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October 9, 2015


ABC Strikes New Deals with Netflix, Amazon

by Chris Harnick, posted Oct 31st 2011 11:30AM
ABCNetflix seems to be combating its bad press by striking up partnership deals with TV networks. Hot on the heels of its deals with The CW and AMC, Netflix and Disney-ABC Television Group have reached a new agreement, extending their existing licensing agreement.

As part of the new deal, episodes of new seasons from Disney-ABC shows will be available on Netflix 30 days after the last episode of each season airs.

'Switched at Birth' and 'Kick Buttowski' will now be available on Netflix. The new deal extends to the previous seasons of 'Lost,' 'Brothers & Sisters,' 'Ugly' Betty,' 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Private Practice' and 'Desperate Housewives' that are currently on the streaming service. 'Army Wives,' 'Melissa & Joey,' 'Make It or Break It' and various Disney Channel shows will also remain available.

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The grass roots costs of saving a television show

by Richard Keller, posted Dec 5th 2008 2:09PM

Will sending a George Michael CD to protest Eli Stone's removal be good for you or an added expense you cant' afford.I want to talk to you about a grass roots campaign to save Eli Stone. You see, I had this idea where fans of the program would send George Michael paraphernalia - CDs, MP3s, T-Shirts, programs, videos - to the executive mugwumps over at ABC in order to express their frustration that they were not picking up the back nine episodes of the series. It would have been similar in scope to the Great Peanut Campaign of 2007 that ending up (temporarily) saving Jericho.

Then I got to thinking, which is always a bad sign. While a campaign such as this could result in programming executives opening their minds for just a minuscule amount of time to the possibilities of continuin the series, I'm not too sure it would be worth it. Not 'worth' in the terms that the campaign would fall on the deaf ears of the tailor-suited wonks. I'm talking about 'worth' in what it would cost the fans of the show to get the materials and ship them out to send a message. We are in a recession, after all.

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TiVo and Amazon to let you buy stuff from the comfort of your couch

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 22nd 2008 10:58AM
TiVo Amazon products
Amazon and TiVo are teaming up to make short work of the infomercial. Well, that's not exactly how the companies are promoting the new "Product Purchase" feature. TiVo customers will be able to order items from Amazon using their TV, TiVo, and remote control. No web browser or computer necessary. And no need to place your order in the next 15 minutes to get a free bonus gift.

Users will see links to products popping up in various parts of the TiVo interface. For example, if you're looking at a listing for a late night talk show, you might find links to buy books, CDs, or DVDs from that night's guests.

The advantage of ordering from TiVo is that you can make impulse purchases while watching a program, while recording the rest of the program in the background for later viewing. Of course, as anyone with a penchant for picking up candy and trashy magazines in the grocery store checkout lane can tell you, it'd be nice to have the choice to opt-out of the service in order to avoid impulse purchases.

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Amazon to launch video streaming service

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 17th 2008 10:01AM
Amazon Unbox
Amazon is rolling out a new video service today that will either replace or compliment the Amazon Unbox video download store. While Unbox customers have to wait for a video to download before they can begin watching, Amazon Video on Demand will let you begin watching as soon as you've placed an order.

The New York Times reports that Amazon is launching the service for a limited number of customers today, with a wider release scheduled for later this summer. The Amazon Unbox web page has a little button asking for volunteers for a new beta program, so I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that beta=video on demand.

According to the article, videos will be available for rental or purchase. And once you've purchased a video, you'll be able to watch it from any computer. No software installation necessary. In other words, it sounds like the new service is browser-based.

On the one hand, this means Amazon Video on Demand will be compatible with Windows and Mac machines (I'm not going to hold my breath for Linux support), which is great. But it's also nice to be able to save a copy of a movie on your own computer for archiving. What happens if Amazon kills the service in two years. Does that mean you lose your online video library which you've paid for? I'm hoping that Amazon still gives users the option of downloading movies, even if not everyone will need to use that option.

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Reasons Soap was a groundbreaking show worth watching again - VIDEOS

by Debra McDuffee, posted May 29th 2008 11:02AM
cast of SoapThere are a lot of great shows that stand out in my mind as favorites from my childhood: Magnum P.I., Simon and Simon, Cheers, Quantum Leap. They all paved the way for future shows in some form, but the one that was truly groundbreaking is Soap.

For those of you who are generationally challenged by this post and have no idea what I am talking about, Soap was a sitcom -- sort of -- that aired from 1977 to 1981, a pitifully short time for the originality that it oozed. What was so special about Soap?

