Tag Archives: pay tv

Ep 276: cloudstreet

Is cloudstreet the best television drama creation to come out of Australia or is it just another example of our reliance on nostalgia and bush magic to avoid truly reflecting our culture?

It’s quite possible that we answer that question in this week’s episode and there’s only one way to find out.

Also, John went to ACMI to (s)talk David & Margaret. He made a recording of his (s)talking and shares it with us.

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TV in HD, Please

I want my. I want my TV in HD please.

How good was that French bike race? Cadel Evans, an introvert, so insular that he loves his team members because they leave him alone, only to speak to him if it’s ‘work related’, put his head down and won the three week European torture orgy. It was a win for the quiet nerd who’s happy to go the knuckle if you walk too close. Don’t believe me? Look up “angry Cadel” on youtube.

And when it comes to three week European torture orgies, the Tour de France is by far the prettiest. On my big fat and thin LED television (yeah, I’m proud to be an effluent suburban boy with his suburban toys and if you got a problem with that, I’m happy to arrange an after-school appointment outside the Glen Waverley station, knives optional), the French countryside is so gorgeous it makes me want to weep.

But it doesn’t. It only makes me angry.

Why? Because, right now, the Tour De France is the only sporting event broadcast in high definition on free to air television. Channel Ten dropped their One HD broadcasts of the footy when they lost the bidding war, Channel Seven uses their HD capacity for Hogan’s Heroes reruns and the ABC’s VFL and lawn bowl coverage is shot on Super 8.

I was at the MCG a couple weeks ago with mates, watching another game on one of the TVs in a bar at half time. Seven’s standard definition telecast was embarrassing: So pixellated you’d think we were watching the game on a Super Nintendo. One of my mates started hitting the TV thinking it was the reception, leaving me to explain to the security guard that the beer all over the screen was Kerry Stokes’s fault. This time, we were lucky. The security guard was similarly angry at the horribly pixellated coverage of a recent Rajasthan Royals cricket game. In the end we had to pull him back from, Michael Douglas Falling Down style, smashing all the TVs in the place.

We know why the channels serve us this pixellated rubbish. It’s because they prefer to use their share of a limited amount of spectrum/signal on more programming, looking to get a snare of the audience that doesn’t like footy with Hogan’s Heroes reruns, or in the ABC’s case, News 24. The Green Guide’s Paul Kalina explains why so much better than I can.

What’s interesting in Kalina’s article is the differing in opinions between ABC’s Kim Dalton who thinks the difference in broadcast quality is marginal and Foxtel’s Patrick Delany who told Kalina that 80% of new customers sign up to their HD service, so much so that they’ve stopped ordering SD set top boxes from their supplier. And they’re listening to their big television owning sports fan audience with many HD channels and a promise to play all games of AFL next year in HD.

And what annoys me most is the emptiness behind the bragging that has always come with sports broadcasting. Race Cam, Hawk Eye, Super Tedious Slo Mo, that ridiculous camera that buzzes above the players during an AFL finals game and 3D – none of us really care.

If you really care about your audience, open up your pocket, hire some HD cameras (last year’s Grand Final replay was shot in SD because all the cameras were double booked for the Commonwealth Games), and broadcast the game in HD. It’s not too much to ask.

I’ll leave you with a bit from an amusing article from 2007 proclaiming the exciting new era of HD TV.

“Besides spectacular vistas and shockingly real playing fields, hi-def clarity puts any and all wrinkles, pimples and pores on display in well-lit bathroom-mirror detail.”

Hogaaaaan!

Ep 272: Wilfred

Usually when a USA network remakes a foreign series, it pales in comparison to the original. The US’s version of The Office is clearly an exception to that rule, but what about the new version of Wilfred? They’ve brought Jason Gann on board to play the title role, but how does it compare?

In I Don’t Buy It, Brett has problems with McDonald’s.

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:30 Seconds — A Rule of One review

The following took place as part of the Outland Institute radio show and our controversial “Rule of One” review process. Since this aired, last Friday, there has been another episode of :30 Seconds but the Rule of One prevails.

Last Monday, the first episode of the new sitcom from Andrew Denton’s Zapruder’s Other Films aired on the Comedy Channel.

Called :30 Seconds (complete with the colon), it’s about an advertising agency.

Yes, at the moment it seems like Zapruder’s is only coming out with shows about advertising. If you have a problem with that, take it up with Denton.

Comedy, as you well know, is a very sensitive lover. It requires caring, attention and tenderness.

To continue that already tortured analogy, the flowers and chocolate, the romance, if you will, are the acting and directing of a sitcom.

They make us feel like there might be something this relationship for us. We’re prepared to give it a chance and maybe allow a couple of dates.

The sex in the analogy that not even I can believe I’m taking this far, is the writing. It’s the writing that, BAM!, really drives home the idea that this comedy deserves a part of our lives.

As far as acting goes, :30 Seconds has the chops. Gyton Grantley, Kat Stewart, Peter O’Brien and Stephen Curry all bring their exquisite thespian skills to the set.

The glaring deficiency in the show is in the bedroom. The writing just isn’t there. So often we see a sitcom where the jokes come forced, like the writers are squeezing in the jokes regardless of context.

The secret is to let the jokes come from the characters. Especially when an accomplished cast is at the writers’ disposal, it the characters are good, the actors will find the comedy and the director will help bring it out.

The actors in :30 Seconds just don’t have enough to deal with. The characters are one dimensional at best.

The potential is there for a great comedy but the writing needs to improve.

Also, the lighting is some of the worst I’ve seen outside YouTube.

fascinating TIVO developments

Very interesting article about how Packer selling up his share in Nine will lead to the free to air networks finally taking on Foxtel as a whole.

Maybe TIVO won’t as doomed as we first thought.

Pay TV Statistics

I read today that:

“Last week, subscribers to pay TV spent 60 per cent of their viewing time on the multiple channels it offers, with free-to-air channels Seven, Nine, Ten, SBS and the ABC receiving just 40 per cent of their attention.”

I thought that this was fairly interesting, there has been much discussion of the ‘ratings war’, but not much on the numbers that Pay TV are getting.

I wonder what the breakdown is within Pay TV for the Channels. I will add, that I would think I watch closer to 80% Pay TV.

Obtained from a AFL Rights article at The Age.

Any thoughts?