4K TV upgrade

Eleven years ago we bought one of the first flat widescreen televisions with a digital tuner.  Prior to that most people were using a set top box to receive the digital channels, or persevering with an analogue set.  Many households struggled to squash a widescreen 16:9 digital signal from their set top box onto an old 4:3 CRT television, or stretch the 4:3 analogue signal onto their new widescreen TV. 

In 2007 our 40 inch Sony finally allowed us to throw away the set top box, but in 2018 that TV doesn’t receive most of the secondary digital channels (like 7Flix or 9Life).  We had gone back to having a set top box (that actually lived underneath the set) in the form of a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) with modern digital tuners to ensure we could watch all the channels, there was also a Telstra box for streaming digital content like Netflix and YouTube. 

The old 40 inch Sony cost well over $2000 when new in 2007, in 2018 we paid just $1100 for a 55 inch Hisense set that can receive every channel, as well as most streaming services, and has a PVR function available simply by plugging in a USB thumb drive.

The other revelation in 2007 was Full HD, while in 2018 most new television sets offer Ultra HD 4K resolution, giving us four times the available picture clarity.  While the free to air broadcasters still only offer SD or HD, many of the streaming services do have 4K content.

Bev, surrounded by family, Christmas 2016

See any pixels? This is a photo of our new TV screen on the Foxtel 4K channel, taken with my iPhone.

Pay TV provider Foxtel recently introduced a 4K channel, that was being made available to subscribers on the Sports HD package.  We subscribe to Foxtel’s Sports HD package to watch football, which means we can also get the 4K channel, simply by upgrading our Foxtel box (for a small fee).  Seeing as we’d just upgraded to a 4K television, I thought we may as well upgrade the Foxtel box to get their 4K content.

Watching live 4K sport blows my mind!  The picture quality is amazing with way less compression than the online streaming services, and never any buffering, because the signal comes from the satellite, rather than internet.  Even thinking about the technology is fascinating, the bandwidth required to get the ultra high definition signal from the venue to the satellite in real time is huge, not to mention the capacity of the satellite its self.  Foxtel only has the one 4K channel at the moment, but there’s no doubt that will increase as their network capacity grows.

I can’t help but wonder what television will look like in another eleven years.  Will we be upgrading to 8K?

Brock TV mini series

I’ve just finished watching the Brock TV mini series.  It aired on Channel 10 last Sunday and Monday, but thanks to working night shift I had to watch it on the catch-up service TEN-PLAY.  The two part mini-series is based on the life of Aussie motor racing legend Peter Brock.

I was a big fan Brocky as a kid, and continued to follow his career right up to his sad death ten years ago, so I was always going to watch this drama about his life.  There was a positive preview of the mini-series on DeciderTV, so I was really looking forward to enjoying the story about Brock.

This program (Brock) is a drama, not a documentary

Unfortunately, any Australian motoring enthusiast, motor racing fan or Brock idol would have found this mini series frustrating to watch.  I understand why the producers of this drama need to show a disclaimer stating that it’s not a documentary. I understand they had to use some artistic licence to squeeze over 45 years into 161 minutes.  However there are some big chunks of Brock’s life missing, some inconsistencies and poor attention to detail.

  • The producers have removed any evidence of Brock and the racing team’s long term major cigarette sponsorship.  They’ve even removed the Marlboro brand from actual race footage used in the show.  I’m not sure if this is a legal requirement these days or just political correctness.
  • Peter Brock was a long time anti drink drive advocate, yet he is shown drinking beer behind the wheel while being chased by police.  Obviously political correctness doesn’t apply to drink driving on TV.
  • Brock’s first race car was a home built Austin A30.  I understand the replica used in the filming of this mini series was built by Brock’s son in the late 1990s or early 2000s with some minor Mobil Oil sponsorship.  The original car raced by Brock in 1969 didn’t have any such sponsorship, so you would think the producers would cover the Mobil decal while filming scenes recreating those early races.  They didn’t.  This lack of attention to detail really stands out for enthusiasts.
  • Does anyone really believe Peter Brock practised his driving with a frisbee in his bedroom?
  • While practising with a frisbee in his bedroom, the mini-series Brock talks about changing into 5th gear.  Most gear boxes in the early 1970s were 3 or 4 speed.  There were no 5 speed gearboxes at the time.
  • There is no mention of Peter Brock’s epic win in the 1979 around Australia rally.
  • There is no mention of Dick Johnson’s long time rivalry with Peter Brock.  If it wasn’t for the use of original race footage, you’d be forgiven for thinking Allan Moffat was Brock’s only competitor.
  • Some of the replica or restored cars used in the filming of this mini series displayed modern number plates.  Surely retro plates would have been an easy fix, but again there is poor attention to detail.
  • The replica “25” car used in the filming has a very large bonnet scoop, but when the vision cuts away to original race footage the real “25” car has a standard flat bonnet – yep, attention to detail.
  • The 60 year old Brock portrayed in the mini series looks exactly the same as the 20 year old Brock, except his hair has been brushed with a few grey streaks.  Surely the make-up department could have aged him better than that?

I have read somewhere that Brock’s longtime partner, Bev, distanced herself from the mini-series after previewing the script.  That must say something about this production!

Younger viewers, or non motor racing fans, may have enjoyed the Brock mini-series.  I hate to be critical, but I think any motoring enthusiast who grew up watching Peter Brock winning motor races, and anyone who knows their Australian motoring history, would have been disappointed.