Stupid idiots are cancelling my favourite tv-show





  • http://tvovermind.zap2it.com/cable/syfy/stargate-universe/stargate-universe-canceled-syfy/42228



    Bloody idiots ... This was one of the best science fiction series i've watched in the last few years ...



    had some superb acting, they invested a lot in it and it really had potential ...

    can anyone shed some light on why it had so bad ratings ?



    or is it really that americans prefer the sinkhole that is reality tv ?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     This has.... Not been a surprise. Seriously, we've known the end was coming for six months now (but the official word wasn't given to the production team until this season's finale was in the can, thus the unsatisfying non-ending)

    The primary problem wasn't with the executives for once - it was with the public response. "Stargate Purists" hold a lot of weight - and they're a bunch of militant cocksuckers violently opposed to everything that SGU was simply because it's not SG1 or SGA.  They panned it all over the Interwebs from the day that it was confirmed this would be a character study instead of a traditional sci-fi action/adventure. As a result, most of the stocked up Stargate audience didn't bother watching it, so it had to start over with no real viewer base, like a new franchise. New viewers, however, were turned off by all the baseless whining.


    The producer, Joe Mallozzi, is VERY pissed off at the fanbase and occasionally posts spectactularly awesome rants about the state of sci-fi "fandom" on his blog. Supposedly he has or will soon post a SERIOUS one explaining exactly what happened to kill SGU and why. I don't know if it's happened yet, because I haven't had a chance to watch the last two episodes, so I'm avoiding looking.



  • @Weng said:

    The producer, Joe Mallozzi, is VERY pissed off at the fanbase and occasionally posts spectactularly awesome rants about the state of sci-fi "fandom" on his blog.

    Mr. Mallozzi suffers from a serious case of delusion.  The basic premise of Stargate Universe is a really good one and the show could have been really good.  Instead, it was 100% crap.  Terrible writing.  Terrible acting.  Boring story lines.@Weng said:

    They panned it all over the Interwebs from the day that it was confirmed this would be a character study
    LOL. Character study.  A euphamism for "we don't need no stinkin' plot".   Hard to do a "character study" when your show has the worst cast of characters ever.  Not one of them was even remotely likable.  And that's guaranteed death for any TV show.

    I'm not one of the "militant cocksuckers violently opposed to SGU simply because it's not SG1 or SGA."  I thought SG1 and SGA were pretty good but certainly not some sort of holy grail of sci-fi programming.  I watched SGU and I really wanted to like it.  But it sucked.

    Joe Mallozzi needs to get over himself.



  • @Weng said:

    "Stargate Purists" hold a lot of weight
    I suspect the biggest problem with the SG franchise is that it has a reputation as hard-core geek fodder. It had never occurred to me to watch it. Doctor Who had the same problem, and are only just managing to overcome it having gone off the air for a decade, and since the return, produced at least a couple of series that are genuinely brilliant. Still, a lot of people haven't even considered watching it purely because of the name.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @intertravel said:

    I suspect the biggest problem with the SG franchise is that it has a reputation as hard-core geek fodder
    Wait, what? Did you see the same Stargate I did? Because what I saw was prettymuch the definition of soft-sci-fi. SG1 started off at the bare minimum of hardness, and just got softer and crazier over time.

     "Sufficiently advanced aliens" are not hard sci-fi. They're borderline fantasy. Dr. Who is even softer (most of the time).

     

    You want hardcore? Firefly and Dollhouse.

     

    That is, unless you're using a different definition of geek than I am. You're talking about those silly people on the Internet, aren't you? The ones who think Captain Kirk is cool and that the Star Wars original trilogy is anywhere near the pinnacle of filmmaking?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @El_Heffe said:

    Character study.  A euphamism for "we don't need no stinkin' plot".   Hard to do a "character study" when your show has the worst cast of characters ever.  Not one of them was even remotely likable.
    I think that was the point. Have you ever met a likable human being under stressful circumstances? No - everybody is an unlikable bitch. The most sympathetic character on the whole fucking show was Eli, and that's because we got to know him to an extent before everything went to hell. However, if you actually slogged through the characters started wearing on you. Some of them actually turned out awesome. Eli, Greer, Chloe and the asian chick whose name I still can't remember actually became likable, sympathetic characters by the end. They were working on the Science Twins, too. Another season and they might not have been annoying. Of course, they all lived in the shadow of the stupid Young/Rush quibbling that seemed to take up at least 3/4 of the show's screen time, and when Telford was around, the amount of stupid politicking went up to 90% (I cheered when Telford's timeclone got fried - and still resent the utter failure of causality to get rid of him for good). If you're going to do a character-driven show, focus on the characters that actually have personality traits, rather than just power and flaws.

    Yes, there was plenty that could have been improved - fucking pacing for one. Hell, throwing away the godawful irritating aliens who only ever served to give us a vague threat and a reason to keep them on the run would have cleared a lot of the grindiness of it up. When they finally got rid of the stupid blue aliens, they just replaced them with the stupid drone ships. Give the crew a positive break now and then, dammit. A constant inexorable downward slide is hard for most people to find fun. Even I only found the plotline interesting on an intellectual level, and I read some pretty god damned serious shit.

    However, almost everything started turning around in the last handful of episodes. 

     

     

    And as for Mallozzi needing to get over himself - as an aspiring content creator, I shall defend to the death a content-creator's right to do whatever the hell he wants with his work, and get pissed off at people for judging it not on its own merits, but on the merits of an altogether different work. If an artist created thousands of gorgeous paintings, and a merely good statue, would it be fair for the statue to be compared to the paintings?

     



  • @Weng said:

    And as for Mallozzi needing to get over himself - as an aspiring content creator, I shall defend to the death a content-creator's right to do whatever the hell he wants with his work, and get pissed off at people for judging it not on its own merits, but on the merits of an altogether different work.

    Possibly; but on the other hand, he knew he was working in sci-fi, and he knew the show would have "Stargate" in the title, and he undoubtedly knew that sci-fi fans are the worst obsessive, nitpicky, take-everything-literally, unpleasable, asshole fans ever. (At least, if he didn't, he's an idiot.) So while I agree with you on principle, he knew what he was getting into.

    And whining about your own fans, even if they're totally assholes is never going to bring any positive results. He could have said nothing. He could have typed up gripes and not posted them on a public forum. He didn't choose to do that.

    That all said, most sci-fi series are cancelled due to budget concerns more than ratings. Are we even sure the quality of the writing was an issue with the cancellation? Maybe he's just bad a reining-in costs.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    That all said, most sci-fi series are cancelled due to budget concerns more than ratings. Are we even sure the quality of the writing was an issue with the cancellation? Maybe he's just bad a reining-in costs.
    SGU has to have been one of the cheapest sci-fi shows I've ever seen.
    They built the set once and have only rarely bothered leaving it, and 99.999% of the time, when they did, it was just to sci-fi's favorite setting - Generic Canadian Wilderness. They didn't even
    show computer screens very often, and VFX was limited to a Stargate whoosh every couple episodes and some pretty ghetto space combat- very rarely was there any bespoke effects work. The entire cast was low-rent and cameos kept to a bare minimum (to the point of not making sense in the universe - if I had the ability to bodyswap brilliant, established scientists and commanders into a lost, disoriented and minimally-equipped group in need of some damn brilliant scientists, you can be DAMN FUCKING CERTAIN it would be at the top of my list right after "can we breathe, eat, and drink?")

