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Microsoft Eyes UK Digital TV Provider

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the cradle-to-grave dept.

Microsoft 190

xiox writes: "This story by the BBC claims that Microsoft are planning to "rescue" the failed digital TV provider in the UK, ITV Digital. This would enable them to get a large share of the British TV market, as the British Government has decided that all TVs will have to switch over to digital by 2010."

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Another fp (0, Funny)

Klerck (213193) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424872)

I must get a hat trick today!


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Email me and tell me what you think of widening! [mailto]

Re:Another fp (-1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424891)

More like a fucking perl script you poser.

Dear Klerck (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3424910)

Do us all a huge favor and get some motherfucking self-esteem one of these days. Your incessant graffiti all over this site has grown tiresome and, if necessary, I will use whatever means possible to ensure that you no longer tarnish this page with your adolescent behavior. Perhaps if you felt like you were just a tiny bit useful and could possibly contribute something to the human race one day in the future, you would stop lashing out with hatred toward everyone and anything that stands in your way. You're a classic case of someone taking out their own emotional trama on other people. Do us all a favor and get some help, my friend, and I sincerely hope that you can reform yourself and recongize/admit to your wrongdoings.

Thanks.

Re:Dear Klerck (-1)

Klerck (213193) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424930)

By the way, you misspelled "trauma."

Thanks!

You've given me the incentive to re-post my FAQ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3425066)

...so I can attract people to the section on page widening. Klerck's becoming so single-handedly successful at annoying people on Slashdot, he'll have the DOJ after him unless others follow his lead!

This FAQ is designed to give tips on trolling on Slashdot, created in celebration of Blackout Week. It is dedicated to all hard-working trolls and crapflooders.

What are some good trolling tips?
Trolling is all about making people think you care, and so winding up those who care for real. Think of it like shooting a deer in front of an anti-hunt protester, or eating a Big Mac in front of a vegan. Here are some ideas for making your troll work:

  1. To start off, make sure your post gets noticed -- log in, post early (after 50 +1 comments have been posted to an article, forget it), and make sure to use your +1 bonus.
  2. Ensure your posting history doesn't show a history of dubious posts. Some advise (incorrectly) to stagger your trolls, but this is in fact time wasting and only helps Slashdot in the long run. If you have a doubt, just create a new account, or even post anonymous -- an effective troll, posted early enough, will gain a +1 quickly.
  3. Learn from the marketing droids -- a mixture of truth and lies leaves the potential client without a clue as to which is which. Geeks smell pure bullshit, because it reminds them of their bedroom smell (see also "karma whoring" below).
  4. Follow up. Keep a window open on your troll, and reload to see if people bite. Perhaps post an AC reply agreeing or disagreeing with your own post. Reply to later posts referring to your earlier post to back up your point.
  5. If you get a dreaded (-1, Troll), don't be ashamed to post the well-known, "Mods on Crack!" rant. Explain, rationally, and not as yourself why you agree with the original post, and why it's a fair point.

How do I crapflood?
A crapflood is an (intentionally) content-free post. Here are some suggestions for the source of your crapflood -- remember to take care with repetition, odd characters, or repetition, to get past the lameness filter:

  1. your local dictionary file, e.g. /usr/share/dict/words on BSDs
  2. your local real names file, e.g. /usr/share/dict/propernames on BSDs
  3. a copy-paste part of a web page (for extra amusement, copy-paste from Slashdot itself)
  4. a UU-encoded newsgroup file
  5. some output from a lorem ipsum generator
  6. examples of your latest spams, particularly those in Korean
  7. allowing your cat to walk across the keyboard for a few minutes.

How do I widen pages?
A method is known and delivered to us by the beautiful Klerck which currently works in Internet Explorer alone. This will therefore ruin the browsing experience of by far the majority of Slashdot readers. Start with the text:

http://www.eveeieyhfgfcdoosammgwsnboivvbsczxlzgabc /

then repeat /ooieiabdcdjsvbkeldfogjhiyeeejkagclmieooionoepdk /

several times, remembering to avoid the compression filter trap by using different random characters.

How do I karma whore?
"Karma whoring" is the practice of gaining moderation points for their own sake. It is particularly useful in techniques for defeating the moderation system. Some tips for karma whoring are:

  1. If the site containing the actual article is not on a fast server (i.e. is not a "big site"), re-post the article with subject, "the article -- in case the site gets slashdotted". Make sure this comes as early as possible in the list of comments, to avoid the dreaded (-1, Redundant).
  2. If any article pops up on Microsoft, write a stock two paragraphs explaining why Microsoft is immoral, and why the event described cannot happen with Free Software. I shall not supply text, because tests have shown that moderators are not completely stupid, and can identify duplicate posts (this is actually helpful in defeating the moderation system, see below).
  3. For any article discussing a particular company, state that you worked there, and offer your "inside knowledge". Note that geeks do visit Slashdot, so do not fall into the trap of being too obvious a fraud -- a mistake made by such amateur trolls as PhysicsGenius, who must now suffer a life of instant down-modding.

How do I defeat the moderation system?
The moderation system is far from flawless. Here are some ways to devalue it:

  1. If you have moderator points, for goodness sake abuse them! How about moderating up a First Post, a crapflood, or best of all, this very FAQ? It would be a crime to allow such an easily abused system to work.
  2. Copy the text of another person's post, and paste it as a reply to an earlier post. Most people read oldest messages first, so they will consider yours to be the first message, and the later message to be "redundant". This is great for annoying karma whores.
  3. Vote Troll posts as "underrated", thus increasing their exposure without running the risk of having your moderation rights revoked.

