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The Global Village

The BrainYard - Where collaborative minds congregate.
One early form of knowledge sharing is television.  Advances in technology have made television a world-wide medium for sharing information with ease.  Through one's computer, knowledge workers can watch television reports from around the world - without leaving their desks.

This leads me to a topic near and dear to my heart.  On 31 December 2005, German TV shut down.  Founded in 2002, German TV was a joint venture of the ARD, ZDF, and Deutsche Welle, and presented live news and current television programs from Germany.  Their tagline was "Sehen, was Deutschland sieht" (watch, what Germany watches).  Available on cable and satellite, the service cost ca. $10 per month.

The Bundestag (Federal Parliament) failed to renew German TV's budget for 2006.  In its place on American cable and satellite networks , DW-TV (Deutsche Welle TV) was introduced.  Deutsche Welle is the international broadcaster of Germany, similar to the BBC World Service, Voice of America, or Radio France International.  DW broadcasts via shortwave and satellite for radio and television in 29 languages.  DW-TV alternates every hour between English and German, focusing on news and documentaries.  However, it is not what Germany watches.

Habituated to German TV for several years, especially the Tagesschau, the popular ARD news program, I looked to the Web for alternatives.  Streaming video is much improved and I found many sources (a good compilation can be found at  Mediahopper), including the Tagesschau.  N-TV, a German television news channel owned by the RTL Group and Time Warner (operator of CNN), is available free in real time, including commercials (curiously absent from German TV).

Although in full-screen mode  it's a little blurry up close, viewed from 3 m away, N-TV and the other programs, while a little choppy from time to time, look fine on a 17" monitor.

It's a global village, many say.  Still, simultaneously watching what Germans are watching, 5600 km away, is a great advancement and one can only imagine what other delights the coming year will bring.  Intel's new-found consumer orientation, Microsoft's digital home, and Motorola's all-digital set-top appliance with built-in home media networking capabilities portends what is to come.