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Tag Archives: cutting cord

Better late than never

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It’s sort of old news, but several places have reported that Netflix has started to pull as many viewers as cable. Obviously this news is unsurprising to me as I haven’t been able to understand why more people haven’t migrated to a cableless existence yet.

If you’re a DirectTV subscriber now may be the best time to try out how easy it is to cut the cord.

Even Library Journal is reporting that online sales are going to overtake retail sales. It’s ok, Librarians are usually behind the curve even when they think they’re on the bleeding edge.

For your consideration

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The TV season is winding down with a lot of shows having already aired their Season Finales. Even shows like Game of Thrones is finishing. I guess that means I’ll have more time to check out shows I may have missed in the past few years and also checking out other shows going on now that just haven’t been on my radar.

Speaking of Game of Thrones, there were a couple articles on the web a few weeks back about HBO Go. I think it’s pretty obvious that I fall in the camp that believes HBO would be smart to turn this service into an exclusive subscription model without customers having to be required to pay for regular HBO service. The fact that HBO stands so smugly and makes remarks about how cord cutting is just a fad just points out how deluded they are. It’s a fact that GoT is a highly pirated show. Cord cutting and it’s actuality aside, people just don’t have money for frivolous things like adding on to their cable service for channels like HBO. Yet GoT is now a part of the cultural dialog and no one wants to miss out on it. Its a show that appeals to long time fantasy freaks like myself, but maintains appeal for the normies to develop a following as well. And, of course, we’re an instant gratification culture; why wait a year after the show has aired to get it on DVD?

Faboy.com has asked whose fault is the piracy? In their article they do mention that HBO’s president can’t very well say something like, “yes, we would be able to reach a larger audience. This streaming video thing is something we want to be on board with” as this will alienate the cable companies. I also agree with their statement that HBO needs to see the epic number of piraters as potential customers as these people will most likely pay to watch their content. I’m one of those people. I could easily pirate any show I watch through Hulu or Amazon Instant Video, but I don’t.

The fact that I don’t leads me to disagree with the flip side of the argument that creative freedom isn’t free and therefore if we want quality shows that require a large budget we should subscribe to cable and networks like HBO. Granted, I don’t know all the ins and outs of funding for TV shows and TV stations. However, I should think that opening up HBO Go to a wider audience will certainly help fund the expensive shows we like to watch. They get money and less pirating. Win-win situation, no?

The ratings game

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NBC’s Entertainment Chair gave a speech to TV Critics the other day. In it he said the following:

“Did you see the ratings?,” he asked about the show, which was often pulling a mere 1.0 rating in the adult demo on Friday night. “That rapid fanbase going crazy on the net didn’t come to the show. Chuck‘s time had come. Chuck is over, let’s alert the masses.”

Note: I copied this from Entertainment Weekly. I believe that “rapid” might actually be “rabid,” but I don’t know.

While Robert Greenblatt did give the awesome news that “Community” will finish out the season in the spring (yayyy!), but isn’t promising a renewal for a 4th season, I’m still annoyed that Executives aren’t looking at the other places their fans are viewing their shows.

So “Chuck” fans didn’t show up to watch the end of the show. Number one: you aired it over the holidays. If you expect viewers to watch it during it’s first airing then they may not be around to do it. Holidays = shopping, parties, and generally doing other stuff than watching TV. And number two: maybe those fans all watched on your website. Or maybe they purchased it through iTunes, Amazon, or somewhere else. Maybe they DVR’d it (although sometimes those numbers get included into the ratings).

Look, I get that “Chuck” was probably costing more money to produce than it was bringing it. It clearly hasn’t been a runaway hit that I’m sure the network wanted. But, how much longer do we have to wait for Executives like Greenblatt to take notice of the other places their viewers are.

I refuse to feel guilty for not contributing to watching “Community” as it airs if it’s lack of viewership that cancels the show. NBC was still getting my money (first through Amazon and now through HuluPlus).

Inspiration?

I came across a blog post written by a woman who has also cut the cord in her household. She wrote about how this season of TV has been disappointing for her and her husband because no good SciFi show has grabbed their attention. She asks where the “Battlestar Galactica” and the “Firefly” type shows are. You know, shows that take you into space, or through time. One answer to the question, she posits, is that the downward spiral of good SciFi shows began when the SciFi channel became SyFy. I’m definitely inclined to agree, but I think there’s more to it.

There’s a similar issue in publishing right now. Publishing trends are running more towards horror and fantasy; stories that focus more on hard times and tough situations. These stories are reflecting what we as a society are feeling at the current time. Normally SciFi has some sort of feeling of hope to it. There is the thrill of exploration and discovery not to mention action and adventure. I don’t think we’re really looking for that as much as we may need the pick-me-up.

