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Fred Agnir
05-16-2003, 06:41 AM
Okay, this question has nothing to do with the other question. Let's discuss how, what, whatever... what on TV would work for pool?

In the past month, the Travel Channel has been airing the 2003 World Series of Poker. It's a ripe time, as ESPN has been airing reruns of a few different Hold 'Em tournaments. It's like a concerted effort by the poker community to present a product to the masses. And the masses seem to be taken to it.

Would it work for pool? Well, notwithstanding my thoughts that pool will never be "big" as long as bar tables are what the general public think of as "pool," I think that pool can piggy back on the Poker bandwagon. Instead of Pool & Billiard Channel, I've always thought that a Gaming Channel would be more appropriate. A channel that has poker, pool, darts, foosball, maybe ping pong. This might have been the same idea that was already brought forth to Turner (that Popcorn had mentioned).

Maybe if I can get up some capital, maybe I should invest in it, huh? Would anyone subscribe to it if it were available on the Dish for $10 month? j/k

Fred

Ward
05-16-2003, 07:02 AM
Fred

I am with you on the gaming channel. I watch the Hold'em tournaments and likem... I think if they did pool, poker, darts it would be great.

What I think makes the poker tournaments enjoyable is the size of the purse, they are playing for big bucks and I believe that makes it attractive to even casual viewers.

Later

Brian in VA
05-16-2003, 07:14 AM
I think you're on to something here Fred. I'm a big woodworker and there has been precious little available over the past few years. I discovered the DIY channel last year and have been hooked on all kinds of programming there, not just woodworking. It also allows the producers to spread costs out across many areas, provide fewer repeats of programs and attracts a much larger audience that may cross-pollenate. I like it!
Brian

Deeman
05-16-2003, 07:19 AM
Fred,

O.K. The Gaming Channel sounds pretty good. There are certainly enough gamblers to make it go.

As far as pool, I remember Matchroom's original telecasts of the Mosconi Cup many years ago when I lived in Europe. They were fantastic. Better camera angles, no pocket cam, exciting introductions, juglers performing into commercial breaks.

We have to deal with several issues first. The balls have to be more visable, identifiable and not just with the awkward overlay they do on ESPN. The guys with the portable cameras have to know pool at a pretty good level. There should be a movable overhead cam that a knowledgable director can move and zoom.

In addition, a little showmanship with the players needs to go on. I hear everyone say Earl is not good for pool. They are crazy, look what Johnny Mac did for tennis! Have you seen some of the things the snooker players have been caught doing and they are national heros. We have to develop personalities for the players, a knowledge of them the fans can identify with. If we think quiet and respectful will propel our sport, look at those idiots from WWF. They are all millionaires and only maybe 2% of the viewers even participated in any wrestling event.

A larger prize fund would also generate interest as well as better commentary then we presently get to satisfy both casual and more advanced fans.

The Channel you mention could also be a vehicle for broadcasting real instructional materials, not just tip of the day stuff. Maybe Scott could get his own show!

05-16-2003, 07:27 AM
I definitely like the Gaming channel idea. It would keep content fresh by rotating among a few games. 24/7 pool & billiards would probably grow tiresome with all but the most hardcore fans, but by sharing the bandwidth with other table games, darts, ping-pong and such, the interest level could be maintained. Maybe even bowling could be represented, as that seems to draw a lot of interest, is professionally represented, and works well for ESPN. Of course, ESPN probably has exclusive contracts for PBA/WPBA coverage, but the open and amateur tournaments would probably draw a lot of bowling fans who, like us, can't get enough of their favorite sport.

But, as many of us said in the other thread, I couldn't support it on Dish Network. I have DirecTV and cable, and last I checked DirecTV subscribers far outnumbered Dish subscribers (not to mention my own opinion that DirecTV is superior to Dish). To be successful, I'm wondering if it wouldn't have to be a generally licensed channel, available to all satellite and cable providers, in order to reach a wide enough audience to make it feasible. Is there a reason why you're only mentioning Dish?

Barbara
05-16-2003, 07:29 AM
Fred,

A gaming channel is a great idea!! Different sports/games/venues. Maybe some instructional shows or interviews with some of the games participants. I can see selling advertisement slots to cuemakers and billiards suppliers happening, too.

