* Posts by Joseph Lord

341 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Nov 2009


Sony KD-84X9005 84in ultra-HD TV review

Joseph Lord

Re: Horizontal from vertical

I think it is a switch to film production terminology and to some extent digital cinema projection terminology. They have been using 2K and 4K descriptions for some time so many (although definitely not most) people are already familiar with them. Traditional TV CRTs were all about the number of lines (as this was fixed and understandable while the horizontal resolution was truly analogue) but now the horizontal is on an equal discrete footing.

Joseph Lord

You are wrong.

The 2011 models had some updates at least 12 months after release (I know as a customer). Feature upgrades/UI changes are VERY rare and may never actually happen apart from slightly after launch to enable some features that weren't ready in time but serious bugs do get fixed for years. Also the number of online services available continues increasing, some new ones have recently been added although they aren't especially interesting ones.

If there is something that you are particularly aggrieved about not being added to your TV that may be frustrating but TVs are still largely a product that is expected to behave the same as shipped for its lifetime.

When I worked at Sony models even 5 years old received updates if a bug in the digital TV side was revealed by later broadcaster changes. I suspect that still applies if there is a serious issue. Some things like a change in D-Book specification to allow 8K broadcasts rather than the originally specified 2K cannot be changed with a software update but require completely new hardware.

Joseph Lord

Re: So, uhm..

When it is 25K per unit prices the total volumes will be very low (maybe 200 globally) so the per unit R&D cost will be high. Much of it will be for tooling for bezels, designing the support structure and physical construction. It will require special lines, training and will probably be built in Japan so will need shipping costs and greater import duties than the more normal (assembled in Europe) products.

Plus the fact that while it may be the size of four 42" screens the defect rate will be 4 times as high (only one defect anywhere and the panel is useless rather than having to throw away (or sell off to a cheap brand) one of the 42" panels.

I doubt there is much profit in this model, it is more likely to be a brand statement and aimed at something near breakeven.

That doesn't make it worth it to the average consumer but it does explain why it costs so much.

Joseph Lord

Re: Nice to see

You don't want to distinguish individual pixels. Ideally they should be blurring together but each contributing to the perception.

I think a test pattern of alternating black and white high contrast one pixel lines is probably one of the tougher tests of whether there is perceptible benefit. If you can tell it isn't uniform grey then you are getting some benefit from the pixels that you have.

This doesn't mean that you actually need so many pixels that there is no benefit in any more. A tradeoff for cost (and immersion in having a bigger/closer screen) is often appropriate but some benefit does persist beyond the point that simple calculations would indicated. Perceiving the difference with moving pictures, more realistic scenes mean that you can get away with less than the pixels required for the test I describe.

The new Mac mini eviscerated with ease

Joseph Lord

Not sure the purpose is lockdown

The Retina MBPs and MB Airs are highly integrated and built in very space efficient manners. They do seem very hard to repair or upgrade but for many that is a worthwhile trade off for a smaller/lighter product. It seems a completely reasonable decision to me as (although I would personally prefer a slightly larger product that made RAM/storage upgrades possible) a vast majority of people don't upgrade so the tighter integration is nearly a pure win for them.

The mini while small has slightly looser requirements needing no battery so the tradeoff is rightfully different.

GooPad's eight-incher gives Apple fans cheap relief

Joseph Lord

Re: Samsung's lawyers should buy a few.

Don't normally get posts saying that the problem with patent/design rights is that the big boys only pick on each other and don't go after the little guys. Having said that I'm sure Apple will try to take some action in any territory where they reasonably can for such a blatant rip off. Actually with that photo it is more a trading standards (or local equivalent) than a design rights issue.

EDF: We'll raise bills 11% - but only 2% is due to energy costs!

Joseph Lord

Re: Comprehension Fail, Lewis

> If we are going to subsidise renewables (and I think we should, along with building new nuclear and encouraging shale gas and other alternatives), it should be done through the tax system, not by whacking the cost onto energy bills.

I agree but you don't explain why this should happen which is that it would be fairer and more transparent. Heating costs make a bigger proportion of spending for low income families than high income families. That makes shifting of tax collection from government to energy companies is an effective benefit cut and tax rise that will disproportionately hit the poorest. It also keeps inflation higher than it would otherwise be hitting savers and subsidising those with mortgages.

