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October 21, 2014

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TV 101: An open letter to TV executives about why you should stop worrying and learn to love PIRACY

by Jay Black, posted Dec 10th 2008 11:03AM
Oh, you went as me for Halloween? How creative.Hey TV executives, it's me your good pal Jay Black. Maybe you remember me from my one man "Bring Back ALF" letter-writing campaign? If not, that's okay. I'm just happy that we're talking like this and not through Yvonne Strahovski's lawyers like last time.

As you can probably tell, I spend a lot of time thinking about you guys and your tough job of coming up with so many creative shows. I don't envy your having to sort through pile after pile of successful European reality shows trying to find one uncomplicated enough for American audiences. I don't know how you do it!

I'll be honest with you, I'm worried about the future of your industry. I know you're worried too. You think that if you don't act fast to counter all those people pirating your content that you'll wind up like your good buddies over in the music industry. I don't want that to happen to you, so that's why I'm writing this letter: TV, you can save yourself if you don't fight piracy, but rather embrace it.

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BitTorrent's Top 10 TV shows (not that you would do that)

by Jason Hughes, posted Jun 6th 2008 8:23AM
Harold PerrineauNow I know that none of our readers would do anything like this, but apparently there are people out there who just love to download and watch television via BitTorrent. In fact, 50% of BitTorrent activity is apparently the downloading of television shows, with literally millions of downloads for each episode of those top shows. The folks over at TorrentFreak compiled a list of the Top 10 BitTorrented television shows for the week of May 25 - June 1.

I'm not surprised at all to see shows like The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Lost and Battlestar Galactica among the top of these rankings. Just think of the kind of audience these types of shows are likely to draw. It's unfortunate that this list couldn't have been compiled a few weeks ago when most of the broadcast networks were still streaming new episodes. So You Think You Can Dance ranked pretty well, but I wonder if American Idol would have been tops here as well. Further into the list were some even more interesting choices.

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Vudu adds TV shows to online video service

by Brad Linder, posted Dec 11th 2007 4:57PM
Vudu
Set top box/video download provider Vudu is adding to its content library with the addition of a handful of TV programs. Vudu has signed a deal with Fox to provide downloads of 12 programs including 24, Arrested Development, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Family Guy, Firefly, Lost in Space, My Name is Earl, NYPD Blue, Prison break, The Riches, Shark, and The Shield.

Episodes will be available for $1.99 a piece, the same price you'd pay to download TV shows from iTunes, Amazon Unbox, or most competing services. The main difference is that Vudu provides a set top box and not just an internet download store. You can download programs directly to your box, but once they're on the box there's no way to transfer them to an iPod, computer or DVD.

Oh yeah, and the box still costs $400. Overall, I'm still unimpressed with Vudu. But the service does have one thing going for it. It's probably one of the easiest ways to buy online video from the comfort of your couch and watch it on your television set. No PC required.

Vudu is also starting to add high definition content today. You can now download The Bourne Ultimatum in high definition. Today's also the day that movie was released on DVD and HD-DVD.

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Buy TV shows from iTunes in Canada starting this week

by Brad Linder, posted Dec 11th 2007 2:57PM
iTunes TV
While iTunes is hardly the only game in town anymore for those of us who like to buy our TV shows a la carte and carry them around on portable media devices, Apple is still one of the bigger names in video downloads. But so far, you've only been able to buy $1.99 TV episodes from iTunes if you live the US or UK.

Now it looks like Apple is about to open up the iTunes TV store to a country that doesn't have the word "united" anywhere in its name. Starting this week Canadians will be able to buy episodes or complete seasons of a limited number of TV shows.

For now, it looks like content will include a handful of shows from the CBC, CTV, and some US network programs as well as NHL hockey games. Because we know how much people love to wait a day or two until after a sporting event so they can download it and watch them on the way to work after reading the scores in the morning paper.

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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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Fox offers free TV episodes via iTunes

by Brad Linder, posted Sep 21st 2007 1:24PM
iTunesApparently it's free internet TV week. First NBC announced it would be launching a free video download service. Then ABC announced it would stream free episodes through AOL.

And now Fox is offering free downloads of series/season premieres of 7 shows. You'll be able to download the episodes from Apple's iTunes store. The episodes are commercial free, and the goal is to build buzz for the Fox programs.

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Family Guy comes to Xbox Live

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 30th 2007 3:01PM

chris griffinFOX recently signed on with Xbox Live Video Marketplace, and the first series available for the digital download-to-own service is Family Guy. FOX joins other television networks and movie studios on the service, including CBS, NBC Universal, Paramount, Warner Bros., MTV Networks and Lionsgate.

Family Guy was chosen to kick off the new content deal because of its attraction to the younger male demographic responsible for most of the downloads on the Xbox 360's Video Marketplace service. Starting next week, the series' first two seasons will become available, along with the Family Guy DVD movie/three-part episode, Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story. Newer seasons will follow, with fresh episodes hitting Video Martketplace the day after they debut on television.

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TV Comedy Classics site from UK launches this month

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 9th 2007 4:22PM

pardon my genieLater this month, TVComedyClassics.com will officially launch as a download service in which folks can purchase, or rent, various comedies from the UK.

