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Rating: NNNNNIf their set-demolishing ads are to be believed, online broadcasters Blackholetv.com are the next wave of infotainment programming. NThe.


Rating: NNNNN


If their set-demolishing ads are to be believed, online broadcasters Blackholetv.com are the next wave of infotainment programming. NThe flashy, Toronto-based site, launched last month on the heels of a massive advertising campaign, aims to make your 19-inch TV obsolete by putting a variety of “shows” up on its site. Using streaming Real Player technology, the broadcasts fall into six major categories, including sports, nightlife, music and more.

The site is sharply designed and to the point, and the shows themselves are well produced, leaning toward interactive, in-your-face broadcasting rather than passive programming.

Sadly, though, Blackholetv.com, at least so far, is a case of the message not quite living up to the medium’s potential.

As groundbreaking New York Net channel Pseudo.com, and the dozens of cable-access-style bedroom broadcasters have shown, the Web is an ideal venue for wannabe TV stars with a digital camera and a G4. Watch any of these underground feeds regularly, though, and you’ll also realize that for all their renegade ideals, the channels are only as good as the programs they broadcast.

Thus far, Blackholetv.com’s video archive is dominated by footage of parties, pub crawls, interviews with folks on the street, concert footage and the hosts skydiving. Not exactly must-see Net TV.

No matter how you cut it, goofy clips of people doing shooters in Kingston don’t qualify as entertainment around these parts. They also don’t fit in with Blackholetv.com’s billboard manifesto of beating TV at its own game.


Sounds simple

It sounds simple, but Net TV, like online radio, needs to offer something you can’t get anywhere else, as well as — and this is important — something you’d want to watch or listen to in the first place. Otherwise, it’s another thousand channels with nothing on.

There is a refreshing element to Blackholetv.com’s guerrilla tactics — essentially let the camera and the folks in front dictate the flow — but not a lot of direction to that energy.

Surely with time things will become more compelling, but given what’s up there now, you have to wonder whether viewers will stick around that long.

mattg@nowtoronto.com

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