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September 4, 2015


EW's Fall Preview issue with the embedded video creates tons of opportunity

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 9th 2009 7:02PM
CBS Fall Preview 2009Entertainment Weekly Subscribers in New York and Los Angeles were treated to 40 minutes of video promoting the CBS fall lineup right in the pages of the magazine's Fall Preview this week, as Bob reported last month. But this groundbreaking movie got me thinking about how this technology could be used.

It's a potentially great development for the print medium. The player in EW is interactive, meaning that as you press on the page it's embedded in it responds. Click on The Big Bang Theory and you'll see the preview of the new season on that show. All those people who abandoned print for the interactive experience online can now get that in their favorite magazines as well.

The technology is a brilliant way for an advertisement to reach out to an even wider audience. These little players can be stuck just about anywhere, and loaded with 40 minutes or so of playback. Imagine picking up that DVD set of a TV show you've heard about and being able to watch clips of it right there.

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Is Apple looking to take a bite out of TV next?

by Danny Gallagher, posted Aug 25th 2009 2:33PM
Apple logoApple has left some fairly noticeable heel marks on the free throw lines of the computer, digital music and the cell phone industry.

So what technology business does Steve Jobs have next on his "To Dominate" list? Why TV, of course. What did you think I was going to say? Toasters? Did you not read the name of this blog?

A financial analyst with the Piper Jaffray investment banking firm speculated that the company is eying at taking a stab at TV technology by releasing its own high definition television by 2011.

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I'm sorry James Cameron, but 3D is not the future of television

by Jason Hughes, posted Aug 23rd 2009 2:24PM
3d glasses at Cannes Film FestivalJames Cameron has a lot of money. So if he wants to throw some of it at Panasonic to help promote 3D TVs, that's his terrible decision. He shot his latest film in 3D, so he's clearly got it on his mind. And if Avatar does as well as the response to that trailer would have us believe, he may have a lot of free time soon anyway.

Speaking of time, this is about the worst time to try and thrust new television and film technology on consumers. Aren't we still in the middle of this transition to digital broadcasts, HDTV and Blu-Ray? Now you're telling us we should buy new HDTVs and new Blu-Ray players that support 3D technology? Oh, and we'll need those cool 3D glasses, too.

There's a few problems with this. 3D was going to revolutionize the movies in the '80s. It didn't happen. It's supposed to be "going to revolutionize" movies right now, but it's not happening.

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A universal remote that can control everything, maybe even the universe

by Danny Gallagher, posted Aug 23rd 2009 9:02AM
An old Zenith remote controlEvery TV addict has that moment when they throw themselves on the couch and muster enough courage to overcome their body fat, gravity and the risk of doing a full sit-up to reach for the remote.

But then comes that feeling of sheer dread when your hand, reaching as far as your arm will allow, grabs nothing but air. Your eyes dart around the room, first scanning the immediate area that doesn't require you to get up from the contoured indent left by your ever-expanding ass. Finally, you find it ... clear across the room. You have discovered the remote control's one and only modern flaw.

Don't fret. Scientists across the globe have been putting their swine flu vaccine and obesity epidemic research projects aside and working on improving TV remote technology. That idea for a miracle virus cure never materialized but, thankfully, they've perfected the remote control.

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Verizon to offer cell phone services with FiOS

by Brad Trechak, posted Jul 28th 2009 11:04AM
Verizon FiOSVerizon is planning to package FiOS TV and Internet service with its wireless cell phone services. All I can say is, it's about time.

If I may go off on a rant here for a moment, I actually investigated getting FiOS installed in my house. Verizon didn't even have a fiber optic cable anywhere near me that they could run to my building. And I live only a few miles from Manhattan.

Despite that, by offering a set fee for both FiOS and cell phone service, Verizon is providing something that cable competitors can't duplicate. It's a smart move on the part of the company. Since I already have Verizon Wireless, I can only wish that they got off their lazy asses and laid some more fiber optic around my neighborhood.

