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TelevisionWeek contributing writer Daisy Whitney is blogging about the pinnacles and pitfalls facing viewers who want to consume television in new ways. Check in frequently as Daisy kicks the tires on the new media juggernaut and dishes on which services do -- and don’t -- make the cut.

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Trial and Error



Is it Live? Isn’t it Live?

January 2, 2007 12:41 PM


ManiaTV, a round-the-clock online TV channel, added new features recently. The new site now includes a “group channel platform, preference-driven video offerings and dynamic profiling.” Yeah, my head’s spinning too. That all sounds like mumbo jumbo, so let’s just go online and see if the site is easy to use.

My first thought is video doesn’t play instantly when I show up. Generally, I like that feature. But with a 24-7 video service I expect the live channel to start playing instantly. Instead, I choose to watch a show called “Hollywood Minute.” I learn many useful things, such as the latest speculation that Nicole Kidman must be pregnant because she has bangs. (That means she’s supposedly hiding her now visible forehead wrinkles under her hair since she can’t get botox shots with a bun in the oven.)

That’s enough celebrity gossip for me so I click on the “Live TV” tab to see what’s playing at this very moment. And it’s Madonna’s “Vogue” video. I watch a few seconds, and then click on the next video in the queue. It doesn’t load. Of course, this is where I smack myself on the forehead (that’s my low-tech way of knocking out the wrinkles too) because I just remembered that I am watching the live channel. But, I had forgotten that little fact because I am on the INTERNET, which I think of as an on-demand experience. I want what I went when I want it.

I tool around on the site and click on a few more videos and channels. They all work fine, load quickly and play easily. But I’m just not convinced that this site is easy enough yet. Is it live? Isn’t it live? It’s all too much to figure out. I’m going to log off and just go watch TV on the TV.

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Comments (4)

Jack L:

Daisy, I tried out the site for a few minutes and thought it was interesting but not all that compelling. With no central focus beyond "video" it feels like so much chinese food - fun to sample but not very substantial. Are there any video sites that are more successful at subdividing by subject or topic?

Johanis M:

I am so happy you found one of my favorites, Mania TV.com But you did not give the live shows a chance! They are more than videos! I love the Daily Independant and Christy. She is on twice a day and shows the best indie music and culture stuff. Daisy I love your stuff also, it is always interesting. I will keep reading and thanks for all the great work.
Johanis M.

Daisy:

Hi Jack:

I've never been a big fan of Chinese food, especially now that it's virtually impossible to get cold sesame noodles at any Chinese restaurant. Unless you're in NYC, which sadly I am not.

As for neatly organized sites with a clear focus, I'd have to give props to ABC.com on the broadcast side, DIYnetwork.com on the cable side, and I hate to admit it, but YouTube as well. It's a cinch to find videos there and easy to navigate through. Also on the viral video side, Stupidvideos does a pretty good job arranging its videos, if you like squirrels waterskiing and what not.

Daisy:

Hi Johanis:

I am always up for revising a site, especially when a blog commenter steers me to good stuff. Do you know when those shows are on?

Thanks for reading!

Daisy

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