The Problem With Internet TV (OTT) and Child Protection – Not all Parents Care!


Interestingly we are finally seeing the truth about Internet based TV (OTT): It is just another form of PayTV on an unregulated transmission medium, dah! dah!  Sorry about that but it is nothing earth shattering; however it finally has people writing about this obvious fact.   The ‘do-it-yourself’ package is described in this recent Advanced Television article: Cord Cutting Unrealistic Option is seen as probably costing even more for a consumer than a packaged payTV Operator offer.  Not only that, the author Colin Mann quotes Alan Wolk of TDG who states that there is no ‘User Interface’ that makes for a cohesive and pleasant experience.  In a previous blog post Changing the transmission media not the business model I had already highlighted the issues of more or at least same cost and clearly noted the backwards move in terms of experience.  However there is another very important issue, which has not been addressed by the ‘oracles’ of the future of TV and that is ‘unregulated access to content’.  Most DIY bundles have Apps that require access to Internet content – There is no Age Verification required.  That is an oversight in a very mobile, smartphone driven society.  So I have also been wondering when the ‘Do-it-yourself’ payTV bundle and free for all access might come under the scrutiny of the Regulators for both Consumer and Child Protection issues?

I already see that my very young children are exposed to some terrible things via the increasingly pornographic Internet, via Twitter feeds, via search engines etc.  Now that TV is a watch what-you-want-when-you-want experience on the Internet it requires parents to be careful –  The so called ‘watershed’ does not exist on the Internet and there appears to be no regulation apart from personal parental control, which has to set on a myriad of channels, devices and websites – BUT ISN’T.   That is almost a full time job in this mobile-free-for-all-do-it-yourself-media-world.  I happen to care!  I try to protect my offspring as much as possible from the gratuitous violence, sex and ever increasing psychopathic, narcissistic media offerings… (e.g. Walter White toy figures for sale at Toys-R-US).  However, I am fighting against adversity, especially if my 12 year-old is exposed to shows like ‘Breaking Bad’ as well as a myriad of free ‘Porn’ on a classmates smartphone browser at school.  I cannot supervise every moment of my son’s viewing habits outside of the home…and we happily tout OTT (Internet TV) as an in and out of the home experience.  We are also told that youngsters don’t watch Big Screen TV anymore – So where is the protection for the young, the vulnerable and the stupid in this mobile-free-for-all-do-it-yourself-media-world?

Not all parents care what their children are exposed to that is why we have regulation.  The regulators should be ahead of the game and not late like they have been with Music Videos, finally realizing that they should be ‘rated’.  In 2015 that is very, very late … Listening to my very, very young daughter signing ‘I wanna Sex You Up’, now exposed to ‘twerking’ – This is just not right!  We have a constant battle to keep them well grounded and not let their malleable minds be damaged.  I am not a prude and we have a healthy open relationship with the kids, but I cannot be the good parent if all around me doesn’t care and exposes them to the ever failing controls of the world’s what-you-want-when-you-want media access.

Why TV shows that contain Drugs, Sex, Bigotry and Violence on the Internet be treated any different to that on Broadcast TV is beyond me!


UBER BE SCARED: Ordering a Taxi on Television

OpenMaps liftago-taxi-1-thumb

UBER BE SCARED –  It appears that you have a new competitor – The wonderful world of HBBTV has delivered its latest ‘App’ and it may rock the Taxi App World of the Smart-Phone … I cannot imagine when you might be watching TV and suddenly think – I will order a Taxi ! … Well the Czech Republic thinks so.  Good luck with that!

Apple Talks Humans Not Algorithms – When Will The TV Techies Realize This?

tvoldApple said this about discovering music: The Guardian Story on Apple Music

“Algorithms are really great, of course, but they need a bit of a human touch in them, helping form the right sequence. Some algorithms wouldn’t know that Rock Steady could follow Start Me Up, y’know. That’s hard to do,” says Iovine.
Perhaps this is what I have been trying to say all along regarding ‘recommendation engines’ for Television and my fear that we will just turn TV viewing into a homogeneous clump of nothingness.

