BMW don’t get it

BMW should know better. I mean, they made BMWfilms.com. What a fantastic project! Now, they’re out with a commercial for the new 1-series. A commercial starring Kermit the Frog.

A while ago I posted an article about the commercial because a friend of mine was the cinematographer. He posted an unofficial “making of”-movie on his web site. And, because Kermit the Frog has very expensive lawyers and because these expensive lawyers contacted the cinematographer and asked him to remove the “making of” it is now gone. The clip was filled with action and was alone a very good commercial for the new 1-series.

Right now I can see from my logs that I have huge amounts of traffic from the search engines from people searching for “bmw kermit” etc… People want the commercial. They want the “making of”. And BMW has not made it available for them.

Now, what’s the point of a commercial? A commercial that is successful to the point where people want to look at it is amazing. Not making it available is plain stupid.

When searching for “kermit” on the official BMW web site this is what I get:

Kermit Search

Come on BMW. Wake up. With BMWFilms you have proven that you understand the game. When you discovered the “making of” you should have responded with joy and immediately made it available on the official BMW site.

BMW is sleeping, but other people are not. You can get the commercial here. Until some expensive lawyers stop that site as well…

Edit:
And yes, I can understand the the people with the rights to Kermit (Disney) will stop anything that BMW has not paid for. The problem is BMW not buying the rights in advance.

And by the way. If you don’t use any expensive frogs in your commercial you can publish it anyway and make huge success on the net:
Toxic Design Studio makes success with too controversial ad

Edit2:
Well, who cares. The “Making of” is up on YouTube anyway: The Making of BMW 1’er

BMW don’t get it

Reality or not reality – that’s the question

Retouched
Picture by Glenn C. Feron

You can’t buy the effect of photoshop in a beauty saloon
The brilliant retoucher Glenn C. Feron has a wonderful portfolio where you can see the difference between the original and the picture that he has touched with his photoshop magic.

As you can see from the picture here, to the left you have a beautiful lady. Already beautiful to the point that is not possible to reach for average people because she is already prepared by the finest of professional make-up artists, hairdressers and an excellent photographer. To the right she is even more beautiful. Beautiful to the point that is completely impossible. To look like her in real life is something that is as difficult as looking like Donald Duck or any other fictional creature.

The problem is that a lot of average people think it is possible to look like the girl on the right. Huge industries of beauty products rely on the fact that people want to look like a creature from a fairy tale. For my own kids it won’t be a problem. They grow up with photoshop and all the knowledge that lets them separate fiction from real life.

The problem is the digital divide. All the people that actually think that a cure of pills, powder and skin care can do the same magic that photoshop can do.

And what’s the conclusion? Stop artists like Glenn Feron? Put a warning on the magazine cover saying that the person in the picture is fictional?

Of course not! Glenn, keep up the good work.

The solution is knowledge. Understanding. Analytical skills. Go home and tell your fourteen old girl.

Via Digital Media Thoughts

Reality or not reality – that’s the question

The media center software list

A while ago I did a roundup of the different softwares I have been using in my HTPC. The list in that post is not complete, so I it’s time to put together a quick list of links to software alternatives when you want to build your own HTPC.

And if you are interested in HTPCs and media centers in general here is a good collection of links from eirikso.com.

Digg this story here.

Windows
Windows
Windows Media Center Edition
Windows Media Center Edition (Review)

TVedia
TVedia (Review)

ShowShifter
ShowShifter (RIP) (Unfortunately not existing anymore)


Beyond Media / Beyond TV (BeyondTV – Review)

Sage TV
SageTV (Review)

CTPVR
CTPvr

J River Media Center
J River Media Center

MainLobby
MainLobby

MainLobby
Cyberlink PowerCinema

CQC
CQC (screenshots here and here)

Welltonway
Welltonway

Sesam TV
Sesam.tv (Free)

Nero Home
Nero Home

Intervideo
Intervideo WinDVD Media Center

nStantMedia
Nvidia Purevideo Decoder with nStantMedia

Sceneo TV-Central
Sceneo TV Central

Yahoo Go for TV
Yahoo! Go for TV (Formerly Meedio) (Free)
(MeedioTV – Review) (YahooGo – Preview)

