PVRs may be the future, but the business models aren’t here yet

Simon Waldman has a good article on Personal Video Recorders, although I disagree with his conclusions about why they haven’t taken off yet.

Why don’t PVRs dominate the market yet? Simple. Too many technologies and too much cost. TiVo, which dominates the US market, tried to crack the UK market a while back and pulled out when it couldn’t make money.

I’d be a natural for a PVR. There’s all sorts of programmes I’d be watching if I didn’t have to set a video and I didn’t have to remember to tune in at a specific time. Yet I don’t have one. Why? I’ve been a Sky subscriber for over a year. That means I can’t get Sky+ installed for free: it’ll cost me £150 to buy a Sky+ box. If I ever move house and switch to Freeview or NTL, it’ll be completely redundant since it won’t work with those providers. Then there’s the £10/month extra I’d have to pay to get the programme guide (without which it’s useless), since I don’t subscribe to any of the premium channels. That’s a whole lot of money just to have a video with built-in VideoPlus numbers.

It’s not much rosier on the Freeview side. Getting a Freeview receiver with built-in hard drive costs £150 or so, although I suspect costs will come down thanks to the competition among vendors on the Freeview side (no such thing on the proprietary Sky+ side). NTL and Telewest don’t have PVRs yet.

But Freeview has only a small selection of Sky’s channels so I’m reticent to switch; and in a first floor flat on a shiny new development, cable isn’t really option. So, ultimately, I’m PVR-free and that’s the way it’s likely to be for some time – unless Sky change their Sky+ pricing and installment policy or Freeview get a few more channels.


Constant kit-off women give me an idea – but not the one you’re thinking of

My mum-in-law came visiting this weekend, so on Sunday, we had a copy of the News of the World to leaf through with a pair of tongs. Turns out that Chantelle from Big Brother has been getting her kit off for over a year. I seem to recall from my trips to the Co-Op at the time, even when she was in the Big Brother house, The Sun and co had nudey shots of her. Amazing.

If you remember Big Brother 5, Jason and co were slated for joking how various female housemates were going to be getting their kit off in FHM the second they got out the house – he was right of course – and most of the inmates of Big Brother 6 were discussing exactly which mags they were going to deign with their nudey presence even before they got out. Now we have someone who’s already fast-tracked this process to the extent she’s stripping for the lads mags both during and before her appearance in the house.

Is it any surprise there’s a generation of girls who think glamour model is their best chance of fame and fortune? That can’t be good for the girls themselves, boys (who are going to end up with even more unrealistic expectations of women than they had before, which would be pretty amazing) or the economy.

So here’s a modest proposal, albeit not in the Swiftian sense. How about Channel 4 and the other reality TV programmers get any hopefuls to sign a contract saying that they’ve never done any porny photo shoots before the show and won’t do any for a year after appearing on the show? I feel this would have many benefits. Firstly, it would put off the really talentless from appearing on the shows, if they knew their one way to continuing fame and fortune were ruled out from the very beginning. Secondly, we might not end up with a generation of girls with body dysmorphism and a generation of boys who think the only thing girls are good for is getting their kit off.

Why not a total ban on lads mags spreads? Well, I figure that a year’s long enough for someone to show if they have talent and can eke out a career for themselves in the public spotlight. If they manage that, they have a right to do whatever they want. But if Reality TV is to have a place in the schedules, surely it’s got to be something more than simply a recruitment centre for glamour models?

Why the faces of yesterday are back on our screens

You know how sometimes you know exactly how an article is going to turn out? I often get that feeling with The Guardian articles: sometimes they’re the kind of glib shallowness that you can string together with no understanding of the knowledge or issues in an attempt to get a laugh in place of informing people. But sometimes your expectations are confounded.

Take this article from The Guardian‘s Guide on why familiar faces from the 80s are back on our screens again. I expected something pretty rubbish. Instead I got something celebrating competence. How refreshing.