Decluttering Blueprint – Step 4 – Organizing Your Family Room

[ad_1]

Is the gathering area (a.k.a. family room, living room, den, great room) in your home chaotic and cluttered? If so, try the following prescription to create a calm, comfortable and orderly space you’ll love to relax in and entertain family and friends.

  1. Pin down the purpose(s) of your room. Is it your intention to use the family room as a place to watch a movie, curl up and read, play with the kids, take a short nap and gather with friends? Whether you have the foregoing functions in mind or something different, move objects unrelated to the purpose of your room (shoes, clothing and the ironing board) to other more appropriate quarters of your home.
  2. Specify the major categories of items to be kept in your family room. For example:
  • Reading – books, magazines and newspapers
  • Media – TV, VCR, DVD, stereo, videos, CD’s, DVD’s and remotes
  • Toys – dolls, action figures and vehicles
  • Games – board games, puzzles and cards
  • Collections – photos, baseball paraphernalia, etc.
  • Sort everything in your family room into piles that represent the major categories identified in step #2. Begin with all surface items, and then move to objects stored in baskets, drawers, and cabinets. Smart tip: If you haven’t edited your belongings for a number of years, you will find it easier to sort large quantities of things by using a large box to hold the contents of each major category; the boxes will ensure your piles don’t spill over and get mixed up.
  • Cut out the clutter and organize what remains. Working with one category at a time, evaluate each item using the following rules: don’t keep anything you don’t love or use; reduce multiples of any single item; recycle all but the current issue of magazines and newspapers; dispose of broken and unwanted items by pitching them, giving them to someone else, selling, or donating them. Then put the remainder of items in order. For example, eliminate: duplicate pictures, out-of-focus pictures, and unflattering pictures. Then arrange the pictures you want to keep by date or theme, such as home, family, school, vacations, etc. Smart tip: As you’re weeding out clutter from each major category, let go of 20% more stuff than you have room for, that way new acquisitions will have a ready made home.
  • Arrange your room for comfort and functionality. When you have one space that serves multiple functions, consider setting up your room in zones – each to accommodate a different activity. For instance:
    • Reading and gaming. Place a game table and chairs where you have a good light source, it makes a great spot for perusing the paper and playing board games. The same table top can also double as a place to set out snacks when you have friends over. Mount shelving or spot a bookcase on an adjacent wall to house books and gaming materials.
    • Watching TV. Pick a good place to locate your TV and hide electronic gear in cabinetry if you don’t want to see it. Coordinate the arrangement of key seating pieces so you can readily see the screen (and take advantage of the view, if applicable). Position a magazine rack nearby and toss a throw over a plush armchair so you can cover up and catch a cat-nap when it’s chilly.
    • Playing. Tuck toys into baskets or storage ottomans that blend with the aforementioned zones. These types of containers offer an ideal way to store distracting clutter and make the family room a welcoming adult space after the kids have drifted off to dreamland.
  • If needed, use containers you have around your home to accessorize and containerize items that are easy to access. Family rooms are a magnet for books, papers, magazines, and supplies that get piled on the floor and table tops. However, you can organize these items with budget friendly solutions you likely have around your home.
    • Shoe boxes of the same size and color can be used to corral photos, letters, CD’s and more. Using multiple containers with the same color and symmetry will elevate the ordinary into an appealing collection.
    • Fruit crates, baskets, and sturdy totes can be used to hold books, magazines and newspapers.
    • Pottery, glass jars, and mugs are good holders for pens, clips, rubber bands, and push pins.
    • Ice cube trays, muffin tins, box lids, and cutlery trays make great drawer organizers.
    • Vintage luggage and picnic baskets stacked on top of each other work well as side tables and make for durable, attractive storage.
  • Slip items you want to confine into their new vessel and place them where they’ll be pretty and practical. That’s it! You now have a family room that’s organized, easy to clean, and makes smart use of your space.
  • Stay tuned-the next addition of the Decluttering Blueprint will be released soon.

    [ad_2]

    Direct TV NFL Sunday Ticket

    [ad_1]

    Did you ever have a friend who was a perfectly nice, normal guy most of the time and then as football season approached turned into this in-your-face obnoxious football-loving freak?

    I do.

    Don’t get me wrong, even though baseball is really my thing, I like football as much as the next guy, as long as the next guy isn’t Alan. He and I have been friends since high school and ever since I’ve known him he’s been a huge football fan…no, wait; make that a huge football junkie.

    He can’t seem to get enough. He’s a walking encyclopedia of football trivia and loves to share his knowledge, whether you want it or not.

    So I was more than a little surprised to learn that Alan, of all people, still didn’t have the Direct TV NFL Sunday Ticket!

    When I asked him why, the poor guy actually looked embarrassed. He said he’d seen where it was over $200 to sign up and he didn’t think he could afford it.

