Talking Point
Household electrical goods

Despite people's fears, very few household appliances are affected by the millennium bug. This is because the bug only affects some computer and electronic systems which include dates in their function.

Microwaves for example, do not have a 'year' function - you could never programme it to cook a meal next year.

But this does mean there is a chance the bug could affect household appliances that do use dates - for example camcorders and answer phones. In most cases these should continue to work as normal, but may happen to display the wrong time and date.

Action 2000, the government-appointed body dealing with Year 2000 problems, recommends people check with retailers if they experience difficulties.

Test it yourself

But you may prefer to do a test at home - for example on your video recorder.

Most machines will not be affected because they have been pre-programmed to recognise the year 2000. Those few that may be affected will be able to work normally when manually controlled.

The only problem could be with timer-recorded programmes which may not recognise the year change. If the display or timer has a year setting, the VCR may be affected.

The chances are still slim, as most manufacturers anticipated any possible problems. To test the machine yourself, read the user manual for guidance on time settings, as you would when you bought the machine, then:

  • Set date & time to 31/12/1999 at 23:58.
  • Wait 2 minutes for time to turn to 01/01/2000 00:00.
  • You should use the same test to check that the VCR passes from the28th to 29th February 2000.
  • If successful, your video should be fine.
  • If it fails, you should contact your retailer or manufacturer to check the model and ask for guidance.
If you want more information on household appliances, Action 2000 is compiling a manufacturers' list of products that may or may not be affected by the Bug. Visit the organisation's website.
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