Cutting the “Network” Cord - Or So I Thought

In my series on cord cutting (Cutting The Cord Analysis, Cable vs. Cutting the Cord & The Fractured Streaming Marketplace), I’ve been talking about how some networks have a better understanding of what customers want and some just downright don’t get it or are confused (NBC & Showtime - You’re Streaming It Wrong). But an interesting fact has arisen that I never expected.

Let me first back up and tell you a few things to set the stage. Networks are scared to death that users aren’t associating content with their brands. For instance, if you go on iTunes and buy How I Met Your Mother, there’s no branding that tells you this show is a CBS show. I’m guessing this is one reason why CBS isn’t on Hulu or AppleTV or Roku. In fact, if you want to watch, let’s say, The Big Bang Theory’s latest episode, you have to wait at least 7 days and then the only access point is through CBS.com. So networks like AMC, Disney, MTV and even PBS, which are distributing content through OTT and services like Hulu, have taken measures to make sure users/viewers understand where that content is originating.

Here’s the funny fact I’ve learned. Because networks like CBS, AMC, FX, NBC, Showtime, etc. are making it so difficult to access their content, I now associate shows with those networks - but in a negative light, not a positive one. Now I look at the shows I want to watch and I make judgements based on which networks those shows belong too: Tosh.0?, oooohhh, that’s a Comedy Central show and they require a registration to watch full episodes (plus a cable subscription). Hannibal?, oooohhh that’s an NBC show and their app only does Airplay Mirroring.

It really can all be boiled down to 3 annoyances:

Cable Subscription Required - If you wanna watch the latest episode of Warehouse13 on SyFy, guess what, you gotta have a cable subscription. Now, older episodes of most shows are available without a subscription. So you know what that means? Unless you’re chopping the heads off major characters each week like Game of Thrones I can wait till your show is available for free.
No Airplay/Chromescast - If you do have an app and you’ve chosen Airplay mirror; or worse, purposefully disabled airplay, then you’re killing your viewers. Why do you care how they watch the stream? It’s still a video stream which counts in your favor. Why go out of your way to make it a terrible experience for the user?
Full Episodes Not Available1 - If all you’re serving up to your users is clips, previews, and snippets - then you’re missing the point. If you’re thinking, “We’ll just give them a taste of the show or ‘extra content’” then you don’t understand what the whole chord cutter movement is about and you should just move out of the way for someone who does and can serve your customers better.
Hey, I’m not saying don’t include ads. Include away. I don’t expect anything for free. I realize networks are ad supported. But the future of TV is accessible content on the user/viewer’s terms. And networks who understand that fact, and can get out ahead of the curve, are going to be better off in the long run.

Cover Photo: Getty Images

via https://dayone.me/dypzRc



I get the fact that lots of show contracts were written many years ago and full episode streaming may not be part of those legacy contracts. That’s a different problem. ↩

Cutting the “Network” Cord - Or So I Thought

In my series on cord cutting (Cutting The Cord Analysis, Cable vs. Cutting the Cord & The Fractured Streaming Marketplace), I’ve been talking about how some networks have a better understanding of what customers want and some just downright don’t get it or are confused (NBC & Showtime - You’re Streaming It Wrong). But an interesting fact has arisen that I never expected.

Let me first back up and tell you a few things to set the stage. Networks are scared to death that users aren’t associating content with their brands. For instance, if you go on iTunes and buy How I Met Your Mother, there’s no branding that tells you this show is a CBS show. I’m guessing this is one reason why CBS isn’t on Hulu or AppleTV or Roku. In fact, if you want to watch, let’s say, The Big Bang Theory’s latest episode, you have to wait at least 7 days and then the only access point is through CBS.com. So networks like AMC, Disney, MTV and even PBS, which are distributing content through OTT and services like Hulu, have taken measures to make sure users/viewers understand where that content is originating.

Here’s the funny fact I’ve learned. Because networks like CBS, AMC, FX, NBC, Showtime, etc. are making it so difficult to access their content, I now associate shows with those networks - but in a negative light, not a positive one. Now I look at the shows I want to watch and I make judgements based on which networks those shows belong too: Tosh.0?, oooohhh, that’s a Comedy Central show and they require a registration to watch full episodes (plus a cable subscription). Hannibal?, oooohhh that’s an NBC show and their app only does Airplay Mirroring.