    So he spent a lot of hours on several different occasions trying to find a good deal online, but every time he’d go back to a site he liked, he never could find the same offer he’d seen before.

    I would’ve been inclined to think it was just Alan – that he’d been hit one time too many as a linebacker back in high school, but I knew exactly what he was talking about.

    I’d been there myself a few months earlier. If I hadn’t found one site in particular that keeps track of all the best deals not only on the Direct TV NFL Sunday Ticket, but also on other satellite deals, including Dish Network, I’d probably still be searching.

    You don’t have to take my word for it. I listed it down at the bottom of this article so you can see for yourself.

    I explained to him what I had learned. First of all, you don’t have to pay the total all at once, Direct TV will let you spread your payments out over several months.

    I actually did the math, and with all that they offer, you’re getting a steal. The package actually works out to about a buck a game!

    No where else can you get up to 14 games each week and have them automatically download to your DVR on Mondays. You can also track the performance of your favorite player, see real-time scores and stats, and hear play strategies straight from the coaches’ mouths.

    But here’s what makes finding the best deals so difficult to do.

    There are literally hundreds of thousands of websites to slog through, most of them poorly designed or full of graphics so obnoxious they make it hard to find what you’re looking for.

    Some of them won’t even be in existence the next time you look for them. And the so-called ‘deals’ they offer seem to change almost daily. That’s why I think you’ll be impressed if you click on the links at the end of this story. Those guys stay right on top of the latest and greatest offers from Direct TV, which of course includes the NFL Sunday Ticket.

    I’m happy to report that Alan finally got his Sunday Ticket and he claims he has me to thank for it.

    I’ve giving you the same advice I gave Alan, so now you can get the Direct TV NFL Sunday Ticket and know you’re getting the best deal.

    Go to the websites listed below. Get the facts. Get the most current offers available. Get your own Sunday Ticket. You know you want it. You deserve it. Just do it. You can thank me later.

    [ad_2]

    Delivering Highly Successful Online Video and Viral Campaigns

    [ad_1]

    There are many that say that the creation of high traffic viral campaigns is a science and not an art and that luck has little to do with it. There are arguments for and against, although there are some expert providers in this space who may ether agree or disagree with this argument and there are some that actually it is both a science and an art.

    Recent examples of online videos going viral include:

    Konyvideo– This video was clearly designed to go viral, but it is unlikely that the author thought that it would attract an audience of over 75 million viewers across the planet however was this because that it ticked the “Social Controversy” box?

    Anfield Cat – This is a more uplifting online video clip, but I ask myself was the cat let out of the bag by accident or was it a cleverly designed video campaign by an animal lover who knew how to create and design a viral campaign.

    1. Capture the Moment

    There are several events that enable us to Capture the Moment and companies are using these events to project their brands onto the consumer. One example would be Paddy Power’s video campaign “Chav Tranquilizer’s“. This clearly combines humour with the traditional, more commonly viewed stiff upper lip event of the Cheltenham Festival.

    Paddy Power has clearly captured the moment and integrated the content and the Cheltenham event with the brand making use of laughter and light humour.

    2. High Quality and Relevant Content

    Using the same Paddy Power example, the content and setting was clearly relevant in terms of the brand and capturing the audience in a funny way. This campaign was genuinely creative and the content was highly relevant to the target audience. This was clearly meant to be controversial which typically engenders “Social Sharing“;

    3. Social Sharing

    The Paddy Power campaign was clearly designed as a viral marketing tool; hence it was designed with Social Sharing in mind. People use all types of social sharing mechanisms, such as traditional email.

    If you Google Chav Tranquilizer’s“, you will see comments about this campaign being banned on TV. This brings into play the “Social Controversy” approach, which has clearly been integrated into this video ad with a view to creating Social Conversations on a grand scale;

    4. Brands and Products

    It is vital that the content, the campaign theme and the setting are clearly identifiable and relevant to the brand and to the product. This is to ensure the brand and ultimately the end product engages with the target audience. Remember, not to be too commercial, this is generally a consumer put-off and will not engender “Social Sharing”. Viral campaigns are largely used to engender brand awareness; however brands are also now using online video advertising to launch products and services.

    5. Consumer Attention Span

    Content length is vital to get right. Too short and you can lose the message, too long and you can lose the audience. Therefore, it is important to ensure the first ten to fifteen seconds really captivate the viewer and at all costs avoid long load times for videos and games. Rememberevery consumer is just one click away from your competitor. With technology, consumers are becoming increasing impatient; hence their attention span is reducing.

    capture your consumer, draw them into your world and make your message stick in their mind;

    6. Viral Video Seeding

    Unless the content is exposed to high numbers of users it is unlikely that the video advertisement will become a truly viral campaign.

