TTM

JohnnyCarsonWeleetka

Just came across this Tonight Show on Antenna TV (8.3).

I recorded it on TiVo, and downloaded to my PC with the help of free pyTivo (see linked previous post).

With free Windows Movie Maker, I edited the segment into a 5:30 .mp4 for YouTube. But someone beat me to it. See bottom of this page.

This appearance was notable enough to be mentioned in Weleetka’s Wikipedia entry.

JohnnyCarsonWeleetka2

Chief Ronnie Porter talked about the problems of law enforcement without an adequate police vehicle.

We learned that the Weleetka chief was originally from Wewoka. Reminded me of this classic Tonight Show take-off on “Dragnet” with Jack Webb:

And here is the video:

You might get the idea that the purpose of this blog is to promote TiVo, as often as I mention it.

Not so. But with our possible choices constrained by the need for a high Wife Acceptance Factor weighting, it was almost inevitable that we would converge on TiVo as the best solution for the TV/DVR side of cord-cutting in our household.

News today from Digital Trends: “TiVo will soon be an entirely different company

TiVo is being acquired by Rovi Corporation, “a company based in the United States whose patents, products, and technologies include copy protection, software licensing and ‘search recommendation’ on devices such as set-top boxes, digital video recorders, TVs, and mobile and tablet devices. Companies such as consumer electronics manufacturers, cable operators, websites, and social networks use Rovi’s entertainment metadata—a collection of in-depth information on movies, television shows, celebrities, music, games, and books—in their efforts to organize and enable the consumption of digital entertainment.” (Wikipedia)

Rovi is not well-known to the general public. So the new company will also be called TiVo.

According to TheVerge, “it seems that the acquisition is mostly about patents. Neither TiVo nor Rovi make most of their money from actual products, instead, they rely on their intellectual property. For example, TiVo’s Time Warp patent, which allows users to fast-forward through adverts on recorded TV. Between them, the two companies have more than 6,000 issued and pending patents in the digital entertainment world.”

Rovi has roots in Tulsa. It was formerly known as Macrovision.

Back on July 11, 2008 in GroupBlog 270, I wrote this:

“Gemstar-TV Guide has an operation here in Tulsa at 71st and Lewis. It became a part of Macrovision a couple of months ago. Macrovision will keep the TV listings data side of the business, and likely spin off TV Guide magazine and possibly, the TV Guide Network.”

I added:

Weird Al’s ‘UHF’ (1988) was shot in Kensington Galleria, where TV Guide has its Tulsa offices”

The first TiVo was shipped on March 31, 1999 (More TiVo history here). Too bad I didn’t buy stock when it was offered on July 21, 1999.

Amazingly (to me, anyway), this website (TTM) was already in existence at that time.

(L & R images link to the pictured TTM pages, Middle is the Roku app on my smartphone.)
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Here’s yet another post related to both sides of this website (vintage local TV and cord-cutting).

The middle image is a screenshot from the Roku app on my wifi smartphone. All of our Roku channels are shown as a channel changer. Touch one of the channels and your Roku will present it.

The 1st and 3rd images are from the Tulsa TV Memories site, created late 1998 on Geocities(!) I used to present site subjects as “channels” until it got too unwieldy.

The “buttons” on all these changers are in the 4:3 aspect ratio, same as TVs had before 16:9 widescreen became the standard.

chnlchgrjava739height

(Click for larger view)

Here is an image of a “Java toy” changer I created for TTM on 10/25/1999. When displayed on the original page, the buttons move, audibly click, and take you to the relevant page.

Browsers tend not to use Java these days.

To make this work, you would have to download the Java add-on for your browser (Chrome doesn’t even have one.) Then you would need to add this page (http://tulsatvmemories.com/java/index3.html) to the Exception Site List in the Java Control Panel.

It’s not really worth the trouble except as something to do.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting that the design ideas were the same.

Screenshot of our 65" TV playing "Sonik Re-Entry" via the PleXBMC addon in OSMC/Kodi

Screenshot from our 65″ TV while playing “Sonik Re-Entry” on my $35 Raspberry Pi media computer.

This is a post where both sides of this website (vintage local TV and cord-cutting) converge.

Drive-in theatre maven Wesley Horton recently found an ad in the Nov. 10, 1967 Stillwater News Press for the Channel 2 Saturday night sci-fi/horror movie program, “Fantastic Theatre“, and sent me a copy. I finally got to see again the logo created by the Channel 2 artist!

1967 ad

1967 ad. Click to enlarge.

In early 1999, I had identified the show’s creepy electronic theme as “Sonik Re-Entry” by sending a .wav file of me trying to “sing” the instrumental melody to a couple of experts on early electronic music.

Once identified, I ordered a two-fer CD with the album it was taken from, “Song of the Second Moon” by Tom Dissevelt and Kid Baltan, plus Russ Garcia’s “Fantastica”. I later discovered that Channel 8’s “Plenty Scary Movie” promo used music from this bonus album, so it was a great deal.

A few days ago, I ripped the CD into .mp3 files using Windows Media Player. I have it set up to automatically do this when I insert a music CD into my PC.