In the meanwhile, I'm stuck with my sadly deficient cable company (satellite isn't an option due to the nature of my condominium). For those who have FiOS, how is it? Would you be excited about packaging that with your cell phone service?

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Aliens are missing their shows because of digital transition

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jun 26th 2009 5:41PM
SETI's satellitesThe elderly, hermits and people too cheap to get cable weren't the only victims of the recent transition to the digital airwaves.

Apparently, the lack of an analog signal means that somewhere out there, an alien race that mankind has yet to discover will not know the winner of I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

An astronomer from the SETI Institute has speculated that undiscovered alien races or other forms of intelligent life in the universe won't be able to watch Earth's television because of the switchover.

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Once upon a time, people missed their favorite shows

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 22nd 2009 7:05PM
VCR adDo you remember a long time ago when you had no options to watch a TV show if you didn't see it when it aired (you had to wait for a repeat)? Of course you don't, you people with your Twitters and your iPhones and your space-age Saran Wrap. But there was a time when if you wanted to watch, say, The Magician, you had to stay home and watch it. No iTunes, no Hulu, no YouTube, no DVDs.

Then came the VCR, and everything changed. Only $1000! (Full-sized ad here.) Notice the fine print at the bottom: "Caution: The unauthorized recording of television programs and other materials may infringe the rights of others."

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TomTom? Meet HomerHomer

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jun 18th 2009 12:04PM
Homer Simpson on your TomTomGadgets have always fascinated me. And it's not because of what you can do with them. It's what you CAN'T do with them. The day my microwave can cook my dinner, then feed it to me while it's cleaning my toilet, de-crumbing the toaster, and doing my taxes is the day my interest in gadgets dies.

The most impressive aspects of gadgetry are how much you can customize them to fit your taste and personality. Just a few years ago, having a Dilbert screen saver that didn't send your hard drive into an epileptic fit was the epitome of "personal" computing.

Now you can change the way it looks from every angle, the way it thinks, and even the way it talks. TomTom unveiled a new voice skin for their GPS devices. Now Homer Simpson, the actual voice of Homer Simpson voiced by Dan Castellanetta, can guide you to locations and it doesn't have to be a dispensery of donuts.

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2.5 million homes still haven't switched to digital TV for some reason

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 18th 2009 8:01AM
tvEarlier this year, when we were going to switch to digital television in February, my sister sent me an e-mail and asked me if I was ready for the switch, and I thought to myself, I think I've been ready for several years. So I'm not quite sure why people are still having a problem switching from analog to digital (I'm especially confused when people say that older citizens use TV as their "lifeline" to the outside world - if you're using words like that, you really should switch or your family should switch for you).

Nielsen is reporting that 2.5 million homes still haven't switched to a digital TV or bought a converter box, even though that original switch date was extended to last Friday. I'm wondering why these people haven't switched yet. I'm not talking about people who have a TV but really don't watch it because they read books (as if you can't do both, but that's another rant). I'm talking about people who watch TV a lot and haven't made the switch yet.

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What do I do now that we've gone digital?

by Brad Trechak, posted Jun 14th 2009 9:00AM
Sony WatchmanThe big digital television crossover came and went. So what do I do with my spare set? Sure, I subscribe to cable so my wired televisions should have no problem with the conversion (most of mine are recent purchases anyway and are prepared for the conversion), but that's not what I'm referring to. I'm asking what exactly I could now do with the Sony Watchman Model FD-2A that I purchased in 1985 and remains in my closet to this day.

It was intended as a way of being able to watch television during high school (and to show how dated the set is, the screen is black and white). It does actually still work, if the purpose of the set is to produce a screen of snow.

Here are some ideas that I could now use the set for:
  • As a TV (all I need to do is crack it open and hook up a digital converter, which kind of ruins the portability aspect of the device)
  • Target practice
  • Paperweight
  • Handy object to throw at my oppressors (if I ever have any oppressors)
  • Tree ornament
  • Abstract art
  • Flashlight (if I turn off the sound)
  • Fencing practice (the antenna is pretty long)
  • Prop replica of a Sony Watchman
  • Brick replacement
Any other ideas?

