Where is the TV you’ve been waiting for?

As many know, back in the early to mid 2000’s I worked on the development of 4G. Back then the basic requirement was for a 20Mb download and 20Mb upload to any base unit or moreover – a handheld device. We increased this to 25Mb and at a time when there was a lull in the computer industry, we were working on some pretty cool and what was often called “over the edge” technology. Since then the benchmark has gone literally through the roof.

But the problems regarding bandwidth, power, mobile, fixed line accounts and billing aside – the real problem was that there wasn’t an end user device that could handle this in the mobile field. This gave birth to the requirement of advanced PC levels of power in a handheld device which (and this is still an issue) wouldn’t melt the head of the user. But more over, this system for the most part wouldn’t require video compression, that’s right – complete real-time video! In this, I looked to the future and realised very quickly that this would probably be the end of terrestrial/cable/satellite TV.  The future of TV would be simply Web-based and cut the massive costs of powering and building the millions of transmitters that exist today.

A few years later I was observing a discussion on Joseph Mallozzi’s blog; who was then the executive producer of the MGM Stargate Atlantis franchise about the stunning number of DVD sales worldwide for their show, yet cable and channel subscriptions appeared low. In a conversation I mentioned that most people I knew around the world who watched the show – watched it the following day on the web and that it was highly likely that it was these people buying the DVD’s. As it turned out, MGM sold the show badly around the world to expensive pay channels or in some cases – highly obscure channels. This, coupled with highly inaccurate method of gathering viewing figures proved that the industry as a whole is not in step in any way with the technology to hand and were grossly over concerned with “Piracy/copyright” than acknowledging that this system (because of the show’s popularity) was actually making them more money… The bottom line is people want to watch shows when THEY want to watch them and if a company can’t see the alternative method of generating revenue then there is a real problem with that company.

But you must also remember that Piracy is not theft! Theft is when something tangible is “taken” from you, but copyright infringement is the actual problem. Also what about all of us who come across things on the web (think YouTube as an example) and end up watching things you didn’t search for? For most they wouldn’t have gone out of their way to buy, pay for or even consider watching or listening ordinarily – and here lays many problems and issues of which there are too many to list here, but the promotional attributes are limitless. Yet this again shows a complete initial lack of awareness by the mainstream entertainment industry of the technology they’re prepared to use for profit in a totally unsecure manner. In effect, a rod for their own back. In turn, while they cry foul, a few years ago these modern formats allowing them to make billions more in profits simply didn’t exist.

At the same time true innovators of web media and web shows like Andrew Baron owner and creator of Rocketboom and frankly an authority on the subject, has understood the direction of web TV for a very long time. There are several web based shows; Robert Llewellyn’s “Carpool” and “Fully Charged” and a great many more now exist – so where is mainstream web TV? Strange things happen, take for instance Amanda Tapping’s “Sanctuary”. This show was always designed to be web based. They used little more than green/blue screens in order to put any and every location background they liked to the show. The initial run of “Webisodes” was put together at minimal cost and used many of Amanda’s close acting and directing friends to see if it would be popular. It was, and strange as it might be – the show got picked up for mainstream TV. So the power of TV designed for the web is powerful enough to make the TV Studios sit up and appropriately beg.

The problems are several fold but it basically comes down to the TV companies and cash… I can go to the BBC’s iPlayer to watch their shows, CBS website (if I’m in the States) and watch their shows – along with Fox and everyone else’s websites. But you have to bounce from site to site all the time and then wonder if the “Geolock” will prevent you from watching what you want – this really does have to stop… it’s not good for business, it thwarts overall growth and is a shockingly bad business model!

The future of Global TV will rest in the palm of the people, company or person who can achieve what is seemingly impossible; to sit down and work out, negotiate and then generate one of a handful of sites that does it all. A site that will have to decide to pay for itself via advertising, pay per view or all possible methods together. A site where you can watch what you want, when you want. But the reality is that copyright and other royalties are the very things that stand in the way of this happening.

