TechCrunch UK alerted me to this first, the Guardian followed up with a piece later on (edited after comment from Mike Butcher, see comments). Finally, the heavyweights of the UK Broadcast industry are teaming up to offer a combined on-demand television service.
A little while ago I wrote among other things the excerpt below in a follow up entry to my college dissertation:
The biggest problem in my opinion facing the large scale adoption of both download and streaming television services is that everyone is offering their own solutions, instead of flicking the TV channel to see something different you end up closing down and then starting up another proprietary application or browsing to another webpage to view content from that one provider which seems from a user perspective a most unworkable and undesirable solution.
Nice to see they got the message one way or another, just a pity so much money had to be spent on the BBC iPlayer before this happened (I know ITV and C4 spent money to built thier respective offerings as well but they are commercial entities not tax beneficiearies and so entitled to do what they want without having to justifiy it to the country).
The piece by the Guardian makes mention of third party content but also interestingly delivering content ultimatly to the TV, it would be interesting to see if there are plans to perhaps integrate this with FreeSat which is due to launch next year. There is of course hope on the TechCrunch post that they’ll employ a more user friendly (read: non-existant) DRM system which might also be a bit more open to other platforms and browsers but I rather doubt this will happen. Both the BBC iPlayer and the 4od service from C4 use the Kontiki system which is very restrictive and very in love with Windows XP, add to this the fact that the chap who’s managing all of this is Lesley MacKenzie of Sky fame who also use the Kontiki system and that seems like the easiest solution to employ from their point of view and their developers.
Whats frustrating in many ways is why they can’t go with Joost or similar as a front end for this. Looking at the Whats On page on the Joost website there’s a lot of known channels popping up here and there and the mecanism is already built. The cynic in me thinks the reason for not going with something like this is slight desperation by the Broadcasters to hang onto whatever control they can, plus of course not loosing too much of the money two of them have previously invested in the aforementioned Kontiki based system!
Update: Jeremy Stone (BBC) posted on the BBC Backstage mailing list about an article Ashley Highfield has just written which explains why they’re not going with Joost or similar as a distribution method. I’m not convinced by his argument, I can see a certain point of view with advertising revenue (will this be there for UK users?), however I believe this will actually only confuse users more having two offerings which at face value provide very similar services.
Anyway, no point in speculating too much at this point, we’ll have to wait a bit for the facts to come out.
Well I’ve just finished re-installing the latest stable version of WordPress with my new wordpress theme enabled on it. I shouldn’t really say new theme, I should say first as the reason I’ve had to re-install wordpress is beacuse for my sins I didn’t take the time to understand how wordpress templates were meant to function when I installed two years ago and as a result modified wordpress core files.
This has caused me no end of problems over the last two years and I’m pleased I’ve dealt with it finally. I’ll be building the site up a bit more over the next couple of days, but I think I’m almost there after dealing with issues with the simplepie plugin which has its quirks, adding a few choice entries to my .htaccess files to hopefully make sure that previous urls are not broken and a few other little issues.
Ah well, lessons learnt:
- Take mroe time to understand applications before charging in
- Don’t modify application code unless really unavoidable.
- Take time when starting out to think about a long term usable url structure so that you don’t end up potentially breaking trackbacks and other linkage (important for preserving ones pagerank (however low it is!)).
All very obvious in many ways but all the same I ignored them a couple of years ago (web development for me I must admit has been a learning by doing excercise so I’m excusing myself in some ways!).
Anyway, enough for tonight…
I’ve just taken the plunge and upgraded my HTC Wizard/O2 XDA MiniS to an HTC Kaiser/T-Mobile MDA Vario III.Ã‚Â I changed to T-mobile mainly beacuse of the ‘web n walk’ deals with their overall offer a better option than the competition, plus the added bonus that they don’t mind if the phone is used as a laptop modem (not tested yet).
There are hundreds of reviews around the web so I won’t bother doing that but will note some of my own thoughts, I find bullet point lists for this sort of thing work well:
- Ã‚Â The phone itself is a bit smaller than the previous one,Ã‚Â a testement if ever there was one to the fast moving world of modern technology, the new one packs in 3G,Ã‚Â GPS, faster processor and a tilting screen to boot where as the old one managed GPRSÃ‚Â at a push.
- The GPS is very fast to lock on, even inside buildings! It works very well with Google Maps although occasionally the software seems to forget to ask the GPS to update.Ã‚Â I’m awaiting a memory card before testing TomTom.
- The keyboard is actually slightly smaller than the Ã‚Â old one which is odd beacuse there appears to be space for it to be bigger. Its still perfectly usable although symbols have been moved around quite a bit, having had the Wizard for 23 months I was able to touchtype on it (thumbs only of course!) so this is quite an annoyance although I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
- The phone feels more solidly built, the mechanism for the tilt is metal so should be pretty hard wearing.
- The comms manager button is gone, this is a little annoying, I’m going to consider re-mapping the voice dialling button to do this. I’ve never quite understood the point in these voice dialling buttons, if I want hands free then I’ll use the button on my bluetooth headset to activate it, or else I’ll just use the keypad and dial the number normally.
The XDA Developer forums are as ever a fountain of useful knowledge for Windows Mobile smartphones and very much recommended. One of the forum members has produced a program called TrackMe, this is now being contributed to by other forums members. Its essentially a GPS Logger, it can record to either a local file or send data to a web application as a KML file.
I’m thinking of using this when I go to Cape Town in December to record my track and then use this to geotag my photos when I return. Obviously I’ll use the local file option as otherwise I’ll end up with horrendous roaming data charges! Hopefully the version with support for GPX will be released soon otherwise I’ll write a little converter myself. Then I need to tie this in with the photo exif data from my camera by matching the most recent gps log entry to the exif time stamp.