Xlobby
Xlobby (Free)

GBPVR
GBPVR (Free)

Media Portal
MediaPortal (Free)

Got all media
Got All Media (Free)

GameEx
GameEx (Free)

Tvoon
Tvoon (Free)

Theatre@Home
Theatre@Home (Free)

MyTheatre
myTheatre

DVBViewer
DVBViewer


Linux
Linux

MythTV
MythTV (Free)

Sage TV
SageTV

Freevo
Freevo (Free)

GeeBox
GeexBox (Free)

VDR
VDR (Free)

My Media System
My Media System (Free)

LinuxMCE
LinuxMCE (Free)


Apple
Apple

FrontRow
Apple Front Row

xHub
xHub

EyeTV
Elgato EyeTV

Sage TV
SageTV (Review)

Center Stage
CenterStage (Free)

iTheatre
iTheatre (Free)

MediaCentral
MediaCentral

A very good collection of links for Apple media software (Thanks, Ole)


Xbox
Xbox

Xbox Media Center
Xbox Media Center (Free)


Windows Apple Linux
Cross plattform

Sage TV
SageTV (Review)

Oxylbox
OxylBox

Elisa Media Center
Elisa Media Center (Free)

And over here you’ll find a list in Wikipedia comparing features of some of the packages.

Please comment if I forgot something important!

…if you consider buying books or software related to this topic. And if you would like to support eirikso.com when buying them, here are some suggestions:
Creating a Digital Home Entertainment System with Windows Media Center Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 PC for Dummies PC Magazine Guide Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Beyond TV 4 & Beyond Media Bundle Beyond TV 4

The media center software list

Help put together an open streaming platform!

I have been following the discussion started by Cory Doctorow regarding the use of open standards for public broadcasters. It is an important discussion and most of us agree that the use of an open standard that is not controlled by any corporation is the best solution when public broadcasters choose their system for making content available on new platforms.

The discussion has brought back issues that touch the problem with current business models, the way the internet can be used to stream private content all over the world and the big ugly question of digital rights management (DRM).

The internet and powerful sites like BoingBoing and Slashdot are excellent places to bring discussions like these on the agenda. Because Cory used the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation’s new service for media centers as the example to bring this discussion back into motion I have been following this one with an extra attention to detail.

A very short summary:
– Public broadcasters should use open standards
– People in general agree on this
– Microsoft Windows Media is not an open standard
– The public broadcasters should choose something else
– People question the knowledge of the broadcasters

I work for a public broadcaster, and believe me – we follow this closely. We look for alternatives. The completion of H.264 as a codec gives an alternative when it comes to quality, stability and use of bandwidth. The VLC-player is an interesting and open player that it should be possible to build something user friendly upon. Depending on CPU-useage and storage space available it is even possible to encode into several formats simultaneously in real time. Etc. Etc.

Still, I fail to find one single blog, comment or article that actually suggest a complete, working alternative.

Yes, this is the responsibility of the broadcasters themselves. They should find the solution. They should not just take the easiest way out. However, the public broadcasters would die if they where kept from competing with the commercial broadcasters that already operate with a system that reach more than 90% of the users (but is controlled by a big corporation). So, while waiting for an open alternative I find it vital that the public broadcasters are competing through the existing solutions.

But – to speed up the work, could we use the power of the internet to gather forces and draft a solution? Something that we could point broadcasters to when they say that there is no alternative? Because, I am afraid that this discussion is quite ineffective as long as the general opinion is that no alternative exist. If I could reach out to the BoingBoing and Slashdot crowd, the brains, geeks, programmers and utterly talented people out there. Maybe we could find the solution that is as real as Firefox is for replacing IE?

The internet is an excellent tool for doing more than pointing out what’s wrong. It’s absolutely capable of helping find a solution as well.

I will be more than happy if this results in the broadcasters realizing that they are simply not informed, and that a complete and working alternative is right there in front of them.

Regardless of what suggestions this lead to, this effort could give valuable input to the roadmap of what has to be done to create an alternative.