“You have to humanise it a bit, because it’s a real art to telling you what song comes next. Algorithms can’t do it alone. They’re very handy, and you can’t do something of this scale without ‘em, but you need a strong human element.” “Understanding that i have a lot of Latin music in my library doesn’t give me a great Cuban playlist,” adds Cue.

Quite honestly it is the same for TV and just because I like a ‘Chick Flic’ now and again does not mean that I want to watch all the ‘Chic Flics’ in the world now does it – Well the Algorithm thinks I do.  VARIETY in TV, as in MUSIC, has always been my mantra – Variety is the Spice of Life.

Thank you famous Apple people for stating what I have been stating for years…It’s the ‘HUMAN’ factor that counts.  ‘ALGORITHMS’ may have a place in our techie driven TV world but they should not be the only thing that determines anyone’s evening entertainment.

Bundles: TV is Merely Changing the Transmission Media Not The Business Model

TV Will Never Be Free
TV Will Never Be Free

Telco managed TV services (i.e. IPTV) had a great deal of issues obtaining content and it struggled terribly.  Some thought it would be built on UGC (User Generated Content).  However #YouTube stole that crown.  Many Telcos bundled it with the Broadband offer and then ticked you off as a TV Subscriber; whether you watched it or not.  Unfortunately it offered a lesser experience and needed linear TV to make it palatable to the average consumer.  In the main, people just want to be fed TV programmes and not have to be their own ‘channel-line-up’ producer each time they sit in front of the box.  We are inherently lazy and Millenials are no different – If anything their attention span kills the theory of sitting down and selecting a nights viewing by App scanning; especially after a hard days work on a screen.

This New Yorker (below) story about bundles growing on Internet or Web TV is fascinating as it looks at the TV Subscription angle.  However I felt that the story should have dug much deeper.  The author should have looked at the garnered revenue from subscriptions and investigated where that money relates to content:  i.e. Explore the way content is funded because this is also an important factor in the business model of TV and the bundle, be it over-the-air, over cable or over the Internet.  Here is an article that @TimWu could reference: 

Here is the full New Yorker Article:

“But those who predicted that the Internet would kill the bundle may have spoken too soon. Internet TV, in fact, is now growing its own bundle—the so-called “neo-bundle.” This year, Dish television and Sony have begun selling a version of Internet television that centers on a bundle, albeit one that is smaller and cheaper that the original offered by cable companies. Dish’s Sling is the most exciting and enticing: it offers ESPN and twenty other channels for twenty dollars a month. (You add an extra fifteen dollars if you want HBO). Sony’s Vue has fifty or so channels, for fifty dollars a month, but no ESPN or HBO. Apple, meanwhile, is likely to launch its own version in the fall.

In short, instead of the Internet killing the bundle, the bundle is coming to the Internet; it would not be surprising if, in the next year or two, half a dozen more neo-bundlers join the game. This may come as a surprise to those who expected the television of the future to resemble, say, a smartphone screen, where every channel would be roughly like an app that you subscribe to à la carte. But overestimating change in the television industry is a rookie mistake.”

P.S. By the way, RabbitTV already bundles ‘free-content’ for you for a small fee.  Which gives kudos to my theory that we are all lazy when it comes to TV viewing.  “I’ll pay 10 bucks to someone to do it for me instead so I can just watch it instead of wasting all that time searching & selecting.”


This Was TV Yesterday-2Once upon a time we switched on the TV and watched a programme or two, in the evening after we had tea, when the kids were in bed and it was time to settle down to relax.  TV Time was limited as the TV signal would shut down at night and eight-year-old Carole Hersee would appear (in the UK at least).  We had a choice amongst Light Entertainment and Drama, Documentaries, News and Sport all chosen for us and delivered when somebody else thought best.