    Indeed, some of the cheapest sci-fi made today has no physical set whatsoever and EVERYTHING, including the widgets on the main character's office desk (and indeed the office itself), is done in VFX - it's cheaper. See: Sanctuary, where the ENTIRE BUDGET is Amanda Tapping. So perhaps it was a cost thing - but the vast majority of the set pieces were already sunk costs - a ship, a stargate for them to plop in the Generic Canadian Wilderness, and some random flight cases posing as equipment crates to stack in various places. The only way you could make a show with a fixed set, cheap cast and established VFX resources have out of control costs would be throwing goddamn cocaine and stripper parties on the budget.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    @Weng said:

    The producer, Joe Mallozzi, is VERY pissed off at the fanbase and occasionally posts spectactularly awesome rants about the state of sci-fi "fandom" on his blog.

    Mr. Mallozzi suffers from a serious case of delusion.  The basic premise of Stargate Universe is a really good one and the show could have been really good.  Instead, it was 100% crap.  Terrible writing.  Terrible acting.  Boring story lines.@Weng said:

    They panned it all over the Interwebs from the day that it was confirmed this would be a character study
    LOL. Character study.  A euphamism for "we don't need no stinkin' plot".   Hard to do a "character study" when your show has the worst cast of characters ever.  Not one of them was even remotely likable.  And that's guaranteed death for any TV show.

    I'm not one of the "militant cocksuckers violently opposed to SGU simply because it's not SG1 or SGA."  I thought SG1 and SGA were pretty good but certainly not some sort of holy grail of sci-fi programming.  I watched SGU and I really wanted to like it.  But it sucked.

    Joe Mallozzi needs to get over himself.




    I grew up with star trek, batllestar gallactica etc. so I consider myself a hard-core sci.-fi fan. as such i gave SG1 and SGA a shot and i mean, sat through at least 10 episodes ... they never caught on ...

    acting was terrible; i could never suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy the show properly.

    but sg-u had me from season one.

    nonlikable characters was what made the show good: the conflict of interests, pissing contests between young, rush, telford, ray; completely hostile universe, no super mighty protectors, no diplomacy crap, constant fight for bare survival.

    i liked when they started killing off characters (i really hated it when telford came back with the seed ship, he should have stayed dead, or at least severely tortured and mutilated)

    the only character i disliked was eli, he was so wesley crushery.



    i also hated was the jumping back throught time parts.

    but all in all it was much better than the rest of the "scifi" crap they are serving today.



    i need a new scifi series, any suggestions ? (i am currently watching the new dr.who, but i really need something spacey)



  • SG1: fun but not the greatest show. Love it.
    SGA: fun and quality. Awesome!
    SGU: Quality BSG clone, I love to watch it (currently at #13) and yet there's a certain spark missing that BSG has for me.
    BSG: BEST

    People seem to be on the fence about Eli. Some people love him, some people hate him. But eh. That's preference. You can't really say SGU is a bad show. And I have a thing for gritty stuff, so there's that.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Nelle said:

    i need a new scifi series, any suggestions ? (i am currently watching the new dr.who, but i really need something spacey)
    Nothing with space seems to have survived. My current pool is down to the really really soft stuff - Warehouse 13, Sanctuary, Eureka. Everything else has been canned. People just aren't interested in space anymore.

     

    Additionally, I was ready to KILL SOME BITCHES when Caprica got cancelled. At least we're going to get this Blood and Chrome series (which is set during the first cylon war and promises to have a ton of fancy VFX sequences and irritable fighter jocks, which seems to be what most fools loved about BSG.



  • I find/found SGU interesting, mostly because of the whole political power play between the factions and the distrust between them.

    I also liked that characters where allowed to make "evil" decisions while not getting their characters put into the "evil" corner. 



  • One of the things I appreciated the most about BSG was the increased Hardness of space combat.

        no sound (is this really the only show that does this? I don't remember if Firefly did it.)
        rockets & missiles instead of PEW PEW LAZERZ
        needing a firing solution (rather than "ensign, lock phasers and fire")
        suppressive rapid-fire from guns
        squads of small ships
        tiny maneuvering thrusters

    I don't appreciate the lack of shields, though. It's pretty much a given that if you're going to build an interplanetary or even interstellar spaceship, it's going to need some form of EM shield bubble to protect against bullet-speed dust particles and the all-pervasive radiation. You can't cut it with just a few chunks of armor.

    There's also the trope of lights on the inside of helmets, but I guess you can't sacrifice all visual communication in favour of hardness.



  • @stratos said:

    I also liked that characters where allowed to make "evil" decisions while not getting their characters put into the "evil" corner. 
     

    +1

    Everyone's a dick.

    Appreciatin'



  • @dhromed said:

    There's also the trope of lights on the inside of helmets, but I guess you can't sacrifice all visual communication in favour of hardness.

    Yeah, that always bugged me, except that, hey, they're paying money for the faces to be there and be seen by us. And ultimately, more light than would be realistic is nice, as opposed to the shows / movies where everything is dark. Makes it near impossible to watch during the daytime without drawing all the blackout curtains or turning out all of the lights at night.

    Which remind me of hauling our computers into the study lounges at the dorms to play Doom. And then turning up the contrast on the monitors.



  • @boomzilla said:

    Makes it near impossible to watch during the daytime
     

    Practically everything worth watching doesn't perform well when daylight is shining on the screen.



  • @dhromed said:

    @boomzilla said:

    Makes it near impossible to watch during the daytime
     

    Practically everything worth watching doesn't perform well when daylight is shining on the screen.


    Yeah, but so many shows and movies require your eyes to be adjusted to a dark room, that even without any glare on the screen, you can't make anything out in a normally lit room. I prefer like how they'd make it look like night in, e.g., John Wayne movies, with the blue filter on the lens or whatever. It didn't look "real," but you could still see stuff well enough, and you knew what they meant.



  • @boomzilla said:

    I prefer like how they'd make it look like night in, e.g., John Wayne movies, with the blue filter on the lens or whatever. It didn't look "real," but you could still see stuff well enough, and you knew what they meant.
     

    It's like Fallout 3, where they used the "green" filter at night.

    Also in daylight, though.



  • @dhromed said:

        no sound (is this really the only show that does this? I don't remember if Firefly did it.)
        rockets & missiles instead of PEW PEW LAZERZ
        needing a firing solution (rather than "ensign, lock phasers and fire")
        suppressive rapid-fire from guns
        squads of small ships
        tiny maneuvering thrusters

    One thing that bugs me about most sci-fi series, SG-1 included, is the ships miss. ... how the hell do they miss? At all? Even if the projectile isn't lightspeed in the first place, we're pretty fucking good at hitting targets virtually 100% of the time here on Earth. Incidentally, this is another thing BSG got right: except for the Phalanx-like suppressive fire (which you expect to miss most of the time), everything fired hit something. The irony is that BSG could explain this away feasibly-- they can't use computers, including targeting computers, thus they should miss more often. And yet they still never miss. I like that.

