Entries Tagged as 'Television'

Google Will Be Chasing Television Ads

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

People that know me have known that I’ve already been talking about this for the past few months, but it’s time to put it on paper. I’m calling it. Google is going to be chasing the airwaves for ad space in a couple years. Guaranteed.

Why? Pieces of the puzzle are falling into place already. Google Fiber experiment? Pulease. That’s a FiOS pull if I’ve ever saw one. And Verizon already brings television to your home. This would just give Google medium to mine all that invaluable data and run their algorithms on it to find out what you’re watching and how to target the advertisement. And we all know that Google is king when it comes to algorithmic ad targeting.

But this piece that I just found out about…. now this really puts it into perspective. Google is getting into set-top boxes. Forget Internet television. There is a real big money play being driven here, and it’s being done through the eyes of people thinking outside the box but staying within the realm of what the company is just plain good at: mathematics.

Companies like this are few and far between. Even many of the older 1990s companies have not been able to take any of their product lines outside of their general medium scopes. Google is actually buying up real estate in new mediums to try their hand at things that they have stuck with in the Internet world. And believe you me, it’ll work like a charm. Like a friend of mine told me a long time ago: it’s not the fact that you’re inventing a car, or a plane. It’s the thought that you’re building a car that can fly like a plane that is what no one else has grasped. And Google already setting up for take-off before anyone even realizes.

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What’s With the Lame Super Bowl Halftime Acts

The San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl XXIX troph...
Image via Wikipedia

I don’t know about you but when I was a kid, I really enjoyed the Super Bowl half time shows. But as times progressed, it just hasn’t been quite the same. In fact, these days, I don’t even bother watching it and actually go do something else. I’m going to venture the thought that this year will not be any different. I mean, “The Who”? Couldn’t they have got a better act like Daft Punk, or Black Eyed Peas?

If you actually think about it, the last five years have been acts that were in the prime like almost twenty years ago. Maybe more. When was the last time anyone really listened to Prince?

Don’t get me wrong, I like The Who but it’s not what I consider something that grabs the younger crowds. Heck, where are the singers from like the New Year’s Eve bashes? Those are the ones that are recent and the cool acts. It’s also within this decade of music history.

I think whomever schedules this for the NFL really is living in the past. Next thing you know, we’re going to bringing back the Monkees. Nothing wrong with that, but if you ever wonder why your viewership during that time has drastically dropped off? There might be a good reason for it.

Now that I think about it, perhaps the NFL needs to work with Apple’s iTunes marketing team. They find the greatest music that is absolutely catchy and often bands that no one has heard before. And that’s fresh and new, but what do I know. I don’t have billions of dollars hanging in the balance.

Satellite Doesn’t Seem Cheaper Than Cable

twc So recently, there’s been a lot of conversation locally about Time Warner’s service with HD. I totally agree after their entire screw up with Navigator firmware and having slowed down much of any sort of television watching. In fact, it’s annoyed me enough to begin again looking at their competition.

Around here, much of the HD signal would be between satellite or cable. But strangely enough, if it’s not any cheaper to switch, then the hassle isn’t worth it. I’ve been told that it’s cheaper for satellite time and again by those on satellite, but when I go look at the total pricing, I must be missing something. For the same pricing of my cable which runs without fees around the sixty dollar range will cost with the lowest satellite competition as seventy dollars, and the the other provider as over seventy dollars per month.

Now from from a price point perspective, I don’t see what the value is when this is a utility that you use for entertainment sake to pay more regardless of the first year loss leader subscription sign up. If you base it completely on regular price (which you will eventually pay), it’s not worth the switch for the same channels that you watch unless you subscribe to movie packages that might be cost less in the long run. I did this based on the mathematics a year ago and came to the same conclusion that I would be paying more per month just to watch same HD channels.

Granted, I’m still annoyed with Time Warner’s slow as molasses Navigator that makes channel surfing a nightmare, but I’m still waiting for something better. Now if Dish Network or DirectTV had a monthly charge of sixty or less, I’d be there in a heartbeat. Too bad, eh?

