jump to navigation

If only I worked for Fox News (and was assigned a 3D story) January 27, 2009

Posted by John Taylor in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jon Stewart has often mockingly celebrated the Fox News invention of making outrageous, charged statements in the form of leading questions. I don’t have to look back any further than President Obama’s inauguration, with Chris Wallace one hour later still asking “Is Obama even president?


In Fox News style, here are a few questions I’d ask the powers behind the push to bring “active” stereoscopic 3D to TV and movies:

  1. Apparently, during this year’s “Not Exactly Patriots vs. Giants” Super Bowl, we will be treated to a Sobe beverage commercial in 3D. It seems the awkwardly-shy-about-putting-its-logo-on-anything and painfully-self-conscious-about-not-overshadowing-its-customers Intel decided this is the right moment in history to print up 125 million paper stereoscopic 3D glasses (That is not at all wasteful. Suck on THAT Mother Earth!) with an Intel logo right between the eyes. And give them away free so we can watch a beverage commercial in 3D? Oh, and an episode of “Chuck” in 3D too? My Fox news question: Were Intel marketers inspired by the movie “Idiocracy” in convincing themselves that America wants to sit around looking at one another at Super Bowl parties with an Intel logo blazed between our eyes, watching ads?
  2. DreamWorks, you are going to considerable expense to make your future animated projects stereoscopic 3D. You in fact said this is why you selected Intel as your processor supplier (After all, Intel is famous infamous for its 3D and graphics capabilities). But with theater adoption of digital 3D not only off the pace but likely to even decelerate in 2009 due to economic considerations, is this the 80/20 rule in reverse? According to the Dallas Morning News: “Only about 1,300 of North America’s 40,000 or so movie screens support digital 3-D. (IMAX adds 250, which combined is still less than 1/20th). Overseas, where films now generate up to 70 percent of their theatrical revenue, only a few hundred theaters can support the technology.” So Fox News asks: We love your movies, DreamWorks, but do you think it is a good idea to exert 80% extra effort and expense even though much less than 20% of your audience can even experience it?
  3. I’ll just jump to the Fox News question here. Do any of us really want to have to look like these guys to watch something in 3D?

I rest my case for a passive (no 3D glasses) 3D viewing experience.


Netflix “Watch Instantly” vs. Time Warner “On Demand” January 22, 2009

Posted by John Taylor in Netflix, Xbox 360.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment
liberally interpreted, easier to understand scoring system. It leads to decisive victories as you will see.

JT Rex consulted with Al Franken on a liberally interpreted, easier to understand scoring system. It leads to decisive victories as you will see.

 “I like free stuff and I cannot lie.” – Sir Nicked A Lot

 Recent free things that fell in my lap:

  • Every month I get more graphics performance from AMD free driver updates (okay that was shameless).
  • Yesterday, when I put my dollar in the vending machine at AMD Lone Star B300 and punched the code for the large-size Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, the spiral candyholder turned but didn’t quite drop the candy, leaving it at the dangling edge. After an eternity, through the miracle of technology, some little sensor (made by my former client TI perhaps?) told the spiral to keep on turning for another full revolution…and then the best thing ever happens.

You not only get the candy you expected and momentarily feared you’d be denied (jes makes it sweeter), you get the candy BEHIND it too!

But the weird thing? Instead of another 3-pack large size Reece’s, I get a smaller two-pack size. Meaning, I spared some poor sucker from having to pay a full dollar for what was clearly going to be an 85 cent candy. Oh, and I ate all five PB cups but I’m sure I ran it off later…

The third free thing I got recently? All those Xb0x 360 updates including the new UI and the addition of Netflix Watch Instantly.

I have to admit, it feels like a new 360, which I just like, and its integration with the Xbox actually got me to reactivate my Netflix membership which I had canceled in preference to Time Warner’s growing HD channel lineup and on-demand services.

I chose the $9.99/mo Netflix option which means I can have one DVD at a time in my possession, but I can “Watch Instantly” to my heart’s content. Compare that to $3.99 or $4.99 per 4:3 crappy quality movie on On-Demand, and $5.99 or $6.99 for HD on-demand.

Because I wasted so much of the start of this post on vending machine tech advancements, let’s get right to the tale of the tape:

Selection: Netflix Watch Instantly (NWI) is awarded this point. This is an easy one. I have all the full seasons of The Office and 30 Rock at my fingertips on NWI. In HD, no less. Time Warner On Demand (TWOD) usually has maybe 10-20 HD movies, some of which you’d never watch. On NWI, I can get any TV show seemingly in HD, and tons of interesting indi flicks, award winners, foreign films, you name it. The two clear advantages for TWOD are new releases (they have ’em, NWI really doesn’t) and the fact that you don;t need to use a laptop to find new movies. At some point, you need to go to netflix.com and find new movies that have been released for “Watch Instantly” in order to enjoy them on your 360. But I do this in batches of maybe 10, so it’s not really been a problem yet. And no, I haven’t watched but maybe 1/10th of what I’ve got sitting on NWI yet, so no calling me couch potato. 

Wait time: from TV, Set Top Box, and Home Theater Receiver all off to watching a movie takes 55 seconds on TWOD. From TV, console, and Home Theater Receiver all off to watching a movie takes 62 seconds on the Xbox 360/NWI. I’m calling this a tie
Editor’s Note: I played the first available movie for each. I was too cheap to actually buy  an on-demand movie from TWOD so I used the first title under “Free Movies on Demand.” Ironically, considering my posts of yesterday, this was a short video on kids staying active while playing video games. It also loaded far faster than any movie I’ve ever bought from TWOD. So I’m giving the Xbox a 7 second benefit of the doubt.
Price: Uh, NWI is $9.99/mo. UNLIMITED. You can’t watch two HD movies in 30 days on TWOD for that. Another point for NWI.
The winner: NWI with a total score of 2.5 points out of a maximum 3 points. (0.5 points are awarded to each competitor in the event of a tie). TWOD: 0.5 points. Now that’s decisive!