Web TV in the format of YouTube and commercial business sites is an entertainment and subculture all of its own already and has been for years. If you want to know if a product is good rather than get mugged by TV shopping channels – go and see what people who already own the product say about them on YouTube. You’ll soon learn the truth and probably save money – especially if you need to repair something! Lets say you need to fix your laptop, replace the broken screen on your smart phone, anything practical you don’t know how to do – someone somewhere has made a video of how to do it. And what about skill learning? Want to learn Photoshop? go to the simply vast library of videos on the Adobe website to learn just what you need too. The list is endless.

But what of the technology for the home? What are the overall bandwidth and usage requirements which, in reality, have to be limitless. Thankfully newer home entertainment, LCD/LED TV’s all come with web connectivity now. But there are other issues on a global scale which need to be sorted out like; age of the viewer and/or in some more religious cultures; censorship or more edited programmes and movies. But as a technical issue most people will be aware that terrestrial TV (certainly here in the UK) is swapping over from Analogue to Digital. This raised many questions from viewers to why they should go out and buy a set-top-box to place on their old TV to see this new digital medium. Well the answer is quite simple; For a lot of people who may not know, analogue and digital signals are both very different and even look different. A digital signal is basically a signal of “On and Offs” which is basically binary and would look something like this:

Analogue signals are far more complicated and looks sort of like this:

The difference  for the most part is that the digital signal is predictable and can therefore can be repaired by your TV, computer or set-top box with either an On or Off and an Analogue signal simply can’t – because there is no reference to what was damaged. Here are the same two images with sections deleted; you can easily work out the digital repair – but not the analogue.

VS Analogue

So the digital is better, but more importantly – it also means it can be sent across the web with complete and total ease.

The future is Web based, but what about the redundancy of normal TV? Will it just become a persistent “Day Time” schedule mixed with News and Current Affairs? Probably! Or will we use the infrastructure that transmits it as the base for 4, 5 or 6G bandwidths? TV IS destined for the web, it’s been there for years – just no one has organised it yet, can you imagine the accuracy of the viewing figures? I strongly doubt Firefly would have been cancelled that’s for sure. In fact one of the reasons the original Stargate franchise was cancelled was simply that they make the same money in advertising revenue from re-runs as they did from a new show/season. Thus what was the point after 10 seasons in spending the money to make more?

It’s a massive subject that needs to be sorted out, the pitfalls and mountains to climb are obvious – but the moment one person lays the road ahead out clearly – all others will follow. So, stop messing about with strange apps, and let’s get on and get this minefield navigated so we can stop the witch hunting across the Web and get to a place where we can all watch and listen to the media we want, when we want it – in a way that everyone is happy with.

As many of you may know, I don’t own a TV and haven’t done since 1998, all my entertainment, news and 99% of my communications comes through the internet medium. If I stay in a hotel I do switch the TV on, but tend to select a 24hr news channel like the BBC, Sky, Al Jazeera or CNN. Irrespective of how scattered the entertainment on the Web is, there is an abundance of it, it just needs work. Until then, you can watch “The” daily internet culture show at www.rocketboom.com and for the Car Pool interview chat show and “fully charged” the complete inside real information on the future of electric cars – go to  www.llewtube.com.  And so much more…

A follow from the Cloud Computing post about bandwidth vs data usage…

I received an interesting email asking what should be the target data usage and bandwidth requirement to the average house hold.

Well the reality is that we’re presently being retarded by not only infrastructure but willingness to expand..
One hour of normal streaming video (not High Def) is around 1 Gigabyte… Now the future of TV etc and the knowledge that many homes have several TV’s means that realistically the based line target should be around a minimum of 200 gigabytes a month…
As we progress the industry needs to be looking towards 1 terabyte per household per month – within 6 or 7yrs.

