Jason Preston of Eat Sleep Publish is a very busy guy who’s at the forefront of the discussion about the future of publishing in Seattle. He is also the New Media Manager at Parnassus Group, the folks responsible for the legendary “It Won’t Stay In Vegas” blogger parties at CES.
Jason recently he took some time out from planning his next big live event, “The Pitch” to talk to us about his experience of watching TV on the PC. Like many journalists and bloggers, TV is a key source of information for Jason’s work.
Tell us about Eat Sleep Publish – what prompted you to start the blog?
I’ve had an interest in publishing for a long time, actually. It probably dates back to 1995, when I started subscribing to PC Gamer Magazine (I still subscribe), and I think that watching most of the publishing industry flail about looking for a business model when there were so many options to explore led me to try and create a forum for that discussion. I figured that if I weren’t in a position to try innovating at a newspaper or a magazine, there was a chance that I could at least help make the conversation noticeable to the people who were.
What types of TV programming do you watch the most, and why?
I actually tend to watch most of my TV either via my media center or through Hulu. I’m seriously considering skipping the whole “subscribe to cable TV” thing the next time I move – between Netflix, Hulu, an HD antenna, my Media Center, and maybe an AppleTV, I feel like I can get 90-95% of my video content over an internet pipe. As for what I actually end up watching, it tends to be a combination of news, Battlestar Galactica, The Office, and Mad Men. The TV news I normally watch when I’m eating breakfast.
What are your top three favorite TV moments?
- (SPOILER ALERT!) When Pegasus bowls into three enemy base stars in Battlestar Galactica.
- Watching the Super Bowl on my projector with about 45 people (way too many) squeezed into the room\
- Seeing commercials for Peter Pan peanut butter during a showing of Peter Pan when I was like 8 years old. (I know, bad timing…)
Has your TV viewing experience changed over time?
Definitely. I’m less tolerant of commercials, although more tolerant than most other people my age.
I’m also annoyed when I can’t watch things on my schedule. I never did schedule my life around TV programming much, so the end result is that I actually watch more television now than I ever have before, because more content is available “on-demand,” whether that means through iTunes, Netflix, the local video store, or Hulu.
I also make a point of only watching legal content now. Since I’m in the business of creative work myself, it seems a bit hypocritical of me to expect to be paid for it if I’m unwilling to pay others.
How often do you watch TV on your PC?
If you mean the Microsoft program in particular, probably less often than you’d like; but if you mean “general TV viewing” on any PC, then it’s actually how I do at least half of my TV-watching. I’ve got my home-made media center hooked up to the big screen in the living room, and more often than not it’s a go-to method for watching time-shifted material. But technically I’m also watching TV on my TV when I do that, so count that either way you want…
Tell us about your media-viewing setup at home. What do you use?
I built my own media center out of cannibalized parts from other machines, and a few thrifty parts I ganked from Fry’s for super cheap. It’s been gutted multiple times, and I hate the fact that I can’t use both my regular TV tuner card and my HD tuner card at the same time, but hey, whaddya gonna do? The thing was cheap to build, I can play Counter-Strike on it, and I don’t have to pay an additional monthly fee to Comcast.
Which leads me to cable – I’ve got a full-on everything package wired into the house at the moment: HD, Starz, HBO, and other things it’s never even occurred to me that I might want to watch. Mostly I just care about HBO on demand. If I could buy just that and skip everything else, I would.
This is all complemented by an Xbox 360, PS3, and Nintendo 64, which are hooked into an Onkyo receiver pumping out 7.1 surround sound. I have the speakers lazily stacked around the room; go figure.
The TV is a 46 inch Samsung LCD flat panel HDTV. Not the best in the world, but not too shabby either.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve done with, or discovered about, watching TV on your PC with Windows Media Center?
Actually the coolest thing I’ve done is pretty boring by most standards: made a video playlist. There’s something incredibly satisfying about picking out the five or six things you want to see, and then sitting back while they play out in succession. Not the flashiest feature, but definitely the one I like the most.
Do you have any plans to change or add to your home setup in 2009?
Not at the moment, but who knows? The next shiny thing that comes out is always so tempting…
We are looking forward to participating in The Pitch on March 18, and think there’s a lot of opportunity for discussion about how the evolution of media affects both the television and publishing worlds. Different types of media are converging: for example, as newspapers increasingly go digital, many of them are developing original online video content. Readers will want the news delivered to them in many different forms…but what effect will these new channels have on the industry, and on consumers? How will we manage all of this information? Come to The Pitch and share your thoughts!