TV Viewing is all about Variety-Reccomendation Engines ARE NOT!


I have just gone through a private experiment with TV Content gathering.   My Satellites had to be removed for 6 weeks due to building work and that of course has turned into 12 weeks and still counting so I needed to amass a hard drive of Content to weather the storm.  During this time I found an interesting flaw in PVR Recording also TV Reccomendation Software.  Television is several things and boring  is not supposed to be one of them…well so I thought.  However I have a hard drive full of the same, same, same, samey stuff….In order to gather a whole plethora of Content I had to pre-empt a few shows and ask to record them and had the PVR (Satellite) series record some of my favourite TV episodes (of the moment) with another system (IPTV) that would after understanding my viewing habits reccomend shows I might like to watch and recorded them for me in some instances.  Hells! Bells! – I now have repeat “genres” backing up my hard disk.  For goodness sake!  How many “CSI like”, Cooking, DIY shows and ” House Like” episodes can one watch in a lifetime….Even if I also get some foreign language variety… VARIETY is why I and my family watch TV.  Saturday night was all about that in the past;  Variety Shows and Surprise and Dissappointment also.   Today the industry of HYPE thinks that just because I like CSI Miami that I will like CSI Vegas and CSI New York and and CIS Paris or the French equivalent (No its not a TYPO they allways swap the Acronyms around here).   Recommend me something I have never seen and that may surprise me – Is that possible?  Or is that called random viewing, channel zapping?…I don’t know anymore!

Fundamentally there is something random about other people deciding the Channel line-up that I actually LIKE!  Its the surprise element and in some cases Channel Line-Up regularity that marks a moment in family life.  I cannot for example or rarely can watch the 8pm French news as I am helping to put the kids to bed, reading a story or preparing our evening meal when we at last have tranquility at home.  Catch-Up would help but that needs the Satellite Dish connected.  Actually if we don’t find anything entertaining we, yes my Wife and I, will look quickly at the other options on the other channels or perhaps not watch anything at all if nothing pleases us both.  It is not IMPERATIVE that we actually watch something but Hypsters seem to imagine that we fill 24/7 with TV and one of the reasons why we need 3 screens technology.

What we do not want is to spend any time at all “Googling” for something we know about or have seen already…  So Catch-Up TV makes sense but that is nothing new.  When I had UK’s Sky (before I got cut off for being overseas) hey had it and called it +1 hour or something of that ilk and it was useful.  LinearTV Catch-Up has its place.  Searching and Recommendation is a whole lot of hullabaloo.   There will be ALWAYS be something totally random on another Channel that was chosen because it was thought to be entertaining programming by some smart TV Producer and Channel Line-Up Manager.

My hard drive is now FULL and it consists of over 30 episodes of CSI of varying flavours, 20 episodes of House and 2 or 3 old movies and one that I have not seen which is in Black and White.  I missed it first time around due to not having been allowed to watch TV after 8pm until the age of 12.  Imagine our modern day dilemma and suffrance having to watch the same Genre of programme over and over and over again.  It is mind numbingly boring.  Anymore CSI Miami and Horatios “carrot top tilt forward, cock head to the right line delivery will have me copying him in the office!   What of IPTV I hear you shout.   Well it is Orange France and full of CIS, Ange Guardian and other fluffy stuff that is not very intellectually stimulating – The films are very French and you can only Downlad and Play not actually store anything if it is over a certain size.  The interface is horrendous which has the wife asking me why I haven’t sold our sexy stuff into France Telecom and that takes on a whole new direction to the evenings entertainment.  The conclusion is that if TV wants to be successful in its present format VARIETY IS STILL THE SPICE OF LIFE and it should be present without making me and my family work hard to be the Channel Line-Up Manager.  You “Hypsters” might love that but most of my family and a great deal of my friends don’t actually watch what they have already seen neither do they crave several doses of CSI Miami every night.  TV is NOT Music.

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4 thoughts on “TV Viewing is all about Variety-Reccomendation Engines ARE NOT!

  1. Sounds like an utterly basic search & rec algorithm (almost a string/pattern match) a bit like my Humax Freeview PVR, which is simple but it can have it’s uses – I do a genre search once a week to cue up any movies that I fancy recording). But granted there is no recommendation function going on here.
    Try the Guardian’s Online listings http://tvlistings.guardian.co.uk/ and click on CSI Miami. The ‘recommended others’ are Murder She Wrote, Diagnosis Murder, Damages.
    It’s a little softer, but perhaps still a bit too ‘samey’. It sounds like you would have been happiest with literally a ‘record random stuff’ option – it may on balance have given the best mix of content.

    p.s. Not a plug, but I happen to know it’s TVGenius under the hood at Guardian. They’re getting business wins all over the place at the moment…

    1. Nice plug… 😉 followed them at IBC…still not convinced there is anything in Recommendation software …TIVO done it for years and they are nearly bankrupt…Hype for me

      1. Get the Broadcaster to decide what content they want to deliver and make that available through their channels as OTT…as for Hulu and Netflix and all that it will be as per music…someone like a film/radio station will be playing it to death or a film critic will tell you about it via twitter then it gets viral or it will be advertised DOOH or Billboard and only then will you or anyone know about it…then you can search. If you want Dads Army then you already know about it and can search….

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