MyDecadeTV – One Heck Of A YouTube Aggregator

I’ve had lots of sobering thoughts lately about the up-and-coming generation that’s turning 18 after this Semper Reformanda 2017 year is in the history books.  Next year in 2018 we’ll have people turning 18 who were born in the year 2000, that have absolutely none of their lives in a part of history other than The New Millennium.  Besides the usual creeping decrepitude getting old stuff and possibility that someone who’s a teenager now had their childhood get wrecked by The Great Recession, if I transpose how my life has been onto that of someone born in 2000, things become a real eye-opener really quickly.

My earliest childhood memories start popping up in my mid single digits between when I was 5 and 7 years old.  For someone born in 2000, this means the following things have been a thing all their lives as far back as they can remember:

  • eTail instead of Retail being a viable way to buy things.
  • YouTube.
  • MP3 players and digital music.
  • Smartphones.
  • The whole mobile revolution.
  • Broadband Internet, depending on where they grew up.
  • The XBox 360 as their first console.
  • Dual core processors in computers.
  • The Intel Core series chips.

YouTube in particular is of note here.  In the early days of YouTube I and other YouTubers talked about how we “stopped watching TV and started watching YouTube.”  The rise of video-on-demand is entirely a thing with this generation, such that channel surfing may not be what it once was in previous generations.

Fortunately for the youngsters and whippersnappers who want to experience what channel surfing was like in the days when VCRs were the sum total of your video on demand options, there’s MyDecadeTV:

Basically this site is a giant aggregator of YouTube videos of content from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, set up to run like a virtual television back in those decades.  It’s actually a really neat project that’s piggybacking on YouTubers uploading their VHS tapes and turning the site into “The World’s VCR.”  🙂

The only real drawback here is that your channel surfing silently counts as part of your viewing history so consider using a different browser or something as this’ll mess with your recommended videos on your front page.  😀

Nonetheless though, it took a bit of a jolt to get me to realize that the experience of poking around looking for something to watch with no Netflix to go binge-watch might be something worth preserving in a historical project like this…  🙂

This is cool.  🙂  Pick a virtual TV, turn the TV on, flip channels or years, and experience what Video Entertainment was like in the bad old days before Netflix.  😀

By the way, I recommend using the full screen options and dropping your speakers down to midrange-only and stereo if you have a sound system.  🙂


“Skip Intro” Means Netflix Is Getting Ahead Of Some YouTubers With Show Flow

Yesterday I hopped on the mic for a podcast about show flow, which described show flow and detailed some examples of YouTubers struggling with it.  It’s also the reason why show flow is now a category on this blog.  🙂

Today I encountered the CNN Money article about the new Skip Intro button that Netflix is rolling out for binge watchers.  If you’re playing catchup with a TV or Netflix series you can now skip the “what some would call redundant” show openers.  🙂

It’s fun being right.  🙂

Television is a natural go-to for inspiration on how to make YouTube uploads for many of us multimedia types who goof around with it, but today we find TV in a rather defensive position compared to the classic shows most of us might have grown up with.  Even around the beginning of the “Flash Video Revolution” when YouTube finally found a way to make hosting video online into something other than a site killer via bandwidth costs we found TV shows adapting to the changing demands for show flow in the time slots.

Oddly enough, though I’ve been exorcising childhood demons so to speak via making fun of soap operas through allegorical spoofs like World Of The Nerd Couple, it’s actually the daytime soaps with their decades-long runs that illustrate the progression in approaches to television to reflect show flow the most.  Take As The World Turns for example, one of the shows that my sitters when I was little always had on when I got home from school (the more common one being Guiding Light in the 3:00 PM timeslot).  Not a lot of opener changes, but enough over the show’s 50+ year run to showcase quite a bit of things that TV has seen happen over the years that have forced changes to production material.

The rise of Web 2.0 video in the 2000s was just another nail in classic TV’s coffin.  It’s important to remember when watching this or other classic TV shows that VCRs weren’t a thing until the 80s, so big long intros helped you not miss when your show was coming on if you had to run into the living room or something or your clock wasn’t set right or you were running late.  Once on-demand options started to appear though, the big long show intro started to become something that wasn’t really needed anymore, except if one was trying to be traditional and hold on to the way things used to be.

