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November 22, 2014

Cable/Satellite

Microsoft Courted Conan to Plug His Show Into XBox Live

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 14th 2010 9:03AM
Conan O'Brien in front of the Mario Bros. backdrop
Conan O'Brien's deal with TBS
may have thrown every TV pundit and pontificator for a loop, but here's one that will make your head spin clear around your neck. (WARNING: TV Squad and its parent companies will not be held responsible for any head and/or neck trauma that may occur while reading this article).

While everyone thought Conan would simply jump to Fox because it was the last remaining network without a strong late night slot, Coco and company were being courted by all sorts of networks and media outlets, including ... Microsoft???

That's right, the technology giant had been talking to Conan about a deal that would have brought his nightly talk show to their XBox Live service.

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Three Bad Things About One Great Invention, the Remote Control

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 12th 2010 5:02PM
remoteRegardless of what I just said in that headline, let me assure you: I love my remote control! It's the device that tells me "you don't have to just sit there and watch what's on. You have options!" It's perfect for someone who watches a lot of television, vital for someone who writes about television, and it really is the can opener of the living room. It's the tool you absolutely need.

Having said all that, there are several problems I see with having something so convenient at your fingertips as you watch the tube.

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In His Time, Chet Simmons Changed Sports TV

by Allison Waldman, posted Mar 29th 2010 1:02PM
chet_simmons_espn_pioneerChet Simmons was a true television pioneer. The things we watch today and consider essential to our viewing, didn't exist before Simmons created it. You know that little show on ESPN, 'SportsCenter'? That was Chet Simmons. All this is important to appreciate because Simmons died last week in Atlanta at the age of 81. In his passing, it's time to appreciate that Simmons was a visionary television executive who had the gumption and wherewithal to make his visions a reality.

Simmons started in his career at ABC Sports, one of Roone Arledge's right hand men, and part of the team that came up with the 'Wide World of Sports.'

Today, the show is remembered as an Emmy-winning program that literally scanned the world looking but 'Wide World of Sports' was really groundbreaking entertainment. You saw things on that show that were new and different and always filmed brilliantly. Whether it was ski-jumping in Austria or cliff-diving in South America, 'Wide World' was exciting. And Simmons understood that sports fans craved more.

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Court Rules Cable Owned Stations Have to Be Provided to Satellites

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 12th 2010 8:40PM
A gavelOnce again, Lady Justice has struck a blow of freedom and equality for TV watchers everywhere, just the way our Founding Fathers intended (even though they never owned TVs).

A U.S. Appeals Court in D.C. refused to change laws that required cable companies to provide channels they own to satellite carriers on equal terms. Comcast and Cablevision have been trying to overturn the law in open court.

That means that thanks to Comcast's ownership of NBC-Universal, people who watch TV on satellites will have to endure marathons of 'To Catch a Predator' and Keith Olbermann's giant talking head like the rest of us.

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Google Gets Into Bed With TV

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 9th 2010 9:00AM
The Google logoGoogle is quite the active gal. She's hooked up with email, telephones, document processing, web browsers and even computer operating systems. Now she's about to hook up with your TV.

The company is testing a new TV searching service with Dish Network that allows TV viewers to not only search for their favorite shows, but also for info on the web and videos on YouTube.

Between this, TiVo, Netflix and Playstation, is there any reason anyone should ever have to leave the comfort of their couch? Not until Google develops a service with AdultFriendFinder, and trust me, they are working on it.

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Cablevision and ABC Disney Feuding in NYC

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 3rd 2010 10:02AM
Cablevision, ABC Disney FeudAnother media outlet and cable company are feuding again. Only this time, some serious collateral damage hangs in the balance.

ABC Disney and Cablevision are in another programming feud with one side threatening to yank the plug out of the wall for the local New York City affiliate WABC. This time, it's over (spins the "Wheel of Media Conglomerate Feud Causes") licensing fees! Man, the wheel keeps landing on that one for some reason. I swear that one of these days, it's going to land on "custody of Jon and/or Kate."

Cablevision executive vice president Charles Schueler said ABC Disney wants an additional $40 million on top of the $200 million they have already forked over to the Mouse House. The veep released a harsh statement against the media giant that said "It is not fair to force Cablevision customers to pay a new TV tax for programming ABC Disney gives away free, both over-the-air and on the Internet. In tough economic times, it is shameful that ABC Disney would hold viewers hostage by threatening to pull the plug, and we urge them to work with us to reach a fair agreement."

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TV 101: Wouldn't it be nice if HBO grew a pair?

by Jay Black, posted Feb 24th 2010 11:01AM
Last week, HBO launched a new service called "HBO Go". If you subscribe to the network through your cable system, you can now access a deep offering of its content - about 600 hours so far - on your computer.

As soon as the average hotel wireless speed improves from "AOL 1997" to something more akin to what I have at home, HBO Go is going to make my life on the road much less boring. Goodbye drinking myself to sleep at the Des Moines Holiday Inn! Hello 'Entourage'! (And , uh, drinking myself to sleep).

