So, long-term readers here will know that I have frequently growled about Freeview after some disastrous experiments with it and complaints from neighbours that they too struggled to get it to work. If you visit MediumRob with any regularity, you'll have heard me moan in the comments boxes there possibly even MORE often.
Anyway, last week decided to give it another try.
We set up the box and with some trepidation scanned for the channels (bear in mind please that the tests you are advised to do via teletext ALL came up blooming fine).
What did we find?
Channels whose sound/picture synchonisation made the dubbing of spaghetti westerns (e.g. Django*) look like they had been made with on-site sound by the actual performing actors, that made one weep in desperation for the children's TV classics of our youth such as Heidi and The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, that made Anime material seem perfectly aligned with (US) English phrasing...
In short, it was enough to make me want to pull my eyes out. With the sight of Stuart Maconie's mouth moving a couple of seconds out of sync with his words, this wasn't a slight slippage: this was a full blown Duelling Cavalier moment - "yes, yes, yes!" "no, no, no!"
Like poor quality sound recordings [something causing me especial grief with the Rullsenberg construction of home compilations] and the wrong aspect ratio on film/tv broadcasts and DVDs, out of sync sound makes me feel like someone is drilling my teeth whilst dragging nails down a blackboard.
It wasn't a good night.
Last night we tried again. This time the sound was largely okay - so we can now watch BBC4 and More4. Great.
Except I discovered in searching the channels the chance to see Last of the Time Lords again on BBC3 (call me crazy for wanting to watch it but, you know, its Who!).
... what did we find?
Out of sync sound?
NO, much 'better' than that.
This time it was full-on pixelating picture, crackling sound (I think I heard two halves of two sentences of dialogue from the whole ep) and frequent complete breakdown in image.
Five US is the same.
Pants: the two channels I may occasionally want to watch for indulgence (Who on BBC3 and all those Five imports I love on FiveUS) and neither work AT ALL.
We're going to get a new TV aeriel it is now decided for sure.
In the meantime we have Freeview, but not as most people would know it.
* I am tempted to defend Django for being such rollicking OTT bonkersness despite it's truly awful tone...