As The World Turns reacted to this the most.  Note the last entry in the final years before the show was cancelled.  Just *POOF* the spinning globe and the show starts, since the people following the daytime drama scene probably already knew who all the actors were.  The declining revenue from daytime drama probably contributed to this as well, but I can’t really explain such a radical drop in complexity in the show intro without at least thinking of YouTube.

Likewise with credits at the end of these shows.  Prior to HDTV if you wanted to roll credits they had to be big and take quite a bit of time, but when HD became a thing not only could the credits shrink but they could be off to the side and not even take up the whole screen anymore, as we see today.

Just for fun, here’s that YouTube channel’s Guiding Light opening compilation video.  More revisions to watch, but I couldn’t mention this stuff without showing this as well.  You see more details fleshed out as the changing TV landscape prompted revisions of the production material, including some times where they got too close to fashion and fads and the intro became dated rather quickly, like when the show went Disco.  😀

For today’s YouTubers, show flow matters more than ever before.  Classic TV’s style might be a good thing to have fun with every so often, but it should be a phase that comes and goes.  Much has changed since the 80s and 90s, and even the 2000s with the rise of mobile devices and people “watching TV” on smartphones as they walk around cities or wait for buses/trains/etc.  Not since the introduction of the VCR has this landscape been this radically altered.

New landscape or not – it’s still workable for content creators today.  🙂

TV Demand Slumps? Really? Gee I’d Never Have Guessed. :-P

Voila, another article from The Consumerist:

…and its CNN Money article that it’s derived from:

Can’t say I’m surprised.  I think the TV industry has gotten spoiled over the last few years with the switch from CRT TVs to flat panels and the progression to 720p and 1080p, plus there are minimum sizes to properly view 1080p content with all the associated fine details and that won’t become any less of an issue when 4k, 8k, etc., resolutions come out.  Ultimately though, I’m thinking this drop in TV sales is because we’re past the main wave of people upgrading their stuff here.  It was a bit of a step up to go from squarescreen tube TVs to widescreen flat panels, but now that most folks have the new types of TVs, there isn’t much of a reason to keep buying newer TVs.

Let’s take the one I have for example.  My setup rocks a Samsung 37″ LCD from late 2008.  Other than power consumption, I have zero reason to replace this TV.  It may be only 60 Hz for a refresh rate, but it does the trick for the computer-y stuff I use it for most of the time, though I do occasionally put some actual TV video through it.  The biggest improvement I could make would be to get an Energy Star certified one like the 57 watt TV I saw several months ago, but that would just be a minor drop since with the backlight all the way down on my current TV the power consumption’s just under 100 Watts.  I’m curious how low the 57 Watt one goes with the backlight all the way down, but again, all we really have to improve here is power consumption.

I can’t emphasize this enough.  Power consumption and maybe a higher refresh rate is really the only way I could improve things.  The TV has no notable picture degradation and still looks pretty good these days.  I’m thinking run this TV until it quits for whatever reason, then see what Samsung has around whenever that happens.  I could theoretically maybe look at getting a 3D TV or Smart TV, but I don’t have too much use for those fancier features, so why bother?

TVs have traditionally not been the sort of thing that people upgrade a lot.  You basically find one you like and roll with it.  Plus I can imagine this economy probably isn’t helping things in terms of folks wanting to buy new TVs.  :-\

“Imagine There’s No TV? Seriously?”

Ever since writing the blog entry with the “John Lennon parody title” awhile back I’ve been thinking that maybe some folks might think I was going overboard with my idea of a content-on-demand-centered world where the current version of Pay TV has ceased to exist.  Some people may think that’s silly but then again technology we take for granted today may have sounded silly in the years before it came out.

