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October 9, 2015


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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TV 101: An Open Letter To Apple, Google and Roku (From the Future!)

by Jay Black, posted Oct 20th 2010 2:00PM
This is a terminator. It's also probably what the future will look like if what I'm hearing on Glenn Beck every night is true.Dear Apple, Roku, Google, Sony and all the other companies who are gearing up to connect our TVs to the internet:

Greetings from the future! As you will one-day know, ever since a well-meaning historian tried to warn Archduke Ferdinand of his (SPOILER ALERT!) 1914 assassination and accidentally caused 'Two and a Half Men' to happen, time-traveling has been illegal here in the future. Luckily for you, the guard at the time machine is addicted to future-booze (a lot like your own booze, except a million times more powerful) and fell asleep, allowing me to send this letter back in time.

And it's an important letter. See, 2010 was the year that you all decided people wanted streaming media from the internet on their TVs, but none of you actually did it right. It took decades for it to be sorted out!

So I'm writing this letter to speed things up a bit. There are three major things you're doing wrong and I have the solutions ...

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TV 101: Why Hulu Plus Will Change The Way You Watch Television

by Jay Black, posted Jul 8th 2010 1:00PM
Hulu PlusLast week Hulu announced plans for its new Hulu Plus service. Immediately following the announcement, internet commenters from around the world did something they rarely do: complained long and loud about the details of the announcement.

"The price is right, but they're still going to have ads? No thanks!" "So let me get this straight, they're giving us access to all the seasons of 'Arrested Development' -- which we already have now, for free! -- except now they want us to pay for them? Choke on your own genitalia and die, Hulu Plus!" said the usually very reasonable denizens of the interwebs.

While I'm never one to doubt the insightfulness of snap decisions, I think in this case the complaints are wrongheaded. Sure, the announced set of features for Hulu Plus leaves a little something to be desired, but get beyond that. What we're seeing right now is a game changer. Hulu Plus is about to take over the way we consume television.

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Start the 3D TV Revolution Without Me

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 3rd 2010 9:00AM
3D_TV_watching_glassesTechnology is a marvelous thing, right? No, no, this is not a story about the Apple iPad coming out this weekend or the wonders it promises to bring -- just ask Phil Dunphy. He called it the first day of the rest of your life.

But no, the technology that has me scratching my head is 3D television. That's right, the state-of-the-art, mind-blowing idea that you will be able to watch television in a way you never have before. Bigger than a big screen. Better than high definition. More powerful that a home theater sensurround experience.

Next weekend, if you have invested in a first generation 3D TV for about $2,500, you'll be able to watch the Masters Golf Tournament in 3D. And you had better spend on the glasses, too, because not all sets are sold with the spectacles that make the 3D possible in the first place. Funny, you would think that the glasses were included, but apparently not. It's like some computers that ship without a power cord. Are you kidding me?

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How many of the "You Will" predictions have come true?

by Bob Sassone, posted Sep 17th 2009 1:36PM
Remember the early 90s commercials from AT&T that asked various technology questions and then ended with Tom Selleck saying "You Will?" Someone on YouTube has put a montage of the ads and it's interesting that so many of these tech predictions/plans have actually come true.

I don't know how many people open their doors with their voice, but most of the other tech stuff has come true in one way or another.

[via David Pogue]

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The scariest video you'll see today: teens without technology!

by Bob Sassone, posted May 19th 2009 2:02PM
I've been online every single day for about 14 years, I have several e-mail addresses, I have a couple of computers, I have a cell phone, and I Twitter. Still, I don't think it would be a problem for me to give up my cell phone and iPod for ten days.

Not the younger folks though, if this video from Today is any indication. The kids just can't handle not being able to get online or text to their friends (17,500 messages in one month??). One kid doesn't even know how to use a newspaper, and another can't read a regular clock (seriously). I think their heads would cave in if they tried to use a typewriter.

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So how accurate was The Jetsons?

