back to article The revolution will not be televised because my television has been radicalised

My television is trying to radicalise me with an endless stream of recommendations to watch videos from a mainstream media outlet that deliberately inhabits the outer reaches of the political opinion spectrum. Its content are just not my cup of tea. I find them errant, offensive, braying, thoughtless and, well, just stupid. I …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I no longer rely on BBC News ...

    ... after they set up a specialist Disinformation department.

    1. TheProf Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: I no longer rely on BBC News ...

      “Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.”

      HJS

    2. idiottaxpayerhere previously ishtiaq/theghostdeejay

      Re: I no longer rely on BBC News ...

      @A/C

      And it seems to have worked. The Specialist Disinformation unit has disinformed you that the Beeb has set up a "Specialist Disinformation Unit".

      Cheers… Ishy

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I no longer rely on BBC News ...

      The Beeb have *always* had the reliability of a clock that runs at half speed. They get it right once a day.

  2. revenant

    A bit late, I think

    While i agree with most of the author's sentiments, I find it odd that he is complaining now. This polarizing/radicalizing effect has been with us for a long time and is only getting worse.

    The problem is illustrated in this sentence:

    Given that we increasingly rely on our algorithms to feed or attention with things that we need to know,

    I don't think the solution is to seek to control the algorithms - that is a non-starter. You are there to consume, not give orders. And do you really want an algorithm or faceless corp to know you that well?

    Better to do it the old-fashioned way: have a list of sources that you trust and manually peruse them.

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      The algorithms

      The algorithms actually work very well, they're just not for the purpose you assume. The purpose is to maximise network profits. As these primarily come from advertising, maximisation involves pumping out the most sensational material to the largest public, so the accompanying ads pass the eyeballs of the largest number of punters. Pretty much all other considerations are irrelevant unless the network may get sued or prosecuted.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: The algorithms

        The phrase 'bread and circuses' springs to mind...

        1. stiine Silver badge

          Re: Bread and Circuses

          Mr. Barnes, you are, unfortunately, correct.

      2. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: The algorithms

        They're not algorithms.

        Algorithms are deterministic, reproducible processes that transform inputs into outputs.

        What we're dealing with here is AI, which is very different. In this case, it even works the other way round - you start with the desired outcome (more people click through and invite their friends to do the same) and then select the inputs best suited to provide it. And the AI isn't working out what aspect of the input is most likely to make us click through, our brains process that information, the AI is simply able to predict our proclivities: it has no understanding of what those proclivities might be and it can't be "controlled" for the reason that it's simply detecting and amplifying our own intrinsic flaws.

        There have always been gatekeepers to information and it's tempting to see social media as a means of bypassing the gatekeepers and allowing the "voice of the people" to be heard. However, as soon as you start promoting one lot of content over another lot of content (whether it's "trending" or "people who liked this will like that") you inevitably become an information gatekeeper because you are influencing the information that people choose to receive - or are able to receive, or are permitted to receive and you inevitably influence the message.

        I don't think we can do much about the human tendency to prefer a plausible, coherent narrative to inconvenient and messy facts. However, we can accept that Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, et al, are as much information gatekeepers as "traditional" broadcasters and print media and they're going to have to be held accountable for what they publish in the same way. Society is simply not going to be possible if there is a widespread rejection of the search for objective fact being a desirable (if imperfectly achievable) goal.

        1. _andrew
          Meh

          Re: The algorithms

          The term "AI", as used here is a bit grandiose, IMO. There's no "inteligence" involved. It's just an optimization process. A control system, if you will, but instead of an air conditioner being controlled, it's people. So it's a big, complicated control system, but it's just an optimization process. The trick with optimization processes is always around the definition of the goal.

