What do you mean with: television?

Plenty of screens today to watch your television programs. And more to come in the future!

Well of course you know what is the meaning of television. On the other hand it is a coin with the usual two faces. One is the television set, the one you buy, the other is the content that you watch on the television (set).

In Italy, as in several other Countries, we pay a fee (a tax) for "television". The Government assumed that if you had a television set you would have access to television content (does not matter in Italy if you are actually looking at it), hence you have to pay the tax.

Last year the Italian Government decided to charge the "television tax" onto the electrical bill (asking the power lines companies to act as cashiers) on the assumption that if you have a power line you have a television! Not unreasonable, and they left to the single citizen to declare that in spite of having electricity he did not have a television (set) and hence he could not watch television (programs).

Now it comes the question. The Italian Court has invalidated the Government request stating that it is not clear what is meant by "television".

Indeed, the tax is conceptually tied to the fruition of content and today you can access "television content" via a variety of devices, television set included but no longer the main channel. Tablets, computers and smart phones are alternative ways to access television content. In spite of this the "tax" is tied, by legislation, to the television set, not to the content (that was for historical reasons: one could have claimed he was using the "set" to watch private channels, whereas the tax goes to fund the public channels, so the legislator decided to tax the "set", not the content). Hence the opposition of the Court that found a discrimination among people watching through television (having to pay tax) and those watching through other means (not required to pay taxes).

This just shows how technology is faster than legislation...

And it does not stop here. You may want to read the interesting post of Shelley Palmer that goes a bit further by claiming that the TV is no longer there, now we have a TV App.

He is also making the point that we are going to see new ways of content fruition, through VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality), and new devices since in the coming years any surface can become an access to content.

Interesting times.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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