Tag Archives: Television

Dear @HBO I want to give you money. You too NBC and CBS, even you Fox

Was going through my Drafts, and found this, started in May 2011. 

Figured I’d post it now, given that both HBO and CBS have woken up to the vast amounts of money they were leaving on the table, by ignoring cord cutters. I find it hilarious, that about the time I started this Draft, the President of CBS, was convinced Cord Cutting was a fad, and that no they’d never offer their content online. How times change.

— Original Post —

I’ve been thinking on this topic for a while now. I love TV. I’m not sitting around watching Real Housewives of Atlanta or anything, but I enjoy good TV.

This came up because HBO has started airing Game Of Thrones. Based on the awesome, and hugely well written serious of novels from George R.R. Martin.

The problem is I don’t have Cable.

No problem, HBO has HBO GO… Well actually… HBO GO is only for cable subscribers. Uh what? So people who are already paying you, can watch online, but those who aren’t already paying for cable (you know the untapped audience, the potential new customers), get no love. Worse yet, there’s only 3 cable providers that work with HBO GO.

 

The Solution? Well that’s tricky. There’s always Bit Torrent, but that’s “illegal”. There’s waiting for the season to be on iTunes, or in Netflix, but that’s pretty crappy. Avoiding spoilers, etc is hard the longer you have to wait.

I’m sure there’s some 30 year old stupid agreement in place, but here’s how it should work, and how HBO and CBS, et al could get more viewers.

Sell the content a la carte. Why not? I’d pay comcast a la carte, tho I’d rather pay the people making the content. Sure the cable companies need to find a model that works with this new paradigm, but really, that’s what needs to happen anyway!

So why not? Why shouldn’t I pay for the 1 show on HBO I want, and the 10 other shows across a few networks that I love, and not pay for CNN, Lifetime, etc.?

 

Where’s the iPad fit in?

I saw this post, and it really echo’d thoughts and conversations I’ve had lately about the iPad.

There’s been a lot of “You shouldn’t upgrade”, “You need to upgrade” articles about the iPad Air 2. I’ll say this, moving from an iPad 3, to a Air 2… WOW. Money well spent. Will I move to an Air 3? No. 4? probably not. 5 or whatever is next? Likely. But that’s the cycle the iPad fits in for me.

I’ve talked to a few folks (friends) that almost never touch their iPads. Their iPhone 6/6+ or Macbook Air do the trick. Each is light, sufficiently large to do things, sufficiently small to not be a burden.

I use my iPad several times a day. Whether it’s catching up on interesting things to read at night, playing a quick(ish) game of Tower Madness or Blockheads, or remotely managing the various Macs around the house, i use it quite often. When I travel, add in watching movies/TV and reading comics. I take meeting notes, do some writing all on my iPad. It’s invaluable to me.

I’d leave my laptop at home before I’d leave the iPad. There have been a few trips, including my trip to Amsterdam, where i left my laptop home, and just used my iPad with a keyboard.

After I got my iPad Air 2, Nicole inherited my iPad 3, which put her iPad 2 up in the air. I thought, “You know what, I bet it’d make an awesome appliance. Find a place to mount it and i bet there’s something cool i can do with it around that house”

I see now, one major issue in the “Where’s the iPad fit?” question. 

I couldn’t find (haven’t given up yet) a single awesome use for the iPad 2 in our house.

  • Nicole uses her iPad as a cook book, so that’s out, it’s the most obvious, but she has no need for a dedicated cookbook iPad
  • I thought, you know it’d be cool to mount it near the TV running Apple’s remote app. Control my library and AppleTV. Especially for parties and such, or just geekiness. Apple’s remote app is ass. When it connects, it’s slow. Usually it doesn’t connect. When connected to the AppleTV, it can’t see home shares, the only media it has access to are TV/Movies in the cloud, and iTunes radio and Match. Not as awesome.
  • Big ass Nest control for the upstairs. Doable, but silly beyond believe.
  • Picture frame, also doable, though i could buy a single purpose device for less money.
  • Home Automation is another obvious answer, and one that is still in the maybe category. Mainly because we just don’t have that much HA gear, so other than the nest, not a lot to manage right now.
  • Security monitor, I have toyed with cameras and apps, for both in and out of the house monitoring, but not sure that warrants a dedicated device
  • Weather/news station in the bathroom. We have a little RF driven weather station, an iPad seems a bit much.