Why is 4G so expensive? Answer: The Post-Voice Era is coming

Joseph Lord

US does cost more but most of the world doesn't

Also the US gives you a 50 state roaming deal and fixed price calls across them. It would be like having a European roaming deal that charges a flat rate.

Some of your other points are valid but for mobile phone deals the US is the wrong comparison. Canada and the US seem to have atrocious deals largely due to lack of effective competition and regulation. How do the proposed prices compare with those in France/Italy/Spain/Germany? Those are much better comparators for this type of service.

APAC privacy group backs EU's Google stance

Joseph Lord

Photos are biometrics too...

I don't know if this report is treating the as such but a correctly tagged photo of you is a valuable possession for the Facebooks and Googles of this world.

Hands on with BB10: Strokey dokey

Joseph Lord

Re: Success

Well did you see the ads in the US for the original Google TV? They seemed to be aimed at customers who wanted to be sad lonely nerds. It didn't turn out too well though. It was some of the worst marketing I have ever seen I think.

They had Kevin Bacon playing a Kevin Bacon obsessive. They were trying to show what the product could do and trying to be funny but they completely missed any aspiration to be (or even know) the character with the product and any emotional link with them. And it wasn't actually funny or a very good product explanation.

RIM could certainly do worse than trying to market to those who want to be successful (and marketing to the actual successful is one way to do that).

TalkTalk's YouView: Why no Wi-Fi?

Joseph Lord

Re: My main bugbear about set top boxes.

MythTV and a TV/Blu-ray or PS3 that supports UPNP/DLNA. Or there is probably a Raspberry Pi build that will do it.

Joseph Lord

MSO == Multi Service Operator

Phone + Broadband + TV (typically). Basically Telcos and Cable companies although Sky probably counts these days.

Major Freeview EPG revamp to go ahead after appeals rejected

Joseph Lord


I think what has probably happened is that it has tuned different channels from different regions. Rather than showing the wrong EPG data it gives you blank timelines.

You should have duplicates of the affected channels somewhere in the high numbers which you could swap into the relevant positions.

Depending on the different areas you are getting you might be able to do a retune and pull out the aerial when the scan has finished one transmitter's frequencies if the all of one transmitter's frequencies are higher than the other's. Some Sony TV's allow manual tunes so you could just choose the frequencies you want.

Joseph Lord


Because channel placement is commercially valuable.

So unless a regulator makes Sky/Virgin obey an independent organisation they won't do it because they won't make as much money.

I'm not expecting you to like the answer but no point hiding the truth.

Whopping supersonic-car rocket rattles idyllic Cornwall

Joseph Lord

1.6Mega metres per hour!

Or 0.44Km/s in SI units - 440m/s.

New I-hate-my-neighbour stickers to protect Brits' packages

Joseph Lord

Did they consult on the stickers proposal?

Delivery to neighbours with an opt out option? Fine no problem go ahead.

I don't trust my neighbours stickers to opt-out? Feck off!!!

It saves them money not to deal with collections and redelivery they really should manage the opt-out process without requiring you to put stickers up outside indicating that you don't trust/like your neighbours. I don't want to or need to opt out but I'm offended that they think this is a reasonable approach and suspect that they intend it as a type of social pressure not to opt out.

Carbon fiber MacBooks to appear soon?

Joseph Lord
Thumb Up

Re: @Joseph Lord

Thanks. Common practice when filing is to start super broad in case it gets through but I suspect realistically they probably don't expect the independent claims to hold up.

Maybe none of it will hold up but the cardboard box comparison and many of the comments when I posted were inane.

Joseph Lord

Re: Patent... really!

Claims shown below. The first claim is probably too general to stand up when tested but they time you get to claim 5 or so it is sounding pretty specific to a non expert like me and may be innovative. Any carbon fibre experts here? I really don't know if this is genius innovation or completely obvious but I fail to see the similarity to the concept of a cardboard box (although if you have a better way to make a cardboard box that nobody has demonstrated or published before the patent office is waiting for your application).

1. A housing, comprising: a frame formed from a first material; a skin formed from the first material separately from the frame and bonded to the frame; wherein the skin is formed from multiple layers of the first material; and a portion of the skin covers at least a wall of the frame.

2. The housing of claim 1, wherein the first material is a composite of at least fiber and a matrix suspending the fiber.

