On the couch is the broadcast news and technology podcast brought to you by James Field and Ian Harris.
IAN: James welcome back to the couch.
JAMES: Ian, it's fantastic to be here, back on the couch, episode 169.
JAMES: And what are we going to be talking about?
IAN: We’re going to be covering what's happening in the world of broadcast and entertainment technology, all the news that matters and we're going to cover categories like what's happening in business, a bit of technology action, content delivery, how people are getting their content these days.
JAMES: And lots of mobile news, some gaming news and maybe we'll think of something in the wacky other category.
JAMES: Do send us your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org so stay listening for the next 25 minutes or so.
IAN: Indeed, so one of the things that is happening in the world of business games, is that Intel have made a decision to abandon their plans to get processes into TVs.
Now was this ever actually a big business for them?
JAMES: I'm not so sure it was a big business. Obviously, the big sort of fails that people have heard about, are Google TV.
IAN: uh hm
JAMES: and the Logitech device and they have got some success in I guess, the high-end cable boxes from Comcast and Liberty Global but in the TV world, I think that business has changed quite a lot recently with a lot of consolidation…
JAMES: and it seems like all the panels are made in the Far East and consequently or subsequently a lot of the components are also now all solely sourced from the Far East, including the system on chip stuff and Intel hasn't really got anything in the TV space at all.
So I think it is really, now reading between the lines, they're pulling out of the integrated TV market…
JAMES: and it's not all of the set tops.
IAN: OK, now that’s interesting because I guess set tops - Intel is definitely still in that game, a number of operators actually doing trials or working with the them as you say in the States.
So, what they're concentrating on what they called Ultrabook.
Is that it basically like laptops are they working with tablets now? What is the kind of direction they're trying to heading to?
JAMES: I wouldn’t like to second-guess to be honest, I kind of say an Ultrabook to me is maybe a desktop replacement.
JAMES: Which is I guess the corporate market which they are pretty much in at the moment, where people will get a laptop and I am sure, you and I we both got laptops, which are essentially our desktop…
JAMES: though and the tablets, maybe, I just got a client for reading my corporate e-mails on my iPad…
IAN: uh hm.
JAMES: which is all a software kind of base solution but obviously we had the BlackBerry outages over the last couple of weeks which can't have done, certainly haven't done RIMS stock price any good…
IAN: Yeah, that's for sure.
JAMES: I think they must have crested now, I think in that space.
JAMES: So from my perspective and I guess most people will just say, you need a backup plan for accessing your e-mail.
IAN: Yeah, absolutely and I mean anyone…
JAMES: And don't we know about backup plans, just recording this?
IAN: Indeed, it has been a technological challenge today, as is always the case. So speaking of technology, James, we've got some interesting things happening in the world of technology and today it's the Lytro camera, which I watched the video, someone actually demonstrating the camera this week and it looks like quite an interesting device
JAMES: All right.
JAMES: Yeah, I think we talked about it before. I kind of signed up to be on the early access list and was offered a chance to buy one earlier this week, for delivery, much later I presume. I don't think they’re on the shelves.
IAN: Pay your cash now and get your device a long time away and they are actually…
IAN: showing demos but it looks like kind of square telescope really, it's kind of long and squarish…
IAN: as opposed to…
JAMES: It's like a…
IAN: like a camera.
JAMES: a big lady's lipstick, perhaps.
IAN: Yes, a very big one.
JAMES: I’m thinking about that but it just -- obviously we all love new technology but it does seem to make some compromises in the areas of resolution. I've never seen any high-res shots, so it looks almost like a pinhole camera…
IAN: Yeah, so it's kind of…
JAMES: and pinhole cameras have the infinite type of field…
IAN: so it's got that special trick of being able to focus on a particular area of the frame, after the fact, so you can point and shoot and it's not focused on everything but it's focus…
IAN: you can refocus…
IAN: on a particular area. Now, which is kind of cool but I don't know the camera is $399.
So onto content delivery now James, where we talk about how people are getting and consuming their content…
IAN: and I didn't know quite where to put this particular story into the content delivery in the business or in the “how to create your own marketing disaster” category, which maybe we should have one of those.
