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SBS: A Sad Death of Great Television by Derek Kell

SaveOurSBS recently received the blog below about one families history of viewing SBS from its opening in 1980 until now.

“SBS: A Sad Death of Great Television” by Derek Kell

We started watching SBS on the first day of its transmission. Nearly all the programmes at that time were sourced from overseas and carried subtitles, but they were really interesting programmes. SBS transmitted on channel 0 in the VHF band in those days. In our part of Sydney the reception was very weak resulting in an unsatisfactory picture which at times was quite difficult to watch. Sometimes we would get a headache from squinting at the subtitles, but we persisted anyway because the programmes were so good. I found the films, especially the ones from France, so very enjoyable. After a while we decided to buy a UHF television in an attempt to get a better picture. This purchase was made solely for the benefit of watching SBS television [on channel 28]. Unfortunately it didn’t make a lot of difference so we invested in a better aerial. No improvement. Next a higher mast and a new coax cable were installed. The picture was slightly better but still not as good as the other channels on the VHF bands. Somebody advised us that a signal amplifier might do the trick. The ones we tried only seemed to amplify the interference, so they were discarded. We were resigned to the fact that SBS was always going to have an inferior reception. But we continued to watch it in this condition for many years. We thought SBS programming was wonderful.

Then along came digital TV. We purchased a set top box. And for the first time we could see SBS properly!! O joy!

Shortly after that, however, the French films, in fact most of the films, just disappeared. It was like we were being punished for enjoying something so much. It was like it was too good to last.

When we, the general public – the tax payers funding 80% of his [SBS] station, had the “cheek” to complain that our films have been taken away Mr Shaun Brown resorted to name-calling. He spoke at the National Press Cub. Those at the top of SBS have called us elitist and they don’t want to cater for elitists. Mr Brown wants us to watch the advertisement-and-promo-interrupted-rubbish he puts on because it suits the advertisers.

Mr Brown doesn’t seem to care about the time, effort and expense that I, and thousands of people like me, went to, to receive an SBS signal in the first place.

You can read the original BLOG by Derek Kell here

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