3. The housing of claim 2, wherein the first material is a carbon fiber reinforced plastic.

4. The housing of claim 2, wherein: an outer edge of each of the multiple layers form at least one stair-step pattern; the frame defines a tapered segment; and the multiple layers are adjacent the tapered segment.

5. The housing of claim 4, wherein: the frame is solid in cross-section; and at least a part of each layer of the multiple layers lies adjacent a unique portion of the tapered segment.

6. The housing of claim 4, wherein at least a portion of the stair-step pattern encircles at least a portion of the tapered segment.

7. The housing of claim 2, wherein: the frame defines at least one corner flange extending from at least one corner; and a portion of the skin overlies a portion of the corner flange.

8. A method for manufacturing an object, comprising: forming a frame from a fiber-in-matrix material; forming a skin from at least a first layer and a second layer of the fiber-in-matrix material; wrapping at least a portion of the skin about at least a portion of the frame; and bonding the skin to the frame.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein: the first layer comprises a first plurality of substantially aligned fibers in a matrix; the second layer comprises a second plurality of substantially aligned fibers in a matrix; the first plurality of fibers extends along a first axis; and the second plurality of fibers extends along a second axis different from the first axis.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein the fiber-in-matrix material is carbon fiber reinforced plastic.

11. The method of claim 9, further comprising removing at least a portion of the second layer prior to wrapping at least the portion of the skin about at least the portion of the frame.

12. The method of claim 9, wherein the operation of forming a frame from a fiber-in-matrix material comprises: placing a granularized fiber-in-matrix material in a mold, the granularized fiber-in-matrix material comprising a fiber and a matrix; closing the mold; heating the mold until the matrix melts; and solidifying the matrix about the fibers to form the frame.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the operation of forming a skin comprises: cutting the first layer into a first cross shape; cutting the second layer into a second cross shape; and bonding the first layer to the second layer, such that the second cross shape exposes a portion of the first cross shape, thereby creating a stair-step pattern on the skin.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the operation of forming a frame from a fiber-in-matrix material further comprises forming a taper on at least a segment of the frame.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein the operation of wrapping at least a portion of the skin about at least a portion of the frame comprises wrapping the stair-step pattern on the skin about the taper.

16. The method of claim 8, wherein: the frame defines at least a first, second and third edge of a three-dimensional object; the first edge and second edge define a first plane extending therebetween; the second edge and third edge define a second plane extending therebetween; the first edge and third edge define a third plane extending therebetween; and none of the first, second and third planes are parallel or overlapping.

17. A object, comprising: a frame defining four corners and four struts, each strut extending between two corners, thereby forming a rectangular shape.; and a cross-shaped skin comprising a plurality of layers, each layer of the plurality of layers having a smaller surface area than the layer below, the cross-shaped skin at least partially adjacent and bonded to at least a segment of the frame; wherein the cross-shaped skin encompasses the four struts; the four corners are exposed; and the frame and cross-shaped skin are formed from a fiber-in-matrix material.

18. The object of claim 17, wherein the skin forms a bottom surface of the object.

19. The object of claim 18, wherein the frame and cross-shaped skin are separately formed from the fiber-in-matrix material.

20. The object of claim 19, wherein each of the four corners comprises an inwardly-extending flange substantially parallel to the bottom surface.

Connected TVs snatch online video viewing crown from PCs

Joseph Lord

Re: Sigh

Why the sigh? I have a similar set up and it is great.

My Sony TV does the iPlayer, Demand Five (some good kids stuff), Lovefilm and Youtube. It also plays direct from the Myth box over DLNA.

Netflix has the IT Crowd I think. Your Sammy might be able to get that direct, I need to turn on the PS3 for Netflix.

Bonking payment by NFC doubled by Olympics splash

Joseph Lord
Black Helicopters

Re: I've done my best to disable mine

That doesn't protect you from any security flaws or information leaks if devices you don't try to use connect with your card.

Joseph Lord
Black Helicopters

I've done my best to disable mine

Bank wouldn't give me a card without it so I've put cuts around the chip hopefully severing the antenna. Need to find a retailer to test it at though.

I might trust it on a credit card where I can dispute payments before it gets to the real bank account but not on a debit/cash card. I don't particular trust retailer Chip and Pin machines and try not to use the debit card in them unless absolutely unavoidable (e.g. car purchase).

