TechTV = UndoTV

TechTV was a television network that held within it so much promise, so much talent. We had an army of fanatics stationed all around the globe. The Internet-savvy did everything in their power to empower that very community – but many of those efforts fell victim to a traditional media mindset. We’re now on the cusp of a new media revolution, and I’ve begun to spearhead efforts to ressurect the ideals of TechTV.

When I seeded the idea about letting the community help us centralize, the response was overwhelming – both from TechTV alumni and our ever-present supporters. I’m here to tell you now: it’s going to happen. I don’t know how it’s going to happen, but… that’s what makes it worth doing! The most difficult hurdle has already been overcome, in my opinion: we have an audience that is NOT being served effectively.

ZDTV/TechTV brought us all together, but that brand belongs to somebody else – to a completely different time and management style. It’s not the name that’s most important – it’s what we do with that name which will prove our validity and worth. The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts!

Leo and I have discussed a few core values this impending structure must support, the most revolutionary of which is content producers owning 100% of their contributions. We want to enable former TechTV talent to upload new and existing content, and we want to bring new talent into the fold as well. Sales will also be an important part of this process, so we’d also like to help match sponsorship with these personalities.

The working (and likely final) name for this project is simple, poignant, and genre-neutral: UndoTV. I’ve registered,,, and through GoDaddy. I believe that will be the primary domain (with being a permanent redirect to it). It’s my hope to turn over and to the community, letting vetted leaders craft those sites with tools of their choosing. Perhaps one could hold within it a wiki, another could hold a customized version of MUWP (which I’m developing for anyway)? That’s completely up to you, my friends.

Why UndoTV? Several reasons:

  • Some former TechTV talent are no longer producing tech content.
  • We’re undoing TechTV’s untimely and unwarranted demise.
  • The television industry is changing, and we’re all helping “undo” it.
  • There are few preconceived notions with the word “undo.”
  • The CTRL+Z reference is geeky enough, but it doesn’t turn off non-geeks.
  • The appropriate domains were available.
  • Informal reactions to the “UndoTV” name were positive.
  • All TechTV/ZDTV fans will find us, no matter what we call it.

A good name is important, but not as important as what we make of that name. What did “Digg” mean before the community pushed it to a powerhouse? What’s more, we’re really trying to help people who are afraid of technology – and getting a technophobe to pay attention to “tech” anything is nothing short of impossible. Let me put it to you another way: how do normal people discover YouTube videos?

I’m confident that the timing for UndoTV is perfect. Leo and I have identified a potential platform to begin publishing through, but an actual launch date is still in the air. We have every element in line for success: an amazing community, a range of great talent, and a strong desire to push the media industry forward.

Could be the Peet’s talking, but… I’m excited. Next steps?

  • Draft a unique logo
  • Prep the site structure
  • Locate smart sponsors
  • Contact interested talent
  • Solicit community feedback
  • Identify organizational needs
  • Define necessary roles
  • Flesh out legal structure

Here we go. Let’s see if Dvorak likes the idea.

137 thoughts on “TechTV = UndoTV”

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  8. Chris, if this happens it will be amazing not only will it bring all the old TechTV alumni and the fans back but all the people who where not able to get TechTV back in the day.

    And remember someone will post this on digg and everyone will go crazy, digg’s full of TechTV lovers, myself included.

    I really hope it happens, don’t be afraid to ask the fans for help, you know we will.

  9. For a logo, how about an image of a TV with and image of the classic MS Word Undo arrow on the screen?

  10. Leo has crafted all the makings of a network. Besides being a one-man media factory, he’s putting out shows people like us want to listen to and/or watch.

    UndoTV smacks of what the world is right now: more media democratized than ever. But that means that an UndoTV network — coupled with the ever-falling means of producing media — could end up like iTunes podcasting distribution. There’s so much clutter that it’s really hard to get above the noise (spoken like a podcaster with less than 500 subscribers).

    So who decides what gets “on” UndoTV? Who the talent is? What emerges?

  11. I’m totally with you folks on this!!! I’ve been gathering all the various podcasts, TV shows (that are sadly no longer available in the US), articles and blog entries (can’t forget about good ole John C!) manually.