    To improve the likelihood of a truly viral campaign, it is vital that the video ad is properly seeded (geography / brand / product / context / relevance) with relevant distributors as well as with the highly known video viewing sites and blogs.

    Once seeding is properly undertaken the content should take care of itself via “Social Sharing” hence on the basis that that the content works this will lead to a successful viral campaign;

    7. Technical issues and bandwidth

    Bandwidth has been an issue in the past but most providers have overcome this with much more robust technical solutions.

    High volume viral campaigns would usually be viewed from sites like YouTube or similar video sharing sites; once the word spreads you then need to ensure that:

    (i) other distributors have similar levels of bandwidth capabilities and that the quality of the content is not spoiled by bandwidth viewing issues;

    (ii) the video ad formats you provide are used by the large majority of consumers and have minimum resistance to viewing; hence be wary of video formats that require special plug-ins or software upgrades. Use a few of the most common formats and ensure that consumer compatibility remains in the high ninety-nine percentile;

    8. What’s in it for the Consumer?

    The reason commercial radio and TV advertising has been and continues to successful is due to the fact that there is something in it for the consumer.

    Radio stations generally play the latest and most popular music whereas commercial TV content is generally of a high-quality to attract a certain audience, with TV commercials being shown in between TV advertisement breaks. Therefore there is clearly something in it for the consumer with commercial radio and TV media.

    However in the online world this is sometimes amiss as brands prefer their online video ads to be free of “Rewarded Media”.

    Rewarded media has its place and can play an important part in terms of “Social Sharing” (everyone likes to receive and share a bargain with their friends). Whilst Rewarded Media seems to be a taboo in this segment it could play an important part for product launches and film releases especially if “Social Sharing” can be integrated someway with “Rewarded Media”;

    9. Analytics and key metrics

    All viral campaigns should have a campaign distribution plan. This is vital to ensure that the video ad achieves all of the targets and metrics that were initially set-out with the brand.

    To ensure that all viral campaigns stay on plan, they should be properly tracked with continual analytics and using key performance metrics. This will help the advertiser to better understand the consumer audiences, who have interacted with the content, providing data such as times of use, places of use etc. Be wary of gathering too much information on potential consumers (for example email addresses) as this can turn-off your audience and create a barrier for the online video advertisement.

    10. Continual Improvement

    Post campaign evaluation is essential for continued improvement. This will enable you to ascertain important data such as: what has worked and what hasn’t, traffic sources, what consumers were saying in forums and social networking sites.

    Try to understand why the video ad generated the level of traffic it did and this should enable you to identify key tools that can be replicated for a future viral campaign.

    [ad_2]

    What Is A Digital Media Player?

    [ad_1]

    A Digital media player is a device that can store and play digital media files. There are thousands of brands available in the market and choosing the right one could be a tedious process. If you are searching for a better strike, for your money then the Western Digital WD TV Live Plus HD Media Player has some of the best features. It is a favorite and popular player that is rated high by its users.

    Ease of use and its features makes it a wide choice in the market. The latest version released has some added functionalities when compared with the previous ones. It is network geared, and allows playback up to 1080p TrueHD and sound output through media player output or the HDMI output. Additionally, this has the capacity to play Netflix live to your TV. One big vantage is it has a good menu system for selecting the media files.

    The WD TV Live digital player allows you to stream music, videos and photos to your TV and plays your music through your home theatre system. The player does not have an inbuilt hard drive. It must be connected externally with a USB device or any network containing your media files. A popular choice of storage device is the Western Digital WD Elements1 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard drive that will have enough space to store any number of photos, videos, movies, and music.

    It comes from the same manufacturer and hence it is a tough wired network, ready to use media player. You can also go wireless, with a USB wireless device. There are many wireless adapters available in the market with which you can convert your WD TV Live into a wireless player. One major disadvantage is, it definitely does not allow you to add internal hard drive to your media streamer. If this is not an issue, then you can seriously consider the WD TV Live media player which is fantastic and user friendly.

    [ad_2]

    Digital Media Players – Interesting Predictions For 2011

    [ad_1]

    Technology for digital media players changed dramatically in 2010. For the first time ever, a person could store all their movies, music, and photos in one place and stream them directly to their living room television. So exactly what can we expect for 2011? I think 2011 will be a furiously fast year for digital media sreamers and we will see jumps in technology and a drop in price also.

