HD TV Hookup Tips and links. Plasma TV, LCD TV, and LED TVs

Although many others could do a much better job offering these tips, I’m doing it out of the great sense of frustration I’ve had during the transition to High Definition broadcasting and the plethora of new TVs and video options.   Please add links via the comments if you have a good source of hookup information.

For the folks out there who are easily frustrated and don’t like setting things up  I’d encourage using your Cable folks or  “Geek squad” or other services to set up systems rather than working on them yourself, as the number of options has become so great it’s hard to “get it all right”.

HD TV Primer from “HowStuffWorks” | HD TV Primer from Wikipedia:

HD TV Hookup Help:

Generally you’ll want to follow the diagrams included with your cable box and/or TV set since individual items can vary.   Try to visualize the “ins and outs” as best you can, recognizing that there are basically either audio or video signals coming in and out of each component.   Sometimes these run on separate cables  (as in the old style AV jacks), sometimes they run on the same cable (as in HDMI).   You will generally only use a few of the total connection points available on a new device, so don’t get overwhelmed by the many options – most are simply different ways to skin the audio / video cat.

OLD Article with good summary of some issues

Why NON HD programs can have worse picture quality on your fancy new TV: http://forums.soundandvisionmag.com/showthread.php?75220-Non-HDTV-content-on-HDTV-worse-than-on-SDTV

I’m floored by how many people do not think this is an important and frustrating issue as we transition to “all HD all the time”.   In general terms your expensive new TV will give you INFERIOR picture for standard TV.    Eventually SD TV signals will go away but that’s not the case yet.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS:   Play with your TV Video display options via the TV setup screen to see if you can improve the standard picture.    For people with “mostly HD” channels this may not be important, but if you only get a handful of HD channels you may be frustrated with the new TV.

Hookup your OLD VCR to NEW TV:   http://www.ehow.com/how_5783352_attach-vcr-new-lcd-tv.html

In general you’ll want to consider getting new DVD player (and perhaps “surround sound” audio equipment with your new TV.    Even $150 will get you a decent HD disk player with a modest audio “surround sound” setup that offers a great movie experience.    However if you have a lot of old video tapes you may want a combination DVD  Video player.


Hulu Aliens Eat Boxee’s Brain

Hulu.com had one of the best superbowl commercials, where the increasingly menacing and chubby Alec Baldwin explains Hulu’s plans for world domination as a brain-eating alien.

I thought they were kidding and just pretending to be ruthless and menacing aliens.

But today Hulu announced that it is dispatching Boxee in one fell swoop by preventing the very popular, award winning service from distributing Hulu’s content. Boxee’s approach was allowing people to view the Hulu content on regular TVs – in a sense focusing on the opposite direction of Hulu which is allowing you to view TV shows on computer and mobile devices. The Boxee/Hulu combination could be used to cut out a cable or satellite provider while retaining a lot of that functionality, but I don’t think this is what bothered Hulu. Instead I’m guessing they simply are dispensing with the big happy family convergence model and doing their Web 2.0 business the old fashioned way – kill your competitor before they can grow to threaten you.

Hulu’s apologetic blog post “sorry we ate your brain Boxee”

Fred Wilson’s take.  As a Boxee investor it’s not surprising he’s unhappy though I’m guessing he expected a buyout rather than a freeze-out.

If I was a better advocate for the virtues of convergence, open media, and copyright dodging I’d express more outrage but I don’t really have dog in this fight, and frankly I’m tired of the predictable and short sighted arguments on both side of the convergence and copyright issues.

New media folks whine about how the big players need to see the light and give away their high cost of production stuff and will make more by doing so when of course they will not make more. Legacy media profits have come in large part from controlling the means of distribution and profits will fall as that control goes away. I don’t see this loss as anything all that significant. Our entire culture is adrift in a sea of media mediocrity and whatever replaces it is more likely to improve rather than diminish our lives.

Old media folks are on even weaker ground when they suggest that users benefit from copyright rules, which currently do far more to protect the interests of the vast network of distribution and marketing middlemen than the interests of most artists and end users. Does anybody seriously think that pruning the songs and mega profits of Britney Spears or the Jonas Brothers is worthy of more than a tiny footnote in music history? Even now, as the old rules fall away and are ignored by end users we are seeing something of a niche musical renaissance as artists who had no chance in LA or Nashville can make their mark, promote, and distribute their work online. Few will make millions this way but many will be able to keep doing what they love and entertaining fans – in many cases establishing closer relationships with fans than any superstar could ever enjoy.

If Boxee fans show enough loyalty Hulu may even have to regurgitate their tiny competitor, though I’d guess Hulu is already close to launching their Boxee equivalent.

The Hulu aliens ate Boxee’s brain, and the show goes on.

