Television

I Cut the Cord

About a month ago I decided to cut the TV package off of my Google Fiber account. I simply couldn’t justify paying for all the channels I never watched. Like all TV services, Google is forced to buy network packages, so everyone ends up getting a flood of channels they’ll never watch. In my case, it was all of the Spanish language channels, a ton of sports programming and religious networks, children’s programming, and home shopping networks. When I took a look at the channel line up, out of hundreds of channels that were being offered there were probably 15 to 20 that I wanted, and 6 of those were available over the air for free with an HD antenna. So I did some math added up the cost of services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, DirectTV Now and figure I could save close to 100 bucks a month if I dropped the Google TV package and went 100 percent streaming.

Now, before anyone jumps on the Google Fiber bashing bandwagon, let’s get something straight this is the same situation for any cable and internet service provider because the networks have them hamstrung. The same thing applies to Rectum, I mean Spectrum (formerly Time Warner), Cox, SureWest, ATT, DirectTV, Dish, and on and on. They all have to buy the big network packages and offer more than any customer ever really needs. There simply is no ala carte TV solution available for consumers, which sucks. Given the opportunity, I would buy each channel I watch for a set price and be done with it. Unfortunately, that isn’t coming anytime soon from what I can tell.

Here I am about 4 weeks in, and I don’t think I’ll go back. I don’t have a DVR, although there are plenty of options available. I have access to the content I want to watch. I’m actually watching less TV and engaging more with content like TED Talks on my Apple TV. Since I never watched anything beyond the national news in real time I don’t feel like I am missing any programming that I am interested in, and thanks to my Smart TV from Sony I have Netflix and Amazon built in with both offering 4K content that looks great. My only gripe is networks like CBS are trying to force me to install their app and then pay for individual shows which means I am forced to watch programs like 60 Minutes, and CBS Sunday morning on my Computer or iPad through the CBS News websites, and I’m OK with that.

Over the last year Pay TV has continued to decline as streaming services continue to produce original content, and offer up programming available from other networks. I don’t see this trend ending which is going to force the major networks and cable providers to rethink their strategy. They are going to have to figure out a new model because I’m not the only one cutting the cord and moving on.

Out of all the channels shown below, the highlighted ones are those that we watched, and some of those were few and far between. 5 of them are available for free over the air in HD. 220+ channels and we were watching 15 of them.

The Kitchen.

Most people never realize just how much work goes into producing a TV commercial. For the most part what we see, if we are fast-forwarding over them, is the fifteen-second edit of the original sixty-second spot. They whiz by in a blip sandwiched between other ads that blend into a seamless stream of no one paying attention. But occasionally someone posts a video showing how things get done.

Have you ever wondered how they match the 3D animations to live action footage? Blend shots together? What the total production of a video looks like?  The video below for Canal+ shows you. No it doesn’t go into any lengthy detailed VFX breakdown, but it does give you a pretty solid idea of what it took to produce the promotional spot titled “The Kitchen”.

The finished sixty second spot

How they made it.

Every 2016 Super Bowl 50 Commercial Right Here

SB50Well this Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl, and frankly my give a rip factor is at about zero. It’s not that I’m anti football, it’s just that I really don’t care to watch the Bronco’s play in another one. This is what, number 9 since 1977. I would say I’m going to record it to watch the commercials but the reality is why? All the commercials are now leaked online before the game, so if you really want to see them you can. No need to tune in and sit through the Super Bowl in order to catch some “million dollar thirties”.

Which brings me to this question. Have Super Bowl commercials jumped the shark?

I would have to say yes, because there is no point in forking over that kind of money, for a spot that will air once, probably be missed, not heard, or forgotten, and will only be re-aired as a cut down fifteen second spot for even more cash. The Super Bowl has marquee factor, but if your thirty or sixty second spot is supposed to make an impact, sell a good or service, and be memorable I’m thinking it has less of a chance these days. Every Super Bowl party I have been to, people are yacking it up and having a good time. When the commercial break happens, it’s hard as hell to hear it, sometimes see it,  let alone remember what it was for.

So, if you are  like me and just don’t give a damn about the game this year, but do want to see what a few million buys you in TV advertising, all the commercials are right here. Oh, and a number of these are the full 60 second extended version of the ad.

I think I’m going to go see a movie Sunday night. I’m pretty sure I’ll have the theater all to myself.

Gatorade’s 360 Degree Immersive Baseball Experience is Pretty Damn Cool.

With the Kansas City Royals about to clinch their first division title in 30 years my head has been a little baseball focused these days. This afternoon I came across a new interactive ad from Gatorade designed to work in Chrome, or the latest mobile app version of YouTube. Yes unfortunately for some, you have to check this out in Chrome.

What we have is a 360 degree virtual reality baseball experience that puts you the viewer in Bryce Harpers Point of View (I wish it was a Royals player though). When you load the video you can pan around the stadium from the on deck circle while waiting to get up to bat in the bottom of the 9th. Then you get to go toe to toe with a Major League pitcher and see if you can smack a fastball out of the park.

 

It’s a great use of technology with little product placement or marketing going on. It is however memorable and there is a tiny little Gatorade logo in the bottom right corner of the video reminding you who brought you this experience.