Happy as I am about the new service, ever since it was announced something has really been pissing me off: The way HBO Go is currently configured helps the cable companies screw over their customers.

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HBO Starting Online Video Service

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 17th 2010 3:02PM
HBO logoEveryone seems to be putting a lot of money into online video: Hulu, Epix (from Paramount, MGM, and Lionsgate), and our own SlashControl, to name a few. It's the future! Now another company is getting into the web act, HBO (or Home Box Office, which no one calls it anymore). They have a new service coming up with the catchy name HBO GO (unlike the other video sites you will only be able to access HBO's stuff).

Ben Parr at Mashable makes a good point when he says that if GO only goes to HBO subscribers and no one else, it's only going to be a niche thing. He suggests that HBO open some parts of it to everyone (with advertising) and then have other features and videos that are only available to HBO subscribers.

This has actually been in the works for a while. We first reported on it back in 2006.

[via Pop Candy]

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Comcast served legal papers by The Tennis Channel

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 6th 2010 4:03PM
ComcastGet it? Tennis Channel? Served? Ha! (Sorry, no more jokes like that.)

The Tennis Channel has filed a lawsuit against Comcast, saying that the cable giant discriminates against its programming. Comcast has channels like The Golf Channel and VERSUS on various tiers of their cable system but no Tennis Channel.

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Time Warner Cable shopping for a new name

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jan 5th 2010 8:04PM
They've been called many names before by their customers and clients and this week, they are officially looking for a new one. Not that one, sicko.

Time Warner Cable has officially launched "Project Mercury," a behind-the-scenes marketing project to find the company a new name by the end of 2010. Why now? First, they had to come up with a name for the renaming project.

Maybe we can save TWC some bucks by asking our loyal readers to suggest their own names. And remember, all suggestions are monitored for obscenities.

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Food Network and HGTV pulled off Cablevision in Northeast

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 2nd 2010 10:31AM
scripps_network_chartRepeat after me, "I want my Food Network, I want my HGTV!" That's what the disgruntled Cablevision subscribers might be shouting soon if Scripps Networks and Cablevision don't reach a deal on fees.

As of 12:01 on New Year's Day, three million TV subscribers in suburban New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were shocked that Food Network and DIY and HGTV and all the Scripps networks were off Cablevision.

I don't know how the corporate folks feel about this kind of negotiation, but as a TV viewer I think it sucks. I used to live in that market and if I was expecting to watch Food Network, I would expect to see it.

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Fox, Time Warner make peace, not war, for now

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jan 2nd 2010 8:00AM
Fox, Time Warner make peaceIt seems that Time Warner and Fox have reached common ground in their hostage negotiations for Fox's programming and your eyeballs. And no toes had to be severed to achieve it. Merry Christmas.

Both sides reached an agreement in their two week long price fixing war that almost left viewers without their precious Fox shows that could have included some college football bowl games.

Of course, none of the games were interrupted or blocked and the world hasn't ended as a result of it. So consider this debate closed for now until the next time Fox dares to ask a cable service for a penny more of the profits. After all, it's not like Time Warner has raised their rates.

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S#!% just got real in the Time Warner/Fox price fixing fight

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 30th 2009 9:02AM
Time Warner price fixingNo, that's not an altered image of a ransom note clipped from a clever New York Times article or a Photoshopped jpeg cooked up by our art department. Truth be told, those guys ate some mystery Chinese take-out in the office fridge and haven't been heard from since.

Time Warner has pulled out all the stops in their ongoing battle with Fox over licensing fees by accusing them of holding their viewers' favorite shows hostage.

They even went so far as to present their customers with a faux ransom note that demands the money or "you'll never see Fox again." Give Time Warner Cable one more day and they'll start mailing their customers severed toes.

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All TV listing writers must either be extremely bored, drunk or both

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 24th 2009 5:33PM

When I discovered a strange written TV listing in my cable box's menu, I thought I had discovered the rare bit of gold from TV's El Dorado. It turns out there are gold nuggets all over the place.

One of our eagle-eyed readers pointed us towards "WTF Comcast," a collection of similar weird TV listings that sound like they were written by...well, to be honest, me, except cleverer.

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Would you buy someone a Flo TV for Christmas?

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 17th 2009 8:03PM
As I ran through my local Best Buy trying to fight my way through the horde of morons like me who waited until the last possible minute to buy presents without having to resort to gasoline gift cards, I came across this strange device: Flo TV.

I call it strange because while a portable TV isn't a new idea, one that gives you deep access to cable and network shows like a TiVo that can fit in your pocket does seem like too much TV for one person.

Don't get me wrong. It's cool that technology has finally allowed such autonomy, so that now even a Sherpa on the top of the Himalayas can catch up on The Hills. But isn't part of the fun of television the anticipation of waiting to see your favorite shows? That rush you get running home from work so you can catch The Colbert Report or Top Gear and bring an official end to a long and hard day.

Is there such a thing as too much access to your favorite shows?

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