The Sharper Image

Rizzoli and Jane is back on TV, supposedly season 2 and 3 playing together. But my TV has gone blank as I did not bother to install a ‘set top box’. I can not say I was not warned… there were several ‘street performance’ ads, a constant banner scrolling on each channel and several such warnings. But the actual motivation to go and get the thing done was never there, nor did anyone come asking if we wanted one installed. 

Frankly, I do not get the concept of a set top box in every house. I was perfectly fine with the normal cable TV, the rare outages and channels going missing as per the whim and fancy of the cable operator. With the box, I’m told that I can select the channels I want to watch and not pay for the ones I don’t want to watch. I’m not particularly sure if this is a deal. We aren’t people used to ‘choosing’ what we want to watch in an organized manner. The only time I was expected to choose a package, I opted for the entire hog… all channels, but you pay a little more. In a normal Indian household, where the mother-in-law wants her teary soaps, the teenage kid wants the sports, music and fashion channels, the serious mommy and daddy want their news channels in all languages, what is really left to choose? And yes, you also have the request for TLC, History and the other science channels from parents who want their children to watch some educational stuff. So how do you choose a certain pack alone? 

More importantly, why do you require to choose?

In what seems to be the biggest lobbying since BOFORS, television magnates managed to score one over the unsuspecting public. And somehow the public does not realise that the government, with this move, has gotten back the control they had over television broadcast like in the times of Doordarshan.

The state-owned channel was compelled to showcase only what the government approved. While private channels might not agree to the same, the government now has more control over what channels to block. 

The reason that was given for this move? “Better visuals, more channels and more revenue for broadcasters.”

Ummm… isn’t the government supposed to be concerned about the people? Or is the concern being shown in the form of ‘you get to watch Katrina Kaif more clearer and sharper’ form? And there isn’t a single newspaper, other than Times of India, that is actually wondering about this process.

It is a sad state of affairs when a government can so brazenly impose such a money-making law and nobody opposes. 

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