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A TV that could kick your TV's ass, depending on the warranty options

by Danny Gallagher, posted May 25th 2009 1:10PM
Bang & Olufsen's $110,000 TV setI've been thinking about buying a high definition or big screen plasma television for awhile. I don't really need one. I'm not even sure I can write it off. I just want to finally be on the same level as my friends and family members who constantly show off their big screen-HD-TV-snootiness as clear as the last episode of Yo Gabba Gabba.

Lately, I've given up the pursuit. I realized it was a wasteful, greedy, and (worst of all) selfish reason to want anything, just to look better than someone on a material level. I also realized that someone else out there would have a TV that would be 200 times better than mine would ever be.

That realization came to me when I found this 103-inch plasma TV set that runs for $110,000.

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New 3-D channel coming at ya

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 15th 2009 9:05AM
3d glassesHave you been clamoring for an all 3-D television network? Have you been hoping and praying that the god of your choice would listen to your prayers and deliver unto you a fully three dimensional network? Have you been unable to sleep for months on end as your very sanity teeters on the precipice of your grasp on reality?

Me neither.

Nevertheless, a publicly traded company hopes to turn a humble syndicated network into the world's first fully three-dimensional channel.

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So, were you digital TV'd this week?

by Richard Keller, posted Feb 20th 2009 5:01PM

How did your DTV transition go on February 17thYou may not have realized it after coming off of your President's Day Booze and Beef BBQ, but February 17th was the voluntary day for television stations to turn off those piddly analog signals and crank up their digital ones. Other than one guy shooting his television over the conversion, the switchover of about a quarter of the 1800 television stations in the U.S. went off fairly smoothly. Course, this was just the dress rehearsal. The real performance will be on June 12th, which has become the new 'no change' cut over date.

Being a proud citizen of the United States, I thought I'd take your pulse once again and find out if any stations in your viewing area cut over on Tuesday. If they did, and you were one of those remaining folks without a cable hookup, did you encounter any problems with your new digital converter box? Also, just out of curiosity, was there one major market station that remained in analog mode while the others jumped into the digital pool?

Come on, Americans! Let your voice ring out on this matter.

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No, as a matter of fact, I wouldn't watch TV on my contact lenses

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 10th 2009 3:32PM
CBS logoJust when most of the country wants to buy a giant HDTV for their living room comes the smallest TV of all, and it fits in your eye.

Well, not the TV itself. It's not as if Toshiba made a tiny metal and plastic television and you shove it in your eye, but researchers at the Future Laboratory (which will probably be a new show on CBS this fall, right after Criminal Minds) say that the future of television lies in contact lenses. That's right, television you watch via a contact lens on your eye, powered by body heat and maybe a wave of your hand to change the channels. According to the people at FL, like a real contact lens, you'll put it on in the morning and take it out before you go to bed. Unless, of course, you're like a lot of people and you watch TV in bed. If you fall asleep in these, are the dreams more awesome?

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Will more time make the digital TV transition any easier?

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 27th 2009 7:02PM
DTV.gov logoYesterday, the U.S. Senate followed President Obama's recommendation and approved a delay in the digital TV transition date from February 17 to to June 12. If a similar measure passes in the House, then we all know what that means: four more months of DTV transition ads! Woo hoo!

Seriously, though, will it matter if the transition date is February, June, or sometime in Obama's second administration? At this point, even the most casual observer has figured out that the transition hasn't been communicated very well to the American public. People who have cable or satellite still think that they need to buy a new HDTV or upgrade to digital cable in order to be compliant with the conversion, people who got discount coupons for converters early on have found that the coupons have expired and they can't get more, and the people who have converted are being surprised that some weak stations won't come in due to the "digital cliff effect."

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