Microsoft's Internet TV strategy

You’ll recall that last week the first post in a two part series I wrote for last100 on Microsoft’s Internet TV strategy was posted. I’d say the post did very well, receiving over 20 comments from readers and 300 diggs. Today, part two is up:

The product to keep an eye on is definitely Mediaroom (and Mediaroom on the Xbox 360). There’s a reason Microsoft chose Mediaroom as the brand instead of simply Microsoft TV: they are looking to the future of entertainment, where TV is just one piece of the puzzle.

You can read the entire post at last100, and you can digg it here. As always, let me know what you think!

Read: last100

Smallville Season 7 Confirmed

Post ImageI just watched the season six finale of Smallville and it ended in a cliffhanger as expected. And it’ll be back next season, also as expected. It was consistently one of the CW’s top-rated shows this season, so I figured it was very unlikely to suffer the same fate as Gilmore Girls. The seventh season should get underway late September or early October.

There’s a chance that Smallville may have an eight season, but that would be its last according to Executive Produce Al Gough:

We’ll officially find out about season 7 on May 17th [during the CW upfronts], but obviously we feel very confident we’ll be back. As for season 8, who knows? There are a lot of factors that will play into that decision, not the least of which is the quality of season 7, so that is what we are focusing on at the moment. If there is an 8th season, that would be the show’s last. Every hero may have a beginning, but every story has an end.

With that in mind, I hope they go the full eight seasons! It’s a nice round number (and lucky in Chinese culture). Would make for an excellent DVD set.

As for tonight’s finale, it was pretty intense. Perhaps not as good as last season’s finale, but still pretty good. I won’t give anything away here, so if you want to read some discussion regarding the episode, check out KryptonSite.

The one thing I will say is this: the Martian Manhunter was entirely underutilized. Such a waste.

Have you seen the creepy commercial from Shaw?

Post ImageRegular readers of my blog will know that I don’t worry about online privacy all that much. My gut reaction to new technologies or products is generally not “what about my privacy!” As a result, I was pretty surprised to think about privacy right after seeing the new television commerical from Shaw! A quick search didn’t turn up any videos, so here’s a quick rundown of the commercial in case you haven’t seen it:

The commercial is shot in the familiar “Apple white” environment, with lots of people running around. The voiceover starts talking about Shaw’s technology, noting that Shaw is there “for every conversation, every web search, and every online purchase.” The video depicts these scenarios. The commercial concludes with something similar to, “the greatest thing about our technology, is the people behind it.”

It’s a good overall message, and I think I understand what they were going for. It’s too bad it comes off as kind of creepy. The thought process might go something like this:

  1. Ah Shaw, yah I know this company.
  2. Web search? Oh right my ISP is Shaw.
  3. Conversations? Ahhh yes the new Shaw VOIP!
  4. People behind the technology, that makes sense.
  5. Wait a minute…web searches, purchases, conversations – they know everything about me!

Maybe I’m just reading into it too much, but I think Shaw would have been better off not highlighting all of the various things they could keep track of.

Co-Inventor of the TV remote dies

Post ImageSad news today for all you couch potatoes out there. Robert Adler, co-inventor of the TV remote, has died of heart failure at the age of 93. He had a pretty amazing career:

In his six-decade career with Zenith, Adler was a prolific inventor, earning more than 180 U.S. patents. He was best known for his 1956 Zenith Space Command remote control, which helped make TV a truly sedentary pastime.

And no, he isn’t guilty about possibly contributing to the rise of couch potatoes:

“People ask me all the time — ‘Don’t you feel guilty for it?’ And I say that’s ridiculous,” he said. “It seems reasonable and rational to control the TV from where you normally sit and watch television.”

Well said. Thanks Mr. Adler – I don’t know what I’d do without the remote.

Read: Yahoo! News

User Generated Comedy: HornyManatee.com

Post ImageHis humor isn’t for everyone, but I rather enjoy watching Conan O’Brien. I missed the episode in which Conan debuted the “Horny Manatee”, but I did catch the next episode where he announced the website. He made up some crazy story that went something like this: because he mentioned the URL on the air, NBC was obligated to purchase the domain, and they figured they might as well make a website out of it!

Now aside from being funny, I thought this was a great comedy bit for another reason – user generated comedy. Yes, that’s a play on user generated content. Not only did Conan’s team create the website, but they invited fans to send in additional content. This does two things. First, it gets the audience and hardcore fans more involved in the show (Conan featured some of the best fan submissions). Second, it offloads some of the work (of making a funny and entertaining show) to the audience!

I don’t know where this will go, or if we’ll start to see more of these kinds of projects, but I thought it was worth mentioning anyway. I’m sure something similar has been done before, but this was the first time I really thought about it.

Comedy Central smarter than the average bear!

Post ImageOver the last few days word has spread that Comedy Central asked YouTube to remove clips of the Colbert Report and the Daily Show, under terms of the DMCA. When I first heard about it, I was really disappointed in Comedy Central. It seems they only decided to make a fuss now that Google owns YouTube. I thought they were really shortsighted, and indeed stupid, for ignoring the fact that YouTube is a huge buzz machine for its shows.

Today however, Jeff Jarvis is reporting that they didn’t ask YouTube to remove all clips, just some of them. Further investigation shows that only clips longer than 5 minutes have been removed.

I think it is really in Comedy Central’s best interests to allow clips to appear on YouTube. Not entire episodes certainly, but short clips. Even if they don’t make any money from the clips immediately, it would be a good experiment. You’ll never understand how to take advantage of the fast changing media distribution landscape until you try something new.

Read: BuzzMachine