BrokenTV's CultureCheck '08

  • 1/02/2008 10:53:00 pm
  • By Mark Gibbings-Jones

We've just remembered. What with it being 2008, we're now precisely eleven miles from what is nominally The Officially Most Cultured Place In Europe This Year. We've just checked on Google Earth. So: how much of this culture has seeped southwards and is now coursing through our veins? Given that we're about to post something on the internet about obtaining illicit feeds of foreign television - not very. But still, we'll post further updates if we get around to getting off our arses and going to an art gallery or something.

Yes, we're going to keep posting that image until we've run out of things to give awards to.


Only one real candidate for this, so straight on with the winner.

Winner: Trying To Work Out Which Country The Semi-Legal Satellite Feed Of Live Premier League Football Is Coming From

"Ooh... erm... Norway! No, wait, Denmark! No, definitely Norway! Look, Stig Inge Bjornebye is the studio pundit."

Only of course, it's not that easy any more. Having such obvious clues as a segment along the lines of Canal+'s "Stig Inge's Corner" is a thing of the past. Nowadays, the modern pubgoer must decipher all manner of weird and wonderful logogrammatical systems in order to calculate the origin of the sporting transmissions on offer. This might sound relatively simple to any polygraphs reading this (in which case we'll presume you've found this blog by accident), but the following rules of Working Out Which Country The (etc) apply:

  • If you're a regular in the pub, you're automatically barred from playing, because you've probably worked out the answer a long time ago.
  • Don't think you can get any clues from the commentary ("Steve Sidwell-san" would be one hell of a clue), as these channels generally opt for either taking the Sky commentary or less commonly (but more entertainingly) featuring no commentary whatsoever.
  • The game is over as soon as a dead giveaway clue appears on screen, such as a Coke advert featuring the Olympiacos FC squad appears, or a whopping great South Korean flag on a station ident.
  • If at all possible, idiot males in pubs will make Canute-esque attempts to deny they're in the wrong, especially if it involves football in any way.
Which makes the game all the more difficult. Recently during a poker game, BrokenTV found itself in a pub showing coverage of the Manchester United-Everton, Milan-Inter and Madrid-Barcelona matches. It was only when adverts for the state travel agent appeared that we cottoned on. How dare Albania have better football coverage than us?


Winner: TVUPLAYER (software link)

In a year which has seen the influence of Sopcast diminish under the leather-clad fist of the Premier League's team of ninja-lawyers, the world of Being Able To See Really Low-Quality Video Feeds Of Football Matches That Aren't Even Available On British Telly No Matter How Much Subscription You're Willing To Pay, And That You Can't Even Buy A Ticket For Without Lining The Pockets Of A Scumbag Tout has been looking for a new hero. Luckily, despite falling from favour a few years ago, TVU Player is back, with beta version 2.3.4. It now manages to actually tell if your channel is about to start streaming or not (instead of just leaving you hanging like a big fat fool), proper names for each channel, as well as giving a decent quality feed of non-sporty channels. Such as channels from:

The USA!


Or Korea!

As you might expect from the world of streaming TV, timezones play havoc with the concept of actually seeing something that's any good, but a simple bit of Googling pays dividends. For example, a schedule for the US feed of (what is currently, although channels change frequently) NBC's KXAM affiliate can be found here.

And yes, that is BrokenTV's shiny new monitor in those low-quality mobile phone photos. Well, we're impressed by it.

(Moral disclaimer: What with our licence fee and dowry to the Evil Murdoch Empire, we pay over £700 every single year to watch the meagre amount of good television that we do. And that's before all the DVDs we buy. Therefore, we're claiming that we're morally, albeit not legally, obliged to dip out toes into the waters of foreign TV now and then. And hey, due to the nature of TVU Player, we watch all the adverts, instead of magicking them away with our remote control. It's the future of sub-RealPlayer picture quality television, all right.)

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