JAMES: Hopefully yeah, the comedy moment of the week but this is obviously there's been a lot of news about Netflix. I don't know if we could go around without mentioning that, where can I start? The U-turns, the do this, do that, new website and new that. At the end of the day, they have alienated a lot of -- some of their customers not a lot of them. They've certainly lost customers and they’ve kind of -- Reed Hastings hasn't come out smelling of roses, I suppose.
JAMES: Obviously creating the Qwikster site, leaving the Qwikster site. If you can, look up a Saturday Night Live - couple of skits about this, it's quite amusing; I guess “Saturday Night Live, Netflix”. They did do some rip-offs but they actually did lots more little sketches which really took the mickey, I think would be the explanation
IAN: Yes, a bit sad. So they split off their DVD business, they brought it back into house, it's all on the same website and I guess the people still watch DVD James, as it still the case that everyone is actually watching their content, on standard definition DVDs, is that true?
JAMES: I think a lot of people are. Not everyone is touting the latest smart phone and iPad. That is a proportion of society, obviously Netflix is -- they have made inroads I think in Europe now, they’ve launched some services in Europe, Latin America, most of it is in streaming.
Now I think their stock prices hit because they had lost some headline deals…
JAMES: but they also signed up some more deals as well. I had a good analogy, someone said, I have been at some conferences recently and looking at, is streaming gonna kill cable and
IAN: uh hm.
JAMES: satellite and they're saying, well it would be like saying, “the Albanian army, taking over the world”. It's a very, very small percentage of…
IAN: Right… content and stuff right.
JAMES: viewing is done on line. What it is kind of killing the broadband of the world, the streaming video because the Internet was never designed to stream video…
IAN: No, not at all.
JAMES: at all.
JAMES: Not at all, yeah.
JAMES: so trying to carry even a small kind of video over it is challenging
IAN: uh hm.
JAMES: as even getting voice over it, is quite challenging sometimes.
IAN: Indeed, we have had some fun today.
IAN: Interesting so we'll have to see how Netflix goes. I guess they'll bring all in house again and have it pulled back in
IAN: and I guess that streaming isn't mainstream yet, the…
IAN: is the message for now.
JAMES: It's probably what's going on.
Now, in the content section, you've got a weird thing here, Björk and some weird mega multi-format iPad album, iPad only album, right?
JAMES: That's right?
IAN: So instead of actually releasing your normal album, like normal people, Björk has decided to release an iPad app album. So it's…
JAMES: Yeah, which is an interactive, kind of experience?
IAN: Indeed, so if I can quote from the article here, “Biophillia has released as a series of apps and is intended to be an educational journey in which the music act as a soundtrack to a visual adventure on an iPad.”
Now, I daresay, you have to buy the Abscissa Suite as in an album and then use each one separately.
So, for a song called Crystalline, you’d travel down a galaxy of brightly coloured tunnels by tilting the iPad this way and that way, so…
IAN: I guess it's part performance, art, part…
JAMES: Part rubbish.
IAN: part music, part experimental application
JAMES: and if you look in the show notes folks, you’ll see there's an image captured because she's worth it. Björk has an unfortunate (inaudible) with a bottle of powerful hair restorer which she looks like -- she reminds me of an old -- I guess she's from Iceland, so like having a troll or something.
IAN: What can you say?
JAMES: Trolls had hair like that, as I remembered. A little plastic…
IAN: Yeah, yeah.
JAMES: troll, they used to have.
IAN: They are interesting. I guess I -- we're seeing people experiment with the medium and trying to see something a bit different. I mean, the…
IAN: times were not only pretty really to slight just about anyone for any reason if they can think of one,
JAMES: uh hm.
IAN: actually gave it four out of five stars, so that's a fair effort.
So Björk -- interesting to see that she's exploring any medium and we'll see what happens next there.
JAMES: Yeah. If anyone has bought the suite, I'll ask you to send us some feedback at email@example.com
IAN: Yeah we’d love to hear what you think of it.