    The worst in SG-1 is in later seasons with the Ori ships, which seem to have only a single weapon which fires a long, slow plasma beam which would be perfect to "scrape" against the enemy ship hull, and yet the Earth ships will go up against 4-5 of them and get hit twice, during the entire battle. (Then again they are crewed by farmer bumpkins.) At least the Ha'tak ships seem to have a dozen smaller, rapid firing, plasma beams and seem to hit more often.

    @dhromed said:

    I don't appreciate the lack of shields, though. It's pretty much a given that if you're going to build an interplanetary or even interstellar spaceship, it's going to need some form of EM shield bubble to protect against bullet-speed dust particles and the all-pervasive radiation. You can't cut it with just a few chunks of armor.

    They don't travel that fast; the normal engines are only good for maneuvering, the jump engine is how they actually get from place to place. In the BSG universe, ships without jump drives are fucking useless. (This was a plot point, when the "evil" battlestar crew stole replacement jump engine parts from a bunch of civilian ships, leaving them stranded in the middle of nowhere.)

    Plus, the armor is fucking thick... in like the third or fourth episode they take a nuke to the side, and (while they don't tell us the yield of the nuke), it really only structurally damages their water tanks. (The water tanks being put on the side specifically to absorb impacts.) So the ship is fucking tough. (Doesn't explain the windows though-- you'd think a ship armored to take a nuke would have fewer/no windows.)

    Of course the space combat hardness of BSG doesn't help when the writing turns to shit in the third season.

    And of course the worst scientific fail of SG-1 is probably the way the Stargate universe treats evolution. WTF. So all humans are on a slider from "loser" to "ascended" (energy beings). 5 million years ago, the galaxy was populated by humans like us, but they all ascended, and then humans *re-evolved?* WTF? And when Daniel meets the "ascended" there's like 20 of them, max... that's a pretty sparsely populated galaxy! But highly evolved humans who haven't yet ascended have magic superpowers, naturally. Oh and then in a late episode, whatsername the Ori big bad ascends moments after killing like 4 people, and while choking her own mom to death... so... what the fuck are the requirements for ascension again? And despite Daniel ascending like twice, canonically O'Neill is supposed to be the "most evolved human". The whole thing's a clusterfuck. Cue Morbo: "EVOLUTION DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY!"



  • @Weng said:

    @intertravel said:

    I suspect the biggest problem with the SG franchise is that it has a reputation as hard-core geek fodder
    Wait, what? Did you see the same Stargate I did? Because what I saw was prettymuch the definition of soft-sci-fi. SG1 started off at the bare minimum of hardness, and just got softer and crazier over time.

     "Sufficiently advanced aliens" are not hard sci-fi. They're borderline fantasy. Dr. Who is even softer (most of the time).

     

    You want hardcore? Firefly and Dollhouse.

     

    That is, unless you're using a different definition of geek than I am. You're talking about those silly people on the Internet, aren't you? The ones who think Captain Kirk is cool and that the Star Wars original trilogy is anywhere near the pinnacle of filmmaking?

    I think I confused you with 'hard-core geek fodder' - it's not hard scifi by any stretch, but it is a franchise with a reputation for being somewhere between Magic the Gathering and LARPing on a geekiness scale.

    Anyway, talking of really bad sci-fi, did any of you lot encounter Outcasts? Big-budget new BBC prime-time scifi that (deservedly) flopped so badly it was moved to a graveyard slot after three or four episodes. It really was impressively bad.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    The irony is that BSG could explain this away feasibly-- they can't use computers
     

    What? Not sure if serious. It's just the major ship-wide network that's not there. The Ops computers calculate the firing solution.



  • @dhromed said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    The irony is that BSG could explain this away feasibly-- they can't use computers
     

    What? Not sure if serious. It's just the major ship-wide network that's not there. The Ops computers calculate the firing solution.

    Yah I guess. But it's a big plot-point in some episodes that calculating jumps takes about 5 times longer than it should because they have to run data back and forth between the navigation computer and the jump computer. I guess that wouldn't affect targeting missiles and stuff...

    Except I don't get why a single computer is invulnerable to Cylon hacking and a network isn't-- were they using a WiFi network? That broadcast outside the ship? I mean WTF.

    Anyway, I stopped watching that show when it turned into "Cylons are magic who can do magic things and hey look it turns out 99% of the main cast are all secret Cylons anyway who gives a fuck anymore." I feel cheated when a show starts with "and they have a plan" and then it turns out there's no plan at all. Ron Moore's a lying liar with his pants constantly on fire.

    I had a similar reaction in the second Matrix movie where they reveal Neo can control the machines in real-life, outside the Matrix. The obvious plot point there would have been making the "Zion real world" another Matrix, designed to hold the spill-over of people who couldn't tolerate the normal Matrix... that would have made a much better series of movies, with the third movie being about them gathering intel on how to escape to the REAL real world. Instead of dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb stupid dumb.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Except I don't get why a single computer is invulnerable to Cylon hacking and a network isn't
     

    I willingly suspend disbelief on that.

    @blakeyrat said:

    They don't travel that fast; the normal engines
    are only good for maneuvering, the jump engine is how they actually get
    from place to place. In the BSG universe, ships without jump drives are
    fucking useless.

    Everything travels fast in space.

    I'm not sure if there's a reference on the newtonian mechanics of FTL jumps, but a satellite can pull about 30,000-80,000km/h.

    Pretty quick. Don't want to hit that.



  • @Nelle said:


    i need a new scifi series, any suggestions ? (i am currently watching the new dr.who, but i really need something spacey)

    I liked Outcast



  • @dhromed said:

    Everything travels fast in space.
     

     

    Fast is a relative term. A porsche might be considered fast on the higway, but if you need to get across a continent it no longer seems like a very fast option. A ship might be going thousands of km/h but if it needs to travel light years to get anywhere useful, that's not fast.



  • Two points:

    1 the shuttle does ok at orbital speeds, and it has a lot thinner hull than Galactica.

    2 they might know ships are useless against fast moving crap, but are just playing the odds it'll never get hit.

    3 are there any cellphones that make typing in forums less painful?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    cancelled due to budget concerns more than ratings.
     

    One and the same, really.  In October and May, they look at the ratings. The ratings determine how much they can spooge out of advertisers-- adjusting for things like timeslot, target demographics, etc. If that amount doesn't justify the budget, the show's canned, popularity be damned.

    There's some fudging with the numbers based on DVD sales-- which is why you see those abominal "Season 1, Part 1" abortions.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    cancelled due to budget concerns more than ratings.
     

    One and the same, really.  In October and May, they look at the ratings. The ratings determine how much they can spooge out of advertisers-- adjusting for things like timeslot, target demographics, etc. If that amount doesn't justify the budget, the show's canned, popularity be damned.