How do I defeat authentication?
Don't. The FBI will arrest you for being a terrorist. Instead, make an authoritative nick like CmdrTaco (editor). The majority of people are easily fooled, and will be likely to take notice of and respond to your post, and even moderate it up. Think of it like Lunix Turvalds walking into the room -- people listen to what he has to say, and don't dare disagree.

How do I defeat the goatse link early warning system?
Simple -- use one of the many foolishly implemented redirector URLs hosted on well-known sites. Here's an innocuous recent example which pretends to link to the highly informative about.com, but in fact links to a site of the popular 90's lesbian band The Spice Girls: Informative link which will get me karma [about.com]

What are some excellent sites to sneakily link to?
Mostly, you should link to gay porn. If you are reading this FAQ, you already know the URLs, so I don't need to supply them, except to say that it's almost an initiation ceremony in Slashdot trolling to link to goatse [goatse.cx] .

Administrativa

How do I justify the existence of this FAQ?
Slashdot is full of people who support unlicensed weapons ownership and dissemination of bomb creation documents -- in short, they support freedom, even when that freedom could cause harm. This document should be considered as that very freedom in action. Indeed, to disparage or moderate down this document would be un-American, and the FBI are likely to arrest you for being a terrorist.

How do I add to or change this FAQ?
Simply re-post the FAQ on Slashdot, adding an appropriate question, and incrementing the version number by 1. Before doing so, please try to ensure you have the latest version, and remember to keep this post W3C compliant!

Don't mind these other idiots, Klerck (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3424918)

You are truly a benefit to mankind, a true smacker of the slashsheep. I applaud you, sir!

Save the wide ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3425460)

This is it's last chance !
Sign here before it dies ! [petitiononline.com]

1963 (-1, Offtopic)

The Lyrics Guy (539223) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424880)

New Order - 1963

It was January, 1963
When Johnny came home with a gift for me
He said I bought it for you because I love you
And I bought it for you because it's your birthday, too
He was so very nice, he was so very kind
To think of me at this point in time
I used to think of him, he used think of me
He told me to close my eyes
My gift would be a great surprise
I saw tears were in his eyes
He never meant to hurt me
Oh, God, Johnny, don't point that gun at me
There's so many ways our lives have changed
But please, I beg, don't do this to me
Johnny, don't point that gun at me
Can I save my life at any price?
For God's sake won't you listen to me?

And though he was ashamed that he had took a life
Johnny came home with another wife
And he often remembered how it used to be
Before that special occasion, 1963
There was too many ways that you could kill someone
Like in a love affair, when the love is gone
He told me to close my eyes
My gift would be a great surprise
I saw hatred in his eyes
He never meant to hurt me
Oh, God, Johnny, don't point that gun at me
There's so many ways our lives have changed
But please, I beg, don't do this to me
Johnny, you keep on using me
Can I change my life for any price?
Oh, Johnny, won't you listen to me?

He told me to close my eyes
My gift would be a great surprise
I saw hatred in his eyes
But he never meant to hurt me
Oh, God, Johnny, don't point that gun at me
There's so many ways our lives have changed
But please, I beg, don't do this to me
Johnny, you keep on using me
Can I change my life for any price?
Oh, Johnny, won't you listen to me?

I just want you to be mine,
I don't want this world to shine
I don't want this bridge to burn
Oh, Johnny, do you miss me?
I just want to feel for you
I will always feel for you...

rumours (3, Informative)

56ker (566853) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424888)

There are all sorts of rumours spreading about ITV Digital at the moment - rumours they've struck a deal with clubs over lowering the amount of cash they'll pay them - rumours as to whether they'll go bankrupt or find a buyer first - how much cash they have left - the list goes on - but they're all that so far - just rumours!

3400+ Slashdotters Can't Be Wrong... (-1, Offtopic)

cybrpnk (94636) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424993)

Do yourself a favor and check out a new month-old internet site called Serence [serence.com] . Since April 2002 they have had a free / no ads / no spyware download for your Windows desktop called Klipfolio [serence.com] and this thing is great. According to the site statistics 3400+ slashdotters have already downloaded the Slashdot Klip [klipfarm.com] and after joining them today, I can see why. (No, I don't have any personal vested interest in this, I just think it's cool.) The Slashdot Klip stays on your desktop and downloads the XML feed from Andover/Slashdot containing current article headlines, alerting you when there is a new one. Klips from a few dozen other founding news sources [klipfarm.com] with XML newsfeeds are also available in a scrolling, dockable, resizable, skinnable package. In the lower left corner of the previous link you can suggest a new klip feed to Serence you'd like to see - a great thing for you to do, the more sites that use this, the better for all of us. You can even start up your own personal Klip feed [serence.com] ! Rack up your favorite sites in one desktop package and you are really in control...click on a headline, up comes the article, click on the site symbol, up comes the home page. Like any dot-com, Serence's success depends on market penetration and this is one idea I think deserves to be slashdotted so it has a shot at succeeding...

