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Jon and his TiVo
August 19, 2008 6:23 AM   Subscribe

In a strange and incestuous twist of the space-web-time continuum, a fascinating comment about the mechanism by which The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (previOusly.) records every bit of daily news appeared inside a post on PVRBlog, the red-headed stepchild blog of our selfless benefactor, user 1.
posted by jckll (26 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Actually it sounds like they just have season passes set to shows like The O'Reilly Factor, not recording all the news channels all the time.
posted by smackfu at 6:33 AM on August 19, 2008


I wish I had time to do a "Fire Joe Morgan" style deconstruction of this post, but instead I'll just say that the amount of hyperbole and inaccuracy in this post is pretty amazing given its length.

Pretty interesting comment on PVRblog from a former TDS staffer about how they use Tivo -- I'll give you that much.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:46 AM on August 19, 2008


Yes, the point of the post was basically that they don't record every bit of news that ever airs. Nevertheless, this is fairly interesting.
posted by Mister_A at 6:56 AM on August 19, 2008


The space-web-time continuum looks to be okay over here. Cool insider's view, though.

I bet lots of professional solutions are much lower tech than we think they are. I'm in the audiovideo business, and one thing the big installers are worried about is the proliferation of 'consumer' gear in professional environments. Instead of paying for a highly customized solution, TDS bought some gear off the shelf at some big-box retailer. Installers don't like this.
posted by echo target at 6:58 AM on August 19, 2008


I find it funny that a rack of tivos can be considered "primitive" or "low tech".
posted by schwa at 7:01 AM on August 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ha, yeah, but compared to entirely custom high-end solution, it's the difference between a Kia and an F1.
posted by echo target at 7:11 AM on August 19, 2008


I dunno if it's the TiVos that are low tech so much as the Betacam tapes, especially given that it's possible to get the raw digital video off of a TiVo.
posted by jedicus at 7:11 AM on August 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I work for a big network, and I can tell you that from the news division down through morning television to the soaps, Beta and sneakernet is where it's at, even in brand spankin new HD studios with all the latest top shelf gear. As far as I'm aware, only one show uses an ftp site to move video and files around, and more in a casual "hey check this out" than archival recordings of the actual shows.

In the section of town where most of our studios and the central building reside, it's not unusual to see a few interns nervously clutching the day's betas from whatever shows they were sent from.
posted by nevercalm at 7:22 AM on August 19, 2008


It's also drawn attention and posts from people working at unnamed "sports broadcasts" and VH1. Pretty interetsing stuff.
posted by empyrean at 7:32 AM on August 19, 2008


Interesting read, thanks.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:35 AM on August 19, 2008


I consistently record 2 to 3 hours of television per day. PER DAY.

Look at me Ma! I'm livin' in the futyar!
posted by blue_beetle at 7:37 AM on August 19, 2008


Neat. Go internet!

I wonder if we're going to see a weird transitional period when everybody flips over to broadcasting HD but is still working from SD tape libraries, etc—every time you jump to a clip, they're be this sudden sag in picture quality, say.

Of course, considering how many people show 4:3 content at 16:9 on their new TVs ("Computer, enfatten!"), this is probably not something that's going to get noticed.
posted by cortex at 7:41 AM on August 19, 2008


Suggested new flagging category: "obsequious moderator rimjob".
posted by jack_mo at 7:44 AM on August 19, 2008 [12 favorites]


At least for sports like the Olympics, I think we're already in that period. The old replays look awful in HD.
posted by smackfu at 7:45 AM on August 19, 2008


The more I think about it, the more elegant it sounds. Tape a number to each TiVo and write it's contents and recording duties on a post-it. Any old dummy could just walk up to the rack, glance at the post-its, dial an AV switch to the right TiVo, browse to an episode and start playing back, slip in a cassette and hit record. You could 'train' someone on the setup in 5 minutes.
posted by cowbellemoo at 7:48 AM on August 19, 2008


every time you jump to a clip, they're be this sudden sag in picture quality, say.

Watch The Daily Show a little more closely. That's exactly what happens, and the show's not even in HD.

(What's even worse is the occasional YouTube lift here and there. Yuck.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:52 AM on August 19, 2008


I dunno if it's the TiVos that are low tech so much as the Betacam tapes, especially given that it's possible to get the raw digital video off of a TiVo.

It's not Betacam. This is a common misconception when people hear production or post-production folk say "Beta." It's actually either BetaSP or DigiBeta, both of which are extremely high quality video formats for Standard Definition. If I could, I'd watch everything in DigiBeta, it looks better than DVD by quite a bit.

I've gotta remember the term "Snearkernet." That's perfect.
posted by shmegegge at 8:01 AM on August 19, 2008


Frankly, this much investment in technology is a little surprising.

From the Desk of Jon Stewart
"I was doing my crossword puzzle today and there it was, 21 across: "semaphore." It took me forever to get that damn word, but once I cracked "etui" in 39 down -- really NYT, get a new word already -- it was a piece of cake. Where was I? Semaphore! Stay with me.

We line the hallways with interns from research to studio. They stay shoved over as far out of the way as possible and avoid eye contact when I walk by. At least a few remain available to get me coffee. Anyway, there's a shit-ton of interns in the hallways, maintaining line of sight with each other. And here's where the semaphore comes in. This is brilliant. I think you know where I'm headed with this.

It'll be Comedy Central's shining jewel. My finest contribution. The signal flags whipping through the air with semaphoric perfection, the news flying down the halls from intern to intern like the signal fires from Minas Tirith. By the way, we should probably pipe the soundtrack from the LoTR trilogy into the halls. It'll add a certain je ne sais quoi. Or maybe some Enya. Just a thought.

Now get some eyeballs on it and get it done."
posted by empyrean at 8:19 AM on August 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's not Betacam.

Actually, it is Betacam. Beta SP and DigiBeta are both types of Betacam tapes (the names are short for Betacam SP and Digital Betacam, respectively). Maybe you meant that they're not using Betamax, the old home video format?
posted by Awkward Philip at 9:07 AM on August 19, 2008


oh you are totally right. my bad. i suppose I was thrown off because he was calling beta low tech, and I tend to think of the giant digibeta decks as these giant futuristic super vcrs. apologies all around.
posted by shmegegge at 10:42 AM on August 19, 2008


I'd just like to note that the comment immediately following John Teti's explanation is by one Matt Haughey.
posted by spock at 10:51 AM on August 19, 2008


Brad Templeton also weighs in on the discussion. Do interesting people subscribe to a secret mailing list that tells them of interesting places to hang out?
posted by CaseyB at 11:07 AM on August 19, 2008


That's because it's his blog, spock.
posted by yhbc at 11:19 AM on August 19, 2008


well that WOULD explain it.
posted by spock at 12:49 PM on August 19, 2008


Do interesting people subscribe to a secret mailing list that tells them of interesting places to hang out?

Yes, it's a magical obscure corner of the internets they call BoingBoing.net.

(Shh! Don't tell anyone. It's the new FilePile.)
posted by designbot at 1:09 PM on August 19, 2008


Heh, I work in an environment where we have lots of cable boxes, DVRs, and TVs set up for testing different things. It wasn't at all uncommon to have someone standing too far back with a remote start changing the channel on several TVs causing no end of confusion, so now you can regularly see someone standing right next to the box, using a remote control just inches away from the set.

This amuses me because, unlike TIVOs, our set boxes all have controls on the face, and it would probably be easier to just not use the remote at all, but people are such creatures of habit that I guess it's just more comfortable to them.
posted by quin at 2:44 PM on August 19, 2008


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