What Made TechTV Different

Television affects everybody – some, more than others. I couldn’t imagine my childhood without Saturday morning cartoons or afternoon specials. When I first heard about ZDTV, I was thrilled – though I was never in a position to receive it. The network became TechTV after Paul Allen’s aquisition, but its programming remained as remote as ever. Still, I wanted my TechTV like teens of the ’80s wanted their MTV. Music has mass appeal, but talking about technology has always been relegated to the lunatic fringe. We choose technology as a lifestyle, but often forget that most lifestyles have no choice but to use technology. In this sense, Hollywood is probably not going to serve our community needs half as well as we can serve ourselves. Yesterday’s rally is testament to the idea of a “TechTV” – not just the talent supporting it, but the very concept of technology content on the television screen. The Web is wonderful, but the TV is still socially legit.

Robert said… “TechTV is already here and it’s WAY better than what was on the real TV network. Did TechTV ever put videos up to teach you how to do something really geeky like use ASP.NET 2.0? No. They couldn’t have. They would have pissed off 90% of their audience.”

No, it’s not already HERE – it’s “all over the place,” and that’s only part of the problem. It’s true that you don’t need a lot of money to make something look good, but “talent” is equally as important (if not moreso) than the content itself. If TechTV ever put up videos about ASP.NET 2.0, it wouldn’t have pissed off their audience – it would have put them to sleep. Sometimes, all people need (and want) is a high-level overview. It’s the same reason why you probably only look at the first ten results from a search engine (and seldom scroll past the fold). Do you think the entertainment business would be in business if it wasn’t entertaining? I hate to say it, but knowing how to operate a camera doesn’t make you a photographer – just as knowing the difference between nouns and verbs doesn’t make you a writer. This isn’t about pissing off an audience, Scoble – it’s about supporting, embracing, and extending a community that was abandoned! 6,000 diggs is tough to ignore, dude.

The TechTV Alumni discussion list is totally jazzed – because we miss connecting with our ol’ community as much as they miss connecting with us (yes, even the people who hate me). As more details emerge, we’ll be sure to share them. The “TechTV” name is dead, but its spirit is still very much alive – and marching forward.

34 thoughts on “What Made TechTV Different”

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  3. They are just covering up the fact that TechTV is not what is use to be or should be.
    Call for help and The Screensavers” were my favorite shows. Now, I watch the channel for anything with Morgan Web on it..lol

    Ok, that was uncalled for. Maybe:)

  4. Just thought I’d post for the sake of it.
    I agree with your beliefs.
    This is an idea on how you can apply them.

    On July 22, 2006, I had the thought that became my concept, which became a project known as the Ocean Project, that seems like a workable concept.

    It came off the fact that the web world is calling for a new Technology Media Network, and my consumption of quite a bit of the Podcast generation’s content. It summarizes my thoughts on what the new media, like YouTube, iTunes, and other web media services need to provide.

    Here is a brief description of my own design, which I hope to see come into reality:

    (This particular note had been written post finding the TechTV article)

    “Ocean Project

    A media company that collects content from differen’t sources, corporate and user generated. This content is then processed from the raw content and then formatted. The final cop is released onto multiple platform, web-television-etc.. The user can download the content, be connected to a source site, add or subtract from the popularity of the recording, and add the content to their web collection. If the content is popular, it can be voted on for possible re-showing, and then voted into the Library, which catalogues
    the content and makes it available for search.

    This sort of system would allow for both user selected, and network aggregated content. Anyone could offer content into the system, allowing people find differen’t artists and groups that they would have never found previously.

    Podcasts, which is what were basically talking about here, only have 6% percent usership on the web, lacking the mass of things like YouTube and MySpace media. Also, popular content stays popular, but new and less well known content is buried.

    In my experience, the biggest negative in just resetting the TechTV network is the lack of consistent content. TechTV never reached the point where it could release new content on a daily basis, most of the day being dedicated to reruns. Why not let everyone in on the ride?

    Differen’t producers of content could put in there $.02 on differen’t news and general topics. If we allowed content from around the web, there would always be up to date and applicable content.

