So we can disable the laugh track.
Or maybe select how dumbed down we want an episode of Horizon. Though we's probably end up with just the opening and closing credits on that one.
Future broadcasting could resemble IKEA flat pack furniture - with the bits and pieces of each transmission assembled at home, perhaps in ways not intended by the designer - if boffins at the BBC get their way. The traditional approach is to mix the media before it's transmitted in a linear stream. But brainboxes at BBC R&D …
The blog text says "conformation bias", but the words are linked to Wikipedia on "Confirmation bias", so it's a typo - o and i being together on the keyboard.
It's an interesting idea - but maybe easiest to deliver on a PC or similar powerful media player. I don't know if a Smart TV could do it. Hmm. Maybe with Android appearing in that market...
Yup, or add and remove and component part. Say you want to remove the ticker from BBC News. Mr Orlowski seems to have avoided writing about any benefits and focussed solely on attacking the BBC as usual.
I read the whole article and thought something wasn't right, when I saw the author I realised it was an Orlowski classic. ;)
Considering how many elements you can mix and match
sound - regular, hd, other language (Welsh, Gaelic, Urdu etc)
video - reduced resolution for mobile, regular, hd, 3D
text - subtitles, enhanced subtitles, programme notes, transcript, other language subtitles
additional video - signed for the deaf
Not necessarily for the video part. In that regard, I think it's being done a bit inefficiently, though correct me if I'm mistaken. I'll admit I'm drifting from the topic at hand, but what I'm discussing seems more realistic AT THIS STAGE. Are TV video transmissions of a single quality or of a progressive quality such that the first bit of a frame produces a low resolution frame and then other parts refine it into a higher resolution over several stages like a progressive JPEG does? I would think for a more mobile world a progressive-quality stream would be more versatile without having to retransmit the same image multiple times, unless the overhead involved with progressive quality outstrips the costs of just transmitting the image multiple times.
Looks like the obvious is missing (even though it's coming under the BBC banner) - adverts. Adverts customised and inserted into the "product" targeted at who the system thinks is viewing, and at what location. (Anyone want to take bets that that is the part of the system that is not user-configurable?)
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>All the better to get the commie propaganda out there to the TV-watching sheeple.
The alternative model gives us Fox News, News International and James Murdoch.
Adult readers here may care to watch Armando Ianucci's riposte to Murdoch Jr's claim that "only the guarantee of quality is profit" here in his BAFTA lecture:
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But as empowered users surely we should be able to choose for ourselves when we want to hear the pips. Nobody wants to be told their watch is wrong after all. There would be panic on the streets.
No, far better that you inform your television/radio/media centre what time you think it is, and it adjusts the pips accordingly.
We must be forward looking in these matters.
BBC World Service on SiriusXM satellite radio in North America, the Top-of-the-Hour beep is about 15 to 18 seconds late even now. It's a bit pointless (the delayed beep).
Watching NASA launches via several feed options reveals latency variations of up to 20 seconds! That's just the delta latency from one feed to the other.
At least they've made some good progress on Lip Sync. It used to be a very common problem, but seems to be rare these days.
The axis of time folks, the axis of time. Don't forget the axis of time.
We were supposed to have this with DVDs and the multi-angle feature. All the early players supported it, none of the DVDs contained any multi-angle stuff. 15 years later I own precisely one (1) DVD that has multi-camera shots. (A documentary on Apollo 8, with launch sequences) but I have to open a menu and select change camera angle on my DVD player, since the manufacturers decided (correctly IMHO) that multi-angle didn't need to be on the remote because nothing supported it.
Does anyone else know of any other mult-angle DVDs?
Memory says that The Matrix DVD has multi-angle stuff on the behind the scenes bit about the shooting of bullet-time or the like. Also Men In Black had a deconstruction of the tunnel scene (where they drive on the roof of the tunnel), and you could switch between the layers that were composed into the final sequence.
My memory could be failing me though, and they weren't great uses of the technology at that.
"But don't underestimate the appeal of O-O transmission to two groups of people. One is BBC middle management, who will form "a metadata working group" at the drop of hat, and spend years having meetings which typically achieve nothing - but consume a lot of license fee money.
The other group is TV manufacturers, who are facing a grim future as undifferentiated, commoditised floggers of flat panels. O-O might allow them to sell more expensive sets.
And with 3D flopping, they need some magic marketing woo from somewhere
I suggest that, for once, the brains at the BBC would think about the content they broadcast rather than the technical methods that accomplish the that aspect of delivery.
