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HDTV should mean broadband for all

You may not be as HD (high-definition) ready as you think you are, according to ITV chief Michael Grade. He's concerned that merely buying an HDTV won't be enough, and that in order to enjoy HDTV we'll all have to shell out for an expensive cable TV subscription.

He may have a point (yes, I'm prepared to concede that Michael Grade knows more about broadcasting than me - magnaminous huh?)

But I think his concerns may reflect ITV's worries more than anything yer average TV-loving PC user should be nattered about. I'm not convinced we need traditional broadcasters any more. At least, we don't need them in quite the same way. But he's 100 percent correct to predict that non-techies may get left behind.

Just take a look at the amount of content on YouTube, Channel 4's 4OD service or the fact that ITV has to show live football on its website, as part of the deal it struck with Uefa to cover its competitions. And then check out the big media and telco players who are queuing up to get their broadband into your home. Television is headed down the fat pipe, and it's coming your way soon.

To me - Mystic Matt - cable and satellite TV such as Sky+ looks like a stepping-stone technology. A major resting point perhaps, but a mere halt on the road to fully joined up internet TV (Sky's pretty much there already). But while you and I are sufficiently technologically minded to be part of the PC Advisor community, plenty of people simply buy what they're told to by the work-experience boy in PC World, Dixons or Curry's. And shelling out a small fortune for an HD TV that isn't going to future proof your viewing will be galling, to say the least.

There's another factor that worries me. TV is, by definition, more important to people who are isolated, have a lot of time on their hands or both. Elderly people, for instance. These are the very people who can't afford to waste any money, and - forgive the sweeping statement, but my grandma has yet to grasp how to get beyond the menu of a DVD - a cohort of people who are less likely to be able to stay up to date with the latest technology.

The analogue switch off is going to happen, and so it should. But broadband is now a sufficiently important part of the fabric of our lives that it should be available to all. It's a utility, not a luxury, and as TV technology develops, this is only going to become more true.

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