Don’t ask me why we choose to come home and watch more people suffer after worrying all day about our own situations. We just do.

So there’s no good SciFi on TV right now. But were there any other good shows to premier this year? I feel like I paid more attention to new shows coming out this year than I have in years past possibly because I want to make sure I don’t miss anything, and to make sure I have options since I can’t channel surf. But I’m also paying more attention since I’ve started this blog. So when premier season started up I wanted to watch as many new shows as I could. So far we’ve stuck with:

Up All Night
Terra Nova
Once Upon A Time
Grimm
Revenge (this is just a me show. My husband isn’t into the “soapy” type shows)

That’s not a bad list. A bunch of shows have gotten the chopping block including “Charlie’s Angels”, “Playboy Club”, and “Free Agents.” It’s all a ratings game anyway, so I guess catch what you can while you can.

I would consider and Amazon Prime account but….

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So the Amazon widget is finally working on my TV again. It magically fixed itself Wednesday morning. Or maybe Amazon fixed it? I called them Tuesday evening after finally having enough of not being able to watch the content I was paying for. I had tried calling them previously, but my call was disconnected. No one had any answers for me, but I was promised they would look into it and would email me when they figured it out (sometime in the next two days). I’ve still to hear back from them. But, I can watch the shows I’ve paid for so that’s ok.

Now today a Librarian in the  Library system I work in sent out an email alerting us to the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library that Amazon is rolling out. I think this is pretty neat. The whole Amazon Prime deal is sounding like a great investment. I buy a lot from Amazon over the Holidays and 2 day shipping is always appreciated (it’s great any time of the year). If the Kindle Fire proves to be so totally awesome I may want to buy one, and with a Prime account it would be so worth it. If the NY Times bestsellers that they add for free are actually quality reads then, yeah, this is a really sweet deal.

But the real reason why I’m not jumping on this yet is because of what just happened with the Instant Video on my TV. Until Amazon has an app like Hulu and Netflix available on the Samsung TV (it’s not likely it will be on the PS3 in my opinion because they sell their own TV shows and movies) it will be unstable. I blame Yahoo! for the widget’s failure. Hulu and Netflix do go glitchy every now and then, but never for two weeks at a time. And they’ll always have an answer for you. Amazon had no idea what was going on. It’s because they’re going through another party to host their Instant Video.

So until I’m going through Amazon directly for their own content will I even consider a Prime account worth it.

Technology Fail

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After the cliffhanger of last week’s “Walking Dead” I was really excited to see this current week’s episode. How would it all resolve? (Ok, probably not resolve so much as move forward. I mean, nothing is really going to resolve in the second episode of the season).

Since we watch this show via Amazon Instant Video and pay for it per episode we watch via a widget on the Samsung TV. For some strange reason Yahoo! partnered up with Amazon for this widget which was then put on our 3D television. Apparently some Samsung TVs don’t come with the widget and they have definitely stopped putting it on. Our BluRay player can’t get the Yahoo! widget on it at all which sucks because that means we can’t watch any Amazon content on our other TV – only Hulu and Netflix conent.

Why am I bringing this up? Because the widget (it’s not a proper app) stopped working last night. I called the 1-866 number that it suggested I call in the error message (an Amazon number), but I got cut off mid call because of poor cell phone reception. Another technology fail. Basically what the help desk guy was going to have me do anyway was power cycle through everything anyway. So that’s what we did. It didn’t help.

We Googled the heck out of the problem and the only thing we came up with was….it happens. It apparently started happening to a lot of people back in February/March of this year. We just have to wait it out because the widget seems to have miraculously come back on for some people. I really hope it does for us because not only did I miss “Walking Dead” but now I have missed “How I Met Your Mother” AND “Community” this week! I am totally bereft!

The bright spot seems to be that someone reported hearing that Amazon is developing their own app. It’s really the only smart thing to do. Why even partner with Yahoo! in the first place? I guess they couldn’t forsee how popular internet ready TVs would be.

Can the Kindle Fire help bring about a la cart cable?

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This past week Amazon announced some exciting news regarding the Kindle. I guess “the Kindle” isn’t the term to use anymore now that there is practically a fleet of them. Aside from a cool touch Kindle similar to the newest Barnes & Noble Nook, they also announced the Kindle Fire. A lot of people are calling it an iPad killer. I don’t really want to see the iPad dead, but I do want to see the prices of costly tablets take a nose dive.

Techland went so far as to hypothesize that the Kindle Fire will help pave the way for a la cart cable.

“Cable operators are feeling the heat. Comcast and Time Warner, the two largest operators, have reportedly lost 1.2 million cable TV subscribers in the 12 months ending June 30. Many of these are said to be “cord cutters” who prefer the flexibility of online video, such as Amazon Instant Video, which lets them choose a la carte what they want to watch whenever and wherever they want.

