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All posts in TV

Sherlock Holmes - Surface

Once again Microsoft invests in Prime-Time CBS programming to tout the Surface RT…

After the Surface RT has guest starred in CBS shows Hawaii 5-0 (along with Windows Phone and other Windows 8 PC’s) and NCIS LA, this week we got to see the Surface RT in the hands of none other than Sherlock Holmes.

The Surface RT

CBS has spun the legendary detective (played by Jonny Lee Miller) as based in modern day New York, working with the NYPD and his “sober companion” ex-surgeon Dr. Joan Watson (played by Lucy Lui).

Elementary - CBS 1Image Courtesy of CBS

Sidebar: after some initial controversy over the show itself, certain people associated with the BBC’s Sherlock (starring Benedict Cumberbatch) were reported as feeling that the  CBS production  was copycatting. However, the show has shown itself to be a unique spinoff of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales. Ironically, Cumberbatch (mystery big bad in the next Star Trek movie) and Miller has starred together in a National Theater production of Frankenstein (apparently often switching roles)

sherlock-imdb 2Image Courtesy of

There have been fleeting views of an unidentified tablet being used in previous episodes of Elementary. This week Holmes goes the whole hog, clearly displaying the Metro UI and Start Screen Apps, does the now famous Surface keyboard click and then proceeds to open Metro Bing to search for some piece of information that in classic Sherlock Holmes no doubt he would have gotten via the Baker Street Irregulars.

I’m hoping that once again Microsoft doesn’t miss the opportunity to collate these clips from these shows into an ad showing these characters demonstrating the Elementary use of the revolutionary Surface RT.

Hopefully Redmond’s negotiations to place the Surface RT into these (and no doubt other shows) doesn’t conflict with arcane TV licensing issues and the official mash-up ad is in the works.

What say you Microsoft?

Facebook, love them or hate them they are game changers, paradigm breakers and even dare I say it revolutionaries.

The introduction of the Like button and subsequent roll-out for usage on outside of Facebook sites has changed the game and I don’t think we have seen just how much yet. If you look to your left you will see one on my modest little blog in the left frame, feel free to Like me 🙂

Like facebook

One of my pet peeves (as I’m sure you know) is the World Series philosophy when it comes to online entertainment: only the US need apply.


Hulu and others either require a US (or other permitted countries) IP address or in the case of iTunes a US credit card and billing address. I was at Techonomy 2010 yesterday in Ramat Gan, Israel and listened to Robert Scoble talk about this and how an Israeli journo explained that this web-isolationism (my phrase) forces anyone who wants to enter the digital age to go the Torrent route.

I spoke in a previous blog piece about creating a democratic TV: TV is not borderless or democratic .. so what- 

Today I read an article on BoingBoing by Craig Engler, General Manager and Senior VP of the one Channel I would love to come to Israel (or get access to via Hulu),

“Why watching TV online (mostly) doesn’t help ratings (for now).”

I follow him on Twitter as @syfy, we have never conversed mainly because I am sure he is swamped with tweets from fans and I am a needle in that huge haystack.

I enjoy what he has to say and enjoyed the article too, it got me thinking. Ratings… ratings… these statistics are huge money-makers and online just isn’t there perhaps because in the US the Nielsen Ratings system has been going on since 1920 without a great deal of change.

Now let’s take Facebook’s Like button and simply embed this at the end of each episode of an online TV program. Add some kind of incentive via the online platform for the participants and presto you have the Zuckerberg Ratings Company (Mark are you listening, let’s do lunch)

The added value is again, if you are Mr TV Exec and look at the Likes from other countries you can get an accurate predictor of how many oodles of cash your show is going to make in that country.

Correct me if I’m wrong, this is not rocket science. Let’s wax ideological for a moment even and say that entertainment as a common denominator between different cultures may build common ground.

What do you think?

I have limited experience in the field of Television and its monetization but as I understand it there are two things that keep the money rolling; ratings and advertising.