I wanted the album to appear in Plex (What is Plex?) correctly so I could play it on Roku boxes, my Raspberry Pi/OSMC/Kodi media computer, or download it to smartphone for listening at the gym.

Usually, that happens with no further intervention needed. This time it didn’t.

On my phone

Smartphone. Click to enlarge.

This particular CD (issued in 1998 by Fantazmos Records in Frisco) was not recognized by WMP’s music database, so I had to name the .mp3 tracks, and manually add ID3 metadata tags to them. This I accomplished with freeware, Mp3tag. I had previously learned by trial-and-error plus Google which tags were important for the Plex server software on my PC to index the tracks properly.

In addition, I had to move the tracks from the two albums into separate folders, using Plex’ naming and organizing conventions on my PC.

Plex lets you add album art, a background, and the performers’ photo. I used part of Wesley’s ad for the background, and found the cover art online easily enough.

The screenshot at top shows you how it appears on our big TV. At right is a view on my wifi-only smartphone, showing the Dutch composers/performers.

Listen to samples of “Sonik Re-Entry” on the TTM “Fantastic Theatre” page. One features a voiceover by the original host, Josef Peter Hardt, created especially for David Bagsby’s “The Tulsa Project” CD!

cablecostgraph

Tulsa analog cable charge per month, 1975-2014

(1/29/2016 note: This price analysis considered only analog cable, which became history 8/2015. That was the only way to meaningfully compare prices over the years since 1975. More recent features as HD, DVR service, extra tiers of channels, phone service, security, etc. add considerably to the cable bill.)

2/1975 – $  5.95/mo
3/1986 – $10.60/mo
4/1995 – $21.00/mo
3/2008 – $44.00/mo
9/2014 – $68.00/mo

The first four data points I gleaned from published articles. The fifth I took from my current bill:

$68/mo = $71/mo for “TV Starter”, “Expanded Service”, and “Advanced TV Service” minus $3/mo to remove “Advanced TV”.

(FYI: The $68 does not include TV fees, taxes and surcharges of $6.33/mo over and above. Advanced TV is required for HD, and required for DVR service, which costs $12/mo more plus a cable box/DVR at $8.50/mo. Advanced TV also adds the Music Choice channels.)

From 1975 to 2014, that’s an increase of over 1000% (not counting inflation).


It’s hard to compare the years apples-to-apples, even when considering only analog service as I do here.

In 1975, the service was in its infancy. There were 24 channels, a number of which were static text displays.

In 1986, Tulsa Cable offered only “basic” service, channels 2-37, less at least 4 pay channels. But the basic channels were, as a group, much higher quality than 1975.

The 1995, 2008 and 2014 figures are for “extended basic” analog cable, roughly channels 2-63, less the pay channels.


Let’s consider only 1995-2014, years in which the meaning of  “extended basic” remains roughly the same, so that we CAN compare apples-to-apples. You see a 224% increase over that period. That’s a whole lot.

What are some of the mitigating factors from the cable company’s point of view?

Inflation is the obvious one. Using a CPI calculator for 1995-2014, I get a 56% increase over the period. That is, $21 in 1995 is equivalent to $32.77 in 2014. From $32.77 to $68 is a 108% increase over those 20 years, inflation-adjusted.

Other factors would include increasing programming costs, carriage disputes, system upgrades, e.g., digital, HD, fiber optics.

But 108% increase, inflation-adjusted? Wow. That’s an average of almost 4% per year increase on top of inflation. And it is expected to continue. (FCC: Basic Cable Prices Increased At Four Times Rate Of Inflation, Consumerist, 5/19/2014)


We as customers care mainly about the number on that monthly bill.

Seeing it almost double every decade (and that’s not even considering bundled phone, internet, and security) will eventually bring out the cord-cutter in everyone.


The value of cable/satellite service is relative to the free broadcasting available to you in any given year.

In 1975, that consisted of 4 analog channels. In 2014, the number of subchannels over the air approaches 30 (many of them HD), not even including all the full-time religious and shopping channels.

I found that we spend well over 90% of our viewing time on the major networks, subchannels (such as MeTV), and pay streaming services Netflix and Amazon.


Is it worth paying a minimum of $68/mo (analog-only, which very few customers do) for those channels that cable offers above and beyond broadcast TV?

  • Are you addicted to channel surfing?
  • Can you handle a less user-friendly system than the more integrated cable/satellite solutions?
  • Do you have the wherewithal to put up an antenna and hook up a Tivo or other DVR system?
  • Can you stand not participating in day-after water cooler conversations about “Breaking Bad”?
  • Do you have the time and energy to change over to broadcast/streaming?
  • If not, do you have the money to spare?

(Later note: we found that by answering the third question “yes”, the TiVo Roamio mitigated the first two questions.)

Only you can answer these questions. They’re not easy for most people. But if the curve continues to bend upwards, as is likely, there will be increasing economic pressure to seriously consider them.

I’m reminded again of a line from the 60s movie I mentioned previously, “Let’s Kill Uncle“:

(Uncle to nephew) “You’re a charming child, Barnaby, but five million dollars charming, you are not!”