Surrey council plans to SAVE money by switching to BT

Joseph Lord

Never name your project after a mythical creature

It just sets up too many jokes especially if it doesn't go well.

Freesat eyes YouView USP for next-gen UI

Joseph Lord

Re: 2.6M Freesat devices - probably a little less than 1M in use


Firstly thanks, I had looked a couple of times for the latest Ofcom Digital TV data but not found it as I hadn't looked in the overall Communication Report.

Looking in the cvs data the Ofcom estimate for free satellite households is 1.823 M. Note that this includes not only Freesat but also Free Satellite from Sky and all other free satellite services (unbranded boxes possibly without proper EPGs). There may be a proportion of these in use for non-English language services (Hindi, Arabic, Polish, German etc.)

Given that at the time of Freesat's launch (Q2 2008) the Free satellite category had 0.84 million households it is a reasonable assumption that Freesat may have less than 1 million households currently and certainly it has nothing like 2 million.

Joseph Lord

2.6M Freesat devices - probably a little less than 1M in use

Freesat devices are probably largely the mid/high end Panasonic TVs all of which came with Freesat for a couple of years so many will realistically be connected to a Freevie aerial or Sky/Virgin boxes.

From memory basic numbers for UK main TVs:

Sky 10M

Freeview 10M

Virgin 3.5M

Other sat inc Freesat 1M

BT/Telco IPTV 0.8M

Youview seems to be exactly as invisible a retail presence as I predicted. One box on a shelf in a back corner of a large Currys/PC World with a small label, no branding, no demo. It was amongst about 15 other STBs and PVRs including a cheaper Humax next to it with twice the disk capacity.

I can understand why Freesat haven't gone for Youview. This solution isn't going to shake the market in any significant way but Freesat will continue ticking away at a modest level.

It's time to burn the schedules and seize control of OUR TVs

Joseph Lord

Re: WTF?

For a real eye opener look at some of the patents awarded to Gemstar (now Rovi). They basically claim any and all EPGs and certainly used to use them to bully manufacturers into including their guide.

Apple weighs in on AntiSec's alleged FBI hack

Joseph Lord

They are banning the introduction of apps to the store that access the UDID. At some point existing ones that access it may be removed.

I think the only fairly recent device that won't be getting iOS 6 is the original iPad. 3GS and later will get it. How many Android phones introduced in 2009 will get JellyBean?

Sharp's slim screen factory 'flogged to death' by Apple

Joseph Lord

Won't be the first time Sharp has failed to deliver panels

The joint venture with Sony for TV panels fell apart as they under delivered both in quantity and quality.

Sony had to switch back to their main competitor Samsung for panels, I wonder if Apple will do the same.

Why the Apple-Samsung verdict is good for you, your kids and tech

Joseph Lord

Re: Gizmodo? Groklaw

Yes, Groklaw were brilliant on the SCO case (SCO really didn't have a case and Groklaw showed it very well) and calling shenanigans on the OOXML standardisation process but I don't feel that they give balanced or entirely legally based views of the Android cases.

I don't like Oracle but I do think that they had a very real case that the overall Java API was copyrightable, it seemed at the very least an open issue. Groklaw seemed to always focus on the simplest examples of API (such as a max function) where there really aren't many alternatives that make sense rather than the more complex and creative parts of the API.

On the Samsung case there was a lot of deniable about the extent of Samsung's copying (inappropriate in my view) not just the legality (a tougher question) of it.

Cook's 'values' memo shows Apple has lost its soul

Joseph Lord
Big Brother

Apple are another amoral company

But are Samsung or Google really any better?

Evil is probably going too far for any of them but I don't trust either of them to look out for my interests except when it aligns with theirs.

Jury awards Apple $1bn damages in Samsung patent case

Joseph Lord


Many people on death row are there because they can't afford lawyers, Samsung could afford lawyers.

Police mistake reveals plan for Assange's Embassy capture

Joseph Lord

Re: "very serious charges"?


"What charges?"

Breach of bail conditions. I would hope that after Sweden is finished with him (whatever the verdict) he will be brought back for a spell behind bars. Remand pending trial is important as innocent people can avoid having their lives ruined before trial. The more people skip bail the less it will be available so I hope he is properly punished for that as a detterant to others.