          Recent work on human intelligence has suggested that the ability to tell stories that aren't about immediately tangible things is the defining characteristic of Homo Sapiens, and is what separates us from the Neanderthals and Denisovans. It's how we create religion and motivate notions of tribal identity. We have a definite predisposition to create "explanations" for the things that happen, even the ones that "just happen". A bug in the wetware, perhaps.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A bit late, I think

      > Better to do it the old-fashioned way

      The old fashioned way, or at least the way I was taught in school was based on knowing what to look for (the five Ws), telling apart fact and opinion, speculation or lies, and always asking yourself "why are they telling the story in this or that particular way?" And for important stuff, have always at least two independent, contrasting sources.

  3. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    BBC

    Yet another unsubstantiated comment against the BBC by a whining coward. Why do you waste your breath? Are the BBC perfect? No. Are they WAY less biased than almost any other TV news source available? Yes. Would I trust them over Sky (Faux) News on ANY SUBJECT? Yes. Do I check by viewing various other news sources? Yes. Do I let my personal politics and point of view skew my opinion of a news service? No, the ONLY deciding factor is accuracy. The one thing I like the most about the BBC is that both right and left wingers whinge about it being biased against them in equal measure. I can't think of a better definition of unbiased than that.

    1. _LC_ Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: BBC

      *lol* the BBC has been caught pushing the dullest of propaganda repeatedly. If you didn't notice a change in the past years, you might as well wear a cross to protect you from evil.

      1. anonanonanonanonanon

        Re: BBC

        What sort? Care to give an example?

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: BBC

          What sort? Care to give an example?

          Any current Obama story. He has a new book & puppet show to promote. Or perhaps this story-

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-54716550

          Trump's legal battles: How six cases may play out

          Yey! A handy summary of the ongoing pre-certification legal bunfight in THAT recent election.. Or not-

          As president of the United States, Donald Trump enjoyed unique protection from legal action, be it criminal or civil.

          Now, after losing the 2020 presidential election, Mr Trump will soon become a private citizen again.

          Ohnoes! Sharpen those axes! Sue (Grabbit, and Run)! So a bunch of speculation instead about what might happen should the other legal challenges not pan out. Which is perhaps more interesting and indicative of bias, given the current line that the election fraud allegations are all a big nothingburger and there's no evidence. So-

          Put simply, a second criminal investigation into the payments is still under way in New York.

          We know that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is examining whether the Trump Organization falsified business records related to the payoffs.

          What we don't know is whether Mr Vance has any evidence to file criminal charges. That matters.

          So no evidence, just speculation about a crime that might be a misdemeanor. Some of the other allegations are more serious, and deserve investigation, but also old news. And possibly Russian disinformation. Like allegations into the Bidens based on what may or may not have been uncovered on a laptop. Plus there's a strange mirroring of allegations against Trump and Biden. Both accused of sex offences, both accused of shady business deals & tax strategies. Such is politics, but I guess in the US there are additional complications.. Like politically appointed DAs investigating tax affairs, when in the UK, that's a matter for HMRC.

          There's also the issue that companies have their own corpses, or legal entities, so presumably wouldn't be shielded from Presidential protections. So IRS could (and has) been auditing Trump Inc, but charges might be laid against it's executives, one of which is currently protected. Article also mentions some allegations may end up being statute barred, so perhaps it's a good idea to stop the clock on those whilst the accused is President.. But a rather extreme way to try and avoid being charged.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BBC

          BBC Panorama programs on PPE etc at start of pandemic had large number of "NHS doctors and nurses" making statements criticising the Government management - almost all the people used were Union or Labour party activists including some who had been Parliamentary candidates.

          BBC news programs getting opinions on from a GP who was, until losing his seat in last years election, a Labour MP without any indication of this potential for bias.

          Our local BBC news program regularly featuring a local doctor as their "Covid Expert" who has been asked at times to comment on Government policy - he was pretty critical of the Government - had the BBC explained he is also a LibDem councillor then his opinions might be better put into context.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: BBC

            Our local BBC news program regularly featuring a local doctor as their "Covid Expert" who has been asked at times to comment on Government policy - he was pretty critical of the Government - had the BBC explained he is also a LibDem councillor then his opinions might be better put into context.