    Something born out of the podcast world is a lack of scheduled releases. The content producers tend to either have technical, personal, or laziness based delays. Centralized control would at least smooth some of these delays out for the mass consumer.

    Part of TechTV was its capability to reach people outside of the hardcore tech market. This was in part because it was available on traditional TV. You can’t leave the content on the web if you wan’t to get more people on the boat.

    New content from the Podcast generation and experienced content from the existing tech companies must join hands with the wacky little video on the web to actually call itself Web television.”

    On Monday, July 24, 2006, I found that there was a new resurgence for a rebirth of the TechTV network. Those who have watched TechTV, know that it got eaten by the G4 monster. Many of the hosts and crew from TechTV moved on from the network to produce many of the major Tech podcasts today. Revision3, much of the ZiffDavis content, and many other sources of news and entertainment come from Tech TV remnants.

    This excited me, but after my previous thoughts and thinking, I was worried that a TechTV rehash wouldn’t fly. New blood had been added to the gene pool of Tech media by the many new groups, Ninjas, Taverns, CNETs, and the like. We need to support a new system. Also a popular push would choose to ignore traditional Television. TV allowed for people outside of Techies to reach the content. The point of creating a Tech Network, is to give people a chance to view content and information that is just everywhere in a more streamlined and personalized form. Mass consumption as compared to the 6% percent of the Internet that watches Podcasts.

    I honestly only check the frontpage/most popular content available on iTunes for new stuff to enjoy, and I probably never will see a fraction of what the Tech community has to offer. Creating a way for people to touch as many quality aspects from the Tech Media Community as possible is the goal.

    I understand that C-Net TV is fairly workable, and has a good chunk of content, but what if I want to enjoy Tech content beyond what it can provide?

    These are my thoughts and ideas.
    Please, if you agree, or for that matter disagree.
    Note my name by your remarks.
    Reference my ideas.
    Lets make a new system, not a rehash.

    Long Live Tech Media!!!

  5. Chris, in terms of funding and financial support – would it be possible to get Paul Allen and Vulcan Ventures to get back into the game. And this time as a long term commitment.

    You are absolutely correct in saying that TV is still a very important component in many people’s lives. Hence the need for the ex-TechTV crew to return to the television screen.

    I used to watch TechTV faithfully for a few hours each day because it was an educational and entertaining experience. Since G4 came on, even though I’m a gamer, I have not been watching at all. I have spoken to many others who are gamers. The feedback was similar, even though they are gamers, they are not interested in watching the same monotonous gaming-related programming over and over and over again.

    Come up with a new name, bring together the old faces and improve the overall program line-up by integrating all the wonderful projects from Chris Pirillo, Leo, Patrick Norton, Kevin Rose, Yoshi, Roger Chang, Martin, Jim L., John C. Dvorak, and so on. I, along with thousands of fans, can GUARANTEE whoever provides the funding/financial support 1 thing: TV RATING through the roof !!

  6. I wish you all the luck with this project. I’d like to approach an idea I had, though, if I could.

    I’d like to see a sort of online “Network”. Call it… TechWeb. And under the TechWeb.com banner, would be different “channels” of content. So you’d have the… (I don’t know names for these, but,) geek cooking show channel, the TWiT channel, the ‘Call for Help’ channel. The ‘newest episode’ would stream off the site using Flash, and archived episodes would be torrented. Podcasts would be available, etc. “Online personalities” could flourish and even cross-pollinate between shows/channels… but overall, the shows could remain the products of those who started them – like TWiT… but just have the backing of a central site and ‘brand’.

    It’s vague, but, that’s sort of what I was thinking.

  7. If there isn’t some real resurgence, then I certainly hope that there is at least some sort of gathering to get all the old on-air personalities together. I don’t think that a faux-TechTV convention (faux because the horrible G4 would never let you use the title “TechTV”) would be out of the order. If gaming and scifi can have conventions, then why not fans of a defunct network?

    It seems that many of the TechTV people have gone on to do their own web entertainment, so while the ScreenSavers and Call For Help were great, I’m not surehow much it needs to come back. With the Chris Pirillo Show, the TWIT podcasts, dl.tv, Cranky Geeks, Diggnation (and maybe Systm if it ever resurfaces), Martin Sargeant’s Infected, Call For Help Canada, there is a lot of content still available for the tech enthusist.

