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.
Now, IDW Publishing is helping to bridge the gap between those classic 80's shows and their 21st Century big screen adaptations with new series of digital comic books based on the adventures of Snake Eyes, The Baroness, Optimus Prime and Megatron.
Made especially for online devices like iPods and the iPhone, these digital comics should be a welcome site for hardcore fans of the original TV hits as they're not blown away by the CGI-driven movie adaptions. Yes, the animation of those after-school cartoons was about one frame every four minutes, but they had such purity and charm to their morality plays.
Are you aware that there's a battle going on over iPhone apps? There are two companies fighting over who gets the right to have an application that reproduces sounds made via a certain bodily function. You can pretty much guess what it is. Wyatt Cenac at The Daily Show talked to the two CEOs on Tuesday's show. It always amazes me that people will agree to do these interviews and then say something so inane, like this guy's comment about Jackie Robinson. (Video also here.)
That game has officially been replaced by something much narrower and definitely much cooler. It also puts me a link away to the Hollywood machine, which bumps me up to not having to pay that bum to spit on me.
I recently got an advance copy of MTV's long awaited DVD box set of all four seasons of The State and found this personal connection in a sketch from the third season called "Fan Names."
Last week, we reported on Apple's refusal to include a new South Park iPhone app. The white hot anger could be felt from coast to coast. We here at TV Squad were worried that the uproar it could have caused could have landed us in "Enemy Combatant Land" for disturbing the peace and inciting a riot, which technically would be Apple's fault.
Then an interesting little story popped into my view that seemed to contradict the claims Apple had made and as always, television helped show me the way.
They are always checking their emails or giving you weather updates you never asked for. They always let their phone ring longer than necessary with some ridiculous sounds such as one of those dumb novelty "Pick me up!" chimes or the theme to Sanford and Son to make sure it grabs your attention. Pretty soon, every time they stroke their finger across that smirking touch screen, it subconsciously sounds like fingernails across a chalkboard.
Now, you can one-up your personal iPhone a-hole with this comforting fact: Their almighty cell phone from God won't let them watch South Park because it thinks it's too offensive for their delicate sensibilities.
My question is this: do children of that age really use the iPhone or iPod Touch that much? Most of the people I know who own one or the other are adults or at least teenagers. While I can see some market for SpongeBob SquarePants (which has some adult crossover appeal), I just don't see the grown-ups buying iCarly or Dora.
Anyway, if you yourself have an iPhone or iPod Touch, all of the blogs in our network have been given an iPhone-friendly look, via a specific URL: http://i.tvsquad.com/. As you can see from the image to the right, it's got that familiar iPhone-styled look for diving down into articles to read. Proceed on, and you can also read and leave comments.
Check it out and let us know what you think!
Kathy Griffin has found the perfect genre for her particular brand of comedy. A sitcom wouldn't capture her true character, strict stand-up is not her best venue (although she's gotten very good at it), and a talk show would force her to chat with others and appear interested. The My Life on the D-List format works for her and she's found a way to incorporate stand up, situation comedy and guests into a reality hour that highlights her being funny. She has supporting players -- Team Griffin, Jessica, Tiffany, Tom and Kathy's adorable mom, Maggie -- as her comic foils and partners in crime.
There are no plans to make this version of SlingPlayer Mobile available to customers... yet. You need a jailbroken iPhone or iPod touch to use the player at the moment. But the company does plan to use the iPhone SDK to release a commercial version in the future.
If you want to check out the proof of concept version, and if you happen to be in San Francisco tomorrow, stop by the Starbucks at 120 4th St between 10am and 4pm and look for product manager Vicky Shum who will be demonstrating the application.
Product placement is everywhere, inescapable. According to Dr. Jean Kilbourne, author of Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel, Americans are exposed to approximately 3000 advertisements every single day. Kilbourne has a compelling video called Killing Us Softly that reveals how insidious advertisements are. Ads tell us that women should be thinner, quieter, nicer, want to have cleaner houses. They tell us that men are boarish, lust after women while drinking cheap beers, and order endless rounds of pizza without ever developing a gut. Advertisements not only tell us what we should buy: They tell us how we should think and feel about things and who we should be.
Unfortunately, the price of our entertainment is advertisements. Even when you go to the movies these days, before you have seen any previews, you have seen six commercials for new phones from Verizon and Sprint; and you have paid handsomely for the privilege. This TV Squad Award is amusing, but it is also a testament to how ubiquitous ads are: They have now found their way into the very scripts of some of our very best shows. The only advantage shows like Lost and Battlestar Galactica have is that they mostly take place anachronistically, so advertising would stand out too ridiculously. However, sadly, other outstanding shows have succumbed. And one of the finest is TV Squad's choice to win this award.
As it turns out, there were four stand-out nominees; I will tell you who they are after the jump, and then you will have a chance to vote for the Reader's Choice winner (which, in this case, is actually an obnoxious loser). But I did want to mention two runners up: 30 Rock gets an honorable mention for its mention of Verizon, but it doesn't quite make the cut because of the humorous way it handles the mention, and the show's ability to poke fun at itself. The other honorable mention goes to Ugly Betty for its hour-long ad for Wicked, but it still didn't quite make the cut.
So, the nominees for the most obnoxious abuse of product placement within their episodes are ...
Oh, product placement. We love you so. It's not enough that we all got Tivos so we didn't have to watch the commercials that interrupt our favorite shows. Oh no. The sneaky advertisers don't need us to watch the commercials at all anymore. They just stick their products into the shows and let the actors use them. TV Squad. Simple. Inescapable, unless you plan to give up television entirely (and I don't.).
Of course, some products are necessary. Most people eat or drink something during the day, and it would be weird in today's world if television characters didn't have cell phones. TV Squad. But it's a little distracting when you are in the middle of watching a riveting episode of Moonlight, and you are distracted because Hey! There's a picture of Mick on Beth's iPhone! I wish I had an iPhone. Mick has an iPhone too! I wonder who programmed their pictures into the phones -- was it the actors, or some props person? Do you think the actors get to keep those iPhones? Oh wait, somebody just got killed.
So, in honor (not!) of the blatant use of product placement in our favorite shows (those darn Oceanic 815 survivors and their Dharma mayonnaise!), we bring to you The Brought to You by TV Squad Award. What are your nominees for the show who should receive this award, and what product are they pimping? Please nominate your favorites in the comments.
A little while back, TiVo teamed up with home automation software maker Crestron to allow TiVo users to control their light switches, thermostat, and other information through their Series3 and TiVo HD set top boxes. But it appears that a side effect is that anyone can now connect to their TiVo units via telnet, and blogger Dave Zatz figured out that means you can use simple command line codes to replicate TiVo remote control functions from pretty much any internet connected device. In other words, you can use an iPhone as a TiVo remote control.
The easy part is that all you have to do is figure out your TiVo's IP address, use Port 31339, and you can start entering commands. The complicated part is that you have to type out commands like "ircode pause," and "ircode thumbsup," instead of, you know, using your TiVo remote control and just pressing those buttons.
But now that we know this is possible, it's probably just a matter of time before we see third party developers writing TiVo remote control applications with pretty interfaces for the iPhone, Windows Mobile devices, and other internet connected gizmos.
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