            If he'e being asked for his medical opinion, not his political opinion, it doesn't matter, does it? It's pretty obvious that the government hasn't been following the SAGE advice, which comes from actual doctors and scientists, so if the opinion of a doctor is critical of the government, it's hardly going to be either surprising, or biased.

            Then again, there has been more than one instance of questions from the Question Time audience coming from "Joe Publics" who have later been revealed to be Tory councillors. Almost systematically so. Asking political questions. This is known as "astroturfing", i.e. pretending to be "grass roots" whilst actually being part of a larger political movement, for the purposes of skewing the perception of public opinion. That's very definitely bias.

          2. Glen 1 Silver badge

            Re: BBC

            Yep bias *is* a problem - like the question time eps with "more [Tory] plants than a garden Centre" - or how many times Farage got on there having never been an UK MP (even now)

            Don't get me wrong, we do need greater transparency about these things, however you are viewing things through extremely blinkered/tinted glasses if you believe this only goes one way.

            That said, someone holding an informed opinion might well affiliate themselves with (or against) a particular political party *because* of that opinion. That is fundamentally different from the bullshit identity politics you seem to be implying.

            Finding out people in caring professions might lean away from the Tories should not be a revelation.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BBC

          I actually do. It was back in 2003 or thereabouts and there had been a bomb attack in Madrid, just days before national elections. The Spanish government knew that if that was in anyway linked to their enthusiastic support for the Iraq invasion (this was back in Bliar's day) they were toast, as their move to support the Americans in going to war had been very badly received by the population.

          So they did what the right always do: they lied. They blamed Basque militant group ETA for an attack which claimed in the order of two hundred dead. They forbid the police to make any arrests or investigate any line that did not point out to ETA.

          I have to point out, I was in the Middle East at the time and our intelligence briefing came that morning with exact details of the event, including the identity and allegiance of the perpetrators (Moroccan militants linked to what was then known as Al Qaeda).

          That evening, I was watching satellite television. By mid-afternoon, Spanish police had had enough and leaked details of the actual authorship to the press. ETA had already denied any involvement whatsoever. People were demonstrating in the centre of Madrid, demanding the government's resignation. But the Spanish state-controlled broadcaster insisted on blaming ETA and censoring the demonstrations.

          CNN were broadcasting the demonstrations live, reporter on scene.

          BBC? Repeating word for word the Spanish government's line. No word of any demonstrations either, let alone images.

          That was when I started to think that there was something seriously wrong with the Beeb. Not long afterwards I personally experienced two events (my luck!) that made front page news around the globe and which the BBC, utterly, uniquely and thoroughly incompetently misrepresented. To make it worse, another related event of which I had fairly direct knowledge but I didn't witness, involved one of their own reporters. Top bloke and very knowledgeable, weeks later he was interviewed, on the Beeb, and the way he was treated by one of his own colleagues (a presenter, you couldn't call her a journalist) was so despicable that I never watched that heinous piece of wank ever again.

          So, not to sympathise in any way with that idiot trolling the comments to whom you are replying, but since you asked I wanted to give you an example.

      2. Tony W

        Re: BBC

        We should all revise what we expect from the BBC. Think about how you yourself would run it to keep the broad support it needs to keep going. In practice the only way to do this is to keep a broad balance between the main political parties. That is something well worth preserving as no other media outlet needs to do this. But it also has severe limitations, because the truth, even in broad terms, is never balanced.

        Most people with an interest in politics think the BBC is biased one way or the other to some degree but still trust it not to tell significant lies. Once the majority stops trusting the BBC in this way, it is finished.

        But the best you can expect is that the BBC does not broadcast actual falsehoods. Usually, on the basis of fact-checking organisations, I think it clears this rather low bar.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: BBC

          no other media outlet needs to do this

          Not strictly true - or at least, I believe it not to be, yet. Print media is different but broadcast media has always had a legal requirement to be "balanced", so much so that at election time there is a formula regarding how much air time each party is allowed. When I worked in local commercial radio we essentially had people with stopwatches timing everything and totting it up to make sure we stuck to the formula. It's based on the amount of support they had in previous elections so there's a bit of chicken-and-egg going on, but the principle is sound.