  8. Tech is way underserved on mainstream news and tv. Having our own “tech station” would be great, but lets remember that technology effects our daily lives, so having a voice in a mainstream arena is key. there will always be those who see “tech” or “geeks” and are scared off.


    Seriously, I’d rather was Pirillo or LaPorte (or even Becky Worley [sp?]) coo over a new tech gadget, than the skanks they have hosting it nowadays.

    Two requirements to host a show on the new G4[TechTV]:
    1) Boobs.
    2) Ability to drink more than Martin Sargent (Sargeant?)

    Look, the eye candy (read: mammories) is/are a nice touch, but these chicks are absolutely retarded.

  10. I can’t say skanks? WTF? (hint: “ranks”, only starting with an “s”)

    Also, the actual show CONTENT sucks. As if the hosts weren’t bad enough. I don’t care about how some pundit feels about the PS3 pricing — SHOW ME SOME TECH-LOVE!

  11. While not the easiest thing in the world to do, I’ve been wishing that all of the Screen Savers and Call For Help people (just to name a few) would have their own TV network. Just listening to tWiT and dl.tv and diggnation and all of the other podcasts out there make me angry that G4 did what they did to us. Chris, you’re right 6000 diggs can’t be ignored, but I really think that number is going to grow.

    I know I just dugg it. And the one about this.

  12. I totally understand what you mean. I grew up on ZDTV / TechTV. My family would roll their eyes when I got the remote b/c they knew I was turning it to the “technology crap” station – but I loved it and watched it as often as I could – now it seems since someone turned the lights out on “TechTV” everyone who was a fan has to scurry into the courners of mainstream media to get their fix. Looking back on TechTV one could see it was way before it’s time and w/o it now is a giant step back.

  13. You know, if you decide you need a video editor for this project, I’m available. To be honest, about 3 years ago, I got the full blown behind the scenes tour at Tech TV, both the office and the TV studio. (Leo, if you’re looking, I came the same day you and your son were there eating McDonalds.) It was my hope to actually join the Tech TV team after I graduated from college. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

    However here I am, 2 months out of college, and Chris wants to do a revival? Sign me up!

  14. Also, my friend tried to get me to watch Attack Of The Show, which really feels like G4’s attempt to replace TSS. I couldn’t and have refused to since.

  15. what made TechTV special was the way it made technology look very cool. i still remember wakin up to watch the show about new gadgets and then watch the screensavers as they showed various tech tips and such. Then later watch xplay for edgy game reviews. It felt very family oriented because of great hosts. Even if TechTV is dead, let it forever be remembered as how a tech channel should be.

  16. I was one who hated you… well loved to hate you… well loved you… and deeply misses you and techtv. Blogs and Podcasts and Vidcasts are wonderful but just not the same. If you help to bring back that special magic that was TechTV I will be forever gratefull.

  17. Chris you where never a part of Tech TV you just ruined the show when you came aboard now go away…

  18. >If TechTV ever put up videos about ASP.NET 2.0
    >, it wouldn’t have pissed off their audience – it
    >would have put them to sleep.

    Not me, it wouldn’t have. One of my disappointments with TechTV even at its peak was that there still was not a show that catered to programmers/coding. Even today I’m not aware of an online video show that does.

  19. I watched the Screen Savers and sometimes other TechTV content but I have to tell you: I’m totally not interested anymore. Seriously. I think that I’m definitely in your target audience, and I just am not interested. Why? Because all my tech entertainment needs are fully met with podcasts. In fact, I don’t even have the time to listen to all the ones I like and have to let one slip now and again. Audio podcasts and to a lesser extent video podcasts are perfect for me because I can listen to them in the car, pop in the headphones during lunch at work, at the garden, working out, etc. You get on TV and now you’ve got a fixed medium that I, a tech fan who listens to probably 8 hours of podcasts a week, is not going to watch, unless it’s downloadable video like the two video tech shows I do watch, portably on my Treo, Cranky Geeks and DL.tv (both of which, btw, work quite well as audio-only)

    With that said, if you can get a TV endeavor off the ground, I hope that there’ll be more geeking out. I would 100% welcome a special two hour show on ASP.NET 2.0. You know a thing I haven’t search around enough to find out? Hard drive management on my FreeBSD box (i.e. moving from my current drive to a bigger drive, can I mount a new drive as part of existing file structures, etc.). Let’s see an hour show on that. You know, enough with 10 minute segments on how to install linux, how about a recurring show or some in-depth hours on how to USE and MANAGE linux once it’s installed?

