Monday, February 01, 2010

Is 3D TV's future?

I'm a lucky boy. Yesterday I was invited by BskyB to watch the launch of their new 3D TV service. They expect to launch a full channel in April showing sport, movies and other special content. Ahead of this they trialled their technology by broadcasting the Premier League game between Arsenal and Manchester United.
Nine pubs across the UK were allowed to show the match - the venues kept secret so they wouldn't be swamped with people wanting to witness the extra dimension.
So, with much cloak and dagger I made my way to the Red Lion in Withington and was ushered into the back room after having undergone a full security check. Not quite Manchester Airport body scanning levels but almost.
I was handed my 3D glasses, they are exactly the same as you might have used at your local cinema when you've paid £5 extra to see a movie that would have looked just as good in 2D, and waited for the action to start.
Nothing too special with the pre-match build up, Richard Keys hairy hands didn't pop out of the telly to tickle you on the chin, but the Sky Sports logos and on-screen graphics floated in mid-air, as you would expect.
As we headed towards kick-off they played a promo for their 3D coverage and I have to say that was amazing, rugby and tennis balls spilling out of the screen, Usain Bolt streaking down the streets of Manchester, athletes jumping hurdles in mid-air, really impressive with Hollywood production values.
Now we're back with the live action, the Arsenal and Man U players along with the football officials make their way onto the pitch and out of the screen, it was quite a weird sensation. The game kicked off. The wide camera angles from the side of the stadium didn't look anything out of the ordinary, although you could see which way the ball was going mid-air. The 3D came into its own with the camera shots from the side of the pitch when they get up close to the players, and from behind the corner posts and goal. You really had a sense of how long the pitch was and how far the players had to run and how far the goal keeper had to kick the ball. The slow motion replays looked good and the Sky Sports graphics get right up close.

Will it last? Probably, though it does seems a little gimmicky, but Sky are getting used to their new toys. It was a pleasant experience and I wasn't left with a headache or sore eyes. It is a shame that you have to wear special glasses for the full effect. The real technological leap will come when we don't need the specs.

Will I get Sky 3D? I'd like it, but I'm reluctant to shell out for a new 3D capable TV to watch it when I've not long bought a HD Freeview TV. Sadly you do need a 3D compatible set to see the broadcasts, but they are transmitted through your existing Sky+HD box.

Verdict. Loved it, though it's a work in progress and it has potential. I don't think all TV should be in 3D, it's good for the special events.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Preston Bus Station to be demolished!

Finally some excellent news!
The Government have today announced that they will not grant listed status to Preston Bus Station. See the full report in the Lancashire Evening Post.

I for one can't wait to see the back of this eyesore, it's been Preston's shame for too long.
This decision should kickstart the rebirth of our city and give us back some pride.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What a mess!

You might know my views on Preston's bus station, but incase you don't I'll just make them clear. The sooner that so-called `iconic building` is demolished the better. It's the embarrassment of our city.

I didn't think it was possible to make the concrete carbuncle even more unattractive, but in recent weeks it's grown new ugly boils in the form of `pedestrian safety`.
Obviously I don't want people to be hit by a bus and the fact people are now allowed to nip across the bus apron is most welcome. Lets face it, people have been doing it for years, and if this keeps them safer, then brilliant.

The eyesore is now surrounded in a steel fence, tall and thick enough it's seemingly being been drafted in from the Prison Service construction team. Large concrete barriers have also appeared stopping bus and funnelling pedestrians to safety. They've also taken on an unintended role in collecting all the litter, dead leaves and general mess. It looks horrible.

This area seems to be stuck in a time-void, a forever interactive 1960's museum experience.
It's served Preston well in the past but please open your eyes and see. It's run-down, dirty, neglected, unsafe and too big - It's out of place, it needs to go and make way for a new Preston that once again we can be proud of.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A welcome video


See me in action... click the welcome video

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Keith Macklin

I was sadden to learn of the death of my friend and former colleague, Keith Macklin.

I had the pleasure of working with Keith during my time at Rock FM / Magic 999 in Preston, the station he set up as Red Rose Radio in 1982.

He's worked as a reporter for local newspapers, national newspapers, was one of the first presenters of the BBC's regional TV news programmes `Look North West`, worked for Border TV, Yorkshire TV, presented on national radio, and of course Red Rose Radio.

He was the first Programme Controller of Red Rose, and was influential in establishing a strong commercial radio station that exceeded all expectations.

In the newsroom, Keith was the voice of reason, so well respected. Seemingly everyone in the sporting world knew Keith, and Keith knew them. His descriptive commentaries for Red Rose Sport were a joy to listen too, especially his partnership with the late Preston North End manager John McGrath who acted as his summariser.

Keith was a joy to be around, the calm voice of reason, thought and experience. Thanks for the memories, you'll be sorely missed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sony Radio Award Winner

Hello, sorry for the lack of updates recently, but I have some amazing news!

I am a 2009 Sony Radio Award Winner! I was a key part in the BBC Radio Manchester team that last night won a Gold Award in the 'Breaking News' category.
If you don't know, Sony Radio Awards are the equivalent of the radio Oscars.

Our entry featured 'The Rangers Riot' - It features the night Scottish Rangers football fans came to Manchester for the UEFA Cup Final against Zenit St. Petersburg in May 2008. Unfortunately one of the big TV screens in the fan zones broke, and combined with a day of drinking in the sun, it led to violence and riots.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Preston Bus Station

I was outraged to read that the London based Twenieth Century Society are to launch a bid to list Preston's controversial bus station.

I say; "Save your time and effort, go and List something more culturally important elsewhere."

I understand people have strong feelings about the structure and its proximity to certain shops and the markets, but it needs to be demolished and the sooner the better.

It is run down, unsafe, cold, dirty, smelly and over sized.

With the greatest respect, I suspect it's the older people of our city most upset at it's removal as part of Prestons Tithebarn transformation. To these people, and to the Twentieth Century Society particularly, I would appeal that you do not leave the dirty eyesore as your legacy to the next generation.

You need to think about the bigger picture, it's about more than a bus station. Preston is slowly rotting, slowly dieing. Preston Bus Station needs make way for a revitalised city for the next generation of proud Prestonians.

(please note: As with everything on this blog - These are my personal views and are not those of my employer)