Technically, HD video and sound is all well and good but it does NOTHING to the diet of food-orientated, the shambling housing-orientated and the hard-hammered auction-orientated rubbish, much of which is badly upscaled SD, repeated Ad Nauseam.
This time, please, consider new and exciting, challenging and educational content before, once more, going down some technological cul-de-sac.
"Technically, HD video and sound is all well and good but it does NOTHING to the diet of food-orientated, the shambling housing-orientated and the hard-hammered auction-orientated rubbish, much of which is badly upscaled SD, repeated Ad Nauseam."
You're channelling Patrick Moore. And I agree with you. It was a pity that Patrick choose to blame it on feminism, and thus cause his valid points to lost amongst the inevitable noise.
Alternatively, it transmits the meta data first, then only the media objects you select from the menu/filter system, potentially saving bandwidth transmitting unnecessary language options, scaled down resolutions etc.
If the selection changes mid-transmission, just start streaming the new objects and stop streaming the old ones.
This is exactly how digital TV already works. A multicast mpeg transport stream is broadcast containing separate elementary streams for each video, audio, subtitle and interactive track. There is also some metadata (PAT and PMT tables) which associate which streams go together. It's not unusual for a programme to be broadcast with multiple audio streams (english, welsh + english audiodescriptive for instance) and being able to select different video streams is also regularly used for wimbledon and similar.
There probably is scope for better metadata and user interfaces to identify what each of the streams are/package combinations together, but mostly we just seem to be in a timewarp back to when people sprinkled 'object oriented' because it is new and exciting.
".. would be to be able to turn off gratuitous background music, all pre-recorded trails and interference on the tv screen like "coming next", "press red", silly little logos and continuity announcers crashing credits."
This comes up on Points of View basically every week and the response is always the same,
"yeah, we know you don't want that shit but damn it you are going to know what is coming next, you have to know what the damn channel is without pressing your info button and you will use those damn red button services - or not, but fuck if we're going to listen to the mere people who watch TV on this".
> allow "a viewer to have the programme content tailored to their taste or mood"
Surely the way to do this would be a combination of features inside the telly?
It would start with image and voice recognition and end up with real-time video editing / substitution. That would allow users (or viewers, in old-fashioned parlance) to choose what attributes the individuals on their TV programmes had. So if they didn't like the voice of a particular "star" they could access a menu and change the pitch, gender or accent (maybe even language, too) of the speech that issues forth from their gob. It wouldn't be a huge step to do the same with the video, so actors clothes could be changed (or removed, or covered up - the "fig-leaf" filter) and themes added. Likewise with their faces and physical attributes.
From the broadcasters' side, this would make complaints a thing of the past. If you didn't like a programme - they it's your own fault for not tailoring it to something more palatable. Offended by the language - why didn't you use a *beep* filter?
For the users, the possibilities are endless. Not only could you substitute Her Maj. in to do the weather forecast, but you could buy add-ons and customisations and maybe even third party mashups and reworkings.
However, the best feature would be that there would never be the need to make an original programme ever again. Gone would be repeats in the orthodox sense. Yes, it would still be Dad's Army (special centenary anniversary edition) but Captain Mainwaring could be replaced with Arnie, Corporal Jones with Catherine Tate's Lauren and so on ...
Of course, you'd never be able to trust a news broadcast - or any other factual programme, ever again. But the downfall of democracy is a small price to pay for a limitless supply of crappy TV.
"But don't underestimate the appeal of O-O transmission to two groups of people. One is BBC middle management, who will form "a metadata working group" at the drop of hat, and spend years having meetings which typically achieve nothing - but consume a lot of license fee money."
A lot of good tech has come from BBC - look at iPlayer for example - yes I know it has/had it's faults but for me it always seems to work and dishes up whatever programme I want to see.
...who thinks that the bandwidth requirements for this sort of thing are likely to be silly?
In particular for mobile devices, the thing looks like a non-starter to me... downloading all languages/commentary tracks, subtitles, camera angles, whether they will be used or not strikes me as not particularly clever, really.
> downloading all languages/commentary tracks, subtitles, camera angles, whether they will be used or not strikes me as not particularly clever, really.
I would imagine that it would only download what it required, on the fly. This would bring some latency to to the user interaction, but no more than skipping through an iPlayer programme.
Really like the idea of being able to set levels of music, fx and dialogue. The standard mix is not suitable for all circumstances. For instance turning the volume down so neighbours are not awoken by explosions can mean that dialog is inaudible.