Offtopic? Not really, the article I'm posting under went out as a Slashdot Klip headline. And what good is maxed out karma if not to risk it in spreading the word about a cool new Slashdot feature?

is it me? (2, Insightful)

da_Den_man (466270) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424892)

Or does it seem like MS is trying awfully hard to get involved in "every thing " to appear to be helping. Yet, it seems to be all about control. Now, This may be off topic and modded as such, but maybe Government is not what we should be fearing...but rather the Corporations behind the government votes. Everyone in the US learned that their vote doesn't amount to much with the past Presidential election...so maybe this is where the "Big Brother" aspect will appear...

Re:is it me? (2)

danheskett (178529) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424923)

Everyone in the US learned that their vote doesn't amount to much with the past Presidential election

You mean the 42.5% of eligbile people who actually did vote.


Or does it seem like MS is trying awfully hard to get involved in "every thing " to appear to be helping.
Or maybe just to make, you know, money.

Yet, it seems to be all about control.
I disagree. I think its about, you know, making money. "Control" is a lot of work. It is much easier to just make money by making a product and then selling it for money.

but rather the Corporations behind the government votes
I don't fear corporations at all. Because the great thing about corporations is that participation is voluntary. I fear government, because participation is mandatory.

I also fear hypocrites who worry about MS being "big brother" while happily using Frontpage to create their home page.

Re:is it me? (3, Insightful)

grung0r (538079) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425004)

I don't fear corporations at all. Because the great thing about corporations is that participation is voluntary. I fear government, because participation is mandatory.

Particapation is not voluntary, you just have a choice as to who you chose to particapte with(Unless you want to live in a cave and hunt your food). As corporate consolidation continues, your choice will disapear as well.

I disagree. I think its about, you know, making money. "Control" is a lot of work. It is much easier to just make money by making a product and then selling it for money.

Microsoft may just want to make money, but they need to exert control over the consumer and the market to make more. To do that they need to goverment on their side. Thinking otherwise is just naive.

i second that (1)

koekepeer (197127) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425100)

"I also fear hypocrites who worry about MS being "big brother" while happily using Frontpage to create their home page."

nice to see some realism overhere @ /. :-)

(ps. he *really* uses frontpage to create his webpage, amazing ...)

Re:is it me? (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424949)

OH FUCK ME, NO!

not control here (2)

BlueboyX (322884) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424967)

They would be putting themselves in a somewhat compromised position here. They are more interested in buying succeeding businesses (like their attempt at Nintendo).

What they are trying to do is expand into other markets. All big corporations try to 'diversify,' otherwise they get bloated, top-heavy and sink. MS is just looking around for other markets to get into in order to keep themselves going.

Re:not control here (1)

homebru (57152) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425154)

They would be putting themselves in a somewhat compromised position here. They are more interested in buying succeeding businesses (like their attempt at Nintendo).

Not necessarily. Companies that succeed may invest in other good companies, true, but other good investments would be:

  1. a company that increases sales of your existing products by more than what it costs you. The company could be losing money on its basic product line in order to support the sales of the parent organization.
  2. a marginally profitable company that would have a major negative impact on your sales if you allowed it to go down the drain.


As an example of (2), consider the privatization of CompUSA. 51% ownership went to private ownership in Mexico. The rest was divided up amongst one of the baby Bell telephone companies, Microsoft, and someone else (don't remember right now; not important here). IIRC, MS got about 10% of Comp and may still have it.

CompUSA was not anybody's model of a successful company. But without Comp, MS would have lost a large chunk of their retail presence.

In this case, (British TV), it does look like they're trying to get a foothold in a new market. But is it to make a profit out of TV production or because a new, national WindowsTV would make big bucks in license sales?

No Surprise (3, Interesting)

Thenomain (537937) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425049)

Even if the rumors aren't true, this is no surprise. Even before WebTV and MSN (and MSNBC, and so on), Microsoft has planned to get into the telecom business. Don't believe me? Pick up a pre-revised copy of _The Road Ahead_ at your local used bookstore. There is at least one chapter about the future of Microsoft.

At one point there was a rumor that MS wanted to have a controlling investment in a communications satellite. I don't know what happened with that.

Re:is it me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3425098)

Everyone in the US learned that their vote doesn't amount to much with the past Presidential election...so maybe this is where the "Big Brother" aspect will appear...

On the contrary, everyone in the US learned that their one little vote amounts to *everything* with the past Presidential election.

Re:is it me? (2)

darien (180561) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425330)

Maybe it's just me, but isn't this a fairly obvious move for MS? Microsoft clearly wants to diversify out of the study and into the front room, hence the X-Box. Meanwhile, according to this article [bbc.co.uk] , ITV Digital is looking for someone to take over 1.3M set-top boxes. If I'm not much mistaken, those boxes can be reprogrammed remotely, so this is a perfect opportunity for MS to extend their own brand of integrated services into the living room.

If you ask me, they should also release an X-Box with a built in decoder. I despise Microsoft, and I'm perfectly happy with my PS2, but I'd be very likely to pay £199 for an X-Box that came with Sky One for a year.

Microsoft vs. AOL Time warner - the saga continues (1)

bushboy (112290) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424897)

Looks like another step in a new for media control between Microsoft and AOL-TW.

Lets hope the consumer wins out - but then again :-

<i>"British Government has decided that all TVs will have to switch over to digital by 2010"</i>

Hmmmm ...

Re:Microsoft vs. AOL Time warner - the saga contin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3424906)

They are referring to ending analogue terrestrial broadcasting. There is no specification that the broadcast must be via cable or satellite, and in fact, ITV Digital were in the business of providing a new set-top-box to decode terrestrial digital signals.

