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YoreVision aims to bring old-school TV nostalgia to your digital video library

With every media format and device that’s eliminated or displaced as a result of technological advancement, there often develops over time a paradoxical nostalgia for the very thing made obsolete. Nobody really wants to walk 10 miles through the snow in shoes made of newspaper. But once that kind of experience is years behind you, those formerly bemoaned memories can begin to take on a rosier hue that almost makes one yearn for the tougher days. Such is the inspiration for Aaron Todd’s YoreVision, a video streaming system currently looking for funding on Indiegogo.

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With YoreVision Todd is attempting to inject the fuzzy, unpredictable TV-watching joy of the ’80s and ’90s into the more controlled media experience of today’s streamers and bingers. The project lets the user randomize a collection of their own video content across 20 “channels” alongside spliced-in advertisements from any era of broadcast television (Todd chose the ’80s and ’90s, his childhood years, to select the source material for his personal prototype). For example, let’s say you’re watching Netflix, and this little beauty pops up (please excuse the horrible resolution).

Kinda fun, right?

As the creator describes it on the project’s Indiegogo page, YoreVision is “a hardware/software project that brings back channel surfing and commercial breaks using your videos.” With a paltry $56 raised, it doesn’t look like the project’s crowd-funding attempt will yield much capital for Todd, but the idea is certainly intriguing.

There are probably a number of questions already swimming through your head right now, but Todd does seem to have solutions for most of the big obstacles that would prevent something like YoreVision from actually working. Here’s a list of the features Todd would like to implement, many of which address the system’s potential holes:

  • a TV Guide-like feature to see what’s airing across all channels
  • the ability to categorize your shows and then create the channels that will play certain categories such as movie channels, comedy channels, etc.
  • an algorithm that will automatically detect black space in your videos so that it will know exactly when to play commercials
  • a system that will stream the commercial types of your choice directly from the internet – and have the ability to turn them off (though that seems to defeat the purpose..)
  • the ability to set up a time range for the length of commercial breaks
  • a free app for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, etc., that can be used as the ‘clicker’
  • the ability to skip a commercial break or restart something with a button via the smartphone app

The biggest problem we see with YoreVision (aside from the fact that most viewers purposely avoid ads) is that the ad-retrieving functions could very likely have major inconsistencies. Will the user be responsible for compiling a YouTube channel with all of the ads they’d like to see? It seems there would be an awful lot of preparation required to make the system even remotely resemble cable TV and its seamless alternation between commercial and program. Simply being able to recognize and pin down videos’ black spaces does not equate to perfectly timed ads. And maybe the biggest gap would be the lack of uniqueness and personalization of each broadcast. There’d be no “Coming up next, Beetlejuice!”, or “Stay tuned for a Seinfeld marathon!”

Without these important subtleties, we have a feeling the whole thing will end up looking exactly like what it is: a mere jumble of ancient advertisements and random video content. In short, there are simply a ton of variables that go into reproducing the classic TV-watching experience. Todd does, however, say that ideally he’d be able to offer both a software and hardware version of the project.

Put all of these elements into a dedicated standalone device that can be hooked up to a TV – now that might actually be a feasible way to get back the “good ol’ days.”

[image: vita khorzhevska/Shutterstock]

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