I'm not usually one of the lock'em up brigade but I think that this is a serious offence.

Sharp to shunt two telly factories

Joseph Lord

Re: Dull/Sharp??

Why would you want to buy a large, heavy, low resolution, flickery, inefficient, full of nasty chemicals TV with curved reflective glass screen and phosphors that fade with usage?

The rose tinted view of CRTs some people have is getting ridiculous. Yes the lack of pixels with hard boundaries is a plus and the naturally interlaced display is the best way to view interlaced content but content is increasingly progressive and with FHD the pixel density can be high enough that the pixel shape doesn't matter too much.

I'm not saying that if you have a functioning CRT that you should get rid of it but the idea that we should be making more is ridiculous. If you do have a CRT you should realise that most content is likely to look better on a decent LCD with sensible set up. You VHS tapes may look worse but that is probably the case of the CRT hiding the flaws better while the LCD will show you the problems in the source.

New MPEG format paves the way for UHDTV

Joseph Lord

Re: Increase in spatial, but what about temporal?

The BBC made a late (after receiver hardware had been designed) push to get 1080P50 into the Freeview HD spec. I think it was included in the end. It certainly caused a panic/scramble by manufacturers to check if the chips they had designed their 2010/2011 TVs around could support it.

I think also contrary to some expectations the BBC HD encoders swap between 1080i and 1080p frequently depending on what is most efficient for each scene rather than just between programmes. This upsets my TV when using some picture settings so I get a flash to black on these transitions if set to particular modes.

Apple 'offered Samsung $30-per-mobe' patent licence truce

Joseph Lord

Re: I see the resident Fandroids wouldn't recognise a negotiating position

I don't think Samsung have 'admitted' copying anything although it seems fairly clear to me that they have been copying many elements of Apple devices (especially following the recent internal comparison document). However while copying on such a large scale may be bad form and not be good for the reputation there is in general no law or rule against it.

However if Apple have patents that are infringed by the copy (or even not by the copy but it looks much worse in court if you copied it and it would be harder to claim it is obvious if you only did it after seeing Apple's version) or if the copy falls under the 'design patent' (would be registered design in the UK) then Apple can bring an action as they have.

The court will look at whether the patents are infringed and valid. I don't pretend to be able to make a judgement there.

Apple: Samsung was in 'crisis' over our iPhone awesomeness

Joseph Lord

@Thorfkin and others


I really don't think that is remotely on the cards even if Apple win it will basically mean that you shouldn't make something so similar that you need to read the logos to know it isn't an iPad.

Apple may want to ban other tablets but I don't think that they are even hoping for that let alone expecting it. The design elements that they are claiming are really quite specific and may be too specific even to catch the Samsung products and stock Android may even be safe.

@Many anti-Apple commenters

There seem to be a number of comments with long lists of features and technology which were not unique or first deployed on the iPhone. I'm not sure that anyone is disputing this. I think that you are making the mistake of seeing products in terms of a list of features rather than a complete product with the overall user experience being key. If a pure list of features was the key thing Nokia would have blown Apple out of the phone market with Symbian and Symbian would have destroyed Android too.

Where I see the iPhone as being a major step forward was the quality with which the features were put together and a new ease of use that brought the ability to use the features to many more users. It was also the first phone with a browser which made browsing full websites easy, practical and even enjoyable. I did use a Symbian Nokia for at time and it was not the same, even with Opera.

Joseph Lord

Re: Conflation

> Since when does Android and it's icoms[sic] look the iPhone? Android doesn't look like 80's wallpaper. That can't be said of iOS.

I have read and seen pictures indicating that Samsung replaced some of the default Android icons with alternatives that look much more similar to the iPhone icons so it is possible that Samsung products were similar even if vanilla Android wasn't.

To me it seems clear that Samsung made choices to make their product much more similar to the iPhone than did other Android manufacturers. Much more similar than was necessary to produce a touchscreen phone. Now the court will decide whether it constitutes infringements of Apples design patents under US law (similar to registered designs here I think).

> Stop kidding yourself and stop trying to spread the lies.

You seem to be lightly informed of the details but are making strong accusations. Maybe the other poster is wrong (at least in some areas - I don't think Samsung copied every important aspect) but that doesn't make them a liar.

