Enhance the Movie Experience

Movie & Meal DealEver since the motion picture first burst onto the silver screen, people have wanted to enhance the cinematic experience. From 3D and IMAX to Smell-O-vision, just about every trick in the book has been used to make you feel part of the film, rather than an outside observer. To this fine canon of techniques, UK retailer Tesco and on-line movie service blinkbox are adding….food.

For their “Movie & Meal Deal“, Tesco and blinkbox commissioned top neuroscientist, Dr. Jack Lewis, to study the effects of active ingredients on people’s brains and then suggest food types that complement the movie-watching experience. His findings gave Tesco and blinkbox the perfect, if somewhat unusual, combinations for the ultimate movie night in.

Dr. Lewis reckons these foods match the movie genres.

  • Action – Sun-dried tomatoes coated in cocoa powder will raise noradrenaline which is instrumental to sensations of excitement
  • Comedy –  Fresh fish stuffed with beetroot and coleslaw to supplement the nitric oxide system and improve dopamine availability in the pleasure pathways of your brain
  • Drama – Chopped lemon, lime and mint sandwich drizzled with chilli sauce on wholewheat bread to trigger the RAS (reticular activating system) to remain alert and focused.
  • Horror – Chicken marinated in freshly brewed coffee will take you out of your comfort zone and raise levels of anxiety
  • Romance – Curl up with a spicy curry (not chocolate!) to top up your libido-stoking testosterone levels

Everyone knows that certain drugs can change the way you feel, but the chemicals we take into our bodies through our diet can also have an effect on our mood,” says Dr. Jack Lewis “Choosing to eat certain foods, whilst leaving others out, regulates the availability of ‘raw materials’ that the brain’s chemical messengers are created from. This means that you can tailor your meals to create the perfect mood for a movie night in, no matter what the genre.

The “Move & Meal Deal” is a partnership between Tesco and blinkbox: buy a variety of food and drinks from Tesco and then rent a blinkbox new release movie for just £2 instead of the usual price of £3.49.

Me, I think I’ll stick to popcorn.

Oxygen Audio O Car Integrated Head Unit for iPhone

Andy sounds out French auto audiophiles Oxygen Audio and their award-winning O Car integrated head unit for the iPhone. It’s totally awesome – the iPhone mounts into the head unit of the car stereo and then acts as the controller for all the audio functions, including playing from iTunes.  There’s even an RDS tuner built into the unit for the radio. Even better, the iPhone can move away from the head unit on a swivel and can be used as normal, running any apps that you want – GPS, Pandora, whatever. Of course, there’s full Bluetooth integration. Absolutely brilliant. Check out the pictures below and you’ll get the idea. Yeah, you want one.

Available now in France and will be shipping very shortly in the USA for around $300. See, I told you…you want one.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News.

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Should You Pay For Content?

I was listening to a podcast where the hosts were chatting back and forth about the newly offered Hulu Plus, where for $10 dollars a month, you can get Hulu on a wide variety of devices including smart phones and over-the-top Internet TV boxes. Hulu is also offering a somewhat wider, but still incomplete back catalog archive of shows. One of the hosts was saying he wouldn’t pay for content, he wanted it “for free.”

Whether we realize it or not, we are all paying for content, either directly or indirectly. Even if we have only a TV antenna and watch only the local TV channels, we are still paying for content indirectly via advertising. When we buy consumer products of virtually any kind, part of what we pay goes for advertising, which pays for content creation.

If we are paying indirectly only, someone else is deciding for us as to the quality of the programming content. We can either consume that content or not, but we still pay as consumers buying products. We have very little indirect control over what gets put on the air. On the other hand, if we pay for content directly, then we have far greater control over the quality of the media we are consuming.

If Hulu can offer value for the money, then it will succeed What they have to do is figure out what people are willing to pay for. Perhaps that value revolves around putting highly-sought-after content on as many devices as possible. Perhaps it revolves around coming up with the absolute best back catalog of old TV shows. Imagine having instant streaming access to every TV show ever produced in every country in any language, and every movie ever produced anywhere in any language. Something like that would be well worth paying for. Imagine a site such as IMDB.Com that lists every movie and TV show ever made, except as a subscriber you could instantly stream it – now you’re talking. Hulu, anyone else out there – are you listening?

I personally would be willing to pay for a service such as Hulu, except for one small glitch. There are no back catalog shows on the site at the moment that really excite me. Network drama shows can sometimes be quite good, but my tastes are somewhat different.

When I had Dish Network, I was watching a few selected shows on only 3 channels – Discovery, TLC and History. I can get most of these shows if I really want them at some point via Netflix. To my way of thinking, Netflix is a much better value. Netflix has a far wider variety of content, plus they also offer the handy rental service of DVD’s and Blu-ray discs.

The verdict is currently out whether Hulu will be able to figure out what value it needs to best serve its customers. If people are paying Hulu money directly, then Hulu had better quickly figure out exactly what those customers want and do its best to deliver it to them.

Hey Hulu, here’s an idea to try. Offer first-run streaming movies, but do it the Hulu way. I would be willing to pay for a first run movie streaming for a nominal pay-per-view fee, say $5.99. Vudu is offering streaming first run movies, but you have to have a big fat Internet connection to be able to use Vudu. The Vudu service demands way more bandwidth than my Internet service can currently deliver.

Here’s yet another idea for Hulu – offer exclusive, Hulu-only content consisting of well-produced material revolving around the “Entertainment Tonight” type of concept. Do exclusive interviews of movie and TV stars. Do exclusive interviews of directors. Give people real value for their money. Make your customers want to not only see you succeed, but motivate them to help you succeed.

i TV

I tend to forget things and then remember them at the oddest time, so I look for applications that help me remember, or allow me to schedule things from anywhere.   I.TV for the Iphone is such an application.   It is free and available through the Itune store. When you first sign in, it will ask for your zip code and your service provider.   It then updates the information for your area. There are two sections one is for movies and the other is for TV.  In the movie section you can see what playing at your local theatre.  You can watch preview’s, read reviews and even purchase tickets. You can also email movie start time, and information to a friend.  If I.TV had just this available it would be a great app, but that only a small part of what it offers.

The other main section is the TV section. When you first open the TV section up you get all channel you receive.  One of he first thing you will probably want to do is set up your favorite channel list.  You do this by tapping on a show on the channel, hit the thumbs up button and choose favorite channel.  You can also choose favorite shows the same way. Like with the movies you can preview a TV show. The preview can be a simple preview or it may also include comments from the actor or director. Again I like the Gallery option where you can see still shots from the show. There is also a link for Wikapedia, where you can get the shows synopsis, history and further links to other information. You can also read reviews of the show.
If you click the watch button at top of the show screen, you have the option to schedule the show to record on a TiVo, find it on Netfix , or be notified by email of a show being scheduled.   You can also share the information with a friend.

Once you have set everything up all that information is now found under My Media.  Where you will find a list of your favorite shows and channels.  You can also browse by Genre or channel. If you have a Netflix account you can add to, delete and reorder items in your queue.   I am sure I am missing somethings, but this should give you an idea of how useful this application can be. It will crash on occasion, especially if your battery is low, which is the only negative thing I can say about it. For me, this is  a 5 star application  I would recommend it to anyone who loves TV or the movies,

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