Barbara

Rich R.
05-16-2003, 07:30 AM
Concerning a pool channel, I would like to see as much current tournament coverage as possible, both men and women. That said, I realize coverage like this is very expensive to produce. So, I would suggest mixing in a mixture of old tournament coverage and instruction, as well as very old footage from the vaults of the major networks when they would cover some matches of Mosconi, Lassiter and others.

BTW, the idea of a Gaming Network is the best idea yet. It would not have to rely on fans of one game for support. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Aboo
05-16-2003, 09:26 AM
I think the Gaming channel is a great idea too, but I also agree with Deeman.
For our beloved sport to bounce into the public's good graces again, we HAVE to have characters play the game. Not stuffed shirt, no emotion, slate faced, gentleman. A game face is one thing, but folks who are NOT die hard cueist's aren't going to sit and watch golf on a pool table basicly.

Also, the rules for 9-ball, 8-ball, 10-ball, or whatever game they're playing really need to be standardized. It's very difficult for anyone to follow a sport in which they don't know the rules.

JPB
05-16-2003, 11:28 AM
One thing I've never understood is alternate break formats for tv. I'd much rather see editing. I think people want to see racks strung together and some dude sitting in the chair. I have never understood why straight pool became unpopular. Sure, a long defensive battle stinks for tv, but if defense is followed by a mistake and one guy running 100 balls, that's just great. Anybody can conceive of running 9 balls, but running ten racks of 9 ball or running 150 balls in straight pool would capture the public's attention. I groan in those alternate shot 9-ball tourns on tv where a lot of defense is played then 3 balls are made, then someone misses, then someone wins, and the break alternates. Yuck. If somebody misses and gets sent to the chair for a while, that is what people want to see. And I also don't understand how 3C died. That would be the best tv game. but that's just me I guess.

As to the poker, I don't understand the popularity, and I like poker and play it. I am biased against tournaments tho, as I think tournament poker is an inferior form of the game. I play very few poker tourns, and have never done real well in them so that is part of it. (Although the last one I played I chopped third and made some money in a small local one) Some of the poker seen on tv has been awful, but people seem to like it. The WPT was a good idea overall. The fact that the money is way bigger really help too I think. Poker is simply a much bigger money game than pool and always will be. That is because well-financed amateurs can play against pros and sometimes beat them, especially in tournamnets where short term luck is the overriding factor. The best poker will never be televised. SO yes, I think pool could do OK on tv because by all rights it should be a better tv game. I would get the degenerate gambler channel for sure.

thepoolnerd
05-16-2003, 11:34 AM
Have you ever watched nine ball matches from the Derby City classic or any events that Grady has held? 4.25" pockets make the game more enjoyable to watch. The players need to play more accurate position, they shoot at the corners more, they strategize more. On ESPN, I am not sure of the pocket size but I've seen balls that hit the long rail a diamond and a half up and still wander in. Nine ball played at the top level on medium to loose tables levels the playing field too much. When all 64 players in the field are capable of stringing 5+ racks together and they play a finals race to 7, something is fundamentally wrong. With the advent of the soft break and the Sardo rack the results weigh far too heavily on the break. Tighten the tables up; it will make the break less of a factor and shooting more of a factor. Golf makes the courses tougher and longer as the players skills increase. Pool sponsors 7 ball tornaments. Nobody can tell me that 7 ball tournaments determine the best player more accurately than a 14.1 or one pocket tournament (or a 9 ball tournament on tight tables. I think that this leveling of the playing field is why in the men's tournaments seldom have repeat champions like they used to in the 40's-60's. It would be more interesting to watch if someone is trying to dethrone a 3 time champion. (I even watched my first NBA game of the year last night for this reason.) If you look at a considerably harder game like 3 cushion there always seems to be a guy that is considerably better than the rest and have long term reigns as champions. In nine ball, the average channel surfer probably watches for 10 minutes, assumes that they never miss and move on.
3 cushion should be showcased; I know non-pool fans that have watched entire matches because it is fascinating to watch 2 decent players for the first time.
They ought to have challenge matches, where players put up their own money. If it's okay with poker it should be okay with pool.
I don't have much interest in the full hour trick shot shows, but they should have a 5 minute exhibition half-way through the matches. Mike Massey doing his finger pool, Tommy Kennedy juggling or a 3 cushion exhibition would liven it up.
Just my thoughts; interesting thread, good suggestions.

snipershot
05-16-2003, 12:44 PM
I like the idea of a gaming channel, it would appeal to a much larger crowd and would probably also have a greater chance of success. As long as it had lot's to do with pool I would definitely be interested.

