Monthly Archive for October, 2007

I now get Seven HD where I live.

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Fifteen days after the Seven Network launched their digital multichannel Seven HD, regional affiliate Prime Television this evening started to broadcast the same “breakaway” program schedule on their Prime HD channel.

This means viewers in regional Victoria, New South Wales, and the ACT can now also receive the channel and its alternate programming. For more details on the schedule check out the official Seven HD site here.

My pick for the week? The brilliant Kinsey this Wednesday night at 10:30pm.

Top Gear takes a spin around the BBC.

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When Top Gear isn’t busy being the most beautifully shot show on television, or keeping us on the edge of our seats, its making us laugh, and this clip from last nights episode falls into that category. In the video, Jeremy takes the worlds smallest production car, the Peel P50 for a test drive through the corridors of the BBC Television Centre in London.

- Thanks for the video Craig.

The multichanneling continues: Ten HD

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Less than two weeks ago Channel Seven very softly launched Seven HD, their foray into commercial multichanneling. With Seven HD on air, Network Ten looks next to launch with their service, Ten HD, which is promising 50 hours of new programming a week (is that Friday Night Lights I see in the promo?).

The above promo for Ten HD, created by Jane Eakin and Motion Foundry is a light hearted introduction to the new channel, which goes some of the way to explain to the uninitiated what the new service is all about.

With the Seven HD logo taking some inspiration from BBC HD, its no surprise that the Ten HD logo has a whiff of the ABC America high definition logo in its design. I look forward to seeing how derivative the Nine HD logo will be.

- Thanks to Alex from Motion Foundry for the video.

The Great Debate, and the Pirates of Television.

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Update: The ABC explains everything slightly more eloquently here.

The fight for the next Prime Minister of Australia is well underway, and this evening the current PM John Howard faced his rival Kevin Rudd in the first (and possibly only) debate of this election campaign.

The debate was telecast on the ABC, as well as commercial network Channel Nine and news channel Sky. And while the debate was largely an exchange of speeches between the two men, there was some drama behind the scenes. Basically the event was being recorded by the ABC (for the first time since 1993), under an agreement with the organisers of the event, the National Press Club. The ABC agreed to supply a clean feed of the debate to any broadcaster that wanted it, however when Channel Nine included the worm in its broadcasts against the wishes of National Press Club there feed was pulled, forcing Nine to “pirate” a feed from Sky News.

Unfortunately that technical back and fourth (further explained in the videos above) was about the most interesting thing about the evening, for a slightly more interesting, if only fictional election debate, check out The West Wing’s live debate from the shows final season after the jump.. Continue reading “The Great Debate, and the Pirates of Television.” »

CNN on the BBC’s job cuts.

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Fionnuala Sweeney, the host of CNN’s International Correspondents talks to Deputy Director-General of the BBC Mark Byford about the 2800 jobs being cut from the corporation, along with plans to sell of the broadcasters iconic headquarters, Television Centre in London. All the cost cutting is due to a £2bn budget shortfall, the outcome of a decision not to increase the license fee as much as had been requested.

In other BBC related news, international visitors to BBC.com will soon be presented with online advertisements for the first time, the rationale being that foreign users of the service don’t pay the license fee that British residents do.

Let the multichanneling begin: Seven HD.

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Last night the Seven Network dipped its toe into the world of multichanneling with the soft launch of “Australia’s first new commercial television network in four decades”; Seven HD (or 7HD, or “the second Seven Network”).

The press release for the launch promises a third channel within 15 months, and fills us in with these extra details:

This “breakaway” schedule is the first step – with a complete primetime schedule for the second Channel Seven to be launched in the coming weeks. The “look and feel” and on-air presentation marketing and promotion for the new channel will be unveiled to coincide with the launch of the complete schedule for the second Channel Seven in the coming weeks.

With a third channel on the way in 2009 perhaps they should look to Channel 4 in the UK for multichannel name ideas (e4, More4, Film4 etc). Speaking of British inspirations, this current Seven HD look does have a touch of the BBC HD’s about it.

Charlie Brooker is awesome!

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Ever heard of Charlie Brooker? Well either had I until serendipity landed in my inbox last month in the form of two completely separate emails within 24 hours of each other from a couple of readers (thanks Mark and Andy) telling me to check out his television show, Screenwipe on BBC Four.

If this blog were a television show (god willing…) I would hope it would resemble something close to Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe. Basically Screenwipe successfully achieves something that I was always longing for, a television show about television.

He treats television as a serious medium, praising the best of it, and trashing well, the rest of it. He looks at everything from individual shows and channels, to the minutiae of the industry, and as this video shows, he even takes a look at television idents.

The show is currently in its fourth season, and for a television loving country like Australia I look forward to one day seeing a local equivalent.

Anything but anarchy from NRK.

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These are a series of openers from various news programs from the Norwegian national broadcaster NRK. The shows in order of appearance above are RedaksjonEN, Standpunkt, Urix and Østnytt.

The entirely CGI sequences keep away from the usual television news trap of using old footage to create drama and instead get an incredible amount of creative mileage from a small dot from the NRK logo that begins each show.

There’s a consistency here I love that makes each program distinctively NRK, which is something that lacks among the various news shows of say the ABC (7.30, Lateline, etc), however its probably debatable as to whether such cohesion between sepereate broadcasts is needed.

Check out more from the license fee funded Norwegian NRK in my earlier post here.

- And another huge thanks to Hans for the videos.

Masterpiece Theatre: The return of Top Gear.

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At the end of season nine of Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson questioned the direction of the show, and with 8.6 million people watching the final episode earlier this year, its understandable that a show about cars, with as much drama and direction as Lost, might start wondering what kind of show its meant to be.

Top Gear’s Executive Producer Andy Wilman takes an honest look at series nine of the show, and reflects about the upcoming season in a blog post here. He considers the chase for higher ratings “a false dawn, a night with a hooker when you’re drunk”, and he’s right, ratings are bollocks.

The video is from the first episode of the new season, and shows a preview of some of the stuff you’ll see over the next ten weeks. Among others Wilman proudly touts;

The Botswana road movie, a one hour special, is as spectacular as anything we’ve ever done, Amphibious: The Sequel is better than I could have ever dreamed of, the 24 Hour Race is a proper soap opera.

There is nothing on television that comes close to Top Gear, it is the most unique and engaging hour on television, it transcends whatever genre its considered to exist in, and presents cinematography that rivals that of any movie, along with storylines vastly more compelling then most traditionally scripted stuff on television, its simply brilliant.

From Clarkson’s and Wilman’s comments you can see a self awareness about the future of the show, a future that is clearly being coursed by some incredibly talented hands.

Update: As noted in the comments (thanks Marc) the song used in the video is “No Cars Go” by Arcade Fire, the song in its entirety is simply amazing. Take a listen:

Channel 4 at 25.

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British public service broadcaster Channel 4 is turning 25 this year, and along with other celebrations More4 is broadcasting a “quietly celebratory, but not uncritical” documentary about itself called Channel 4 at 25.

Within the documentary some moments in the broadcasters identity were relived, and this is what I’m sharing today. The first video is a special montage ident merging the various looks that the network has had over the past quarter century. The next video relives the first moments of the channel on air, and the final video is a recreation of the original ident that made such a big splash when it first launched.

Channel 4 continues to make some of the best on air branding, check out their current set of idents, their special Simpson’s ident, the 20 questions collection and Judi Dench in a lobster costume spruiking FilmFour.

- Thanks for the videos Craig.