It really can all be boiled down to 3 annoyances:

  1. Cable Subscription Required - If you wanna watch the latest episode of Warehouse13 on SyFy, guess what, you gotta have a cable subscription. Now, older episodes of most shows are available without a subscription. So you know what that means? Unless you’re chopping the heads off major characters each week like Game of Thrones I can wait till your show is available for free.

  2. No Airplay/Chromescast - If you do have an app and you’ve chosen Airplay mirror; or worse, purposefully disabled airplay, then you’re killing your viewers. Why do you care how they watch the stream? It’s still a video stream which counts in your favor. Why go out of your way to make it a terrible experience for the user?

  3. Full Episodes Not Available1 - If all you’re serving up to your users is clips, previews, and snippets - then you’re missing the point. If you’re thinking, “We’ll just give them a taste of the show or ‘extra content’” then you don’t understand what the whole chord cutter movement is about and you should just move out of the way for someone who does and can serve your customers better.

Hey, I’m not saying don’t include ads. Include away. I don’t expect anything for free. I realize networks are ad supported. But the future of TV is accessible content on the user/viewer’s terms. And networks who understand that fact, and can get out ahead of the curve, are going to be better off in the long run.

Cover Photo: Getty Images

via https://dayone.me/dypzRc


  1. I get the fact that lots of show contracts were written many years ago and full episode streaming may not be part of those legacy contracts. That’s a different problem. 

NBC & Showtime - You’re Streaming It Wrong

During my TV transition week going from cable to internet only I’ve been testing a lot of apps and services. I can honestly say Hulu is pretty great.

I can also say that some networks just don’t get it. I’m looking at you CBS and FX. CBS only allows viewing though a browser - and no, airplay is not supported. FX requires a cable subscription - lame.

But honestly, NBC and Showtime have me the most confused. During my overlap I still had my cable subscription but wanted to try Showtime’s iPad app to watch content via Airplay and AppleTV. Except, for some unknown reason, Showtime doesn’t allow Airplay or even AirPlay mirroring. Now, why would a network who’s content you’re already paying a premium for and obviously wants you to watch their content via their mobile apps, purposefully restrict you from viewing it on your TV?

And NBC is an odd one too. They have a beautiful iOS app that allows full episode streaming and AirPlay (albeit the lame AirPlay mirror function), but for some reason, they restrict certain shows on Hulu to Desktop only. Yep. If you want to watch Hannibal on NBC, you can choose to watch it through your iOS device or via AirPlay mirror on your TV for free, but if you’d like to use a paying service like Hulu, you’ll be restricted to desktop only. You can’t use the AppleTV’s HuluPlus app. Color me confused.

I know streaming video is a bit of a wild west right now and networks are scrambling to figure out the right amount of access combined with the right amount of fees, but this is crazy. HBO is still the only sane one in the market. Pay for their service and you can watch all their content, anywhere at anytime.

PBS is moving in the right direction, but contracts and money still play a large roll in determining what content is allowed to stream and for how long. PBS has apps for XBOX, Roku, and AppleTV along with iOS apps (iPhone & iPad), which makes PBS’ content extremely accessible. We also know there are some holes in that list that we’re working like crazy to plug. But sometimes, I wish we could simply pick a direction and go all-in.

via https://dayone.me/b1UzvV

NBC & Showtime - You’re Streaming It Wrong

During my TV transition week going from cable to internet only I’ve been testing a lot of apps and services. I can honestly say Hulu is pretty great.

I can also say that some networks just don’t get it. I’m looking at you CBS and FX. CBS only allows viewing though a browser - and no, airplay is not supported. FX requires a cable subscription - lame.

But honestly, NBC and Showtime have me the most confused. During my overlap I still had my cable subscription but wanted to try Showtime’s iPad app to watch content via Airplay and AppleTV. Except, for some unknown reason, Showtime doesn’t allow Airplay or even AirPlay mirroring. Now, why would a network who’s content you’re already paying a premium for and obviously wants you to watch their content via their mobile apps, purposefully restrict you from viewing it on your TV?

