National Hockey Leauge:

“Having the most tech-savvy fans of all major professional sports, who also tend to be early adopters of new technology, makes offering NHL content through Clip+Sling a natural fit,â€? said Keith Ritter, President, NHL Interactive CyberEnterprises. “This partnership expands the visibility of our NHL games online and we are excited and proud to be the first sports league to offer this service to our fans.â€?

Major League Baseball:

“Of course, what they are doing is not legal,” said [MLB Advanced Media's General Counsel Michael] Mellis. “We and other leagues have formed a group to study the issue and plan our response. A lot depends on ongoing discussions. Plus, there’s no guarantee that Slingbox will be around next year. It’s a start-up.”

As you might imagine, I have some pretty strong opinions on this topic. However, I’m comfortable sitting back and observing how the league representatives above address their respective fanbases. It speaks for itself.

It used to be that once the spring TV season ended, I’d pretty much shut off my TV and take a break for the next three months. Occasionally, I might check out a rerun, but by and large, the time between the end of basketball season and the start of football was always a TV wasteland for me.

Of course that was before TiVo. Once I got a taste of time shifting, I realized that my television season never had to end. Over the years, I’ve missed a lot of good TV, but between the TV syndication agreements and TiVo’s ability to automatically record every episode, the summer has turned out to be a perfect time to catch up on shows that I’ve missed. Whether it’s been going back and watching every single Twilight Zone or catching the X-Files a decade after it aired, TiVo’s season pass functionality has supercharged my reruns in a way, that was never possible before.

Some shows are better suited for summer TiVoing, but when it comes to episodic content, there is a downside to TiVo reruns. The shows aren’t always in the order that they originally aired and it’s almost always impossible to catch the first episodes. This isn’t a big deal for sitcoms and some reality shows, but when it comes to episodic content, it leaves you confused over the storyline and can spoil earlier episodes, you haven’t seen yet.

That is where my Netflix account kicks in. If I know that I really want to see a series that tells a story, I’ll use Netflix to make sure that I get to see it in order. If I’m not sure if a show will be interesting or not, I’ll record a couple of episodes on TiVo and test drive it before committing to watching the entire series. This has improved my overall television experience because there is always at least some fresh content that I can watch.

Over the last few years, the studios have also started releasing more and more new series each summer. It’s a chance for them to try out more experimental shows or concepts. A lot of these new shows are things that I probably wouldn’t check out during the normal TV season, but with a little extra downtime, I’m willing to experiment with new programs, even if there is a good chance they won’t be back again next summer.

So far there have only been a couple of the summer premiers, that have become favorites, but if I can find two or three decent shows to start following, it would be enough to keep me busy. Here are some of the new shows, that I plan on checking out over the next couple of months.

Continue Reading…

twc.jpgBen Drawbaugh over on EngadgetHD reports that Time Warner Cable will be deploying switched digital video (SDV) to 50% of its markets before the end of 2007. That’s great news in the sense that SDV should free up significant bandwidth. Like analog reclamation, SDV will make it possible to offer more HD content as well as new apps like Time Warner’s Start Over service.

Unfortunately, as Ben points out, SDV is not great news for TiVo Series3 (and potentially stand-alone Moxi) owners. Today’s CableCARDs only permit one-way communication (technically that’s not exactly true, but for all practical purposes it is), which means TiVo customers won’t be able to access switched content, including any new HD channels.

Two-way CableCARDs are coming, but not quickly enough. Despite the fact that cable operators may be getting two-way cards in time for the 7/07 deadline (they need them for VOD services as well as SDV), those cards haven’t been certified for retail devices. Sorry TiVo customers — you’ll have to wait for CableCARD 2.0 and refresh that hardware.

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I heard some interesting news on a call today. Apparently this past weekend may have been the worst ever for the big three TV networks. On Saturday night CBS, ABC and NBC got a total audience share of 14. Eek!

I was just remarking yesterday that there seem to be fewer shows on network TV that I want to watch (both Studio 60 and Veronica Mars were canceled). Not that I’m spending much time watching online video today, but no doubt that will change over the next few years.

In the meantime, basic cable seems to be stepping up to the plate. USA Network’s Starter Wife had a good first week, and my favorite new show (which thankfully got renewed for the fall) is The Riches. (Don’t tell me about the season finale because I haven’t watched it yet!) It used to be you could get good shows on premium cable channels, but not so much on the basic tier.

Is cable finally starting to live up to its promise now that Internet TV is looming? And how are the broadcast networks going to survive?

Guitar Hero III

Dave Zatz —  June 5, 2007 — Leave a comment

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Some details are emerging on Guitar Hero III… First and foremost, is confirmation of a wireless (Les Paul) guitar. Nice! I have no idea what kind of battery life something like this would have, but I hate clutter and look forward to seeing the cord cut.

Next up, we have a YouTube video of what may be the updated GH III HUD.

Considering GH II was just released (on Xbox) two months ago, I doubt we’ll be able to pick up v3 any time soon. Which is OK… After watching this 8 year old, I’ve pretty much given up.