Edinburgh TV Unfestival 2007

RemoteThis past weekend the great and the good of British TV came to town and for the first time I was lucky enough to be a part of it.

In amongst the Film, Fringe, International, Jazz and various other Festivals, all of which make a big noise about wanting to attract as many punters as possible, the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival arrives into the city under something of a shroud. This is one festival where the public aren’t invited.

This has now changed with the creation of the TV Unfestival, a day-long event run by backstage.bbc.co.uk which “centred around the clash of the well established TV world and the constantly accelerating Internet world using the unusual unconference format, where the cost of entry is participation.” I was intrigued, so signed up.

On arrival I was greeted with a few dozen other new media types, from the world of digital broadcasting and technical development. The unconference format means that the running order for the event is decided on the day. Talks included:

  • Scifi As Reality – A technique for brainstorming new research areas in the context of TV
  • Science Un-Fiction – three short vignettes about possible futures for cross-media entertainment and pervasive gaming, with cows, ghosts and pirates
  • DRM; necessary evil to ensure the co-operation of content rights holders or the unfortunate outcome of failed business practices that is essentially defective by design?

I can’t pretend to understand all of the technical jargon used in the talks so won’t attempt to judge the viability of the pros and cons discussed. For me the most interesting one surrounded the availability of the BBC’s TV archive over the internet via a set top box.

Overall it was an entertaining day, a chance to meet some interesting people and get a glimpse into the future.


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