Archive of "Media"

Archive for the "Media" Category

I want my TV now

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I am watching Dr. Who (and some other shows) right now. Every time I finish an episode I have to wait 7 days before I can watch another.

7 days.

Now, this 7 days is perfectly arbitrary. It doesn’t take 7 days to make an episode (it almost always takes more), nor does it take 7 days to do anything else. The number is just a convenient amount of time for them to make you wait, such that other shows on the channel can get fair airtime.


We should seriously be much past that stage by now. The BBC has filmed at least half of the Dr. Who content for this season (they must have, in order to finish airing on time). They may have finished all of it.

BBC, I will give you $100 to send me that content now.

If $100 doesn’t seem like that much money, consider this: it is more money than they will see from me for the show otherwise. Even if I watched ads (which I don’t) or actually watched it on broadcast (which I don’t), $100 is still probably more than they would get for me watching the season. And that’s just for whatever they have as prerelease content. When more is made I’d get it again, possibly the way I do now. It would cost the BBC a little, but I’m sure there’s more than just me.

Consider: if only 200 Dr. Who viewers were interested in this, that’s still $20000.

That’s a lot of money to make off a group of people who would likely otherwise give you nothing.

BitTorrent Monitization Proposal

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There are lots of “monitize p2p” proposals floating around out there. Most of them look like a levy. The problem with this model is that, using existing p2p networks, there is no particularly good way to know what music is popular, and thus, who gets the money. Also, since some will download far more than others, and there’s no good way to measure how much anyone should pay.

The solution from the private sector so far looks like the Amazon MP3 store or Apple’s iTunes. Much less content, in fewer formats. The big argument from media is that online distribution is a hard problem one that will take research to solve. However, we know quite well that the p2p networks, and especially BitTorrent, have solved this problem.

My proposal? Marry the distribution power of BitTorrent with a sales model. Create a modified tracker that requires authentication. Seed high-quality versions of movies, music, books, and everything on this tracker. Set prices per download/sample and/or membership plans (10 ¤/mo for 3 movies/mo). People have to either have money on their account, a PayPal/credit card associated, or be on some kind of plan, otherwise the tracker refuses them service.

The big media from the big companies gets seeded, and people get it and pay for it. All the old media, small media, etc that becomes available through p2p still shows up as users connect to the network and start seeding stuff, but it too gets paid for, with the money routed to the right people.

Some will argue that there are those who will still pirate if such a system should exist. Of course there will. There will always be those who justify breaking the law. I’m talking about giving people a better option, which right now they don’t really have.

Windows Media Streams on Ubuntu

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Since I did all the research on this yesterday to get it working, I figured I’d share it with the world in case someone else is having problems with it too! These instructions assume Ubuntu, but should work on pretty much any Linux system with minor modifications.

1) You must have a GStreamer player installed. Totem (the defaul GNOME movie player/media player) is what I used because it was already installed.
2) Install gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad with Synaptic
3) Go to MPlayer and download the binary codecs for Linux. Unpack the file into either the /usr/lib/win32/ directory or the /usr/lib/codecs directory (depending on your system, I put it in both to be safe).
5) Install gstreamer0.10-pitfdll with Synaptic (if available) or get it from a mirror.
4) Install gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly with Synaptic

That should be it! You should now be able to listen to Internet radio stations in the Windows Media format.