Friday, June 23, 2006

10 Things That Would Improve Foxtel Digital

Foxtel, for those who are unaware, is Australia's answer to America's cable TV. Originally it was broadcast in analog format, but in the last few years they have transitioned to a digital format and Foxtel have been heavily promoting this digital format as something that will "will change the way you feel about television forever".

I would have to disagree. I am frustrated with some aspects of Foxtel Digital, and after reading about what some of the cable companies in America are now offerering, here is my opinion on what Foxtel Digital could do to improve their service.

  1. Redesign the on screen TV guide to make it more useable.
  2. Allow me to watch missed shows - when I want to.
  3. Allow me to watch movies when I want to, not at designated times.
  4. If I pull down a movie, give me at least 24 hours to watch it. At present, I am locked out of all downloaded movies at 2:00am, even if I downloaded it at 1:00am.
  5. Get some new content. I must have watched the same 2 series of NYPD five times now.
  6. Do something interesting with the interactive component. If an ad for a show that I want to watch comes on, why can't I add that show to the planner right then with a click?
  7. Don't charge me an expensive monthly fee just to enable time shifting ie, Foxtel IQ.
  8. Make the channel websites more interesting. Not just flash promos, but make then an interesting extension of the channel content, involve users and create community. HBO have done a great job with the Sopranos website.
  9. The planner only shows future shows for the next 3 days. If I've just seen an ad for a show I want to watch and it's on next week, I can't add it to my planner until next week.
  10. Allow the planner to give me an option to select a whole series, rather than single episodes. Why do I have to go back every week and add the same show to the planner?

Some of the above issues are standard features on much of the cable networks in the States. I understand that the market here in Australia is smaller and therefore less profitable, but I do feel that Foxtel could be doing much more with what they have.

Do you agree with the list above? Are there any other features you would like to see on Foxtel Digital? If so, leave your comments and let me know.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Too Many Google Accounts

I like testing out and using a lot of the services that Google are building and experimenting with. For example, I use Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Notebook, Google Desktop, Google Analytics, Personalised Search, Personalised Homepage, Adwords and Adsense to name a few. I signed up to some of these services a while back, while I have only recently signed up to others.

Therein lies the problem. Way back before Google Accounts was launched, it was necessary to sign up to some of these services using a non-Gmail email address. With some of the newer Google services, you have to sign up using your Gmail address. This means that for some services I have more than one account and I can only use some services with a Gmail address account. I have to login and out frequently between services, therefore segragating all my data and losing the value of some of the services.

Here's an example:

  • Using the Gmail Notifier extension for Firefox, I am alerted when email arrives in one of myGmail accounts. I open Gmail and read that email.
  • Now, I go to my Adsense account. This uses my non-Gmail email address, so I have to log out of my Google Account and sign in again to Adsense.
  • I want to add an item to Google Calendar. I have to login to my Google account again, making sure that I use the same Google Account linked to my preferred Gmail account, otherwise Calendar sends email to the wrong account.
  • I want to check my web stats, so I have to log out of my Google Account, and log into Google Analytics using my non-Gmail email address.
  • Between all this, I do some searching. I have been swapping between Google Accounts and Gmail addresses for a few hours, so my Personalised Search History is now divided between 3-4 different accounts, making it almost useless to me.

I'm not the only one confused and frustrated by this. A quick search reveals that Danny Sullivan has posted about the same issue.

To solve this, I think there needs to be a way to consolidate all your Google services to one account, using one email address. However, I can't see any way to do this - in fact I believe there is no way to do this. Can you move Gmail data between accounts?

Is anyone else frustrated by the mess of different Google accounts and logins? Is there a way to consolidate it all? If you have found a way to do so, please reply and let me know.

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