1. It was essentially the first time we saw Billy Crystal
And what a role: a very gay man who fathers a child and is in a custody battle for her. And toward the end of the series, he is somehow hypnotized into thinking he is an old Jewish man, probably where Billy's famous schtick originated.

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Buy a Samsung TV, get a free TiVo HD

by Brad Linder, posted May 27th 2008 9:06AM

Samsung TiVo dealIf you happen to be shopping for an HDTV and a TiVo HD, Amazon has a deal that could let you kill two birds with stone. Or you know, two digital media products with one credit card payment. Here's how it works. You order both a TiVo HD and a qualifying Samsung HDTV and when you get to checkout, the cost of the TiVo HD should disappear.

The offer's only good through June 9, and the deal is limited to three TiVo HDs per customer. So if you were planning on buying 4 flat screen televisions for $1000+ a pop, it looks like you'll have to pay for the TiVo box to go with that fourth unit.

[via Gizmodo]

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Amazon Unbox to offer HD video... eventually

by Brad Linder, posted May 10th 2008 2:57PM

Amazon Unbox

Amazon Unbox is probably one of the simplest non-Apple services for renting and buying downloaded TV shows and movies on a PC. The service is also compatible with TiVo, but I know a few folks who refuse to pay for any video unless it comes in high definition. And so far, HD video has not been available via Amazon Unbox.

Bu it looks like that could be changing. TiVo Vice President Jim Denney tells TV Week that HD capabilities are coming to Amazon "in the not too distant future." And judging from the source, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that means you'll be able to download and watch HD video using a TiVo HD or TiVo Series. As MegaZone at Gizmo Lovers suggests, it's likely that Amazon will use the H.264 codec, which would let the company distribute high definition videos with relatively small file sizes (relative being the key word here).

[via Zatz Not Funny]

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Save $100 on Linksys media extenders

by Brad Linder, posted Mar 14th 2008 12:29PM
Linksys media extender with DVDIf you've been meaning to pick up a new version 2 Windows Media Center Extender but you've been waiting for the price to drop by, oh say, $100 you might want to pull out your wallet. Michael Walker at The Green Button forums has discovered a promotional code that will knock $100 off the price of two different Linksys media extenders available from Amazon.

The Linksys Media Extender normally runs $250, while the version with a DVD player goes for $300. But if you use the promo code MSFTDEAL when you checkout, you can get the former for $150 and the latter for $200.

In case you're not familiar with Media Center Extenders, basically you can plop one of these boxes down by your TV set and hook it up to your home network via a wired or 802.11b/g/n connection. Then you can access all sorts of content stored on your Windows Vista PC elsewhere in the house. That includes live and recorded TV programs, photos, and music.

[via Chris Lanier]

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Will Amazon Unbox add HD video?

by Brad Linder, posted Mar 3rd 2008 11:02AM
Amazon Unbox survey
Do you use Amazon's video download service, Amazon Unbox? Would you be more likely to use it if you could get HD video, burn movies to disc, or browse your library via your TiVo? Apparently I'm not the only one who wants to know. Amazon is sending out surveys to selected users, including Dave Zatz and a member of the TiVo Community Forum going by the name of BlackBetty.

While it's not clear whether Amazon actually plans to implement any of the changes suggested in the survey, the company is asking which "improvements" would make users more likely to use the service more. Several suggestions include the ability to watch streaming video. Right now you have to wait for your video to start downloading before you can watch. But if the survey is anything to go on, Amazon is considering offering free, ad-supported video streams as well as paid ad-free streams.

Another improvement would be high definition downloads, which kind of speaks for itself. Amazon is also asking a number of questions related to DVDs. For example, if you bought a DVD from Amazon.com, one option would be to download and save a digital copy of the movie or TV show for a small additional fee, while another would be the option to watch streaming video of movie or TV show while waiting for your DVD to arrive. Another suggested improvement would allow users to burn downloaded movies to DVD.

Honestly, I'd love to see all of these options added to Amazon Unbox. I can understand why the company might not want to overload customers with choices that could make their purchase or rental decisions or complex. But Amazon already has one of the easiest to use video download services. I'm fairly certain they could find a way to give customers a few additional choices without cluttering up the interface.

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All Isabelle wants for Festivus

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Dec 18th 2007 1:23PM
JourneymanAh, Festivus! A time of year where we reflect on the months that have passed in TV land and what we would like to see happen in the future.

As you will see, my "All I want for Festivus" list is tainted by the fact I live in Canada. Since I know there are a lot of Canadians reading TV Squad, I decided to not remove these items from my list as I know I'm not the only one out there wanting them.