JAMES: Tell us what you think and and yeah and maybe this is a new format that is gonna take off, literally.
IAN: Indeed, now a little local news from you James on the battle between cable and theatres, Round 2. Now what's the story here?
JAMES: OK, this is -- Round 1 was when cable started and everyone thought, “Oh, movie theatres are dead”
IAN: uh hm.
JAMES: and that didn't really happen. It's been of a rocky road for movie theatres, everyone thought maybe 3D is use gonna be the saviour of movie theatres.
JAMES: Really I don't know. Clearly a lot of the today's industry is worked around all these things like release windows,
IAN: uh hm.
JAMES: of which the first release window is in theatres and then typically after theatres, it goes on to planes, I guess and pay-per-view in hotels and then later pay-per-view on pay TV, cable or satellite etc.
JAMES: But what's happening now is, as well as the release of package media, so Blu-rays, DVDs, now Comcast and in fact Time Warner have said that they will release one title, even before it hits, goes into movie theatres…
JAMES: and go on to pay-per-view but not -- for about 60 bucks, so…
IAN: My goodness!
JAMES: then, you were remarking earlier on about how the titles of these shows are a bit weird.
IAN: So, Time Warner is selling the Trespass movie on October 14th. Now, that’s the same day it was released in the theatres nationwide and that they begin selling Marginal Call starring Kevin Spacey and Demi Moore this Friday October 21.
Is it a marginal call James or is it just trespassing?
I guess we'll find…
JAMES: uh hm
IAN: out later on. Interesting to see how that goes. I guess what I notice from theatres was that the theatres here were early, they were starting to advertise things other than just movies, so 3-D content like concerts and sporting events and also the Russian ballet at the Bolshoi, you can also watch in 3-D as a live performance. That's an interesting one.
JAMES: hmm! I think I'd rather see Kevin Spacey and Demi Moore really, but…
IAN: You are hoping. That's right.
JAMES: that's just my personal taste. There's also been some news I was reading today actually in the news about Ultraviolet, the Digital Locker service for…
IAN: Oh yeah.
JAMES: getting your stuff digitally when you buy a package media and other sources and electronics through these kinds of things.
JAMES: A bit of pushback on some of the early titles that have come out in the U.S., the Green Lantern is one of them because people are saying, “I want to listen to this on my idevice” but one of the people who are not playing in the Ultraviolet is Apple.
IAN: hmm! There you go.
JAMES: So you can't watch list off on your iPad.
JAMES: Obviously these early adopter people, iPads and iPhone you could hardly argue that people are early adopters if you've got an iPod or an iPhone or an iPad, there is a lot of people around now.
IAN: That's true.
JAMES: They are obviously quite vocal and are saying, “This X, Y, Z, you promised I can watch this anywhere but I can't”.
IAN: Anywhere except in the majority platform, yeah.
JAMES: does that bode…
JAMES: well or not
IAN: Very interesting. So onto mobile…
JAMES: not a majority. I mean there is a lot of Windows media player out there, so.
Yes, mobile news.
IAN: Onto mobile news. So James, you’ve come across an iPhone 4S, is that right?
JAMES: Yeah, I did. I was at an Akamai conference last week and to partake in the lucky draw of which I had to jump through a few view hoops but…
IAN: Very interesting.
JAMES: for once in my life got a little lucky and won a nice white 64 Gig iPhone 4 S, which
IAN: umm, very nice!
JAMES: I've actually given it to my wife to bring her into the smart phone era
IAN: uh hm
JAMES: and moved her pay-as-you-go account on -- she has CDMA Virgin mobile, over to AT&T which was…
IAN: uh hu
JAMES: very easy and then we’ve gone through the pain of upgrading all of our Macs and iPads and iPhones to IOS 5…
IAN: uh hm
JAMES: which -- have you upgraded your iPhone?
IAN: Yes. So I’ve upgraded mine and it took plenty of time, that's for sure.
