It is not often we take time out to pay attention to the little things. Like why cable has become excellent at producing TV series and leaving the "big" networks in the lurch. But 'tis time to give it its due.
Like millions of others, we got quickly hooked on Homeland. We appreciated Damages until it got too damaged, found Boss almost too mean and think that Breaking Bad was brilliant in that it knew when to make a gracious exit. There are almost too many players in Boardwalk Empire but ya gotta love Buschemi. And we chuckled when we discovered that Honey Boo Boo was tolerable if you could accept her misuse of that poor pig.
Which brings us to American Horror Story. Knowing it was a Ryan Murphy production tempted us and we soon became hooked. While the second season threw us off at first, we kept watching and received a pleasant surprise by Episode 10. Watching Jessica Lange, Pepper (Naomi Grossman) and almost the entire cast rock out to "The Name Game" makes you realize you have experienced an out-of-Glee-moment.
The one sad note is the soon-to-be cancellation of a daytime talk show and the man that tied them all together, Anderson Cooper, but then, he isn't on cable. So tune in to Netflix, Amazon or Hulu and catch up with some of cable's best.
Beginning December 15, flyers on Virgin American will have the luxury of unlimited cute kitten and baby videos on Channel 11 when they fly. YouTube has partnered with the airlines on U.S. and Mexican flights. Not only can you laugh at other people's expense, you get access to web series such as "Blue", "Crash Course" and "H+." Watching original content is certainly a pleasant alternative than watching another family-friendly comedy. New shows and series will be added about every 2 months.
Amazon has yet another service to hook you into their cyber clutches. FreeTime Unlimited provides Kindle users with ebooks, games, movies, TV shows and Android apps for the entire family. For $6.99 monthly, an entire family gets access to unlimited access to ad-free content while individuals pay only $2.99. The family friendly subscription includes age appropriate, child friendly offerings from the likes of PBS, Nickelodeon, DC Comics and Disney. If you are planning to purchase a Fire or Fire HD this holiday season, you get a 1-month free trial to the service.
It seems there is no end to what the Galaxy S Lightray can do. MetroPCS has teamed with Dyle Mobile TV to bring live, local broadcasts via antenna. The smartphone has a 4.3" AMOLED touchscreen, front and back facing cameras, a 1GH processor and a 16GB SD card to improve its 1.38GB memory. The carrier offers their 4G network with unlimited data access in plans starting at only $40.00 and after purchasing of the smartphone for $459.00, the TV service is free.
'Tis the season. If you planned to invest in Apple TV, now is the time. With streaming of movies and TV shows from iTunes and availability of content from Netflix and various online sources, the box is unassuming at its 4" square size. Control by remote, or by iPhone/iPad/iPod touch with app. At $99.00, this might challenge Roku as the set top box of choice.
Recently interviewed at the BOA Merrill Lynch 2011 Technology Conference in NY, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings commented that the recent deal his company made with Starz and Miramax is only the beginning. This is good news for those of us who do our watching online, as opposed to cable or satellite. He is looking for other movie studios and TV content, like HBO and Showtime, to join up when their pay-TV agreements expire, some as early as 2013. What the company will not do is invest in "adjacent markets" such as those with advertising, transactional VOD and video gaming.
Samsung has announced that over 5 million globally have downloaded their Smart TV app platform. Considering the fact that it only launched in Feb. 2010, that is pretty impressive. They attribute their success to their variety of videos, games, sports and other media that can be found in over 120 countries, including 3D capability. Programming is country-specific, making all those naysayers who didn't believe in the concept sit up and take notice.
You can get up to speed by joining the Samsung revolution with your own Smart TV or purchasing the LG ST600 Smart TV Upgrader.
The Web Tube television to internet converter box is simply hooked up via WiFi or Ethernet. Plug it into the HDMI socket of your TV, then browse the web with an onscreen keyboard brought up by the remote. Receive 720p resolution of images or videos and utilize bookmarks for such sites as YouTube and Google Maps. The Web Tube carries a MSRP of $199.99.
Sears/Kmart has launched Alphaline Entertainment to get its share of the on-demand movie pie. Supported by RoxioNow, movies can be delivered via electronic devices. Rentals go for $3.99 apiece and can be bought as well. Their VOD makes both movies and DVDs available on the same day as store release.
In its effort for world streaming domination, Netflix is reportedly paying $70,000 - $100,000 for current episodes of TV shows. They recently made a deal with NBC Universal to stream 'SNL' the day after airing. It seems that the company may knock other streaming services like Hulu and YouTube to the bottom of the video heap.
Hulu Plus is now available on the Sony Dash, in addition to Amazon VOD, YouTube, Netflix, SHOUTcast Internet Radio and tons of free apps. This is surely further evidence that our watching/listening experience is moving away from the "real" world and moving online.
Hulu Plus has finally gone beyond invitation only and is now available to all. They have added new shows to the service, including 'The Event,' 'Raising Hope,' and 'No Ordinary Family.' Those who can get Hulu Plus now include owners of Sony Bravia 2010 TVs, iPhone/iPad/touch, and PS3 with a PlayStation Network service. The company has future plans for more content and improved service.
After the final trick or treater has retired for the night, nothing says Halloween like a viewing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show while pigging out to the last of the candy (unless you can find a midnight screening somewhere.) Gleeks already got a taste of it this week as the Fox show devoted an entire episode to the cult classic with cameos from Barry Bostwick and Meatloaf. The astute producers released a CD before the TV show was aired as a special treat, but nothing can compare with the original. It's just a jump to the left.
This is indeed the time of instant news as a quick search can take you almost anywhere in the world, including being able to watch the live feed of the Chilean miners rescue. We found this one from CBS but it is available on other sites as well. The first out is scheduled to be Florencio Avalos, while the honor of coming up last goes to Luis Urzua, the shift chief and a source of comfort and strength for the others during the ordeal. Vaya con dios, amigos.