Now if I get the basic business model primetime TV is the shows that attract the highest ratings and also are in the optimal timeslots for the specific days of the week which means more people see these shows and thus the advertising during commercial breaks and or implicit product placement in this show.

Okay. So what? Yesterday at Jeff Pulver’s excellent #140conf TLV I discussed this with some new friends (you know who you are tweeps) and I explained my view of this.

If you are a follower of a particular TV show here in Israel or generally outside the US or UK then you tend to lag behind on hit shows like Alias, Lost, Heroes, Chuck, 24 etc. and your friends and family can be easily 1 or 2 seasons ahead; if you even have that show here on Satellite or Cable TV.

Again, so what? First, once again this lag inhibits hardcore fans of these shows from full social interaction of their favorite shows. The networks who own these shows either want the lag, or are charging for said hit, new show more than the local providers can or want to pay.

Cause and effect time folks… 1. Oh look there’s this crazy peer 2 peer technology let’s stuff it back in the box … yes that worked so well for the music industry didn’t it? 2. Oh darn we released it in DVD and they went and ordered it via one of those crazy sites like Amazon. We made some money on that didn’t we (network exec)? 3. (Local fan) I know I’ll have my folks in the States video it or copy their DVD and when they visit … you see they were totally right to try to make it illegal to record music to tape and TV to video. Case closed.

Sarcasm aside about these recurring patterns every time a new media technology pops up. The idea is simple: people want to be entertained and then have the ability to discuss it in real time. They want to be up to the same place as their friends and not a year behind and either feel left out or have the big plotline spoilt for them.

Consumers will always find a way to keep up and technology will be the great equalizer whether it be Tape to tape Cassette Decks, VCR’s, Bit Torrent or other tech. Instead of resisting and forcing these things to be illicit in some way perhaps something similar to iTunes for TV could be adopted.

Is this going to disfranchise the local content providers not if we look at the money model again… ratings and advertising. Right now if you try to watch TV shows from Network websites or 3rd party providers they detect your non-US IP address and block you. I know I would pay per show a reasonable amount to watch. The real zinger is that yes detect my IP address and then ensure you have purchased local ads to suit my location and screen those ads in the commercial break to me. The network will include in the price I pay the cost of buying those ads from the local network.

Is this perfect and the solution to world peace as well? No but I’m not a rocket scientist and I could figure this out, why can’t they?
The author of this blog is not encouraging anyone to act in an illegal or unethical manner vis a vis the intellectual property of others. This post is simply an article defining a view of how things could be. (Network exec… ok call off the ninjas guys.)
My Cable company is implementing UFI cable internet over the next year in Israel with speeds of up to 100Mb.

At the moment I have 3Mb the question is why do I need more?

Now they do specify that at certain speeds you may need to upgrade hardware (including wireless routers) and their main UFI page refers to this being a benefit for legitimate music download. Even at lower speeds the user will basically have real time download of music. However, with download speeds of 100 Mb (as usual when its new it can get expensive to have a service like this) are Cable companies going to allow TV and internet to converge?

What do I mean? Well imagine you switch on your TV or an interface from your Media/ regular PC and login with your Cable customer ID and password. Now you TiVO like program the shows you want to see and when you want to see them. Or simply you say I want to watch program xyz right now. You get up, put the kettle on and by the time your cup of tea is brewed you can watch the program you want at the time you want.

Yes, scheduled programming will become a thing of the past and perhaps even the concept of channels will too; instead I will have Channel Jonny and maybe part of this will be a Social Network that allows me to share my schedule with my Cable friends who are profiled with similar interests and then if we are free at the same time they can simply use my schedule.

Another alternative is computer games over the web. At speeds like this the multi user gaming experience truly will become real-time.

So if you have an in with the Cable company and no-one ever thought of this then feel free to take the idea and run with it. Let’s make TV personal and social all over again.

Oh yes, and as the Missus reminded me right now, this will probably be the most positive thing to affect whether people continue to download shows and movies elsewhere.