          It works (or used to work) reasonably well, and is the reason that in some elections even the disappearingly small parties such as the Monster Raving Loonies are invited onto discussion programmes and have their manifesto launches covered in news bulletins. Something similar is applied to Party Election Broadcasts so even the small parties get to make one or more Party Election Broadcasts.

          Note to non-UK readers, commercial broadcast advertising by political parties is banned in the UK, and there are strict rules about party funding too*, though as always there are loopholes.

          M.

          *Every time there's a presidential election in the US, I wonder if they'd benefit from rules similar to ours governing funding, advertising and the length of the actual "campaign" part of the election. It seems to mean that the barriers to small parties entering local and national elections in the UK are significantly lower than in the US (particularly the funding). I have no experience, but I believe similar, possibly better, rules are in place in other countries too.

          Imagine if there was a truly national third or fourth candidate in US presidential elections, backed by a truly national third or fourth political party...

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: BBC

            Imagine if there was a truly national third or fourth candidate in US presidential elections, backed by a truly national third or fourth political party...

            Heresy! It's un-democratic, un-American and would probably be a policy that unites red & blue in opposition. But kinda bin dun, ie the rise & fall of the 'Tea Party'. Or the occasional US Green. The MSM would probably also object because currently every couple of years, they can expect a huge slab of dosh from the two parties to make up for the loss of normal ad revenue due to online stuff.

            But if those objections could be overcome, then it's probably a good idea. As for the media, half the problem is figuring out bias. If there's a plurality of news, sufficiently savvy people can form their own opinions. So in the UK, Grauniad's on the left, Daily Mail on the right, and BBC sorta left of centre. Although that can depend on the consumer's own political persuasion, ie the further you drift to the extreme left, the more right-wing centrist stuff is going to seem.

            But technology can save us! We're slowly being conditioned to access information via our thumbs. So run stories as neutral, and containing just the facts (hahaha<cough>). Then simply swipe left or right for a different perspective*. Job done! Other than of course having to hire journalists from across the spectrum who are capable of recognising any of their own biases.

            *Hacking this and flipping controls could have the potential for providing the best entertainment the BBC has provided in the last decade..

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: BBC

            > Imagine if there was a truly national third or fourth candidate in US presidential elections, backed by a truly national third or fourth political party

            I will resist the base temptation to make any sarcastic comments about certain people having the intellectual capacity to choose between three or more options.

        2. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: BBC

          @Tony W

          "But the best you can expect is that the BBC does not broadcast actual falsehoods. Usually, on the basis of fact-checking organisations, I think it clears this rather low bar."

          Unfortunately it has been caught out a few times not clearing this bar.

    2. Little Mouse

      Re: BBC

      BBC is my first port of call for news, but you definitely need to keep an open mind with stories concerning:

      War (If we're in the middle of one)

      National emergency (ditto - Covid)

      News stories that are just a thinly-veiled advert for a documentary that's on later this evening.

      Climate change (Back when the politics seemed to matter more than the science, anyway.)

      1. Frederic Bloggs

        Re: BBC

        You forgot "animal rights".

    3. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: BBC

      It's interesting that you interpreted an article discussing television bias without naming a source, channel or company, as a critique of the BBC.

      Do the BBC even broadcast in Australia?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: BBC

        I think the OP tells us more about BigBoomer than it does about the Beeb, Australia or, indeed, the article.

        1. Big_Boomer Silver badge

          Re: BBC

          Perhaps you could try reading a few comments up from mine where an Anonymous Coward comments on the BBC Disinformation dept ? Or it that not relevant enough for you?

