TV

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.

Advertisements

Test Pattern Lamps For The Video Nerd

Do you know a video nerd in need of some new studio / edit bay / office decor? If so, this is the perfect lamp for them. Inspired by analog TV test cards, Hungarian designer Simon Forgacs has created the “Mono Lamp”, a table lamp that captures the essence of TV for a those of us who grew up with analog CRT’s. The lamps come in two variations, color, and grayscale, with the latter looking a bit like the Death Star from Star wars.  Both are constructed from a plastic globe that is suspended above an ash wood base on an aluminum pole. Each is just under 12 inches in diameter with a height of 14 inches. You can pick one up on Forgacs Indigogo site, but if you live outside of Europe you’re going to need an adapter for the Type C plugin.

 

A little Friday Inspiration.

Most of my Friday morning has been spent looking at video clips trying to find inspiration for an animated video wall that will be playing in an upcoming trade show. While perusing the Vimeo I came across this series of videos from NERDO for the rebrand of La Effe. Theses have such a great look to them. Simple graphics, reduced color pallet, nice use of typography, great timing, and presence. The Graphic Pack shows the application of the look across a broad spectrum of uses, while the indents showcase a tighter venue for the animation. Yes I am seriously considering borrowing some of this concept for my 60 second loops. If you want to know more about the work, there is a complete case study here.

COMODO Christmas Zoetrope Idents for TVE.

Tis the season, and Barcelona’s COMODO has produced a series of indents forSpanish broadcasting network TVE. The spots use a zoetrope to crete the animations. Each piece was built from scratch over a two month period of time with lots of trial and error to get things just right. The result is a series of fun holiday themed indents featuring Christmas, New Years Eve, and the Three Kings. Below are the final results and a making of video that is light on technical details but fun to watch just the same.

Finally a TV Ad That Doesn’t Make Dad Look Like a Complete Idiot.

Over the last decade or so there has been a trend in advertising that for the most part portrays men, father’s, as complete idiots when it comes to handling anything related to fatherhood, marriage, household chores, etc. The ads are supposed to be humorous, and in some cases are, but for the most part the men represented come off like complete fools. The kind of complete fool that makes you ask “Why did that person marry them in the first place?”, and “How the hell does this guy hold down a job if he can’t even figure out how to change a fucking diaper?”. So when Cheerios dropped there new TV spot for peanut butter Cheerios earlier this month I jumped for joy. Why? Because dad isn’t some lazy, ignorant, lame ass, jackwagon.

The new spot which is aimed squarely at dads features a well written script, an actor that knows how to deliver in a light hearted way yet still comes off like someone that has his shit together, and an authoritative male voice that is aimed straight at you. By that I mean the actor never takes his eyes off of the audience as he walks through the spot delivering dialog about how he has it together. Here we have a spot that shows a male figure capable of multitasking. Capable of controlling the situation. Capable. as opposed to the dad staring at the refrigerator wondering where the food comes from while the voice over from his wife plays him as a fool.

In this spot we have dad who is funny without being condescending, or stereotypically macho. Dad can’t control everything, but with a little help from Cheerios, he can. All the characters, especially the father figure come from a place of strength and support. There is a positive message here that runs fully against so much of the messaging in advertising that says, dad can’t do laundry, clean the house, feed the kids, get them to school, make the bed, and yes that is a dominant message in the majority of TV ads. It’s easy, so people use it. This spot however has a socially positive message that I find much easier to take, and much easier to get behind.

So kudos to General Mills and their agency of record for creating a spot that actually features a dad you would want to hang out with.

TV and Movie Home Floor Plans by Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde.

Do you ever say to yourself while watching TV, “that apartment looks huge”, or “How big do you think that space really is?” Thanks to interior designer Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde, you can get a better idea. Lizarralde has painstakingly drawn up floor plans for a variety of TV show and movie sets. Each one shows accurate wall placement, room locations, and furniture. Below are a few from his site on deviantart.com where you can see high resolution versions of them.

Ban All The Political Ads For Forever.

I try not to be very political in this space. This blog isn’t about politics, and my political view point is really no ones business but mine. With that said though, I am going to post something somewhat political.

As we move toward the November elections, the mud slinging, hate mongering, misinformed bullshit of both parties political machines is kicking into full force. The first salvos of political propaganda are hitting the TV and Radio airwaves, and it is only going to get worse before it gets better. My email inbox is being flooded with spam from both Obama and Romney. Today I received 3 text messages from the Romney camp. How they got my cell number is a mystery, but they got it and they pissed me off.

I have a proposal. Something that might make the average American think, and actually have to listen to the candidates, and not the party spin machine. The propaganda factories, and superpacs spinning millions of dollars of TV ads trying to sway your opinion with half facts, and semi truths that paint their candidate in a better light.

The proposal is this.

NO ADS FOR PEOPLE RUNNING FOR POLITICAL OFFICE EVER.

Instead the candidates should be required to conduct one debate a week from June first until October 31st on Public Television and Public Radio. The Questions won’t be submitted to the candidates in advance, and can be emailed, tweeted, or phoned in by any American citizen.

Think about it. The candidates wouldn’t be coached on how to answer the questions. They would have to answer to the best of their ability. They’d be forced to show their true colors, spin less, and cut the bullshit. Perhaps the American public would become more involved, and stop listening to the talking heads and actually form an opinion of their own.

Think of all the money that would be saved. If you get rid of the billions of dollars spent on TV and Radio ads. On Facebook, Twitter, text messages, direct mail, billboards, news paper ads and every other media ad outlet, and applied it to something worthwhile, maybe things would get a little better.

I know it’s just wishful thinking, but damn I wish something like this could happen. I know I’m going to want it by November.