    Even with RSS, this is a daunting task and I’m sure I’m not alone. Even if is merely a repository or a portal to all the various content that interests former TechTV fans, it would be a godsend!

    Thanks to you all, and we look forward to being active members in this new community!


  12. I really hope this does succeed! As someone who has been involved with TV production since 5th grade in the studio and truck in my school district, and now studying the industry in college, I definitely agree with you that the industry is changing. It is changing in a big way in content, distribution, and programming. Lately it has been changing for the worse in content and distribution, which is why I would love to see this succeed so much. This type of thing is what the industry really needs; a good community involvement and relationship, good content, and and good people involved. I can go on and on, but I am not. Anyway if you need a cameraman or someone for tele-prompter, or CG I am willing to fly out there!

  13. And then God spoke from the flaming bush and said “Chris, Leo! You will free the TechTV fans, and bring them the techy goodness that they deserve!”

  14. Chris,
    Steve Borsch does have a point, how do you plan to rise above the internet clutter? Please don’t say your the chosen one (Matrix) but if you can bend a spoon with your mind…well that’s a start!

    I noticed for example CNET is trying CNET TV (on the net) but they tend to show case alot of new cell phones, cameras etc.

    Whats needed is live online broadcasts! (Free for all who have questions or need a little help)

    Chris if you want, I would like to help.


  15. Chris,

    I think the idea is great! I just have one concern: from the way you’re describing it, it sounds like it might just be an agregate site for all the things you guys are doing. Qill you just be re-posting the and chrispirilloshow content?

    I hope this does very well.

  16. You have to be kidding me! It would be the greatest to bring something back like this. I learned so much from thescreensavers and call for help. Wish it was on now ,so my friends and family could watch and learn. But, one thing you will need is Pat and his sledge hammer! Chris don`t talk about it , just do it!

  17. CHRIS! THANK YOU!!!! Try and get Adam S. and Morgan W. if you can. They were really good on TechTV. I know that they may not be allowed though because of contracts…. Stupid G4

  18. Go for it! I miss Tech TV! I did not have Tivo, and there were no videocasts available for download, at that time. So, I only saw, on a fairly regular basis, your show and Leos and (forget the other guy’s name!!)’s show.

    I would support this endeavor. Brie

  19. @ DownloadBob, you posted the story on and it’s not going anywhere because or the title, now no one will know anything.

  20. Hi Chris!

    I absolutely love the idea. I am a huge fan of the old TechTV, and would love to help you design the website. I am a media developer of over 10 years, and would love to design the logo or web template, or assist in any way possible. Please e-mail me! Thanks!

  21. I just love the part:”We’re undoing TechTV’s untimely and unwarranted demise.”

    But It would be nice to maybe have a ZDtv/Techtv rememberal page on there linking to sites with Techtv and ZDtv articles,like Fan sites and makybe Wayback Machine pages?

    In the words of Leo Laporte:”UP YOURS G4!”

  22. Fantastic!!! We use to always TIVO Call For Help, The Scream Savers and a few others. Tell us what channel and we will be there. Too bad I am not camera friendly or I would ask for a job…LOL. Good luck and hope it works out.

  23. Great concept, Chris! I was very disappointed at the aptly described “untimely and unwarranted demise” of TechTV after the merger with G4 (blech!). I would definitely want to be a part of this, whatever it turns out to be!.

    I would agree with the other commenters as well as your own observations that this is a perfect time to introduce UndoTV. I am not sure about the name just yet, but it’s growing on me.

    Keep up the great entrepreneurial spirit!

  24. @ Brendan Clouthier, most people on the Internet do not use the website, so it’s not the end of the world.

  25. I think UndoTV is an awsome Idea. I would gladly help by establishing content, by means of motion videos, logo animations, any visual art mediums at my disposal. It would be an excellent accomplishment to see TechTV revitalized in a means no one has seen before. Certainly it will be difficult to ressurect the long lost epic that was Tech, but, perhaps you could build momentum off a fan supported Streaming content formatt. Hosting options today are getting better and better and with the advent of a few small Internet Revolutions…television producers, executives and chairman of cable and sattelite companies are bound to put their foot in the water. The overwhelming amount of followers will be the means…and the best television reincarnation will be paramount in returning the status quo. Equivalent exchange states that you must give up something to gain something. Well….we gave up the network but what we got wasn’t at all equall in what it delivered.

