Matt Heath: Why we should tune back to old-style TV

Section
Blogs,
Publish Date
Monday, 5 March 2018, 10:14AM
NZ Herald
NZ Herald

New Zealanders are early adopters. We jump on new things quickly. Eftpos, Uber, OnsO, Zoomy, Flotcha, My Food Box, The Alternative Commentary Collective, Netflix. Kiwis are always looking for the next exciting thing.

As an early adopter myself, I'm super excited to tell you about the latest new thing I'm into. Broadcast TV. I'm early adopting the re-adopting of normal television. The six o'clock news. You should try it.

Most Kiwis my age grew up watching the TV news. I learned everything pestering my Dad on the couch. Who's that old man, Daddy? The Prime Minister. Why is that house swimming, Daddy? It's a flood. What is an STD, Daddy? Shut up.

Television was the campfire and we the cave children huddling around learning from our elders. Our dinners on our laps and our minds open to the world. Terrified by war, famine and dog attacks. Buzzed by cricket and bored to death by the weather. With a news bulletin you don't get to choose what you watch or the order in which you watch it. That's sometimes a good thing.

Nowadays we can watch anything anytime on our digital devices. Mostly on our own. Which is ideal for incognito content. But most experiences are richer with others. You can chat face to face.

The internet is arguably the greatest educational device ever created. But in some ways the unlimited options narrow your viewpoint. You choose to view the types of things you like over and over again. Never having to see things you don't want or don't agree with. When I was a kid I had nightmares about nuclear war and IRA stories. Certainly wouldn't have chosen to see that. But glad I did.

My kids watch hours and hours of extremely intelligent film and game theory on YouTube. But spending too long analysing Star Wars and Marvel universes hides the real world. It's better to mix it up. A bit of what you love, some of what you need to know and some stuff you hate. Shove your kids in front of the news and answer their questions.

With this in mind, I got Sky reinstalled a month ago. It's great. Now we're sitting round watching normal TV. One News, into Seven Sharp. Then off to catch whatever sport is on 051. A family sitting together square eyed and old school.

People complain about the price of Sky. Even after it dropped last week. I don't get it. How the hell do you think things get made? Sport is crazy expensive to cover. The costs would blow your mind. Movies and TV shows aren't free either. It all costs. You have to pay for that. That's life.

Likewise, people complain about the adverts on terrestrial TV. News also isn't cheap to make. They have reporters beaming in from all over the world, studios, cameras, lights, giant screens, strangely huge 3D weather maps and potentially the world's smartest man - Dan Corbett. It adds up and the adverts pay for it. So suck it up.

I'm happy to say my kids are now TV addicts. I'm kicking them off their digital devices and zoning them into old school television. The other day one was reading Asterix and the Golden Sickle, the other How Obelix Fell in the Magic Potion. I made them put the books down and watch the Black Caps. A few nights later they tried to read Asterix the Gaul and Asterix the Gladiator. I grabbed the books and hiffed them across the room. Made them watch Hils Baz and Jeremy Wells on Seven Sharp.

Watching TV with your kids and answering the questions they ask is the best education they'll get. Recent questions I've answered include: is Simon Bridges the pretend Prime Minister?; why is Donald Trump allowed to tell lies?; and how do poor people get fat?

Trying new things is important. Especially as you get older. Embracing the modern world is good for your brain. VR, Fortnite, Grindr, whatever you're into. Jump on board. While you're at it, fire up your Sky Box and give broadcast TV a go. It's the future ... again. See you in front of the six o'clock news.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.