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What Actually Happened to TechTV? 98

Posted by Cliff
from the seeking-insider-knowledge dept.
thelancer asks: "Early last year, Australian cable got TechTV. But not for long. It turned out the fix was already in, and TechTV left Australian screens at the end of 2006 when G4 pulled the plug on international distribution. As someone who only got a taste, but desperately wanted more (of what I saw in the first two months, not nearer the end), I've done the rounds and read some stories on the buy out, but nothing has given me the who, when, and the all important why? And they all assume you know the history. Can the Slashdot crowd put together a more complete picture on what really happened at TechTV?"
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What Actually Happened to TechTV?

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  • Here: (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @08:50PM (#15828784)
  • by Bin_jammin (684517) <Binjammin@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @08:52PM (#15828791)
    Business happens. You've never seen two businesses team up in order to lose money before? I guess you don't have AOL down under either...
    • Actually they do, I knew a couple Australian aolers.

      -uso.
    • It was already going downhill by then, but when they decided to put that horrible disgrace of a show on TV, I stopped watching the channel forever.

      The way they dehumanize women on that show all in favor of the almighty 'middle aged man' class (and I'm 35, mind you, I believe that puts me close to ground zero), makes my stomach turn. And I've tried to just appreciate the humor, too... at least until it dawns on me after 5 minutes that there is no humor just shock jock b.s. most likely from people who wish th
  • 2006? (Score:5, Funny)

    by SillySnake (727102) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:00PM (#15828826)
    2006? I knew with timezones and international datelines and stuff.. plus the whole toilet spinning backwards thing.. But it's already the end of 2006?
  • I miss ZDTV (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lord Sigma (781484) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:03PM (#15828839)
    I started watching ZDTV back in 1998 when it started and watched all the time. I even got on Call for Help once and was a really good time. I was saddened when they merged with G4 and in my opinion ruined the shows. But nothing good or bad lasts forever I supose.
    • Everything lasts forever!


      I was so sad to see what happened to Leo Laporte's program and the network as a whole.

    • I started watching ZDTV back in 1998 when it started and watched all the time. I even got on Call for Help once and was a really good time. I was saddened when they merged with G4 and in my opinion ruined the shows. But nothing good or bad lasts forever I supose.

      Same here, really when it was ZDTV was when the network was at it's best. I was more a fan of Silicon Spin and Big Thinkers then Call for help though.
  • It worked like this (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:04PM (#15828844)
    1. TechTV spends years making quality television and building up relationships with a variety of cable providers who choose to carry TechTV.
    2. Comcast starts a tv station called G4 that nobody watches.
    3. Because nobody likes or watches G4, no cable providers will carry G4, except Comcast.
    4. Comcast, unable to convince their competitors to carry their crappy G4 channel, buys TechTV, kills it, and starts broadcasting G4 in its place.
    5. G4 now shows on a variety of cable providers.
    6. Profit.
    Is this true? I dunno, it's the way I heard it. If you want facts, then go read wikipedia or something, don't Ask Slashdot.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Last year, I used DISH Network. One of my favorite channels was dropped, and I called DISH to ask why. The customer service rep I got actually had a statement to read about it:

      "The channel in question was a channel owned and distributed by Comcast. When our previous contract to show the channel ended, Comcast wanted to triple the rates for said channel. In order for us to have continued to show it, we would have had to raise your rates $10/month for that single channel alone; we chose to simply drop the cha
    • by Anonymous Coward
      you nailed it, that is how it went down. except nuber 6. it will be years before Comcast can recoup.
  • G4 (Score:5, Informative)

    by 9x320 (987156) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:06PM (#15828851)
    G4 bought out TechTV and shoved out nearly all the non-gaming technology related programming, in its place putting more Cinamatech and X-Play timeslots, replacing Screensavers with Attack of the Show, and adding the show Cheat!.