    • Every Major Television Manufacturer Will Include Digital Media Player Technology As An Included Feature – This device was the first to connect the home computer to the home theater. I know that Apple has the Apple TV and there are a few other devices out there that kind of got close to the mark, but full media streamers were the missing link. Now, with storage becoming more affordable, a person could make a backup copy of every DVD in their personal collection. The digital player allowed for streaming of video and audio, including high-definition, straight to your living room television. Coming in 2011 will be the full on emergence of Wifi enabled televisions that can connect to the internet and your home network. Sony televisions are even including things like widgets that make things a lot easier. In 2011 you will have the ability to connect and stream your media to your television without the need for the player. If you aren’t planning on upgrading your television, don’t worry, you can still get a super high-tech player with all the bells and whistles.
    • Streaming Players Will Increase Portability And Storage Capacity Will Be Included – Because the actual size of the technology like circuit boards and memory, I believe the size of the media players will also shrink. The smaller size will mean that it will be easier to travel with your player. For those that have video connections and screens in their car, this could mean that you can take your entire DVD collection with you without even needing to bring a single DVD. Now, most players have the option for the user to install their own 2.5″ SATA hard drive so that they can store the media directly on the device. Let’s say you don’t have a wireless network at home, storing your digital music, movies, and photos on the device means that all you have to do is take the player to your television and connect directly with A/V cables. In 2011 I believe we will see players come standard with built-in hard drives or solid state drives.

    These are just predictions, but I look forward to seeing if these happen. These are not guarantees by any means. If you are considering whether to buy a digital media player now or maybe considering getting a television with the capability built in, you might want to hold off a little longer to see what happens.

    [ad_2]

    The Best Roku Media Sources

    [ad_1]

    Roku is a streaming media player that plays video, music, and other media. Roku connects your TV to an amazing amount of content with no computer required. All you need is a high-speed Internet connection. Roku can be set-up in as little as 5 minutes and is simple to use. Also, because it streams the media directly from the Internet to your TV, there is no need to wait for downloads. Your favorite media is available instantly.

    There are many Roku Media options available. The most popular media providers include Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Video On Demand. All three of these options provide access to your favorite movies and television programs in high-definition.

    Netflix currently has an unlimited streaming subscription option for only $7.99 per month. The Netflix library contains nearly every movie or television show available on DVD. However, the portion of the Netflix library available for streaming is smaller. Most new releases are not available for streaming with Netflix. Also, a Netflix subscription does not give you access to current season TV shows.

    Hulu Plus is a very popular service video streaming service. It offers a subscription for $7.99, the same price as the Netflix streaming only subscription. Hulu Plus offers current and prior season TV shows from most networks. It also offers a large selection of movies, although many new release premium movies are not available.

    Amazon Video On Demand has a different pricing model than Netflix or Hulu Plus. Amazon Video On Demand does not have a monthly fee. Instead, you pay to purchase or rent movies and TV shows. TV shows and movies can be rented for as little as 99 cents. Amazon Video On Demand offers nearly any movie or TV show that is available on DVD. It also offers current season TV shows.

    The best Roku media source for you depends on what content you want the most. To cover the most options with the least cost, many people chose to purchase a monthly Netflix subscription and then supplement this with an occasional Amazon Video On Demand purchase. This way, you get most of your favorite content for $7.99 per month. Then, if there is a must watch TV show or new release movie that is not included in the Netflix library, it can still be purchased from Amazon Video On Demand.

    [ad_2]

    History of the Media, Radio, and Television

    [ad_1]

    When were the forms of media created? When did advertising first show up? Who owns the media?

    Creation of the various forms of media

    *

    Newspapers & Magazines ~ 1880

    *

    Movies ~ 1910

    *

    Television ~ 1945

    *

    Cable Television ~ 1980’s

    *

    Satellite Television, Internet, Digital Communication ~ End of the 20th century

    In 1920, radio was first developed, primarily for use by the military, strictly for sendingHistory of the Media – Old Radios messages from one location to another. David Sternoff, the then-president of RCA, first had the idea to sell radio sets to consumers, or what were then called radio receivers. However, consumers needed a reason to buy radios, so RCA was the first to set up radio stations all over the country. Between 1920 and 1922, 400 radio stations were set up, starting with KBKA in Pittsburgh. Stations were also set up by universities, newspapers, police departments, hotels, and labor unions.

    *

    By 1923, there were 600 radio stations across the United States, and $83 million worth of sets had been sold.

    The biggest difference in radio before and after 1923 was that the first advertising was not heard on the radio until 1923. RCA at the time was made up of four companies:

    *

    AT&T

    *

    General Electric

    *

    United Fruit

    *

    Westinghouse

    United Fruit was one of the first global corporations, and one of the first to advertise on the radio. The AT&T division of RCA first thought about selling time on the air to companies, which marked the start of “toll broadcasting.” WEAF was the first station to operate this way, causing widespread outrage, and accusation of “polluting the airwaves.”

    Because of this controversy, the practice of selling advertising time was called “trade name publicity.” Sponsors linked their name with a program on the air, rather than advertising a specific product in a 30 second “commercial” as we know it today.

    Why did AT&T decide to experiment with charging companies for air time?