And NBC is an odd one too. They have a beautiful iOS app that allows full episode streaming and AirPlay (albeit the lame AirPlay mirror function), but for some reason, they restrict certain shows on Hulu to Desktop only. Yep. If you want to watch Hannibal on NBC, you can choose to watch it through your iOS device or via AirPlay mirror on your TV for free, but if you’d like to use a paying service like Hulu, you’ll be restricted to desktop only. You can’t use the AppleTV’s HuluPlus app. Color me confused.

I know streaming video is a bit of a wild west right now and networks are scrambling to figure out the right amount of access combined with the right amount of fees, but this is crazy. HBO is still the only sane one in the market. Pay for their service and you can watch all their content, anywhere at anytime.

PBS is moving in the right direction, but contracts and money still play a large roll in determining what content is allowed to stream and for how long. PBS has apps for XBOX, Roku, and AppleTV along with iOS apps (iPhone & iPad), which makes PBS’ content extremely accessible. We also know there are some holes in that list that we’re working like crazy to plug. But sometimes, I wish we could simply pick a direction and go all-in.

via https://dayone.me/b1UzvV

The Fractured Streaming Marketplace

As I make my plan to leave Comcast behind, I put together a list of my shows over the weekend, along with the various ways to watch them1, and it’s pretty pathetic. As I started grouping them by network, trends would emerge.

For instance, FX really does not want you streaming their shows. They’re not available on HuluPlus or Amazon, nor through their own apps. Basically the only way to watch them will be to purchase them on iTunes. Meaning, I’ll be watching a lot less FX shows in the future.

Another trend, Broadcast networks like FOX, ABC, and NBC are very Hulu friendly, but CBS is not - that probably has something to do with the fact they have a vested interest in Hulu being successful2.

I know websites such as Can I Stream it and apps like fan.tv have sprung up to try and help viewers make sense of this crazy world. But I’ve found them to not be 100% reliable or they don’t explain all the restrictions very well.

I’d actually be a little surprised to find out if networks keep a running tally of their competitor’s streaming availability in a chart such as this so they could program against it. At PBS we basically put every show from every local station up for streaming if rights allow it3. PLUG: We also have AppleTV, XBOX & ROKU apps for your TV. Plus, it’s ALL FREE. Hmmmm…maybe we should do a commercial about that.

via https://dayone.me/6WmzrN



Current seasons only. ↩



FOX, ABC, and NBC all own a piece of Hulu: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulu ↩



If it were up to us, every season of every show would be available all the time. ↩

The Fractured Streaming Marketplace

As I make my plan to leave Comcast behind, I put together a list of my shows over the weekend, along with the various ways to watch them1, and it’s pretty pathetic. As I started grouping them by network, trends would emerge.

For instance, FX really does not want you streaming their shows. They’re not available on HuluPlus or Amazon, nor through their own apps. Basically the only way to watch them will be to purchase them on iTunes. Meaning, I’ll be watching a lot less FX shows in the future.

Another trend, Broadcast networks like FOX, ABC, and NBC are very Hulu friendly, but CBS is not - that probably has something to do with the fact they have a vested interest in Hulu being successful2.

I know websites such as Can I Stream it and apps like fan.tv have sprung up to try and help viewers make sense of this crazy world. But I’ve found them to not be 100% reliable or they don’t explain all the restrictions very well.

I’d actually be a little surprised to find out if networks keep a running tally of their competitor’s streaming availability in a chart such as this so they could program against it. At PBS we basically put every show from every local station up for streaming if rights allow it3. PLUG: We also have AppleTV, XBOX & ROKU apps for your TV. Plus, it’s ALL FREE. Hmmmm…maybe we should do a commercial about that.

via https://dayone.me/6WmzrN


  1. Current seasons only. 

  2. FOX, ABC, and NBC all own a piece of Hulu: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulu 

  3. If it were up to us, every season of every show would be available all the time. 

Cable vs. Cutting the Cord

Back in 2011 I decided to go through all my TV viewing shows and compare what it would cost if I decided to “Cut the Cord” by getting rid of cable and go “all in” with digital subscriptions and/or purchases. The results were pretty disappointing to me…


  The cable option was $472 and the online option was $574. Cutting the cord was way more expensive that I had previously thought. These results might not be perfect but they show that, despite all the marketing and news reports about customer subscription rates dropping, this technology just isn’t up to par with my old fashioned cable subscription - yet!