    Then, when they realized video game players weren't watching because they were playing video games, they began to kill of all their video game shows one by one by replacing them with Star Trek and The Man Show. It's just another useless channel like the rest of them now.
    • Re:G4 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:22PM (#15828908)
      That is why I don't even have cable nor satellite anymore. Hundreds of channels of junk. It's all the same anymore. You mainly have so called 'reality' shows, Television for women should read 'Television where all men are created evil'. TNN had country music, then it became a country themed television network. After that it became 'The National Network, the new TNN. Now it's spike TV, just like all of the other TV networks. CMT is near where TNN was before it went over to SpikeTV. None of the so called 'Music video' channels have music videos anymore, but reality shows for teens. ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, ETC, all have mainly reality shows. NBC is the worst with "Deal or no deal". Whatever happened to true Game shows, there is no game in Deal or no Deal. Next thing I know National Geographic will start airing Reality crap as well.

      So really, why have a television anymore? Most entertainment can be found on the Internet anymore. IN2TV if you must have that TV fix, archive.org for any multimedia that is under public domain.
      • Re:G4 (Score:5, Informative)

        by 9x320 (987156) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:49PM (#15828999)
        Exactly. Please mod the parent up---I know it's hard getting mod points being an anonymous coward. The Learning Channel used to show educational programming like The Discovery Channel, but then it slowly began to falter and began showing arts and crafts channels. Now its timeslots are flooded with HGTV style programs. There are only four television channels on basic cable worth watching now: The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, C-SPAN, and C-SPAN 2.

        The Discovery Channel and The History Channels' schedules are sporadic, so you have to check the schedules for a good documentary, but Modern Marvels has been consistently good. C-SPAN shows live coverage of the House of Representatives, while C-SPAN 2 shows live coverage of the Senate. True to the parent's word, both C-SPAN and C-SPAN 2 are available on the Internet at www.c-span.org for free, so you need not even a TV to watch.
        • The Learning Channel used to show educational programming like The Discovery Channel, but then it slowly began to falter and began showing arts and crafts channels.

          Ironically, when TLC was launched, it was because the Discovery Channel itself was moving away from educational programming. Basically it was becoming the "war channel", with nothing but military tech shows and eventually even military history. Rather than spinning off the popular military stuff into its own channel, they apparently decided it ma
        • by drakaan (688386) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @01:25PM (#15833255) Homepage Journal
          I almost agree, but Alton Brown now has three shows on the Food Network, (if you count Iron Chef America)... Say what you want about Emeril, but Paula, Alton, Giada, and a few others help fuel my cooking hobby the same way TechTV (bless it's dead and rotting soul) once appeased the geek in me.
        • After G4 bought TechTV and killed the screensavers (as in ruined it, I didn't know they had actually cancelled it in the end, nor did I know about the StarTrek and Man Show stuff) I cancelled my satellite, sold off my hacked Tivo (at a loss) and quit watching TV altogether. I'm much happier buying Lost a season at a time for the same as I used to pay for a month of TV.

        • Is that "basic" cable or "basic basic" cable? I have Comcast, and I get their "Basic" package (not "Standard") for 10.75 a month. All it includes is local channels, public access, and a few others like Bravo and TBS. The only reason I get it is because I can get 10 bucks off of my internet service with it. 75 cents a month is worth it to not have to deal with an antenna on the TVs in the house.

          Sadly, The Discovery Channel and The History Channel are not included in this. I have a feeling that Comcast

          • It's weird, it's cheaper to get basic cable TV plus internet than it is to get internet alone; then after a storm the filters that block the standard channels quit working so I've got everything except the premium channels.
      • Re:G4 (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LWATCDR (28044)
        Well I enjoy Turner Movie Classics. But then I like old movies. I used to AMC but they are showing a bunch of crap from the 80s and 90s now. Yes I hate reality tv as well. I do like the car shows on SpikeTV along with STNG. Other than that Cartoon network, PBS, History Channel, and every once in a while Discovery and The Science channel.
        TV isn't bad I use my Replay to record shows that I want to see and watch them when I want to.
        You just have to be selective and time shift.
        • Thou shall not use a programming language that works on only one OS.

          Which, even semi-important, ones are like that?
          • by LWATCDR (28044)
            As far as I am concerned none.
            Other people would point to Visual Basic as an example of a programing language that works on one OS. C# was one until mono.

            The rest of the LWATCDRs rule goes like this.