    AT&T was not making any money from broadcasting at the time since they only made transmitters, not receivers. They only made money when new radio stations bought the equipment required to broadcast. They did not make money from consumers buying radios.

    AT&T also started the practice of paying performers for their time on the air, rather than only volunteers, which was standard practice for radio content up until that point.

    The first radio network

    In 1926, RCA set up the first radio network, NBC. They decided it was more effective and efficient to produce shows in New York City, and then link the main radio station with stations all across the country, connected by AT&T (another RCA company) phone lines. (Now television networks are linked by satellite to their affiliates).

    This was the beginning of the network affiliates system. The ideal network makes sure everyone in the country is capable of listening to their signal. NBC at the time had two philosophies:

    *

    Radio content was a “public service,” whose function was to sell radios.

    *

    Radio content was designed to generate income from advertising.

    History of the Media In 1927, the second network was formed. It was CBS, started by William Paley. Paley was the first to think that networks could make money strictly from advertising, not even getting involved in the sales of radios. Like AT&T, CBS did not make radios. From the start, they made their money from selling advertising.

    The rising of radio networks caused the Radio Act of 1927 to be passed, which established the FRC, or what is now known as the FCC, to allocate broadcast licenses. The need for such an organization was brought on by the fact that airwaves are limited resources, and broadcasting itself is a scarce public resource. By the 1930’s, the structure of radio have been set by the commercial format, although advertising never dominated radio like it would television later on.

    In the 1920’s and ’30’s, radio programs were divided into two groups. Sponsored shows, which had advertisers, and unsponsored shows, which did not. The radio station paid for the unsponsored shows. The sponsored shows, on the other hand, were created entirely by the company sponsoring the show; advertisers were totally in charge of the radio station’s content. The content became advertising. Radio set the precedent for television, in that the same companies that controlled radio early on went on to control television.

    Soon thereafter, television inherited the structure of radio. In the ’40’s, during the rise of television, RCA also held a monopoly on all television sets sold. By 1945-1955, advertising had taken over all of television. Television was organized around the premise of selling things. The entire television industry was creating a political atmosphere of suspicion and fear. Senator Joseph McCarthy, the founder of McCarthyism, which was based on the fear of Communism, and the HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee, began to question people involved in television about their beliefs and associations.

    What affected television in its early stages?

    *

    Politics (McCarthyism / HUAC).

    *

    Blacklists: From almost the inception of television, many writers, directors, and actors were considered to be pro-Communist and/or un-American.

    Certain topics were totally off-limits at the time for television, particularly issues of race relations in the 1960’s. Overall, networks were not happy with the political situation for television in the 1960’s, both in terms of the blacklists, and of the fact that when every show had one sponsor, that sponsor controlled the entire program. Networks preferred to control the program, by way of moving to multiple sponsors/advertisers, where networks would retain control of the show, and advertisers would buy time in between the programming.

    In the 1950’s, networks decided to eliminate the practice of sponsors controlling the shows with a move to spot selling, or advertisements between programs, as we know it today. What caused the move to spot selling?

    1.

    Discovery of fraud in the quiz shows on television. Quiz shows were extremely popular at the time, and were liked by the networks, the sponsors, and the viewers alike. It turned out, however, that quiz shows were largely fixed. Charles Van Doren on “21” became a huge star due to his repeated wins, until it came out that the whole thing had been fixed. In the case of “The $64,000 Question,” the owner of Revlon was personally hand-selecting the winners and losers on the show.

    2.

    It was becoming financially difficult for just one advertiser to support an entire show.

    Around this same time came the inception of ratings to measure a show’s popularity. Ratings, quite simply, measure the number of people watching a show. To understand why ratings are so important, it’s crucial to understand how the television industry works, through three questions, and their respective answers:

    1.

    Who owns television? [The networks]

    2.

    What is sold on television? [Viewer’s time, not television shows]

    3.

    Who are the customers of television? [Advertisers, not viewers]

    This might be a counterintuitive concept for some. The networks, which own television, areHistory of the Media – Old Television the buyers of shows, not the sellers. On the other hand, they sell our eyeballs, so to speak, to advertisers. Networks want the maximum possible profit from buying and selling time, both viewers’ time, and advertisers’ time.

    The primary measure of television ratings, which determine the price of that time being bought and sold, is AC Nielsen, an independent company which provides information as to who watches what on television. Currently, about 4,000 households are used to represent the national viewing of television. In the 1980’s, only 1,200 households were used. Some households have an electronic device installed on th
    eir television which tracks what they watch, while others keep a diary of viewing habits.

    There are two measures for determining a show’s audience. One is the rating, and the other is the share.

    *

    Rating: Percentage of total homes with televisions tuned into a particular show.

    *

    Share: Percentage of those watching television at a particular time who are tuned into a particular show.