JAMES: But that almost broke the Internet. I found -- there is like a concatenation of downloads you had to do, certainly in the Mac world. You had to upgrade to the latest version of the OS and then you had to -- there is a -- it's basically you had to download a couple of Gigs of stuff…
IAN: Oh my goodness!
JAMES: which was a bit of a pain and when I was at the Akamai conference they were kind of giving us state of the Internet. I don't know if you heard of a website they look at what traffic’s happening on the Internet…
JAMES: and the IOS update almost broke the Internet.
JAMES: Oh my goodness! Who would've thought, eh!
JAMES: and it certainly did in the hotel we were staying and that's sure.
I played with Siri a bit. It was quite fun although I…
IAN: So what was that like?
JAMES: found some things -- it's remarkably good but bizarre things like you can't -- you can set it to UK English, obviously I’m UK English or US English
IAN: uh hm.
JAMES: but if I set it to UK English, to better recognize what I'm saying, it then can't search for things in the U.S., which I thought was a bit…
IAN: Right. So you’re not allowed to be UK English speaking and live in the US.
JAMES: Yeah it's -- I guess it must be something to do with some AI engine but it just seems a bit weird…
JAMES: but I think they have -- it was a last-minute addition, bizarrely
IAN: uh hm.
JAMES: to the IOS 5 up but it does seem quite interesting and it's useful for simple stuff like setting alarm, rather than…
IAN: uh huh.
JAMES: deep linking into some menu, finding it, turning it on, you can just say, “wake me up tomorrow at 6:30” which…
JAMES: works pretty well and I'm sure -- but unfortunately I won't have much hands-on time with this because my good lady wife, will have the device…
IAN: Will have all the time.
JAMES: but she seems to enjoy it and the main reason I didn't have it already was because I’ve already got my iPad with the 3G Plan…
JAMES: while you can go for some mega plan on the iPhone for using it as a Wi-Fi hotspot, then it's yet another device to carry, so…
IAN: Yeah, for sure.
JAMES: it's not necessarily a good thing and also there was the RIM outage last week as well,
JAMES: which caused a few problems and I'm sure that's gonna be another nail in RIM’s…
IAN: It's a…
JAMES: if it is.
JAMES: (inaudible) not dead but yeah, certainly and I’ve now got a client for my IOS devices, so I can -- which, the company I work for is very much a RIM company but we've acknowledge…
JAMES: there are other devices out there and I'm certainly looking at that as another way of…
IAN: you kind of have to, when you're out of…
JAMES: getting my stuff as we know ...
IAN: your e-mail for days on end and you have no other way of getting around it.
JAMES: Yeah, well you just want to carry one less device or one of the network goes down, so long as your Internet doesn't go down, you should be OK but even that’s…
JAMES: not very reliable, is it, Ian? As we know.
IAN: Right, yeah. It's newbie-tragic.
JAMES: Yeah, you got some news here about Sony Ericsson. What's going on there?
IAN: Yeah, so Sony are in talks to buy Ericsson out of their joint phone venture, Sony Ericsson.
Now James, when is the last time you heard any announcements or any kind of fuss about a Sony Ericsson phone? And I guess…
IAN: the answer to that…
IAN: is not very recently.
JAMES: Yeah, agreed.
IAN: though obviously behind there -- and they’re trying a recoup game here ground in their battle to -- against Apple and Samsung and everyone else. They’ve really fallen from at least second or third or fourth place, to way down way, down the rankings now and they’ve -- all their products and network services have been quite separate up till now, they're trying to unify them and it's Sony and actually try and work on creating some sort of value around that around that.
I mean, Sony Ericsson had a reputation and in industry as well as having one of the best user interfaces in a phone but there've kind of lost that…
JAMES: but that was old-style…
JAMES: not smart phone and I guess…
IAN: No, absolutely, its way behind.
JAMES: they’re small phone journeys being -- they didn't jump on Android. Nokia had the kind of legacy thing. I remember those big kind of Mars bar, kind of things, the phones, the brick, the original… kind of brick phones (inaudible) open up. Not a lot of followers and a nice syncing kind of station but I don't know, it didn't really evolve.