    There's some fudging with the numbers based on DVD sales-- which is why you see those abominal "Season 1, Part 1" abortions.




    i don't believe that ratings for such a show can be precisely predicted.

    the target demographics is to skewed


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dhromed said:

    tiny maneuvering thrusters
    They even called them RCS at one point. It was awesome.

     @dhromed said:

    I don't appreciate the lack of shields, though. It's pretty much a given that if you're going to build an interplanetary or even interstellar spaceship, it's going to need some form of EM shield bubble to protect against bullet-speed dust particles and the all-pervasive radiation. You can't cut it with just a few chunks of armor.
    Actually, as far as I can tell, the fighters were only capable of a couple G's of acceleration - and the capital ships were lumbering around with less than 1G of accel. They were never really in one place to obtain any velocity at which particulates would become hazardous. Yeah, there are particles with high relative velocities, but they're relatively rare and are easily taken care of by hull plating (though eventually you'll need to replace that plating).  Hell, I'd have preferred that the ships weren't bothering to move at all at sublight - it just burns fuel without covering meaningful distances. They can obviously jump into any inertial reference frame they'd like, so they should have done that and just held the engines idle until circumstances dictated otherwise. This may have been the case, if idling the sublight engines means they still glow.

    As for radiation, sufficiently hull plating also takes that out of the equation. Radiation shielding is not hard - just heavy.

    Remember, Galactica shrugged off NUKES with alarming regularity.That means it could soak some serious rads, and take some pretty serious kinetic impacts. Some of the civilian vessels may have been implausibly flimsy (I'm looking at you, Cargo Container Freighters) but they were just flavor art anyway.

     

    Tactically, I do have some problems with the way Galactica fought - the flak screen technique made sense when the soft, squishy civilian ships were around, but it makes little sense to hold off fighters when fighters only seem to be used to kill other fighters, and have no demonstrable anti-capital-ship purpose. That is, unless Galactica's sensor suite was made of such fail that it couldn't pick out incoming warheads and other threats with any reliability - in which case, blasting the piss out of open space makes great sense. However, if that were the case, tactics should have been changed up when Pegasus was with the fleet - an updated design with all the experiences of the first cylon war behind it should have been able to address and counter cylon doctrine. At this point, we don't know how much that doctrine changed in the interwar period, but we'll find out soon enough. If it didn't change, and colonial doctrine is still just as ineffectual, the only thing to do is to blame unimaginative commanders and entrenched military beauracracy (who are usually the first ones up against the wall during a serious conflict like the first cylon war)

     

     

     

    Oh, and the cylons did have a plan - at least initially. And then they got screwed by the colonials not rolling over and dying on schedule, and any further planning was restricted to internal squabbles. Of course, their plan was right out the window by the time episode 1x01 came around - it died during the miniseries.



  • @intertravel said:

    Anyway, talking of really bad sci-fi, did any of you lot encounter Outcasts? Big-budget new BBC prime-time scifi that (deservedly) flopped so badly it was moved to a graveyard slot after three or four episodes. It really was impressively bad.

    @serguey123 said:

    I liked Outcast

    so which is it ?

    since torchwood dealt a great deal of emotional trauma (im still trying to forget the pain), i'm pretty carefull when it comes to british scifi.



  • @Nelle said:

    @intertravel said:
    Anyway, talking of really bad sci-fi, did any of you lot encounter Outcasts? Big-budget new BBC prime-time scifi that (deservedly) flopped so badly it was moved to a graveyard slot after three or four episodes. It really was impressively bad.
    @serguey123 said:
    I liked Outcast
    so which is it ?
    since torchwood dealt a great deal of emotional trauma (im still trying to forget the pain), i'm pretty carefull when it comes to british scifi.

    Hmmm, ok, watch the first episode and then decide, do not put much weight into strangers opinion.

    For what it is worth, I said in another thread that most sci-fi series is somewhat crappy.  If you liked the touchy-feely and power grab parts of SGU then you might like this one, or not.... I like it, perhaps I'm taped out and now even crappy series seem ok, most british tv series I don't like with a few exception.



  • @serguey123 said:

    @Nelle said:

    @intertravel said:
    Anyway, talking of really bad sci-fi, did any of you lot encounter Outcasts? Big-budget new BBC prime-time scifi that (deservedly) flopped so badly it was moved to a graveyard slot after three or four episodes. It really was impressively bad.
    @serguey123 said:
    I liked Outcast
    so which is it ?
    since torchwood dealt a great deal of emotional trauma (im still trying to forget the pain), i'm pretty carefull when it comes to british scifi.

    Hmmm, ok, watch the first episode and then decide, do not put much weight into strangers opinion.

    Rubbish, they should think what I tell them to think...

    Er, anyway, the difference in opinions is quite understandable. It was a well-made, great-looking, high-budget series with some nice ideas and a decent cast, but also far, far too many gaping plot holes, absolutely wooden dialogue most of the time, loads of massive, glaring plot holes, oh, and did I mention the incredibly prominent plot holes which crop up all over the show? I'm not one to insist on hard sci-fi, but when the set-up is too obviously nonsensical and unthought-about a) it knocks the suspension of disbelief for six and b) it creates way too many unanswered questions. It's quite unusual to come across a show which has so obviously had so much time, money and effort spent on it and yet still has so many really basic mistakes. Mistakes aside, though, it was pretty good.



  • @Nelle said:

    @Lorne Kates said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    cancelled due to budget concerns more than ratings.
     

    One and the same, really.  In October and May, they look at the ratings. The ratings determine how much they can spooge out of advertisers-- adjusting for things like timeslot, target demographics, etc. If that amount doesn't justify the budget, the show's canned, popularity be damned.

    There's some fudging with the numbers based on DVD sales-- which is why you see those abominal "Season 1, Part 1" abortions.




    i don't believe that ratings for such a show can be precisely predicted.

    the target demographics is to skewed
     

    Arthur C. Neilsen, Sr. would disagree. The ratings may not be totally right, but they make billions of dollars of not being totally wrong.

    October ratings determine if a show survives the winter. May ratings set the price for advertisers. And they aren't predicted. The ratings are percisely measured and delievered (for whatever value of "percise" is available these days).



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    The ratings are percisely measured and delievered (for whatever value of "percise" is available these days).

    By something like 0.002% of the viewing public.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Lorne Kates said:
    The ratings are percisely measured and delievered (for whatever value of "percise" is available these days).

    By something like 0.002% of the viewing public.

     

    Technically, 0.02%.

    I'm hardly endorsing the system, but it seems to be accurate enough to justify per commercial price jumps of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    The system sucks, but all the alternatives involve shit like built-in devices that spy on your viewing habits. The loss of a few good shows is the price paid to keep TV a receive-only medium.

     



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    @Lorne Kates said:
    The ratings are percisely measured and delievered (for whatever value of "percise" is available these days).

    By something like 0.002% of the viewing public.

     

    Technically, 0.02%.

    Yeah, sorry. I couldn't remember the number and a quick Google didn't bring it up-- point is it's fucking low.