Tom_In_Cincy
05-16-2003, 01:52 PM
Challenge Matches.

Pros vrs Pros

A series of the "Best against the Best" WINNER take all.

Invitational that would include women also.

Pro-Am series matches to be added prior to each "match" with coaching allowed, so everyone can hear the advice given from the pro to the amature.

Training specials. Fundamentals and Expert/advanced skill drills.

Standard Rules and different games exhibitions. One Pocket specials from Grady. 14.1 Specials from Mike Segal

Odds from accross the world on the matches. Gambling is as big a part of this game as Leagues. And, by the way..

League regional championships. Let's watch the amatures sweat the big games on TV.. LOL

Specials on equipment, from chalk to cues and everything inbetween. From the Amature, Pro and industrial perspectivers.

Tables, Tables and more tables. Why not? they are the common ground for all the battles...

World reports.. Matches from all the other tournaments from around the world. International players profiles and records from past and current years.


Match by Match results for each Pro. How well did Earl do against Cory each time they played in the last 10 tournaments?

Women's and Men's tournament chatter.

Industry reports. What's HOT!!!

AND, Who won the 2nd annual CCB Tournament?

05-16-2003, 05:49 PM
Personally i would love to see all types of billiards/pool on sat/tv/cable etc it would be nice. And yes i would subscribe.

Rod
05-16-2003, 07:14 PM
Tom, I like your ideas. One more I think would be interesting is viewers call in. It could be like the Golf Aademy live. Viewers call and say what their problem is, then the resident pro answers their question.

Rod

Tom_In_Cincy
05-16-2003, 08:43 PM
Call-in with questions.. great idea..

There could be all types of levels of instructions from all the different instructors.

I really like the Amature matches. 8 ball matches with good amatures are very interesting IMO.

I could watch (and pay) for all sorts of Pool related broadcasts.

When does this start? LOL

cheesemouse
05-17-2003, 06:40 AM
Tom,
This is a bit off the TV subject but maybe some of technocrats here can answer. How long will it be before these web cams will be able to give us streaming video that can be viewed in real time with the picture quality of TV. How much will it cost your local poolhalls who already have web sites to have a 'WEB CAM' table where feature matches could be shown. I would love to see the local hot shots from all over the country matching up on 'CAM' tables. If this was possible we could be watching lots of pool with our existing Internet connections......JAT....

Tom_In_Cincy
05-17-2003, 08:43 AM
Cheezy
Pool halls already have internet connections and Web cams NOW. caromcafe.com(?)

Its just a matter of time before this gets more attention.
I can't understand why more pool halls aren't doing this now. Its cheap (the cost of an ISP, PC and Webcams Less than $1500)
Maybe they just don't know about it?

Rod
05-17-2003, 09:50 AM
Tom,
The video is choppy and terrible. I don't even watch those sites. I had no clue what was happening in a game. Even TV needs better cameras filters or something.

OK I'm done

Rod

05-17-2003, 11:58 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Rod:</font><hr> Tom,
The video is choppy and terrible. <hr /></blockquote>Depends on your bandwidth and CPU power. CaromTV plays very smooth for me, with DSL bandwidth and my Athlon XP 1700+ CPU.

The problem with web broadcasts, especially where your audience tends to not be "geek" types, is that most of your audience will not have higher-end PC/internet equipment to be able to enjoy the broadcast without postage-stamp sized videos and lots of choppiness.

Popcorn
05-17-2003, 12:19 PM
I don't know much about this stuff, but I have cable and when I check the speed at one of those web sites like http://promos.mcafee.com/speedometer/test_0600.asp it says between 2 and three 3 mbps. My computer is an old IBM Aptiva 350 and I get what seem to me pretty smooth video at Carom TV. Would it be better if I had a faster computer? I would love to see pool on the net. If Accu-stats could do it I would subscribe. I would love to watch live stuff, even if not really top players, just to keep up the interest. It would be great to watch, (with their permission of course) players matching up in pool rooms all over the country. I bet it would develop a real cult following among pool players. I once drove 300 miles on no sleep to watch Hopkins play Cook one pocket. Most players are not lucky enough to liver near and see good players, (They don't have to be champions), play on a regular basis. I would like to see you play and you could see me play. How about lessons on the net, sponsored by somebody in the business, Cuetec for instance. It may be unlimited what could be done. What would it cost to set up a web cam in say, my own house. Have a site called watch me practice. Instead of just the wei table you could actually see the shot. Is this possible now, or in the near future?