            Thou shall not use a programming language that works on only one OS.
            Thou shall not use an OS that works on only on architecture.
            Thou shall not write a web page that works on only one browser.
            Thou shall not love any one programing language, hardware architecture, or OS above all other. Each will eventually fade a
      • Re:G4 (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        > So really, why have a television anymore?

        Two words: Alton Brown ;)
      • Re:G4 (Score:2, Informative)

        by givim6 (992709)
        Great American Country indeed is a true video music channel, if you're in to country music --and millions of people are. cmt appears to be taking the mtv route, moving away from its video roots. It may be good for ratings, but it is sure to pi$$ off millions of music fans who had come to rely on that channel for a good dose of their preferred entertainment. On the other hand, GAC appears to be coming on strong and plays a bunch more music than cmt does. As they used to say on the TV ads: "Call you cable ope
    • Re:G4 (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Short version:
      TechTV = some good shows
      G4 = crap
      G4 Borg buyout of TechTV
      G4TechTV then gets rid of anything that was worth watching
      G4TechTV = crap
      G4TechTV changes back to G4
      G4 = still crap
  • hak5.org (Score:5, Informative)

    by sydbarrett74 (74307) <sydbarrett74@NOSpAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:09PM (#15828865)
    If you miss TechTV, check out hak5.org..I know these guys personally and they are awesome (they live 45 minutes from me). Leo Laporte has even guest hosted an episode of their show.
  • ... how many 1s did X-play and it's previous names give out? I watched the show pretty heavily for 2 years and never saw one.
    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:18PM (#15828896) Homepage

      I've been watching every episode for years. They've only given out a handfull of 1s, and I can kind of understand it. As bad as most games are, they are playable. It takes a special kind of game to get a 1.

      That said, most games get 2/3s, with a few getting 4s, and just the creme-de-la-creme getting 5s. They don't over-rate like most places who hand out 4s and 5s for anything that isn't un-playable.

      Of course, they never intended to give out a 0, but they did once. The game was a semi-truck racing game. There was no music or sound effects. The "race" was with another truck, which never left the starting line. The game looked terrible, and had practically no clipping or collision detection. It was the kind of thing you couldn't believe anyone would try to sell. I mean people try to sell things that just aren't fun or are terribly annoying, but this wasn't even a game yet. It was a tech demo for a tech demo for a preview for a game.

      X-Play isn't perfect, but they are pretty good. They are the only show left on the network that is good (except ST:TNG which they haven't managed to ruin yet).

      • X-Play isn't perfect, but they are pretty good. They are the only show left on the network that is good (except ST:TNG which they haven't managed to ruin yet).


        Come on- how could you ruin Trek? I mean I guess you can take up 1/2 the screen with some sort of stock ticker, and a really annoying chat room at the bottom. Maybe some odd factoids scrolling across the top of the small remaining usable space. But they couldn't possibly be that stupid.
      • Not quite offtopic (Score:4, Informative)

        by cgenman (325138) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @10:27PM (#15829118) Homepage
        The name of the game was Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing [wikipedia.org]. It is the stuff of legend. If you find it, You're Not Winner.

      • X-Play isn't perfect, but they are pretty good. They are the only show left on the network that is good (except ST:TNG which they haven't managed to ruin yet).

        I agree with the X-Play sentiment, but it should be noted (in case someone has a weird cable system that carries G4 but not Spike and tries to find it) that Spike has ST:TNG (and DS9) while G4 carries the awful and ruined "Star Trek 2.0" where they put a whole bunch of scrolling junk on the screen to frame classic Star Trek episodes.

  • My Perspective (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:13PM (#15828882) Homepage

    Here is my perspective. I've been watching that channel here in the US for years. I watched it as ZDTV for about a year or two. Here is what I can tell you about the history of the channel.

    When it was ZDTV, it was very different. It was all computers (Ziff Davis, after all). They had some of the shows that existed up until recently (The Screen Savers being the prime example). But they also had other programming. I remember a show that showed nothing but computer generated animation that people could send in. A user content show, it was ahead of it's time. It also showed some very neat stuff (as companies would send in neat stuff too to show what they could do). This was how I first found Animusic.