Re:Microsoft vs. AOL Time warner - the saga contin (2)

nyjx (523123) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424913)

This isn't as strange as it sounds - it's happening in a lot of countries. Basically terestrial TV is very expensive to keep hoing. It would in fact be cheaper to give everybody in the UK a free digiTV box than to keep the old TV service running... hence the aim to phase it out.

...and then we can have another spectrum auction and sting the telcos again :-).

Re:Microsoft vs. AOL Time warner - the saga contin (2, Insightful)

doctor_oktagon (157579) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424984)

God no ... we don't really have the AOL-TW thing in the UK.

We have BBC vs Channel 4, that's no bad thing.

Re:Microsoft vs. AOL Time warner - the saga contin (4, Insightful)

darien (180561) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425362)

Well, we had ITV Digital vs. Sky Digital, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News International. It was never a remotely equal battle. In fact MS is probably one of the few companies big enough to take on Murdoch. And just think - two vast cross-media companies, each with billions of pounds to spend, slugging it out in cut-throat competition for market share. Sounds like heaven for the happy consumer caught in the crossfire. As long as one of the companies doesn't actually win, of course.

Re:Microsoft vs. AOL Time warner - the saga contin (1)

batemanm (534197) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425015)

"British Government has decided that all TVs will have to switch over to digital by 2010"

Hmmmm ...

The plan being to license the space that is used by terestial TV broadcast to mobile phone companies(and others) for use with new digital services including not only voice but data services. I doubt the mobile phone companies will be interested though since they have been stuck with a rather large bill for the 3G licenses which no customers seem intested in using.

Re:Microsoft vs. AOL Time warner - the saga contin (2)

darien (180561) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425392)

I doubt the mobile phone companies will be interested though since they have been stuck with a rather large bill for the 3G licenses which no customers seem intested in using.

It's not that we're not interested, it's just that there's nothing for us to buy yet! I think GPRS is the only new technology that's appeared since that auction, and that's really not what 3G is about.

According to Nokia [nokia.com] :

* 3G is being on a train and watching clips from your favorite soap
* 3G is being out and sending images back to headquarters
* 3G is using your phone to take holiday pictures to instantly send to friends at home
* 3G is using your phone for a videoconference in a taxi

I think we'd best wait until there's a product that actually does this before declaring that customers aren't interested in the technology!

Consortium? (3, Interesting)

seizer (16950) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424898)

The software giant is one of several firms trying to assemble a consortium to take over the wreckage

Why on earth do they need a consortium? ITV Digital's debts are in the region of a few hundred million pounds, as far as I know, but Microsoft is sitting on an actual cash pile of tens of billions. If they truly want it, then the only reason not to buy it outright is surely a political one, not problem of means!

Re:Consortium? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3424945)

ITV digital LOSES like 1 mln GBP a day, thats $0.5bln! Buying it is the easiest bit, making it profitable for years to come is probably impossible!

Re:Consortium? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3425314)

Because having lots of cash doesn't mean you have to be stupid with it. Microsoft needs a consortium for one simple reason - it's never run a terrestrial digital TV station in the UK before. If you want to jump into a new market that currently looses millions a day, you want to be able to stem the flow of cash from it, not by pumping your money into it, but by recruiting experience which can reverse your fortunes...

If you had lots of cash in the bank, would you spend some of it on a loss-making business?

Re:Consortium? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3425736)

Yup, like the above posters said. It just reduces risk, and brings in expertise MS doesn't have.

Also, there may be media ownership regulations in the UK. Sole ownership, or non-UK ownership may not be acceptable.

Boost X-Box Sales? (5, Funny)

bildstorm (129924) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424901)

So will Microsoft be giving away a new version of the X-Box as a digital tv receiver? That'd be about the only way to boost sales of X-Box games there.

Re:Boost X-Box Sales? (1)

handsomepete (561396) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424920)

So will Microsoft be giving away a new version of the X-Box as a digital tv receiver? That'd be about the only way to boost sales of X-Box games there.

In that situation people would probably keep trying to fit their rented movies into it.

Consumer: "Well, it came from the TV provider, and it's as big as a VCR..."

Re:Boost X-Box Sales? (1)

LordoftheFrings (570171) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424929)

If they did use X-BOXes as receivers, Nintendo, Sony, and the like might scream antitrust. Just like it is for distributing various pieces of software with Windows, only this time, MS would get sued by Sony, Nintendo, and the like.

Re:Boost X-Box Sales? (2)

darien (180561) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425420)

Offer a choice - a set-top box for £219, or a decoder that plugs into the X-Box for £19. Say it's much cheaper than the box because it mostly runs as software on the X-Box's processor, so it needs far fewer and simpler components. That would have the desired effect, and I think it'd be hard to prosecute.

Re:Boost X-Box Sales? (1)

Chicane-UK (455253) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424978)

I guess giving them away would be the only way people would actually buy the things.. I dont even know a single person who owns an Xbox (and I do know quite a few console owners).

That said, I have contemplated picking up an Xbox for two simple reasons :

a) I really want to play Halo.. Microsoft should use that Warthog Jump video as a promotional item.. just watching that made me want the game :)

b) I have been offered an Xbox for £75 ($109) - even if I decide it sucks I can sell it back on for double what I bought it for :)

Microsoft buys UK (5, Interesting)

nyjx (523123) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424902)

Seems to tie in nicely with the The Register [theregister.co.uk] 's long running set of services of Microsoft tying up the UK government's on-line and internal services [theregister.co.uk] .