Curiosity needs OS upgrade before getting down to science

Joseph Lord

Re: Eh? "Only" 5 Mbps?

I suspect that they meant 5kbps or even only 5bps although I haven't checked which. Even at 5 kbps it wouldn't take long to fill the 256KB memory for the OS.

Humax YouView DTR-T1000 IPTV Freeview PVR review

Joseph Lord

Re: Late, expensive and missing features - YouView flops on day one

Agree but wanted to strengthen a couple of points.

The eternity is 2.75 years from initial target launch date (Late 2009-August 2012). The major CE manufacturers all launched 3 generations of TV products in this time period.

It is not £50-100 too much for mass adoption but probably £200 too much. For truly mass adoption it needs to be impulse buy piled up in Tescos. That doesn't necessarily mean it is bad value for what you get or that it won't appeal to a large niche but it won't get mass adoption at anything like it's current price and the product as currently defined can't be brought down to mass market prices for some years to come.

Being a DLNA server it would need to be restricted to encrypted streams only for some HD content by Freeview rules. The content rights for IP streaming probably specify the timelimits in most cases so I doubt they can allow downloaded content to be treated as recorded.

On an additional point I read elsewhere that with the quick startup mode enabled it uses over 16W in standby and still takes 20s to become usable. With proper standby it takes over 2 minutes to boot. If these figures are correct it is outrageously bad (although maybe no worse than Virgin boxes which always seem hot even when not in use). [http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?s=b68a92c6d4e596ebb02996dcc2fcc807&t=1706789&page=2] The Reg review quotes the low energy standby time and the high energy boot time.

Joseph Lord

Re: This is why it will fail to get mainstream adoption

I think we may be in more agreement than disagreement.

A key question is the likely promotional success Youview will have and we clearly have different views about what it will take to promote it to the public. If I'm wrong and it does reach a couple of million households or more then content will be attracted and viral promotion effects (seeing it at a friend's house) will kick in. But I think this is unlikely to occur even over the next 3 years.

The comment with regards to Sky pitching comment was to indicate that they had less need of live demo than Youview whose pitch is ease of use as all the content is available elsewhere.

I suspect that the issue with ITVPlayer support on older products is mostly about ITV requiring features that are only available on the newest products. It may or may not be possible to backport features to the older products but going forwards I would expect them to be maintained. TV manufacturers have a tricky task balancing how much to add additonal features and API to their interactive platforms that won't be available on older products. The more they add the more attractive this years product is to content providers but the less they benefit from the scale of the existing devices. At the moment there are frequent (often annual) platform changes to keep the costs coming down but that may need to slow to build platforms of scale.

Joseph Lord
Thumb Down

Re: Youview FAIL

There is no way that Youview as it stands can be incorporated into TVs or Blu-rays at least on a large scale. So they will still need to support the largest players as they will have millions of devices rather than a few hundred thousand in a year's time.

1) Hard disk is mandatory which would keep it to a niche range of TVs not currently available unless they change the platform.

2) It is a UK solution. TV's are global products with tweaked software for each region's broadcast characteristics with tuner units potentially changed for each market (although increasingly integration means that you get more tuner types than you need and costs are saved though high volumes).

3) The major players (Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic) are not about to hand their entire UI including branding, content placement and promotional possibilities not to mention any feature differentiation over to Youview.

Now if they had delivered a set of service standards instead of a software platform that would be a completely different matter.

Joseph Lord

Re: This is why it will fail to get mainstream adoption

>>Indeed they will, which is why I specifically referred to "hree commercial terrestrial broadcasters" - i.e. not the BBC.

>>>> This may not apply to the others but they don't give much promotional airtime away for free so Youview would probably have to pay for adverts

>>There's a difference, this is a product designed to ensure the broadcasters retain control over their content's distribution not merely to enable its reception. It's in their interests for this to sell more than Smart TVs and other competing devices.

Sorry missed that you had spotted the BBC's limits. I still don't think that the commercial broadcasters will do much they will do much. Different departments budgets and priorities mean that giving up advertising time costs real money and peoples bonuses will depend on it. That money would be better spent doing nice players for Samsung, LG and probably Sony and Panasonic along with business deals for long term high profile placement. That is where the numbers are going to be as the natural TV replacement cycle roles along AND that can get them a strong placement even in Sky and Virgin homes.

