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  Invasion of the Virtual Idiot-Box [Updated]  
 
 
Posted 2006-12-12 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Television-like programming and actual broadcast content is slowly washing over virtual world Second Life. Unlike real-world TV, which is broadcast over the airwaves and picked up simultaneously by receivers, video in Second Life isn't exactly a mass medium--it's more akin to streaming video-on-demand.

Today, Sundance Channel announced it will be building a screening room in Second Life, launching some time in January, 2007. According to the announcement (which I received via email), "Sundance Channel's SL screening room will be used to showcase films, documentaries, shorts and original series and to host unique interactive events with filmmakers and other independent thinkers. The Sundance Channel SL screening room will allow users to enjoy screenings and events in a social environment and interact with filmmakers, notable personalities and with one another." The facility will be developed by The Electric Sheep Company. The effort comes with its own character blog, ostensibly operated by avatars Vincent and Maya. At the time of writing, neither avatar had yet responded to a request for their surnames, which would give us a means of contacting them directly in Second Life [update: it's Vincent Tibbett and Maya Palmer, both SL avatars were created today].

Towards the end of 2006, we've watched avatar Destroy Television's webcam, seen said avatar become an NBC TV camera operator, heard about how VirtualLife.tv would be bringing broadband TV to Second Life by the end of November, 2006 (an unfulfilled claim, as far as I know), and heard about how The Grid Review would "soon" bring us weekly machinima-format video news spots (another apparently unfulfilled promise [update: It launched hours after this post was published). Well-known TV series Big Brother entered Second Life this month in a fiery premiere event, but the effort seems fairly lacklustre so far, depending on who you talk to.

In the summer of 2005, Linden Lab had issued a request for proposals expressing interest in operating a streaming video network called SecondLifeTV. In short, the idea was too big, and the project was killed after only two months. So far, I haven't seen anything come out of VirtualLife.tv, or The Grid Review--will either of these channels bear fruit? With both the The Grid Review and Sundance SL being produced apparently simultaneously by The Electric Sheep Company, I'm not confident both will see the light of in-world television sets [update: so much for that theory-- The Grid Review launched hours after this post was published].
 
     
 
   
 
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ Hope it helps someone... Dino...
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