    Wooh! That was a lot to say…. Now to find a magical spell check that can fix the random ramblings i just thrust upon Chris Pirillo’s site.

    Lataz and if u need help just contact me at: [email protected]

  26. You’ve heard the old saying: “You can’t go home”. While initally it sounds like a good idea, the time, chemistry, newness, excitement will not be there no matter how much anyone believes or wants it to happen. TechTV went out almost at the top (actually heading on the down slope). If you try to compare you will not be as delighted.

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  28. @ Reality Check

    Alot of old TechTV fans are there, because Kevin Rose plugged the site on TechTV, which you would know if you watched the channel, if UndoTV has nothing to do with you, you have no business here.

  29. hey Chris,

    I am happy and thrilled that this is in the works. Long time follower of you, Leo, Patrick, Roger Chang and the whole gang. I just posted a comment on my blog, I’m so happy ‘intelligent television is coming back to the airwaves.

    Best wishes to you and Ponzi.

    p.s. Ponzi, don’t stop blogging.

  30. I was thoroughly hooked on TechTV and was very disappointed in what happened to it. It held my interest, it was fun, and worst of all, I learned a lot. I am looking forward to UndoTV but, not to worry, there’s no rush, in a few months I will ONLY TURN 65! In the words of one or another of our esteemed leaders who’s name I seem to have temporaily misplaced, “BRING IT ON”.

  31. Old fan of TechTV here… Bring back The Screensavers, Call for Help and Cat S…wait…whats her last name now? 😉

    (She got married 🙁
    Anyway….We need to find the old TechLive crew…if we can drag Sumi Das away from MSNBC.. 🙂 Michaela Pirerra, Chris Leery, Chris Pirillo, Cat Schwartz, Leo ‘TivoMan’ Laporte, Patrick ‘The Sledgehammer’ Norton…
    Megan Morrone, and last, but not least…Adam Sandler and Morgan Webb.

    We get that crew back and we got the network… Since Discovery Science airs Beyond tomorrow, I imagine we the public might be able to get The Screensavers on there..if we know any blackberry addresses to the learning channel…we can use them. 🙂 Attack of The show is absolute crap…oh…and someone find Dave Meinstien! Scour every Starbucks in the Bay Area! If you bring back TSS and CFH..then Damnit..BRING BACK PORTAL!

    TechTV had a dynamic life of its own with people that mattered…I mean, what self respecting geek wouldnt tune in to call for help to pick up tips for programs that very few people knew…or..more likely…call in to flirt with Cat… 🙂

    Where would Tivo sales be without Leo?
    Oh…last one..sorry for the long post… Someone find Yoshi DeHerrera! If youre gonna reunite the old cast and crew, then we gotta have madmodder Herrera!

    *disclaimer: titles are arbitrary..but having met some of these people, I gotta say…I LIKED them..and felt I fit in. If anyone needs a mirror, or a blogmaster, let me know..I’ll gladly sign up!

  32. I never was able to get Tech TV & I’m not sure what I would have done with all the info, since I’m not a total geek (just sub-total), but i just love the idea of Undo TV, love it, love it, love it. I’m so old that I remember listening to The Lone Ranger on the radio & i love Undo TV and the thought behind it: namely, empowering the community. We can’t let the corporations continue control and present our content. So, best of luck to you Chris, and make it happen!

  33. absolutely awesome. Over the past several years, Comcast ruined techtv, I’ve been suffering with nothing but dialup and comcast ruined techtv. Now… Here in the space of only two days (Aug 14 – CP makes a wondrous announcement and Aug 16 – I finally get DSL.) the whole world is a-changing!! Yes Santa Claus, there is a Virginia!


    But, how do I really feel about it? Couldn’t be happier!
    Like Octyl so aptly put it – Get ‘R Done!!!! (Git-r-done?)

  34. Well like I said on DSL Reports I’ve actually been working on a idea like this for some time. I know that a few TechTV people and some other random people on the net have started there own Home brew TechTV shows which are done in small rooms and stuff. How ever I’ve been working with the local TV Studio on getting my show going.