Rod
05-17-2003, 12:23 PM
David,
Carom TV isn't real bad, but it's not good. Any of the others really suck. Mine is a 1 GHZ Athlon and I'm on cable with a down speed near 3000 kbps, it's a fast puppy there. Maybe the processor in part but I tend to think this is not perfected as yet. The quality of the camera surely has some effect to. Your thoughts?

Rod

05-17-2003, 01:10 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> I don't know much about this stuff, but I have cable and when I check the speed at one of those web sites like http://promos.mcafee.com/speedometer/test_0600.asp it says between 2 and three 3 mbps. My computer is an old IBM Aptiva 350 and I get what seem to me pretty smooth video at Carom TV. Would it be better if I had a faster computer?

<font color="blue">Whoa, what CPU is that? An Aptiva 350 sounds old, like 486/Pentium1 old. If so, yes I think your video playback would improve a bit with an upgrade. As far as your cable bandwidth, you're all set -- heck, you're better off than me with my 768Kbps DSL. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif</font color>

...I would like to see you play and you could see me play. How about lessons on the net, sponsored by somebody in the business, Cuetec for instance. It may be unlimited what could be done. What would it cost to set up a web cam in say, my own house. Have a site called watch me practice. Instead of just the wei table you could actually see the shot. Is this possible now, or in the near future?

<font color="blue">Yeah, that would be great stuff. And sure, it's possible, but the problem is upstream bandwidth. Most residential broadband solutions are severely limited in the upstream bandwidth, usually at 128Kbps or 256Kbps. A webcam feed of any size beyond the head-and-shoulders 2 frames-per-second "will you go out with me?" chitchat video would be bottlenecked by this limited bandwidth and would likely be very choppy, particularly for more than one viewer (client). If you were to go with a business-class broadband service that gave you 1Mbps or better upstream, it would be better, but would still bog down with more than a very few clients. Most sites, like CaromTV, that hosts video to many users go with high-end ISP-class bandwidth like a T3 at a minimum (up to 45Mbps at $5K-$15K per month) or even higher with an OC3 (155Mbps), OC12 (655Mbps) line. Obviously beyond the reach of most of us, but the top PH's could probably afford it, especially if they sold subscriptions.</font color><hr /></blockquote>

05-17-2003, 01:16 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Rod:</font><hr> David,
Carom TV isn't real bad, but it's not good. Any of the others really suck. Mine is a 1 GHZ Athlon and I'm on cable with a down speed near 3000 kbps, it's a fast puppy there. Maybe the processor in part but I tend to think this is not perfected as yet. The quality of the camera surely has some effect to. Your thoughts?

Rod <hr /></blockquote>Absolutely, the setup at the camera-end is critical as well. Your bandwidth, as with Popcorn's, is excellent for receiving a video feed, and your CPU is not too shabby for decoding and rendering the video. As far as CaromTV not being very good, I guess that depends on perspective. Compared to television, you are certainly correct -- it isn't really good at all. But from a webcam perspective, I think they've done a good job. Their effort is better than even some folks who are in the computer business and should KNOW how to do it right.

Actually, I would prefer a site, like Accustats, that offered downloadable videos for a small fee (CaromTV does this too). It wouldn't be live, but the quality and size would be much better than webcam, and you would have it stored on your PC to watch at your leisure. I subscribed to Billiard vZine just for this purpose, but have been less than thrilled with the content and technology they use to deliver it.

Rod
05-17-2003, 01:26 PM
Thanks for the reply David. Ok were on the same wave length because I do compare it to TV. One day maybe it will happen, until then ok has to be good enough.

~~~Rod, not going to live forever

Tom_In_Cincy
05-17-2003, 01:38 PM
Rod,
Its the web cam. By my guess its about 30 frames per/second.
Not the best compared to TV.
We use web cams to record entry access to our secured computer rooms. Even these cams are not for clarity, but more for capturing events and personnel activities. We are Big Brother.. LOL

Web Cams for live broadcasting purposes are a lot more expensive, but still affordable for pool halls. There are quite a few websites that have interactive webcams that you can zoom and pan and tilt for your viewing pleasure.

Still, no audio and limited view points, it has a ways to go before its like watching TV.