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Television Entertainment Technology

TV Isn't Broken, So Why Fix It? 839

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-i-do-not-want-to-wear-3d-glasses-to-watch-tv dept.
PolygamousRanchKid sends this quote from a contentious article at CNN that questions the need for further development of TVs and the entire TV-viewing experience. "The technology industry is absolutely bent on reinventing television. ... But nobody seems to be able to answer the big question: what exactly is so broken about TV anyway? The tech industry is filled with engineers and geeks. They naturally want to optimize the TV experience, to make it as efficient and elegant as possible, requiring the fewest number of steps to complete a particular task while offering the greatest number of amazing new features. But normal people don't think about TV that way. TV is passive. The last thing we want to do is work at it. ... As long as there's something on — anything — that is reasonably engaging, we're cool. Most of us are even OK spending a few minutes just shuffling through channels at random." So, what do you think is broken about TV right now? Is there a point at which it'd be better for us to stand back and say "We've done what we can with this. Let's work on something else"?
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TV Isn't Broken, So Why Fix It?

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  • Re:advertising (Score:4, Informative)

    by Gordonjcp (186804) on Monday December 05, 2011 @03:41PM (#38270162) Homepage

    This is one of the great things about the BBC. A dozen or so channels, with *no adverts*. None. Masses of good radio channels, too, again with no adverts.

  • TV Must Not Die (Score:4, Informative)

    by lucm (889690) on Monday December 05, 2011 @03:46PM (#38270292)

    It is very important that TV continues to exist as it is, as well as PVRs. Otherwise, people won't be able to upload the good tv series on usenet so I can download commercial-free episodes and watch them on my PS3.

    House, the Big Bang Theory, Family Guy, the Mentalist, Supernatural, Storage Wars, Dexter: good entertainment for about 400MB/hour (I don't care much for HD).

    A good usenet provider with a decent retention is not free (maybe 10$/month) but the insanely fast download combined with the excellent filtering provided by hand-crafted search engines (such as Nzbmatrix or Newzbin) is worth it. And for the poor people, I think there is some stuff available on P2P (if you don't mind getting some weird midget porn when you look for Disney content), but I find it slow and dirty.

  • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Monday December 05, 2011 @03:51PM (#38270402)

    I too have a spouse; TED (Torrent Episode Downloader) + uTorrent + WD Live Hub. Episodes are automatically downloaded via the Windows VM on an ESXi host to a NAS that the WD Live Hub can read and index. Wife proof. Also, I don't watch sports, so YMMV.

    Eventually, I plan on storing all the content in OpenStack's object storage system, when time permits.

  • Re:TV ain't broken? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Monday December 05, 2011 @03:58PM (#38270508) Homepage Journal

    Remember when History had history programming?

    Of course history had two dimensions: Confederate armies and Hitler. Oh! Three dimensions, if you count "historical Jesus" shows during Christmas and Easter seasons.

  • Re:TV ain't broken? (Score:4, Informative)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday December 05, 2011 @04:27PM (#38271070) Homepage Journal

    The problem is cost. Back in the day you put up an antenna and got free TV. Now thanks to cable companies their are fewer and fewer network stations. I live in a town of over 200,000 people and I can get one network OTA and like 14 channels. If their was no cable companies I would get all the major networks because they have made deals with those small stations. Now the stations get to double dip. They charge the cable companies and show commercials. The Cable companies also get to double dip and bundle channels you don't want to subsidize the ones that you do. I would bet you big bucks that a lot of people wouldn't pay what ESPN is asking.
    I can tell you that OTA HD is so much better than the recomppessed crap on cable. If you live in a good sized city or near one I really suggest getting a cheap set of rabbit ears and see what you can get OTA. You may be shocked.

  • Re:TV ain't broken? (Score:5, Informative)

    by DeathElk (883654) on Monday December 05, 2011 @05:05PM (#38271646)

    My name is Otto and I love to get blotto

  • by dunezone (899268) on Monday December 05, 2011 @05:46PM (#38272340) Journal

    Or you can get HBO or cinemax which at a minimum of about 15 a month is near worthless assuming you want to watch a movie once a week.

    You are way off. HBO has always provided quality programming outside of their movies. Have you ever watched one of their original series? Sopranos? Boardwalk Empire? Entourage? They not only provide a full hour of entertainment for each of their series ad free but you get quality actors, directors, and producers and excellent budgets. The first episode of Boardwalk Empire cost an estimated $20 million dollars and the first season cost somewhere up to $50 million and the first episode was directed by Martin Scorsese.

    Have you ever seen Band of Brothers or The Pacific because those were HBO productions and are both amazing.

    Do you like boxing? Because HBO hosts their own major boxing matches and after every major sports championships they do a review of the team with highlights and stories. Their Red Sox back in 2004 was amazing to watch and I am not even a Red Sox fan.

    HBO also does specials. They did a entire documentary with Spike Lee on Hurricane Katrina and it was amazing.

    Oh and all of their series can be watched on their website at anytime with your subscription.

    Now I will say this. Its almost impossible if not impossible to get an HBO subscription without a standard cable package. But HBO is a prime example of great programming for a fair price. They evolved over time to move from a movie channel to a channel that can provide a wide range of value. They took the right steps to show its worth paying $15 a month. Now Cinemax and Showtime are pushing their own original series.

  • Re:TV ain't broken? (Score:5, Informative)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Monday December 05, 2011 @06:07PM (#38272666)

    and not one of them carries college level lectures?

    <cough>Khan Academy []<cough>

    Basically, broadcast TV is for old people now. Young people don't even buy cable anymore.

  • Re:TV ain't broken? (Score:5, Informative)

    by xaxa (988988) on Monday December 05, 2011 @06:22PM (#38272860)

    The Open University is a distance-learning university in the UK. They used to broadcast material (not just lectures) overnight on BBC 2, but it seems they stopped this a few years ago []. Shame.

    Some of it might be here [], or else that might be the new "general audience" stuff.

    The OU website [] says "Virtual microscopes, interactive laboratories and online collaborations have taken the place of home experiment kits sent through the post, while late night TV programmes have been replaced by DVDs and online videos".

  • Re:TV ain't broken? (Score:5, Informative)

    by blair1q (305137) on Monday December 05, 2011 @07:59PM (#38274214) Journal

    Cable's not worth it any more.

    Seriously. I have something north of 500 tunable channels, maybe 1000, and there are times there isn't one watchable thing on any of them because hundreds are showing infomercials and Everybody Loves Raymond reruns.

    And it makes perfect sense to the businesses that feed the cable company content.

    That's the world that your local business school wants us to live in.

  • Re:TV ain't broken? (Score:3, Informative)

    by GNious (953874) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @02:22AM (#38276846)

    (note: Am parent, but don't watch morning TV/Cartoons, and not an expert on TV/ads)

    The kids can easily sit through the commercials: They see them as part of the regular content, with the ads being created to specifically keep them entertained/focused/zombified, using loud noises and fast changes to "pacify" them.

    My kids even find ads on YouTube (I know, bad parenting here) and watch that just as gladly as some cartoon or kitten-video.

To the landlord belongs the doorknobs.