    Well I actually work there now and we’re moving into a huge brand new hightech studio that a few million have gone into in about 10 Weeks I expect to release the first episode of this TV show and the difference is like I said we will be coming out of an actual TV studio with all brand new high tech equiptment one of them being a tapeless video system where we have a 8 TB Project server and then a 4 TB streaming server to the cable feed and I’ll be releasing this via YouTube and the internet also.

  35. Cool! Yes, it doesn’t matter what you guys name it. If the news spread that you TechTV guys are doing it, “they will come”, myself included.

    I’m just glad that we still have TechTV Canada with Leo. I hope he doesn’t give up his day job though. Lovin’ the sound of this, since I’ve always found it stupid about Comcast and how they destroyed something good. WTF were they thinking?!!!

  36. This is very exciting. I miss the days when I actually HAD a good job in Silicon Valley, building the machines that make the chips, and watching ZDTV. Dvorak and everyone were refreshing compared to the average “commercial” fare on other networks. Why a professional, truly technically oriented television network won’t take of I simply cannot understand, are people really THAT stupid that they couldn’t care about technology?

    But here is one thing: I hope that Chris and everyone remember that many many of us who are into technology and who will be watching will be using Linux, BSD, Mac, etcetera, and I sure hope their format will be supported on such operating systems! I am so tired of having to use activex in Windows or flash which won’t work in 64 bit Linux!

  37. I think this is a worthwhile idea and hope you go for it. I was a big fan of techtv way back when, infact it was the only reason we kept our directv service for many years. I was there for the old zdtv days, and the techtv “switch over”. Why did Comcast have to go and screw everything up for us? G4 offers nothing in the way of good content and I refuse to give them or comcast any of my business (my business includes sitting through condom commercials during x-play ;)).

    If you go forward with this I hope you do not leave us dial-up users out in the cold like many of the ‘web’ sites are doing these days. As much as I love video and audio streams it’s something I just can’t spare the bandwidth for. I’ve got all of 14kbps to go around and spend most of that bandwidth researching/working on my own projects and the projects that I do for my clients. Please try to have as much text based content as possible! I assure you many of us will be happy with just that!

    Good luck! I’ll be visiting again to check up on things and hope to see updates. 🙂 *bookmarks this blog*.

  38. hey, this is cool! i miss the old techtv shows, especially call for help (old format) and screensavers.

    hopefully we can download the shows, just hoping.

    good luck and hoep to watch you soon!

  39. Absolutely Spectacular. I knew you guys would come back in one form or another. Risen from the ashes comes a greater being than any can imagine. I heard about this in 3dbuzz’s Daily news, went to diggs and came immediately here. This has my whole college in an uproar. i dont have alot of resources but I will happily offer anything it takes to get this cause running! I have honestly learned more from you and your crew than I ever did at school! This is so awsome T_T *sniffles*

  40. I really miss TechTV – I think it was initially over-invested in itself – much like the dot-com era from which it sprang. It might have been a more long-term success had it started smaller and grew. Instead it started big and imploded. Top notch talent and production, it had everything (including the incredibly watchable Victoria Recano (sp?), Sumi Das, and Jennifer London – all doing very interesting and quite usefull shows! Silicon Spin was just fun too!
    As for the name UndoTV – too angry sounding for my taste. Sounds more like it was bourn of revenge more than well thought out innovation.
    My opinion is that you will not succeed if you depend on your former fans as much as depending on your former mission. Distill that – and build up from there – don’t bother to reference the past failures – even though they are not yours they are only baggage. Now your past successes – yes! It may be difficult to slice the good programming fruit from the bad business bruises – but that’s what good PR firms do.
    Ramble ramble ramble. Good luck – I’ll be viewing!


  41. Chris…Here’s an idea I wanted to float your way…

    Hire Amanda Congdon for this project now that Rocketboom has axed her. She is great at internet-only alt media, and she has loads of fans like me!

  42. the url I created for my name has link to a project I started working on to do similar but from each of you guy’s sites… no one whent … and I realized that I myself didnt use it.. because by the time it was on the site and linked….. I had already watched it…. oh yeah… and I did not hand out the link to anyone…. because I was scared of infringement issues.. it used to be zipped as it is on in a larger origional idea and I kinda petered out of that idea..

    now you guys don’t have to use a psp or a ds or anything of that nature…. hell it could be a large plasma sony and you get advertisement/affiliation right there…chanel buttons change to each of your sites and so on….

