Procrastination Nation

Things that Robert is thinking about that keep him from accomplishing anything.

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Monday, March 21, 2005
Hey, blogging will continue to be light for the forseeable future. Too much to do between class and freelancing and work and dissertating.

I did want to take a second to suggest an invention for t.v., if it doesn't exist already. Somebody needs to invent a way to "layer" television networks so that you can place content from different shows/networks on the same channel.

For example, say I'm watching a movie on HBO, but I want to know the scores for the day in sports, I could select content from ESPN (e.g., it's BottomLine ticker) to overlay the channel that I'm watching. Ditto for placing the CNN or FNC or CNBC ticker on top of a block of videos on MTV (if, in fact, MTV still plays videos). I could ultimately layer as much as I want (put a stock ticker and news ticker and a sports ticker), and ideally I would be able to resize and relocate the graphics with some kind of a mouse, too.

You could also set up reminder services like the flags/notifications on a computer screen. If I'm watching the basketball game on CBS and golf on NBC, I might like to set a flag that notifies me whether the other station (or stations) is back to live coverage or at commercial.

I think what would make this feasible is that the viewer decides what to overlay on the screen. The other networks aren't interfering with a particular network's broadcast, the viewer is. I mean, nobody complains that viewers are able to turn on closed captioning, and some people even like to watch shows while captioned. People don't seem to have a problem using picture-in-picture. It all seems like pretty similar display technology.

Whoever owns the ticker or notification agent could then sell ad space and piggyback onto other shows (e.g., ESPN could charge big(ger) bucks to Verizon to sponsor the ticker when it overlays CSI: and less for "Still Standing"). It is possible you might need to cut the bottom layer network some fraction of the ad rents, but there's a price for everything. This would seem like a great opportunity for expansion into TV for somebody like Google (adding external content to a main content page) or maybe an expansion area for Tivo.

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