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Video Tombstones 426

Rio writes "A new company plans to unveil new high-tech tombstones with embedded flat screen monitors that would allow visitors to play memorial videos of the deceased. Joe Joachim, who says he wants to be the Walt Disney of the funeral business, plans to show the Vidstone this year at the annual funeral directors convention. The solar-powered Vidstone will play a video of the person's life at the touch of a button."
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Video Tombstones

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  • Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Musteval ( 817324 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:01PM (#13357068)
    Is the feed live from inside the coffin?
  • by mopslik ( 688435 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:01PM (#13357070)

    1. Purchase plot, headstone
    2. Make video of you screaming, clawing at the lid of coffin
    3. ???
    4. Horrify others!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:02PM (#13357074)
    Slashdot's epitaph will read "Nothing for you to see here. Please move along."
  • Elvis' gravesite when that happens. It'd be a nice interactive experience.
  • Great, but... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The Breeze ( 140484 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:02PM (#13357079) Homepage
    How are they going to stop the sun from destroying the video display? It's a big problem with ATM's & McDonald Drive Thrus here in Arizona...
  • Free LCDs! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Taevin ( 850923 ) * on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:03PM (#13357083)
    Hmm let's see. Large areas of land with little or no lighting and little or no security, filled with LCD screens... Sounds like the perfect opportunity for latenight theft.

    More seriously:
    "It could be offensive to some. I don't think it's appropriate or it's been tried enough on the grounds." Mt. Elliott Cemetery Association spokesman Michael Chilcote said.

    I personally find it a little odd too but who is going to be offended by this? With all the religions and traditions in our society you'd think people would be more understanding and accepting of differences. Offended by an LCD screen on a tombstone? That's as rediculous as me being offended at someone wasting flowers by placing them around a grave instead of in nice vases and pots where, you know, the living can enjoy them.

    Maybe it's just that I've always found societal views on death odd. I don't understand why people sit around crying about the fact that someone has died. Why not celebrate the life they lived? If anything, it seems like these LCD screens could do that well. Short clips of happy times, playing with their children and whatnot would be a great way to paint a nice picture of the person's life. I guess that's offensive though, nevermind.
    • Re:Free LCDs! (Score:5, Informative)

      by gatkinso ( 15975 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:09PM (#13357158)
      >> but who is going to be offended by this?

      You have got to be kidding, right? There are some people who are offended by others wearing hats indoors, use of the word "niggardly", and by the presence of children in church... ...andI haven't even scratched the surface of uptightness/ignorance.
      • by dmccarty ( 152630 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:59PM (#13357697)
        Speaking of the word "niggardly," there are people who get uptight if you're playing cards and you say that someone "renigged." (Okay it's actually spelled "reneged," but people pronounce it "renig" here in the Midwest.)

        So if you can renege and it's a bad thing, is it a good thing if you just nege?

    • Re:Free LCDs! (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by CheeseTroll ( 696413 )
      I don't understand why people sit around crying about the fact that someone has died. Why not celebrate the life they lived?

      What makes you think that these are opposing viewpoints? You sound like someone not old enough to have experienced the death of anyone whose life you personally celebrated.

      • Actually, I've had several grandparents die, an uncle killed in a car accident, and a cousin commit suicide. Age is irrelevant anyways. Children have their parents die all the time. Are you suggesting they are not old enough to have truly experienced that death?

        Certainly the initial news of the person death is sad and cause for some grief. My point was intended towards funerals. I'd rather go to one where I could talk with people who knew the deceased and share memories of good times, without the gr
    • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:12PM (#13357193)
      > Hmm let's see. Large areas of land with little or no lighting and little or no security, filled with LCD screens... Sounds like the perfect opportunity for latenight theft.

      No Id Name
      1 54550 Tackhead died in Graveyard. Killed by a Granite Block.

      My vidstone will consist of a clip of Admiral Ackbar, with a voiceover saying "I told him it was a trap."

    • Re:Free LCDs! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AndersOSU ( 873247 )
      Slightly OT, but this reminds me of something...

      Lately there has been a surge of "In Memory of" decals on the back windows of cars around here. To me (and only me apperently) this beggs the question what's the memorial? The car? I don't want to offend anyone, but it sure seems like a poor (and kind of tacky) choice of a memorial to me, if only because of the fact that a car is so temporary.