Then there is the urgent need for the roll out of Wimax Wave 2 and 4G, especially in rural areas as this by far the most cost effective way of distribution.

Present connection speed targets of 8 – 22 Mb’s is more than enough to do this, but unless the machinery behind it all can actually produce that level of data through-put, which it can’t – then this is where our problem lays.. That and also that we’re running a nation network on the back of an ageing copper telephone wireline infrastructure.
Further more – ALL of this is thwarted outright by the vast power requirement to do it. Infact, we have a very serious problem in the world today because of our inability to produce the power requirements 5 years from now.

However, it’s simply not rocket science to see the true benefits to the commercial aspects of the internet. This especially true when you realise that your online mall is huge and it’s global. This means you can always find what you want at a cheaper price somewhere.

Indeed, I often tell people new to the internet that if they’re doing house alterations etc, I guarantee that they will save more than the cost of a new PC/laptop and two years broadband subscription when they buy the materials online – and I’ve been known to offer to pay for those things if they don’t succeed in saving money!!
It’s actually a very safe bet if they’re doing reasonably major work etc.

So, right now our ISP’s/Telephone companies are the people holding us back. We will end up being totally web based and yet we must do this with care.
Big brother must have an interest and maybe certain things should never ever even get on the web in the first place. Certainly entertainment and music industries who make so much more money that their artists should bear a huge responsibility to their clients for being so useless in not securing their media etc…
So, from the outset of the internet age it’s been an evolving medium, and it will continue to evolve for quite sometime yet – and there is so much to still do.


You know, when the motor car was invented it was a revolution that not only changed our lives, but it change the global landscape – it was a revolution the likes of which the world has never seen, and it still is…

The Internet and computers are even bigger…

You see with the evolution of the car not only did we suddenly need mechanics and tyre fitters – we needed to re-address a national infrastructure.
We soon realised we need to educate, train and change the actual layouts of our cities and town to incorporate larger and larger road networks… not mention the vast array of vehicle types.

Bearing that in mind, just how big or monumental change do you think we need to do to get everyone in out countries on the internet…
Firstly, power consumption.. then cabling infrastructure, then transmission of the latest ‘G’ standards etc.
Infact the Telephone was never classed as a vital industry like Gas, Water and Electricity… it has always been classed as a luxury!. Yet with the level of the role the internet is playing in our lives, we strongly and very quickly need to re-address this, change our whole mental approach to just what a benefit to a national and yes, global commercial society it really is.
But we also need to teach about the pitfalls, the scams, the chat rooms and of course porn too.

This is so vital, we can no longer shy away from the uncomfortable subjects anymore… The net is the net for all it’s wonders AND sins..

So, bandwidth needs re-addressing, training needs re-addressing, and the infrastructure that supports the whole thing needs rebuilding.

But the most common thing I come across other than the most irritating phrase of “computers? I wouldn’t know how to switch one on”… is the initial fear of paying for things online and entering bank details etc.

There is a lot of work to be done… and urgently. In the UK, it’s pretty much a national need to be on the internet at one level or another!! the nation is embracing this as a national goal and things are starting to happen – albeit slowly.

Published in: on 2 December, 2010 at 16:19  Comments (2)  
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The Google Phone? It’s HTC!!

Yep, again third party companies i.e. like Apple and now Google are claiming they manufacture phones – they DON’T!!
The new Google phone is a HTC phone running Android, the Google Operating System.
Since November when I received my HTC HD2 fone (running windows 6.5) I have been stunned at HTC’s work.
It’s taken time to learn it because they are very few instructions with it being so intuitive.
HTC are fast becoming market leaders in the smart phone world and it’s quite obvious the between HTC and Samsung, they have got the smart phone edge.