    4. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: BBC

      The one thing I like the most about the BBC is that both right and left wingers whinge about it being biased against them in equal measure

      Whilst this is undoubtedly true, you should pay some attention to what the right and left are complaining about, and where that bias is. You will quickly see that certain portions of the political output (such as, infamously QT) bias very far to the right. Just count the number of times Nigel Farage and his far right cronies have been on that program, compared to any balancing far-left politician (hint: there aren't many actually on the far left, it's just that some in this country like to portray the centre-left as Marxists). Bear in mind, also, that the news output is always going to be biased somewhat towards the party in power, simply because that party holds the purse-strings. The BBC is terrified of losing the licence fee, and there are elements in the current government who would be quite happy to make that happen and replace it with a subscription system. There is also the eternal fight to draw a distinction between balance and equality of viewpoint. Giving equal air time to both a consensus viewpoint held by 99.999% of the expert community and a small group of wacko nutjobs isn't balance, but at the same time silencing dissenting voices in favour of the status quo isn't always great either.

      Then, on the other hand, much of the comedy output is very left-leaning. I don't actually think this is down to bias against the right as such, but more because there are very few right-wing comedians, let alone ones which are actually funny. Similarly, the educational output is biased towards facts. Who's to blame if the moderate left tend to base their values on facts rather than irrational beliefs?

  4. Richard Jones 1
    WTF?

    What is This Recommended For You Crap?

    My TV is connected, my PVR is connected, (even my DVD/Blu-ray players are connected, but rarely powered on.) I can log into a range of online providers should I chose to do so, but I have never had any recommendations thrust at me. The only exception is one 'service provider' who emails me lists of films that appear selected to be of no interest.

    My biggest issue is digging my way through all the cruft that is listed in the online listings. How the heck does anyone ever find something to watch out of the crap items offered? May be if I missed something that I wanted to see, I can go and hunt for it in the catchup (ketchup?) listings that appear designed to keep items forever hidden from view. Sometimes I get a win, but rarely.

    YouTube tends to have some idea of what I have watched and generally presents me with more items related to my interests, I do not want news or political airheads. Conspiracy theorists can go and do one, drink bleach, take cyanide tablets or whatever they are pushing this week, without troubling my braincells: David Icke please note.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: What is This Recommended For You Crap?

      The only exception is one 'service provider' who emails me lists of films that appear selected to be of no interest.

      Netflix I presume? I loathe and detest their UI, especially on the Playstation. Start watching something, decide it sucks, and it'll forever sit in your 'Continue Watching' ribbon. Would it be so difficult to add a button/menu option to remove it? Amazon's UI is slightly better as it has an edit option, except if it's a series you've watched, you have to remove every season.

      And then there's other c*ap that gets added by Sony. Like the PS4's spawned a PS5 button. Sadly clicking on that doesn't convert 4 to 5, just opens an app that looks for your PS5 so it can sync. The app can't currently be deleted, but dear Sony, why not have that as a background thing, looking for a PS5 on your network? No PS5, no button clogging up the ribbon. But I guess the idea behind that one is to hint that if you had a PS5, you could sync it. So go buy one, now!

      But wait, there's more! There's a sorta Sony EPG in it's video app. Various streamers listed for you to thumb over and hopefully subscribe. Netflix used to be the first in the list, but got usurped when Disney launched. Took a while for my thumb-muscle memory to remember to skip over that 'channel', but I can't delete or hide it.

      But such are the joys of EPGs and 'recommendations'. I think the worst probably goes to YouTube and it's browser interface. Google is smart. It knows things. It recommends things. It knows better than you what you want to watch. So it'll recommend the SAME SODDING VIDEOS ad nauseum. Being an IT type, one might hope that a refresh would give a different set of recommendations, but nope.

      Such is life. Browsing and streaming is a mature concept now, but if anything, UI choices seem to be getting worse, not better. I suspect marketing types are pathologically opposed to the idea that their customers might not be interested in their product, even though I suspect most users would LOVE a 'not interested' option to help refine recommendations.