Rocketboom and the Barons on Video

Wow, once again for interesting stories about sex, lies, and videotape you need look no further than your computer screen.   Here’s the interesting scoop that is leading to some nastiness in the chattering nonsense of my favorite technology blogOsphere:

After noting on Twitter a nasty debate about “self made” vs “sugar daddied” between online content guys Jason Calacanis and Andrew Baron this popped up:

ValleyWag reports:
The Rocketboom episode neatly explains why the world of online video so resembles film school, a parent-funded enterprise of self-indulgent auteurs with macroambitions viewed by microaudiences (including yours truly). Sony’s deal doesn’t affirm the potential of online video as a means of creative expression; it simply tells us that the rich, despite themselves, can’t help getting richer.

Rocketboom was the early tech news show hosted by Amanda Congdon.   Not clear to me how much this hurt the show, but the buzz died way down until Rocketboom was bought by a big player recently.

But it gets more fun/sad/tragic/interesting.    Baron’s father, a prominent Texas attorney, is a friend and supporter of John Edwards and some rumors suggest he may have played a role in what appear to be possible hush money payments or at least hush up activities surrounding John Edwards affair with a …. campaign video producer.

So, do all roads lead to low monetizing but highly subsidized online video?   Stay tuned for the next video episode – at least as long as we can find some politicians or parents to pay for it.

NBC = Not Broadcasting Cleverly

First I want to say how I really appreciate the fact NBC is going to place all of the Olympic sports content online – a real boon for those of us who follow sports like Table Tennis and Badminton.   Those sports don’t make prime time NBC TV – in fact historically they are simply left out of the TV coverage.

But reading in NYT about how they spent much of the past few days keeping the opening ceremony offline makes me wonder how well they thought this out.    I really love watching the opening ceremonies – even the boring parts – and for the audience that would have watched this online live I think they could have targeted some great advertising – for example I would have been happy to sign up for “Olympic Specials” and give more demographic info than I normally would do in exchange for the privilege of a real time or short delayed webcast.     As an advertisers how would you like it if NBC offered you the ability to slice and dice your audience according to a survey you helped produce?

As it happens my daughter’s play conflicted with the first few hours of the ceremony, so I’ve taped them on media center and will watch them tonight or later.   But you can bet your bottom NBC dollar I probably will FF through most if not all of the ads – in fact through the boring parts and ads  which I would have *had* to watch if they’d let me see this live on China’s 8/8/8

I can’t help but think NBC’s approach was shortsighted.  Why squelch all the videos they could find rather than work to provide us with coverage of one of the the greatest events humanity has to offer at the time we want to watch it?    In this case wouldn’t choice have been more profitable?

Fubar stats are … F.U.B.A.R!

A recent report by Compete.com made Fubar.com look like the fastest growing website since the dawn of man.   Blogs were breathlessly reporting Fubar’s astounding growth rate of over 3 million percent.   

However thanks to some sleuthing over at Webguild, Fubar’s astounding success appears to be in large part due to changing the name of  the site such that previous site traffic was not reflected in the Compete.com report.   In fact it now appears that Fubar’s astounding growth may be *entirely* due to the name change which sent them down briefly to extremely low levels of traffic  last year at this time.   

Apparently Fubar has undergone two site name changes and redirections, and thus the Fubar site had almost no traffic last year because it had only existed by that name for a very short time.

Google Adsense for Video, Google Health

Google is the big news today with two major product initiatives.    The first is Google’s entry into the health records management business with trial recordkeeping at a Cleveland hospital.   AP reports

The second Google development is adsense for video, yet another attempt to monetize video.   I tested the last attempt, using YouTube advertising embeds, here at Funniest Online Videos.    The results were abysmal in terms of monetization although I didn’t push a lot of traffic through the site and used cheap low quality traffic.  However notable about the YouTube problems was Perez Hilton’s huge celebrity site with millions of visitors which only had something like $5000 in revenues despite many millions of clip views.    Perez has switched to different advertising approaches.

However I’m guessing Google’s been learning from the poor YouTube system and that the adsense will involve better targeting and probably better returns.    That said, I remain very skeptical that video can monetize well.   As with social networking or a TV show, a person’s relationship to the medium is very important in these money relationships.   Searching offers the potential for good monetization of a person’s natural behavior and relationship to the media – often it’s a “win win” where your search for camera information and camera deals also presents you with advertising you *want to see* because it’s relevant to your needs.    It is very hard to make that happen with video or social networking, which remain pretty barren environments for advertisers. 

…. and in the “old news” department Blodget suggests that the fat lady is singing in the Yahoo Microsoft deal and it’ll go down this way.    This scenario – minor jousting by MS followed by a small increase in the offer followed by Yahoo aquiescence – sounds very reasonable to me.

Check out Furrier.org

John Furrier  has been working in technology and starting technology startups for some time and his blog has a lot of good perspectives from a clever guy.    John was a founder of PodTech, the video startup, and I had a couple of nice talks with him at CES where the PodTech Bloghaus was a huge hit with hundreds of the thousands of bloggers swarming all over Las Vegas.

Yahoo Live … dies

Update:  Chad replies in comments below from the Yahoo Live team and I certainly agree that the rumors of the death of of Live were greatly exaggerated.  

