Over the years, as you grow older, you pick up bits of wisdom. Some are handed down by elders and betters, others you find out the hard way, through bitter experience. Today it was learn the hard way time. The lesson - really cheap coaxial connectors are a really bad idea.
I didn't mean to buy the cheap ones, it was just that they were the only ones in the shop at the time. And I figured that it wouldn't make much difference. It does. Having got a shiny new aerial on top of my house so I can get my TV into the digital age I found that picture actually got worse. Then better. Then worse again. Then better and worse on a three second cycle. Not good.
Having spent hot and unpleasnant minutes in the loft/sauna twiddling with plugs and sockets I find that chucking away all the cheap plastic connectors and replacing them with proper metal ones improved things no end. I can now watch around twenty channels of drivel on my telly instead of just four or five. Wonderful.
The other thing I learned today, which was much more rewarding, is that the latest version of Vista makes a really good TV. My little media PC is not really powerful enough, and so I'm kind of surprised that it works at all. But it does, and the picture quality is very good, far better than any digibox I've seen. I think this is because the LCD TV that I'm using really likes being driven at it's native resolution. Whatever it is, the results are very good and the user interface is rather pretty too.