    Later, the network changed it's name to TechTV. Not much really changed that I remember. This is the time frame that I remember shows like Fresh Gear (which may have been there before) which was a great gadget review show (TVs, DVD Players, Digital Cameras, random gadgets, etc). I can't remember if X-Play was part of ZDTV or not, but I know it was there during TechTV.

    Now it is somewhere in this timeframe that I found out about G4 and I really wanted that channel. An all video game channel, that would be cool. But I had DirecTV (which is where I watched ZDTV/TechTV) and Comcast (which didn't carry G4). I later got to see the channel just a little bit on someone's digital cable and it still looked neat (all I got to see was Cinematech, which was cool).

    Now during the TechTV days things changed. I remember Call For Help dumped Leo later during this time (I think CFH was a ZDTV show). The Screen Savers was still their headliner program. Other shows later came on including Invent This! (showed inventors, their inventions, how they came up with it, etc... a fantastic show), Anime Unleashed (showed Anime, both good and bad), and a few other good shows. There were some slips during this time (like trying to turn daytime into a CNN of computer news).

    Then G4 decided to buy them. I thought that would be good. I wanted to see G4. I was a little worried (I seem to remember things being better during the ZDTV days, but I can't tell you why). It took about 1 day (and I'm being generous) to figure out what an unmitigated disaster this was. I later found out why G4 bought TechTV.

    G4 had no shows people would watch, and was terrible. TechTV was a nice little network and had loyal viewers. What better way to start building your empire than buying out a "rival" and destroying them.

    So G4 quickly removed everything on TechTV except a handful of shows. The Screen Savers was still there (I think), although it quickly became Attack of the Show. X-Play stayed on (which is better than ANY show on G4), but they did change their set and now I get the feeling the network big-wigs are trying to infuse the show with more "anime-hip-hop-coolness". All the other great little shows were gone. Fresh Gear was killed. Invent This (which was about a year old, at most) was killed.

    So what did we get? Cinematech (a decent of waste of a half-hour, sometimes). We also got Icons (interesting profiles some times, but took it's self way to serious), Cheat (unwatchable), Filter (half intersting, with the worlds most annoying hostess), and that's about it. That's all that came over, that I can think of. Oh, Arena (I don't want to watch other people play FPSes with an annoying commentary by a drill-seargent-wannabe).

    Now G4 seems to be trying to become SpikeTV. Now I should note that SpikeTV was much better as whatever it was before, which was much better as TNN. But now G4 has ST:TNG (good), Trek 2.0 (good show, made unwatchable by shot-gunning as many tickers and flashing things on the screen as possible), Totally Outrageous Behavior (immature caught-on-tape), Fastlane (never seen it, no intention to), Brainiac (look! we do cool science stuff and act like immature idiots), Ed The Sock's Night Party ("One angry sock puppet and his blazing hot redhead co-host get down and dirty, and often wet" - Immature, e

    • Its been years, but I watched Ed the Sock when he had a show in Canada.. and I mean years ago.. like 10+ I think. He had Mr T on once. I was younger then it was funny..probably not as much now.
    • "(The Man Show)"

      I agree with everything except this. The man show with Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel was hilarious (not the other hosts though). I used to watch it all the time on comedy central.

      I think the "jump the shark" moment for TechTV (G4,ZDTV) for me was when they had that sex show (it had the younger guy that was part of the screensavers). They had porn stars, web cams, and sex toys. It seemed to me like they were very desperate to get new viewers at that time.
      • "Unscrewed" with Martin Sargent... what a show that was. For a taste, take a listed to the "Infected" Podcast. Crazy/insane-funny, twisted, warped, and yes, more than just a little sick from time to time.
    • Re:My Perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FSWKU (551325) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:40PM (#15828959)
      But now G4 has ST:TNG
      Except that they can't even get that right. They air things completely out of order (something from season 2 yesterday....then some season 5 or 6 stuff today...wtf) and I've seen more repeats in the last month than I care to count. Spike, despite having some really horrible shows (Raising The Roofs, The Dudesons, etc), at least does 2 DS9 episodes and 2 TNG episodes per day, and they're IN ORDER!

      Ok, I've shown myself to be a geek, obviously. Mod accordingly...
      • Ok, I've shown myself to be a geek, obviously. Mod accordingly...

