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!


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.


I believe that Amazon has already hatched this plan …


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


Why TV Companion Screen Tech is Struggling – Yes It’s no longer on Zee Box, nor on Zee Tablet

The marriage of many parties in the Interactive TV systems has always been the Achilles heel for a fully integrated homogenous interactive environment. We have had other pre-2nd screen (i.e. 2nd-Window) systems since the 1990s that have suffered from the same issues described in this rather oldish article: (considering Zeebox has already walked into the sunset) http://edit.hollywoodreporter.com/behind-screen/zeebox-s-anthony-rose-people-589252 – However it is worth some reflection:

Programme/TV Show/Film producers (Pre-Production and Post Production) are still unable to have a “write-once” for a “read-anywhere” business plan due to competing (proprietary/standardised) technologies that are all designed for the same job of Value Added Services. There were and still are proprietary and standardised CMS systems available but that still did not answer the age old problem of incompatibility across broadcasters, operators selection of technology in the global TV eco-systems. The DVB Consortium made something that tried to answer this early on with something called DVB-PCF (Transcoding across different VAS systems) which the BBC worked heavily on. It never saw the light of day.

Therefore creating and franchising a show using a SocialTV / Companion Screen technology and single back-office system is seen as a pre-requisite in the conquering of this Value Added Service arena. The Show the Voice in Holland was successful using Social TV but this cannot be sold as a package into Belgium for example for techno-political-business reasons.

2nd Screen technology technology fragmentation is the same issue as in ALL previous Interactive TV middleware issues. Then add to this new Non-TV technologies (i.e. designed for the Internet all trying to latch on to the TV eco-system). Fit-For-Purpose is an issue that also dogs the TV eco-system. Different Social TV and Companion Screen offerings now numbers in their 30s with Civolution, Egonocast, Shazam, WyWy etc. integrating on-screen, 2nd-window, off-programme and full dual-screen synchronisation.

There are lots of other things that are around in the new world of TV Tech – the failed 3DTV and now UHDTV and 4K etc. that are at least keeping us occupied.

Social Media Success Stories

There are a huge amount of failures in Social Media because Social Media is in the main only about success and good news stories. Those failures are hidden and never discussed. There are many overly optimistic types that can turn around a failure into a good enough positive to drive a success story such is the overly exuberance that many Social Media Experts (of which thousands use the tool of self proclamation) utilise. I have a handful of personal experiences in failed Social Media…Not because I am bad at it but because I have found that if you are in early and hit the sweet-spot you can flourish – A Big Fish in a Small Sea – if only a a Small Fish in a Big Sea then you know where that leads – often to failure.

I take Picasso as an example…who was originally a traditional painter but only one amongst many in his era…In order to stand out from the crowd he invented a different style that went against the grain and the establishment, and look where it led. Today there are millions upon millions more people on the planet equally talented, equally imaginative, equally trying to be different, however the opportunity for differentiation is rapidly diminishing. Most things, styles, products have been invented and many things which are being offered up as if they are new when in fact they are not because people just don’t look deep enough into what they have…For all the successes just as for all the inventions there is a minuscule percentage that make it. Social Media is no exception. However if at first you dont succeed then you must, if you are a true Social Media expert, try and try and yes, try again.

Out of France For a While

ImageWe have left France!  This is for several reasons.  Work has taken us back into the land of Fondu and Cuckoo Clocks.  It is for fiscal benefits as well.   We had the option to stay and work in France but ultimately the system is so complex that it was not worth the effort to organise.  As the French bureaucracy, that we never mastered, blunders along, the ever increasing taxes that destroy entrepreneurship are something that we hope to see the government address before we return.  We want to return because we love the country.  So for now we will yodel along the highways and byways of the Canton of Vaud safe in the knowledge that what we get at the end of the month is ours to play with.  Tax at source is a great way to ensure the government gets its coffers filled and minimizes tax fraud.

We will start to discover the gastronomy of Switzerland and report back with our findings.  Keep your eyes peeled for us wont you?

In 2008 USA Cable Announced – The end of the cable set-top box? Now we have RDK!

The end of the cable set-top box? Yes, Comcast says

Back in January 2008 Comcast CEO Brian Roberts predicted that by the end of the year, and I share the quote.  “Virtually the entire cable industry will support Tru2way,” an “open cable” platform rendering the box moot.

Now I have understood that there is another Iinitiative that actually started in 2009, which is in full hype mode in 2013 called RDK which is designed to make STBs Faster to port and more flexible.  I guess USA Cable still needs STBs after all Brian?

Oh we are a fickle industry!