This Cable Is Not Their Friend

Our neighbours recently turned 75 and has decided to have a TV for the first time in their lives now they don’t need to pay the TV licence (as those over 75 are exempt in the UK).

Their son bought him a nice Sony TV with freeview built in but they don’t have an outdoor aerial and freeview reception is a bit flakey.

Anyway the son has paid for a full Sky installation (I’d have gone with Freesat but hey it’s their choice). This was all fitted yesterday so he’s got a nice  Sky HD box plugged into the telly.

I got a knock on the door today asking for help. It all worked yesterday but today they can’t get the picture up.

The trouble is, as it turned out,  that the Sky HD box is  connected to their telly with a single HDMI cable which is great for all that high definition picture stuff but not terrifically user friendly for non techie telly users as, unlike scart, HDMI is seldom auto detected. That means that turning the sky box on will not automatically switch the TV to the correct input on their TV. Add an additional connection via a scart cable  and it will switch to the correct input automatically but you lose the full HD picture quality.

In this case I offered to  add a scart cable and explained the somewhat complicated input selection process for HD via HDMI  but they really he didn’t see anything wrong with the scart derived picture or really quite took in what the benefits of HD were.

You’d think a nice shiny new cable technology would have included all that auto sensing / handshaking stuff in its initial specifications to make sure it worked equally across all equipment  but for many people it just doesn’t work unless they’re au fait with toggling on screen menus to arrive at the correct input. It’s all just a bit less user friendly.

Hell, I was never a fan of scart which had it’s problems with how many of the 21 pins were wired up and in what configuration but it was and is clearly more user friendly in operation than HDMI.

Original image by solenoide under this creative commons licence


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