Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/01/15/freeview_lizard_plot/

Digi-TV box bid to signal alien invasion blocked by RAF choppers

Or was it...?

By John Lettice

Posted in Bootnotes, 15th January 2006 16:02 GMT

A two hour RAF rescue operation in the Portsmouth area earlier this month finally traced the source of a distress call to a "faulty" digital TV set-top box. Suspicious? We should be - this may be our final opportunity to frustrate a Lizard Planet battlefleet timed to arrive for the terrestrial TV switch-off in 2012.

Think about it - Freeview set-top boxes do not broadcast, they receive broadcasts. Yet this box, an RAF spokesman told the BBC, was broadcasting a distress signal strong enough to be picked up by satellite, then forwarded to the RAF rescue HQ in Kinloss. But if a 'malfunctioning' set-top box sends distress calls into space, is it not inevitable that it intended these calls for the Lizard Planet? And did we stop it in time?

Ofcom, which now has the box in custody, estimates that there were 5.78 million Freeview boxes in the UK by Q3 2005, and suggested that "the chances of sending out a signal from a digibox and sending out precisely and exactly on a major emergency channel are far more than 14 million to one." But Freeview penetration has been growing at a rate of 1 million a quarter, meaning that even without an increase in adoption rates, even if Sky and cable TV boxes are not part of the plot, we'll hit 14 million in 2007. So, Ofcom, how much more than 14 million is "much more"? This could be important.

We don't yet know if the intercepted box was some kind of leader sending out briefings to the Lizard Planet, where strategists may be using Big Brother viewership figures as a measure of our ability to defend ourselves (inverse proportion, of course), or whether it actually did malfunction and intervene prematurely. If the 'owner' (it'll be the other way round once they land) had accidentally set the system clock to 2012, then the box may have attempted to launch the invasion early. In Portsmouth? Here, by no coincidence, is parked the rump of the Royal Navy that the MoD (which may also be part of the conspiracy) has not yet found time to scrap. By monitoring Sky News, the Lizard Planet may have identified Portsmouth as a key fortress.

Clearly we don't have much time. Who knows how the Lizard People will react when news of the discovery of their spy reaches them? The next broadcast 'software update' could be from the Lizard Planet, and it could be the last. ®