This little video is great... (Some of you might have seen it already - it's been doing the rounds recently...)
The video features a brilliant Mime/Impressionist performing his interpretation of Natalie Imbruglia's hit single "Torn"... :-)
* Hat tip: Holy Moly
Posted at 11:53 p.m. Friday, 9 June 2006
There was an interesting story on State TV's Close Up at 7 programme tonight, on the future of the humble tv...
Titled "Is Television Dead?", reporter Bryan Seymour looked at whether the internet could be sounding the death knell for regular free-to-air television.
He spoke to a couple of (anonymous) people who download tv shows over the internet, through bit torrent systems. Friends download different shows, and swap cds/dvds between each other. They acknowledge what they're doing is technically illegal... downloading the latest episodes of popular US shows like Lost, Nip/Tuck, and the latest hit Prison Break (yet to screen in New Zealand, but advertised as "Coming Soon" on TV3).
It's hard to criticise their actions... While a handful of shows screen on New Zealand television within a month or so of their American broadcasts, many others sit on the shelf for 6 months to a year or more... Others never even make it onto our screens. For many people, the frustration of waiting to see what other viewers are talking about online is just too much.
Kiwis currently have no legal option for downloading tv programmes. While American surfers can now pay to legally download a selection of tv shows and movies through sites like itunes, no such service exists here. Indeed, New Zealand is becoming one of the few non-third-world countries where Apple's popular music and video download store iTunes still hasn't been launched.
IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) is the other growth area, offering streamed tv programming directly over the net. Even the overseas networks themselves are starting to get in the action, launching their own Broadband TV channels.
(* See my earlier post: Broadband TV is here! for more info)
The other way to see a broader range of programming is through pay television. New Zealand has pay tv courtesy of Sky Television via digital satellite and a limited UHF service. (Telstra Clear offer cable television, but this service is operated through Sky and has a similar lineup).
Sky's offering is massively overpriced, has an extremely limited lineup, few package options, and poor quality picture (you can often get a noticeably better picture through a clear VHF channel signal, than from the same digitally-compressed channel on Sky Digital). For some reason though, around 40% of NZ households subscribe!
The basic "Start Up" Sky package costs $46.61 a month and gives you just 30 TV channels (including the free-to-air State TV and CanWest Mediaworks ones). Adding the 3 Sports and 4 Movie channels (as many households do) will take the monthly Sky bill to a whopping $80.38! For just 36 channels?!
Compare that to Sky UK... Choosing all 6 Channel categories (Variety, Kids, Knowledge, Style & Culture, Music and News & Events) on its digital satellite service will give you over 260 channels, and cost £21.00 a month (~ $61.70 NZ). (You can choose to have fewer categories... £15.00 (~ $44.11 NZ) will still give you well over 200 channels... or choose to add extra Movie, Sports, and Premium subscription channels).
Here in New Zealand, firm plans for the future of television, and a digital changeover date have yet to be announced. The former National Government were working on a digital tv proposal with UK cable company NTL as far back as 1999, but those plans were ditched at a cost of millions when Helen Clark's Labour Party took power.
The Government's now working with local free to air broadcasters on a Freeview service based on the British system (albeit one with far less channels ;-) A final decision is expected within the next month or two.
It's possible it may be broadcast on both Digital Satellite (TVNZ and CanWest have agreed a 15-year leasing deal on the new Optus D1 satellite) and through Digital Terrestrial (DTT - the modern version of the current transmitter/aerial setup).
* Close Up: Is television dead?
* Aardvark: The changing face of ISPs
* Wikipedia: IPTV
UPDATE: According to MediaCom's Marketing Digest newsletter out today, the Government will be announcing its intentions on free-to-air digital television next Thursday (15th June).
They point out how far behind New Zealand is... "The world is going digital -- analogue television has already been switched off in Berlin, the UK will close down in 2012, the US a couple of years later. Just last month, for the first time more British viewers watched free-to-air digital television than watched via analogue".
Posted at 10:13 a.m. Thursday, 8 June 2006
Check out this hilarious video from the guys at EepyBird.com...
You may have seen various videos on sites like youtube.com where people create real "Soda Fountains", using just Diet Coke or Pepsi, and Mentos candy mints.
Now these guys have taken the Diet Coke and Mentos rockets idea to an extreme level, creating an amazing choreographed "mint-powered version of the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas"...
(Hopefully the New Zealand versions of Diet Coke/Pepsi + Mentos have the same effect?!)...
* More info at: EepyBird.com
* Hat Tip: attention seeking rubbish
Posted at 1:47 p.m. Saturday, 3 June 2006
I'm sure you've all seen Sony's fancy bouncy coloured balls advertisement for their Bravia TVs.
Now, a great spoof version of the famous commercial has been made to promote UK soda/soft drink/fizzy drink brand Tango, complete with the now familiar song Heartbeats by José González.
The funniest part is the site hosting the advt... It claims to be representing the 'Swansea North Residents Association', and features downloadable versions of the "banned commerical" ("thanks to Huw's nephew David"), photos of the "destruction by the TV commercial film crew" and interviews with "outraged local residents"...
The Swansea Residents site makes for amusing reading in itself... basically taking the p*ss out of small towns...
The site looks like one of those really badly designed personal homepages about "My Cat", complete with flashing text and a bad colour scheme. Locals are enouraged to join the new 'Swansea North Yodelling Club', as part of a celebration with their twin city in Austria!
* Watch the "banned" Tango bouncing fruit ad here...
* Swansea North Residents Association's site...
* The original Sony BRAVIA Ad is here...
* Hat Tip: Cool Hunting: Tango Clear Commercial
Posted at 11:11 p.m.
Poor Dr Michael Cullen... An esteemed MP for the Labour Party seats of St Kilda and Dunedin South between 1981 and 1999 (now a Labour-lister), Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of the House, Minister for Tertiary Education, and of course Finance Minister for the NZ Government.
But it seems even fans of his own party aren't convinced by his recent financial decisions... Last year's Chewing Gum Budget almost lost Labour the election (before he pulled the swifty of "free money for all students").
That brought another drop in the polls for Labour, and more criticism from business groups, financial analysts, and the media.
But apparently the media aren't supposed to publish or broadcast stories saying anything bad about the Labour-led government, and when some of Labour's long-time friends joined in with the criticism, Dr Cullen decided enough was enough.
To Espiner's credit, he decided to run pieces from that pre-interview "chat" with Dr Cullen, in which the 64-year old MP ad makes it clear he's "quite angry about this!" ;-) It's absolutely one of the funniest political pieces seen since the glory days of Tennis-gate!
* TVNZ: Cullen attacks press over tax cuts
* TVNZ Video: One News item
* NZ Herald: Cullen accused of losing the plot after outburst caught on camera
* National Business Review: The other face of Michael Cullen
* Hat Tip: Whale Oil
* Sir Humphrey's: Cullen: Guyon Espiner, Tracey Watkins and NZ Herald staff chasing tax cuts for themselves
Posted at 9:57 p.m.