Tag Archives: IQ2

Hot Seat Update

I have written enough about this show, so I do not see the need to write another 500 words about it now!

My wife and I watch Hot Seat for the questions only. As we have IQ2, we record it rather than watching live. We were fast forwarding through the obligatory chat with each contestant, and the painful questioning of what the contestant will be locking in.

Now, we leave the whole show on fast forward, giving us about 3 seconds to answer each question – a similar time you get on faster paced quiz shows. We speed up the fast forward during the ads. The show now takes about 5 minutes to watch, and fits perfectly into the first ad break of Jeopardy, finishing in time for questions to resume after their 3 minutes of speaking to contestants.

Pretty sad when you can condense a full 33 minute show into 5 minutes (yes, it always starts at 5.27 – don’t know why the EPG can’t reflect that).

And on the subject of Hot Seat, what is th epoint of putting iton at 11.30pm as well? What a waste, especially since that the printed TV guides will not reflect these changes. And those who watch Ellen late night will be very annoyed.

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FreeView in My View 3

So there will be no FreeView EPG until the end of the year. Channel 9’s new channel will launch some time in August. ONE HD is already here for anyone who lives in the 5 capital cities. FreeView branded equipment will be on sale from May 1. And FreeView will launch more ads from April 26.

Exactly what do they hope to achieve with these ads? More confusion? More empty promises? Brand awareness? Confusing the already confused?

In my opinion, what really needs to happen is to have everything sorted out before they wast anymore time advertising and further confuse TV viewers Australia wide. Given that the EPG will not launch until the end of the year, how will the product work in any case? And there is still the cloud over the ad skipping capability on the FreeView branded PVR. I can understand why they would not want viewers to skip ads completely, so why not base the system on Foxtels’ IQ2 where you fast forward ads? If you see an ad that is interesting, you stop and take a look. Making people sit through ads when they are not watching live TV just won’t work. And being called FreeView will mean nothing.

Since the FreeView name was introduced late last year, saying “coming soon in 2009”, there has been little or no development to the system leading many to write it off as a pointless waste of time. This is now the stigma they are stuck with and will be very hard for them to work their way out of it. FreeView is seen as misleading and a series of empty promises. As I have written in other posts here, we will not see 15 unique Free to air channels any time soon.

Here’s what should happen now, in my opinion, if FreeView is going to revive itself:

1. Do not advertise at all until everything is in place for the product.

2. Set deadlines with manufacturers for FreeView branded equipment, and get them into the market place by a certain date.

3. Educate retailers about the system.

4. Deadline when the extra channels come. Ten has ONE HD already. 9’s 2nd channel is due in August, 7 is yet to announce, but should ideally do it about the same time as 9.

5. Get the EPG up in line with extra channels.

6. Include community TV (where available), and maybe even some of the channels in the 44 group in Sydney extending to other cities and areas – that gets more channels (Available frequencies may be an issue though).

7. Make sure that the regionals are on at the same time – unlike what happened with ONE HD, still yet to appear on SC10.

8. Publicise these dates in the media and on their web site. Keep the public informed. back up promises with actual content and detail. So far, one of the biggest problems with FreeView has been the lack of any actual content to back up their promises.

9. Any additonal services that will come with FreeView – such as on demand services – should be confirmed with launch dates as well during this time.

Once everything is in place, then will be the time to release FreeView as a complete system with 10 (say) channels including all other features it will have working rather than “coming soon”. That way, the consumer will know they are getting a complete product and not some expensive box with little or nothing over what they have now or can obtain much more cheaply.

Channel Tens’ Broken Promise

I always thought, that the network that puts in place a time slot guarantee, would gain respect from their viewers and thus, hopefully, ratings. That is, the network that promises a show will be on at the same time very week, on time, and not repeated for a set period of time – say 12 or 13 weeks.

Back in January, prior to the current ratings period beginning, ch 10 promised exactly that – with House. They promised that the show would run 12 weeks without repeats or interruption. This morning, as reported by TV Tonight, I read that next weeks’ episode of House will be a repeat, and that the episode that would have been on next week, will be aired one week later – when ratings return.

Channel 10 have made the promise of showing House for 12 weeks without repeats or interruption. They would have done so knowing full well that this period would carry through the Easter non-ratings period. It seems that they have decided to withhold what apparently will be a good episode purely for the sake of putting it on during the ratings season so it can count towards there ratings share for the year.  

If you make this sort of promise, you need to stick to it. Ratings or not. Its not like House is a top rating show in any case. Last week, it scored about 800,000 viewers – which is about where it sits usually. Now that the promise is broken, they can no longer use it in their advertising to promote a show. Noone is going to trust it now.

There goes a good idea, from the only network that seems to be showing some respect for their viewers most of the time. Unlike 7 and 9, 10 are the only network to update their EPG to reflect the time that shows really start as opposed to what they are advertised for. If your EPG for 10 says 8.33, then thats when the show starts – usually within a few seconds. On ch 7 and 9, if it says 8.30, its more likely 8.35. And later in the night, 11.30 means as early as 11.20. 30 Rock on 7 is a classic example. I can get the whole episode of 30 Rock record by using the “R+20” button on the show before 30 Rock (usually Boston Legal; R+20 on Foxtel IQ2 allows you to add 20 minutes to the end of a recording) as opposed to actually setting it to record 30 Rock itself.

Channel 10 were onto a good thing here. Now its lost. Trust is gone. And all for the sake of this absurdity of non-ratings period where you still have full ratings reports, but because it does not count to the networks’ win for the year, they don’t care what they do. We the viewers always lose out.

Foxtel IQ2 Upgrade

Anyone who has an IQ2 may have noticed two new features as far as recording programs go. First allows you to instantly extend a planned recording 20 minutes past its finish time, and shows on the screen as an “R+” for the show you chose only. This is particular useful for ch 7 and 9 who regularly run late on weeknights, without having to set ALL programs to record 10 minutes past their finishing time.

Previously, without manually programming the IQ2, you could only set overrun recording to 10 minutes, and it was a global setting for all recordings. Generally, its not really a big deal, but as most Foxtel programs run exactly to time, having the extra 10 minutes at the end of everything both uses space unnecessarily and becomes annoying when you organise a playlist – a playlist allows you to chose  numerous programs to play one after the other without user intervention.

The other feature, is that a recording will be set to start playing at the actual start time of a show. What this means, is that, if you have set your IQ2 to start recording 5 minutes early in case a show starts early, you do not have to fast forward through these 5 minutes of recording to get to the start of a show if it started on time. Of course, if a show starts early, you simply rewind back a little to find the real start. Again, these problems of programs not starting when advertised really only happen on free to air, as 99% of all programs on Foxtel start and finish on time.

On my IQ2, the series link feature rarely seems to work. I am not sure what the trick is here, but, for most shows, despite selecting series link, it is rare to get the next occurrence of the program in the recording list. Daily shows like Ellen, Jeopardy, the View, Jay Leno never work on series link – and its the daily shows you’d want to link more than anything so you don’t have to keep programming all the time. Hope I can update this post saying I have found the answer or had it fixed, but time will tell.