      1. Adelio Bronze badge

        Re: What is This Recommended For You Crap?

        TV etc all connect to the internet but strangly I do not get any reccomendations etc. maybe because i never actually use any of the "connected" stuff.

        I have a Sky box but most of the programs are pre-recorded and I skip through the adverts. I have an amazon fire stick but there is not much shown!

      2. dajames Silver badge

        Re: What is This Recommended For You Crap?

        Start watching something, decide it sucks, and it'll forever sit in your 'Continue Watching' ribbon. Would it be so difficult to add a button/menu option to remove it?

        I can't speak for Playstation, but the Netflix UI on Android has a "Remove from row" option to do just that.

  5. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    I refuse to let my TV connect to the internet and it gives me a profound sense of joy to deny it it's regular protests.

    1. Paul Smith

      What a dumb thing to say on so many levels.

      Why do you get profound joy from frustrating an inanimate object?

      Why did you pay extra for a telly that connects to the internet that you didn't want to connect to the internet?

      Why do you sound proud of yourself? You might as well have said that you bought a toaster that you refuse to put bread in.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        >> Why did you pay extra for a telly that connects to the internet that you didn't want to connect to the internet?

        Have you tried buying a telly that *doesn't* want to connect to the internet. The trick is never to allow it to. Ever.

        1. Electronics'R'Us
          Thumb Up

          Iam looking at a new TV

          Possibly.

          The one we have is getting a bit old and there is space for a larger one as when we moved to the new place a while ago there is more space and as I am not getting any younger a larger screen might be good.

          You are correct that all the new ones want to connect, as does my sky box which has never been connected to anything (except to the phone line at first installation).

          It whines that I will get a better experience* (yeah, right - Sky will get to sling ads depending on what I watch).

          I see no reason to actually connect any of my appliances (apart from the computers when I need to use that functionality) to the internet. I am not a modern day Luddite (I have been designing electronics for decades) but as with so many things in technology, a connected TV (or fridge for that matter) it becomes a matter of "I know you can, but why?"

          * Given that my so-called broadband struggles to get to 1Mb (usually half of that) I am not sure just how much use that would be to it anyway.

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Why do you get profound joy from frustrating an inanimate object?

        Perhaps that sense of joy comes from confounding the people who designed it to do so, rather than defeating the object itself? Of course those same people are probably profiling you in myriad other ways in order to better direct adverts at you, and thus make more money, or to influence you in other subtle ways, such as curating the news media that you see on the internet to slowly change your political opinions by reinforcing certain biases whilst not feeding others.

        This isn't even the ramblings of paranoid nutter; in the US, political profiling is big business, and political adverts tailored to individuals based on data held about pretty much every citizen are a major part of campaigning, especially (but not exclusively) on the right. Of course, they're not 100% effective, which is why The Orange One is now so upset.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Good point - Thanks

          I'd disconnected my TV from the internet but after reading this I realized that my vibrator was still connected which may explain some of the emails I've been ... ahhhhhhhhhh ... getting, damn it that was another one.

  6. davenewman

    If only there was some mythical way to get your computer to record only the programmes that interest you? One in which you look through the list of new titles and pick the ones to record - just one or maybe the whole series. Then later you choose to watch some of the ones you picked.

    Oh there is. MythTV and its imitators.

  7. CivicMinded

    Several comments seem to miss the point.

    Of course it would be *late* if the author had "only just noticed that TV isn't a substitute for education?". And of course everyone could just "1. Find the "Off" button". But first of all, a lot of us want to watch TV, buy TVs based on price & performance, and make minimal adjustments when we install it — then none for the next few years.

    Therefor, it is a problem that these boxes get "smart", and (presumably) attempts to be fair and promote everyone/ everything equally. And to the crux of the matter: No simple way to turn that off.