    @Lorne Kates said:

    I'm hardly endorsing the system, but it seems to be accurate enough to justify per commercial price jumps of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    It's not accurate at all, it's complete bullshit. Even the industry knows it's complete bullshit. That's why Fox brought back Family Guy and Cartoon Network brought back Futurama-- the ratings system demonstrably failed utterly for those two shows.

    TV ratings need to be coming from cable boxes and Tivos and online video sites. Sources of ACTUAL data. I'd love nothing more than Neilson to go out of business and be replaced by a company that actually gives a shit about providing networks with accurate figures.

    @Lorne Kates said:

    The system sucks, but all the alternatives involve shit like built-in devices that spy on your viewing habits. The loss of a few good shows is the price paid to keep TV a receive-only medium.

    Let me ask you a question: if I'm NBC, and I am "spying" in your viewing habits within the confines of the law (i.e. anonymized data), how does this hurt you?



  • (snip, because you and I are pretty much on the same page as to the usefulness of Neilsen...)

    @blakeyrat said:

    Let me ask you a question: if I'm NBC, and I am "spying" in your viewing habits within the confines of the law (i.e. anonymized data), how does this hurt you?
     

    Let's call these answers general and hypothetical to seem less paranoid:

    1) I have no faith the NBC-"you" will remain in the confines of the law, and if you stray outside, you'll buy your way out of it

    2) I have no faith that the NBC-"you" will keep that data anonymous, because there's money to be made to selling my contact info to third parties (which you will legally be allowed to do once you sneak a rider into whatever TOC I never agreed to in the first place)

    3) ...no faith... will keep that data out of government hands. They don't need to know if I tune into Al-Jazeera or not.

    4) More realistiacally and less paranoidally-- I have no faith that you won't make the hardware dependent on the tracking software, such that my device will stop working if I don't obey and report. And I have been bitten by this many times, and have had to do without or work around. I lost access to PSN downloads because I haven't flashed my PS3 in near a year.  I had to drop $150 on an HDFury just so I could legally watch legal movies on my legal PS3 hooked up to my legal CRT projector

    5) Because I've never trusted NBC, and I never will. I can never forgive them-- for the death-- of Star Trek.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    3) ...no faith... will keep that data out of government hands. They don't need to know if I tune into Al-Jazeera or not.

    If you think the government cares that you watch Al-Jazeera you're already in wacko-ville.

    Someday I'll meet someone who opposes anonymous tracking, can give a good reason for it, and isn't a kook. Someday...

    @Lorne Kates said:

    4) More realistiacally and less paranoidally-- I have no faith that you won't make the hardware dependent on the tracking software, such that my device will stop working if I don't obey and report.

    What the shit are you talking about?

    @Lorne Kates said:

    And I have been bitten by this many times, and have had to do without or work around. I lost access to PSN downloads because I haven't flashed my PS3 in near a year.  I had to drop $150 on an HDFury just so I could legally watch legal movies on my legal PS3 hooked up to my legal CRT projector

    What the holy shit in hell are you talking about?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Someday I'll meet someone who opposes anonymous tracking
    I oppose anonymous tracking.
    @blakeyrat said:
    can give a good reason for it
    Because it seems such a good way to wind you up.
    @blakeyrat said:
    and isn't a kook
    Bah.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    TV ratings need to be coming from cable boxes and Tivos and online video sites. Sources of ACTUAL data. I'd love nothing more than Neilson to go out of business and be replaced by a company that actually gives a shit about providing networks with accurate figures.
    I'm honestly surprised cable companies haven't tried to negotiate discounts on carrying channels in exchange for metrics.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Lorne Kates said:
    4) More realistiacally and less paranoidally-- I have no faith that you won't make the hardware dependent on the tracking software, such that my device will stop working if I don't obey and report.

    What the shit are you talking about?

     

    EULA: "If you want your TV to keep working, you are required to have it transmit viewing logs at all times."

    Me: I disagree.

    EULA: Fine, then the TV won't work anymore.

    Me: Fine. I'll just watch non-broadcast content.

    EULA: There is no such thing. I'm shutting off the TV.  Pirate.

    That's just one step up from how HDCP works. If you do something unauthorized with the hardware-- or if the hardware thinks you are doing something unauthorized-- or hits a false positive-- or loses Internet connection-- or it thinks you haven't updated it recently-- or it just plain schizoids out-- your hardware turns off.

    That's why I oppose having a TV be anything but a receive only display (and I'm counting the tuner, be it internal or external).  If it can transmit, it will. For it to transmit, it needs to be connected to [something]. And as soon as [something] is unavailable, it can't transmit, and will almost certainly not work-- by design.  If a company sees profit in that data transmitting, it will quickly become non-optional to not transmit, either by designing the device not to work if it cannot (no offline mode), or a law will be passed.

    And there are real life, every day examples of all of those that exist right now. You can't go a month on a tech forum without coming across one of them.

    @Lorne Kates said:

    And I have been bitten by this many times, and have had to do without or work around. I lost access to PSN downloads because I haven't flashed my PS3 in near a year.  I had to drop $150 on an HDFury just so I could legally watch legal movies on my legal PS3 hooked up to my legal CRT projector

    @blakeyrat said:

    What the holy shit in hell are you talking about?

     


    Ok, I'm going to assume that was a joke, but for the sake of the slower members of the class, I'll explain anyways.

    [b]Sony[/b]

    1) I've pumped about, say, $100 into Sony via downloads from the PSN. A few games, a bunch of Rock Band DLC, and export codes so I can use Rock Band 1 and Lego Rock Band tracks in Rock Band 2. All these were purchased with the understanding that they can be used in "offline" mode. I assume there's some DRM on it, which I hate-- but fuck it, I'm a legit customer, and someone wants to protect themselves from pirates or whatever.

    The comes the whole debacle with Sony fucking around with the firmware of the system. Before the whole OtherOS thing.  About a year or so ago, Sony dropped an update onto the PS3.  The only thing it did was screw up the UI (rant for another time), and added scrolling, flashing advertisements all over the place. I did not like this, so I turned off automatic updates, and set the clock forward a year. The net effect is I can't get on the PSN (big fucking whoop), and the ad server never has ads for me (because it's, like, next year!)

    Then after the next "optional" update is available (the one that killed 3rd party USB devices-- rending tons of controllers useless), all of a sudden I can't access any of those downloaded games, and none of the Rock Band DLC or export licenses are there anymore. All I get is some cryptic error message about the content having a time limit, to which Google has no answer-- except that maybe downloading the latest update might help.

    So there you go.  I purchase something from Sony, with the understanding that I can use it offline in perpetuity. They then offer me an "amazing upgrade" that allows them to serve me ads and phone home with god-knows-what. I politely decline, even though I know it will mean I cannot make further purchases from them. They, in turn, take away items I have purchased-- either intentionally, or because it was an "unforseen consequence" of not being able to anonmously track me.