Time Warner Cable Cutting Corners on Commercials?

twc Hate to say it, but Time Warner Cable really has annoyed me the for last time tonight. It was such a little thing, but with the really terrible Navigator “upgrade” that slowed down your actual channel surfing to a crawl and seemingly not have tested this in QA since it basically looks pretty but doesn’t actually function like the old firmware, it was amazing for the stupid parts to really become a problem.

Here’s the thing. Almost all commercials are not normalized for sound. In fact, I have a feeling this is done on purpose since all of them are louder and seem to be set on some sort of setting so that you would pay attention to it. But what really bugs me is when you’re actually enjoying a commercial (yes, there are some that are actually decent) and suddenly it cuts to another commercial in the middle. Now, if I were an advertiser and saw that I was spending money with this corporation and they were pulling me out of my costly advertising, I would be throwing up a fit. This happens on every channel, and has been for a long time but the recent Navigator change really has brought it out as even more of an annoyance.

Why can’t I downgrade back to the old firmware for my cable box? Why are commercials being cut short, or some getting cut right in the middle? Sometimes, it almost seems like they’re trying to fit in more than one commercial in the same slot to gain more advertising dollars. I don’t know that for sure, but there isn’t a darn good reason that not a single employee would not have seen this happen and at least tried to report the problem.

Does satellite television do the same? I don’t know, but I doubt it. It’s not that I really despise Time Warner Cable or anything. It’s just that if you’re going to push a quality product, then it should perform as good as the last one when it comes to software. If you’re telling your customers that are buying advertising from you that you’re going to be showing the ad, then don’t skimp on the “display” side. These are pretty basic when it comes to just the provision of goods and services and otherwise you lose the trust of your customers. And the last thing you need is to do that in this type of economy.

Time Warner Cable’s Navigator Slow as Molasses

twc So last night, Time Warner decided to roll out their long-awaited Navigator. It’s supposed to be some great thing that TWC is providing, but so far the only thing I can tell tonight is that it’s extraordinarily buggy with some major headaches.

First, they’re literally beta testing this in the field because instead of having some new firmware that is backwards compatible, they send out a phone call the previous day saying that the mailer they sent out should have the information about what’s going on. For the most part, all I can tell is that they make it easier for you to accidentally purchase premium channels, it’s prettier interface from the original guide, and the actual interface is even clunkier.

Let me put it this way. Before with digital cable, or any HD channel for that matter, it would auto-detect the resolution of your television before the channel came through. It was slow, but it wasn’t terrible. With the Navigator “upgrade”, it will first go to the lowest resolution of the channel (usually 480i), then convert. So it’s like changing the channel twice. Each of these channel changes are around a 2 second delay wait versus probably about half second before, so if you’re flipping through the television channel, it D-R-A-G-S.

It was so slow, that when I was scrolling through my favorites and saw something I wanted to go back to I decided not to go to that show because by the time I rolled through my twenty-five favorites, that segment of that show would be over already.

In my personal opinion, it basically seems like either the testing that was done didn’t produce the slower results, or some manager somewhere thought that having slower results would be better for the overall television experience (I’m not sure why this would be since the television is literally dark while the channel is feeding through). Either way, sounds like bad product management.

If anything? Give me a way to roll-back to my set-top box’s old firmware. Believe me. I’ll have a better cable television experience instead of this junk. Because if I continue on this type of channel surfing, then I’ll probably get frustrated enough to just put it down and read a book or play my PS3. At the very least, the interfaces for either don’t come with a lag time that makes me want to throw a controller.

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Racewalking is an Olympic sport?

