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October 25, 2014

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'United States of Tara' and New TV Shows on DVD, Streaming Online for Dec. 28, 2010

by Mike Moody, posted Dec 28th 2010 3:00PM
united states of tara season 2 dvdThe first season of 'United States of Tara' ended with Tara, a mother with Dissociative Identity Disorder played by Emmy and Golden Globe winner Toni Collette, on the road to recovery and surrounded by her dysfunctional but supportive family.

As season two begins, Tara seems to be winning the battle to suppress her alternate personalities, but tragedy soon strikes next door and her "alters" reemerge, more destructive and real than ever before.

Collette's performance, again nominated for a Golden Globe this year, is probably the best reason to recommend the second season of 'Tara' on DVD, but it's not the only one. The Showtime dramedy, created by Diablo Cody and produced by Steven Spielberg, is a smart, funny and engrossing look at a family dealing with a complex problem and learning to accept that the word "normal" means different things to different people.

The series returns to Showtime for a third season next year, so catch up with the Gregson family and Tara's growing stable of alters now.

Check out the other new releases available on DVD, Blu-Ray and Netflix Watch Instantly this week, after the jump ...

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Netflix Is Ready for Primetime Streaming

by Harley W. Lond, posted Dec 2nd 2010 10:30PM
Netflix is taking over the world.

According to a report in the New York Post, Netflix is bound and determined to add current episodes of hit TV shows to its Web streaming service, a move that is already causing network executives to quiver in their boots. It's bad enough that Netflix put a dent in the home video rental business, all but putting the final nails in Blockbuster's coffin; now it's scaring Hollywood with the prospect of becoming a streaming giant.

The Post reports that Netflix is in talks with the studios about gaining access to current episodes of primetime shows and is willing to pay between $70,000 and $100,000 per episode. The company currently streams older episodes of such shows as 'Nip/Tuck,' 'Veronica Mars' and 'The Family Guy,' and recenly cut a deal with NBC Universal to stream "Saturday Night Live' the day after it airs on the network.

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Online Viewers Haven't Abandoned Traditional TV, According to Nielsen Study

by Gary Susman, posted Nov 15th 2010 5:00PM
Coaxial cableLooks like the cable and network TV industries can breathe a small sigh of relief. Conventional wisdom may suggest that the growing number of people who stream their favorite shows from the Internet to their TVs will give up their cable TV subscriptions, but actually, that's not happening.

So says a new study from the Nielsen company, as cited by the Hollywood Reporter. According to the study, only 3 percent of viewers who stream online content to their TVs are canceling cable. Some 84 percent of such viewers say they are watching as much or more regularly scheduled TV than they did before they began Web-to-TV streaming.

And 53 percent of streaming viewers say the Internet has introduced them to shows that they then began watching on regular, scheduled TV.

In the parlance of the study, then, there are a lot more "cord keepers" than "cord cutters."

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Would you pay $$$ to watch the American version of The X Factor?

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 2nd 2009 5:01PM
Simon CowellSo I'm about to give Meredith Baxter a call and see if she wants to go out sometime, but first I wanted to post this story about Simon Cowell. He tells GQ that he's going to bring the hit British show The X Factor to the U.S. and set it in Las Vegas. But wait, there's more! He also wants to stream the show over the web as a pay-per-view event! He expects to get 30 million people to watch every week.

Would you pay to watch this?

Would you pay money to watch The X Factor?
Yes! It's a great show.8 (1.4%)
Pay to see it? Are you kidding me?545 (93.6%)
It depends on how much it is.29 (5.0%)

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CBS streams vintage shows online

by Debra McDuffee, posted Feb 10th 2009 7:11PM
Simon Baker as Patrick Jane in The Mentalist

CBS is connected to the pulse of America, people. They're at the top of the ratings race, The Mentalist is the hot new procedural this season and life is looking good for TPTB over at CBS.

I'm also wondering if CBS realizes how sick and tired most viewers are getting of the same old types of shows. With the lack of originality in new programming, I know I'm not the only one turning to my old favorites on DVD. I love reliving Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I'm now discovering Supernatural for the first time.

I swear I didn't tell CBS about my longing for all things retro, but they have bugged my house or tapped into my TV set or something, because their latest venture is streaming vintage TV shows on their site -- CBS's "TV Classics" player.

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LG to sell televisions that directly stream Netflix movies

by Brad Trechak, posted Jan 5th 2009 12:11PM
LGIf I were a cable company, I'd have mixed feelings about this. LG is working with Netflix to sell televisions that directly stream movies to the set via an Internet connection.