    After all, when most people program their remotes, they make a choice about priorities. We change the apps on the smart-ish TV to our taste. So it was rather new (at least to me) if TVs now activly promote something that the user makes an effort to avoid. And that will expose this out-there channel to a number of people who does not actively reflect on news sources. And, _please!_ not all TV news is equally bad! Most is stupid, some even too stupid to be manipulating, but some of it is evil.

    (Myself, I bought the "only slightly smart" TV from a company that so far has avoided privacy scandals. So maybe I live in an old-fashioned bubble.)

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    I have opted out

    I lost my job in 2009, it took me three years to get another one.

    During that time, I quickly got fed up with the news. In France, it's full of disasters, catastrophes, horrible things and political grandstanding. It is just depressing, there's never anything good and they never actually explain anything (especially when it's economic). News on the radio is almost worst - it's shorter, but it repeats every hour, so you hear the same horrible things several times per day.

    So, since that time, I got into the habit of only turning on the TV for the shows I wanted to watch. Except that, they've shifted the start of everning programs to later and later hours. It used to be that the first film started at half past eight, now it starts around ten past nine. My wife started complaining that she wasn't getting enough sleep, so we adopted a 24-hour shift. I'd record what we wanted to watch, and we'd watch it the next day at 7:30 - on our schedule.

    Now, I have found the ideal solution. It's called CapTVty. It's a utility that peruses the Replay section of French TV channels and allows you to download the show, whatever it is. And, cherry on the cake, Replay does not include commercials.

    So now I can peruse yesterday's broadcasts at leisure, convert the downloads to DVD format, bung them on a USB key and we can all watch ad-free shows on our time schedule.

    Bliss.

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: I have opted out

      A friend is in the same boat, unemployed for three years. Sadly, never a great reader, he's turned to youtube for content. The shift in tone is remarkable - I'm afraid to say he's become an arsehole.

      In particular he's fond of ranting about climate change on Facebook or in person, and attempting to rebut my challenges with "watch this video by this guy-who-does-not-have-any-relevant-background and skip to 25 minutes in". If you're watching a video to get your science, you're doing it wrong.

  9. Blackjack Silver badge

    Why not get a dumb TV?

    I have keep mine.

    And the things still get made if they are a bit hard to find to buy online.

    1. TSM

      Re: Why not get a dumb TV?

      Fortunately the last two TV replacements I've done have been because friends or family were upgrading their TVs and offered us their old ones. So I've managed to stay on the dumb TV wagon.

      I do expect that the next time I have to replace one it will be very difficult to find one that isn't supposed to be connected to the Internet. But since it definitely isn't going to be connected anyway, I'll just have to try to find one that won't whine about it.

      Actually I'm more worried about replacing the DVR, whenever that dies. Already years ago when I bought it it was not easy to find one that would actually burn to DVD. I can't quite work out what you're expected to do with shows or movies you want to keep permanently if you can't do that.

      Plus of course the replacement will definitely want to be connected to the Internet. Ugh.

  10. heyrick Silver badge

    Somewhere along the line someone decided that this media source deserved equal billing with less feral voices

    Wrong. Somebody somewhere greased a few palms to get this crap given preferential billing (which is why you can't get rid of it).

    When you can't see or control the algorithm that picks things of interest for you, you are entirely at the behest of a company who is at best opaque, corruptible, and interested more in how much they'll get paid rather than how much their choices please you.

    The only winning move...is not to play.

  11. Muscleguy Silver badge

    I hear you

    I tried out a various content aggregators on my Android phone. I was particularly looking for science news but they kept feeding me things about crystals and alt med stuff as though that was viable science too and there was no way to turn this off because of the way the material had been labelled. So I gave up on the content aggregators.

    I’m a scientist so stuff which is or is not science just jumps out at me. Finding crystals or alt med in my science is like funding insects and fungal growth in your soup.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: I hear you

      I recall having an argument many years ago with a college librarian who really didn't get the difference between psychology and parapsychology.

      Phrenology, FFS.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: I hear you

        The librarian clearly needed her head examining ...

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