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Parabolas and televisions


Last night, while watching the TV I saw an advert that both intrigued and insensed me.

The advert in question was for a curved TV. It claimed to be curved in order to give you a better viewing experience. My first thought was “Parabolas are coming up with my further maths group, perhaps there’s a lesson in here?”, this was the intrigue, and it was quickly followed by the anger, but more on that later.

Presumably these TVs have been designed to give the viewer the best view, when sat at the focus of the parabola. This is a fantastic real life use of a parabola, and means that this year I will be able to contextualise a lesson that was pretty abstract when I taught it last. I intent to investigate these TVs this week and build them into lessons if possible. I wonder if there is any benefit to positioning them so the wall behind them us the directrix? If there isn’t, I might decide that the folk in my contextualised question want it that way for aesthetic reasons, and/or because they are maths geeks!

The annoyance came while thinking this through. I thought, “how have they calculated that?”, then, “ah, yes, Parabolas, I can see that sitting at the focus could in theory make it all look better,” then, “but what if there is two of you?!” As far as I can tell, the boffins behind this have taken an already anti social activity and made it more so.

As a general rule, I will turn off the TV and put music on if we have guests round. (Obviously, if the purpose if the visit is to watch a rugby match or some other such TV event then it stays on). This is something I have done since the end of the last millennium and started when I was in sixth form. It was prompted by the realisation that TVs killed conversation. This realisation came because a friend of mine lived on her own without a TV and her flat was much more conducive to conversation and good socialising than anyone else’s. It was due to there being no TV to such the life out of the conversation.

So TVs can be antisocial, but people often watch them together with friends, with family etc. But if your TV is parabolic, then the person at the focus benefits, but everyone else loses out!

The logical conclusion to this new “advancement” is that everyone will have their own TV, families lined up watching their own TVs presumably with headphones, to enable them to all watch different stuff. It’s not how I’d want my future!

Of course, I don’t really envisage the world ending up like that (although I suppose I can imagine it). I doubt they’ll take off large scale. Some will fall for the marketing and regret it, most will ignore them and these parabolic telly’s will wind up being forgotten by all. With the possible exception of gamers, who already spent hours locked in isolation only communicating through headsets to the other members of their online world’s.

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  1. September 18, 2015 at 9:22 pm

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