Will the New Media (or equivalent) departments at ITV and C4 get multi-million pound pots of money to spend on advertising (even on their own channels)? I really doubt it. And

>>>> assuming it is worth the £100M spent on it

>>That was £70m between 7 equal shareholders including two ISPs using it as their next-gen TV boxes. including one who has some major football rights to milk for cash and who has already said they'll be offering some exclusive goodies only on their platform.

I think you are probably right although I haven't been following the latest accounts but the original plan was £100M MOSTLY for advertising with development taking a small proportion. Haven't got time to check the old plans now.

BT have spent hundreds and hundreds of millions almost giving away BT Vision and I think that they don't have much more than 500K users (again haven't checked detail figures but would be surprised if off by more than 50%). Its hard to imagine them getting much back from their investment^W reckless splurge on football unless they offer something on other platforms. Again I think that the need to make a real cash choice between boosting their platform or avoiding making obscene losses is going to lead the exclusive offer to be fairly weak.

I also don't think that there is anything next-gen about Youview it is very much current-gen along with Virgin Tivo and SkyHD (launched in 2006) although it may be better than both I don't see any generational shift. Although this does indicate how far behind BT still are (as they haven't launched their Youview offer yet).

>>>> OR having nice friendly people to show you how it works and what you can do with it in every shopping mall in the land

>>I've never seen a shopping centre Sky demo which had a live working box.

Probably a fair point, I've never subjected myself to a discussion with them. They have demoed HD and 3D though, I've seen that as I walk past. Sky's pitch is very much content, except for the time they did the rather good Sky+ ads and even those were very clear what content you were getting. Youview's pitch is user experience and ease of use (I think) so actually being able to demo it is rather important but even having someone there who can explain the product is quite an achievement. Have you ever mystery shopped TV products in Currys or Comet? When I tried asking questions about Connected TVs a couple of years ago only about 1 of the 5 I tried did a good job.

Joseph Lord

Re: Youview FAIL

It has been clear for some time that Youview is itself a Platform that manufacturers are asked to provide underlying hardware and OS on which Youview implements the UI and many functions. They have just leaped into competition with GoogleTV really.

This is all a result of Sky envy. Sky can control their STBs, push software updates, new user interfaces and new features without going through standardisation work at the DtG and then persuading the manufacturers to adopt the features (and which manufacturers haven't often done to persuade them to backport to old models). Of course the reason Sky could do this is that they bought and then sold on at subsidised prices billions of pounds worth of STBs. The BBC wants its own Youview to be it's own Sky box to ensure it's own content is properly promoted and not hidden.

Of course since Project Canvas (aka Youview) was originally planned to be launched in late 2009 the BBC iPlayer has gained a prominent position on a massive range of devices that weren't available then including most major brand TVs, blu-ray players, network streamers, Freeview HD boxes, Virgin Tivo, iPads and other tablets plus it has gained access to iPhones, Android devices, and the Xbox 360 (it was already on the PS3 and Wii). The BBC has already gained what it needs to ensure it's content is presented and accessible on many different device types rather than be trapped as a deadwater on Sky and Virgin boxes which was their great fear.

Joseph Lord

Re: This is why it will fail to get mainstream adoption


Firstly fair trading rules at least for the BBC will have to say that you can get iPlayer on Youview, Games Consoles, Connected TVs, Freeview HD devices, iPads, iPhones, Android phones, Android tablets, and PCs.... There is a real limit to how much they at least can push Youview against competing platforms. This may not apply to the others but they don't give much promotional airtime away for free so Youview would probably have to pay for adverts (as Freeview and Freesat have done for brief campaigns in the past).

For the target market of those who have not yet got a PVR a ten second advert talking about Youview is not going to send people out to buy. Actually seeing it working is (assuming it is worth the £100M spent on it) what is needed to persuade people to buy. This is where having it millions of homes (so you can see it at a friend's) OR having nice friendly people to show you how it works and what you can do with it in every shopping mall in the land. Youview have neither of these and while they might set up a number of mobile demonstrations and take them around shopping malls I doubt that they can cover a fraction of the ground that Sky can.