      But hey if it helps you through the mourning more power to you I guess
    • Generally its self pity that cause people to be overly upset at a funeral. The whoa is me.. whatever shall I do now syndrom. Though there are a few people I would think... Oh man that guy is gonna have a rough time in hell I feel sorry for em.
    • With all the religions and traditions in our society you'd think people would be more understanding and accepting of differences
      Many religions have a long, long history of being neither accepting nor understanding of "differences." How many wars have been started because one guy prayed to a different invisble man in the sky than another guy (paraphrasing Carlin)?
    • I feel exactly the same way. But, I think it is some sort of crutch for other people. Like visiting gravestones and whatnot. It makes absolutely no sense to me - you are just visiting a nicely polished piece of rock sitting on top of a decomposing body. I'd imagine some people's argument would be that it's to remember the person. Well, then why not look at some pictures or something? There's a picture of my (dead) grand dad on the fridge at my mom's house. And that sure presents much fonder memories than th
    • Re:Free LCDs! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mirio ( 225059 )
      I agree that a funeral should be a celebration of one's life and not a tear-filled experience.

      A friend of mine was murdered last summer by some punk thugs strung out on cocaine. They stabbed him to death looking for some more money to support their habit.

      He was an excellent aerobatic pilot and we all flew with him often.

      His funeral was quite a site. Everyone was wearing shorts and t-shirts. We went out to his hangar, some friends flew a 'missing man' formation over the field. They had loud speakers blas
      • R.E.S.P.E.C.T.! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tony ( 765 )
        Find out what it means to me.

        While I was in the army many, many moons ago, I pulled funeral detail several times. It was an honor to either bear the pall, or shoot the salute. Although most of the men and woman we buried were in the standard army-issue felt caskets, there was a major we buried in a massive polished oak behemoth, with polished brass hardware and memorial plate.

        Strange thing is, that was the one funeral at which I was truly embarrassed. The widow was crying loudly the entire time, things l
  • Thank you venture capitalists. Next time, please read the abstract before signing the cheque.
  • advertising (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    if this gets popular, how long till someone is offering ads for it?
  • Advertising (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jazzman251 ( 887873 )
    This seems like something that advertisers would love to get their hands on.
  • How to Order (Score:3, Informative)

    by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <> on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:05PM (#13357105) Homepage Journal [] if you've got an immediate need. Looks like it only supports a sound-and-slideshow format so far, burned onto some sort of flash ROM before installation.
  • I want my anti-stink spray!
  • hooray! (Score:2, Funny)

    by lovebyte ( 81275 )
    I'd go and visit Hugh Huffner's tombstone when he dies!
  • by Kelson ( 129150 ) * on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:05PM (#13357114) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone else find this description disturbing?

    I have this image of a cemetery filled with Mickey Mouse ears on the tombstones, little Tinkerbell figurines sticking out of the ground on metal rods, and constant background music.
  • It'll be the tackiest thing yet!

  • But they expanded on it, and made it seem like you could talk to the deceased.

    That show's ideas keep popping up in our time. They really had a keen eye on the direction of the media, technology, privacy, etc.

  • I can't even kill myself to escape those horrible home videos my parents took.

    Whatever happened to those plans to colonize Mars?

  • by kinglink ( 195330 )
    I have to say the more I see this idea the better it is. While I'm Christian, a group that is pretty solemn about death, some people want a little more flash to their tombstone and this is a great idea.

    I mean if I could have the highlights of my life played it would make people remember the best moments of my life, rather then have a few words ingraved

    If a picture is worth a thousand words, a moving picture should be worth a couple million. Of course it won't last as long as either but it'll be nice when
    • Solemn about death? Maybe if the dead person wasn't a Christian. If they were we should be happy for them! They are in heaven now and eventually you will be to.

      But that is just my two cents.
  • Now we can waste even more of society's dwindling resources on the dead! Seriously, don't these screens burn out after 4 or 5 years. Of course, I suppose by then people have stopped visting the graves....
  • by TheLevelHeadedOne ( 700023 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:07PM (#13357137) Homepage
    It will give a whole new meaning to Blue Screen of Death when the machine dies

    Thank you...thank you...thank you very much...I'll be here all week!
  • "Look, Jimmy, I can hack p0rn sites on Granny's tombstone!"

  • TombSTONEs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by funny-jack ( 741994 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:09PM (#13357160) Homepage
    It seems to me that there's a good reason that tombstones are one thing that hasn't changed much at all with thousands of years of advancing technology.

