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December 22, 2007

Blockbuster Video Looks To Save Business By Alienating Customers

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It's been predicted that Blockbuster Video will be bankrupt within two years, and the company has responded in an interesting way. After focusing on their Total Access online video business since Netflix came on the scene, probably the major reason for their current financial problems, they've decided to alienate the online customers that have remained loyal to the video giant by jacking up online video rental prices.

Originally Blockbuster charged $17.99 for a 3-DVD plan, that let you have 3 DVD rentals at once, with unlimited mail exchanges and 5 in-store exchanges per month. Netflix was able to charge $16.99 for the same deal, but Blockbuster was losing money. The company elected to up the price to $24.99 per month for the same plan, but allowed unlimited in-store exchanges for the extra $7 per month. They still lost money. Although they boosted their subscription rates for the Total Access service, they found they were attracting the most "price-sensitive" and "heaviest consumption" customers with the in-store exchanges. Because the economics of subscription services means that money is made off of subscribers who don't actually use the service alot, Blockbuster actually made a mistake by offering a service of great value that attracted the most active of movie buffs.

To remedy this situation, Blockbuster has now upped the price of the 3-DVD subscription to $34.99 for new customers for unlimited exchanges by mail and in-store, and from $17.99 to $19.99 for the 5 in-store exchange deal. The real exasperating changes came upon the company's existing customers however. Depending on how much existing customers use the Total Access service, the price for the 3-DVD unlimited exchange plan will be anywhere from $19.99 to $34.99 per month. And you can bet that Blockbuster's most loyal, most active customers will take the heaviest hit to the pocketbook.

Maybe this is part of a greater business strategy that will benefit existing customers in the long run. That remains to be seen, but if not, two years to bankruptcy is starting to sound just about right.

Via New York Times

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 20, 2007

More US Adults Watching Web Video; Interest Grows In Full-Length TV Shows And Movies

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A survey conducted by Harris Interactive of 2455 American adults has revealed that more and more TV viewers are turning to the web to meet some of their entertainment needs. YouTube continues to lead by leaps and bounds as the internet's top destination for video, but search engines and television networks have also gained more traction. 65% of surveyed adults have watched a video on YouTube, up from 42% last year, and 42% of this year's YouTube users visit the site frequently. 43% of surveyed adults have watched video on a television network site, 35% have watched video on a news site, and less than 30% have watched video supplied by a search engine such as Google. Interestingly, more than one-third of those surveyed and more than half in the 18-24 age group like watching web video just because they enjoy the discovery process and sharing the video with friends. Of those surveyed, almost all would watch more full-length television shows and movies online if a greater selection was available. This really seems to go against the conventional web video wisdom that says "shorter is better".

Via Reuters
Image Credit: Reuters/Peter Jones

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 2, 2007

Laser TV Won't Be Killing Plasmas This Christmas

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For those of you anxiously waiting for the expected debut of the laser TV this Christmas: you can stop waiting. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on November 27 that the "plasma killer" probably won't be available until 2009 in Australia. Mitsubishi Digital Electronics said that we can expect a major announcement at CES 2008 in the US, but when the laser TV will be available to American buyers is still unknown. It is expected that that the new model will be sold in the States 12-18 months before it hits shelves in Australia, so with a forecasted release of 2009 down under, it seems that the CES announcement would be that of an upcoming release date. Of course it won't be Christmas 2007.

The laser TV can supposedly produce twice the range of colors as the best plasmas while at the same time being thinner, lighter, and more energy efficient. The recent move into 3D movies such as Beowulf will likely increase the popularity of the laser TV upon release as the new technology fully supports 3D home theater. So we won't be seeing the promised laser TV this Christmas, but keep your eyes and ears open for the CES show in January 2008.

Via Sydney Morning Herald

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 1, 2007

November 2007 Monthly Roundup

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November Has Past! Only 24 More Days Until Christmas, So Check Out Our Holiday Gift Guide To Make Your TV Shopping Quick And Easy

November has been an absolutely crazy month at TVSnob. All the hoopla in the weeks leading up to Black Friday was like trying to keep up with a freight train. We did try our best to help you out with your very own Black Friday Battle Plan as well as a little reflection afterwards.

Wal-mart started the month off with a bang announcing an early Black Friday and pricing the Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player at only $99, although the player had broken through the $200 barrier for the first time only a week previous. Best Buy matched their offer only a few hours later and the race was on for buyer's to take advantage of this sweet deal. This proved too much for certain members of the Blu-ray party in the ongoing format war and police became involved in a dispute over at the wildly popular AVSForum.

Within 24 hours of this announcement, another bomb hit the wire when we found out that the much-anticipated Sony XEL-1 OLED television may hit US shelves by the end of 2007. Although we haven't heard anything more, we did get our hands on some pictures on the XEL-1 unboxed and working after it hit shelves in Japan.

ArrowContinue reading: "November 2007 Monthly Roundup"

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Vimeo Founder Jakob Lodwick Fired From Vimeo, Becomes Pot-Smoking Hippy

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It's hard dealing with job loss and most of us have to do it at some point in our lives, but Vimeo (high-def video platform) co-founder Jakob Lodwick dealt with his dismissal in a fashion destined to become classic. Rumor started yesterday that Lodwick had left Vimeo, but the reasoning behind his departure was an unknown. Techcrunch reported today that he was indeed fired after not seeing "eye to eye with the IAC brass on creative issues" and a dispute with IAC chief exec Barry Diller. Vimeo is IAC-owned for those of you who didn't know, just to clarify the above statements.