Life is a little different now because: 

Today we want TV at Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere and we want to watch What We Want, When We Want, Where We Want. We want to watch Live TV, with the use of Pause and Rewind Live TV.  And if we miss missed the beginning of something we need Start Over TV so that we can go back to the beginning of the programme that we have joined late.  We need Catch-Up TV for shows we have missed.  We need to Store Live TV programmes for later viewing on a Hard Drive (Personal Video Recorder) or a Removable Storage device with the possibility of using Series Recording for Binge Watching. We also want to be able to Side Load content onto a Companion Device to consume later when in the garden, or perhaps travelling on a bus or train.   We want a Whole Home PVR system or Network PVR so that we can have Follow Me TV that allows us to start watching in one room and then take the content into another room and join it from where we left off in the other room.  We want Companion Screen driven TV Everywhere so we can Throw and Fetch programmes from those devices to different screens in the home.   We want Over The Top TV so we can have non-Linear content and not be restricted to a Schedule.  We want Interactive TV with Applications that allow us access to Weather, or Horoscope or Games and a lot of other stuff all delivered over the Cloud and Home Network.  We want to be able to Search for, and Recommend content to other people on Social Media.  We don’t want this on a STB or CPE we want all of this on a Smart or Connected TV, in 3D or Ultra HD 4K or perhaps Super Ultra HD 8K.  We need it in High Dynamic Range, so that we get the best quality on a Curved OLED, millimetre thick, Flatscreen TV:  24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week, 365 Days of the Year completely uninterrupted.

TV Content has however NOT broken the boundaries that technology has.  Geo-Blocking, Distribution Rights, Landing Rights, Syndication, Franchising and all that shenanigans is hindering and hampering not helping, other than to further slow the transformation of TV – Perhaps that is a good thing?

The Bethnal Green Mercenaries – Sorry! Terrorists.

Originally posted on Tvangelist:

Bethnal Green

As an ex-military man, I am intrigued by the TV reporting of the people leaving to fight or live in a war torn region.  When I was serving in the Royal Air Force I got into a bar-brawl with a civilian who had just returned from fighting in Africa where he had served as a mercenary…not that I knew that beforehand, otherwise I might have backed away from the altercation.  I lost the top of my ear in that tussle to a man who was a very disturbed and aggressive man.  And this is how we perceive mercenaries to be, in general.  However, today it seems mercenaries are something akin to our modern-day football hooligans.  Hooligans are not necessarily unemployed, dole scrounging thugs but are often well-off, middle-class boyos.  This often appears to be a surprise to the authorities and broadcast journalists.  Surely not our solicitors, dentists and white collar workers taking…

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The Bethnal Green Mercenaries – Sorry! Terrorists.

Bethnal Green

As an ex-military man, I am intrigued by the TV reporting of the people leaving to fight or live in a war torn region.  When I was serving in the Royal Air Force I got into a bar-brawl with a civilian who had just returned from fighting in Africa where he had served as a mercenary…not that I knew that beforehand, otherwise I might have backed away from the altercation.  I lost the top of my ear in that tussle to a man who was a very disturbed and aggressive man.  And this is how we perceive mercenaries to be, in general.  However, today it seems mercenaries are something akin to our modern-day football hooligans.  Hooligans are not necessarily unemployed, dole scrounging thugs but are often well-off, middle-class boyos.  This often appears to be a surprise to the authorities and broadcast journalists.  Surely not our solicitors, dentists and white collar workers taking great delight in sticking the boot into their fellow man.  Just like the shock of hearing about well educated university graduates becoming radicalised and hopping off to Syria to stick the boot in to, or for, Isis.  This led me to become inquisitive about the kind of person who might go to foreign lands to fight for a cause that has no motive other than getting away from what they have and dont like, and for some the lure of earning big money.  I found out that there are a lot of people who want mercenary on their CV!  Well-educated upstanding citizens, not just thugs, are all willing to sign up for the adventure.  Just look here and read the comments section which is quite eye-opening: Becoming a Mercenary, and I quote: “I really want to be a mercenary.  I can be a mercenary.  War is in my blood, soldier is my life”!  The question therefore is: Are those that are radicalised actually terrorists or do they just become ‘mercenaries’ at some point in time.