    Stone lasts a very long time. Can the same be said of LCD video displays?
  • by markov_chain ( 202465 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:10PM (#13357163) Homepage
    I call dibs on watching Jenna Jameson's tombstone!
  • by norminator ( 784674 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:10PM (#13357167)
    The nice thing about a classic tombstone is that it will last for a long, long time... who would put in a video screen that will last for just a few years, then succumb to damage from sun, rain, dust, and vandalism, all while turning the cemetery into a mini Las Vegas? Those close to the deceased can remember them with their own videos and photographs in their homes.
  • by devorama ( 625557 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:10PM (#13357172)
    please make sure the aspect ratio is correct on my video! Did anyone see the picture from the article? Wow, what a cherubic baby! It drives me nuts (in life) to see everyone one watching stretched video on their LCDs all the time. Imagine having your pet peeve playing over your former corporeal existance for eternity.
  • Timeless (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BaudKarma ( 868193 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:10PM (#13357174) Journal
    The cemetary by my house has headstones from the 1890's that are still in good condition and quite readable. I'm sure that in the year 2120 these LCD screens will still be working perfectly informing visitors all about the deceased.

    This is one of the stupidest ideas I've seen in a long time. The only way it'll go anywhere is if some funeral home directors manage to guilt and manipulate grieving relations into buying the damn things.
    • Its good for the people that knew you. By 2120 (115 years from now) how many people that you knew are still going to be alive? Until we invent some radicle new tech to keep us alive over 100+ years - its not a big deal. My family & friend can watch the video & by the time THEY are dead - so will the LCD.
  • by PriceIke ( 751512 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:10PM (#13357177)

    How difficult would it be to hack the playback?

    I'm not sure I'd want large naked breasts swinging over my grave site for years and ... er .. hmm. Now that I think about it, maybe I would want that.

  • by BlackCobra43 ( 596714 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:13PM (#13357209)
    Porn. Imagine the confusion and shame of passerbies getting stiffies in a graveyard. It would delect me from beyond the grave.
  • Now I can't escape tech support Hell even on the other side of the grave.

    On the upside, it's not like I have anything better to do than wait on hold for hours on end.

  • by nomad63 ( 686331 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:14PM (#13357216)
    Well, I am a technology buff and want to use it wherever possible but this is going a step beyond my understanding of taste. This is totally creepy. Let the dead people rest in peace instead of turning cemetaries into hi-tech showrooms.

    Needless to say one should consider the tombstone thefts to get a free LCD display.

    Technology belongs to this world not to the "*other*" side IMHO.
  • by inkdesign ( 7389 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:16PM (#13357245)
    Father (sad): Lets watch mothers video.
    Son: OK Dad.
    Video Screen: GOATSE.CX!!!!
  • Sorta like the Blue screen of Death...only creepier, and for real.
  • "Vidstone: Trivializing Life, One Chump At A Time"
  • Offensive? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kid_wonder ( 21480 ) <public@ksc o t t> on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:17PM (#13357251) Homepage
    "It could be offensive to some. I don't think it's appropriate..."

    Could someone please explain why someone would think it is offensive or inappropriate? Exactly which tradition or long held belief that anyone might hold would this patently offend?

    I would think that adding services such as creating the video and making DVDs for families could be a lucrative market (and good margins) which could be more easily introduced by having this tombstone on display.

    What with the growing number of cremations these days (supposedly to reach 50% in the next 10 years) you would think that these funeral directors would be looking for new ways to make money.

    I still don't see the issue here...

    And to be sort-of humorous for a second, but mostly serious, if these things became popular I could see people visiting cemetaries to actually view _other_ peoples grave sites and seeing their life stories. That might be interesting. Until the flat screens start going kaput...
    • Re:Offensive? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kNIGits ( 65006 )
      Exactly which tradition or long held belief that anyone might hold would this patently offend?
      Although I'm not sure of the basis of it, the Australian Aborigine believes that viewing images of a dead person to be sacrilege. It is for this reason that ABC television places notices before some programs to warn Aborigines that the show may contain images of dead people.
  • What will it take, a couple of months of this before the video screens become either the constant target of vandals, or there becomes some wierd black-market for tombstone screens?