Read more: Here

With so many viewing options out there, I agree with Techland that the viewer is going to win out. Let’s hope that the Kindle Fire does have the effect that Techland seems to think it will; even if Amazon and Bezos didn’t intend for that to be the result.

 

Head honchos missing the point again

So what should this list mean, if anything, to the broadcast nets that air them? Not much, unfortunately. Says one high-powered suit at the Big Four: “Though it’s a nice list that indicates enthusiasm for a show, right now the live ratings mean a lot more.” Translation: ABC would prefer that you McDreamy fans watch the show when it actually airs — not on Saturday nights when you’re dateless and alone. Top 10 most Tivo’ed shows on TV
Once again the head honchos miss the point. People aren’t watching these shows when you air them. They’re watching shows on their own time via DVR, TIVO, online (*whisper* illegal downloads). How is it that these suits aren’t opening their eyes to this fact? Their audiences aren’t revolving their lives around the TV schedule. They’ll save up a week’s worth of shows to watch and blast it out on a Saturday afternoon. Or maybe watch a DVR’d ep of “Glee” while something else is being recorded. We no longer have to rush around watching the clock to make sure we get our asses in front of the TV so that we don’t miss our programs. Catching a show a few days later on Hulu isn’t a big deal. Even waiting a few months to watch it on DVD isn’t a big thing.

This kind of ties in to what I was talking about the other day. Old men who are forcing us to relive their 60s nostalgia are also the same ones not able to see the big picture. Watching a show when it airs isn’t a necessity for the majority of viewers anymore.

Come on Irene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Irene crawled it’s way up most of the Northeast over last weekend. It left my house without power Sunday and Monday. We were pretty lucky compared to a lot of other people in the state I live in. Some people are still without power even today. Some don’t have running water. I had to throw out a lot of food, but we were pretty smart about making sure we ate a lot of it before the storm hit. Also my mom didn’t lose power so we stored a lot of dairy products there until electricity was restored.


There’s been a lot of talk about how the lack of power will effect how people live their lives afterwards. Will they make changes now that they have lived without watching TV for hours on end after a long work day? Will kids go back outside and play after school instead of being plugged into the xbox? We were only without power for two days and while it was an inconvenience (I really wanted it back so that my refrigerator would get cold again) it was kind of nice cuddling on the couch watching what we could on my laptop until it died then reading by flashlight.

Pre-Irene, my husband and I would spend all night in our windowless theater style basement watching TV, hanging out on our respective computers, not really getting to cuddle because we have two recliners down there. So now we’ve made the decision to hang out upstairs in our living room more where the windows are open and we can cuddle on the couch. We even stopped the TV a bit earlier and went upstairs to read.

I’d like to add less computer time, but that one might be a big harder.

As much as a big hurricane like this sucks, the money the government has to pay to fix the damage is huge, people are inconvenienced left and right, and I didn’t even get a day out of work for it, it’s still worth stopping and thinking about that maybe the benefit is that some people will cut out a little bit of screen time in their lives and put back a little bit of human interaction.

There’s nothing on TV

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We have 200+ items on our Netflix queue. We pay for Hulu +. We own a whole bunch of DVDs. My husband and I work at two separate libraries that each have access to two separate consortium’s worth of media. Yet I still get the “there’s nothing on TV” feeling.

It happens every now and then. We were doing good for a while. Netflix uploaded new seasons of “American Pickers” and “Pawn Stars” and so we had new episodes to watch every night. But we finished “Pawn Stars” and we’re just about down with “American Pickers.” I’m trying to savor the end. We did discover that the “Dresden Files” is on there. That series kind of became a topic in our house because my husband brought home the graphic novel as a cursory introduction to the series to see if it would be worth getting into. The show is pretty good, but again, I don’t want to blow through it because Sci Fi (surprise, surprise) only gave it one season.

So now we’re back to the “what do you want to watch”

*sigh* “I don’t care. You pick something.”

Conversation each night. Sometimes that leads to a fairly decent movie staring Sandra Oh about the end of the world (“Last Night”) or it leads to a terrible 80s made for tv remake of “War of the Worlds”

So there you go. You’re not immune to finding nothing to watch on TV. I do find, however, that Netflix watch instantly is better for TV shows than movies. For me anyway. The same is definitely true for Hulu. I never even look at their movie offerings. Actually the majority of stuff on our queue is stuff my husband added and it’s movies I really have no interest in watching. He used to have a whole day of the week to himself to watch terrible movies and then tell me about them. Now there is no way I’m going to watch “Human Centipede” or “Lost Boys 2.”