Joseph Lord

This is why it will fail to get mainstream adoption

> It’s said that just a third of Freeview-only homes have a hard-disk recorder. YouView is chiefly aimed at non-PVR viewers who have an aversion to making direct debits to media conglomerates but want a no-fuss way to see free catch-up content on their HDTV, and then maybe sample the hedonistic pleasures of pay-TV in a small way.

It's a £300 product aimed about 6.5million households who have shown no interest in £200 PVR products that are in many ways quite similar or paying for more advanced TV reception generally. Also at a time when tablets are competing for gadget spend in this price range and also offering the catch up services. There won't be a team of sales people demonstrating attractive content in the aisle of every shopping mall in the land (like Sky has). It will be a box on the shelf in Currys next to all the other black boxes from Humax and Topfield.

I'm also not certain that Humax can add the features back that are on their other products as the relevant layers in the software stack may belong to Youview so I wouldn't count on Humax controlling the featureset.

It is interesting that the broadcasters seem to have allowed access to their content by routes other than through their individual players. That was certainly something that they were never amenable to a couple of years ago when I was trying to persuade them to allow more options on a different connected TV platform. I imagine there might be grounds for a complaint on competition (given the multiple broadcasters working together and favouring their shared platform) grounds but the CE brands may find the risk of losing iPlayer or having it launched late on a new model too great to risk complaining.

Ice Cream Sandwich still a no-show for most Android users

Joseph Lord

Security updates?

Are there known security issues with Gingerbread or ICS? If so are updates issued for these?

From a consumer point of view that is critical to whether the Android approach can be sustained. It is one thing to miss out on the new shiny but having a insecure device with masses of personal data is another thing.

Freeview EPG revamp set for September

Joseph Lord

Re: Good...

Which model? Doesn't sound like anything recent (unless they've done something really silly since I left. Guide normally opens up with current channel at the top (unless you are on the last page).

There are a couple of issues making TV UI's harder, one of them being patents which Rovi (formerly Gemstar) in particular owns tonnes of and tries to get manufacturers to adopt it's guide technology. Another is actually Freeview (DtG) whose requirements greatly limit freedom and place particular requirements on the remote control which are different to the particular requirements in other countries.

I think to do a really genuinely great TV UI it will be necessary to drop the TV functionality (or at least approvals). This might be where Apple can succeed that others wouldn't be able to get away with it.

The real hope I have is that someone will develop a TV with sufficent exposed API to make a really good phone/tablet application that IS the UI presenting content and channel listings rather than the buttons that appear on the traditional remote control.

Some people do just want volume up/down and channel up/down though!

Joseph Lord

Re: Every time I re-tune

There was a plan to support a mode of this but I'm not sure what happened to it. It is more complicated than you would expect.

It looks like it might be an optional feature:


The HD channels aren't exact replacements (at least BBC 1 HD doesn't have the regional opt-outs) so it needs to be dynamic at channel selection time (and programme change time). It also requires a multiplex jump so it needs a retune, lock and then to start filling the buffer until the next group of pictures starts, this takes a noticable time and could be really annoying if channel surfing. Then there are a set of issues if the HD signal is off-air or marginal signal strength.

I think these are the reasons that most devices don't support this feature.

Then there is the question of whether BBC 2 should jump to BBC HD if it showing the same content but actually you'll find that the two channels are not running to the same exact timing.

Joseph Lord

Re: Good...

There are different similar but different schemes in other places with different rules. E.g. in the NorDig standards which are used in the Nordic region there is a separate number space for TV and Radio so there is a channel 1 radio and a channel 1 TV station.

There are quite a number of different schemes especially if you take into account cable and satellite services too.

Joseph Lord

Re: Sports channels

Don't be silly those aren't Sports Channels they are the BBC Red Button Interactive Feeds. If they were sports channels they would be separate services and need extensive consultation processes and Government approval before launching!

Joseph Lord

Re: Good... @FartingHippo

On Sony TVs you can reorder channels (or at least up to the 2011 products you could, not checked this year). You can also delete channels. It isn't the best UI but at least we didn't drop it entirely even though Freeview wanted us to. [We is not fanboist brand association as I was working at Sony TV Product Planning at the time and was actually involved the discussion].

Downsides are having to repeat the process after major retuning processes and that the numbers don't match those in the dead tree listings guides but for me it is still worth it to make some changes (swapping HD services into the low numbers, killing shopping channels, adult and pay services.