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Author: Jess Hutton

HBO and Time Warner Make a Bold Move

In the news this morning, the incredibly popular HBO channel announced its intention to offer a standalone, web-only service in 2015. While this gets many cable lovers fantasizing about cutting cable TV out of the bill without losing their weekly fix of “Game of Thrones,” there are implications behind this announcement that may end up costing the viewer. As Internet speeds have increased and stabilized, we’ve heard the cry, “A la carte cable!” from more mouths every year. But analysts and economists have held firm that this may not actually be what we all want. One writer for pointed to Apple and Amazon’s current a la carte menus as good examples: when you add up all the $.99, $1.99, $4.99, and $7.99 purchases you make in the course of a month, plus the automatically recurring charges for subscriptions, you’re sure to get sticker shock. Now think of all the cable channels you actually do watch, and imagine paying individual prices for each of them – the monthly cost is more than your current total cable bill, every time. Cable subscriptions alleviate costs for users and for premium content producers, like HBO. Users pay set rates within a reasonable range for the channels they want plus several they don’t want. The cable provider absorbs some of the cost (for things like billing, support, infrastructure, and equipment) so the user...

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FCC Supports “Football on Free TV” – NFL Does Not

Early this morning, the FCC unanimously voted to do away with the 40-year old blackout rule. The rule blocked local audiences if the stadium didn’t sell a certain percentage of tickets within 72 hours of the game. While this sounds like a win for sports fans, there’s more to the story than news results are letting on. Yes, the FCC controls broadcasting rights, but only for national cable and satellite providers, not for local networks. The blackout agreements are privately negotiated between a team or stadium and the local majority network – the FCC has no direct dealing in...

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“Gotham” An Empty Crime Drama Behind Batman’s Mask?

The crowning jewel of FOX’s season lineup, “Gotham,” premiers September 22 and takes viewers behind the mask of the Batman franchise and its characters. The show offers a perspective never before captured by the movies or TV shows, which is exciting for all Batman fanatics. But it is troublesome too, as we worry it won’t be able to do justice to the famed franchise. Will the show deliver what we’re looking for? “Gotham” will be a superhero TV series without any actual superheroes or action-packed fighting scenes. This could be a potential downfall, as it may repulse fans, whether they’re followers of Batman films or comics, or just superhero media in general. Bruno Heller, the show’s creator and writer, assuages this concern by saying the show will include plenty of violence, to the point of creating “disturbing” scenes. As the Batman franchise depicts a superhero battling crime to save a city, “Gotham” will be a crime-heavy, and thus violence-heavy, show but without the traditional superhero character to save the day. This spot will be filled in by the police department, so Batman loyalists may consider “Gotham” to be more of a cop-centric crime drama than a superhero show. Beware the Crime Drama Trap Crime dramas are a dime a dozen these days, so I worry “Gotham” will fall into that trap and become another run-of-the-mill network TV show that’ll...

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What Happened to Boxee TV?

Ever heard of Boxee TV? If so, you may remember its brief claim to fame in the video streaming market. And if not, you’re not alone. Although Boxee did see some success in its heyday, that success was short-lived. The company ran privately for six years and then was bought out by Samsung. What is Boxee TV? At its core, Boxee TV operated as the world’s first Cloud DVR, which means users didn’t run into the issues of not having enough space like they encountered with other DVR options. It required a $15/month fee for DVR but none for...

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Breaking Down Chromecast and How It All Works

Google’s Chromecast takes a different approach to the video streaming craze that has hit in the past decade. More people are utilizing streaming services, so companies are looking to capitalize on this growing trend. Google, not to be outdone, released its answer to streaming set-top boxes: a thumb-sized, “over-the-top” option called Chromecast. How Does Chromecast Work? Chromecast plugs directly into your TV via an HDMI port. Its power source is either the TV’s USB port or a wall outlet, and the Chromecast will come with a USB cable and power adapter. Using your Wi-Fi connection, the Chromecast directly stream content in two ways to your television. Chromecast uses mobile or web apps to stream content, or it uses “tab casting” to display just about any content you pull up on the Google Chrome web browser on your computer. Chromecast Specs The Chromecast is a small yet powerful device, retailing at about $35. At only 2.83 inches (72 mm), Chromecast can still power an output of up to 1080p, which is high-definition. You use your PC or mobile device as your remote control. Supported operating systems for Chromecast include Android 2.3 and higher, iOS 6.0 and higher, Windows 7 and higher, Mac OS 10.7 and higher and Chrome OS on a Chromebook running Chrome 28 or higher, so if your device runs on any of these, you will be able...

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