If this happens we may need to float the british iles off into the mid atlantic and quietly sink them.

Re:Microsoft buys UK (2)

pubjames (468013) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425046)

If this happens we may need to float the british iles off into the mid atlantic and quietly sink them.

Or attach them to the USA and make them another state.

Re:Microsoft buys UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3425563)

yeah, no offence but if that happened i'd purposly drown myself and the rest of the population.

didnt anyone realise taht theres a giant plug in wales that can sink the whole of the UK if its pulled out? its called Rhyl ;)

Re:Microsoft buys UK (1)

Colm@TCD (61960) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425721)

*Cough*

The UK is only one of the countries in the British Isles. In Ireland we're not kowtowing to Microsoft to quite the same degree as His Tonyness... although Microsoft is a huge employer here, they haven't yet shown any interest in taking us over completely.

This is EXACTLY what we need (2, Funny)

MrSloth (544065) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424904)

Wow wont it be great when everything is controlled by microsoft?

Just think: Microsoft TV can hype Microsoft OS that is bundled with Microsoft Internet that wont let you see all that nasty "free" and "good" stuff available.

and noone will have to worry about incompatibilities! it's all microsoft, you know how well their stuff plays with their stuff

wait.......

lacking one weakness (2)

BlueboyX (322884) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424981)

MS stuff can work pretty good, once they get it working at all. It is getting to the point where it works that is the problem. Here, they will be getting a system that already does work, technology-wise (not income-wise, which never was a problem for MS).

They could possably expand a working network to do alot of the neat digital tv stuff that people have been talking about, but not actually making/getting.

My point is that, while the problems with MS are obvious (to us), there are also some possable good things that could come from this.

2^4 post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3424908)

16th post!

You can bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3424915)

...that Microsoft is going to want to control 'TV' once it becomes integrated with the 'internet'.

I've thought this for a long time. (2)

scrutty (24640) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424934)

The huge inevitable megacorp war as to who owns all the content/networks/eyeballs/mindshare/money/world is going to be
Microsoft/Gates VS News Corp/ Murdoch.

Mark My Words.

Re:I've thought this for a long time. (2, Insightful)

Phroggy (441) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425002)

Surely you're not discounting AOLTW/Case?

Re:I've thought this for a long time. (2, Insightful)

scrutty (24640) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425054)

I don't think they are in it for the long haul. As I understand it they haven't been doing so well of late.

Maybe its because I'm English and see more of Murdoch - but I think he's as sociopathic a megalomaniac as Gates is. I think you can read a lot into a corporation from its chief controlling founder's personality. I tend to see AOL/TW/Case as just more of your everyday (very successful) capitalists just following the megacorporation-HOWTO.

Gates + Murdoch I find a bit scary as personalities. All just my opinions of course , and all total conjecture.

Re:I've thought this for a long time. (1)

sillyopolis (558926) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425166)

What about Disney-CapCities-ABC-etc.
What about AOL-Time-Warner-RoadRunner-Turner-CNN-etc.
There are a few more megas than you think...

Re:I've thought this for a long time. (1)

Uart (29577) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425678)

AOL-Time Warner is on its deathbed. There are rumors that they are going to spin off AOL...

ITV Digital (2, Interesting)

happyhippy (526970) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424939)

is frankly crap and I dont see how M$ will benefit from it.

ITV had already a dwindling population of subscribers and now that the bad PR of current people will not flock back.

And the second biggest money maker (after drugs) for the UVF and IRA in Northern Ireland was too sell chipped ITV decoders.

Re:ITV Digital (1)

blowdart (31458) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425370)

Because not all of us can put a dish up, and are not in cable areas. So digital reception through the arial is the only way to get certain channels.

It would just be, for MS, an extension of their cable set top boxes business. I could see them switching everyone over to Windows CE based hardware. Finally, I can get read of the crap box I have now that crashes every 3 days to one that crashes every 7

Re:ITV Digital (1)

pacman on prozac (448607) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425594)

it is crap. The benefits however would probably be that by either 2005 or 2010 all UK terrestrial TV will be broadcast digitally and Microsoft will own what is currently the largest digital terrestrial broadcaster in the UK.

Non-subscription digital boxes are supposed to be going on sale here soon and I'm sure itv digital is capable of broadcasting unscrambled signals, especially when those signals will be receieved by the x million homes without SKY in the uk.

Well, I've just booked my plane ticket out of here anyway.

Great (3, Funny)

Ezubaric (464724) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424943)

I wonder if Ballmer will get his own workout show. It'd be even worse than flashy animation from Japan: siezures and vomiting.

Re:Great (1)

Chicane-UK (455253) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425052)

"I love this channel.. YEAH!"

It astounds me that Steve Ballmer hasn't had a heart attack or somthing yet.. not that I wish the guy any ill health, but just watching the famous Steve Ballmer videos, he exhausts himself just bouncing round a stage for 30 seconds - and can barely get his breath back for almost as long.

Digital switch in 2010 (1)

HaloMan (314646) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424947)

Isn't gonna happen. There has to be the percentage of use, and if 90% of people haven't switched over, it won't happen.

And I doubt many people will be using Digital Terrestrial, as unfortunately it's pathetic (Note: This is my experience after prolonged use).