I will say my biggest disappointment is with Panic’s Status Board. (I’d link to it, but don’t waste your money at this point) I bought it, i even bought the HD TV upgrade. I assume it flopped because while Panic makes awesome products, i don’t think they’re set up for product evangelism. Status Board needed a thriving community of panel makers, and to the best of my knowledge they never supported that. Plenty of sites aggregated panels, but without the “love and support” of the mothership those efforts quickly fade. Status Board would be the perfect tool for an iPad on a wall somewhere, but I don’t see that happening. I may start looking into pulling together data sources of my own to wrap in Status Board panels, but won’t lie, i was hoping for a little more out of the box.

Do you have an iPad that lives as a device in the home? What do you do with it?

Defend the internet

Why something that was born from academia, transcends (mostly) national borders, and brings together people and idea, even needs defending is beyond me. That said, it’s clearly not beyond our government. Whether it’s the NSA or our congressmen, it seems like the fight for a free and neutral internet hasn’t stopped in years. When one idiotic bill is killed (SOPA/PIPA) another is introduced with much the same goals.

I’m taking part in today, because I think it’s a big deal. Already we’re seeing the effects of a less than neutral internet, and it’s been less than a month.  Many have posted great examples of what a non neutral network could look like, and sadly the above is one that was common “…Now imagine a future where Netflix streaming is twice as expensive after 6PM. Where a single Skype call costs as much as a monthly landline.

Or simply throttled into unusability.

 

I wonder if Mark Millar watches movies?

I was catching up on my news feeds after traveling and came across this funny piece. Apparently Marvel Comics Consultant Mark Millar doesn’t think a Justice League Movie will work.

One reason, he argues “I actually think the big problem for them is the characters are just too out of date. The characters were created 75 years ago, even the newest major character was created 68 years ago, so they’re in a really weird time.

Captain America came out in 1941. While 75 year old characters are completely lame, out of touch, etc., it seems, 72 is the perfect age for relevance. I suppose Hawkeye might be a young character, but who the fuck likes hawkeye in the first place?

It’s as if he doesn’t bother watching movies made by DC (I can’t blame him, most suck, but still we know they’re out there. “Now the stuff I grew up with… I adored the DC stuff growing up but really, how do you do a movie about Green Lantern. His power is that he manifests green plasma from his imagination and uses them as weapons against someone? Even that in itself if you just imagine then watching a fight scene with a guy who’s like a hundred feet away making plasma manifestations fight someone – it’s not exactly raucous, getting up close and personal.

Well, we already had a GL movie, it sucked but that wasn’t a fault in the character of GL. What I really like is that a movie based on a character who makes mental projections ‘could never work’ yet X-Men with Professor X, the worlds most powerful telepath who in theory could reach into the bad guys minds and shut them down, and Jean Grey a powerful telepath and telekinetic, who could do the mind thing if she wanted or just fling people against walls. has had several movies made, with more to come. All more than a few minutes, and with plenty of raucous up close and personal fighting.

The Flash has door handles on the side of his mask and if he doesn’t wear that mask, I’ll be pissed off, you know what I mean? 

Captain America has wings on his head shaped almost identically to Flash’s door handles. Wait a minute, no in the movies those were turned into painted on decals on a helmet. Good for the goose, not the gander I guess.

He goes on to rip on Aquaman, rightfully so, sorry Author you’re pretty much a weak link, and I guess if Marvel pretends Namor doesn’t exist it’s fine. I wouldn’t want a Namor movie, but he has off and on, been an Avenger… so…. Glass houses  Mr. Millar.

Lastly “The actual logistics of each member of the Justice League is disastrous, and you put them all together and I think you get an excellent way of losing $200 million.

So

  • Batman (already hugely successful movie franchise, and having low to zero CGI requirements)
  • Superman (ok, not so great in the movies beyond the awesome Christopher Reeves, but really just Iron Man filming wise.)
  • Wonder Woman (Who’s been ignored wrongfully, but ignoring her flying powers of late wouldn’t be hard to do, compare her to Black Widow, but give her more strength)
  • Aquaman (just stay away from water and he’s basically hawkeye)
  • Flash (speed isn’t that hard to film. Probably no more than flight)

Could never work, too impractical. But,

  • Iron Man (we’ll compare him to batman as far as successful movies, and superman as far as on screen power)
  • Black Widow (not really hard to film, she has no powers or even weapons really. her stingers got used, what twice?)
  • Captain America (the first movie to me was lame, but he’s also pretty easy to film)
  • Thor (the first movie was… mmm meh, but not bad)
  • Hulk (he’s CGI. the previous movies from what I know are a bag of hurt)
  • Hawkeye (again easy to film, no powers)

work completely, why wouldn’t they? Duh.