    I hope that I enspire you guys to head into the least cheesy direction… and in someway shape or form help to make this a better future you guys and others like myself on the recieving end of your content, a lil bit better.

  43. Hi Chris,

    You don’t know me and I’m sure you’ve heard it before but I was a big fan of your show. Due to some personal, technical and logistical issues I lost access to the show. Today, I stumbled across the bookmark for your former site and decided to check out what has been happening. What a disappointment to find the show was canceled. Obviously, a tremendous loss for us all.

    On a more positive note, your site and the exciting plans you are laying down are most interesting and deserve attention.

    The one thing a new entity (site, show, etc.) needs is money. One way to get money, which you have identified above, is through sponsors.

    My background (Time-Warner) is such that I have considerable experience and success in bringing solid sponsors to the table, so, I would like to offer help, if you are open to such. Several ideas immediately come to mind and I am sure more will become apparent when and if we discuss things further.

    One thing I would like you to know is that my forte’ is in creating awareness and desire on the part of sponsors who are already overwhelmed by numerous attempts at extracting their money. In fact, their resistance may seem impenetrable. However, my favorite expression is “X-Budget.â€Â? That’s where the money is, and I know how to get it. “Their resistance is futile.â€Â? Actually, I know how to have them, and others (networks, for example), coming to you.

    So, on the outside chance that you might actually read this, my contact information is available below.

    Monte Romano, Destin, Florida
    [email protected]

  44. Get Kate Botello! She is damn hot in that geeky sort of way.

    I believe she may have been difficult to work with, but you could always have her just send in a weekly opinion column or a tech review.

  45. If there is anything I can do, let me know and I’ll do it. I miss TechTV so much, you have no idea! In Highschool I would watch it right after school…and even on weekends when I wasnt buisy so this is not only good news but GREAT NEWS!!! can’t wait!

  46. It’s funny really. I’m going to college to major in Game Art & Design. I love video games and play them all the time. I own almost every major system in the market and play a wide variety of game genres. You’d think G4 TV would be perfect for me. Wrong.

    Perhaps I’m just too mature or society as a whole is becoming increasingly more childish. I don’t know. But what I do know is this–G4 focuses many of their shows are sexual, immature themes. (The “G-Spot”, anyone?) I’m not going to go into any heated debate about this, but it’s safe to say almost all of G4’s shows offer little or no education and revolve around pre-pubescent jokes. Let alone, you have Cinematic (sp), a show that plays game trailers and intros for 30 minutes. And what a waste of 30 minutes that is.

    Those precious 30 minutes could be airing The Screen Savers or Call for Help or any other fine TV show TechTV had to offer. Chris, Leo, and the rest of the TechTV gang, I’ve missed you all for a long time. You made learning about technology fun and interesting. I support UndoTV and any other cause you have to bring back the great, great shows you guys had to offer.

    Thank you for not giving up and surrendering, but instead fighting and rising up once again.

  47. About time, Chris, old buddy! Let’s pry Sumi Das away from CNN or MSNBC or somewhere like that. I’d like to see her in a technology role again. Also, Becky Worley could post her episodes of “Hook Me Up” on Yahoo Tech onto UndoTV, for $1 a piece!!! Buuuut maybe not…

    I did post about it on my new blog, hope you like the post.

    BJ Wanlund

  48. Chris, man, whatever needs doing, I’m so there! If you want me to do a videogame show just like the old Extended Play, I’m so there! I don’t care WHAT role I may play in this new venture, but I want to! I ADORED the old TechTV and my guts started churning after Comcracks bought them. Let’s get up some old content (like from your Call For Help-a-thons or whatever). I’d like it very much.


  49. Hope you guys can buy the rights to Call for Help from G4! That would be sweet to see it taped in the US again! G4 sucks and TechTV/UndoTV rocks! This is gonna be sweet like candy!

  50. The only thing I would hope is that it wouldn’t de-evolve into the guys talking about what they did on the weekend, or 20 minutes of them laughing at their own inside jokes.