Don't expect well-known shows like Black Adder or Monty Python, however. In fact, there isn't a single show listed on the site I've ever heard of. Perhaps they'll be familiar to some of our readers from across the pond: Labours of Erica, Up the Elephant and Round the Castle, Mann's Best Friend, Robert's Robots and Two in Clover, just to name a few. Other series from the '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s will be added when the site officially launches, with over one thousand titles in all eventually added to the service.

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All kinds of awesome TV audio

by Adam Finley, posted Jun 14th 2007 2:04PM

roosevelt franklinEvery so often I'll stumble upon something on the Web I think is totally the bees' knees, but then my excitement is met with total indifference by the folks who read this blog.

So who knows what y'all will think of it, but Way Out Junk is the coolest blog I've seen in some time. It's a collection of albums, many based on television, that are out of print. The blog allows you to download free MP3s, almost all of them transferred from the original vinyl albums.

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Now on iTunes: Great Shows You May Have Missed

by Anna Johns, posted Jun 13th 2007 1:24PM
friday night lightsThe folks over at iTunes have created this handy list for people who want to spend some time this summer catching up on the television shows that don't get as much buzz (anything that's not Lost, Grey's Anatomy, 24). The list includes full seasons of Friday Night Lights, Jericho, 30 Rock, The Shield, Battlestar Galactica, Stargate, The Riches, Dirt and Eureka. Also? You can bask in the glory of hastily canceled shows like Andy Barker, P.I., Veronica Mars, and The Black Donnellys. Oh, and Studio 60 is on there, but I wouldn't call that a "hastily" canceled show. (The current--and final--season of The Loop is also on iTunes, though it's not on the 'Missed' list)

This is a great idea. Many of the shows listed get a lot of buzz on sites like ours (because our readers know good television), but the general population doesn't seem to catch on. If only How I Met Your Mother would get on iTunes... it could definitely use some more fans as it heads into season 3.

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Days of Our Lives now on iTunes

by Adam Finley, posted Jun 12th 2007 10:02AM

days of our livesStarting today, the long-running soap opera Days of Our Lives will be available on iTunes for the usual $1.99 per episode. Fans can also get episodes a bit cheaper by purchasing twenty episodes for $9.99.

According to Variety, placing Days on iTunes is most likely a move to get more people to watch the series, which has lost some viewers over the last year or so. Frankly, I don't see why more soap operas aren't made available this way, or, even better, made available for free online. Soaps more or less require a person to be tuned in day in and day out, and fans, one assumes, would love to be able to go back and catch up on whatever they might have missed.

This, however, leads to another question, which is "how old are the people watching Days, and how many of those people are going to use iTunes for anything?" Something tells me an iTunes promotional push isn't going to be much help.

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The Colbert Report and Daily Show on Xbox Live Marketplace

by Adam Finley, posted Apr 20th 2007 4:03PM

colbert and stewartOn the heels of news of Stephen Colbert's "Tek Jansen" cartoons being made available on Xbox Live Marketplace comes even gooder* news: both The Colbert Report and The Daily Show will have full episodes made available on the download service just a few hours after they air on television. The cost is 160 points (I don't have Xbox, but if you do, then I assume you know what that means), or two bucks per episode.

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Netflix, Amazon Unbox, and Blockbuster all on your TiVo

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 13th 2007 9:30AM
Blockbuster TiVo menuOne of the greatest things about TiVo is that the company makes it easy for users to build programs that add functions TiVo has left out.

For example, you can watch movies from Amazon Unbox on your TiVo now, but you can't browse and download movies on your TiVo box. You need to use a computer.

That is, until some enterprising users started hacking together programs that let you surf Amazon Unbox from the comfort of your couch. And why stop there? One user has developed a plugin that lets you browse Amazon Unbox, NetFlix, and Blockbuster all using your remote control.

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Download Amazon Unbox movies to multiple TiVos

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 2nd 2007 2:00PM
Unbox TiVoThe HDTiVo Blog has uncovered a way to download Amazon Unbox videos to multiple TiVo boxes. So if you're living in a multi-TiVo household and you're not sure which room you'll wind up in when you want to watch your movie, this is how to send a movie to every box you've got:

  1. Click the download button for your video.
  2. A thumbnail page with a drop down box pops up asking you to choose the device to send the movie to.
  3. Next, a confirm page pops up.
  4. Close the confirm page without clicking anything.
  5. Now go ahead and choose another location from the drop down menu on the previous page.
  6. Repeat as necessary.
There you go. Now you can take up space on every TiVo in the house with the same movie. No more room for Law & Order reruns.

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Showtime content on Windows Vista

by Adam Finley, posted Mar 30th 2007 12:22PM

windows vistaComputer users running Windows Vista with Windows Media Center will soon be able to download and purchase original content from Showtime, including full episodes, cast information, and various video highlights. Unfortunately, this is only available to people running Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate and not to folks like myself still running Windows Media Center on Windows XP. I've been meaning to upgrade, but I'm an extremely lazy man.

I've already said it about a million times, but I'm always happy to see evidence of this sometimes atavistic industry's realization that "television" no longer refers to just the "TV set." As more and more people turn to the Web to see their favorite programs, partnerships like this make a lot of sense. More ways to watch means more people watching, and that's never a bad thing.

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