    I understand you can’t have wall-to-wall programming like that, that you’ve got to have mostly higher level stuff, but I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to watch the screensavers some times, excited about a piece that had been teased in the promos, only to find out that it was once again some high-level montage that you couldn’t really learn from. So if you get to TV, let’s have some DETAIL instead of some high-level, and by gosh I’ll tivo it and find time to watch it, or capture it and convert it to a portable format.

    PS: make all your TV shows downloadable. leave the ads in. When the sponsors say, “but they can fast forward the ads in the download,” remind them that we can fast forward the ads when they’re on TV, too. And I’ll tell you: I’m actually a lot less likely to fast forward when I’m watching while I’m on the elliptical than when I’m sitting on the couch. I see every ad on DL.TV and Cranky Geeks because I don’t want to interrupt the workout to fiddle with the Treo. May all advertisers put that in their pipes and smoke it.

  20. But Chris… you know better than anyone, as someone very successful with Internet-based media, that people want what they want, when they want it. Scoble can be a blow hard at times, but he’s right… the sum of all the things that TechTV alumni are doing is better than TechTV ever was.

    I miss tuning into The Screen Savers every night, but I get a ton out of This Week in Tech and Digg every day.

  21. Hey Chris,

    I think this is a great idea. There is a market for the content that the old Tech TV provided and some things you just can’t visualize on a Podcast. (Video podcast maybe) But your target audience is not being served now and most of them don’t spend all day reading RSS feeds and listening to podcasts. They are similiar people, but like video and sumarized content, but also they like the personalities. The entertainment you suggest above. There are also the members of the audience that are similar to those that listen to Kim Komando on the radio on Saturdays or to Leo’s radio show. They’ll want to see the show as well. And then there’s people like me, who just enjoy all of it and like having some good characters report and have the same zeal about tech as I do and seeing them live it out, go see the latest stuff and tell me all about it….. Weblogs, Digg and all that are nice, but TV is different and better in a lot of ways. It’s community that I can share with my family, then turn around and go to the computer to find more to to try what we saw together…. Go after this. It’s a ripe time agian for this kind of content and there’s even more oppertunity now than ever and more technology that needs covering than ever as well. I know before G4 messed it all up, I watched everyday almost from 6 pm till 9 CST and then would often watch the repeat of TSS. I actually would like to see the old 1.5 hr show back. 1 hr was too short….. I also watched CFH all the time too. And I almost forgot, the nightly tech newcast. (Erica Hill was doing it then…) Anyway, don’t let the naysayers kill this. It is extremely possible and there is a fan base that advertisers can market too to pay for this…. and if you do it in Ausin, TX by chance, let me know as I’d like to try out to be a host and if not a host, a reporter or Final Cut Pro editor….

    Good luck to all of you….

  22. Chris, I remember when someone called in with a question and you were co-hosting a segment with a lame-brain chick (who was she?) Anyways, I forget the question, but she said “sorry, there’s nothing you can do…” and you were like, “Well, actually, you can…” and you totally made her look dumb. Which is probably why G4 took over. That crazy bitch decided she was going to get even and slept with the owners and made them shut everything down.

    Stupid vindictive chicks.

  23. tech tv was my home’s favorite show. we really want it back or something like it. nothing on the tv compaires. please hurry , brad johnson

  24. I remember when I was younger and never really cared for Call of Help or The Screen Savers on the “greater” TechTV. Now I’m 18 and am about to graduate from Cisco 4 and try for my CCNA… Man, I wish those shows were back now cause this stuff doesnt get any easier! I wish the best for the old TechTV crew and pray to God that one day it will come back on air in America.

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