These are some simple guidelines of what a broadcaster needs:
Continue reading “Help put together an open streaming platform!”

Help put together an open streaming platform!

Panoramio – place your pictures on Google maps

Panoramio

I have mentioned GeoBloggers here before. Now meet Panoramio, a similar and very user friendly service. It lets you place your pictures by simply click the map and upload.

Very nice navigation, search function and cool layout for the pictures with both the picture, satellite photo and map.

As a test, I just uploaded a beautiful picture from the Sognefjord in Norway. And of course I had to upload the picture of Odda as well.

Edit:
The name Panoramio does not indicate that the pictures you upload have to be panoramas. (Even if my picture of the Sognefjord is a nice – yes… panorama.)

Panoramio – place your pictures on Google maps

NRK makes one of the world’s largest Media Center services

Main Page

The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation has just released it’s comprehensive service for media center PCs. First out is Windows Media Center Edition. The service makes NRK’s vast archive of content on the net available from a GUI that is tailored for use on a TV with navigation through a remote.

Users get access to more than 20 000 video clips and 12 radio channels with three weeks of archive on the main channels. This is one of the most comprehensive services ever made for Windows Media Center’s Online Spotlight broadband portal.

Microsoft Media Center Edition was choosen because it is the first media center to be released in a version for the Norwegian market. Based on the experience from this service NRK will explore possibilities for adding support for systems like Apple Front Row, Mediaportal, MythTV, Beyond Media and Meedio.

TV Page

The TV main menu. Most of NRK’s own productions are available minutes after they have been broadcasted. Many of them are indexed in detail. This gives the user a possibility to jump directly to the most interesting parts.

Radio Page

The radio page gives detailed information on the three main channels. Including playing now / next and information on the current show. For these channels an archive is available with all shows broadcasted for the last three weeks. In addition to this nine more channels are available for streaming. Currently the streaming is done with several different qualities. The best one is 160 kbps Windows Media Audio. This gives better quality than current FM broadcasts and is even better than most DAB broadcasts.

Weather

In addition to the streaming media services a small weather service has been added. It gives detailed weather information for all counties in Norway. The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation will explore more services like this as well. News, sports results and other text / image based services that already exist on NRKs extensive services on the net and for mobile phones will be considered.

A special web page has been set up to give the users information and a possibility to comment and provide suggestions. You can find this page here (Norwegian).

NRK makes one of the world’s largest Media Center services

Apple Media Center – At last!

Apple has finally released its 10-feet GUI. They call it the Apple Front Row Media Experience and it looks like a full screen iPod user interface. Of course Apple bundles it with an amazingly stylish remote control. This is wonderful. Give them a year or so, and you will see some fantastic combinations of sexy hardware and software.

What I miss in the Apple Front Row Experience as far as I can judge from the Apple web site at this point are:
– PVR functionallity with an electronic program guide
– A system for including broadband services
(Like Microsoft Online Spotlight or Beyond Media SnapStream Spotlight)
– Extenders (I guess it’s just a question of time before Apple integrates video streaming in their Airport)
– Support for HD content

Well, that was not a second too early! I can’t wait to see what Apple will build around this. Apple is the perfect company to make successful hardware and software for your living room experience.

Update:
Thomas Hawk has some good comments. Basically I agree with most of them.

Why on earth would I want to buy a copy protected 320×240 version of a TV show when I can get it for free (totally legal) by recording it on my Media Center?

And, why on earth release a media computer in 2005 with no TV Funcionallity?

Still, as mentioned earlier in this post: give Apple a year or so.
(Unless Steve Jobs still is in the stupid opinion that “Generally what they want to view on television has to do with turning their mind off”. Steve, welcome to 2005. Television. Computer. What’s the difference? Do you really think my two year old son will be buying anything else than a computer to consume media as he grows up?)

Apple – you have made the world’s most user friendly and sexy portable media player. Why can’t you get the point when it comes to living room entertainment?

I want a HD capable Apple Mac Mini Media Center with PVR-Functionallity now.

Apple Media Center – At last!