Oh great (5, Informative)

greg2000 (558606) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424952)

So Now anyone in the UK who wants Digital TV is going to have to chose between Rupert Murdoch or Bill Gates. Fantastic ;-)


For those Americans Not in the Know obout our state of affairs accross the pond, ITV digital has Over bidded to get the TV rights to most Football (Soccar) games over here and as a result has gone bust. It's parent companies (both established broadcasters "Carlton" and "Granada" are using Legagal technicalities to get out of paying the Football clubs the money they were promised. This has left a lot of smaller, less well off clubs facing financial ruin, unless a buyer can be found. Whilst it is true that I think Microsoft is Vile, if it saves all of the threatened clubs my opinion of them will increase dramatically.

Re:Oh great (1)

happyhippy (526970) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424966)

NTL do some digital TV coverage too. But I think they just buy the rights of Murdoch.

Re:Oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3425014)

Whilst it is true that I think Microsoft is Vile, if it saves all of the threatened clubs my opinion of them will increase dramatically.

Yeah, I'd be more than happy to sell out control of British ditial television to one of the biggest convicted monopolists in the world to save a bunch of clubs employing overpaid, semi-sentient ball-kicking morons...

Re:Oh great (1)

kingosric (472809) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425099)

So Now anyone in the UK who wants Digital TV is going to have to chose between Rupert Murdoch or Bill Gates

FYI, Telewest (one of the (two?) large UK cable co.'s) is 23% owned by MS already. (and guess who owns the only cable down my street....)

Re:Oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3425124)

Well, let me guess...

The football clubs were greedy, and killed off their Digital TV.

Tough titty.

Re:Oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3425605)

Too right! I hope all the clubs go bust.

Re:Oh great (2)

mce (509) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425172)

Whilst it is true that I think Microsoft is Vile, if it saves all of the threatened clubs my opinion of them will increase dramatically.

You don't really think MicroSoft (or any other big company for that matter) would buy the TV station to save the local football clubs, I hope... Big companies like that don't care at all about such things. As a matter of fact, neither do the vast majority of smaller ones.

To let your opinion of a company be influenced by this kind of "accidental" benefit is a recipe for serious disillusionement.

Re:Oh great (3, Informative)

Cally (10873) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425176)


It's parent companies (both established broadcasters "Carlton" and "Granada" are using Legagal technicalities to get out of paying the Football clubs the money they were promised.


Not at all. Carlton and Granada are limited liability companies; this is what limited liability means - they are not liable for ITV Digital's debt just because they own a majority of the shares ('stock'). How would you like it if a compnay went bankrupt and you found yourself liable for their debt because you owned some shares in them?

The F.A. were greedy. Football players were greedy. ITV Digital were greedy. You may have noticed, there's been a lot of this in the last few years....

Actually I think it'd be great - No more football (3, Troll)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425458)

Just think, a world without all the dull dull dull football matches on TV. The more football clubs going bust, the better.

In fact. it'd be good if Sky bought all the football matches forever then we wouldn't have to have it on every channel every saturday.

Re:Oh great (1)

trudyscousin (258684) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425486)

"For those Americans Not in the Know obout our state of affairs..."

Our Canadian cousins say "aboot." You guys say "obout." As an American, I say "about." Isn't global diversity wonderful?

Re:Oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3425658)

Actually, Canadians say 'about', Americans say 'a-bowwt' ;-)

Microsoft and ITV (5, Interesting)

aaronsb (138360) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424972)

About a week ago, Microsoft laid off about 65 employees in their TV division due a "re-organization". (including me)

Almost all of the people who were cut were developers and technical people.

Since the restructure, they're attempting to target the low-end middleware platform. For example the software that runs on a Motorola DCT-2000 cable box, and gives you the channel listings, and in the future VOD and purchase control.

It makes me wonder what they're trying to accomplish by purchasing yet another small itv company in the UK when they don't make enough money to support their own engineering efforts.

Aaron

Re:Microsoft and ITV (1)

Utopia (149375) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425104)

didn't you get absorbed into MSN TV ?

Re:Microsoft and ITV (2)

ZxCv (6138) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425700)

Sure, layoffs usually happen after a buyout and not before, but perhaps the folks that got laid off are just positions that will be duplicates when MS does buy ITV?

I've been looking... (5, Funny)

Tsugumi (553059) | more than 12 years ago | (#3424982)

...but I can't seem to find Ctrl-Alt-Del on my remote.

Re:I've been looking... (5, Informative)

dackroyd (468778) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425086)

Ironically they could have used one on the remote - one of the reasons why ITV Digital has gone under is the pathetic quality of their set top boxes.

I used to have one and the top list of annoyances has to be:
1) The channel refusing to change at all, despite having new batteries in the remote

2) The channel change refusing to take the second digit of a channel change - "No goddamnit I said channel 26 not channel 2"

3) Flipping through channels takes ages as it takes almost two seconds to buffer enough data to display a new channel, so scrolling from Sky 1(26) to MTV(33) would take 15 seconds...annoying if you're just checking to see if JackAss has come on yet.

4) Having to walk over to the box to reboot it (by pulling the power cable out)about once a week, as the box refuses any input from the remote (including on/off)

5)Super low picture quality. I don't know what codec they were using, but from the banding it looked like they were converting the image to 16-bit before converting it into a mpeg-type stream. This is okay for normal shots such as people in a room, but for Star Trek it sucked as any subtle colourations in the background would be displayed as three bands across the screen.