Hardware ready? I think so

For those of you that have known me for about more, well, longer than 5 minutes. You’ll know that for years I have been talking about what is coming in the technology field due to my original work in the 4G field – now some four years ago.
The biggest issue from the outset was the end user hardware. We knew that we needed smart phones. We knew Microsoft’s TouchLite needed to come of age and my belief for the last 6 years is that we’ll all have some form of tablet and ear piece. The tablet would be a pc, have full 4G connectivity and also be a phone and whole host of other things.
Four years ago, peoples eyes glazed over when I told them, others simply thought I was talking out of my butt. But then, I had not been working in the field of ‘cutting’ edge technology, rather ‘Over the Edge’.
If I never get remembered for anything in this world, well that’s ok, but to me, seeing and knowing what comes next and the path in which we prepare a public for it with Nokia smart phone or even the iPhone, has been enthralling.

This next two years will change the way you compute, the way you interface with other and the world wide web.
Shows like the BBC’s ‘click’ are normally months if not years behind the given trend in technology.

Now starts the introduction to the next generation and I hope (while 4G starts to roll out) that you’re all ready for it.
And just so that you all know, the form factors will be PC and Linux variants.

This year we’ll see the large scale introduction of the ‘Slate’ PC and the last 4/5yrs will disappear into history.
The iPhone will only have a small part of that history because the only first they achieved was the screen – NOTHING else!!
For those that have bought several of them and there are people who did, you could have saved an awful lot of time, money and effort if you’d listened to me LOL

So here is the basic things that ALL smart phones should have if you’re in any doubt;

Minimum 1ghz processing
Connectivity ;
Blue Tooth
USB connectivity
Laptop ‘tethering’ i.e. blutooth, wifi or cable attached to the laptop and internet connectivity via the Phone’s modem.
Quad Band
Memory card support of at least 8gig upwards

If one of these things are missing – then don’t get it. Oh and the new iPhone 3G-S does not have all the stuff listed here.


Published in: on 8 January, 2010 at 13:38  Comments (8)  
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A week over and it’s Easter

Nolul-logot much happened this week really at all other then the previously mentioned possible return to working in London (Kings Cross actually). Well, someone has to be around to give Dave Bones a clipped ear from time to time I guess.
Also, it would pay much better that I have been earning and would therefore allow me to go off wandering about the globe again.
The company I used to work for are just about to set standawimaxrds in 4G Wimax wireless broadband with a world’s first coming online in Amman, Jordan on April 19. Well done Ian, I know you’ve worked hard on this.

Other stuff, my hit count went through the roof yesterday, it turns out that sometime last year I did a postblog-stats on HRH Zara Phillips, then, new state of the art horse box – here’s the LINK. At the time Fenny pointed out that doing so might cause quite a lot of hits due to the size of the equestrian fraternity. She wasn’t wrong and between that post and the Motorway Driving Survival Guide, these are consistently the most read articles on this blog – until yesterday when an equestrian site posted the link. As you can see from the graph, a startling and instant difference.

Reading (a book, not the town)
My mother sent me two books for my birthday, she’s been raving about this series for ages – so I gave them a go. They are the first two books of four by C.J.Sansom based around a lawyer and his exploits set in London in the 1530s/40s, during the time of Reformation and initially in the service of Lord Cromwell. The books, ‘Dissolution’ and ‘Dark Fire’ have been good reads. The first was a little slow to get into and the second was fascinating. I am a little critical of certain aspects but his explanation of the law of the time is nothing short of gripping. So if you are looking for an in-depth, intriguing and a tangled pot – these books you will enjoy.

Oh and I have a new neighbour, who today put all my former neighbours mail through my door… A great start to his residency! I promptly threw them outside and then went and did a little 100watt guitar practice.

Last but not least, to the gentleman whom took it upon himself to use the entrance to my flat as a toilet last night, Your jaw should probably ache for what? 3 days? And no, I’m not sorry, I was happy to oblige and will do so again at any time you wish to repeat your actions. Yes, I saw little point in talking about it, but then you didn’t warn me either!



Published in: on 11 April, 2009 at 16:35  Comments (6)  
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