Take cars for example.  Imagine what would happen if back in the 1800s you mentioned the idea of people being so dependent on moving machines (that you could drive anywhere you wanted to) that in some areas you couldn’t live without one.  The modern development of cars spans about 100 years though, so let’s try something that sprung up over a shorter time span, like cellphones.  Imagine what would happen if back in the 80s when cellphones were cinderblock-sized playtoys for rich people like Gordon Gekko in the Wall Street movie if you mentioned that there would come a day when cellphones would not only be ubiquitous such that poor people could afford them (speaking from experience because I’ve known of a few :-P), but phones would have touch screens and rival personal computers in their usefulness for computer-y stuff and accessing the Internet.  Back then you might have made someone’s big-haired head explode.  😛

Why then would it be so ridiculous today to imagine a world where channel-flipping and DVRs, etc. have been made obsolete by computerized TVs and on-demand technology?  Even something as basic as cable TV isn’t what it was 15 years ago.  I’ve been playing catch-up with how cable works these days at my new job and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how computerized cable TV is getting, with today’s set-tops and DVRs hooking up via coax cable and downloading data, updates etc., not to mention the whole digital cable thing to begin with where CPE talks with the headend machines and only channels actually being watched get sent through the cable in the first place.  🙂  The crossover between cable networks and computer networks that I’m used to is getting to be so much that today I actually got our headend contact mixed up with our networks contact at work.  Oops.  😛

One thing Craig Moffett mentioned in the recent Stop The Cap! article about Pay TV’s continued brick-kicking against online video streaming rings true though.  At the end of the day, cable companies are exactly what the name suggests – infrastructure companies.  😛  It’s all about wires more than anything else.  What goes through those wires doesn’t matter as much as people still wanting the wires to begin with.  That pretty much sums it up.  🙂

At some point I imagine broadband will become a national political issue, and I’m not just talking about the lip service some Democrats are paying it right now.  As it is right now with the whole municipal broadband situation broadband infrastructure is largely a local issue and in places like Tennessee there have been situations where infrastructure in one town pulls jobs from another.  Imagine what happens when this goes national and international.  Imagine if companies pull jobs out of less-wired states in favor of more-wired states.  That’ll get state governments involved, unless whoever’s in charge doesn’t care or is bought out by lobbyists, and finally when multinationals are moving jobs completely out of the country because the US falls far enough behind other parts of the world in the broadband race we’ll probably see some actual stuff going on in Washington about this when politicians’ and presidents’ re-election is jeopardized by this sort of stuff.

When that happens, hmmmm……  🙂  Maybe the FCC will actually get to bring down the hammer on some of the shenanigans that goes on today, above and beyond the sloppy “Net Neutrality rules” that got written up a few years back and “cable service” might mean broadband including TV over broadband instead of what we have today so whoever still wants to channel-flip can continue to do so.  Meanwhile on the consumer electronics front we already have “Smart TVs” and TVs becoming more and more computerized.  What’s to say someone might not hammer out an industry standard that makes all TVs double as pseudo-computers and allows for far more on-demand stuff than simply Netflix and/or cable provider Pay Per View.

Seriously, if the last 15 years of tech haven’t taught us anything else, they should teach us that keeping an open mind about the future isn’t just some nice thing one can do to be positive about things, it’s mandatory to not end up left in the dust.  🙂

Toshiba – What The Heck…. :-P

What is it with Toshiba stuff these days?  Been hearing some bad stories about how their laptops have gotten in recent years.  Now I’m hearing stuff about their TVs.  :-\

This sounds similar to a problem I had with the last set of computer speakers I used before I stopped using computer speakers.  Prior to switching to using a cheap home-theater-in-a-box for computer sound I had a set of Logitech Z-series speakers.  Barely a few months after getting them the amplifier started popping intermittently, so I looked up service information for warranty service, only to find out that even if I got the speakers replaced under warranty, once the warranty was up, there was *NO* options for parts or repair, even an out-of-warranty repair that I’d have to pay for.  People were livid on the Logitech forums about this and their CSRs basically shunted them over to taking their chances on eBay.  To add insult to injury, the Onkyo system I got on Newegg to replace those Loudtechs was actually less expensive and had more max watts if I ever wanted to crank up the volume, plus it’s a home theater so I have far more inputs and far better support for various encoders like Dolby and DTS.  There’s a video in here somewhere, and I’ll probably make a video later on about that whole mess since it’s definitely worth putting on YouTube.  In the meantime, I’ll let you compare the numbers yourself with the latest versions of these types of products on Newegg.  😉