So, now it’s 2014 and it’s time to once again re-evaluate the cord cutting option. I’ve seen quite a few friends go cable-less over the years and I myself have had a love-hate relationship with Comcast. Oddly, in 3 years, the same players are still the only ones on the field - iTunes, HuluPlus, and/or Amazon. I could make a case for Netflix being new to the party with it’s original shows like House of Cards though.

Assumptions & Rules

HD video only
Current seasons only
Hardware already purchased (ROKU, PS3, AppleTV, etc.)
Promotional cable rate doesn’t change for the entire duration of your TV season
Disclosure: For what it’s worth, I work in the TV industry and have worked at major cable networks.

I set about first listing1 all the shows I watched in the last 7 months. I use a service called Trakt in combination with a few different mobile apps, which helps me stay up to date on which episodes of which shows I’ve seen or have yet to watch.

The show I started this year’s data set with was Sons of Anarchy. Season 6 started in September of 2013 and I carried it through till March of 2014 - 7 months. There’s a detailed listing2 of shows in the annotations at the end of this article. The next thing I needed to do was breakdown the costs associated with my current setup at Comcast so I had a baseline of comparison.

The Current Setup

Premiere Digital Plan (includes HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, & Starz)
HD DVR
Internet (Blast3)
Total Bill: ($1534/mo. x 7 mo.): $1071

Last time I wanted a direct comparison of what it costs to consume content from Cable vs Internet, so I subtracted out the internet fees over the course of the experiment.


  Then, I wanted this comparison to be apples to apples so the figure had to represent JUST the cable package and NOT cable plus internet.


These days though, some shows I watch are internet only, thereby making the internet part of the entire viewing experience across the experiment; so I felt it fair not to exclude the pricing this time.

Next, I needed to find digital equivalents of all the shows[^3] I was currently watching through my cable subscription with services like iTunes, HuluPlus, etc. Fair warning, because of my job (and the fact I love TV) I watch A LOT of TV. My list is probably going to be twice as long as yours. You can find the list at the bottom of this article in the annotations[^3]. I found that all shows were available through HuluPlus or for purchase on iTunes.

Online Only Setup

NETFLIX - Streaming $8/mo. = $56
HuluPlus - Streaming $8/mo. = $56
iTunes - 9 Shows = $337
Internet - (Blast[^4]) $80/mo.5 = $560
Total Bill: $1009

Analysis

Obviously the most striking points from above are the fact at how expensive Internet service is and how much content I had to purchase (not rent) from iTunes to complete my list. Knowing now which shows I liked & which shows I could live without or delay viewing, I’d make very different choices. And while I might try the lower internet tier from Comcast (Performance6) I don’t think going with an “internet only” plan I’d be happy with those speeds.

One point that’s not obvious is that I loose the option for all the Premium channels (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, & Starz). That means no True Detective, Game of Thrones, The Newsroom, House of Lies, Episodes, Ray Donovan, Banshee, Strike Back, and many, many more shows that I LOVE. Faced with waiting for DVD’s or worse, BitTorrent, I’m sure I’d have to find some option7 to scratch that itch.

All in all, the price difference was minimum. And I still feel the availability of VOD, a very reliable connection & quality of signal, along with other perks such as Comcast’s many mobile apps allowing for control; outweigh all their downsides. Although, I’m really not sure how long that’s going to last. If I were in a bind financially, I could easily scale back my TV viewing habits by cutting down the iTunes purchases and going with the lower tier internet service. Hmmm…what would that look like?

NETFLIX - Streaming $8/mo. = $56
HuluPlus - Streaming $8/mo. = $56
iTunes - 4 Shows = ~$170
Internet - Performance[^8] $40/mo.[^7] = $280
Total Bill: $562

Wow. Compared with $1071, that’s something I might be very interested in over the next year or so.

