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December 1, 2005

Cable TV Drawing Fire from the FCC

There's a lot of talk about the FCC cracking down on cable broadcasters because of content. According to the AP:

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is warning cable and satellite TV programmers to clean up their act.

Kevin Martin said programmers risk coming under sharper government scrutiny unless they give parents better tools to shield children from racy shows.

Like most people, I'm torn between protecting my children and losing my right to watch what I want. I ran across this article by Lisa J. Scott that I really agree with:

I don't want to live in a vanilla world. I want lots of reds and blacks and plaids and swirls of color. I want to chuckle at bad taste, and to turn off the television in disgust when I see crummy programming. Mostly, I want a window on the real world, with programming that reflects who we are, with all our warts. We are both noble and shameful, deep and shallow, thrilling and boring, sexual and asexual, fabulously talented and shockingly untalented. When our kids were young, we muted the colors of their world to pastels. The adult world has vibrant color.

I'm afraid of "federal decency standards." Your decency isn't necessarily mine. We can take sensible precautions, such as airing adult material at night, and having systems in place to block unwanted channels. (And that "off" switch, that the FCC's Martin dismissed so lightly? It works.)

But to impose the values of some onto the rest of us, to limit art so that no one has to see or hear anything that might upset him or her, is wrong.

So the big question is how do we protect our kids and still enjoy the best and worst of cable? I think a start is to mandate that adult shows not be advertised before 10 PM (both network and cable). How do you explain a "Nip Tuck" commercial to your child who's watching a syndicated rerun at 6 pm?

Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

William Hungerford at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 29, 2005

Martha Stewart and Buick Become Bestest Pals

First "The Donald" cozied up with Dominos Pizza on the Apprentice. Now it appears that Martha Stewart is one-upping Trump by partnering with Buick to promote the Buick Lucerne on "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart". According to Left lane News:

First airing on NBC from 9:00 – 10:00 p.m. EST on November 30, two apprentice teams will design an in-dealership launch showroom display to entice and excite potential Buick Lucerne buyers. The influence of the winning team’s creation, selected by Martha Stewart and Buick executives, will be experienced by prospective customers on December 13, when participating dealerships host a Lucerne V.I.P. Premiere Night. Viewers of the November 30 episode can RSVP for an invitation to a Lucerne V.I.P. Premiere Night party in their area via an online registration process and will be directed to during the show.

In addition, elements of the Lucerne V.I.P. Premiere Night party will be teased on Martha Stewart’s daytime show on December 1, 2005. Here, the party-planning diva will showcase her influence on the upcoming Lucerne VIP Premiere Parties, from flowers and napkins to punch and hors d’ oeuvres, and will create a scene right out of the “Perfect Party Handbook”– a 20-page guide to entertaining brought to you by Buick and Martha Stewart Living.

Martha may want to invest in some Buick stock. Nah, maybe not!

What's amazing, is that product placement in television is nothing new but it's becoming a lot more "in your face" on reality TV. Anyway, if you're really interested in the Lucerne be sure to watch "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart" tomorrow night.


William Hungerford at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 25, 2005

Quote of the Day

Do you realize if it weren't for Edison we'd be watching TV by candlelight?
~Al Boliska

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November 22, 2005

Trio Cable Channel Moving from the Tube to the Web

It's only fitting that a cable channel that featured the acclaimed "Brilliant, But Cancelled" series is now getting cancelled. According to Online Media Daily:

IN SEARCH OF A MORE receptive audience online, NBC Universal on Monday announced plans to reposition Trio, its arts and pop culture cable channel, to the Web by January 2006.

Under the banner, Trio will offer online viewers much of the same content currently available on cable TV, such as documentaries, music videos, and its "Brilliant, But Cancelled" series featuring cancelled TV shows.

By next year, the channel will no longer continue as a stand-alone digital cable service. At the beginning of this year, DirecTV stopped carrying Trio, leading to predictions that the channel would fold. Currently, Trio reaches about 8.8 million subscribers, out of approximately 110 million TV households.

I'm disappointed to see the channel go but I'm glad it'll be available on the web. I think it's just another case of a channel being to smart for TV. Anyway, it's good to know I'll still be able to get my "Cop Rock" fix from Trio on the web!


William Hungerford at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 21, 2005

Nobody Loves Us!

