Media players, digital art galleries, and pirate TV

As part of a campaign for Kodak, we're writing short pieces for their product site about creative things to do with media players in general. (Note: the post you're reading now wasn't paid for by Kodak or required by the campaign.) I like the way my essays turned out and hope you dig them. The ideas may be harder than I think to implement, but they're fun to imagine anyway. The first is titled "Reframing Art In A Digital Home" (illustration by the talented Rob Beschizza):

 Images Academy

In 1989, Bill Gates founded a company called Interactive Home Systems, which changed its name a year later to Corbis. Now, Corbis owns one of the largest collection of stock images in the world: more than 100 million shots. A slew of those images are safely stored deep underground in a former limestone mine in Pennsylvania. If you want to use the photo of, say, Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue, Corbis will sell you a digital copy and sell you some rights. That wasn't Gates's big vision though. His forecast was that huge screens would hang throughout our homes, rotating through a global collection of photos and artwork. The future isn't quite here yet though, and Corbis's business is about supplying newspapers, magazines, and ad agencies. That's all well and good and makes people money, but twenty years later, I still find Gates's vision compelling. And it seems easy to turn your home into a digital art gallery using a home network, media players, and inexpensive LCD TVs. The art is also free, although I always recommend supporting artists whose work you dig…

"Reframing Art In A Digital Home"

My second article was about pirate TV and starting your own "Local Area (TV) Network." Here's a chunk:

 Images  Images Max-Headroom-80S
In the 1980s guerilla media scene that birthed Boing Boing, the proliferation of pirate TV was a holy grail for culture jammers. Proto-cyberpunk television series Max Headroom featured a character who ran a pirate TV station out of a converted bus, and rumors of late-night anonymous signals floating in the ether fueled our Videodrome-inspired fantasies. And it wasn't all wishful thinking that individuals with a bit of tech know-how could take back the TV airwaves, much like operators of pirate radio stations had done since the 1960s. Famously, during one weekend in 1978, a pirate TV station called Lucky Seven reached viewers in Syracuse, NY. The station, hosted by an anonymous announcer wearing a gas mask, mostly aired Star Trek and Twilight Zone episodes – geek programming to be sure. And in 1987, a TV pirate sporting a Max Headroom mask broke into the broadcast of a Dr. Who episode on WTTW Chicago.
Decades later, the proliferation of wireless networking and media players could bring "pirate TV" out of the shadows, enabling anyone to curate and stream video programming to a nearby niche audience – college dorm, apartment complex, or even city block…

"Start Your Own Local Area (TV) Network"