    That’s why I stopped listening to Twit. It was a great idea, but became a huge injoke. Stick to the topic.

  51. Why can’t a deal be worked with Ziff Davis… The ZDtv name was not involved in the G4 deal. It was lost when Paul Allen’s Vulcan Ventures bought ZDtv…

    Why cant a deal be worked to use ZDtv and any archived ZDtv logo and video media?

  52. opera emailed me your interview, which i found most interesting and which led me here via google.

    you say in the interview that the only way for windows is down and that linux is all over the map. perhaps you have not heard of PCLinuxOS in its’ various iterations, the latest of which is Big Daddy.

    the internet is a great place for stumbling upon pearls beyond price, one of which rescued me when i was beginning to despair of being able to chuck windows for linux, being still unable to afford mac, who may get more market share, but only among the richer of us.

    PCLinuxOS is a windows migrant’s dream. any os is a pig to learn in the beginning, but this one makes the transition almost painless. the help from forum users and the irc channel, plus the allied sites is second to none.

    you appear to have a large audience. go take a look and you can tell ’em what you think. i’m confident it will be positive.


  53. This is absolutely great. I may not be able to support in many ways, UndoTV or whatever it’ll be called will have my view.

    Also please bring back X-Play. Or would it be more aptly named U-Play?

  54. Hell yeah!

    Hope it happens, its the only show i watch “back in the day”..and I live in freakin malaysia!

  55. Long live this group of amazing individuals. I was in love with TechTV way back and it was one of the few channels that I watched. Tech is my life and I can’t wait to start creating new content in the form of articles and text. This is great. There exists an army of people ready to take this idea to new heights. I’m on board!

  56. Chris! Oh how I miss TechTV!!!! G4 sucks more than a Dyson. It’s a shame that G4 and Comcast lost sight of what the viewers wanted. Television needs more programming like TechTV had. If you need help getting things started, don’t hesitate to call on your loyal fans. We’ll be there for you.

  57. Chris, that would be a great idea!

    It’s 3:56pm here in Florida and I was looking back and Tech TV came to mind. I never really got how and why the company was completely engulfed by G4’s dark void so I decided to look it up on Wiki. I was completely suprised in that over 250 personnel lost their jobs because of G4! I still can’t believe it, and refuse to. I grew up with Tech TV and seeing all you guys on tv made me assured and relaxed that nothing had changed, but now, G4’s criminal organization takes control over the airwaves and it’s horrible. G4 is and always was a lousy network and I hate to know that it took apart the great and legendary Tech TV. You guys on Tech TV are still heroes and I know that there is still a future for Tech TV, it’s just currently in the shadows waiting for it’s reprise. I would do anything, hell, even open my own network on tv if it meant bringing all you guys together and every other person that put in their part to make Tech TV a community-based enviornment. You guys need your jobs back and G4 should be taken down. I’m just about as angry as Leo is with G4. Chris, please do anything you can to reunite everyone of the Tech TV staff together. I’ll do everything I can possibly do too, at 17 years of age, that I can!!!



  58. It has been three years since I watched the last bit of broadcast from TechTV. At first, I blamed the cable company for the loss of TechTV. A year later, I had the idea of requesting for TechTV, but to no avail. At that time it was already G4TV, and no longer available internationally.
    I was saddened by TechTV’s demise, especially because it was a channel dedicated to technology. Imagine having a 24/7 channel that caters what you are interested in.
    For business-related reasons, TechTV had to be scrapped.
    I managed to move on, but I think it would still be best if TechTV would be resurrected.

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  60. Dear Chris,
    I miss you, TechTV and the TechTV hosts & crew! Hope this new tech-oriented show Undo TV gets successful & also gets broadcast in Asia! (*_*) Hope you’re doing well! (*_~)

    Best regards,
    Sophie the TechTV fan 🙂

  61. Please, bring UndoTv to life. I am happy G4 tv exists yet it should never have merged with Tech TV. I was worried when zdtv turned in tech tv because i was scarried that what happened during the techtv G4 tv merger would happened at that time. It was after tech tv was canceled that i sold my tv and have not owned one since then. I would buy a tv if you brought Undo TV in being.

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