Newegg – Logitech Z906 500 Watt Speakers

Newegg – Onkyo HT-S3400 660 Watt Home Theater In A Box

Whether speakers or TVs though, no matter how throwaway things get these days, electronics companies should not treat their customers like crap just because they sell stuff cheap.  Ultimately, when everyone starts doing that, the way to differentiate from the competition will be through service and owner TCO.  🙂

4K……. 8K……. OK :-P

Among some of the other things I’ve been hearing about from folks at CES was the current progress on the development of TV resolutions to match high-end film resolutions that are currently only viewable via projectors, such as 4K and 8K.  1080p might be on its way out as the flagship HD format in a few short years whenever 4k really starts to become widely available ……. or will it?  😉

As much as 1080p’s not even close to the best film resolution, I really think for home use we’ve really brushed up against the very edge of infinity here.  1080p’s a nice sharp picture and more importantly with such a high amount of fine detail in a screen we’re now brushing up against physical limitations in terms of seeing all the detail.  As my folks have recently reminded me last time we went back and forth about 720p vs. 1080p, whenever they finally stop using tube TVs, quality won’t matter as much to them since a lot of the time they may be watching everything from a distance with or without their glasses.  😛

1080p seems to have a physical limit of 37-40″ before you can really start seeing all the extra quality from a moderate distance on a TV, which is why I got a good laugh out of 1080p laptops when they first came out.  Some manufacturers were gutsy enough to advertise “Full HD laptops” with blippy little 16″ screens.  Yeah.  Sure.  Maybe I’ll be able to see all the 1080p goodness on those with a good magnifying glass.  😛  Fortunately, the manufacturers realized their little oopsie, and backed off on that a bit, opting for a more conservative 1600×900 or 1366×768 and saving the 1080 stuff for jumbo-sized laptops, but even that’s pushing it a bit.

With these kinds of issues, how will size be compounded even more with 4K or 8K?  What will be the minimum size then for it to be worth it?  A 37″ TV can be carried by oneself if one is careful, but too far above 40″ and that TV becomes a team lift.  Go much higher than that and who knows?  Do we really want people’s living room TVs to start making rearranging the living room into a big ordeal?  Perhaps at some point folks will just opt for a projector instead.  😉

The other thing to consider is storage.  Blu-Ray in its current state is quite a crowded little disc.  I heard some Blu-Ray fans hailing the format for its anti-scratch coating thinking that was pretty cool and stuff but let’s have a little reality check here – that anti-scratch coating is necessary in order for the format to be practical.  It’s crazy just how little it takes to make a Blu-Ray disc not play correctly.  A fleck of dust that floated onto the disc’s surface or the tiniest smudge of finger oil can cause a movie to skip.  With that level of precision, there aren’t that many options for further expansion of discs without increasing the disc size, though I have heard of plans to add lots and lots of layers instead.  I don’t know.  Some of Blu-Ray’s little quirks sometimes make me wonder if the quality loss in exchange for a more mature technology that’s easier to play without the player screwing up might make upscaled DVD more worth it again…  😛

The good thing about these up-and-coming resolutions is that it’s great for filling out the high-end for the enthusiast market and folks with money to burn who might want a 70-something inch TV in their living room with the pixels to fill it with all kinds of nice detail, but when we get to 8K, we’re talking about an IMAX-quality screen in someone’s living room.  How’s that going to work?  Hmmmmmm…….  🙂

Technology’s always a good thing of course.  It’d be nice for TVs like the big flat panel in Back To The Future Part 2 to be available for the home market by 2015, since we’re obviously not going to have flying cars, hoverboards, self-fitting self-drying clothes, or hydrated pizzas by then.  :o)  Practicality though, as my folks have been reminding me, will still be the word of the day, and it’d be great for consumers to have a lot of options to pick from to choose screens, resolutions, sizes, etc., for wherever they happen to want a screen in their lives.  🙂