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October 9, 2015


Right now on Cinematical

by Kona Gallagher, posted Oct 2nd 2009 2:02PM
The folks at our sister site Cinematical are working hard to give you news and reviews of the best -- and worst -- the silver screen has to offer. Here are some of their musings on the latest blockbusters, indies, and everything in between:

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Blockbuster getting into VOD

by Brad Trechak, posted Jan 14th 2009 9:29AM
BlockbusterIn an effort to save itself from complete irrelevance and obscurity, Blockbuster has inked a deal with Sonic Solutions to offer Video On Demand services for the home.

Blockbuster is a bit like the Little Engine That Could. In the era of VHS, it had deals with the studios to allow for a rental window for movies. With the invention of DVD, that was deemed no longer applicable, which meant more money to the studios and less to Blockbuster.

Video On Demand is not completely overshadowing DVD (I think people still like the extras that a DVD provides), but it is taking a large bite out of that market. Some people only want to see the movie and couldn't care less about the extras. They also would rather stay inside to do it.

So what do you think? Will movie rentals go the way of the Dodo? Will Blockbuster go the way of The Sharper Image?

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A thank you to my cable provider (no, I'm serious!) -- VIDEO

by Richard Keller, posted Jan 13th 2009 9:08AM

Bugs Bunny talks up Little Red Riding Hood.Everyone, I need your attention! I am about to do something that rarely pops up in my life and, I'm guessing, in yours as well. It might be a little shocking, so I want to make sure that you're near a chair. Deep breath, here it goes...

I want to thank my cable provider. I'll wait until you can sit down. Need a drink of water? Breath of fresh air?

I'm being serious here! I know that it's rare that someone publicly thanks the utility that sucks their money away and provides little if any variety, but I think this time it's merited. You see, for years now the networks have been lacking a very important series of programs that are important to the proper education of our youth. I speak about Looney Tunes cartoons.

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Would you pay a premium to watch shows early?

by Brett Love, posted Apr 19th 2008 12:02PM

NBCThere'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?

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NBC fall TV pilots coming to Video On Demand systems

by Richard Keller, posted Aug 29th 2007 9:30AM

The pilot of NBC's Chuck is coming to a VOD near youSchool is back in session, the U.S. Open has begun, and another Bush appointee has resigned. You know what that means, don't you? It means that the new fall TV season is fast approaching. With it comes the push by the networks to promote the crap out of their new shows. Okay, so they've been promoting the crap out of them since the end of the last television season, but now it's going to start to get annoying. I'm talking about last-week-advertising-before-elections annoying.

NBC will lead this charge by making the pilots for their upcoming fall shows available on cable and satellite Video On Demand systems (known as VOD henceforth). Partnering with NBC in this venture are cable companies Comcast, Cox, Charter and Time Warner and the satellite services DirectTV and DISH Network. The pilot episodes of Chuck, Bionic Woman, Life and Journeyman, as well as a 30-minute fall preview special, will be available on September 10th.

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Building B announces TV/VOD/Web Video set top box

by Brad Linder, posted Aug 20th 2007 11:57AM
Building BIf I told you there's a set top box that lets you watch television, video on demand, and web video content, you'd probably just shrug and wonder why we're talking about Comcast's Motorola box with TiVo software yet again. But no, this is a new box from a new company called Building B.

The company has raised $17.5 million to develop its new set top box. The idea is that consumers shouldn't need 12 different devices in their living room to access all the media that's available to them. And they shouldnt' need a full fledged computer either.

There aren't a lot of details yest on exactly how the Building B platform will work. It's possible that the box could be sold as a standalone product to supplement your cable or satellite TV service. But it seems more likely that Building B will try to sell their boxes to television service providers as a way to provide VOD/online video.

While some content will be delivered through a traditional broadband connection, it looks like Building B also plans to use a wireless, over the air delivery method for other content.

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Could VOD kill the PVR?

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 26th 2007 11:00AM
Time Warner Video On DemandTime Warner president Jeff Bewkes says cable providers should be working toward providing on-demand versions of every television program from every television network.

If consumers can watch any show they want any time they want, he argues, cable providers can save the time and money it takes to install personal video recorders in their houses. Of course, by eliminating the need for PVRs, cable companies could also be removing the consumer's ability to skip advertisements. "Free" video-on-demand would have to be advertising supported, and that means cable providers would disable the fast-forward function.

And that's why I don't really see Bewkes' plan working. Certainly one of the most appealing aspects of a PVR is that you can watch shows whenever you feel like it. But being able to pause, rewind, fast-forward, and yes, skip commercials is another part of it. Would you be willing to pay as much for DVD purchases and rentals if there were ads that you couldn't skip?

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Would you watch Joost if it came with your cable box?

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 16th 2007 9:41AM
JoostInternet video is all fine and good, but let's face it. Right now, most people want to watch TV on the TV.

And as we've described before, getting Joost to work with your TV set isn't exactly easy. First youneed tomake sure you've got a video card with TV-out, a computer that you're willing to plug into your TV (not a problem for many PC-based PVR users), and the time and energy to figure out how to program your remote control to flip through Joost channels without a keyboard and mouse.

So it's good to hear that Joost is in talks with hardware makers to embed Joost in devices like cable boxes and HD-DVD and Blu-ray players. No more fighting to connect your PC to your TV. Turn on your cable box, and Joost is right there. But at that point, isn't Joost just a new interface for video on demand, with less programming than you'd get from Comcast?

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Cox disables some video on demand ad-skipping

by Brad Linder, posted May 8th 2007 6:30PM
Cox The good news for Cox Cable customers: ABC and ESPN have agreed to offer top shows and football games on demand.

The bad news: Cox will disable fast-forwarding on those programs.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Disney-owned networks insisted that ad-skipping be turned off for those programs as part of the deal.

What's most surprising about this arrangement is that it hasn't been tried before. While viewers with personal video recorders in their homes get to decide whether to watch the commercials, previews for upcoming shows, or slow bits of Lost is entirely up to the viewer. But cable companies have a lot more control over how customers watch video on demand programs.

I'm not sure there'd be a revolution in the streets if Cox disabled fast forwarding on every program, but it certainly wouldn't be popular. But for premium content, it makes a lot of sense as a way for Cox and Disney to make money.

[via Zatz Not Funny]

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BBC gets approval for "catch up TV"

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 30th 2007 8:15PM
BBCThe BBC Trust has approved rollout of a BBC video-on-demand service following a public test of the new iPlayer service.

So what the heck is an iPlayer? Basically it's a service that offers BBC viewers online access to every television episode that has run on the state-regulated network over the past week, commercial-free.

10,500 viewers and organizations offered comments during the test period. I'm guessing most of the comments were positive.

No word yet on when the service will roll out. The BBC press release says it "will be announced in due course," which sounds so much nicer than "it'll be ready when it's ready."

[via NewTeeVee]

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A preview of Budweiser's bud.tv

by Matt Crape, posted Feb 4th 2007 10:05AM
Budweiser's bud.tvWith beer commercials being known for their originality and popularity, Budweiser is hoping that they will be able to get more bang for their buck by drawing people to their bud.tv webpage.

The idea behind bud.tv seems to be a somewhat similar one to those used by networks that stream shows: give the viewers what they want, when they want. Basically it is more or less an internet video-on-demand service, except for product advertisements.

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