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Showing posts from July, 2008

Digital TV in Ireland

The BCI announced recently that it has awarded three multiplexes for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) to Boxer. I’m quite excited because I am very interested in the technology, my master’s thesis was on video compression algorithms, and I think more competition in the market would be good. I have a number of reservations however.

DTT is not really about giving viewers more choice. Most Irish households who want multi-channel viewing are served by either cable or satellite. TV ownership has reached saturation point. Most people who want a TV set own one. The promise of High Definition TV and discs (Blu-ray) is a great way to increase demand for new TVs. Like the transition from Vinyl to CDs, and from VHS to DVD and now Blu-ray; capitalism’s greatest achievement is its ability to persuade people to buy something that they’ve already got.

Digital TV and High Definition TV are not the same thing. High Definition Digital TV has far superior picture quality to what viewers are used to.…

BUPA wins Supreme Court Case

I was delighted to read today that BUPA won its Supreme Court case taken against the government's interpretation and implementation of risk equalization. Minister Mary Harney was straying far from her free market anti-monopolistic roots when she forced BUPA to pay the VHI cash to compensate it for the fact that it had many more older customers on its books. As a long time supporter of the Progressive Democrats I always felt this decision was wrong.

In fact, I cannot understand Mary Harney's obsession with the VHI. Almost all that is wrong with the Irish health service can be traced back to, one way or another, the VHI. If there were no VHI at all or if customers who wanted to skip hospital queues had to pay real cost of their insurance, the health service would be in a much better state.