Cablevision customers -- 3.1 million in the New York City area -- got another treat on the same day. To accommodate those that lost their ABC, the company offered free On Demand movies all day. As a Cablevision customer, I was interested in the veracity of the claim and took advantage of that particular offer. Later this month, it will be determined how legitimate that offer was when I see my bill.
So many people were using this freebie that the first few times a movie download was attempted, the system would return an error. This issue stopped once the Academy Awards started.
It seems more likely that Cablevision acquiesced to the demands of ABC given the timing of the channel restoration rather than the other way around. What do you think?
It's called XFinity, which sounds like that name for the next Stargate spinoff but is actually a new part of the Fancast site where you can watch TV shows from channels like HBO, AMC, A&E, STARZ, The History Channel, and Cinemax. That means you can watch shows like True Blood, Entourage, Mad Men, The Colbert Report, Big Love, and many other shows. (By the way, right now Fancast is running a marathon of Friends Christmas episodes.)
Now that Comcast owns a big chunk of NBC, I wonder how this service could someday be combined with Hulu in some way, or if launching this service will affect Hulu in other ways.
Subscribers to the service get access to a rotating selection of Disney's classic and contemporary films and animated shorts. Obviously, the on demand lineup is put together with the emphasis on family friendly. Each title in the selection menu remains in rotation for about a month, with new movies added weekly.
While this looks like a great thing for parents looking to have a steady inventory of safe video babysitters, the only concern is how this service might gut the programming on Disney's other cable entities -- or how it might affect the availability of DVDs.
This season (Jay reviewed one a couple of years ago), Comcast, Cox, Time-Warner, and Bright House all have the Yule Log on their On Demand service (via iN Demand). It's that scene of a crackling fireplace to get you in the Christmas mood. It's especially good if you don't have a fireplace of your own (duh), and it's in HD! I have Comcast digital, and to access it, go to your On Demand menu, then scroll down to HD On Demand, then go to TV Entertainment. You'll see a "Yule Log & More" category (not sure how to get to the section on other cable systems - maybe it's the same?).
But wait, there's more...
There's an interesting little blurb over at Digital Spy about NBC's TV Box. The network is currently working out distribution deals in up to ten European and Asian countries, building their global video-on-demand service. They don't detail exactly which shows will be a part of the package, other than a mention of both current and past series being involved.
That's all fine and dandy, but the interesting bit comes from something NBC's Belinda Menendez says. Apparently, the big shows, like Heroes, may be available before they are broadcast for an extra price. And that leads us to the question in the post title.
For the sake of argument, let's assume this all works out for the peacock bunch in Europe and Asia and they make it a global policy. Would the prospect of getting Thursday's episode of The Office on Monday be enough to let those sticky Donaghy fingers into your wallet?
Interesting bit of news just came into TV Squad headquarters:
HBO has nixed the early On-Demand premiere of The Wire series finale. Set to bow on Sunday, March 9th from 9:00 to 10:35PM, that airing of the finale episode (entitled "-30-") will be its first.
This bucks the trend of debuting each new episode On-Demand the Monday before its Sunday premiere. HBO maintained this practice for all of season four and had been doing the same with season five, until now. This Sunday's new episode (it's the second to last one) has been On-Demand since Monday.
I wholeheartedly agree with them and think the list could even be extended a little bit further.
We live in an age where our televisions, computers, cellphones, PDAs, PMPs, video game consoles, and a myriad of other products can all communicate with other devices wirelessly and at broadband speeds - all in the pursuit of making the TV watching experience as convenient as possible.
From a technology perspective, it's never been a better time to be a fan of watching TV. Here is a list of the TV related items I'm most thankful for this holiday season.
The BBC Trust is moving forward with a new plan to allow viewers to download and save BBC programs from the last seven days for up to thirty days on their computers.
The BBC is funded by a fee paid by television owners in the UK. Certain revisions have been made to the new plan to make sure BBC's entry into the world of on-demand TV doesn't negatively affect the market or provide unfair competition for other broadcasters such as ITV, Channel 4 and BSkyB which have also begun to dabble in on-demand services.
Some changes to the initial proposal have already been made, such as reducing the amount of time allowed to keep a program from thirteen weeks to thirty days, and to disallow downloading long-running and continuing shows such as Top Gear and EastEnders. A final decision for the new iPlayer service will be made sometime before May 2, 2007.
It's good to see more interest in the video on demand services as I've been really impressed with the selection Comcast is offering. My favorite features at the moment are the growing list of network shows, FEARnet, and Tube Time, which currently features both Soap and Charlie's Angels.
[ via lost remote ]
The online companion, FEARnet.com, will have 9 movies and 200 shorts that stream for free. In addition, there will be 50 downloadable movies available for rent or purchase. The site will also have news, reviews, and some community features. One of those that sounds interesting is the interactive database. Users, or victims as fearnet calls them, will also have the ability to chat with other members while they watch the movies. Sure, you could do it with IM, but it's good that they are trying something new. And finally, mobile.FEARnet.com will have news, reviews, and polls all designed with the tiny screens in mind. There are also plans to add ringtones and other goodies in the future. It's all very niche market, but since I find myself in that particular niche, I'm all for the idea. The various sites and services will all go live on Halloween.
Well, at least NBC is. According to TV Week, they are extending the offerings they are providing to Cablevision's digital on demand service to include episodes of L&O:CI, L&O:SVU, and The Office, with Friday Night Lights and Las Vegas coming in October. Customers will be able to access these episodes the day after they air for 95 cents apiece. So it's not free, but it's cheaper than downloading the episode via iTunes. So you get ten or more times the screen size for half the price. Nice.
Anyway, it was a great way to spend a Friday night. On the couch, yelling out songs at the top of our lungs. Margaritas are optional.
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