So the two teams aren’t that dissimilar, yet somehow Millar thinks they’re completely un-filmable, unrealistic, etc.

I’ll grant you, the folks who make DC movies, botch the job more often than not. I don’t see DC giving someone like Joss Whedon the free reign he’d want. Though that said, we did end up with bat-nipples, so who knows. DC has a long road ahead to catch up to Marvel in the movies, but to dismiss the characters as silly or not filmable, makes me wonder if Millar read many comics as a kid or still does. The two companies universes are almost interchangeable as are the characters.

Ah well, i’m sure he’d get canned if he gave the competitor good marks.

AppleTV vs. GoogleTV… Fight!

I’d kill a kitten, maybe 2 for a device that is a goto media center device. What would that be?

Well it’d have access to hulu, Netflix, my local music and video files (On a Drobo over SMB), be able to rent content from somewhere (I don’t care whether it’s iTunes, Amazon, etc since I do this maybe 2x a year)

That’s it, nothing crazy really. Yet the two main(stream) players…. have’t gotten it.

First, AppleTV.

I totally skipped the first gen AppleTV. it wasn’t that interesting, even with the hacks. Then came the 2nd gen AppleTV. It was still VERY far from great but more promising.

1. it was iOS, meaning it’d likely get apps like hulu and Netflix, and ABC.. It still hasn’t, but I haven’t given up hope, there’s no real reason I can see why the device would ship with iOS if not to eventually let thru a few media apps.

2. it was iOS, meaning it’d be jailbroken sooner or later. Turns out it took a while, but see below.

3. it was able to home share. Home Sharing is ok, but when we get home from somewhere and want to watch something that I er.. “got online” i’d have to fire up the MacBook, load iTunes, etc then reach out thru AppleTV for it. So it’s an ok solution, but not great.

4. Airplay. This I think will be a crown jewel for Apple and the AppleTV. Admittedly it’s a bit weak right now, but current beta’s reveal the promise. The ability to send any video content on my iPhone or iPad to the AppleTV, awesome. Consider being at a friend’s house, talking about a funny youtube clip or a movie your friend hasn’t seen. If you’ve got it on an iDevice and he’s got an AppleTV, problem solved. No fussing, no transferring of files, etc. AND the iDevice can keep working while the movie is served in the background! I can’t wait to see what Developers do with it!

THEN it got jailbroken. :)

Right now the jailbreak is rudimentary at best, there’s no Cydia, etc. It’s a tethered Jailbreak, so no more “Let me just restart it”, and all the fun is through SSH. However the other day XBMC was released for the AppleTV/iPad. Running natively on the A4 processor. XBMC allows you to access files over SMB. Now I can fire up my AppleTV reach over to the drobo, and watch Iron Man 2. Well kinda…

The AppleTV is capable of handling (aka loading) a 1080p video, but only outputs 720p video. No biggy but the 1080p files get a bit buffery when playing back, I’m hopeful this is something fixable in firmware (AppleTV) or software (XBMC update). But any 720p or lower rez video file, works like a champ!

The AppleTV has a ton of promise!

OK, GoogleTV.

Like most things Google has done lately, GoogleTV is a half baked solution pushed on consumers before it was ready. Sorry Google, the truth hurts. Not everything can be a Gmail.

The Interface is a bit kludgey, tho the keyboard remote control is nice when setting things up, but then a bit over the top when you just want to fire it up and watch something… oh wait there’s not much to watch…

The HDMI network control, is absolutely BAD ASS! I was talking to a friend, and described it as “Apple Level Magic” I mean, why the heck not have the device turn on the receiver and TV, WITHOUT IR blasters? Well I know why Apple won’t do it, because in exchange for a dead simple and easy experience, you give up a slightly annoying model number hunt during setup, that in theory is a one time thing, it’s a trade off I’d rather not make, because it’s such an awesome and Apple-like feature. Advantage GoogleTV

So back to there being nothing to watch. When I sit down at night and fire up my TV, it’s not to watch youtube. Which is about all there is to watch on GoogleTV. Well you can load up video podcasts, but again, that’s not why I’m in front of my Plasma TV with surround sound. Google has managed to completely piss off every network, so that  there’s NOTHING on GoogleTV. Sure there’s Netflix, but really, EVERYTHING is a Netflix box. My Wii, my PS3, my AppleTV, etc. I don’t need another NetFlix player.

Oh yeah and the promise of connecting to your DVR so you can watch your recorded shows… Only if you’re a dish network subscriber. Google has clearly decided that while they might preach “open” they have no problem making partnerships that effectively close up their platforms. Since I won’t use Dish Network, I’m without the cool DVR functionality, because I don’t use Google’s exclusive partner.