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 28th 2009 12:03PM
The Jetsons

I got the Flintstones complete series DVD set for Christmas, and I've been thinking about getting the complete set for The Jetsons too. The two shows are compatible. Not only were they made by the same people (Hanna-Barbera), but The Jetsons always seemed like a space age version of The Flintstones. The Jetsons had video telephones, The Flintstones had washing machines run by elephants.

FailOften.net has a fun piece about the technology of The Jetsons and how it predicted (or in some cases didn't) predict the world of 2009. One thing they got right was that video phone/video chat. The above pic shows a screen which is probably bigger than the computer screen you have in your home, but it's basically accurate. I particularly like that the animators remembered to include a camera on top of the screen. That could have easily been a bit of detail that could have been overlooked.

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CNN drops space and science; Miles O'Brien looking for a job

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 4th 2008 1:27PM
Miles O'BrienAfter 16 years, Miles O'Brien is leaving CNN.

The reason? CNN has decided to get rid of their science/tech/environment/space division, because nothing ever happens in science, technology, the environment, or space. The network says that they're getting rid of the division because the "Planet in Peril" series already covers all of that stuff, and they'll just integrate the rest of the science coverage into their regular news. Translation: more cost-cutting in the news business.

It's kind of sad to see O'Brien go. Just a couple of years ago he was the co-host of American Morning with Soledad O'Brien, and then he lost that gig and went back to covering space and technology, and now that coverage is gone. It was always good to have him around for space shuttle launches and for his expertise when their was a problem with a plane or a plane crash.

I'm sure they'll still cover space shuttle launches, but now they'll be hosted by D.L. Hughley and Nancy Grace. (Kidding)

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Fox looking to replace old ads on your TiVo with fresh ones

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 27th 2007 11:53AM
tivoFox is hoping to patent technology to replace the commercials in shows sitting on your personal video recorder.

In other words, if you record 24 Monday night, but wait until Thursday to watch it, some of the promos for upcoming shows, movie release dates, and ads for retail sales will be outdated by the time you watch it. This patent would automatically download updated commercials to replace the old ones.

Fox says it hopes to test the process with TiVo. On the one hand, this leverages the power of a PVR as basically an internet-connected computer. On the other hand, it ignores the fact that the users who skip past commercials don't really care if they're new or old.

Of course, if this technology works, it could lead to advertisers putting firmer cues than brief black screens on their commercials, which would make it easier for 3rd party developers to come up with accurate programs to automatically skip commercials. Programs like ComSkip and Snapstream BeyondTV's SmartChapter generator each do this today, with varying degrees of success.

TiVo Lovers]

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Is technology improving your TV viewing, or making it more complicated?

by Brad Linder, posted Feb 6th 2007 9:04AM
SlingPlayerPhiladelphia Daily News columnist Ellen Gray says technology has started to take over her TV viewing habits. In some ways, this is a good thing. She's a TV critic, and her Slingbox lets her keep up with TV shows while she's out of town. But she also spent an unreasonably large amount of time proving that she could record programs on her PC and then play them back on her TV set in blurrier fashion than if she'd just watched them on TV.

I know the feeling. I've spent so many hours setting up my PC-based PVR that I feel like I could never watch enough hours of television to justify it. Sometimes, when I'm not in the mood to spend 22 minutes watching a sitcom or cartoon, I'll flip through movie listings to see if there's any films I want to record in the next two weeks. It takes about the same amount of time, but I record far more shows than I ever get around to watching. It's okay, I have a large hard drive, and I keep telling myself that one weekend I'll have a movie marathon to make room for more recordings.

But honestly, I think it's the thrill of finding that movie that you've always meant to see and knowing that you don't have to miss it that's most exciting. Actually watching it feels more like a chore sometimes. And the challenge of figuring out how to stream video to every TV in the house for under $150 was a lot of fun. Much more fun than spending an hour watching Lost could ever be.

My name is Brad, and I'm addicted to video technology. More so than video content.