Obviously being let go from your baby, so to speak, is a tough nut to swallow and it showed as this great picture was included with Jakob's farewell post on his blog (it seems to be gone now).

ArrowContinue reading: "Vimeo Founder Jakob Lodwick Fired From Vimeo, Becomes Pot-Smoking Hippy"

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 30, 2007

Office Depot Giving Away HDTVs, Other Tech Gifts

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Click Here To Play

Office Depot is running an online contest from now until December 23 with a tech gift giveaway everyday. Just head over to Gift-of-the-Day Giveaway site, enter your email and birthdate and play the game. Some important giveaways for TVSnob's include an Olevia 37-inch LCD December 3, a Sharp 37-inch LCD December 11, an Olevia 42-inch LCD December 15, and another Sharp 37-inch LCD December 21. Office Depot definitely seems to favor LCD over plasma. You can even set up email reminders to make sure you play the day's your favorite prizes are awarded.

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 24, 2007

A Look Back At Black Friday 2007

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Black Friday is done and over with and now comes time for analysis and reflection. Of course this would have been better done this morning but computer problems dictated otherwise for me. Better late than never though, right?

ArrowContinue reading: "A Look Back At Black Friday 2007"

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 20, 2007

SecretPrices.com Compares Black Friday Deals

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Sometimes it's tough to tell whether or not Black Friday "discounts" are actually good deals at all. Each store tends to have one or two hot items that they heavily advertise to bring people in the door, boasting huge discounts on tons of inventory. The problem ends up being that the only substantial discounts are on the one or two items and everything else is just Black Friday filler. Many a Black Friday deal can be found online at a cheaper price for the majority of the entire year.

This is where SecretPrices.com saves the day. While there are a few sites devoted specifically to getting their hands on Black Friday circulars and then posting them on the web, SecretPrices.com has just launched their Black Friday site for the second year in a row with the intention of providing shopper's with the tools necessary to compare Black Friday deals with each other and with identical product offerings online. The SecretPrices.com Black Friday database contains over 5000 Black Friday deals at the moment and allows you to search and organize them by store, brand, or product category. The site's algorithm hunts the web for deals on a product you're thinking of purchasing Black Friday and finds all of the prices from each retailer that carries it. It then compares the Black Friday price with the prices found online and will notify you if it's found a price lower the Black Friday "deal".

The site also integrates coupon codes and a latest deals page so you can save every last cent you deserve.

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 19, 2007

Japanese Fiber Optic Discovery Could Mean Hundred Of High-Def Movie Downloads In Seconds

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In a breakthrough that could one day mean we could download movies on our computers by the hundreds in a mere matter of seconds, researchers at Tohoku University in Japan have found a way for existing fiber optic cables to carry data at a rate of hundreds of terabits a second. And this all by slightly altering standard QAM protocols.

I've never really looked into QAM, or quadrature amplitude modulation to be more specific. I have a basic understanding or it and how it applies to today's TV technology, but a quick look at the Wikipedia entry on the topic has moved me to conclude that I won't be explaining it here. I don't need to anyways though, because the important thing is that this is the first time QAM-based methods have worked successfully with fiber optic cables. Until now, it has been the domain of wireless connections.

By using a laser, the Japanese researchers have found a way to allow data to be piped down cables using QAM methods at sickly speeds. Will we be seeing these type of downloading speeds on our home PC's anytime soon? Probably not, but remember those dial-up modems we once used. That wasn't long ago. In 5-10 years, it could very well be feasible to see an entire Netflix library moved to our enormous hard drives in a matter of seconds. Wouldn't that be something!

Via Digital World Tokyo

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

November 18, 2007

Digg.com Says: Racism Allowed, Just Don't Release The Key To Decrypt HD DVD

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Image Credit: AP

Admittedly there may be a disconnect between television and the content of this article, with the exception of a comment made by BlackRimGlasses blogger and Head of Technology at Warner Bros. Records Ethan Kaplan, but it's still too ridiculous not to write about.

A news article in Australia's Herald Sun highlighting the discovery of 110 million-year-old dinosaur named Nigersaurus taqueti, has raised some eyebrows after being submitted to Digg.com and inspiring a plethora of brutally racist comments, many of which have been "Undugg" so many times as to reach a level as to not being worth reading on the site anymore.

However, Digg has not forcefully censored or removed the article as of yet even with visible comments such as "I wonder what made this thing extinct? AIDS?", "I betcha if it was called "crackerraptor" there would be a big stink.", and "Strangely the spinners and gold leaf paint were still intact." As for the naming, the skeleton of the dinosaur was discovered in the African country of Niger which is pronounced a little differently than the word leading to all the jokes. I'm sure you know which one I'm talking about.

The TV connection, or should I say HD DVD connection, comes in right about at this point. Ethan Kaplan had this to say:

"This is what Digg has become? Racist jokes and bad science? And they banned the key for decrypting HDDVD but let this shit on here? Bad form."

I would have to agree, but look at it from the other side and you'll realize there's money lost from releasing the key to decrypting HD DVD but none lost from trampling all over those of a specific race or culture. I guess that's why they say "money makes the world go round".

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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