Cover Photo: Getty Images

via https://dayone.me/dxRzKq



https://www.evernote.com/shard/s223/sh/fa73dc2d-2e5a-4df6-a648-534c62dc5fbc/378479fb0ebdfe0950ccbd8ebb316f71 ↩



https://www.evernote.com/shard/s223/sh/350e906f-f6aa-4b63-93e1-63787f9a7740/c48b5877e588c0777404183245404a84 ↩



Blast High Speed - http://www.dslreports.com/faq/15643, Blast: 50000 Kbps / 15000 Kbps (DOCSIS 3.0 tier), Downstream: 55000 Kbps , Upstream: 16500 Kbps, This translates into about 6875 KB/sec maximum transfer rate when you are downloading and about 1875 KB/sec maximum transfer rate when you are uploading. ↩



Ironically this is less per month than 3 years ago when I did this ↩



Cable companies give you a break when you package your internet with your cable subscription. If you decide to go Internet only, they’re going to charge you more. And if more and more people start to cut their cable subscriptions, then the cable companies will have no choice but to raise rates on their internet packages. ↩



Listed on Comcast’s website as $40/mo. for 12 months. http://www.comcast.com/internet-service.html ↩



http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/20/hbo-doesnt-care-if-you-share-your-hbo-go-account-for-now/ ↩

Cable vs. Cutting the Cord

Back in 2011 I decided to go through all my TV viewing shows and compare what it would cost if I decided to “Cut the Cord” by getting rid of cable and go “all in” with digital subscriptions and/or purchases. The results were pretty disappointing to me…

The cable option was $472 and the online option was $574. Cutting the cord was way more expensive that I had previously thought. These results might not be perfect but they show that, despite all the marketing and news reports about customer subscription rates dropping, this technology just isn’t up to par with my old fashioned cable subscription - yet!

So, now it’s 2014 and it’s time to once again re-evaluate the cord cutting option. I’ve seen quite a few friends go cable-less over the years and I myself have had a love-hate relationship with Comcast. Oddly, in 3 years, the same players are still the only ones on the field - iTunes, HuluPlus, and/or Amazon. I could make a case for Netflix being new to the party with it’s original shows like House of Cards though.


Assumptions & Rules

  • HD video only
  • Current seasons only
  • Hardware already purchased (ROKU, PS3, AppleTV, etc.)
  • Promotional cable rate doesn’t change for the entire duration of your TV season

Disclosure: For what it’s worth, I work in the TV industry and have worked at major cable networks.

I set about first listing1 all the shows I watched in the last 7 months. I use a service called Trakt in combination with a few different mobile apps, which helps me stay up to date on which episodes of which shows I’ve seen or have yet to watch.

The show I started this year’s data set with was Sons of Anarchy. Season 6 started in September of 2013 and I carried it through till March of 2014 - 7 months. There’s a detailed listing2 of shows in the annotations at the end of this article. The next thing I needed to do was breakdown the costs associated with my current setup at Comcast so I had a baseline of comparison.


The Current Setup

  • Premiere Digital Plan (includes HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, & Starz)
  • HD DVR
  • Internet (Blast3)

Total Bill: ($1534/mo. x 7 mo.): $1071

Last time I wanted a direct comparison of what it costs to consume content from Cable vs Internet, so I subtracted out the internet fees over the course of the experiment.

Then, I wanted this comparison to be apples to apples so the figure had to represent JUST the cable package and NOT cable plus internet.

These days though, some shows I watch are internet only, thereby making the internet part of the entire viewing experience across the experiment; so I felt it fair not to exclude the pricing this time.

Next, I needed to find digital equivalents of all the shows[^3] I was currently watching through my cable subscription with services like iTunes, HuluPlus, etc. Fair warning, because of my job (and the fact I love TV) I watch A LOT of TV. My list is probably going to be twice as long as yours. You can find the list at the bottom of this article in the annotations[^3]. I found that all shows were available through HuluPlus or for purchase on iTunes.


Online Only Setup

  • NETFLIX - Streaming $8/mo. = $56
  • HuluPlus - Streaming $8/mo. = $56
  • iTunes - 9 Shows = $337
  • Internet - (Blast[^4]) $80/mo.5 = $560

Total Bill: $1009


Analysis

Obviously the most striking points from above are the fact at how expensive Internet service is and how much content I had to purchase (not rent) from iTunes to complete my list. Knowing now which shows I liked & which shows I could live without or delay viewing, I’d make very different choices. And while I might try the lower internet tier from Comcast (Performance6) I don’t think going with an “internet only” plan I’d be happy with those speeds.