GoogleTV has a lot of promise, the app Market (same as AppleTV, it NEEDS apps) will be a big win, I hope (In vain I’m sure) that google just doesn’t open the flood gates and the market is wide open. Please limit the apps to media apps. I don’t want Angry birds! More than the Market, Google needs to make nice with the TV networks. Figure out how to run their ads, or something, shoot, pay them off for a while until you prove your value to them, something. GoogleTV is a fun toy for many right now, but the appeal of a youtube only set top box will wear off FAST.

Oh yeah, and it’s proving very hard to jailbreak… :(

So current winner: No one, certainly not me! My set up includes a Mac Mini that runs Hulu Desktop, the AppleTV for Netflix, and XBMC, and the GoogleTV for well, nothing right now but it’s plugged in in case a ray of hope comes down the internet for it.

If someone asked me about getting the AppleTV, I’d recommend it with a few warnings. If someone asked me about the GoogleTV, I’d tell them to wait, see if it’s around in a year, and then see if there’s any actual content on it.

Current Loser: The Networks. Why? Well I might expand in another post, but let’s just leave it at, since they won’t let me watch what I want (including ads) via Hulu, I get ad free content elsewhere. Networks, I’m offering you my attention, and have offered you my money, take your head out of your ass before it’s too late!

johnwilker.com – My Thoughts on V

Be warned if you haven’t watched it yet, stop reading.

I loved V as a kid, it was a great show, good message. Sure it was campy and Jane Badler was a psycho bitch of a bad guy, but it was a great show and set of Miniseries/TV Movies.

I watched the new V the other night and while I think it’s got promise, and I admit, it’s a “re-imagining” it’s got some work to do to measure up to the original.

Sure networks today, are run by retards, who give a show 1 episode to hit #1 and if it doesn’t they cancel so they can air more Dancing|singing|boxing|dieting with the stars, so I hope V get’s a chance to work out the kinks.

I’ll work thru the hour with my issues.

The Arrival. So big ass ships arrive over head. They look mean, not nearly as peaceful and goofy as the old series’ saucers. These new ships are bad ass looking. What do New Yorkers do? They clap. Uh, ok. Let’s assume this world hasn’t seen “Independence Day” oh wait, they make a reference to it, so big ass ships appear over head, and we clap? yeah.

The “Vs”. What. The. Fuck?! Is there no word we won’t just use as it is? We have to shorten to rediculousness? I mean, WTF STFU srsly? ;) Calling the Visitors “Vs” is just lame, they’re the Visitors.  Sure they dress snappy in modern human outfits, but they’re still Visitors.

Dress code. Sure the old red jumpsuits were a bit corny, but uh hello. The Visitors are a military/scientific mission. What military travels around in Armani suits? The uniform identified them as 1. visitors and 2. an army. Now they’re neither. Hell in this series “Vs” could all jump out of their ships, run thru the city and immediately blend in. No crazy shades needed, no off kilter voices.

The Red “V” as a propaganda tool FOR the visitors? Uh, I seem to recall pretty clearly that in the original the red “V” was a sign of defiance. It was V for victory over the Visitors, not V for Visitors. Again, What. The. Fuck

Pacing. Sure, like I said, networks today aren’t willing to wait an entire season or even half a season to spin out a compelling story, it needs to be out there fast, and each episode needs to stand on it’s own for the retarded masses with the memory of a goldfish. but really? 1 hour covered a good 3/4 of the series.

We saw, the Visitors revealed as lizards, we saw the existence of the 5th column, we saw the creation, and full fledged existence of the resistance, we didn’t and I suspect we won’t see the vilification of scientists. All we didn’t see was the guinea pig get eaten. I guess they had to keep something for episode 2. Oh and of course the teenage sex leading to an alien baby, looks like that’s lined up for early in the season too.

Lastly I’m bummed we didn’t get more of the original cast re-imagined. Unless they’ve been so re-imagined I didn’t even recognize them that is.

V looks A.W.E.S.O.M.E.!

I’m not sure what I think about the character of Mike Donavan being a priest (I presume that’s who he’s supposed to be, no names are used on the spot)

But hot damn if this clip doesn’t get you excited about watching white mice and guinea pigs eaten alive, well nothing probably will.

Just freakin’ cool! It almost seems like in this clip that the goal isn’t to eat us, which is weird, since that was the corner stone (and stealing our water) of the original miniseries/series/sequel book.