    The share is always greater than the rating. Ratings are more important for advertisers, and share is more important to the networks.

    Example:

    *

    Total households with televisions: 150 million

    *

    Total households watching television at 8pm on Monday nights: 90 million

    *

    Total households watching American Idol at 8pm on Monday nights: 45 million

    *

    Therefore: Rating: 30, Share: 50

    It’s important to note how many factors can skew the results. Shows cost producers much more than the networks typically pay them for those shows. The way for producers to make money is by getting the networks to renew the show, in order to have a shot at making money from syndication on other channels, also knows as reruns. That is the case when individual stations (say for example, the Miami affiliate of ABC wants to carry Seinfeld), buy the rights to a show from the producers of that show. Shows that last only one season, for the most part, lose millions of dollars. One of the most important factors in whether shows will be renewed or not is their rating.

    This brings us to how ratings can be skewed. For example, if a show has a 20 share, and it needs a 25 share to be renewed for another season, what might the producers do? In principle, they need to convince another 5% of the people watching television when their show is on to watch their show; this is no simple task, as that involves convincing millions of people. However, since the ratings are based on those 4,000 Nielsen households, that means that they could convince just 200 Nielsen households to watch their show, which would increase the share from 20 to 25. This is why Nielsen households must be kept totally secret from the networks. When the Nielsen households have leaked to the networks, one way which they got people to watch their show was by offering viewers a small sum of money for filling out a survey about a commercial which they were told would play only during a particular show. Since they had to watch that channel while their show was on, this would boost the share.

    Once ratings are determined, advertising prices are set by two factors:

    * The size of the audience.

    * The demographics (income, age, gender, occupation, etc) of the audience.

    In short, the job of television programs is to collect our time as a product, which they then sell to advertisers. Programs have to support the advertising, delivering viewers in the best possible state of mind for buying when the time for the commercials comes, which brings us to the Golden Age of Television.

    The 1950’s are considered the “Golden Age of Television.” During this time, something called the “Anthology Series,” where different actors each week took part in a show gained History of the Media – I Love Lucypopularity across the board…that is, with everyone except for advertisers. The anthology series format was not right for advertisers, as it covered topics which involved psychological confrontations which did not leave the viewers in the proper state of mind for buying the products shown to them between program segments. The subject matter of the anthology series was of the type that undermined the ads, almost making them seem fraudulent.

    This brought up the question of what to network executives actually want shows to do? The answer is not to watch a program that makes them feel good, makes them laugh, or excites them, but rather to watch the television for a set amount of time. With so many new shows being proposed, standards began to be intentionally, or unintentionally, laid out for what shows could and couldn’t do. Risks could only be taken at the beginning and/or end of shows. Laugh tracks were conceived to tell the audience when to laugh. Programs began being tested with audiences prior to being put on television and/or radio. Show writers now had to write shows that would test well.

    Naturally, this caused many of the same elements and themes to appear in all shows. This was the beginning of recombinant television culture, where the same elements are endlessly repeated, recombined, and mixed.

    This same culture is what perpetuated the idea that people watch television, not specific shows. While people certainly choose to watch certain shows instead of others, people less commonly choose to watch television instead of other things. People watch television. Regardless of what was on, television viewing rates were extremely stable.

    [ad_2]

    What Is Smart TV?

    [ad_1]

    The very latest waves of Flat Screen Digital TVs hitting our shores this year are being marketed as “Smart TVs”. What does this mean, and what benefits do they have? Let’s try and explain this concept in a simplified manner.

    First – A very quick history on TV evolution

    Television technology has advanced rapidly over the years, progressing from the basic “Square” 4:3 Analogue CRT Tube. The introduction and sharp rise in popularity of DVD then saw the implementation of widescreen TVs to suit this format. As the trend towards viewing movies in widescreen digital became the standard, similar steps had to be made for day to day Television viewing. So the integration of digital set top boxes began, and our Television networks began to broadcast our TV programs in digital to coincide with that. As the public began to embrace the “cinema” experience, the next natural progression was larger screens, so Plasma, LCD and later LED panels were introduced. In the years that followed, besides obvious improvements in clarity, sound & design, the only major change made to TV technology was size – demand called for bigger and thinner TVs. Over the last year or so, the introduction of 3D Technology was the next “big-thing”, as well the call for more eco-friendly panels.

    So we’ve seen TV’s develop from a bulky, square Picture Tube with a choice of five stations to view in analogue, to large, ultra-slim, Full High Definition panels capable of displaying 3D images, and a choice of over twenty channels broadcasting many programs in widescreen digital. Add to that a very sharp decline in price, and an ever increasing focus on environmentally friendly performance – we’ve certainly come a long way. So where to from here?

