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Author: Lisa Fowler

Introducing The Game of Throneys: Let the Battle Begin

If you’re one of the 6.7 million who watched the premiere of HBO’s 3rd season of Game of Thrones, we know you’re as excited as we are for the next 9 Sundays! By the end of Season 2 we’re left with the aftermath of the battle for Blackwater Bay, we’re exposed to a giant horde of undead White Walkers beyond the wall, Daenerys gets her dragons back, Jon Snow “joins” the Wildlings, and Joffrey still reigns as King on the Iron Throne. A lot has happened and we’d like to take a moment to celebrate before moving forward. Behold, is proud to announce its first installment of the Throneys! Twice a week we will serve up a poll for you to choose the best-of for a certain Game of Thrones scenario. And as George R.R. Martin once said, “Most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it.” Let the battles begin! This week we kick it off with “The Hottest Males in Game of Thrones ”. Go vote now, and if you think we left someone off, feel free to add your own pick! The Hottest Males in Game of Thrones If we’re to be totally honest about why we watch shows filled with hunky, desirable men, it’s because they’re filled with hunky, desirable men. From there, however, each of us must decide for ourselves which...

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Zmart Remote Changes your Phone into a Remote

The Zmart Remote promises to turn your phone into a universal remote control. It’s an efficient and tempting prospect, and one that we’ve heard before. How well does it work, and what makes it different from the competition? Smartphones are a lot like remote controls. They’re both handheld technological marvels that communicate over distances.  They both tend to get lost in the couch cushions from time to time. So why has it been so hard to get your phone to take the place of your remote? Most of the problem has been the simple fact that most phones don’t come with the right kind of hardware. Specifically, most phones aren’t equipped with infrared (IR), the standard wireless specification used by TVs, cable boxes, stereos, game consoles, coffee makers, etc. For some reason, phone manufacturers are happy to load up on 3G, 4G, LTE, Wi-Fi, CDMA, and Bluetooth radios, but not IR. There are a handful of converters, such as the Griffin Beacon, but these tend to be expensive and not exactly portable. Zmart’s solution is simple: add the missing IR functionality by way of a small (and inexpensive) dongle that plugs into your headphone jack. Unlike “base station” converters, this means that you can travel with the Zmart remote from room to room (or house to house, or home to office) and use the app to remember every IR...

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HBO Go App: Not Sold Separately

All of your favorite HBO shows in one place, available on mobile devices and for a flat, monthly fee without the long-term contract – sounds pretty awesome, right? And, while it might make sense to the masses – people are willing to pay for HBO Go as a standalone service – HBO still won’t budge on the issue, even though it could be a direct competitor to streaming giant Netflix. As you sigh heavily and renew your cable and HBO subscription, first consider the numbers: you might be surprised at how much a standalone service could cost the network. TechCrunch recently ran a poll on its website to find out how much viewers would pay for a standalone HBO service, like HBO Go, which is currently only available to subscribers. The general consensus ended up around $12. As of now, HBO only nets about $8 per subscription, with the rest of the cash going to cable providers. So, if a standalone subscription would make more money, what’s the big deal? The trouble is that it’s not just about the subscription money. Remember, HBO doesn’t have advertisers and doesn’t have much in the way of marketing on other networks. Instead, they rely on cable providers to sign up potential viewers instead.  Think about it: When you sign up for new TV service, you often score a few months of HBO...

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Two Thumbs Up for Zeebox: Our App of the Week

  We’ve seen a lot of buzz about Zeebox lately. It’s a second-screen app that provides discovery, info, sharing, and the usual social TV features. So the big question is: with so many similar domestic apps, do we really need to import another one from the U.K.? What makes Zeebox worth all the hype? First, the installation. Cute stick-figure drawings of smiling phones and TVs helped me through the brief and painless login process, in which you can link your Facebook and/or Twitter accounts, or start from scratch. With the help of my zipcode, Zeebox let me identify my TV provider easily, and took me right to the channel lineup. Navigation through the listings is smoother than many TV guide apps, with a two-dimensional sliding scroll — up and down the channels, or side-to-side to change your chosen viewing time. A persistent “Now” button along the top lets you return to the present at any time, or you can jump ahead to the next day of the week. The main menu options take up a little precious space at the top of the screen, but this also means that you’re never more than a click away from anything that Zeebox has to offer. The “Hot” or “TV Picks” tab will give you a long list of featured shows, popular choices, or tweets (by stars, or simply random tweets about...

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The Life of a TV Show: from Pilot to Finale

If I mentioned summertime and pitches in the same sentence you might assume that I’m talking about baseball, and most of the time that would be a logical assumption. In this particular instance, however, we’re talking about the genesis of new television shows. When television writers—established or otherwise—pitch new show ideas to network executives. Even for established writers, the odds are against their idea making it into the fall lineup. This is due in part to the sheer number of ideas pitched, as well as the TV executive responsibility to ensure quality television programming hits the airwaves. These creative endeavors are a risky proposition even for veterans of their craft. Established authors sometimes write stinkers; performance artists sometimes fall flat; and film directors sometimes give us turkeys. Here’s a fascinating look at a process in which we’ve all participated in some fashion or another—most likely as television viewers—that sheds light on what it takes to go from successful pitch to series finale. The Pitch Television writers spend the spring polishing their ideas, creating back stories for their characters, and creating interesting potential plots, all for a shot in front of a television executive in the early summer. If a pitch gets a bite from a television executive, then the real work begins for the writers. Executives expect a first draft of a pilot script in the fall, which gives...

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