Boo Hoo Hoo! I sit here in a ball of self pity. Why so sad you ask? Cause we're soooo lacking in the comments department. We're building a great reader base and we get lots of email from ya, but I know there's plenty of you out there with something to say. So feel free to start agreeing or disagreeing with us via the new fangled comments contraption at the bottom of each post, we can take it.

Okay, I'm off to drown my sorrows with Ben and Jerry and some Monday Night Football!

William Hungerford at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

Where's the Friggin' Hockey on The Tube?

Remember last year when the NHL decided to endear itself to fans by staging a year long lockout/strike? Well, you can say that pretty much killed hockey as we know it in the US. You know hockey is in bad shape when ESPN doesn't renew it's TV contract and the NHL negotiates a deal with OLN. Yeah, I never heard of OLN (Outdoor Life Network) either.

Since I still have a place in my heart for a good fight on the ice, I decided to try watching a few games on OLN. While my onscreen cable guide shows games I wasn't really interested in, I decided to check the games out. Guess what? Over the last 2 months I've tried to watch at least 5 or 6 games and ended up on some type of hunting show. Where's the hockey? I haven't been able to find any hockey on OLN yet even though it's supposedly on. I can't imagine it's a "blackout" situation since the games aren't even close to being regional.

I have no idea what's going on with OLN. Even the viewers who are lucky enough to get hockey aren't too impressed. According to

But the main failure of the telecast was the location of the play-by-play camera. It was too high, up in the lofty cheap seats of Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

What viewers saw were little men skating around below them. They were too far away, particularly for new viewers.

So anyway, I'll use my strong investigative skills to find out for all you readers I haven't bored to death, to where our hockey is.

Ummm, if anyone knows what's going on with OLN and the NHL, please leave us a comment (Investigative work sure is hard!).

William Hungerford at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 18, 2005

Quote of the Day

Besides being a great writer, Kurt Vonnegut is quite an observer of society:

Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative. - Kurt Vonnegut

How true!

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November 16, 2005

I'll Take that Plasma TV on the Wall and a Side of Fries

I'm always looking for the best deal on Plasma TV's but I never thought of going to the Golden Arches for my dream. Some ambitious consumer/thief decided he was impressed with McDonald's TV offerings. According to Record Online:

Town police are looking for a man suspected of stealing a $3,000 plasma television around 9:15 p.m. Tuesday from the McDonald's on North Plank Road. The TV was installed during a recent remodeling of the restaurant's interior, Town of Newburgh Detective Sgt. Margaret O'Neill said.

Here's the part I really like:

Police could not get a more specific description of the vehicle from witnesses. The theft was caught on videotape, and police are trying to have the tape enhanced.

Hmm! $3000 on a Plasma TV while apparently using an inferior security system. Sounds like McLogic to me.


William Hungerford at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 14, 2005

IBM Announces a $1000 3D Video System

One of the most painful memories of my childhood was my parents refusal to take me to see "Jaws 3D". Besides missing out on the great Jaws storyline (okay, I just wanted to see blood in 3D), I was amazed that my parents refused to embrace 3D technology, which was going to be in everyones home in just a few years. Flash ahead 20 something years, it looks like 3D in our homes is getting close. According to

International Business Machines, a worldwide leader in technology innovation, has announced a new and affordable 3D video system that works with normal DLP (Digital Light Processing) televisions. Before now, 3D video systems would set you back at least $1,800 while the price of IBM’s new system is expected to be only $1000 – if only a grand sounds cheap to you.

the biggest issue though:

On the downside, you still need 3D glasses to correctly view the image and practically no video is shot in 3D as it requires more expensive cameras, but as price drops and general interest rises, this is sure to change.

Some sports TV networks have expressed interest in filming NFL games in 3D. To shoot in 3D, TV networks would need to install expensive 3D cameras and image processing hardware.

It's really hard for me to see 3D becoming popular simply for the fact that people are going to have to wear silly glasses that gives you headaches, but who knows?


William Hungerford at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 11, 2005

I Paid My Freakin' Cable Bill, Leave Me the #%^&# Alone!

Guess what I did yesterday? Yep, I paid my cable bill. Same thing I've done since the start of the ice age. So my question for the cable company is "How many commercials are you going to run telling me to stop stealing cable"? I'm sure all of you cable customers know what I'm talking about.

While I understand that cable theft is an issue, I have a problem with cable companies casting a net to "speak" to the criminals, but at the same time dragging paying customers into the net. I wonder how many cable thiefs having "repented" and straightened up due to Bob Costas scolding them?

Rant done! Carry on.

William Hungerford at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

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