    Introducing Smart TVs…

    The internet is now a dominant part of our daily existence. Our mobile phones have now evolved from devices used just for making phone calls into “Smart-Phones” – basically mobile phones with internet accessibility. The same technology has filtered through to our TVs, and coined the phrase – “Smart TVs”. Today’s new waves of Smart TVs have a very large focus on online interactive media such as Internet   TV ,  media  streaming, social networking and web browsing. In a Similar way to how internet browsing, web widgets and software like games or applications are integrated in today’s smartphones, the same trend towards such connectivity has now become part of today’s TVs, creating a convergence between computers and Digital TV. Smart TVs allow viewers to search for and find movies, video clips and photos on the internet, stored on a home hard drive, through to your TV, using your remote control.

    Smart TVs will eventually change the way we access media in our homes

    This convenience will eventually change the way we access media in our homes, or more precisely, from where we access our media. One example would be not having to run down to our local video stores anymore just to rent a movie. By pressing a couple of buttons on our TV remote we suddenly have access to hundreds of movies available for streaming from the comfort of our lounge. Applications (or “Apps” as they are commonly referred to) add yet another facet for us to explore. There are a limitless number of apps that can be created. If you are an I-Phone user, you will already have encountered dozens upon dozens of ingenious applications that you now find hard to live without. There are apps for everything, ranging from live weather and news forecasts, to TV Show catch-up episodes, the latest sports news for your favourite team as well as live scores, and of course the whole social media forum such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. These are now right at your fingertips, transforming TVs into a very diverse media network. The ability to Skype call is also an option, with the aid of a brand-specific Skype camera. While a small number of these features, in some form, have been available over the last year from some television manufacturers, in 2011 we will see the introduction of unrestricted web-browsing in some models. This opens up a limitless array of possibilities by transforming your TV into a fully functional web browser.

    Smart TVs – Bringing the internet into your lounge room

    There is a distinct advantage of not having to take the effort to boot up your PC, which is usually located in another room, to perform tasks such as purchasing items on eBay, checking your E-mail, or to Google something that has just taken your interest on TV. With large high definition screens, and web pages fully optimised to suit, there is certainly a distinct advantage in browsing the internet from the comfort of your lounge instead of through a little laptop screen or sitting at your computer desk. Even if you have photos, music, movies or video files stored on your home computer, you can access all of these wirelessly through your Home network and stream them directly to your TV.

    So, in summary…

    Smart TVs are the next generation of Flat Screen Digital Television, merging your TV and computer’s functionality into one.

    With the ability to stream high definition movies, connect with your friends using Facebook and Twitter, stream TV Shows, and get instant access to news, sport and weather – all from the comfort of your lounge and on a large High Definition TV screen. Some of the higher end Digital TV models will offer built in web browsers – opening up unrestricted web browsing directly to your Television Set. As Plasma and LED Screens have evolved to become thinner, more energy efficient and providing us with stunning Full High Definition clarity. We now have a limitless array of media applications opened up to us, providing us with versatility and cross functional capability like we have never had before.

    [ad_2]

    Glorifying Social Media – When Television Met Twitter

    [ad_1]

    There is no denying the prominence of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter over the past couple of years. Although these social media platforms did not exist a decade ago, they are now firmly integrated into modern society. In fact, it is incredible how much our lives are influenced by social media. We not only communicate online, but we also “tweet” and “digg” and “bookmark” and “favourite” and share all kinds of content. Any event of interest, regardless how insignificant it may be, is almost guaranteed to be reported via multiple online avenues. Whether it is a tweet or a blog post or a viral video, the buzz spreads rapidly across the Internet. After all, we are the Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter generation – we live and breathe through social media.

    In particular, the rise of social media brought upon an interesting phenomenon within the traditional media format. Recently, the world watched its first ever situational comedy inspired by a Twitter account. Crassly titled $#*! My Dad Says, the show features William Shatner as a cantankerous old man with a wide array of snappy one-liners, while his son records these remarks on the Internet. The actual Twitter account has almost two million followers; the sitcom premiere debuted to an audience of over twelve million viewers. Let those impressive numbers sink in first, and then you better realize that it was an anonymous old man – who would never have been famous without the Internet – drew this much attention and popularity.

    At first, the concept of a Twitter account sounds laughably absurd – how could an actual television show sustain based on the random tweets of less than 140 characters? As it turns out, $#*! My Dad Says is no different from the standard laugh track comedies on CBS, complete with Shatner’s distinguished way of delivering a ha-ha punch line (or any line at all, really). Yet, it is the idea behind the sitcom that displays the most originality. Think about what the show has accomplished by its mere existence: a social media icon is being celebrated in network television! Can you imagine getting a TV show based on your disjointed thoughts online? Can you imagine being famous because of your Twitter account?

