3DTV is Dead – I Am Gutted!


Can_You_See_in_3D_CartoonI am gutted because I have to write an ‘I told you so’ post.

I am one of many who verbally launched many an attack against 3DTV from its concept to deployment. I worked, once upon a time, at the DVB where it took thousands of man-hours of people’s time constructing technical specifications and a lot of associated standards. What a total waste of time … hang on … Perhaps it wasn’t, as this technology has certainly found a place in other fields other than television (e.g. Medical).

Six years ago I wrote the following: Nobody has compared the VIDEO/MOVIE market to the PHOTO market looking at the evolution and take-up of 3D Photography (which remains a niche and curiosity market). 3D Pictures were available to the Victorians, and 3D photography has been available in the market ever since – However, I do not see 3D Photos being demanded by the industry or 3D Picture Frames or 3D albums or 3D graphics novels … Why is that? Probably because it is not the way the brain was intended to view…Perhaps it is because we have sight that functions very, very well, those blessed with it. Now that we have high-resolution graphics it is possibly enough for the eyes. Yes, we have sight that is deemed OK except that 3D TV is trying to rearrange it?

This was in response to the fact that 3DTV physically altered the eyes positioning, focus and as such caused people to have headaches, feel nauseous, fall over, etc. TVs came with a HEALTH WARNING LABEL. Wasn’t that already a sign that this technology was doomed? On the 3DTV journey, I was heavily chastised for claiming that human beings never needed 3DTV. I was called a dinosaur…and not a Velociraptor more like a Brontosaurus if I remember…slow, lumbering and doomed to extinction. Well to all those people that called me out all those years ago…put 3D in your pipe and smoke it.

We will hear from others like Iolo Jones who, over the years, also spoke of its irrelevance. There will be more ‘I told you so’ articles for sure. I didn’t have a crystal ball moment when 3D was pushed towards TV; I had a moment of common sense…Well, I feel better now that this is off my chest. Now we have 4K, 8K, and HDR, AI, VR and more to look forward to. I suspect none of that will make it to mainstream if it means goggles, masks, helmets or any other head-mounted paraphernalia.

Watch this space.

lastword

He Who Must Have The Last Word


There is a lot of information on this because sadly, it is not uncommon. The last word syndrome is a well-known psychological flaw. It frequently manifests itself in a person whose conversations, written and spoken words expose an egocentricity and need for supremacy. When any feeling of power is taken away from them, it irks them so much that they always look for ways to be the one to finish the conversation.

People with this bitter malediction usually strive to be the only expert voice, in their chosen field, over the people around them . They always know better. This feeling of supremacy naturally leads to a lack of respect for others that they are engaged with. It comes through with sarcastic and often childish attacks in their speech or writing. It is a form of bullying.  However, while they feel superior, they often never rise to the top in their career or business due to their real innate and deep-down insecurity.

A person who uses this form of power-play is often a very competitive, hardheaded person, possibly a high-level sportsperson from an individual sport such as squash, tennis or boxing where the last shot is always meant to be the winning shot. In their new domain of the business world, Email is their new game and the ‘last word’ their weapon of choice.

The only way to deal with this kind of person is to let them have the last word. Let them feel superior and let them revel in their churlish behavior because it will never change and you are often, unsuspectingly, just playing their game.

VR is Trending, is Trendy, I Tried it!


carshowVRThe world of VR and AR is on the move and it is getting very interesting.  I had tried it many years ago but the nauseating experience was very off-putting.  This day and age however I saw myself in another world running a small office, doing an alien autopsy, in zero gravity and slicing melons with a Samourai sword on the HTC VIVE; in UNIT9’s offices in Shoreditch.

The most AMAZING experience was standing on an underwater wreck, meeting a lifesize Whale … believing I could touch it…#Fantastic!

Back to life, back to reality goes the song. Yesterday in the office in Switzerland I watched the start of a Netflix movie using the Galaxy Gear. Wow what a difference.  The headache-eye strain sensation came back and the experience just wasn’t the same.  High Five VIVE!

How all of this new technology fits into the world of Television is beyond me at the moment.  More study and thought processing is required to see how they marry, if at all. Thanks to the team of Anrick and Geraint at UNIT9 hope to get to see more of this as it develops into the future.

 

A Short Play Called ‘The Death of TV’


Setting the scene: The evening light is dimming.  It’s 8pm and the children are snuggled down in bed and the husband says,  “Dinner is almost ready honey, can you find us something to watch on TV?” …

 

Picking up the remote the wife switches on the TV …

“I don’t know darling!” “Why not honey?”  “Because there is only a bunch of icons on the TV and I cannot see any TV shows, that guide thingy we used to have, it’s gone darling!”  “Gone! Why would they do that honey, it was very convenient.”  “I heard that you are supposed to know what you want to watch darling, you just ask for it now.”  “Really honey, OK!”  “Are there more programmes like that documentary on South Africa we saw the other night?”  “Maybe darling, what was the programme called?” … “Ermm, what channel was it on?”  “I cannot remember darling.” “Neither can I honey.” “Oh!” “Now what shall we do?” … “Ask the TV honey its got that voice thingy activated.”  …

Wife fiddles with remote control – pushes button …

“TV,  Can you find me any travel programmes about South Africa, but not about South Africa as we have seen that, what about somewhere else please.”