I was flipping through the channels watching Olympics while I was on a business trip. And lo and behold I saw the funniest sight ever. Wait, are those people powerwalking? What the…
Apparently there’s an endurance sport called racewalking that’s been part of track & field for ages. It’s different from powerwalking being that there are more rules to follow and there are some serious optimization of how the hips move and how it’s judged. But it was still definitely a jaw-dropping sight.
While it was kind of funny to watch and obviously it often gets little respect, I have to admit that it’s definitely a lot more difficult than you think it might be. The point of it is that you have to keep form for the entire length of time and that most events are over an hour long meaning that it becomes a total endurance sport. On top of that, you can’t run and thus making it extremely difficult in the latter half of races since the range of motion makes you want to break out in a faster pace. It’s sort of like keeping a horse from going from a trot to a full gallop, which is pretty difficult since it’s the middle ground between speeds.
Who knew. Then again, this year was also the first year that the summer Olympics included BMX racing. Guess they’re starting to merge those sports from the X games alongside some things that most people have never heard of. Racewalking. hmm. Crazy stuff, I tell ya. Crazy stuff.

Anime Review: X

With both X – The Movie and the X television series, X is one of those older animes that talk about post apocalytical battle.
Basically, the main character must choose a side to fight it out and depending on his choice will undoubtedly change the course of the world. Pretty usual, and the fights are actually pretty good if you watch the anime first. In fact, I would recommend not to watch the movie until you finish watching the anime itself since it wouldn’t make as much sense otherwise.
The film itself is the exact same story but with a bit more focus on Kamui and less on the Dragons of Heaven and Dragons of Earth.
All in all, it was a pretty good series, although I have to say that the very first episode was entirely strange until you realize later on what it meant. Basically, it’s supposed to be a primer for the series for those that haven’t read the manga, but it really just gives away bits and pieces of the story. The only bad thing about it is that you don’t know how each part fits in since that’s all the dreamgazer for the Dragon of the Earth saw. For the most part, the entire storyline is pretty tragic and sad, but that’s also to be expected from such apocalyptic fiction.
Personally, I still find that my favorite of this genre still is Ergo Proxy, but X definitely had a nice feel to it nonetheless.

Digital television in 2009 only effects over-the-air

dtv2009.gif Believe me. I didn’t know the answer to this either. A few of my friends during different conversations have asked about this so for clarification for anyone else that might have second thoughts about it.
Yes, in February of 2009, your analog televisions will not work. But with some caveats. This only effects over-the-air signals. That means, if you’ve been using “rabbit ears” (antennas) this whole time, then those won’t work anymore unless you get a digital tuner box. That’s why dtv2009.gov was created.
Now, if you use cable or satellite television, there shouldn’t be any changes. If you provider is telling you that you have to switch to “digital television” by 2009, then that’s actually wrong. I’ve actually had a couple friends come up and tell me that this is what they’ve been told by their friendly local cable provider’s customer service reps. If so, that’s extremely naughty to prey on people that thought they needed to change to digital television for “cable”.
So, if you didn’t know, now you know. If in doubt, go to the government website and take a looksie. And be reminded that it’s actually the air signals that are changing (the stuff you can get for free) and not any actual service providers.

Motorola Cable Booster

Motorola Cable Signal Booster for TV / Cable Modem / Digital Radio
One of the biggest issues that we ran into when we got an HDTV was that the signal coming in was weak. This was due to a frayed cable end outside at the box, but we never noticed on the SDTV since SDTV isn’t as effected by poor signal and isn’t as temperament.
However, for some, upgrading to HDTVs requires a boost in their signal to get all the content to the right place. It seems that lower channels are a good indication of if your signal is making it if you get snow on them or have some issues with it. This is obviously if you don’t know how to pull up your maintenance screen on your cable box to look at the actual signal strength.
In any case, this product is worth your money if you’re in dire need of a signal boost. I recommend getting one if you’re HDTV buff and there’s no other way to get around getting a better picture due to how it was wired or what not. The Motorola Cable Signal Booster is definitely worthwhile. Just remember, though. Amplifiers do raise your noise floor. So don’t get them until you’re sure that there’s no other way to get around the issue including better wiring from wall to TV and so on.

Britain’s Got Talent goes Thriller

Ahh. You think that it’s just another Michael Jackson thing. King of Pop. Oh ho, but it’s not. But just watch it, since you’ll crack a huge smile when you get to the part…. where…. ahh… shucks. Just watch the bloody thing. This is one of the reasons I actually really like Britain’s Got Talent over American Idol.