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Discovery Channel visits the year 2057 tonight

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 28th 2007 9:03AM

2057Tonight starting at 8:00pm, the Discovery Channel will look fifty years into the future with a three-part series called 2057. The series will mix speculation from leading scientists with dramatic storytelling to try and envision how our world will change over the next few decades. One of the questions, of course, is whether or not we'll have flying cars, and more importantly, will Martian hookers be both plentiful and affordable? Okay, the second one is my own personal preference, but I think it's worth looking into.

The first part of the series, "The Body" airs at 8:00pm and looks at modern technology and what it holds for human health and longevity in the future: things like robotic surgery and custom-built organs. At 9:00pm, "The City," the second part in the series, will look at advances in robotics, automobiles and surveillance systems. Finally, at 10:00pm, "The World" will examine how technology will help transfer more information even faster than before, and the possibilities of space travel for average folks like us.

You can watch clips from the series here.

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"Elevator to space" tonight on NOVA scienceNOW

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 9th 2007 1:02PM

space elevatorTonight at 8pm on PBS, NOVA scienceNow will look at a competition to build an "elevator to space." Participants will compete to see whose prototype can go the highest, and the winner takes home a $150,000 prize. The episode will also focus on scientific research surrounding the carbon nanotube, a stronger-than-steel material that just might be used to create the cable for a real "space elevator" in the future. It would be awesome if such a thing were constructed in my lifetime, though with my luck I'd be stuck on this lengthy elevator ride with some guy who just polished off a beef and bean burrito.

Other segments from the episode will include research into "longevity genes" and how they may hold the secret to living longer; using satellites to uncover Mayan ruins; and studies in "Quorum Sensing," the way bacteria communicates.

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Two new shows from MythBusters creators

by Julia Ward, posted Jan 8th 2007 2:31PM
Mythbusters hostsThe production team behind the Discovery Channel's MythBusters have two new shows in the works for the science-loving channel. First up is Prototype This, a 13-part series that looks at the viability of gadgets seen in sci-fi movies. As in, they'll actually try to build some of these futuristic marvels. I'm sure the military will be ecstatic. I'll just take my Jetsons personalized jet pack and robot maid, thank you very much.

The second show, Cool Stuff: How It Works, is a four-part series that takes a look at how the wonders of the modern world work - fireproof suits, robotic bomb detonators, etc. No word on whether or not they'll be able to explain TiVo, the electoral college or how a penalty kick shootout is fair, but they're smart guys. I'm sure they'll get around to it.

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Wired Science debuts tonight on PBS

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 3rd 2007 3:01PM

wired scienceWired Magazine's new series for PBS, Wired Science, debuts this evening at 8pm. Alternatively, you can watch the entire pilot episode by clicking here. Just don't confuse the show with the '80s flick Weird Science. As far as I know, Oingo Boingo didn't compose any music for this new series. David Byrne of the Talking Heads, however, did compose the theme music, which is much cooler (no offense to Danny Elfman).

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Trying to make CNBC more hip

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 4th 2006 12:45PM

CNBC logoThere was about a year and a half when I was completely addicted to CNBC. It was the mid to late 90s, around 97 or 98, when I was starting to write more online and became fascinated by how technology was driving the economy and stock market to new heights. I remember having CNBC on all day along (along with CNN and MSNBC), and I loved seeing all the numbers fly by the bottom of the screen. Sure, I had no idea what any of it meant, but CNBC also had a lighter, pop culture bent to it that made it entertaining. I watched Power Lunch every afternoon, I waited for interviews with the CEOs of companies I was intererested in (like Steve Jobs from Apple - that was a big comeback story), and I even got to know the anchors and reporters (oh, Maria Bartiromo!).

Then the bubble burst and people didn't really enjoy watching CNBC anymore. And now it's really a shadow of what it used to be. But now two guys are trying to make it good again. Ex-Today producer Jonathan Wald and ex-60 Minutes producer Josh Howard have been brought on to pump new life into the business network. The duo plans more documentaries, as well as other big changes for the network.

What do you think needs to be done to CNBC to make it better? 

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