Without further ado, here is what I wish Festivus Claus will bring me this year!

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Download 20 free movies from Amazon this month

by Brad Linder, posted Nov 14th 2007 10:58AM
CharadeLooking for something good to watch while the WGA strike drags on? Amazon is offering up about 20 classic movies as free downloads or rentals.

TiVo Director of Service Operations Stephen Mack posted the news in the TiVo Community forums. TiVo customers can download Amazon Unbox movies to their TiVo boxes for viewing. But if you don't have a TiVo, you can still get the free videos from Amazon's website.

A few of the titles include Charade, House on Haunted Hill, His Girl Friday, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Some of the movies are available as free "purchases," meaning you can download the flick now and watch it whenever you like. The rest are free rentals. That means you can download it today and watch anytime within the next 30 days. But once you hit play, you have just 48 hours to finish watching your movie.

The free movies are available through Nov 18th.

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Here's why NBC pulled its shows from iTunes

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 31st 2007 2:40PM

NBC logoWe told you a while back about NBC taking its shows off of Apple's iTunes service. And now NBC President and CEO Jeff Zucker has disclosed why.

In an interview with The New Yorker's Ken Auletta, Zucker says that NBC wanted to test sell episodes of one of their shows for the higher price of $2.99. He was even going to let Steve Jobs pick which show to test, but Jobs refused to let them do it. So all of NBC's shows are going to be pulled off of iTunes by the end of the year. According to Zucker, NBC's shows were responsbile for 40% of iTunes video sales last year but didn't make much money off of it.

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Why you probably don't watch downloaded video on your TV

by Brad Linder, posted Oct 5th 2007 5:30PM
Linksys media center extendersMicrosoft, Linksys, Niveus, D-Link, and HP recently announced the next generation of media extenders for Windows Media Center users. But here's the thing. If you've got a Mac, these things are useless and you'll probably need an AppleTV or similar device to watch downloaded movies and TV shows on your TV screen. And if you've got Windows XP (the non-media center version), you might prefer a different kind of box altogether for your streaming needs.

And that, in a nutshell is why you probably don't watch streaming or downloaded videos on your TV. It's just too complicated. If your computer is next to your PC, you probably need to buy a new video card that will let you run a cable from your PC to TV. And if you're like most people your PC is in a completely different room and you'll need to get a $300+ box which plugs into your TV so that you can stream video over your home network.

But as Techdirt's Tim Lee points out, shelling out the money for additional hadware is only the tip of the iceberg. You also need to find the right hardware for your operating system and software. If you download your movies from iTunes, Amazon, MovieLink, or Vongo, you'll need to make sure you have the right hardware to support your online video store of choice. And if you use multiple services, good luck. Oh yeah, and good luck trying watching Joost, VeohTV, Vuze, or Babelgum using a media extender.

While we don't expect everyone to start using the same video codecs anytime soon, it's interesting to note that Amazon, Apple, and other online music stores are starting to offer DRM-free music. Maybe one day we'll see the same thing happen with online video and as long as your hardware can support a wide selection of codecs, you'll have no problems playing any video on it.

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NBC brings new shows to iTunes despite dispute

by Brad Linder, posted Sep 26th 2007 2:04PM
ChuckRemember how NBC and Apple had a big fight over iTunes pricing?

First NBC said they were going to pull their episodes from the service because Apple wasn't giving them enough flexibility in pricing. Then Apple accused NBC of wanting to charge $4.99 per episode. And finally, NBC said they didn't need Apple anyway, and went over to Amazon, where the network offered up the pilot episodes of four new shows for free.

Yeah, well it turns out you can buy those shows from Amazon, or you can buy at least two of them from iTunes. It turns out you can buy episodes of Chuck and Journeyman from iTunes. Both shows premiere this week on NBC, and have been available for a few weeks from Amazon Unbox.

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Who needs iTunes? NBC will sell shows on Amazon Unbox

by Brad Linder, posted Sep 4th 2007 10:05PM
NBCIn what could be a boost for Amazon's digital download store and a potential blow for Apple's, NBC Universal has announced plans to sell TV shows through Amazon Unbox.

The base price of a television episode will be $1.99, the same price that Apple was charging before its little fight with NBC the other day.

But while Apple had insisted on pricing episodes consistently with other content offered via iTunes, Amazon has agreed to offer several different pricing levels. For example, customers can save up to 30% if they buy a whole season's worth of episodes at a time.

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