what/where it’s connected; there’s a normal aerial outside too. And what TV should I buy to take advantage of suddenly watchable TV if I went for it?

I know what I want: a 32-inch flatscreen that’ll hang on the wall and free up some floorspace in my miniscule London living room. I want the speakers or whatever built in (I’m not an audio buff) and the Sky box or whatever built in too if possible. Also, it needs to have a grenade launcher. (OK, I lied about the grenade launcher.) But the number of options for a subscription is so confusing I’m just not going to bother; it’s like mobile calling plans when they first came out.

I mean, HD or not HD? Sky or Freeview? And what ‘packs’ of channel options? I like news stuff and documentaries, so that’s an extra few quid already; movies are surprisingly pricey too. I’m not paying £26 a month for a few films on top of a £16.50 subscription. And my mews doesn’t have cable, so there’s no decent internet option I can take up. I don’t have a landline (no point) so getting anything above normal TV services would mean another £25 or so each month. And pretty soon I’m looking at a hundred quid a month. This value equation isn’t delivering for me.

Oh well. This boxy TV is good for a few years’ DVD-watching yet, even if it does take up a precious square metre of floorspace…

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