Monday, 25 October 2021
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

Does anyone under the age of 25 actually watch TV?

Written by  Nov 22, 2020

Hello, hello, are you receiving me? Croatia went dark last week, or really snowy, as thousands of people woke up to find that their TV’s had stopped broadcasting. Shock and horror! I can only imagine the screaming and shouting that was going on inside homes as grannies up and down the country tuned into their fav soap only to be greeted with a blizzard.

Yes, Digital Video Broadcasting — Second Generation Terrestrial, or DVB-T2, finally came to Croatia and it caused mayhem. Now firstly Croatia was slightly behind the curve as far as launching this new version of TV is concerned. Are you surprised? Afghanistan started using this technology in 2015. So better late than never.

This new system is supposed to make our programs better quality, or high-definition, but considering most people under the age of 30 don’t watch terrestrial TV anyway it could well be pointless in a few years’ time.

In spite of adverts and announcements for months leading up to change over it still took a lot of people by surprise, including my mother-in-law (but more about here later). “We could have paid our rent just by selling receivers,” said the salesperson in Pevex. I had decided to upgrade the TV in my bedroom and avoid the receiver issue. My old TV was so small I could hardly see it anyway; it was more like a radio with some vague moving colours.

And he was right. In the ten minutes that I spoke to him at least five people came up and asked “Have you got any receivers left,” and all with a look of hope. One lady even put her hands together in a praying motion. I guess she was hoping that God watched HRT1 and would feel sorry for her. “Why don’t you just get a “No Receivers Here” T-shirt and point to it when people ask you,” I joked.

People sent me photos of other shops with lines of shoppers waiting outside hoping to be one of the lucky ones. I was even standing in front of a Tisak kiosk when a car stopped in the middle of the road and the driver shouted to me “Please ask her if they have any left.” Receivers were like unicorns! 

The receiver pandemic touched close to home. “We’ve bought a receiver and if we can’t fix it I’m going to call you,” said my mother-in-law. I heard nothing. I presumed that she had managed. “Yes. It is working, although the picture quality doesn’t seem any better,” she answered after a few days. “Do you have any extra programs?” I asked. “No, everything looks the same as before,” she said. And added that spending 250 Kunas was a waste of money.

She has actually pulled some strings to get a receiver before ahead of the queue. And then a couple of days later I went to visit her. “Here is my new TV and super picture,” she said proudly pointing at the TV. Something was strange. “How are you watching TV then,” I asked and not without reason. “Through the 250 Kuna receiver,” came the answer. The receiver was indeed connected to the TV.

It was actually positioned under a plant pot. Possibly raising the plant enough so that she could see the flowers. I grabbed the TV’s remote and flicked through the channels. “So where is the remote for the receiver?” I asked. “I don’t know, somewhere,” she replied. The plant pot holder (or receiver) had a little red light, meaning off. I unplugged the receiver from the wall. Yes, thousands of people couldn’t watch TV because they didn’t have a receiver, and my mother-in-law had a receiver but didn’t even need one.

A few swear words, including dogs and aunt’s vaginas, filled the room. “I just spent 250 Kunas on a plant pot stand,” she said. Well, yes she had. But it did have a nice little red light on the front. “I’m going to sell this to someone,” she was determined to get rid of the black box. I wanted to say “And will you advertise it on eBay as a digital TV receiver or as a plant holder?” Instead I said “Well at least you can say it’s never been used.”


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