    And, last I checked, they don't give you a power hookup for most tombstones --- this just sounds like yet another silly application of technology to me.
  • I've seen some documentaries about Russia, and it's customary there to put laminated photos of the deceased on the tombstone to help people remember them. Imagine how much more comforting a video would be to the survivors. If this takes off anywhere, Russia will probably be the biggest market.
  • .... Idiot Toys [] Genius site!
  • how about a web cam inside the casket?!
  • Pr0n (Score:2, Funny)

    I guess I'll be visiting the graves of a lot more porn stars from now on.
  • by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <valuation@gmail. c o m> on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:19PM (#13357292)
    ...and discarded Kleenexes around Ron Jeremy's tombstone?
  • Director: Oh, the living. Well, fortunately, this
                    model features the Cadaver-Cam.
                    [turns on a small TV embedded in a monument. We see
                    Bart clawing at the lid of the casket]

    Abe: Haha. Look at him go!

    Homer: That thing got picture-in-picture?

    Director: Of course. This is the Contempo.
  • Hehehe, I thought it was a neat lil' cyberpunk touch to have flat screen video displays embedded in every tombstone in the cemetary in Invader Zim.

    Fun to see reality catching up to dystopic visions of a horrible nightmarish future. I hope Super Toast is next.
  • What random person would go around viewing videos on other people's tombstones? Your family would already know all about you and likely also have access to the video without having to visit your grave. This is a great idea because it doesn't need to be reliable. Unless you're a celebrity or somehow otherwise famous, it's likely that nobody will ever use your Vidstone.

    On that note, do you think they could make mine one of those scary Flash movies where something suddenly jumps out at unsuspecting passers b
  • Joey Skaggs has got gravestones like this (and better) at Final Curtain [].
  • this was on CNN.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bad_outlook ( 868902 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:20PM (#13357309) Homepage
    I saw this last night on CNN, and it's ridiculous. It's one thing to have a DVD made showcasing the person's life (although I think that's cheesy, I think it's much more practical than this video in a tombstone dealio) but come on...when graves are vandalized now tombstones are pushed over. With video screens it'll just take a jab of a rock at the screen to ruin them, then some gum in the old socket for the headphones (or lock if they lock em) not to mention the hacking opportunties this will's the limit on this one. Personally I hope creamtion continues on as becoming more and more common. Think about it, we came to live as dust, we should leave the same way. How audacious to think we should own a piece of land permanantly.
  • The MPAA can now touch you for motion picture royalties.
  • Well, as I type this, I'm trying very hard to stifle a laugh and resist the temptation to grab the "low hanging fruit" as it were.

    Thank goodness he didn't want to be the "Dr. Suess of the funeral business"

  • is that this will add new meaning to the Blue Screen of Death...
  • by fnj ( 64210 )
    This is a dumb idea worthy of modern self indulgent society. Keep It Simple, Stupid, is the best way. Old epitaphs can be very succinct and witty. Here is a famous one from Tombstone:

        Here lies Lester Moore.
        Four slugs
        From a forty-four.
        No Les
        No More.

    Here is another great one:

        Here lies a man named Zeke.
        Second fastest draw in Cripple Creek.
  • What lies beyond is a mystery, but one thing is certain: God favours those who travel in style.

    Can you switch it on corpsecam?
  • It will be running goatse [] (mirror) [] by default.
  • by Somegeek ( 624100 ) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @12:13AM (#13360181)
    Hi, Tech Support.

    Hi, umm, my tombstone won't work.


    There's no display on it.

    OK, Have you tried rebooting it?

    How do you do that?

    What model headstone do you have?

    I don't know, it says.... 'engraved by...'

    No, no, no. Thats just the plaque on the stone. We need the model of the actual headstone. There should be something chiseled into the back of it with a model and serial numbers?

    OK, .... Model HS 4EVR Dragon Plus?

    Yep, thats it, ok let me look that one up,... OK, there should be a reset button on the back? Just next to the usb jack?

    Got it , they were covered in some mucky stuff, looks like bird...

    Yep, we get a lot of that. OK hold down the reset button for 4 seconds and tell me what comes up on the headstone?

    Ok..... it's booting! oh.. it its displaying an ad for VIAGRA! You know one of those short graphic video clips they're using now?

    I'm sorry, it appears that your headstone has been hacked. Unfortunately you need to bring it back to the mortuary for service.

    What?! Do you know how heavy this thing is?

    Well, actually that's not the real headache - you're going to need a court order to be able to legally remove the headstone first. Now I can email you the forms or would you like to sign up with our service package that includes gravesite service?

"The Avis WIZARD decides if you get to drive a car. Your head won't touch the pillow of a Sheraton unless their computer says it's okay." -- Arthur Miller