    While Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter grow more dominant in our culture, it is becoming increasingly clear that social media has no boundaries anymore. Its influence extends beyond the Twitterverse or a primetime television show; it affects our modernity as a whole. This essay will analyze deeper into the seamless integration between social media and traditional media, as well as the unsettling repercussions of this recent pop culture trend.

    The Facebook movie and the Twitter sitcom are just two recent examples among numerous success stories. Several high-profile entertainment bloggers have quit their day jobs so that they can become full-time online gossipmongers. HBO is in the works of producing a comedy called Tilda, featuring Diane Keaton and Ellen Page, about a fearsome blogger loosely resembling Nikki Finke. In addition, there are hundreds of minor Internet sensations made famous by their viral videos, and sometimes their fame extends to lucrative opportunities in the entertainment industry. For example, that YouTube kid is on The Amazing Race with his father a few seasons ago. In fact, YouTube is like the hub of revolving online celebrities; their stardom fades in and out over time. Leave Britney alone, anyone?

    Since a sizable portion of social media users belong to the younger demographic, it is no surprise that a number of youth-oriented programs feature social media into the show’s premise. For example, iCarly showcases three teens that discover the success of their webcast as they become online celebrities. Balancing the normalcy of adolescent life along with the abrupt Internet fame makes iCarly unique from the other television shows. Similarly, while the targeted demographic of Gossip Girl is aimed towards a slightly older audience, it showcases an anonymous blogger that spreads scandalous gossip on the Internet and how this inadvertently affects the lives of several privileged young adults. Gossip Girl covers the darker side of social media, where the online anonymity poses a threat to real-life privacy.

    By promoting social media so heavily into television and film, the entertainment industry has sent a message that Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are integral elements in our everyday lives. It seems that a Facebook account is even more significant than an e-mail address or a cell phone number. It seems that relying on Twitter updates and viral videos are more preferable than reading an actual news article. It seems that blog posts will revolutionize the journal industry sooner enough. As the number of television shows and films about social media increases, this trend indicates that we cannot function in society without some sort of social media platform or social profiling account. How else will you communicate with your acquaintances? How else will you manage your friendships and relationships?

    I am in the school of thought that relying on any technological medium too much can lead to disastrous results. Social media may have eased our communication processes, but it also oversimplified our abilities to form coherent and insightful thoughts. After all, how profound can your tweets be if it only permits you 140 characters per message? And anyone who bothered to look at the comments section under a YouTube video, especially regarding controversial topics, can witness a wide array of banality. Even Facebook, with its frequent breach of privacy, has an unsophisticated system of categorizing your profile details, such as the “It’s Complicated” option for your relationship status. (Of course, they don’t care about what you put in your profile, as long as you are part of the demographic metrics for the prospective online advertisers. Single male in his thirties who uses Facebook a lot? How about clicking on the online dating site advert in the sidebar?)

    Social media does not pose any life-threatening perils, although there are some incidents of online stalkers or worse, but we should still be informed about its obvious limitations as a communication medium. Don’t assume that social media is essential just because it is promoted everywhere in films and television shows. Do not misjudge its prevalence as a form of necessity. As consumers, as online users, and as human beings, we should take a critical look of social media as a form of the new traditional media. If these social media platforms are here to stay, where do we fit in? Are we satisfied with being defined as the Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter generation?

    [ad_2]

    Best Media Player For Your New 1080p High Definition Television

    [ad_1]

    This Christmas a lot of people rewarded themselves with a new 1080p HDTV. Sure it is possible to use your existing DVD player or get a shiny new Blu-ray player to use with your new TV. But what is really the best media player for your new system?

    Some say an HD media player would be the best choice. These are the size of an external hard drive and play audio and video from USB storage media. There are many different brands to choose from but for an example we’ll use the popular WD TV HD Media Player by Western Digital.

    With this device you can play content from any connected USB drive in full HD 1080p with DTS 2.0 digital sound. It plays most audio and video formats and allows you to browse and organize your files from the easy to use interface. You can also transfer and organize files from a digital camera or camcorder. In order to use the media player an additional USB hard drive is required. The unit itself does not come with storage capacity. By using external drives the storage capacity is unlimited. There are many other HD Media Players with similar features.

    The newer models also come with streaming media. There are many different brands that offer streaming HD, including D-Link, ASUS, MvixUSA, and Buffalo Link Theater. So what is streaming media? Streaming media is a player with an Internet connection. Some use an Ethernet connection and some are wireless. Either way this should allow us to access all of the media on our computers and network and organize, play, and view files.

    So what can we do with these players? We can stream movies and TV shows that we have downloaded from the Internet, as well as watch You Tube videos, listen to our music files, listen to Internet radio, and view our photos and videos on the large screen. If we are entertaining we can set up a cool media show on our set to play in the background, no more burning log DVDs. In the future these devices should continue to improve but for now these are inexpensive and a great way to organize and enjoy your media collection.

    [ad_2]