One point that’s not obvious is that I loose the option for all the Premium channels (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, & Starz). That means no True Detective, Game of Thrones, The Newsroom, House of Lies, Episodes, Ray Donovan, Banshee, Strike Back, and many, many more shows that I LOVE. Faced with waiting for DVD’s or worse, BitTorrent, I’m sure I’d have to find some option7 to scratch that itch.

All in all, the price difference was minimum. And I still feel the availability of VOD, a very reliable connection & quality of signal, along with other perks such as Comcast’s many mobile apps allowing for control; outweigh all their downsides. Although, I’m really not sure how long that’s going to last. If I were in a bind financially, I could easily scale back my TV viewing habits by cutting down the iTunes purchases and going with the lower tier internet service. Hmmm…what would that look like?

  • NETFLIX - Streaming $8/mo. = $56
  • HuluPlus - Streaming $8/mo. = $56
  • iTunes - 4 Shows = ~$170
  • Internet - Performance[^8] $40/mo.[^7] = $280

Total Bill: $562

Wow. Compared with $1071, that’s something I might be very interested in over the next year or so.

Cover Photo: Getty Images

via https://dayone.me/dxRzKq


  1. https://www.evernote.com/shard/s223/sh/fa73dc2d-2e5a-4df6-a648-534c62dc5fbc/378479fb0ebdfe0950ccbd8ebb316f71 

  2. https://www.evernote.com/shard/s223/sh/350e906f-f6aa-4b63-93e1-63787f9a7740/c48b5877e588c0777404183245404a84 

  3. Blast High Speed - http://www.dslreports.com/faq/15643, Blast: 50000 Kbps / 15000 Kbps (DOCSIS 3.0 tier), Downstream: 55000 Kbps , Upstream: 16500 Kbps, This translates into about 6875 KB/sec maximum transfer rate when you are downloading and about 1875 KB/sec maximum transfer rate when you are uploading. 

  4. Ironically this is less per month than 3 years ago when I did this 

  5. Cable companies give you a break when you package your internet with your cable subscription. If you decide to go Internet only, they’re going to charge you more. And if more and more people start to cut their cable subscriptions, then the cable companies will have no choice but to raise rates on their internet packages. 

  6. Listed on Comcast’s website as $40/mo. for 12 months. http://www.comcast.com/internet-service.html 

  7. http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/20/hbo-doesnt-care-if-you-share-your-hbo-go-account-for-now/ 

The Apple website has a phenomenal 30 year retrospective if you haven’t seen it yet. But buried in one of the pages is a variable that allows you to see what Macs were used for during each year based on genres.

It’s a little sad to see that in 1984, the biggest groups were Education/Training and Desktop Publishing. Now, in 2013, Graphic Design doesn’t even register and the biggest use for a Mac is Internet & Email.
The Apple website has a phenomenal 30 year retrospective if you haven’t seen it yet. But buried in one of the pages is a variable that allows you to see what Macs were used for during each year based on genres.
It’s a little sad to see that in 1984, the biggest groups were Education/Training and Desktop Publishing. Now, in 2013, Graphic Design doesn’t even register and the biggest use for a Mac is Internet & Email.

TV Sharing Apps

I performed a brief test with my 3 favorite TV logging apps (iShows, 60Hz, and iTV Shows) to see which one shared best on both Twitter & Facebook.

Results:

Twitter - 60Hz

Facebook - iTV Shows

Ideal solution: the way 60Hz shares on twitter plus the way iTV Shows shares on Facebook. Basically, using the show image as large as possible in each format.

iShows

Didn’t work for me. Links don’t show up inline for either FB nor Twitter

Trakt.tv via 60Hz App

Best Twitter sharing. Main image from show is shared as large photo with link and description inline.

Facebook not bad as well. Comment shared properly with link and small image - i.e. normal link formatting.

iTV

Best Facebook. Comment shared properly with large image but filed under iOS oddly enough.

Twitter not bad. Link shows image inline (i.e. normal sharing format) but much smaller than trakt.tv

First, 4K is the cinematic resolution. Consumers should look for the term Ultra High Definition (UHD). Let’s get that straight.