Yahoo strikes again with what looked like a neat application – live streaming video for everybody – but woefully inadequate capacity to handle the huge interest in the beta.    The application sounds promising – you plug in your camcorder and start streaming live onto the web via your Yahoo Live account.   Although several other places have these services, Yahoo has the huge population and umm … server capacity …  to make this work for the millions of people who’ll be interested in chatting in this fashion.

Hmm – not sure if I should be warming up to the video socializing idea I viewed skeptically earlier in the year, though as I noted before I’m not at all bullish on the monetization potential of this type of communication, let alone monetization of video clips like those at Youtube – only the best “shows” with clever, engaging, or sexy people will do well in that regard, but I think this is another aspect of globalized social networking that is the new online paradigm. 

Who projects server capacity over there?     Based on the current home page of Yahoo live it appears it is only handling a few thousand streams when the thing went down.     

Matt’s got a play by play of the death of Yahoo live.

Robert Scoble on other streaming video applications.

Current TV filing for $100,000,000 IPO. Initial PE ratio = infinity!

Today Current TV, with Al Gore a prominent investor, is filing for a big IPO.    But there is a problem.   They lost a lot of money “making” their 64 million in revenues last year.     Will they ever be profitable?  Global warming or not, I’m guessing they will be profitable about the same time that hell freezes over.

I still just don’t get it.  I understand why video clips are fun and a significant development online, but I don’t get those who express *economic* enthusiasm for online videos produced by … you and me.   As I’ve noted before about online video, I don’t understand why people think video sites can make money.   Youtube cost Google 1.6 billion but doesn’t make money.   Podtech had a brilliant, well executed, forward vision of the online video landscape.   They even had the ultimate forward looking blogger spokesmodel Robert Scoble (who has just moved to FastCompany.com and is right now hanging in Davos with the uber-economic-elite).  Despite this Podtech failed to deliver on the promise of monetizing quality content to the larger user base.   I had a chance to talk about this with John Furrier at CES.   John told me he’s still very bullish on video, but Podtech is going to focus more on a model where they’ll be producing company videos for corporate clients, helping them to leverage social media advantages.   We also talked about how hungry many big companies are for those who understand social media and want to leverage that power to their corporate advantage.    This, in my opinion, is where you’ll see most video and podcasast production efforts moving over the next few years.   The money is in leading corporate clients into the uncharted social media waters rather than trying to build website visitation and monetize clips.   The latter is a very dead end in my view.

So, should you invest in Current TV’s IPO?   Sure you should, right after hell freezes over.

The video revolution will NOT be televised, because it’s boring.

OK, I officially don’t get it.  Don’t get all this talk about how online video is the next big thing.  Perhaps more accurately I do get it, but don’t understand why so many bright and well connected folks don’t seem to understand that there is a very important challenge with video that makes it far less significant of an online force than most of the early adopters seem to understand.     Online video has a role to play in the information landscape, but it’s not nearly as significant as many seem to think.

Here’s a BBC story about the very clever Loic Lemeur and his clever SEESMIC project.   We’ll see more of these stories over the next few years as mainstream press slowly figures out that the early adopter online community is very enthusiastic about videos, video blogging, and pretty much any moving pictures that you can pump online.   Seesmic is a combination of video and community and thus offers the killer combo if you buy into the idea that the online world is going to revolve primarily around two key components: social networking and video.     

I’m very skeptical.   Not about the internet, which continues to rule.   Not about social media, which clearly has become and will remain a key driver of online life.  The internet has always been about people far more than technology, and the best definition of “Web 2.0” is an internet driven primarily by people and their needs rather than technology and its constraints.   But I’m very skeptical about online video, and I think the early commercial challenges of companies like RocketBoom, PodTech, and YouTube are an indication that it is very difficult to build a business or a community around video, let alone create a highly profitable environment that will drive future innovation in this space.

The biggest single challenge to video is obvious but overlooked by most of the sharp folks I see working that angle:  Most video clips are very boring.   Unlike a wordy blog entry you can quickly scan for the quick info buzz, and unlike pictures which you can review at the speed of an eye blink, with a video blog entry of video clip you’ll need to pay a lot of attention, and take up much of your attention span to glean the nugget or two of interesting content you’ll be lucky to find.     

Video online enthusiasts often agree with this, but then suggest the answer will be better video indexing services – applications that chop up the video into dialog chunks or “ideas” that are then indexed and easy to search and easier to surf.    Sure, that is an improvement, but if I want the goods I’d rather have a transcript and/or a few still pictures than a video any day, because unless you are a very slow reader a transcript is going to be easier to deal with efficiently than a video.

So, is there any room for video online?    Of course, it’ll continue as a major force for cheap little entertainment bits and perhaps even could become a minor social force as tech enthusiasts use tools like SEESMIC to communicate in a more robust and intimate fashion than you can do with writing.      However the lack of monetization potential combined with the fact that 99.99% of all video clips will bore to tears means that ultimately video will NOT create the kind of sea change in internet focus many have been waiting for.  

In fact, the video revolution is so boring it’s not even online yet, and it may never be.