IAN: Yeah that's true. So, onto gaming, games.
JAMES: uh hmm.
IAN: Angry Birds, the movie. Is this for real?
JAMES: Well, I don't know about the movie. I think the news for me was Angry Birds apparently, is coming out with a new bird.
JAMES: which is kind of a…
JAMES: logical extension to their franchise and they haven't introduced any new birds, they've just had kind of new screens…
JAMES: for people to go through with the Halloween theme but there is a hint, they're going to come out with a new bird, with a new function, for those of you…
JAMES: who haven't played Angry Birds, I suspect everyone listening to this has. Yeah, it's about time there was a new bird, on the block, I think.
JAMES: But yeah, I'm sure there'll be a movie franchise and other…
IAN: Yeah, apparently there’s a cool book …
JAMES: I mean, they’ve done lots of…
IAN: coming out as well…
JAMES: marketing, that's … a cook book! Whatever will they think of next!
IAN: I know, exactly.
JAMES: Yeah, how to cook your angry birds. Other stuff also influencing the gaming arena was kind of augmented reality gaming …
IAN: hmm! That's interesting
JAMES: which is Activision’s Skylanders…
IAN: uh hm
JAMES: where they have little toys and I don't know if they're gonna put these toys into -- it's not the kind of thing you'd get into a cereal box or a McDonald’s happy meal.
IAN: Yeah, in this picture it looks like a on a cake, I guess…
IAN: But how do you interact between the real world and the games themselves, (inaudible) kind of link there?
JAMES: Well I think, I mean this cake thing is actually like a portal, so you have to -- you get the port log in with the game and then you have to put the characters onto the portal..and then to the teleport (inaudible) the starter, he get into the game… so they’re real toys, go into the virtual world.
IAN: uhm, interesting.
JAMES: That's the idea.
IAN: So it says $70 starter pack…
JAMES: so yeah, so you can transfer…
IAN: includes a copy of the game…
JAMES: your characters from a Wii to and Xbox.
IAN: Oh, interesting.
JAMES: uh hm
IAN: That says $70 starter pack includes a copy of the game, three Skylanders, characters, the portal of power, which I presume is that cake shaped thing, character pieces
JAMES: Which is the cake?
IAN: stickers, web codes and batteries. There you go. Everything you need for a virtual, well augmented reality…
IAN: I think it's fantastic.
JAMES: I think some marketeer has turned over in his grave there, hasn't he because you’ve reduced his portal of power to a cake.
IAN: It is. It looks like a cake, check it out.
JAMES: It is cake, look in the show notes.
IAN: I’ll have a look.
JAMES: Always a bit more news or less news in there, so that's pretty cool.
What other -- Oh, I guess there other news. We couldn't end this podcast without paying a little tribute to the passing of Steve Jobs.
JAMES: Everywhere I’ve been, every event I've been to, in the last couple of weeks has had a few minutes of silence.
JAMES: We have enough silence I think in this podcast anyway, though, but I think he has done a good job, no pun intended and we'll wait to see what happens, I’m sure there is a lot of products in the Apple pipeline…which will have the mark of Jobs on them.
IAN: It will be interesting to see whether…
JAMES: the company continues to run
IAN: where Apple goes next without with apps. From what I understand, he was working at Apple until the day he -- the day before he died, so really…
JAMES: uh hm.
IAN: there's a lot more things to come with Steve Jobs imprints all over it.
JAMES: Yeah, indeed. Good for him, that's all I can say, good for him.
IAN: Anyway James, I think that wraps us up for Episode 169. I look forward to chatting with you next week for 170 and…
JAMES: Indeed and thank you for listening everybody. We've had a few technical difficulties here so you might notice some wacky edit points but…
IAN: Indeed. We'll do our best.
JAMES: That's the life of these long-range collaborations.
JAMES: Okey-dokey. So it's goodbye from me James.
IAN: And goodbye from Ian. Cheers.
This episode of On the Couch Podcast brought to you by www.embeddedadventures.com, a great place to find electronic modules like sensors, microcontroller development boards and displays like LED display panels.