This is yet another step in guaranteeing that nobody will use the cable companies to watch movies anymore. No wonder HBO, etc. have long since gotten into the business of original content.

I'm not sure how successful this formula will be, considering there is still a monthly service fee involved with the use of Netflix. Perhaps they could change their pricing model for the purchase of one of these LG televisions. I'd have issue with paying for cable, Internet and monthly movie rentals particularly when so many televisions can now be directly hooked up to a computer.

I'd like to think that this is the beginning of the all-in-one television, which along with being flat and pretty light will have built-in wi-fi, a PVR including Blu-Ray (or whatever the future generation recording technology is) and an ice cream maker.

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BBC to broadcast live TV over the internet

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 5th 2008 7:03PM
BBC
UK residents can already watch any show that's aired on the BBC over the last 7 days using the broadcast service's iPlayer software. Now the BBC plans to go one step further by offering a live stream of BBC One content on the internet.

The new service will be available sometime in the next few months and will be available only to viewers in the UK. You'll also need a broadband connection and you'll have to pay the same £139.50 annual license fee that you pay to watch television in the UK.

Critics have complained that it will be difficult for the BBC to make sure that viewers are actually paying their license fee, which means that television owners could wind up subsidizing free content for people who watch programs on their computers but do not own a TV. Right now there's not a huge number of people trading in their televisions for computers, but then there are aren't very many TV stations providing all of their content for free over the internet.

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Three Netflix plugins for Windows Media Center, which to choose?

by Brad Linder, posted May 14th 2008 11:56AM

Missing Remote

Ever since it was first demonstrated that you could control the Netflix "watch now" interface from Windows Media Center, MCE plugins for Netflix have been populating like bunnies. There are now three different plugins that let you browse or search your Netflix queue and watch movies all from the comfort of your couch.

Missing Remote has an in-depth look at vmcNetflix, MyNetflix, and NetflixMC. And it turns out that not all Netflix plugins are not created equal. Some are Vista only, while others will run on Windows XP Media Center Edition. Al three have attractive interfaces and most of the features that you'd expect. But only one vmcNetflix supports Windows Media Center Extenders like the Xbox 360.

If you're looking for Windows XP MCE support, NetflixMC is pretty much your only option for now. And if you're looking for support for media extenders, vmcNetflix is the way to go. But if you're looking for a more detailed overview, you should check out the full article at Missing Remote.

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Watching your TV online? More ads are coming

by Brett Love, posted May 5th 2008 10:03AM

Rachel Specter - RGX Body SprayThere is an interesting little bit over at the NY Times about research the Disney-ABC Television Group is working on. That research involves inserting multiple commercials into ad breaks for the online versions of their prime time shows. Well, you had to see this one coming, right?

It's understandable that they would want to increase the revenue from the medium. Just as it's understandable that if it's a success we'll see the other networks follow suit. But, they do need to be careful that they don't chase those fans they do have away by annoying them. Although, admittedly, I would not be one to complain about more Rachel Specter commercials.

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ZvBox: Stream PC video to any TV in the house

by Brad Linder, posted May 1st 2008 8:13AM

ZvBoxStartup ZeeVee announced its new set media streaming device, the ZvBox today. Unlik the Apple TV, Windows Media Extenders, or pretty much any other set top box designed to let you watch PC and internet content on your TV, the ZvBox works with your home's coaxial cable network. In other words, you plug the ZvBox into your PC so it can use your internet connection, and plug the other end into a spare cable jack. It will find a TV channel not currently used by your cable provider and allow create a new HD channel you to tune in to on any TV in the house to access the ZvBox service.

So what content can you access? Pretty much anything you can watch on your PC, including YouTube, Hulu, iTunes, BitTorrent, and Netflix content. If your PC has a DVD player, you can access that. If it has a TV tuner, you can use ZvBox to watch live TV.. on your TV. Or more to the point, you can set up a PVR in the bedroom and watch recorded shows on any TV in the house -- assuming you have cable in each room in the house. If you're in a bunny-ears only household, the ZvBox might not be the best solution.

The ZvBox (plus the ZvRemote control and Zview software -- they like the letter Z) will be available in June for $499.

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NBC's Viewing Party: their next big thing?

by Brett Love, posted Apr 20th 2008 1:01PM

NBC Viewing Party
Yesterday we talked about NBC's plans for video-on-demand around the world. Today, we have news of their plans for getting all of their nutty fans together online. Possibly. It should be noted that the information comes from an anonymous source, known only to us as "NBC Insider," but after getting a look at the screenshots, they look highly believable.