But at least they weren't owned by Rupert "Pay no taxes" Murdoch. I suspect M$ won't buy them as their tech is so bad and they are direct competitors to R.Murdochs Sky One in the UK, and it would probably be a mistake for Microsoft to make him a strategic opponent.

Re:I've been looking... (2)

Kanon (152815) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425348)

For the record a lot of people have those exact same problems with their SKY Digiboxes. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of quality control in Digital TV software.

Linux should rescue ITV (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3424991)

It should be OSS freaks and the bunch of Linux losers to rescue ITV instead... (but who pays?)

Blah (1)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425019)

Yet another reason people should just stick to a good ol' book!

At least I don't have to have a Passp0rt just to read it!

Yet...

<mumble> Sensationalist <mutter> (5, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425030)

This would enable them to get a large share of the British TV market, as the British Government has decided that all TVs will have to switch over to digital by 2010.

ITV Digital? "Large share"? Don't make me laugh. Many of us can't even get channel 5 properly, yet, in spite of being in a major city. Those who have satellite and/or cable forget that there are still many, many people in the UK who don't.

This whole story is one big sensationalist rumour. I've heard so many "possibler buyer" stories about ITV Digital in the past couple of weeks that I've lost track. Why is this one any more likely?

Re: Sensationalist (1)

fatgraham (307614) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425162)

if microsoft own a lot of ntl/telewest, and they take the football rights contract, it may influence more people to go with the cable operators.

probably not enough demand for 1st division to convince people to switch over from rupert murdoch's stranglehold, but its another(?) exclusive on TW/NTL's list

Billy G and Bend Over Blair... Best of chums! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3425044)

Sadly atmo young Tony Blair and Bill Gates appear to be the best of chums - witness the UK govt "sponsoring" some election stuff at a Windows XP release (I think...). Most people would be alarmed at a foreign company taking over a large corp, but I'm sure his mate Tony will see him through alright.

Perhaps they could have a TV show? (cue drum roll...) "...and now, it's the Bill and Blair Show - Mediocrity Galore!!!" Or perhaps "Billy G and Bend-Over Blair"? Where's Mark Thomas when you need him?

It's funny thinking of an election campaign slogan in '97 ("Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime") that Labour came out with - seeing as MS have been found guilty of illegal business practices in the US, will Tony be tough on his pal? Doubt it very much. (btw, they have lost my vote).

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3425045)

First post!! Read it and weep!

Testcard (1)

QuodEratDemonstratum (569501) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425057)

It should be pretty obvious what colour their testcard [www.thbe.nu] will be

Whatever keeps them out of the software biz... (3, Interesting)

crovira (10242) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425062)

Hey! Let 'em go into content production for a change.

We know TV's already full of crap. M$ can't do any harm there. Its already down to the lowest common denominator. Let M$ go broke trying to get into HDTV. Its just a mirage as far as I can tell.

There are still no real standards.

The competition is already there and its dog-eat-dog.

The margins are razor thin.

It'd be something else they'd give up on eventually. (I haven't seen any plans for X-Box][ or X-Box ]|[. Have you? :-)

And they'd be at the whim of their advertisers. It'd be great to see M$ pandering instead of patronizing. M$s share holders will watch the share values drop like a stone but since Bill's still richer than Creosus, he won't care and he still holds the majority so their opinion counts for squat.

I can see it now:

"Debby Does Redmond!"
"M$ Where more that you system goes down!"
"Digitized 'Chech & Chong' in:
'Gotta Crash' "
"MSNBC and CNet television in HDTV.
Boredom with a 9x16 aspect ratio."

I gave up on TV years ago. Don't even own one anymore. Waste of time. When I found yourself flipping through 50+ channels trying to see if there's anything on that caught my attention for more that a second, it was time to abandon it (I just didn't pack it a couple of ago,) and get a life.

Maybe the world'd get usable software instead of Win-doze.

Oh, wonderful... (2, Interesting)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425065)

... The country's going entirely digital in the next ten to twenty years. We now have a choice of who we'd like to run the whole TV network: 1) Bill Gates 2) Rupert Murdoch Thanks a lot. I think I'll have to stay on the net permanently now. At least the BBC's still around...

Interactive TV. "This market is red hot!" (0, Offtopic)

kyoko21 (198413) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425087)

Hahahahaa :-) For those that don't know, it's actually an inside joke.

Back in December I was let go from a company formerly owned by TFSM and I was personally in charge of System Integration for a VOD or what we called "POD" system for Verizon Avenue.

We were deployed in two sites here in the Metro D.C. area and for 8 months of my life I gave my all to this project only to have it shattered to pieces to the poor handling of upper management.

Aside from just providing middleware, we also had a rock solid back office suite that contained everything from targeted advertising (world class Connect system - props to the dev team!), and everything related to CRM. Yet with a solid product, we were still going under. (TLC anyone?)

To my knowledge to date, I have not seen any other system that could come close to what our system could do. Granted it still has many issues to resolve, but for a completely digital system end-to-end, from content management, license management, provider payment, contract management, and to customer retention management, there isn't anything out there can do what we had. But hey, just because we had the best doesn't mean we can stay afloat.

Can we say that I am bitter? :-)

This market is red hot? Red hot my a*s.

Enough Microsoft already! (1, Offtopic)

awptic (211411) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425088)

My god, have we nothing better to write about than Microsoft? Looking on the front page, I see FOUR stories about Microsoft. There's gotta be something more newsworthy, even for slashdot this is bad.