        Karma whore. ;-)
    • by oneiros27 (46144) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @10:01PM (#15829038) Homepage
      Cable has a limited number of channels that it can have on at any one time. TechTV was already well established in many markets. By merging G4 and TechTV, they ended up placing G4 on a whole lot of cable networks that wouldn't have otherwise bought G4 from their competitor (Comcast), especially based on the quality of the programming.

      They then cancel the TechTV programming, which got their costs back down to the original rate of expenditure, and for the cost of buying TechTV, they got their channel in all of the TechTV markets. And I'm guessing, that the cable operators have to pay them for the right to show their stuff, so they slowly make back their money from the purchase.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        "Cable has a limited number of channels that it can have on at any one time."

        Come on. Have you seen some of the crap in the midst of those 600 channels ? Quite a number of them are just filling a space on the dial with infomercials -- the SAME infomercials as the next channel and the one four more clicks over.

        There was and is plenty of space in the bandwidth for TechTV and G4. They also didn't kill it in order to steal the audience for G4, as some people have said -- why would a network exec steal an aud
    • I'm sorry, but Brainiac is one of the coolest shows on TV.

      It's like Mythbusters, except they don't try to delude you into thinking that they are actually being scientifically correct.

      Brainiac is science + fun.

      I mean COME ON - Fizz or Bang?
      Does fruit make my poo float or sink?
      What foods make your pee smell funky?

      I first saw the show when I was on holiday in England - and I've been a fan of Brainiac (and Arsenal) since.
    • When it was ZDTV, it was very different. It was all computers (Ziff Davis, after all). They had some of the shows that existed up until recently (The Screen Savers being the prime example). But they also had other programming. I remember a show that showed nothing but computer generated animation that people could send in. A user content show, it was ahead of it's time. It also showed some very neat stuff (as companies would send in neat stuff too to show what they could do). This was how I first found Anim

    • and Comcast (which didn't carry G4)


      err....Comcast owns G4. For a while the channel was exclusively available to Comcast subscribers.
      • What I meant was, Comcast didn't carry the channel except in the digital cable package, so I couldn't watch it (because I don't have digital cable). Sorry for that mix up.
    • Ed the Sock is *great*. There's a very learned and literate man behind that sock.

      Some of the jokes and things that he'd say in interviews or segments would make me howl with laughter, as they passed over the heads of the teens and 20 somethings in the audience.
  • dl.tv (Score:2, Informative)

    by CyberBill (526285)
    It doesn't really matter what happened to the name 'techtv' because the best part of the station is still alive and well in webcast form. Check out http://www.dl.tv/ [www.dl.tv] its pretty good for hearing about new gadgets coming out and getting the 'big news' of the day. Plus its free!
  • by hawks5999 (588198) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:24PM (#15828912)
    Here. [twit.tv]

    Not exactly, but if you want what TechTV was go here and then poke around. You'll end up finding Revision3 [revision3.com] and DL.TV [dl.tv]. Don't bother about what happened. Just enjoy what has resulted. TechTV controlled by the people on the air for the people who liked to watch it.

  • by bigbigbison (104532) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:30PM (#15828931) Homepage
    The story of TechTV began with the MSNBC show, The Site [wikipedia.org] which starred Soledad O'Brien and a computer generated character, Dev Null, who was voiced and controlled by Leo Laporte. I never saw the Site, but TVNewser has a good overview of the show [mediabistro.com].

    After the Site was cancelled, came ZDTV [wikipedia.org] which was owned by Ziff Davis. When Ziff Davis sold the channel to Paul Allen, they changed the name to TechTV.

    During that time G4 [wikipedia.org] was started. Owned by Comcast [wikipedia.org], they bought TechTV and merged the channels calling it G4TechTV, closing down TechTV's San Francisco studio and cancelling Call For Help. From the start there were signs that buying TechTV was simply a way for Comcast to get G4 into more houses by canibalizing the audience of TechTV. They did not offer ScreenSavers host Patrick Norton a contract and while they initially were going to have Leo Laporte appear in pretaped segments, they never actually did that. They also cancelled Fresh Gear and all of TechTV's other shows except for the ScreenSavers and X-Play. Then several months later, G4 dropped the "TechTV" and any pretense that they were going to continue having any technology focus.