In the main mercenaries are generally ex-military personnel who are combat-trained…they are certainly not schoolgirls from Bethnal Green.  However according to the press, all these youngsters heading off to Syria are not mercenaries they are simply deemed to be terrorists.  That makes for an interesting twist and a better headline of course.  Yes, the TV news is all a flutter regarding people going off to fight,  with broadcast journalists claiming that they are, “off to commit terrorist acts”.  The word mercenary does not get used because it is assumed that they are going because of fanaticism and because of a paid contract.  Yet how do we know?  We haven’t talked to them about it.  Got a copy of the contract by any chance? The Geneva Convention Art 47. Mercenaries states a mercenary is any person who is especially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict and does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities:  is motivated for the desire for private gain – However it is rather ambiguous about what that gain is as it does not state money but rather mentions material compensation that is substantially more than is paid to the armed forces of a party.  I don’t see soldiers in the war-torn regions of Mali, Syria, Afghanistan etc. stopping off at the bank to drop in their pay-cheque or setting up direct debits for their mortgages.  What are they being paid?  Board and lodge in the main I would imagine and a whole load of weaponry with a Toyota truck thrown in.  So can the Bethnal Green girls be considered mere mercenaries?  Perhaps that is all they are.

Lighthearted Note:  I do love the tips on the mercenary website on how to become a mercenary: Using Rosetta Stone for language training and ‘WeightWatchers’ in order to get in shape #LOL

For me personally, having been in the military I understand the adventure, the adrenalin of armed excursion and all that this action filled adventure might seem to be.  I fully understand why someone might want to go away and fight because I have seen it at first hand when the Ascension Island conflict flared up.  I saw soldiers queuing to sign up to go to Kuwait during the Gulf war.  Many civilians appear to want to have something to do.  Something that is not mundane and poorly remunerated in their boring countries.  Some people have radical beliefs and some want nothing more than to help other persecuted people as we have just read in the Guardian:  Brits abroad: is it against the law to fight Isis?

How many people around the world have fought in wars out of passion, or as a paid mercenary and returned to their normal life?  Will we go after them like we are going after the present Syria hopping batch?  Might it actually be somewhat like the ex-mafia boss Domenico Rancadore now 64 years old found living a ‘blameless life’ in Uxbridge (of all places) while running a travel agency in London.  He was outed this week and arrested.  What a story he could tell us over a cappuccino in Costa cafe.  No, not about setting up holidays to Palermo ;-) or Naples, but all the nasty stuff he is purported to have done when he was active in the Mafia.  Does he miss it?  Why did he stop? Was he ‘radicalised’ at a young age or did he just loved the thrill of it all?  Interesting parallel or nonsense?

Television and social media with 24-7-365 story-filling needs means that journalists have a 24-7-365 search for sensationalist stories so we see the twisted tales, embellished opinions and often assumed facts that all add to the scaremongering in todays paranoid society.   Are all these people, who are leaving to fight and to possibly die in a conflict, really a threat to us at home or should we be more concerned about those that choose to stay at home in France, Holland, UK, Germany etc.  Who are we actually helping by stopping the voyage of a few hundred people possibly thousands?  Us, them, who? Shouldn’t we be sending in the armed forces to quell the uprisings in the regions or is that also too old-fashioned war mongering?  If we don’t send in the forces, forces WILL be created from volunteers.  We will not calm the world’s war mongering masses by stopping girls from Bethnal Green;  nor will we gain anything from calling them terrorists,  especially if they have simply gone to marry and make a home however silly that might seem (if that is possible in such a place).

There are no answers to any of these issues however I do feel that we are none the wiser than we were when they left. The silly journalism that is 24-7-365 regurgitated, repetitive, reiteration on  TV News channels will only give you a biased viewpoint.  So in my research I found this article below, which is well balanced and worth reading if you want to have a view on foreign fighters and the potential fear evoked by the thought of their return.

Extract:  “But the threat presented by foreign fighters has been exaggerated, just as it was during several other conflicts in recent years. Over the last decade, the Iraq war in particular prompted similar warnings about a possible backlash that ultimately failed to materialize. In fact, the vast majority of Western Muslims who set out to fight in the Middle East today will not come back as terrorists. Many of them will never go home at all, instead dying in combat or joining new military campaigns elsewhere, or they will return disillusioned and not interested in bringing the violence with them.”  Homeward Bound