What we're talking about is the NBC Viewing Party. In a nutshell, the service will allow fans to open a chat room and watch an episode at the same time, all synced up and everything. It's done with flash, so it should play nicely with Mac OS and Windows, and is reported to work in Firefox, IE, and Safari.
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CW to Gossip Girl fans: No streams for you!

by Brett Love, posted Apr 18th 2008 10:21AM

Blake Lively of Gossip GirlIf you're like me, you probably get annoyed when you roll down your window and your beard blows up in your eyes... And if you don't have a ridiculous beard, but are still like me in your appreciation for a good teen drama, this might be relevant to your television scheduling.

It seems the overlords over at the CW have hatched a new plan. The last five episodes of Gossip Girl, set to begin on Monday, will not be available for online streaming. I know. OMG! Right? I'll pause while you text your BFF. Over at the New York Times, Paul McGuire, senior VP of communications for the network, is quoted as saying, "This is an experiment to see if this moves the [Nielsen ratings] needle at all."

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Hulu going international -- eventually

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 11th 2008 5:39PM
Hulu International
Hulu is almost the online video site I've been waiting for for years. It features a broad selection of content that's actually worth watching from major networks and studios. The video quality is pretty good. If the company could sign a few more partners and start posting entire seasons, not just a few episodes at a time, I'd be in heaven.

But that's because I live in the US. For TV fans in any other part of the world, Hulu is a non-starter. When you try to visit the page from another country you're typically greeted with an error message. But this morning Emily Turretini of WatchingTV Online discovered that she got a new message telling her that Hulu is working on "legal and business" deals to bring the service to other countries.

Users can also sign up to receive an email alert as soon as Hulu is available in their area.

[via NewTeeVee]

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Blockbuster to launch a set top box for streaming video

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 10th 2008 5:38PM
BlockbusterTired of looking at that empty spot next to your TiVo, Windows Media Extender, Apple TV, and Xbox 360? Blockbuster's got just the thing -- another set top box capable of streaming internet and downloaded video.

There aren't many details about the box yet, but Blockbuster is reportedly set to announce it later this month. The box will offer hardware to compliment software the company already owns. Blockbuster acquired Movielink last year. The service provides users with the ability to rent or purchase digital movies which can be downloaded to a computer.

But PVR Wire readers aside, most people don't have their televisions connected to their computers, so a set top box seems like a good idea. You know, until you count up the other set top boxes you've got lying around. As Dave Zatz points out, it would probably make a lot more sense for Blockbuster to develop technology that would allow the company to send video to existing devices like a TiVo, video game console, or even a network enabled DVD player.

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Online video platform Joost to go US only

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 6th 2008 3:57PM
JoostIf online video service Joost were to fall in a forest and nobody was watching, would it make a sound? Wait, no, that's not right. What I meant to ask is, if Joost stops streaming videos outside of the US, will anybody care? It looks like we're about to find out, because that's exactly what Joost plans to do.

The streaming video platform that was supposed to change the way we watch television really hasn't. While more and more people are watching videos online, it's not particularly clear that many of them are using Joost to do it. In the UK, the BBC iPlayer has gotten a lot of attention for providing residents with the ability to watch any program that's been broadcast in the past seven days. And in the US, Hulu provides viewers with a chance to watch many TV shows and movies from Fox, NBC, and other content partners.

Apparently Joost has decided to pull out of the international market and focus solely on the US, because that's where the majority of its users are at the moment. But with a lackluster content library, and few high profile content partners, I think it might just be a matter of time before Joost folds completely. To make matters worse, I think Joost overestimated the consumer demand for a non-browser based online video solution. Flash and Silverlight have made it easy to not only embed videos in web pages, but to allow users to click a button and watch those videos full screen.

When all is said and done, I think that people like to watch TV on their TV sets, not their computers. While there's a growing number of ways to watch full length TV shows and movies online, I really wish it was easier to make those existing services work with Windows Media Center and other media center applications designed to bridge the gap between computer and television. If Joost had focused on media center integration or set top box software, maybe the company would have had a chance. But if I can't watch my videos from 10 feet away with a remote control, I'd rather visit Hulu in a web browser than launch a standalone application that gives me access to hundred of videos I don't really want to watch.

Update: It looks like a spokesperson for Joost denies that the company has any plans to layoff employees or go US-only.

[via Mashable]

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