Miscellaneous Product Creation Video Marketing

Three Stupid Things About TV

Yesterday I exchanged my normal cable box for one that handles HD signals. I didn’t need to do it before now because until my birthday recently I didn’t even have an HDTV and rarely watched a “channel” at all.

First thing I noticed with the new box is that stuff looked *really* different. In a good way. Clarity and vibrant colors. The trade-in was definitely worth the extra $8 per month.

As cool as the enhanced picture is, during my TV watching session yesterday I noticed three things that made me realize (once again) why watching TV is mainly just a waste of time.

1st Stupid Thing

Some of the commercials BLARED out of the TV so much louder than the main program it wasn’t even funny. I don’t actually blame the producers of the commercials so much as I do the cable company. Why don’t they normalize the volume of the content they push down their pipe?!? I simply don’t believe they don’t have the technical ability to do so — I think they just don’t care about their customers.

When a company cares that little about their customers they don’t deserve to be in business.

And if I’m wrong and they DON’T have the technical ability to normalize the volume, they could always refuse to air commercials that are volume boosted. That would be the right thing to do for their customers.

2nd Stupid Thing

We’ve not been a “TV family” for at least the last 7 years. We’ve usually had a set but used it for movies, not TV itself. But a while back we won an Xbox 360 which got a bit of use (mainly by my son) and then Skyrim came out. And I wanted it but knew I wouldn’t be satisfied playing it on an old-fashioned tube TV. So my family all chipped in and bought me an HDTV for my birthday — and Skyrim.

That was cool, but now that I had an HDTV I wanted to experience Bluy-Ray so I bought a player.

And I’d always wanted an AppleTV so I could play around with AirPlay from my iPad and stuff, so I bought one of those.

So now we have a remote for the TV, one for the cable box, one for the Blu-Ray player, one for the Xbox, and one for the Apple TV.

Yes, I have heard of universal remotes, and we have a couple of them, but every one I’ve tried has *something* missing, that one function that I use often enough to make me have to grab more than one remote.

I’m not sure there’s a good answer to this problem, although a single standard that all entertainment equipment manufacturers would implement would be a good start. My Sony Blu-Ray player and my AppleTV can both be controlled using my iPhone or iPad, but they both use different apps. As more and more pieces of equipment become wi-fi enabled maybe this problem will solve itself.

3rd Stupid Thing

While watching a show the lower third of the screen was obscured for about 20 seconds by an advertisement. Are you kidding me?! We just got out of a commercial break and you’re going to hide part of the program I’m watching in order to fit more promos in?

In the past I’ve seen little blurbs on the bottom part of the screen, but a full third? And for such a long time? I’m already paying for my cable* so why are you even showing commercials in the first place?

Why I Keep My Subscription

Stupid Thing #2 above isn’t the fault of the cable company, but the other two things are. * We have cable because the landlord pays for it, but at some point we’ll be in a position where we have a choice, and when that comes I can’t imagine paying the cable company a penny (unless it a requirement in order to get internet service).

With all the options available where I don’t have to watch commercials and I don’t have watch when the cable company airs a program, why would I choose something so inferior? I won’t.

Internet Marketing Miscellaneous Product Creation

Stuck In The Middle (Updated)

I’ve been the owner of a Kindle Fire for just about 12 hours now so I don’t have a lot of experience, but my initial reaction — overall — is that it’s the wrong size.

At the risk of being called a fanboy (or even fanboi) I think Steve Jobs was right about 7″ tablets not being a good size. (Now watch them come out with one…) Here’s why:

If I’m in a “mobile” situation, stopped at a red light, standing in line, etc., my iPhone is the perfect size. And if I’m in a “settled” situation like sitting in bed or on the couch, I’d rather have the large screen of the iPad.

The middle size of the Fire is too large for mobile and too small for stationary.

As far as usability goes, it’s fine. There are some stuttering and things that happen that make me realize I take don’t notice the smoothness of the iPad and/or iOS until it’s gone. And while I don’t know what the actual weight is, it feels heavier than my iPad with the case. Maybe the Fire feels heavy because it’s too big to grip comfortably in one hand, and the bezel is too small to hold comfortably that way.

I bought the Kindle because I need the device to be able to test my games on it, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bothered. It’s not a bad device, but if you need a tablet and can possibly swing it (price wise) go ahead and get an iPad.

Update Jan 14, 2012

A few days later and I may need to rethink my opposition to the size of the Fire. Since then I’ve used it several times each day and even carried it with me on one outing instead of the iPad (okay, I had the iPad in the car just in case, but didn’t touch it).

When the iPad came out people claimed it was a “consumption device” and not suitable for creating content or doing real work. That idea has been knocked completely out of the ballpark but I’d say that description is a good one for the Kindle Fire.

Reading books, watching movies, playing games — those things all work fine. But I wouldn’t want to have to update a web site, type more than a short email, etc., on a Kindle Fire. I can take my iPad to a coffee shop for a few hours and get a lot of actual work done — that’s not the kind of thing you’d want to do with a Fire.

I still find the size awkward and the web browser is too small to really use for “browsing”, but as an extra tablet it’s nice to have around.


Response to MG Siegler

On his blog MG Siegler said (in a post about commenting on blogs):

“If you’re saying something that you think is great, why would you want to do it as a comment on another site anyway?”

Obvious answer — because I want to have a conversation, not give a speech.

While a conversation can consist of a post on one blog, a couple Tweets, a post on another blog, etc., that’s not usually very satisfying. Or efficient.

Internet Marketing Miscellaneous Product Creation Programming

Is That A Computer In Your Pocket…

Laptops are outselling desktop machines (by a huge margin) and tablets (iPads, specifically) are being used to replace laptops by more and more people.

I can see a time within a couple years (yeah, that soon) where the only computer most people will need will be an iPhone.

Sidebar: Yeah, someone using Android could pull off what I’m suggesting, but Apple has a proven track record of doing more cool things. Sorry, just a fact.

A “home computer” could consist of a monitor and a keyboard — and your iPhone. Sit down in front of the keyboard and connect your iPhone to the monitor — that could be as simple as tapping the phone against the the monitor. It’s wireless — and iPhones can already mirror what’s on their screens.

And iPhones already talk to Bluetooth keyboards. So right now, today, you can actually do 90% of what I’m talking about.

What’s missing is a way to use a touchpad to control the “cursor” on the screen — of course, while the iPhone is sending its signal to the HDTV/monitor, it could be used as a regular touchpad that controls an on-screen cursor, so that piece is easy for Apple to add.

Your iPhone is powerful enough to do 100% of what 90% of people use computers for:

  • Listening to and watching audio/video
  • Reading
  • Browsing web sites
  • Using Facebook
  • Email
  • Playing games

Am I missing anything? Isn’t that about the extent of what *most* people do with a computer?

With a system like that in place you could be at someone’s house and check your email, update your Facebook status, etc., without needing to log in and out of someone’s computer — because you’re using the computer in your pocket.

Make the monitors just a little bit “smart” so they can watch for nearby iPhones and when you walk up to one it can ask if you want to connect — wirelessly, of course.

Right now I can do a lot of my computing on my iPhone and/or iPad but I have different data on those devices than on my desktop computer. Cloud storage helps with that problem to some extent, but I’m looking forward to the day when someone (Apple, probably) puts all the pieces together into a really compelling package.