Tag Archives: TV

Test Post March 4, 2014

Testing, testing, testing… Continue reading

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No Joy For Regionals

With ONE HD starting in the 5 big capital cities tomorrow, the regionals, mostly serviced by Southern Cross 10, will have to wait until a so far unspecified date called “mid year”. On the Central Coast of NSW, where I am, we do get Sydney TV as well as Newcastle (with some Central Coast ads inserted from time to time) but, for some reason, the ch 10 Sydney* signal is very weak where I live and, more often than not, impossible to watch 0n a digital receiver. It works on a good day, hopefully tomorrow night will be OK so I can at least see the welcome launch.

All SC10 would have to do is allow the 10HD feed through, filling the ad gaps with their music and scenery until they get their act together with advertising agreements. Its just a flick of a switch. I have watched Rove before on SC10 HD with the scenery as the ad breaks. They can do it. Its not hard.

Furthermore, the little ONE HD I have actually seen so far (the swimming late afternoon), the ads seemed not to be region specific and could easily carry over the the regionals (except possibly Foxtel ads, but the “not available all areas”  clause can cover that).

And then there is Mondays’ press release from ch 9 detailing the launch of ch 9’s second SD channel. Interestingly, it is also scheduled for this amazing time called “mid year”. But, with this announcement, there is no word as to what 9’s affiliates WIN and NBN will do. NBN do transmit an HD channel (80) but is only always a simulcast of their main channel with HD shows broadcasted in HD (and, here on the Central Coast, does not have the Central Coast ads. Only Newcastles’). The audio, though, is usually not full 5.1. I’ve heard that WIN HD is just scenery like SC10.

There should be greater cooperation between the regionals and the metropolitan networks so a more unified national approach could be taken. It may even expedite the development of multi channeling in Australia by sharing resources and programming. Especially in the case of 9 and WIN as WIN has many programming resources 9 does not have.

Finally, as of writing, there is no word on ch 7’s plan for its 2nd SD channel. On Feb 26, according to www.tvtonight.com.au, ch 7 would make the announcement within the month – meaning there should be an announcement by March 26. I’d say this is the reason 9 made their announcement on Monday – to beat ch 7 to it. Maybe they can outdo 9 and 10 by involving Prime in the announcement. And, for the record, Prime is the ONLY regional to broadcast break away HD content in line with ch 7.

* There are three major relay transmitter locations on the Central Coast – one near Gosford, one near Wyong, one at Bouddi – both transmitting 8 channels (ABC, SBS, 7, 9, 10, Prime, NBN, SC10) on varying UHF frequencies. A VHF antenna in some areas will get 7, 9 and 10 Sydney, as well as NBN-3 Newcastle but usually you’d use a UHF aerial pointed to your nearest relay transmitter. Further, NBN-3’s digital component is on UHF anyway.

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.

Future of TV 2

I caught the most recent episode of “Click” on BBC over the weekend with the first story being about “OLED” technology demonstrated at the recent CES show in Las Vegas. The CES show basically is a large trade show mostly for home and personal entertainment technology. OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode.

OLED technology is about using thousands of tiny red, blue and green LEDs for the screens we use with computers, mobile phones, TVs and the like. Unlike LCD, OLED does not require a background light so an OLED screen can be as thin as 3mm. OLED screens can also be flexible, so ideas like a mobile phone or a laptop with a very large screen that folds up are possible. The screens can be transparent, so in theory, a window could be a TV screen – a window looking out to the neighbours house could display an ocean view. OLED screens could be used as varying ad displays on billboards. Your car windscreen could have this technology built into in to display your speed and other information. A newspaper could be a single OLED page with numerous stories. OLEDs could be built into glasses.  The advantage of OLED over LCD is that OLEDs emit light, thus making them able to be seen clearly in sunlight. The possibilities are pretty well endless. Look at any movie set in the future and you’ll see these ideas. Even the “Scene Screen” in Back to the Future 2 (which has part of the movie set in the year 2015) is a real possibility now (although I don’t think we’ll be riding hover boards or hydrating pizzas any time soon!).