I don’t know yet if 4K is worth it or not. But PBS Is actively testing and making plans for it so when I get my first live demo I’ll have a better understanding.

What I can say is that I wish broadcasters & distributors would first focus on is the quality of their current HD signals. The compression is out of control. Some networks look like YouTube videos they’re so compressed at times - especially during live sporting events.

If networks were to increase the quality of their HD signals to the point where you can’t tell if it’s a Blu-Ray disc or an over the air signal, we’d be better off.

Blogs, Blogs, & More Blogs

When it comes to blogging I’m a restless soul. I’ve tried quite a few in the last few years.

Besides the staples…

http://itswilder.tumblr.com and http://davidwilder.tumblr.com
http://itswilder.wordpress.com
I’ve been trying a few new platforms such as…

http://scriptogr.am/itswilder (this one uses Dropbox for a publishing platform
http://itswilder.postach.io (this one uses Evernote for a publishing platform)
My new fetish is a platform called Ghost…

http://itswilder.ghost.io
It’s quite nice (albeit a bit confusing at first to set up). But, it is still in beta so while there aren’t some features the big boys might have (mobile apps) there are some nice features that it does already include (markdown, themes, etc.).

They all have advantages and disadvantages. But what keeps me coming back to Tumblr is the community. The dashboard full of content that’s easily “reblogged” and the community of people who can reblog my posts. No other platform has that so, for them, they must rely on people who are writing and promoting their stuff through various platforms such as twitter or Facebook. That’s tough for someone who isn’t a full time writer. Otherwise, you’re simply writing with no one to read and that’s pretty depressing.

Photo: Techmest

Blogs, Blogs, & More Blogs

When it comes to blogging I’m a restless soul. I’ve tried quite a few in the last few years.

Besides the staples…

I’ve been trying a few new platforms such as…

My new fetish is a platform called Ghost…

It’s quite nice (albeit a bit confusing at first to set up). But, it is still in beta so while there aren’t some features the big boys might have (mobile apps) there are some nice features that it does already include (markdown, themes, etc.).

They all have advantages and disadvantages. But what keeps me coming back to Tumblr is the community. The dashboard full of content that’s easily “reblogged” and the community of people who can reblog my posts. No other platform has that so, for them, they must rely on people who are writing and promoting their stuff through various platforms such as twitter or Facebook. That’s tough for someone who isn’t a full time writer. Otherwise, you’re simply writing with no one to read and that’s pretty depressing.

Photo: Techmest

Comcast & X2 - They Still Don’t Get It

Comcast is now touting their new X2 platform (again) which is the succesor of the X1 platform. I have to give kudos to Comcast for realizing their experiences are terrible and they need to adapt to new viewer habits and expectations. But I also have to think that they still don’t get it. Take for instance this screen shot from their most recent promotional video. It’s a shot of lots of different remote models they’re obviously testing - different form factors and materials. But, holy crap, these already look horrible. Too many buttons, too bulky, too unfriendly.

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I’d like to say I’ve tried the X1 platform to give a more robust review. But after 5 calls to their customer service center they refuse to issue me (an existing customer - they’re only for NEW customers) a new X1 cable box - despite the fact I live in one of only a few trial areas. Yet, they continue to hound me with junk mail trying to get me to purchase a land line. < sigh >

Also, I’m just not sold on the idea that multiple images on screen, no matter how “flat” the design, leads to easier communication. Personally, it’s still too much visual distraction.

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It’s good that the menus and navigation have gotten a makeover, but the UX still looks like they’re living in the 2000’s. I think someone is going to come along and present an even more simplified experience. One that doesn’t overwhelm someone with so many options on screen at once. Something like…iOS v1 - then builds on that simplicity over time.

But for now, just go buy a $99 AppleTV and download the PBS app. You’ll be better off.

Below is the video:

This looks pretty cool. A new blogging platform based on Evernote’s backend. I’ve already posted a few items from my main blogs to test it out and it’s FAST. Updating is FAST. Changing themes is FAST. And, I already use Evernote for most note taking anyway.

Check it out: http://itswilder.postach.io

I’ve been using a combination of Tumblr and Scriptogr.am for awhile. But this might be worth keeping an eye on.