I’ve just finished watching Episode 1. I’ll get the issue of delivery out of the way right now.
Playback proceeded without a hitch, there was no buffering or stuttering of my stream at all. Playback was smooth, quality on the 1000k stream was pretty decent, as far as streaming video goes.
I whoopsied once and hit the refresh button on my browser by accident, and ended up having to skip through to the portion I was watching. This act ate up a J:credit or two, which is to be expected of course, but of course these are free ones given when I signed up and not ones I paid for. Still, disappointing that we’d basically pay for things like mistakes by us, or any buffering/stuttering that occurs. Essentially that means, if the delivery method fails us, we pay for it — not the provider. In fact the provider gets rewarded for a period of poor service delivery, again, at the expense of the viewer. That would be a concern of mine.
On to the EVE TV content itself.
I was expecting a lot from EVE TV given the people involved in it, and I have to say content-wise the episode went above and beyond my expectations, which is great for a pilot episode. I’m very, very pleased with it overall. There was a great balance between in-game and out-of-game news reporting. Very very good.
The Hilmar Interview was very impressive. It addressed a major issue with the community that has seen a lot of negative focus lately, and I think Hilmar carried himself very well with some “from the heart” answers. One thing I appreciated was that the interviewer (spiralJunkie) pulled no punches, and asked some very direct questions about the issue. Definitely didn’t feel like some rehearsed PR move, where the questions were agreed-upon prior to the interview occurring, and I hope we can come to expect that more on EVE TV.
Ignoring my own bias, I though the Mercenary Coalition segment was also extremely well done. The segment itself was edited together *extremely* well (I’m going to guess that it was a Loxyrider piece), and Seleene’s statements about MC are honest and to the point. Most alliance profiles are propaganda filled messes, this one was most definitely not.
The Player Meet segment was another standout one, as a community-oriented person myself I always love seeing footage of meets like this. I liked the inclusion of “outtake” footage (FortunaFive’s “can you hear me?” bit). I wish I’d been there, but alas the Atlantic Ocean is a fearsome adversary. It’s also cool seeing Laythun again, I met him last year at Fanfest and the guy is a riot to hang around. :)
Now then, on to some issues (you knew this was coming, heh), and I’ll try to be as honest as I can with this.
I’ll start with a minor one, which is that I would love it if the player would allow me to quickly jump to a specific segment while watching the show. Have a button which zooms in a segment list and let me quickly hop to that index.
Separate highlights. Ok, so just when I’m getting into the Hilmar interview, it cuts out and I’m told to watch the whole thing in the Highlights area, at an additional cost of J:credits. I didn’t watch the full version, but does it include the footage I just watched in Episode 1? If so, then sad panda. I’d hate to be repaying for something I just watched part of. That aside, I was expecting to see the full interview during EVE TV. Perhaps break a long segment like that into two parts and show part 1 in the first half of the show, part 2 in the second half?
I realize either way I’m still losing J:credits to watch it, but… it fits better than ending a segment like that. All that was missing was a sound cue of a playing record abruptly having the needle pulled off. In fact, do that next time, at least we’ll get a chuckle or two.
StevieSG and spiralJunkie are great, but the main part of a news show is that the newscasters are speaking to the audience. There was far too much reading off the paper, which drastically depersonalizes the entire experience and the connection with the viewers is lost. A *huge* amount of the presenters’ personality is lost when all they do is just read off items, and even moreso when they are not speaking to the viewer.
I think everyone’s had experiences with people who don’t speak directly to you, making eye contact. It can be distracting at best, aggravating if kept up.
This leads me to a related issue — spead of delivery. Far too often I found the presenters were speaking too quickly. Those who aren’t going to be as adept at understanding UK accents might be a bit thrown off, feeling like they need to back up the stream to listen to what someone just said (costing J:creds *sad panda*). spiralJunkie’s the main offender here. Maybe one less can of Jolt pre-taping?
The two issues are related somewhat, and I think the best way to address it is with the use of a prompter system similar to how normal newscasts do it. The speaker is always looking at the camera, and above all the *pacing* of the delivery is managed somewhat by the speed at which the prompter moves. Slower delivery + eye contact with the viewer = connection with the audience and a more enjoyable experience overall.
Lastly, again I have to come back to this, but the pay per view model has to go. Why? After I watched this, I wanted to watch it again. But I can’t, because I’m sitting at a measly 49 J:creds.
Now, I have an Xbox 360, and one of the biggest gripes people have about the Live service is the micro-transactions. It feels dirty. As good as the content is or could be, I can’t shake the feeling that every time I click that 1000k button, there’s some person somewhere lighting up a big fat cigar, pondering which of his yachts to take sail to the Riviera this year thanks to a video delivery method which constantly sticks its hands in the pockets of EVE TV’s customers. (to take money from, sicko)
I understand streaming is expensive, I understand streaming events like Fanfest and the Tournaments doesn’t cost someone zero dollars. But I also understand that I prefer to own the content I pay for so I can watch as many times as I’d like. I buy music from iTunes, so I can listen to it over and over again. I’m more than willing to drop money on content, if the result is a file that sits on my computer that I can watch again if I want. And as previously indicated earlier, if any problems occur with the stream then I’m charged again per minute of footage I have to rewatch to get back to where I was.
Allowing the purchase of a downloadable file could lead to piracy of the content, sure. The same could be said of an iTunes store purchase. But having people pay per minute to view it over a streaming solution pretty much *guarantees* piracy will occur. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it will happen on a small scale, either.
Anyway I’m going to end my assessment there as I think I’ve said all that I’d like to. To summarize, the show is far more impressive to me than I was expecting, and I was expecting a lot. :) To the EVE TV cast and crew, you’ve created something amazing here. I know that I myself would have no problems supporting the endeavor in whatever way I can.