Currently, the technology is very expensive, but like any new technology, the price will drop as manufacturers find ways to manufacture OLEDs cheaper. A 7″ digital photo frame using OLED technology sells for over $1,000. It will be at least 10 years before this technology becomes cheap enough for the mass consumer market of large TVs, and that is, of course, assuming that some other technology does not get there first and render OLED obsolete before it takes off.

Other uses, outside of entertainment, include OLED light surfaces – this is where your ceiling or walls is covered in OLED panels providing light rather than having traditional incandescent or LED light sources. This sort of lighting uses much less eneery and can be controlled to look alot more natural than single point light sources.

I work in the professional lighting and audio industry for Lightsounds. I have watched, over the past years, LED technology transform the professional lighting market with its major advantages being little or no heat output, extremely long life, and lighting fixtures weighing less due to not needing large transformers for high power lighting sources.

At the moment, single LED light sources of 50w can create a light output equivalent to 500w of traditional halogen or discharge lamp outputs. Across the professional lighting range, LEDs are now used for moving heads (like the ones you see on game shows like Millionaire), disco lights, flood lights, outdoor lights, par cans (like what mose small bands use) and other stage lights to name a few. It was only four years ago where the first LED disco lights were so dim, in comparison to their halogen counterparts, that we sold them as lights for bedroom DJs as opposed to a products that could actually be used professionally.

Other places you would notice LED technology taking over includes lighting for cars (brake lights for example), traffic lights are now all LED in NSW (well at least Sydney and Central Coast from what I see).

I imaging the rate of development will be similar for OLEDs, but the current economic climate will means its introduction and roll out to the mass market will be slow as manufactures try to get as much life as possible out of their Plasma and LCD TV models and resources.

I think it will be fantastic to have a TV thinner than the Sunday paper, and, hopefully, my current HD LCD TV will last the years until a 50 inch (127cm) OLED TV becomes available. Maybe by then, it will be an UHD TV (2160 x 3840).

Read more: BBC Click, Wikipedia

Article updated from original.

Non Ratings Periods – Why?

Edited / updated as per comments. I originally stated that there was non-ratings periods in July and late September as well. This is not correct, and changes the networks make during school holiday periods are at their own judement, not as a result of being a non-ratings period.

I have always wondered, why in this day and age, there is still a so-called “non-ratings” period on Free to Air television in Australia. These periods of non-ratings generally coincide with school holidays but because school holidays vary from state to state, in some states, the non-ratings period is not in phase with school holidays.

What I don’t understand about the concept is that there is still reporting of ratings during these periods, networks still react to the ratings in these periods (think back to all the schedule changes over summer), advertisers still advertise AND people definitely still watch TV during these periods, yet the networks see it as a time to provide a lower quality schedule and give top rating shows a break. Sometimes people will watch even more TV than usual form being home longer.

In my opinion, the fact that the ratings show less people watching TV in non-ratings period is a direct consequence of the fact that viewers tune out due to poorer quality programming. The fact that subscription TV rate higher during these periods proves that point. If regular programming continued, the viewers would still be there (other than special days like Christmas and New Years for example).

I agree with programming changes on public holidays and the night before a public holiday, but I don’t agree with shows taking time off mid season just because that period of time is deemed as “non-ratings” and therefore does not contribute to the final result of winning the ratings for the year. And what does it mean anyway for a network to win the year – they can charge more for their advertising, I suppose, but wouldn’t that apply all year round?

Sure – people go away during holiday periods, but they still watch TV. And now, less will travel abroad as the result of the economic climate. So why not continue normal programming throughout holidays. Its not even two months since summer and the ratings season began and we are faced with another preiod of non-ratings for Easter.

With all the scheduling changes, as it is, it is difficult to keep up with what’s on TV in any case. Then you have the mother of all scheduling changes – non-ratings period. The regular shows take time off for no reason other than the definition “non-ratings” period. And if you are away during these periods, more often than not, your only option is free to air TV and a couple of choice Foxtel channels in your hotel room. Why not maintain the schedule?

If anyone loves a show that much, and will not be able to see it on TV when it airs, they’ll record it to watch later – holidays or not. Then again, there really is only a few shows on these days that could really be considered by many as “unmissable television”.

It’s just another example of how TV networks don’t care about viewers. I am sure, that if there was a referendum on the concept of non-ratings, 95% of all viewers would vote against it.