There are a couple of big announcements on the network TV front this week. According to CNN:
NBC Universal, which includes NBC and a number of cable networks, will make some of its hit shows available, commercial-free, for 99 cents through the video on-demand service of the nation's largest satellite-television operator, DirecTV.
CBS is partnering with Comcast, the nation's largest cable television operator, to make a number of its programs available to some Comcast customers in a video on-demand format. It will also charge 99 cents to watch a version of such shows as "CSI," "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race," for a week after their original airing, although they will include commercials.
While it'll be nice to have more options, I'm not sure of the logic of charging for network TV content? Remember, DirecTV has a $30 million campaign going to promote their new DVR. If you can get a DVR from Comcast or DirecTV, it seems more logical to record your shows to me. Maybe I'm just thinking too hard? I also like the fact that you still get the commercials on the CBS shows.
Besides time limits, there's also quite a few other restrictions:
Even if you're a Comcast digital customer, you won't get the chance to watch "CSI" on-demand if you live outside of the major metropolitan areas where CBS also owns the affiliate. And many of NBC's most popular shows, including "Law & Order," "The West Wing" and "ER" won't be immediately available because NBC does not own the video on-demand rights to those shows.
So in essence, the networks:
Want us to pay for content that was free to begin with.
Want us to pay for the shows instead of recording to DVR.
Make us watch commercials during the show we just paid for.
Limit the amount of time we can view shows we paid for.
Limit what we can buy based on where we live.
Remember, It wasn't too long ago that network broadcasters started changing the start times of shows to screw with our DVRs. No wonder there's a reason I barely watch network anymore!
Yahoo and TiVo have announced a new partnership that will allow you to set up recordings for your TiVo Series2 box from the TV.Yahoo website. The press release at Yahoo states:
This offering from the two companies enables Yahoo! TV users to request, via TiVo's scheduling technology, recordings of their favorite TV shows on their TiVo Series2(TM) devices from anywhere they access Yahoo!. Subscribers with a TiVo Series2 box and a standard Yahoo! user ID may use the service starting today.
the PR continues:
"Working with Yahoo! is another way for us to deliver the best way to watch television and give viewers control of the television experience," said Tom Rogers, CEO of TiVo Inc. "Beginning today, we're giving Yahoo! users -- whether they're at the office or away from home -- the ability to easily schedule recordings for later viewing."
Yep, another great service to help us avoid work when we're at work!
Starting next week, You'll be able to watch the "NBC Nightly News" online. According to MSNBC:
NBC News announced Monday that "NBC Nightly News" will soon become the first and only network newscast to be offered free on the Internet in its entirety.......
For those viewers who cannot watch the nation's No. 1 network evening newscast when it airs in their local broadcast market, they will now have the opportunity to view "NBC Nightly News" on the Internet beginning at 10 p.m., ET/7 p.m. PT at Nightly.MSNBC.com. "NBC Nightly News Netcast with Brian Williams" will be the same program that aired earlier in the evening on NBC, including breaking news updates. Past broadcasts will be archived on the site.
The four-game sweep by the Chicago White Sox produced the lowest TV ratings for a World Series.
The Series, seen on Fox, attracted an average of 11.1 percent of the 110.2 million U.S. households with televisions, according to Nielsen Media Research Inc.
That was down 30 percent from last year, when the Boston Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals for their first championship since 1918, one year after the White Sox's previous title.
The news is kind of surprising when you figure it was the Astro's first series and Chicago's first in eons. I assume when Clemens got hurt a lot of people gave up on the Astros (I was kinda' in that mindset too). Hopefully we'll see Clemens get another shot at it next year.
Did you notice there seems to be no Cubs fan left? It looks like they all defected to the ChiSox camp (let the hate-mail begin!).
I'm just enough of a dreamer (that means fool in French) to still believe I might have enough change in the couch cushions to get the Samsung TV we talked about the other day. If I dig really hard, I might be able to also get one of the most beautiful DVD players I've ever seen. The Classé CDP-300 sports a metal case, touch-screen, and will only set you back $6,500. According to Engadget:
As the first model in the Delta series, the CDP-300 hints at good things to come from this lineup, with 1080p upconverting via HDMI, XLR balanced outputs, component RGBHV, a touchscreen display, and the usual assortment of regular component video, S-video, composite, digital coax, and optical hookups. One nice feature of the touchscreen is that it also serves as a video preview monitor, so you can view and control DVD-Audio discs without powering-up your main display.