Screen icon turns … searching … searching … searching … TV replies

“Can you be more specific, I have 24,000 programmes on South Africa and 30,000 programmes not on South Africa and I have several shows called Somewhere Else.”  “I have them in English, Greek, Spanish, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Polish, German and 25 other languages, what do you want me to do?”

8.45pm: “Have you found anything honey?” “No darling, I’m afraid not … its not that instant anymore.”  “Shall I put the radio on honey?”

The End.

If I Can Talk To My TV Aren’t TV Apps Dead?


The subject of this piece is navigation, search and recommendation on modern day television platforms. The standard way of navigating through the hundreds of channels via the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) is heavily criticised. The EPG is called antiquated; Linear TV channel and programme line-ups are very old-fashioned is all we hear.  Surely we have a better system?  We know we do and it is called Apps!  The future of Television is Apps is it not?  After all we do Apps on the telephone, tablet, so why not on the TV? Let’s have an Apps dashboard approach for the navigation of content.

Simple! Errrm! Nope!

An Apps driven navigation platform expects everyone to have a mental programme/film database for the plethora of coloured tiles (Apps) that hide content within them.  As we split the content into a myriad of ‘coloured tiles’ on an interface, we all start only watching the top ten that we can remember.  There are thousands of programmes that do not get watched, not because the content is bad,  but because it just never appears anywhere.  Then the Apps all need to fight it out for prime position on the 42″ screen. Everyone wants to be the only entertainment theatre in town, so it is a real-estate war (As it is on the EPG).  Just as in Google search if you are not on the 1st page between 1 and 10 you are purportedly toast.  Android TV just added 600 Apps.  This is just the start.  So is there an answer to rid us of all of this fragmented, App, coloured tile, buried content complexity?  Can we offer a better system that makes it easier for the consumer? Well, it seems we can. It is already deployed. It is called voice!

“Hello! Is it ME your looking for?” Yes, we can just talk to the device and ask it for something to watch. Yes, we can just ask the device for a particular film, programme or TV personality and the system will present all the options available to us across the TV eco-system. It is called Universal Search and it is a new way of navigating the millions of programmes available on the system. Simple! As we travel around all the TV business to business seminars, people are raving about this new system and how this system is the saving grace for accessing all TV content.

Wait a minute! Does this not mean the end of the App? Because in the case of Universal Search it quite honestly does not matter behind which brand a particular content features anymore, does it? It’s just stored somewhere, and we ask for it with voice and then it is presented in a selectable list. No need to bother yourself with what sits behind what App; woohoo! Who cares whether it is is Hulu or Netflix, or NowTV or Roku or ESPN or Disney it is the content that we want to watch … So we just ask for the content and it will appear!

Simple.

Wait a minute! As we will never see anything presented in any format in this new buried content paradigm how will we get to know what content is available across all of our services connected to our TV? Perhaps we can go back to the old paper TV Guide and can look up content that is available (Like a Karaoke Catalogue) and then holler to the device so it can do all the work. The TV industry can then stop wasting money on all this Apps malarkey and the need for continual software upgrading, supporting of all their complex individual back-ends et al. The TV world can just fill a big repository with wonderful content and go about promoting it…We as consumers will get what we want when we want where we want, by asking for it…and in any language.

Wait a Minute! How will the content be monetized? Well, as it will be true ‘a la carte’, so you only pay for what you watch, or not, if it is Ad supported.

Simple.

I believe that Amazon has already hatched this plan …

CONTENT IS STILL ALL THE YESTERDAYS OF TOMORROW’S TV


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?

Poisson d’Avril = South Africa Back To The Drawing Board


Turns out this is an April Fool Joke – One thing for sure is that it epitomises that we were not shocked by the headline but rather capitulated as we have been through several similar events over many years. Haha!

When I worked at a STB Company in Switzerland I was asked to make a plan of attack for entering the market with a range of STBs for Digital TV.  We were all lined up having even satisfied one of the rules imposed at the time which was the need for a BEE in order to move things forward business wise.  It never happened then and it isn’t going happen for any STB Company now, in this fine year of 2015 –  Looks like my work is still valid but for a few minor tweaks.  Maybe I will be dusting it off in 2020 for another nostalgic look.  LOL

http://advanced-television.com/2015/04/01/south-africa-abandons-digital-plan/