    After a few months, the Canadian version of G4 offered to hire Laport and begin to tape new episodes of Call For Help [wikipedia.org], informally called Call For Help 2.0. In August of 2005 the US G4 began to air Call For Help 2.0, but early in the morning with little to no advertising. After several months it was taken off the air. It is still airing in Canada and on the How To channel in Australia. Recently, it has been made available for purchase from Google Video [google.com] in the USA and is easilly found on torrent trackers.

    Now G4 has begun airing Star Trek:TNG and the original Star Trek, as well as the Man Show and Fastlane and increasingly decreasing videogame coverage. Many people have begun to call G4 a SpikeTV [wikipedia.org] clone.

    In brighter news, many TechTV alumni have gone on to particiapte in online podcasts and vid casts such as This Week In Tech [www.twit.tv], dl.tv [dl.tv], Cranky Geeks [crankygeeks.com], Hook Me Up [yahoo.com] and The Chris Pirillo Show [thechrispirilloshow.com] which, when combined, probably produce more original weekly content than TechTV ever did.
  • On Poxtel some of the shows moved to the DIY channel. But the reality is that TechTV actually had very little original content. It was the same shows repeated over and over and over (even more than usual for Poxtel - apparently, according to NickJr it increases our [/kids] retention of information).

    The primary content that moved to DIY was utter crap. I don't think X-play was moved across (I cancelled my Poxtel a while ago). Pity because Adam was a pisser and Morgan was ... well ... not bad at all.
    • X-Play is still on Foxtel, on Fuel (the 'action' sports channel) from memory.
    • Over 50 percent of the content on TechTV in the year before the merger was original content.

      They rebroadcast a couple of the shows more than once a day, but the shows themselves like Call for Help.
      The Screen Savers, and TechLive in general had newly recorded shows on four out of five working days per week. Other shows like X-Play, Fresh Gear, and Unscrewed were producing at least one new show a week
      (equaling regular broadcast TV for those shows) and at thier peaks were doing 1-3 new shows each week.

      The r
  • by intrico (100334) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @10:34PM (#15829146) Homepage
    I watched TechTV for a few weeks back in 2001 when it was still on and I found it boring and irrelevant. Most of the tech stuff they had on there was already old by the time they broadcast it, due to the fact that I had already read it on the Internet and began to forget about it by the time they could show it.

    I kind of felt the same sentiment towards that channel that I do towards hard-copy tech magazines (I found them very enjoyable in the early 90's prior to the web boom, but obviously, due to the web, they have pretty much dropped down to zero-relevance). News and information (the focus of TechTV) has much more value, the more "hot off the press" it is. Only the Internet can provide the most "hot off the press" news in a practicle, relatively low-cost manner.
    • Most of the tech stuff they had on there was already old by the time they broadcast it, due to the fact that I had already read it on the Internet and began to forget about it by the time they could show it.

      I take it, then, that you saw absolutely none of their live programming? The Screen Savers, Call For Help, and TechLive/TechTV News all ran five days a week for the majority of the year and were definitely not "old" when they ran.
  • 1) Start company
    2) Buy out a competition company
    3) ???
    4) Profit.
  • when i first bought my house and digital cable (that's where the best stations are, and a big package deal that includes cable internet), i found techtv and was astounded at the level of intelligence that channel spewed. here i had been watching the science, history, military, biography, etc channels to enrich my mind... and i had been missing out on this channel that not only tackled advanced pc problems and concerns, but also easier stuff to keep the average watched interested; genius!

    a few weeks later

  • Like most of you, I never did have G4 (until now). When I first got satellite television, I found TechTV (around 1999, so right after their name change).

    The Screen Savers, by far, was the [u]best TV show on air[/u]. Call for Help, as well, was very nice, along with Extended Play.

    Later, I eventually saw the ads and small blocks demonstrating G4TechTV (an intermittent name). They had The Screen Savers, still, but also added shows such as Cinematech (which can be good, sometimes), Arena (sometimes good, usuall
  • by MrCopilot (871878) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @10:43AM (#15831930) Homepage Journal
    http://chris.pirillo.com/2006/07/24/techtv-rebuilt -by-community/ [pirillo.com]

    They left Tv and moved to the web. All for the better.

