Would I Go Back to Television?

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During live calls a bit back, I received one from someone who couldn’t believe they were actually talking to me. His main question was wondering if I’d ever go back to television.

In short – yes! I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I loved the atmosphere and pace of television. And, of course, I can reach a much wider audience!

Apparently, I looked quite nerdy back then. Even though I’ve aged well, I admit to still being nerdy. I wasn’t sure what more to say to this caller, as he seemed to be a bit uhm… under the weather. He was really happy he was able to get through on the live phone, so at least we apparently made his day.

Keep your eyes and ears open for the next time we’re doing live calls. You can call in to discuss anything tech related, or even talk about current events!

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Convert Windows Media Center DVR-MS to MPG

Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Mool212 records TV shows using the Windows Media Center. He’s confused as to how to convert those files into other formats, and then be able to burn them onto a DVD. Luckily, there are some excellent tools that can help.

My friend Rakesh from Couchville.com is also the CEO of the Beyond TV program. This handy little program features some amazing things:

  • No Subscription Fees. Ever.
  • Skip commercials and other parts of TV shows
  • Search for shows on actor, director, or title
  • Burn DVDs of your TV recordings
  • Automatically sync recordings to iPod, iPhone or Apple TV
  • Intelligent Program Guide resolves conflicts
  • Record HDTV from free, over-the-air or Clear QAM digital TV signals

Another place to get help in converting your Windows Media Center files is thegreenbutton.com. They have an excellent program there to convert DVR-MS to MPEGs.

SC_Thor recommends using FFMPEG. This is an open-source program that will take virtually any audio or video format, and convert it to any other format… for free. You can then put them into your DVD burning program.

As far as my recommendation for putting things onto DVD, it’s Nero. This is probably the best program I’ve used for burning purposes. I’m a Nero MVP, and help provide feedback to them. So if you have any suggestions or comments you would like to get to someone at Nero, be sure and send it to me.

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Formats Available: MPEG4 Video (.mp4) Flash Video (.flv) MP3 Audio (.mp3)

Television Show Politics

Lisa Coultrup needed my help:

Hi, Chris.

Since you have such a huge readership, I thought you might be just the person who can help us.

I am a fan of the CBS show Jericho. If you have not heard, CBS decided to cancel the show and leave us hanging in the lurch as to what happened — as if the tape suddenly broke, no ending… or closure at all. One week before the show, the producers were mentioning how the second season would be great, etc. Then on the 17th, CBS announced that, due to not-so-great ratings, it was canceling the show. (if you want to and have never seen Jericho, check it out at innertube or iTunes) We fans over at the official forums have begun a huge protest; there is a campaign to send CBS email, faxes, letters, and, best of all, PEANUTS to their offices (a reference to a character’s story about WWII).

There are also many YouTube videos going up, some of which are totally the best things I have seen in a long time. There are tons more than what I have listed in my playlist.

Listen, I can go on forever with this story, but it’s probably easier to have you go to the forums and check this out if you think you might want to help us publicize this effort. CBS is our main target of attack, but we need more public knowledge for our online petition (which sits at 53,070 — on Wednesday the 16th at noon, we sat at 5,949 names).

I used to really enjoy watching your show, I know you to be very involved with many things from the twitters you send and your Web site, but if you could see your way to helping us get this news out to the public, that would be so awesome. I am a 44-year-old mom, so don’t think I am some kid with nothing better to do. I am sick and tired of reality TV, as are the many thousands of folks over at the forums and at the many blogs and Web sites set up to save Jericho. We only have until June from what we hear but that is too close. Please help us in this fight, Chris, if you can.

Thanks for your time and for reading this.

So, maybe we take the idea of “TV” online – live or taped?

Beginning of a New Network: UndoTV

Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve bothered to mention it – but PikSpot has finally released into public beta their community content platform. It’s certainly evolved since I first looked at it a few months ago. Before you fade out and assume this is just another network, let me give you a few of the more unique features these guys have offered the ol’ TechTV community-at-large:

  • Vetted talent can have pre-defined RSS feeds consumed and included in the player automatically.
  • You can place comments in an embedded piece of media – so long as you’re logged in.
  • If you’re not logged in, you can do so from within the embedded media.
  • If you don’t have an account, you can sign up for one from within the embedded media.
  • Comments automatically show up wherever that media is visible – on the site, or through any embed!
  • You can jump to any point in an audio / video file with little-to-no wait time (instant scrubbing).
  • When jumping to a point in the timeline, you can set a Marker description (not unique to the Pikspot platform, but awesome nonetheless).
  • Tags can be added by the community to any piece of media from within the embed.
  • You can ea… oh, just look at the darn thing already:

That’s one of my favorite sessions from Gnomedex 6.0 (and as a reminder, registrations for the next Gnomedex in August are open – and seats are filling up quickly). Not sure I’m completely sold on the information architecture of the site or embed (in general), but that’s not going to keep me from really helping these guys with feedback and support. This is less about becoming a YouTube and more about enabling communities to create and organize original content.

Now, you should also know that PikSpot is working on:

  • PodTrac integration
  • a way to link off to vetted talent from within the embedded flash
  • a way to surface more data through the embeds
  • a way for original authors to edit metadata from within the embed
  • ways to surface usable stats to media authors

Seems as though Blip is the only network capable of handling “HD” video streams at this point? Won’t be too long before everyone does – or should – support that type of media. Of course, I’m also under the dillusion that people will starting consuming more new media on-demand through affinity searches rather than through specific subscriptions.

And I’ll tell you right now, with all of these various networks and embeds and services and… zOMG! What I think the world really needs at this point is a single embed to share on their own terms. That is to say, a Flash embed within which you might be able to embed anything you wish (which isn’t quite the SplashCast model, but close to it). We’re having an absolute blast with our live video efforts – and I hope to have the more interesting moments and interviews archived and pushed out to all these video networks (and on our own site) within a relatively short amount of time.

Yeah, I’ve really been liking live lately. Really.

Video Voicemail – Help?

Okay, so the idea is taking off… and I think we’re doing something different enough (video calls, not just audio calls, distributed across a variety of online video networks). The interactivity of it is what’s compelling to me – finding ways to make it easier for people to ask questions by webcam and become a part of the program. This doesn’t and shouldn’t replace anything that anybody else happens to be doing, mind you – but there’s a reason I started this on YouTube. We’re trying to prove that online video can be more than a string of insipid pixels, trying to prove that the power of video doesn’t stop after the encoding process.

The geeks already know what’s going on – but the vast majority of YouTubers have never heard of TechTV or G4 or TechCrunch (for that matter) or anything of the like. That’s the audience that needs our help the most. So, if you have a question, suggestion, tip, trick, etc. – I’m going to try using this EyeJot widget to receive your video. You only have 60 seconds to say something. Just press the Reply button in this widget.

If that works, I should receive your video recording as an MP4 attachment in iTunes (or whatever news aggregator I choose to use). The kicker is that no registration is required to give ‘er a whirl! Please, if you have a webcam, give ‘er a whirl. Even if you don’t have a video recording device connected to your computer at the moment, I do have a few questions for the general community:

  1. What is this thing called?
  2. Where should we upload it?
  3. How frequent is too frequent?
  4. What else should we do?

I think we’re limited (because of YouTube’s time restrictions) to 10 minutes per upload – so, realistically, that’s about 4 questions every time – not too shabby. With the right workflow and setup, I bet we could turn around three (or so) per week. Maybe we do an extended version through UndoTV when that launches? Let’s play – it’s our chance to (re)create it.

Oh, and… I think I can get Cat to play along…