Lately, portable TV has been creating quite a buzz. While there's several technologies to make television portable, I've got to say I'm intrigued by the "TV Walker Flash" device from Lifeview. It's pretty much a TV tuner built into a USB flash drive. According to Lifeview:
By incorporating flash memory, the TV Walker Flash do much more than store your files – you can record digital TV directly to the onboard storage and play it back on any computer! The drivers and application are preloaded on the unit, giving you a truly portable TV solution – simply plug it in to any computer and install the necessary files on the spot, no CD or downloads required! With its amazing functionality, ultra portable size and classy looks, you’ll want to take it everywhere!
The TV Walker Flash comes in 1GB/2GB/4GB sizes. There's no details on price or availabilty, but we'll keep you posted.
Editor's Note: Steven over at DTVFacts.com posted a comment about a point we failed to mention:
Alas, it's for DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcasting)-- it won't pick up U.S. TV broadcasts.
Yep, no luck with analog broadcasts. Thanks Steven.
There seems to be a lot of "insider" blogs coming out lately, especially from large companies and the entertainment industry. CBS.com is jumping on the bandwagon according to Yahoo News:
Corey Miller, executive story editor for "CSI: Miami," tells viewers how an episode goes from initial idea to final cut as he shares his perspective. James Van Praagh, co-executive producer of "Ghost Whisperer," is extending his online presence with a blog that provides information about the show, augmented by news relevant to the spirit world. And contestants from previous seasons comment on events during "Survivor: Guatemala."
There also seems to be an influx of "mock" blogs like this one from CBS:
Each show's blog is designed to reflect and extend the tone of the program. For example, the writers of freshman comedy "How I Met Your Mother" are creating Barney's Blog, using the voice of the character played by Neil Patrick Harris.
So I went to check out Barney's Blog. How freakin' lame. The first thing they need to do is get rid of the full page advertisments between "fake" blog posts. If you're going to have a "mock" blog, how about putting a little effort into it like Darth Vader did on his blog.
Looking to enhance your color settings on your TV? You might want to check out the SpyderTV. The $250 device claims to calibrate your color settings on about any TV:
Have you ever noticed that all the TVs in a retail showroom look different and wondered which one was right? If any? Have you ever tried to adjust your TV settings to get a better picture and never quite gotten it right? SpyderTV takes the guesswork out of improving your TV picture. It doesn’t rely on the human eye, which is subjective. Instead it uses the Spyder, a scientific colorimeter that replaces the human eye. SpyderTV will:
Allow you to see your favorite shows and movies just as the director intended.
Increase the realism of your programs by extending highlight and shadow detail.
Enhance your TVs dark images for better visibility — If you’re a gamer you will really love this benefit.
Improve your overall viewing experience and give you the satisfaction of knowing that your TV has the optimum settings for your set-up.
The way it works is:
The Datacolor SpyderTV colorimeter and software deliver an easy-to-use solution for optimizing any TV for a better viewing experience. SpyderTV scientifically measures contrast, brightness, color, tint, and color temperature presets on your TV and helps you make the necessary adjustments to dramatically improve your picture quality. SpyderTV supports Plasma, RPTV, DLP, LCD and CRT TVs.
The SpyderTV sensor is attached to your laptop or desktop computer using a USB cable, and then attaches to the front of your TV screen. Then the sensor analyzes the test patterns on the DVD. Based on the information it sees, the software running on your computer instructs you how to adjust your settings accurately without any guesswork. The SpyderTV is like an electronic "eye" that makes scientific measurements and tells you how to make the right adjustments that would be impossible to make with the human eye alone.
If you use the SpyderTV, let us know what you think.
We've known this was coming for awhile, but DirecTV is finally offering it's own DVR to customers instead of the TiVo device they were previously offering. According to the NYTimes:
DIRECTV, the satellite television operator, is introducing a $30 million advertising campaign on Monday to promote its highly anticipated digital video recorder.
The campaign, created by the New York office of BBDO Worldwide, is DirecTV's first widespread public effort to distance itself from TiVo. Of DirecTV's 14.7 million customers, 2.3 million now subscribe to TiVo. DirecTV, which pays TiVo a monthly fee of $1.13 per TiVo subscriber, hopes those users will switch to its own service.
If you use the new DVR, be sure to let us know what you think.
I applaud any device that lets my fat butt spend more time in the kitchen. That's why I love the Whirpool microwave with a built-in flat screen TV. It's still a concept unit and I'm sure it'll probably cost a lot more than shoving a 13 inch tv in the corner. No problem though, after going broke buying this thing, you can just eat a lot of microwaved hot dogs while you watch Gilligan Island reruns. Ah, the good life!