    [b]HDCP[/b]

    2) My father-in-law has a home theatre that I've helped build, wire, etc, etc. It's based around an Ampro 4600-- a monster of an HD CRT projector that throws an amazing, 8' image (or 12' if the room's big enough).  Anyways--

     The receiver is some nice piece of work that has a billion inputs and outputs, including HDMI ports. The projector, being older than god's shit, doesn't have HDMI ports. No problem, surely the receiver can take HDMI in, and throw it out through one of the many, many RGBHV analog ports.

    HDMI says-- OMGWTFNONONONONONONO PIRATE TOUCHING ME IN MY NAUGHTY PLACE!

    Basically, no matter how you slice it, if you try to take that HD picture and put it out through an analog connection, it blows a gasket because it can't do whatever the fuck HDCP does. The failsafe, if you're lucky, is an intentionally degraded picture-- but more often than not, just a blank screen and tons of useless "legacy" equipment.

    So enter the HDFury, which is a tiny device with an HDMI port on once side, and a VGA on the other, and in between is a bunch of circuits that sing to the HDCP in a sooth, calming voice, telling it that everything is going to be ok, and it can just let go of all the bits-- they're safe. Be at peace.

    Then it jams the picture out the analog so it can be, y'know-- watched.

    It's $150-- and it's required, because somewhere along the lines, someone built a piece of tracking/authentication into the hardware, because what harm could it do?

    So that's what the holy shit I'm talking about. I absolutely do not want a "value added" feature that adds absolutely no value to me, the owner of the shit, because way more often than not, it will break the device when absent, either through malice or incompetency (or both).



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    That's why I oppose having a TV be anything but a receive only display (and I'm counting the tuner, be it internal or external).  If it can transmit, it will. For it to transmit, it needs to be connected to [something]. And as soon as [something] is unavailable, it can't transmit, and will almost certainly not work-- by design.  If a company sees profit in that data transmitting, it will quickly become non-optional to not transmit, either by designing the device not to work if it cannot (no offline mode), or a law will be passed.

    And there are real life, every day examples of all of those that exist right now. You can't go a month on a tech forum without coming across one of them.

    Then you'll have no trouble at all proving a cite to back-up your bullshit!

    (Seriously, you've been on this board long enough, you thought I'd just take that on faith?)



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    Ok, I'm going to assume that was a joke, but for the sake of the slower members of the class, I'll explain anyways.

    No, I really had no fucking clue what you were talking about.

    @Lorne Kates said:

    Sony

    Look, if you're fucking dumb enough to buy a Sony product in this day and age, I don't know what to tell you. Yes, you got screwed over. Like every other fucking owner of every other fucking Sony product built in the last DECADE. What did you THINK was going to happen? OF COURSE Sony's going to piss all over you! That's what they do! (I think they might produce movies too sometimes, but mostly the pissing.) I have no sympathy.

    @Lorne Kates said:

    Basically, no matter how you slice it, if you try to take that HD picture and put it out through an analog connection, it blows a gasket because it can't do whatever the fuck HDCP does. The failsafe, if you're lucky, is an intentionally degraded picture-- but more often than not, just a blank screen and tons of useless "legacy" equipment.

    Bullshit. I had an analog HDTV, and it worked fine from my DISH Network satellite box.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Citation needed

    Yeah, I'll get you a bunch of links, articles, cites and examples tomorrow when I should be working. They exist, and I have no problem backing up my points-- but I'm also perfectly fine to go to sleep while someone's wrong on the Internet.

    @blakeyrat said:

    @Lorne Kates said:
    Ok, I'm going to assume that was a joke, but for the sake of the slower members of the class, I'll explainanyways.

    No, I really had no fucking clue what you were talking about.

     

    No further input on that.

    @blakeyrat said:

    @Lorne Kates said:
    Sony

    Look, if you're fucking dumb enough to buy a Sony product...

    Sony has used up the last of whatever slack I had for them, granted, because of this. And you prove my point.

    You originally asked:

    @blakeyrat said:

    Let me ask you a question: if I'm NBC, and I am "spying" in your viewing
    habits within the confines of the law (i.e. anonymized data), how does
    this hurt you? 

    Followed by:

    @blakeyrat said:

    Someday I'll meet someone who opposes anonymous tracking, can give a good reason for it, and isn't a kook. Someday..

    Everything Sony and the consortium who put together HDCP did so within the confines of the law. They are concrete examples of your point of "corportions are retarded fucktards who fuck tards and you're a tard for getting fucked by them" (paraphrase)

    That is exactly my point. Any corporation that perverts an existing, working technogloy for their sole benefit ("spying", copyright protection, advertisements, etc) does so at the expense of the consumer.  It's so blatently common that it's actually expected, and met with "well, what did you expect, that's what they DO!".  I've given you two concrete examples of how it has hurt me (we'll quibble over the definition of "hurt" later).  The hurt may have been expected, self-inflicted or I might have been complicant with it, but the fact remains-- that's how it can hurt me.

    So that's your first question answered, in detail, with concrete examples, to which you provided a nice "exactly" to. Thanks.

    And to your second point-- well, I've given you a good reason for it: corporations are retarted fucking fucktards who will fuck it up, and degrade the quality of service to the point of unusablility. When it does become unusuable, anyone bit by it will be told "serves you right for going along with it, that's just the way God made them". Which is a fair enough and completely true point.

    And that is reason I give you. TVs without anonymous tracking work absolutely and perfectly fine for me, the person who wants to put content on that display, be it broadcast or non-broadcast content. The only ones who are "suffering" are content producers who want to sell my viewing habits to their advertisers. I do not want them to add that feature, and the reason I give is because "blah blah fucktards". They will fuck it up, it will bite me, and it will be my own fault for going along with it. So I pre-emptively address that issue by stating, without any doubt-- I do not want to go along with it.

     @blakeyrat said:

    Bullshit. I had an analog HDTV, and it worked fine from my DISH Network satellite box.

    And I call bullshit on your bullshit, because I know more about this than you. As mentioned, I'll get you links.

    But the basics are:

    1) Then you're lucky, for now, because it will change

    2) If you were pushing Analog out to Analog, then you'll be lucky for a little while longer-- though you were probably getting a 480i picture, or at best 720p.

    3) I'll find all those articles from (I believe) last year about about set-top boxes being pushed "manditory" firmware updates that fuck up the analog-out ports. This was Tivo, but it may have been DISH

    4) [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-bandwidth_Digital_Content_Protection"]HDCP--  High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection[/url].  Read it and weep as you realize that every slashdot-style paranoid-fueled nerd-rage about copywrong protection and digital right mangalment that has ever been slowly becomes reality thanks to that little protocol.

    4a) In fact, aside from Steam, find me a copyright scheme from the past five years that hasn't been a horrific flaming pile of shit that breaks everything it touches. (Or with less hyperbole-- one that was implemented in the past 5 years, that was applied to an existing system that didn't have it before, that added significant value to the end-user, and that didn't harm legitimate users). Bonus points if you can find one that both works and uses "Digital" as a buzzword.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    They are concrete examples of your point of "corportions are retarded fucktards who fuck tards and you're a tard for getting fucked by them" (paraphrase)

    I said "Sony" not "corporations." If you're going to paraphrase, at least make some effort to preserve the original message. I have nothing against most corporations, and in fact I happen to be employed by one.