Re:Enough Microsoft already! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3425344)

Should rename to Microdot.

For a bunch of Linuxheads, I'm really surprised we keep leaning over the fence and telling ourselves how crap the neighbours' lawnmower is, when we could be improving our own. They both cut the grass, ours does it a little better, yet we still think their mower is more important to talk about...

I look at the top left and I see this little tagline 'news for nerds. stuff that matters'. As a Linux user, there are things that are much more important than M$ thanks.

Another article (3, Informative)

cca93014 (466820) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425116)

from the UK Sunday The Observer can be found here [observer.co.uk]

Don't get too excited (3, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425146)

This is probably a non-story. There's a $250 million poisoned chalice attached to buying ITV Digital as a going concern, let alone the fact that it makes a loss ever second it's on air. That's not pocket change, even for Microsoft, and bearing in mind their internal beaurocracy, they probably won't be able to commit to taking it on in time to buy the business outright.

Chances are, nobody else will either, and the company will fold, default on its debts, and then have its assets (i.e. its license and equipment) bought by a new bidder. Most likely (wait for it) is the current owners, who are chuckling all the way to the bank at the thought of being able to effectively just wipe all the debts and start clean. Microsoft doesn't like to get involved in bidding; they like deals to be done behind closed doors and controlled entirely by then. Actually bidding on an open market would be... unseemly.

I think we can sleep easy. But then, I'm already a UK Telewest customer, and Microsoft's already got their finger in that pie, so I may be suffering the first signs of Infestation. Make up your own minds. ;-)

Switching over to digital by 2010 (1)

ngtni (470389) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425157)

The switch is only to digital terrestrial, and the target for 2010 is that all TVs have digital capability, so that analogue terrestrial services can be turned off. There is no obligation to subscribe to a digital service such as ntl, Sky or ITV Digital.

Digital terrestrial includes many new non-analogue including BBC3 and BBC4.

And as others have pointed out, ITV Digital's service is very poor. Microsoft will face a challenge bringing it up to scratch. Having said that, if any company can transform ITV Digital, it's Microsoft.

digital tv without subscription (1)

weycrest (170770) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425175)

See http://www.pacefreetoview.co.uk/

MS are welcome to ITV Digital!

Microsoft's motivation (2)

rant-mode-on (512772) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425201)


Rumour has it, that Microsoft wants to get their hands on TV's existing blue screen technology - ie where something simple is superimposed onto something flash to make it _look_ like something really good is going on...

darn it, could have got a first post (1)

bredroll (261603) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425272)

can you imagine on your tv this?

'windows needs to restart your tv to let you watch
eastenders.'

there will be a war where ms push teletext at you
with activex vulns and speak of skytext as like they do with unix,

for some stupid reason there will be IIS on set top boxes, a whole new code red variant will be able to make you watch home and away while it ddos's

Monkey! (1)

philj (13777) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425329)

I just like the Monkey Testcard [lineone.net] ! :-)

Isn't this probably (2)

rutledjw (447990) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425391)

another push by MS to extend into other industries? They already have MS/NBC and isn't CNBC another joint venture with NBC & GE?

I'm no MS fan (by a long shot), but this seems like smart business to me, by moving into other industries they're not wholly dependent on software. They're already in entertainment, tried digital communications (failed satellite venture) and just introduced a gaming device (X-Box). They know they can do entertainment (look at everything they've contributed to /. stories! ;) ), so why not expand on that?

I'm not saying they may not try to manipulate content or use another tactic, but it seems to make business sense from their past investments...

1.5 % is a large share? A bit of perspective (2)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425439)

ITV Digital has about 1% of the market with maybe 1 million subscribers out of 60 million people in the UK and is in debt to the football association to the tune of a couple of hundred million dollars. Their set top technology has been comprehensively cracked and cracked cards are easily available.

Not necessarily a good business to be in.

Digital = buzzword for selling crap (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425456)

This should suit Microsoft fine, for most companys, 'digital' means "we can get away with bad compression quality, buggy software, controlling what the user can do, and over-pricing, and if anyone says our service is crap we just hype it up because its digital."

But, if Bill Gates appears in an advert were Monkey takes the piss out of him, then i might get Microsoft digital (but a hacked version, im not paying for that shit)

Microsoft's strategies (1)

EdMcMan (70171) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425498)

I am getting very confused by Microsoft's strategies. Although they are fighting off in being seperated for being a monopoly, they keep acting blatantly as one! Are they trying to make Microsoft as big as possible before it's split, or giving the thumb to the states that are prosecuting it?

Envy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3425514)

They're just envious of the Media|Highway software, Gate's is said to
be stunned that another company is capable of producing worse software than
MS, he's report to have said "we must do everything to eliminate this
serious competition".

They already own about 25% of the two UK cable providers.

Will it affect Corrie? (1)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425586)

I saw Granada was attached to ITV there somehow - I'm not sure of the relationship there. Will we still get Coronation Street? Will it be interrupted? :(

x-box intergration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3425593)

it would be quite cool though if the x-box could "intergrate" somehow wityh this microsoft TV :) use it like some kind of TEVO copy

Four Microsoft Articles? (1)

maniac1860 (567470) | more than 12 years ago | (#3425623)

There are four Microsoft Articles on the frontpage right now.
Slashdot
News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters. And Everything Microsoft Does. EVERYTHING.
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