  • For the best msg. of why it died, see this note:

    http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=192849&thr eshold=2&commentsort=3&mode=thread&cid=15828882 [slashdot.org]

    In the meantime, Ziff Davis has been trying to bring back the TechTV flavor on a minute budget with DigtalLife TV

    http://dl.tv/blogs/digitallifetv/default.aspx [dl.tv]

    for tech fans by tech fans.

    Truth in advertising, I'm a Ziff editor, but I've got nothing to do with this project, except I think it's cool and it's as close to TechTV as you'll find these days
    • Re:TechTV Revisited (Score:5, Informative)

      by acedtect (183616) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @01:41PM (#15833391) Homepage
      I'll add a little perspective on the actual buyout. In 2003, Paul Allen decided he no longer wanted to play with TechTV and decided to sell it. At that time the network was in the red and was starting to stagnate in the number of homes it was in at around 40 million. They needed to improve programming and get into mor ehomes, but as an independent channel they couldn't get into more homes without leverage. So Paul wanted to get some money back and the execs wanted a partner that could help get them into more homes. To improve the programming they hired Greg Brannan, former Programming Director at E! Entertinment Television.

      It took a year (and some) to finally find buyers. In that time, the programming began to get better ratings. The INternational arm of the channel was profitable. The Web arm of the company was breaking even and the TV arm of the company looked to get into the black within a year if all went well.

      However, the sale privce of the company was still based on the prospectus issued by Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures over a year ago. Fox, Universal, EchoStar, Sony and Comcast all expressed interest. At one point it was rumoured that Sony was a go and would buy the channel in order to take advantage of the control room's ability to launch other channels. However the deal did not get done and Comcast eventually won out. They got the network at a very afordable price.

      Comcast handed the property to G4 for evaluation and eventual merger. G4's CEO brought a team of G4 execs to San Francisco to meet and discuss integration. Greg Brannan proposed several schedules that involved taking the best of TechTV and G4 and creating one network. The recommendation was to keep the TechTV brand because of its successes so far that G4 did not have.

      On the web side of things we recommended keeping techtv.com and its 2 million plus monthly uniques. We would create show sites there for any G4 shows and integrate them into the TechTV.com infrastructure. Our engineers recommended keeping the co-lo and Sun servers as G4 only had two or so Windows boxes to run their site which had monthly uniques in the hundreds of thousands at the time.

      G4 left with all our feedback and cam eback with the decision that they would offer 100 or so people of the around 300 at TechTV jobs in LA. The Screen Savers, X-Play and Unscerwed with Martin Sargent would continue as originally produced shows. A couple of acquired shows liek Invent This and Anime Unleashed would go on as well. However the schedule would remain largely G4 shows. The website would be G4TV.com and run out of LA and work off the existing servers plus some added capacity. The Web staff would be cut from around 40 people at TechTV to 17, including 4 or 5 existing G4 employees. Of the entire TechTV Web staff, one graphic designer from TechTV moved to LA. Overall around 80 TechTV staff took jobs at G4.

      Within one month the Web traffic was cut in half. Within a few months, Unscrewed was canceled and many TechTV folks were laid off. Within 6 months G4 dropped TechTV from the name and changed The Screen Savers to Attack of The Show. The CEO of G4 eventually left the network and a new staff has taken over and tried to move the network to a more mainstream male audience, hence the star trek and man show.

      It was not a happy time for TechTV staffers by any stretch, but some good TechTV folks still work at G4.

      -Tom Merritt, former executive producer, techtv.com
  • Q: What Actually Happened to TechTV?

    A: It became TV for losers. I realized this when I was channel surfing one day and stopped to watch a show called "12 Guys It's Okay to Hate" (or something similar) on G4TV. I don't know why I watched it other than a morbid sense of curiosity. I can honestly say that anybody who hates the people on the list is a genuine loser. Most of the people on their list were only there because they were successful (mostly celebrities). So much for geeky and offbeat TV progra

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