This is Coull!

•5 May 2008 • 5 Comments

I don’t know if I’m a whore for advertising, but I really love this idea. Coull is an interactive video platform. It allows companies to “tag” their advertising video to find out more about their target audience, sell the items tagged and/or market their products.

W.O.W. – this takes Internet advertising to the next level! I can imagine this being incorporated into online TV. While watching the next episode of Grey’s Anatomy (now sponsored by Discovery Health) you could click on the insurance policy a bleeding man is holding and find out how to insure against leg amputations. Or whatever. 

Imagine watching a news piece and buying the same blouse the anchor is wearing! I hope you wash it before you wear it. You never know where those anchors have been.

Seriously: I think this is a great way for advertisers to engage with their audience. It’s fun for the audience as well. Sitting in front of the PC screen can be boring, even when watching something unbelievably exciting such as the news. However, this is a way in which the user can interact with what’s happening on the screen. Online games are very popular and this speaks for the interest in interactivity that users are expressing.

The reason I am suggesting this for online TV is simple: who is going to browse the web for ads? Unless you’re paid for it, you won’t consider watching an online ad. Coull speaks of these ads going viral. Seriously? “Hey Fred, I just saw this GREAT ad for smarties. Check it out! Cheers, Tammy.” If Tammy ever sent you this email, she’s quite a dull friend.

Screenshots:

Nice stockings!

Those are awesome stockings in that Agent Provocateur ad. My boyfriend would love these on me. Let’s click on them.

Clicking on the stockings leads you straight to a \"Buy Now\" window.

Wow! I can order them right here and now. Nifty.

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Technology rots kids’ minds

•28 April 2008 • 2 Comments

This is a headline in the most recent edition of Sunday Times (April 27, 2008). The story details all the really, really bad things that TV does to children. And I tend to agree. It’s not normal for 18-month old children to be able to insert a CD-ROM and attempt to use a mouse.

However, there is one thing in the story that I find a bit far-fetched. Make that two. Firstly, an occupational therapist says that children who spend a substantial amount of their day watching television develop low muscle tone. This makes them use too much effort to sit up straight at school and – BAM! – all their energy is used up and they can no longer concentrate. In my opinion, the fact that they can’t concentrate lies in their overall decreased concentration span. The constant “surfing” on TV channels is what makes them so distracted in other scenarios like school. And it’s not only TV to blame! The latest children’s video games are action-based rather than learning-based. They don’t teach concentration or thinking-skills. It’s all just wham, bam, thank you ma’m!

The second thing which makes me snort in derision is the portentous reset button. It makes occupational therapists the world over shudder at the thought. Children can just press the button and the whole ending changes! “There is no need to attempt to rectify or improve the situation and consequently no time for reflection and learning,” says child psychologist Carol Affleck. The reset button, my friend, has been around for a very long time. I grew up with a reset button on my Nintendo. And look: I do not live in a delusional world that allows me to erase what I just did! All children grow up to learn these things eventually and I doubt anyone (including Carol Affleck) hasn’t dreamt of being able to start the day over. Unhealthy? I think not.

In the future, television habits will have to be taken into account eventually. Lessons in school might have to be shorter or more interactive. However, parents are more responsible than ever to make sure their children get a healthy upbringing in the world of bigger, better, faster next-generation TV. 

Welcome to your future

•28 April 2008 • 2 Comments

Imagine a future where you can determine your own TV line-up. You can select the television programmes you want to watch and play them in that order, pausing to go make yourself a sandwich or fast-forwarding when the movie gets too boring. In this way, you watch a bit of Heroes Season 3, take a break with Seinfeld and then delve right into Lord of the Rings which you didn’t finish yesterday evening. All this without going to the DVD rental around the corner. Experts are saying: this is the future.

As you might have picked up from the media, television is going digital. And Internet TV has been deemed more of a possibility than anyone thought at the time of its inception. YouTube has made the idea seem more palatable to its users than ever before. Software has been developed to ensure the quality of video distributed over the Net. And companies such as Microsoft are developing products that enable Internet video to be viewed on TV sets instead of only on PC screens.

Apple Computer is trying to do the same thing in the video market. In 2005, it introduced an iPod that plays videos, and launched a department in its iTunes store that sells episodes of popular TV shows, such as Desperate Housewives and Lost. While the iTunes video library is limited today, it’s clear that Apple’s approach is shaking up the entertainment industry and a new distribution model is emerging for video.

As always, the Internet is one step ahead of us: in 2005, a website called Bollywood.tv, which uses EdgeStream’s technology, launched a service that offers more than 730 Indian movies over the Internet.

The future might not be that far away after all.

 

Links

Slingbox (TV streaming device)

Take control of your TV (before it takes control of you)

•13 April 2008 • 2 Comments

People are getting damn lazy. And DStv knows it. For the low, low price of R2999* (incl. Vat but excl. dish and installation) you too can get their latest consumer fad. Their Personal Video Recorder (PVR) has ‘revolutionised’ the way in which people watch tv. They now watch it like couch potato vermin.

Who on earth would want to record 80 hours of television? When are you ever going to watch all the bullshit you taped? Sure, your dinner with granny got in the way of the Soccer World Cup, but that’s why you have a good ol’ video recorder. Sturdy and durable. It’s a myth that people don’t know how to use those things – I read the instruction manual and hey, presto! we have ourselves taping what’s on the telly.

However, there are so many channels to choose from nowadays, that we can’t just watch one. Oh, no! We have to overindulge. And we can do exactly that with the PVR! You can watch 2 different channels while recording a third! Movies are so predictable nowadays that you might even be able to pull it off.

But wait, there’s more! You can even pause live tv when you need to listen to your nagging wife. Does anyone see where I’m going with this?

Our lives are becoming increasingly “easier”. But what most people don’t see is that our lives are being controlled by big companies. They use our laziness as the perfect excuse to direct money-flow in their direction. The extreme example of this is this little beauty:

Known as NapTv (as seen on cherryflava.com), it lets the viewer lie down below the tv and chill (imagine it standing on its legs). Who knows, you might even fall asleep! And when you don’t need it anymore, just stand it in the corner and use it as a chair. It’s the ideal toy to hide your porn collection from said nagging wife. Perfect.

All these ‘ease of use’ policies we see translating into ‘convenience’ are just making us mindless consumers of more tv than we really need. We don’t need someone to wipe our arses for us. No, really.

Gently does it

•10 March 2008 • 1 Comment

 Technology is a way of organizing the universe so that man doesn’t have to experience it.

Don’t know anything about Next Generation Television? Neither do I. So let’s take this journey together and find out what it means.

When I first heard that the topic “Next Generation Television” (next-gen tv from now on) was up for grabs, I thought it would be interesting. My specalisation in JMS 3 was tv and I thought I knew enough about the topic to sail through these blog assignments. Boy, was I mistaken! The topic of next-gen tv is incredibly diverse and multi-layered. It inevitably involves big egos and even bigger names.

So, until I get to the bottom of this pit of knowledge, name-dropping should be enough. Think Microsoft, Apple, YouTube, and its the South African cousin (twice removed) MyVideo. I’ll also be blogging about streaming video, mobile television, and why South Africa desperately needs new technologies to faciliate the digital migration. I’ll give you a hint: the SABC sucks.

Watch this space!