Some exciting product news this week - Samsung has launched its 55-inch curved OLED TV.

It's aimed at those that want to watch TV together, but don't want to watch the same show. The TV's multi-view option allows users to watch two separate TV shows on the same screen - made possible by 3D technology and 3D glasses that have built-in earphones allowing for separate audio.

What's interesting here is Samsung's failure to notice that this has never been a problem that needed solving. While the majority of households now have a plethora of TVs, tablets, and laptops, fighting over what show to watch is no longer an issue. And watching TV together? Is that even still a thing?.

  • It's not like the old days...

"Honey, I just don't think we watch enough TV together," a girlfriend has never said to their boyfriend.

"Darling, be a good boy and come and watch TV with me, playing football outside isn't going to get you anywhere," a mother has never said to her son.

It makes you wonder what decade Samsung has been living in.

"What's that, ma? You want me to turn my headphones down because you can hear the overbleed from my show?"

"Yes, son, I can't follow Paxman's uncharacteristic reticence towards the mentally disabled on Newsnight - I really wish you wouldn't sit so close to me when you're watching Red Shoe Diaries."

"But ma! I have to be able to hear David Duchovny's erudite voiceover commentary with full aural clarity or it's not sexy."

That's the kind of conversation you could expect to hear if this technology was around in the 90s before Paxman grew fed up with absolutely everyone and screw the consequences, and back when Channel 5's late night softcore porn vibe was hailed a shining beacon in the late night televisual landscape. Nowadays people just refer to it as 'that X-Files spin-off that was better than The Lone Gunmen', while thinking  'Paxman can pretty much say what he likes because we're just glad he's not beating children over the head or leading the charge against Chinese independence because we're not sure if we could stop him if he did.'

  • He used to be so full of whimsy.

The point I'm trying to make is that television manufacturers are grasping at straws here. TVs are a big piece of kit, and they're expensive - but even though the replacement cycle of the television continues to fall this still isn't good enough for capitalism's homeboys, the technology giants.

After the realisation that no one wanted 3D in their home (something they should have picked up on when it was clear that aside from Avatar - and Piranha 3D of course, no one wanted 3D in the cinema either), the scramble towards the technology that would spark the next wave of TV buying becomes somewhat of a holy grail.

Unfortunately, trying to force people that don't want to watch the same show to sit together, hooked up to various pulleys and auditory bells and whistles is unlikely to work. Especially when its based on 3D technology. Idiots.

Television is no longer a social occasion, thanks to platforms like the iPlayer, people are 4OD-ing all over the place and are perfectly happy to watch shows as an when they want. Samsung are looking for their technological edge in the wrong place - and at £8,500 a set, something that few families, the most likely group that would try to watch TV together, could afford - it looks like they're looking in the wrong price bracket too.

Samsung aren't the only ones that have a new product to shout about this week - Amazon has just brought their AutoRip platform to the UK. Music-buyers will now be able to download MP3s of albums they physically purchased - going back as far as 1999.

Now, aside from the horror of remembering what kind of nonsense you were listening to 14 years ago (though Limp Bizkit will no doubt be delighted with a resurgence), there are some other interesting points. 

  • And on the 14th year, he rose again.

The main question is how useful this will be. Amazon has missed a trick somewhat by only supplying MP3s in 256 kbps. While this may have been decent enough quality back in 1999, it's not going to be a big reason to use Amazon now. With iTunes, Spotify, and the rest permeating wide listernships, it's not a large number of people that need persuading to use digital. Certainly not in this manner. A key selling point to the physical product is sound quality. There are numerous torrent sites that specialise is FLAC or similar, and the opportunity to address that is being missed.

Amazon has huge Cloud capacity and storage is cheap - why not offer these in higher formats? Presumably so it doesn't eat into that Cloud business of theirs. Nevertheless, the music industry is once again, hopelessly behind AutoRip, hoping once more that someone else has solved the problem, when in reality, they've merely built a rickety bridge between two types of physical purchasers - those that simply want the product, and those that want the quality. What they need to understand is that these aren't the same audience, and if anything, they're at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Finally, it's been another week, and so there's been another failed attempt for any government agency in the UK to stand up to Google.

We're all familiar with the various tax scandals over the last few months and it always seems Google is one that gets brushed under the carpet somewhat. While Starbucks has started paying some of the £10 million it's promised in tax revenue, they continue, rightly, to be criticised as the tax system isn't supposed to be negotiable.

As for Google? Well, it's not that easy - where we have Starbucks we have Costa Coffee - no one wants to live in a world where the only answer to 'where we have Google...' is Bing. And no one wants to hold Google up too much, because then we'd never get that replacement for Reader.

But the hypocrisy  sometimes gets a little hard to swallow. This week, the Information Commissioner's Office, an independent UK authority that is supposed to uphold information rights in the public interest decided not to fine Google for one of their previous wrongdoings.

Back in 2010 when Google sent its Street View cars around the country, it emerged that the vehicles had been picking up and storing private data over unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

But while Google has paid out a £4.6 million fine over a lawsuit filed by 38 US states over the scandal, alongside a £128,000 fine from German authorities, the ICO has decided a slap on the risk is more than enough.

  • Or face... the consequences?

This is the same ICO that since it received the power to punish organisations financially in April 2010, has fined local councils £1,885,000, before issuing its highest single fine of £325,000 to an NHS trust.

While fines over irresponsible care when it comes to data and technology is justified - why is it that public services paid for by taxpayers get hit by massive fines, which is inevitably paid for by the taxpayer, while a multi-billion dollar corporation gets nothing.

According to the BBC it was because they didn't "meet the level required to issue a monetary penalty." Ah, that's right - stealing information these days is totally fine, as long as you don't lose it when you have it.

By Andy Price (Andyy_P)