It's been online for a few days now, but I just spotted (via PaidContent) Forbes' article titled The iFlop (subhead: "Steve Jobs tried to design--and dictate--the future of television. Here's how he failed.") Author Scott Woolley calls the Apple TV "a flat-out" failure, claiming that it's sold less than 250,000 units in six months. Among the supposed sins of the product: the lack of a built-in DVR and a "parochial and proprietary approach" to online video content. He also highlights a variety of on-demand video competitors, including Vudu, TiVo (via Amazon Unbox), and Xbox 360 (which offers rentals and sales of TV shows via the Xbox Live Marketplace)--while glossing over many of their shortcomings. Still, is he right? Is the Apple TV dead in the water? … Read more
Though there was much ado about Verizon Wireless' V Cast Mobile TV service when the carrier launched the service earlier this year, it's been eerily quiet since then. In particular, we've been waiting for new handsets beyond the original LG VX9400 and the Samsung SCH-U620.
Fortunately, our wait came to an end this morning when Verizon and Motorola announced the new Moto Rizr Z6tv. Sporting the familiar, and may we add quite attractive, Rizr slider design, the Z6tv offers a solid feature set beyond the Mobile TV support (which is quite enough by itself). You'll find Bluetooth, … Read more
Networking companies are beginning to deliver the new Vista-friendly Media Center Extenders that Microsoft outlined earlier this month. D-Link's entry in the race is the DSM-750. Like competing models, the DSM-750 attaches to a TV (standard or high-def) and streams live and recorded TV, video, music, and photos from networked Media Center PCs located elsewhere in the home. An update of the older DSM-520, the 2007 model adds dual-band 802.11n wireless (which has the speed and bandwidth for optimal streaming of HD video) as well as compatibility with the popular DivX and XviD video file formats. Unlike similarly … Read more
Listed at iTunes on Wednesday were episodes of Chuck and Journeyman, two shows that premiered earlier this week.
NBC Universal touched off a public relations war when it announced that it would not renew its contract to sell digital downloads of its TV shows via iTunes. Apple responded by saying it would refuse to offer NBC's shows for the upcoming season.
But don't look for a full rollout of NBC's fall season. The reason that Journeyman and Chuck are … Read more
Have you set your DVR yet? I sure have. On Tuesday night we'll see the ballroom dancing debut of Dallas Mavericks owner and tech entrepreneur extraordinaire Mark Cuban as he leaps onto the stage of the corny ABC reality show Dancing with the Stars, which pairs celebrities of various calibers with professional dance partners and then pits the couples against one another.
Cuban, always the subtle one, is encouraging his blog readers to dial in and vote for him and his curvy blond dance partner, Kym. "I'm up against all the pretty boys, athletes and entertainers tonight,&… Read more
Monday's New York Times highlights one of my growing pet peeves: increasingly invasive on-screen ads and information that are invading all manner of TV programs. The article ("As the Fall Season Arrives, TV Screens Get More Cluttered") explores some of the supposed reasons behind the trend, which runs the gamut from "bugs" (channel logos) and on-screen data dumps (news and financial market tickers, scoreboards), to--in my opinion, the top annoyance--"snipes" (animated ads, for either upcoming programs or sponsored products).
On news, financial, and sports programming, I'm a lot more forgiving of … Read more
With NBC and ABC both making free downloads of their shows available this week, Fox jumped on the trend with free downloads of new shows available on iTunes.
The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that Fox and Apple have reached an agreement to offer free downloads of the shows Fox is trying to promote this sweeps season: that is, the ones people aren't watching as much as they'd like. No Simpsons or Family Guy clips are among the five shows currently available for free on the iTunes Store. But episodes of shows sure to be forgotten in the … Read more
College football is back, and so is fall television. If you're looking to pick up some free TV shows (legally), the Internet is your friend and is a great place to go for digital versions of TV shows, sans a TV or the need for a VCR or DVR to watch shows when you want to. Note that several of these sites are walking a fine line of what's legal and what's not, which was outlined in yesterday's post about legal suicide for start-ups. We don't condone piracy or encourage it; this guide is for entertainment purposes only.
Free (and paid-for) downloads:
iTunes. iTunes is worth mentioning here because you can often get the first and last episode of any show for free. You can then put it on your iPod, iPhone, or watch it full-screen on your computer. While the iTunes Store is now lacking shows like The Office, because of NBC pulling out of its renewal deal, you can still find shows from ABC, CBS, and Fox--which incidentally is offering free pilots of all of their series, which you can find here (link opens up in iTunes).
Amazon Unbox. While we may not have had the best experience using this service in the past, if you're looking for legal digital copies of NBC's newest shows, you're stuck with Unbox until Hulu launches next month. Like the iTunes Store, you'll find all the big players here, although keep in mind that you can't watch these shows on any portable media players, which makes the $1.99 price tag a little harder to swallow.
Editor's Pick: MythBusters
Joost. There is an absolute ton of content on Joost, including entire seasons of the original Transformers from the 80s. The only catch? You've gotta download and install the client, and get a private beta token, which these days is about as easy to get as it was to get a Gmail invite a few years back.
Click the "read more" link below to continue reading, and find out about free, streaming options.… Read more
Another designer has lived up to the fine sense of Italian aesthetics, which we've seen applied increasingly to home media furnishings. The latest example comes from Bonaldo in the form of a new twist--quite literally--on displaying a plasma or LCD TV with its "Swivel TV Stand."
But it's the striking circular design that will get your attention as much as its practical mobility. The stand's black lacquered frame is supported by a chrome base, according to Trendir, providing a "fantastic way to soften the harsh, square corners" of the television set and accompany … Read more
TVs and PCs may be taking their own sweet time to morph into one appliance, but some designs are starting to betray the romance. Case in point: ViewSonic's new "Diamani DUO" series (dynamic duo?) are meant to be used both as a desktop monitor and an LCD TV, in 19- and 22-inch models with 1,440x900 and 1,680x1050 respective resolutions.
Unlike other PC-TV screens, which are often indistinguishable from desktop monitors, this one actually takes on some of the design characteristics of a plasma or LCD set, such as today's popular piano-black gloss finish, contoured … Read more