    @Lorne Kates said:

    at the expense of the consumer.

    How is collecting anonymous usage data "at your expense"? This is the exact question I want answered in a non-paranoid-kook way.

    @Lorne Kates said:

    I've given you two concrete examples of how it has hurt me (we'll quibble over the definition of "hurt" later).

    No you haven't. You've given me some bullshit about you not updating your PS3, then having some trouble hooking up an analog HD projector. You didn't say shit about how anonymous usage data hurts you. (It doesn't matter what definition of "hurt" you use-- you haven't talked about it at all!)

    @Lorne Kates said:

    And to your second point-- well, I've given you a good reason for it: corporations are retarted fucking fucktards who will fuck it up, and degrade the quality of service to the point of unusablility. When it does become unusuable, anyone bit by it will be told "serves you right for going along with it, that's just the way God made them". Which is a fair enough and completely true point.

    Ok; well feel free to buy those handcrafted televisions from the local farmer's market, if you don't like corporations. Idiot.

    Look, if you want to live in the 19th century, then feel free. Nobody's fucking stopping you. Except, even in the 19th century, most of the products you'd need to survive were provided by corporations-- maybe you should live in the 17th century, just to be safe. (And not trade furs.)

    @Lorne Kates said:

    And that is reason I give you. TVs without anonymous tracking work absolutely and perfectly fine for me, the person who wants to put content on that display, be it broadcast or non-broadcast content. The only ones who are "suffering" are content producers who want to sell my viewing habits to their advertisers. I do not want them to add that feature, and the reason I give is because "blah blah fucktards". They will fuck it up, it will bite me, and it will be my own fault for going along with it. So I pre-emptively address that issue by stating, without any doubt-- I do not want to go along with it.

    Why would it "bite" you? This is the part you haven't explained. You've typed an awful lot of words without explaining it.

    @Lorne Kates said:

    1) Then you're lucky, for now, because it will change

    Doesn't matter now, I replaced that TV years ago.

    @Lorne Kates said:

    2) If you were pushing Analog out to Analog, then you'll be lucky for a little while longer-- though you were probably getting a 480i picture, or at best 720p.

    1080i. The only real problem I had with it is that the original Xbox would pump out 480i for the dashboard, even if it knew it was hooked up to a HDTV. My TV didn't like getting 480i over the HD port, and would just show a "no signal" screen. Fortunately, Microsoft patched that problem pretty quick.

    @Lorne Kates said:

    3) I'll find all those articles from (I believe) last year about about set-top boxes being pushed "manditory" firmware updates that fuck up the analog-out ports. This was Tivo, but it may have been DISH

    I also haven't subscribed to DISH in about 3-4 years, so I have no fucking clue what software they're pushing out. I do all my TV viewing on computers and Xboxes now.

    @Lorne Kates said:

    4) HDCP--  High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection.  Read it and weep as you realize that every slashdot-style paranoid-fueled nerd-rage about copywrong protection and digital right mangalment that has ever been slowly becomes reality thanks to that little protocol.

    I kind of see that as the opposite, as pretty much everything in the world has HDMI right now and... guess what? None of the wacko predictions of the Slashdotters have come true! None of them. All they've been doing is crying wolf over and over and over and over and over again, and fuck that.

    @Lorne Kates said:

    4a) In fact, aside from Steam, find me a copyright scheme from the past five years that hasn't been a horrific flaming pile of shit that breaks everything it touches.

    A copyright scheme? ... do you mean copy protection? I'm back to "I don't know what the fuck you're talking about" territory on this one.



  • @Blakeyrat said:

    I kind of see that as the opposite, as pretty much everything in the world has HDMI right now and... guess what? None of the wacko predictions of the Slashdotters have come true! None of them. All they've been doing is crying wolf over and over and over and over and over again, and fuck that.

    @Lorne Kates said:

    4) HDCP--  High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection.  Read it and weep as you realize that every slashdot-style paranoid-fueled nerd-rage about copywrong protection and digital right mangalment that has ever been slowly becomes reality thanks to that little protocol.

    Our Smart Classroom Team has experienced problems with this very thing. If any part of the component infrastructure implements HDCP, and something later in the chain does not, then the signal does not make it from the "source" (computer, DVD player, etc) to the "sink" (projector, monitor, etc) (or if it does, the signal is highly degraded). When you have equipment purchases that are staggered, replacing individual pieces instead of the entire chain, then it's quite possible to have HDCP content preventing viewing of something you've rightfully purchases.

    Not all equipment implements HDCP, not all media contains the enabling of HDCP, so you might very well not have seen it, Blakeyrat. That doesn't mean others aren't being frustrated by the problem.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Lorne Kates said:

    So enter the HDFury, which is a tiny device with an HDMI port on once side, and a VGA on the other, and in between is a bunch of circuits that sing to the HDCP in a sooth, calming voice, telling it that everything is going to be ok, and it can just let go of all the bits-- they're safe. Be at peace.
    Incidentally, that device is illegal in the United States under the DMCA. I can't remember if it's just illegal to manufacture and distribute, or actually illegal to possess, though (shows how much respect I have for that particular law, eh?)

     

     

    And yes, HDCP is a goddamn motherfucker and ruins everything it touches.



  •  @blakeyrat said:

    Then you'll have no trouble at all proving a cite to back-up your bullshit!

    (Seriously, you've been on this board long enough, you thought I'd just take that on faith?)



    Wow, that search made me depressed. Highlights below, but it boils down to a fuckton of "WTF? My stuff suddenly isn't working and I get an HDCP error message" threads with no solutions other than "Did you reboot?" and "Oh Well."

    Some examples of dumb stuff happening:

     Shaw cable uses a sneaky firmware update to shut down Firewire on their boxes (after they were already slapped down by the Canadian FTC about it): http://westcoastsuccess.wordpress.com/2009/08/08/shaw-cable-blocks-ieee1394-firewire-on-set-top-cable-boxes-again/

    Way too make "Sky TV HD box wanked itself" threads, but here's a fun one:

    http://helpforum.sky.com/t5/Sky-HD-Sky-3D/Error-message-hdcp-not-supported-New-since-software-update/td-p/9911/page/4

    Why is it fun? Because it's four pages of tech support from Sky themselves that comes down to "I dunno"-- at which point it is locked. There's a link at the end that leads to a 25-page thread where they try to release a firmware upgrade to fix the voodoo-broken boxes-- which ends with "I dunno", is locked, and links to another 25 page thread where they do the same thing. To date the problem is outstanding and unresolved.

