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A few tips for Showtime

Showtime may launch an online streaming site, EA Games kicks off Online Pass to give gamers extra play, and solar-powered iPod speakers may be a great addition to your summer pool parties.

Now playing: Watch this: Solar-powered iPod speakers

Even though Showtime is owned by CNET parent company CBS, I know little about the network and have no influence over it. Which is unfortunate because I have something to say about news that Showtime may launch its own online streaming site

If my CBS colleagues at Showtime are reading this, here is a tip: Don't limit a streaming site to current subscribers only. You are locking yourself out of people like myself who would gladly pay a la carte for shows like Dexter, which I shouldn't watch because it gives me nightmares but I do anyway. I am hoping a Showtime streaming page will allow customers to pay for shows that they want to watch right away, and not a few days, weeks, or months after they have aired.

This says something about the model of premium cable channels. If I pay extra for HBO or Showtime, I am paying for 24-7 programming when I probably only care about a small fraction of that programming. Is this a sustainable business model in an age when the savvy consumer will seek and consume only the things he/she watches and not much more? Who sits at home and just swallows whole what the networks serve up like that?

I really think that content networks get it wrong when they try to plan their lineups broadly. In 1996, Nicholas Negroponte got it right when he wrote in Being Digital: "The economic models of media today are based almost exclusively on 'pushing' the information and entertainment out into the public. Tomorrow's will have as much or more to do with 'pulling,' where you and I reach into the network and check out something the way we do in a library or video rental store today." 

At CNET TV, we don't assume that you'll watch everything we put out. You can take it buffet style--as much or as little as you want on any given day and that seems to work. We expect our viewers will shape their own news experience. Anything else come off a bit insulting intellectually.

Other links from Tuesday's show: 

Sony launches the interchangeable-lens cameras, the NEX-5 and the NEX-3

EA Games launches Online Pass site for extra content with new and used games

Motorola launches the Flipout running Android 2.1

Sprint ditches the Nexus One in favor of the HTC Evo

Solar-powered iPod speakers may be great for a pool party