But having seen how surprisingly complicated it is to mix surround sound properly, it may not be as easy as turning the fx down a bit.
This is part of a process where the BBC will eventually claim that you can watch broadcast tv if you have anything at all in your house, therefore you can't escape the licence fee by not having a recording or tv type device.
So we will all have to pay the increasing amount of money for the talentless tat and propaganda they broadcast
All the elements and their directions squirted down the pipe, reassembled at the client, like a Flash animation.
The Beeb's engineers are a damn clever lot, and always testing the edges of what's possible to improve the viewer experience down the road. NICAM, for instance, adding stereo sound to an analogue signal without breaking anything. Hey, in the late 80's they recorded the Wimbledon finals in HD to see if it could be done with first-generation Beta (not digibeta mind - predating digi by years and years!) decks - 4 ganged each recording a quarter of the signal. Impressive.
I would imagine this is similar testing out ideas for the future. It may not even end up using conventional cameras but strip out individual elements to send. It could actually be quite revolutionary - imagine the bigger picture.
I thought this was exactly the point of mpeg4 (based on the multitrack 'elemental' architecture innovations of Apple's QuickTime, which has become much less interesting since): Keep the media in different streams rather than interleaving them or multiplexing them, so those streams can be selected for different audiences, devices and bandwidths at reception. The classic case is the scrolling text news ticker visible under so many talking heads. Or even movie credits. It's plain stupidity to compress text with a video codec, and yet it's standard practice today to do exactly that. Insanity! Transmitting text along with video is a solved problem! But that's not enough when the engineering and marketing agendas outweigh that of the designers and content innovators, not to mention the content industry (more correctly called the back catalogue industry) who just want to rerelease the same old cash cows in new formats, rather than let creative people do something like (say) Peter Gabriel's Xplora1 on bluray (bluray specifies that the player has a JVM, no?)
But mpeg4's non video profiles never really took off. Largely because the content creators didn't think in terms other than the existing paradigms for what video could be. One track each of audio and video. maybe a subtitle track if you're lucky? its pretty poor for so-called 'multi'media. Others have pointed out the dearth of multi angle content. (Ideal for porn, but even those tricks fell away). Just as Marshall McLuhan observed: we first use the new media to do the work of the old. (q.v. artficial horse heads on early cars). Only later do we find out that the new media are good for something different than the old, and the old media were actually better at some things. (Books are still good).
Most people are unaware that mpeg4 specifies a profile for 3d models and textures, or for interactivity for example (these was never implemented). Adobe (or whoever else might have made an authoring tool) had other priorities. Same with the browser guys, caught in the XHTML 2.0 quagmire. So content creators and software firms need to be on board. Therefore it's significant that the BBC is pushing this. I remain skeptical, however.
How much power does it consume when it's on?
How much power does it consume when it's in Stand By ('Off') mode?
How long does it take to boot up from the totally-powered-off state (e.g. power failure)?
How long does it take to switch channels?
How inconvenient, intrusive and fragile can you make the inevitably-required software update process?
Perhaps, one day, in the far and distance future, then boffins will think about such things from the outset.
The website transmits the pieces of content along with a bit of semantic information on what they mean, and the browser formats it according to the wishes of the user. That's why early Netscape had a font selection menu and such.
But then came "web designers".
Yes, now you can cram more adverts into every minute of broadcast TV and change them all again and again without having to re-record anything.
We'll swap the generic "cola" can in the first scene for a brand-name, replace the main character's sedan for the new sportier model (complete with glamor shots), and why not also change the location where the characters went on vacation to somewhere that needs a tourism boost?
"In the early 1990s, every software powerhouse in the industry was touting O-O as the future of software. Many predicted that users would pick and mix components, rather than use monolithic software packages"
And this is what happened, so.. point?
Not for nothing but this was possible (and frankly was done) 20 years ago. Ever seen how many audio languages and subtitle languages and different audio encodings are packed into the average video file? It's that but more, but talking about it like it's an idea worth patenting.
Also seriously conformation bias. It's "Englaned need 360 to level the series" all over again. Somebody at the Beeb needs to buy a spell checker, stat.
So basically, TV becomes a glorified web page? That could be useful for two things. i) Getting local content irrespective of location. ii) just like a web browser, get your tv to disable animation*, like those stupid 'snipes': TV News graphics are getting closer and closer to the The Day Today and those things advertising the next program where the hotel inspector walks across a coloured stripe are incredibly annoying.
* this is probably the thing I miss most when using Chrome. Opera had a wonderful feature to disable animation on a per domain basis.
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