Webometric Thoughts

December 26, 2009

Do you need a Pocket Projector?

Filed under: Pocket Projector,tv licence — admin @ 11:33 am

My research group were recently assigned a large amount of cash for new equipment. Beyond the usual list of desktops, laptops, and netbooks, I decided to ask Twitter for more interesting suggestions.
The idea of a portable projector appealed from both a work and a social perspective. Offering the opportunity for demonstrating webometric presentations on the fly (it’s a very visual subject), as well as watching films and TV on the big screen. The best Pocket Projector I could find was the Adapt ADPP-305 Pocket Projector. Luckily it arrived on Christmas Eve, so I have had a couple of days to test it out – albeit it mostly for watching Christmas TV.

The projector promises up to 100 inches, although you’d want a very dark room for it to be a clear 100 inch image. So far I have connected my laptop and my Wii to the projector, and run it off the mains, although there is also a 4GB internal memory, and a battery if you want to leave the laptop and leads at home.

There’s no doubt it is a nice bit of kit (although one of the tripod legs is a bit lose on mine – it’s nothing a bit of glue wont sort out), providing a good picture, and is reasonably priced.

As projectors continue to improve I can imagine the traditional TV being squeezed out by computers on the one side, and projectors for the big screen experience on the other. On Christmas Day I projected the Gruffulo onto the wall at 70 inches; a 70 inch flat screen would not only cost thousands, but would continue to take up space when not being used.

May 20, 2009

Daily Mail v. the iPlayer

Filed under: Daily Mail,iPlayer,tv licence — admin @ 9:22 am

Back in January 2008, Ashley Highfield claimed that:

…the number of homes that currently have no television licence, but that do have broadband subscription is currently estimated to be infinitesimally small.

It didn’t take a genius to recognize that this group would increase; in fact I said as much in December when I no longer needed a TV licence myself (although I still buy one). Unsurprisingly, as the ‘infinitesimally small’ group shows signs of increasing suggestions are being made about needing a licence for iPlayer content. According to the Daily Mail:

BBC technology chief Erik Huggers said: ‘My view is that if you are using the iPlayer you have to be a television licence fee payer.

‘I don’t believe in a free ride. If you are consuming BBC services then you have to be a licence holder.’

A fairly reasonable position in my view. In the changing world of television and news production and consumption we rely increasingly on services like the BBC to produce high-quality content; the commercial models are increasingly failing. In fact I would personally go further, arguing for an increase in the licence fee.

However, such a position puts me in opposition to the always-irrational Daily Mail. Until the BBC replace the ONE show with ‘Asylum Criminals: The truth about illegal immigrants’, the Daily Mail will always hate the Beeb. Huggers suggestion that iPlayer viewers pay a licence fee quickly gets expanded upon:

If he were to have his way, possible changes to the fee could include:

* Viewers having to buy an extra licence just for the iPlayer
* Increasing the cost of the current TV licence to include the iPlayer
* Forcing viewers to pay a subscription to use the iPlayer service

If Huggers was suggesting any of these changes the Daily Mail failed to include the appropriate quotes. It would be equally meaningful to say possible changes could include “Hanging for watching iPlayer without TV licence”; possible, but highly unlikely. The second suggestion “Increasing the cost of the current TV licence to include the iPlayer” is particularly stupid as the current TV licence already includes the cost of the iPlayer!

Obviously the Daily Mail readers read the article rationally and take the Daily Mail bias into consideration:

Obviously not.
[Disclaimer: As a licence fee payer interested in quality TV and news I have a vested interested in the BBC. As a human being I have a vested interest in pointing out that the Daily Mail is a piece of crap written for idiots.]

December 16, 2008

I don’t need a TV licence, but I want one!

Filed under: BBC,tv licence — admin @ 11:23 am

Back in January, Ashley Highfield claimed that:

…the number of homes that currently have no television licence, but that do have broadband subscription is currently estimated to be infinitesimally small.

Since moving house I find myself with the opportunity to join this ‘infinitesimally small’ group, and save myself £139.50 a year! At my previous flat I had more TV channels than I could count thanks to Virgin Media, however my new flat couldn’t have Virgin Media installed and the current TV aerial picks up a grand total of just three digital channels very badly. As such the TV set is now just used for DVDs and the Wii, I don’t live stream TV from the web but rather watch on-demand TV. I no-longer need a TV licence.

Whilst it is entirely possible that I may need a TV licence in the future (e.g., to stream a big news), that is not why I have decided to keep paying my licence. Despite recent polls finding that the moronic-majority believe the licence fee is a ‘rip-off‘, I believe it is worth it even without the ‘live’ TV. Is there a better way to start the day Radio 4? Is there a better online news service than BBC.com? Is there an on-demand TV service that reaches more devices than the iPlayer (excluding the copyright-happy-YouTube)?

The problem for the BBC is that not everyone thinks the same way as I do. People are more likely to focus on the personal saving of £139.50, rather than the national loss of a great independent broadcaster. The “infinitesimally small” group is going to increase quickly in the near future, and licensing laws need to reflect these changes. Why do you never find people campaigning for higher licence fees covering more devices??

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