Tag - TV

Motorola's brilliant Xoom ad: answering Apple's 1984

In 1984 Apple released the most famous and least-broadcasted television ad of all time: 1984, celebrating individuality and creativity. Man against the machine, one again the collective, a woman against Big Brother.

Motorola’s 2011 Xoom ad brilliantly references 1984 and juxtaposes Apple then – challenger, upstart, weak, facing established titans against insurmountable odds – with Apple now – the giant of the mobile device industry.

Where 1984 shows grey assembly-line men in grey lines in a grey room (reminiscent in post-iMac times as the omnipresent beige of pre-second-coming-of-Steve PCs), Xoom shows white-clothed clones with white wires leading to their ears. Where 1984’s hero(ine) is a woman; Xoom’s hero is a man. 1984 is colorless in blacks and greys; Xoom is colorless in whites, stainless steel, and glass.

The symbolism could not be clearer.

It’s brilliant and evocative, as well as dangerous. By explicitly referencing Apple as leader, Motorola is casting itself as underdog. True, but not necessarily the positioning of a winner.

The penultimate point of the ad comes when the hero uses his Xoom to take a picture (which an iPad can’t yet do) of flowers and send it to a white girl in a white hood. She gets it … and then in a movement exploding with symbolism pulls her white iPod-like earbuds out.

The ad cuts to a Xoom tablet with the words: “the tablet to create a better world.” Which of course also explicitly references Apple’s desire – embodied in the 1984 ad – to improve people’s lives.

Brilliant. Exquisitely shot and edited. And it even works well on a product placement level.

Very impressive!

Forget TV Everywhere, How About Netflix Everywhere?

… streaming video comes with a much lower delivery cost than shipping discs. According to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings at NewTeeVee Live, the company spends about $600 million a year on postage for its mail-order business, but the cost of streaming a video title is much cheaper than delivering a DVD by mail — about 5 cents a gig for bandwidth — or about a nickel per movie.

via Forget TV Everywhere, How About Netflix Everywhere?.

FastCompany.tv on AppleTV

I’ve been wondering lately if the shows that Scoble is putting on FastCompany.tv will be available on AppleTV.

See, here’s my problem: I’m interesting in the shows that Scoble (and presumably other) will be doing. They’re with fascinating people doing interesting things. All great and good.

But the times when I’m browsing are NOT times when I’ll kick back and watch a 15, 20, or 30 minute show.

I’m usually browsing to take a quick break – it’s lunch, I want to know what’s going on, and I surf my favorite blogs and PopURLs for a couple of minutes. But my break is short – I’m not going to put my feet up and just watch something.

So the only other alternative is to let the video run while I’m working. Sorry, that’s a non-starter. I need to focus and be intent on what I’m doing, and I can’t have a running distraction like a podcast or a video.

So …

I need FastCompany.tv to be available in my evening downtime, when I might look for something to watch on TV. Most shows on regular TV are a waste of time, but there are a lot of great podcasts – and I’m thinking FastCompany.tv shows would be among them – that I’d like to surf and watch.

But that would mean that FastCompany.tv would need to put its shows on either YouTube or the iTunes directory.

So … the question is … will they?

UPDATE:
I see on Robert’s latest post that FastCompany.tv will be available via iTunes. See #4 of what they’re working on … “RSS Feeds that work with iTunes. That’s the first thing to fix after the developers get some sleep (they were up most of Sunday night working on this).”

Don't terminate Sarah Conner Chronicles!

Terminator, the Sarah Conner Chronicles, is just about the first TV show that has become must-see-TV for me in the past couple of years (besides a few shows I watch with my wife, such as Survivor and Amazing Race).

Now I hear that it’s in danger of being canceled.

What?!?

Sarah Conner Chronicles is a great show with amazing production values, good plots, and good acting. I hope hope hope that it pulls through.

Someone needs to start a “Save the Terminator” campaign.

. . .
. . .

Sign the petition
OK, that someone is me: go here to sign the petition to keep the terminator terminating!

Home theatre dreaming …

I’m considering getting an entirely new home theatre set-up, and this is where I’m saving my research/exploration findings.

Television
I’m thinking of a 42″ Panasonic Plasma (at JR.com): TH-42PX60U. It’s extremely high-rated, great looking, and fits in the space I have.
Price: $1299 US, $1500 CAD

Receiver
Panasonic SA-XR57S (also at JR). I’ll be able to run everything into here and then run 1 HDMI cable into the TV. I’ll use my existing 5.1 speaker system.
Price: $279 US, $315 CAD

Upconverting DVD player
Panasonic DVD-S52S (JR). I figure I might as well pick up everything from one company – hopefully everything will play nicer together. This DVD player does the 720p output to make my current DVDs look great.
Price: $89 US, $100 CAD

TV programming
No point having an HD TV and standard definition signal, so I’ve got to ante up for the HD receiver, and I’m thinking StarChoice is a good choice. StarChoice PVR system. I could cheap out and just get the receiver without the PVR, saving $500, but then I’d have to get a VCR anyways and have an extra piece hanging around.
Price: $700

Other costs
Shipping: $200
Tax for taking into Canada: $140-280
Assorted cables, HDMI etc.: $200 (if I can get a good deal somewhere)

Total price
About $3200.

Ouch. Not sure yet if/when I’ll bite the bullet.

Die TV die

I saw this screed from a college student a couple of weeks ago: why you should cancel your cable. Or satellite. Or even broadcast TV.

And I agree.

I have an odd relationship with TV. I can go without for days. Then I get hooked into a hockey game or a movie, and suddenly I’m watching for 5-6 hours straight and going to bed at 1:30 in the morning.

To awake miserable, tired, and irritable, of course.

I suspect I have an addictive personality. Good thing I never tried cigarettes (if you have to do something to be cool, you can’t possibly be cool), got hooked on alcohol (just not crazy about the taste), or tested other drugs (I may not always like who I am, but I do want me to be me … and not something weird out of left field).

I start watching, sink a little lower on the sofa, and always find something else that is interesting enough. Poe – tay – toe.

It’s a particular danger right now. After threatening to cancel our satellite TV service (someone offered us a good deal on cable), we got bumped to about 200 channels, including all the ‘premium’ stuff. Civil engineering projects in Qatar, fauna and flora of Antarctica (OK, just fauna, whatever), soccer games in Peru: you name it, we got it.

Not to mention hundreds and hundreds of people in odd camera-infested homes, islands, and buildings doing seemingly pointless tasks while getting very passionate about them and with each other.

I have to say, though, that my productivity would hit new lows if I succumbed to the lure of the blue glow too often. And that if I never watched another moment of TV, I think my life would probably be better for it.

Maybe not more fun, but probably better.

Just like any other habit or pleasure, it comes down to one simple proverb: it’s a good servant but a bad master.

And if I can’t force it to be a good servant, it’d be better not to have it at all.

(Note: here’s a Google cache of the page, in case it’s not available anymore … I couldn’t connect when I was writing this post.)