     AT&T hardware isn't immune to sudden HDCP failures, either: http://www.uverseusers.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=2&topic=15065.0

    Nor is Apple hardware. One of the many "My 'just works' Mac to Projector setup doesn't work" threads: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2274395?threadID=2274395&tstart=0&messageID=11721552

     If you want to get a bit more technical, here's an EE Times article about building hardware for HDCP: http://www.eetimes.com/design/communications-design/4013366/HDMI-DVI-HDCP-handshake-problems--how-to-avoid-them

    I love some of the voodoo bullcrud in here:

    But there's a hitch. HDMI & DVI have a companion high-definition
    content protection (HDCP) system that sometimes leaves authorized
    consumers in mute, watching a blank screen, blinking video, or snow
    while being held hostage by a bug known as the "HDCP handshake problem." 

     

    HDCP transmitters that don't distinguish between high-value HDCP
    content and unprotected content will encrypt everything. These source
    devices won't display anything on a non-HDCP receiver, even if the material being played is an unprotected homemade DVD.

    And some real voodo wtf bullshit. Mute before doing stuff, wait, then unmute. WTF?

    When your HDMI transmitter drives an HDMI receiver, always mute
    before changing signal timing and un-mute afterwards. Allow the HDMI
    receiver some time to detect mute and process the timing change before
    you remove mute. 

    There's just a smattering of the unmitigated bullcrap that goes on around HDCP. I'll summarize in my next reply.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

     @blakeyrat said:

    Then you'll have no trouble at all proving a cite to back-up your bullshit!

    (Seriously, you've been on this board long enough, you thought I'd just take that on faith?)



    Wow, that search made me depressed. Highlights below, but it boils down to a fuckton of "WTF? My stuff suddenly isn't working and I get an HDCP error message" threads with no solutions other than "Did you reboot?" and "Oh Well."

    Some examples of dumb stuff happening:

     Shaw cable uses a sneaky firmware update to shut down Firewire on their boxes (after they were already slapped down by the Canadian FTC about it): http://westcoastsuccess.wordpress.com/2009/08/08/shaw-cable-blocks-ieee1394-firewire-on-set-top-cable-boxes-again/

    Way too make "Sky TV HD box wanked itself" threads, but here's a fun one:

    http://helpforum.sky.com/t5/Sky-HD-Sky-3D/Error-message-hdcp-not-supported-New-since-software-update/td-p/9911/page/4

    Why is it fun? Because it's four pages of tech support from Sky themselves that comes down to "I dunno"-- at which point it is locked. There's a link at the end that leads to a 25-page thread where they try to release a firmware upgrade to fix the voodoo-broken boxes-- which ends with "I dunno", is locked, and links to another 25 page thread where they do the same thing. To date the problem is outstanding and unresolved.

     AT&T hardware isn't immune to sudden HDCP failures, either: http://www.uverseusers.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=2&topic=15065.0

    Nor is Apple hardware. One of the many "My 'just works' Mac to Projector setup doesn't work" threads: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2274395?threadID=2274395&tstart=0&messageID=11721552

     If you want to get a bit more technical, here's an EE Times article about building hardware for HDCP: http://www.eetimes.com/design/communications-design/4013366/HDMI-DVI-HDCP-handshake-problems--how-to-avoid-them

    I love some of the voodoo bullcrud in here:

    But there's a hitch. HDMI & DVI have a companion high-definition
    content protection (HDCP) system that sometimes leaves authorized
    consumers in mute, watching a blank screen, blinking video, or snow
    while being held hostage by a bug known as the "HDCP handshake problem." 

     

    HDCP transmitters that don't distinguish between high-value HDCP
    content and unprotected content will encrypt everything. These source
    devices won't display anything on a non-HDCP receiver, even if the material being played is an unprotected homemade DVD.

    And some real voodo wtf bullshit. Mute before doing stuff, wait, then unmute. WTF?

    When your HDMI transmitter drives an HDMI receiver, always mute
    before changing signal timing and un-mute afterwards. Allow the HDMI
    receiver some time to detect mute and process the timing change before
    you remove mute. 

    There's just a smattering of the unmitigated bullcrap that goes on around HDCP. I'll summarize in my next reply.

    Okay, but wtf does that have to do with anything? Not that HDCP hasn't fairly obviously been beaten with a broken stick from what you're saying, but when was copy protection ever less than total shite, and what relation does the shitness of copy protection bear to tracking viewing figures?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    How is collecting anonymous usage data "at your expense"? This is the exact question I want answered in a non-paranoid-kook way.
     

    How is this "at my expense"? The absolute briefest answer I can give is "You have to make TVs more complex to do that, any system made more complex is prone to failures".  There's you're tl;dr version, so you can't berate me for being overly verbose.

    And now to be overly verbose, so you can't berate me for skipping the details.

    I brought up HDCP as an example. It's apples and oranges, but we're talking fruit carts.

    TV's a receive only, non-broadcast medium. It Just Fucking Works. Adding usage collection changes the paradigm. When you add complexity, you risk technical failures and bugs. This is true of ANY system. This is turning a static webpage into a Ajax 2.0 Analytics tracking thingy with a database backend.

    Adding usage tracking does not benefit me, the TV owner, in any way. So there are no positive gains to me to outweigh any negative effects that may occur. IE: We can only go down from here. Hardware manufactures are not held accountable when their hardware
    fails, and in most cases, it becomes "the consumer should have known
    better". Since there are no gains, and the manufacture is not liable for any negative effects, all negative effects get tallied in my "expense" column.

    There are several things that can go wrong that I, the TV owner and tracked-person, will end up paying for in time, frustration or money. These are my expenses.  

    Things that can go wrong are as follows (and note that each one of these already have gone wrong in similar systems where 'It Just Fucking Works, so let's change it"). ((Also I've listed in brackets examples of shit that's already happened)) (((Also, I overuse brackets))) ((((Also-- I overuse em-dashes-- a lot))))

    1) Bugs, technical failures, and other faults that arise from the additional complexity (HDCP). My expense: Loss of use of a device, loss of time fixing the device, loss of sanity having to read tech support forums.

    2) Other parts of the system being harmed by the complexity, though incompetence (HDTVs being fried by Sky TV) or malice (Firewire disabled by Shaw). My expense: Loss of use of a device, possible physical damage to a device.

    3) Collected data being used for purposes other than demo tracking: used for direct marketing or sold to unscrupulous third parties (any fucking telemarketer in the world).  If you think that data is actually "anonymous", you're living in a fairy-tale land of unicorns made of puppies.My harm: harassment by telemarketers and spammers

    4) Security and privacy implications if the collected data is ever lost or breached (any of the high-profile data breaches in the past 12 months).  See my previous point about "Anonymous? yeah, right". My expense: risk of identity theft, personal information exposure.

    5) "optional" becoming "mandatory", either by changes in EULAs, legislation, or simply because non-collecting devices aren't available anymore-- which leads to" Loss of use of non-collecting devices due to lack of interoperability, or because the collection company abandons the technology when it is no longer profitable.My expense: having to buy new shit when my 25 year old CRT still Just Fucking Works.

    Those are the expenses, and their causes. They are all not only possible and probably, but have occurred already in comparable situations.  I gain nothing from having my usage statistics gathered, and instead I'm exposed to a plethora of risk.

    That's how anonymous usage collection can be at my expense. Rebut. Or swear. Or both.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.