Archives For TV Shows

With the NFL season right around the corner, and the college football season already underway, it’s about time Time Warner Cable and the Disney company finished their epic negotiations over retransmission rights. Luckily, the news is all good for Time Warner (and Bright House Networks) subscribers. First off, ESPN is premiering a new ESPN Goal Line weekly channel to show off college game highlights, and TWC and Bright House have the exclusive rights to broadcast it. Presumably the exclusivity was a pot-sweetner, and time-limited. Here’s hoping the other operators get in on the deal soon.

Secondly, TWC and Bright House are getting on board with ESPN3, the online ESPN network that consumers can only get if their service provider signs up. And the Internet goodness doesn’t stop there. There’s also word that TWC and Bright House will be allowed to distribute ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU over the interwebs. The “TV Everywhere” service is promised not only for PCs, but also for mobile devices, with hints that the iPad will be on that list. Worried about late Mondays at the office? Just take your iPad with you, and you’ll be all set for Monday Night Football.

Of course, if that’ s not enough football for you, you can always go the Sunday Ticket To-Go route. (Not limited to DirecTV television service subscribers anymore) Who knew we’d have so many football choices this season?

I’m all for television content discovery, and what better source of recommendations than my friends. But I don’t find the recent trend of augmenting my social stream, and/or introducing another, with TV show check-ins and badges via iPhone and Android devices to be very compelling. Am I just an old fuddy-duddy?

Some of the recent entrants and their corresponding blogosphere coverage:

Clicker wants to be a sort of remote control for internet TV. When you visit the Clicker web site you can find links to watch streaming TV shows from a variety of sources including Hulu, Netflix, Amazon video on demand, and others. It’s a bit messy, since some videos are available to stream for free while others are only available for a subscription or one-time fee. But there are few sites that are quite as well organized as Clicker for finding out whether a video is available online.

Now Clicker has released mobile apps for Android and an iPhone version is coming soon. Unfortunately these mobile apps don’t actually let you stream video to a mobile device. Instead, they let you take advantage of the social networking aspect of the clicker community, which also launched today.

The idea is that you can connect Clicker to your Facebook and Twitter accounts to see what your friends who use Clicker are watching. You can also “check in” to shows, to let people know what you’re watching and rate programs or make recommendations for other users.

Overall, the Clicker mobile apps provide a way to find new shows that you might like or to share your interests with your friends. But I wish the app also let you stream video.

This post republished from Mobiputing.

The TV Holy Grail

Mari Silbey —  July 16, 2010 — 10 Comments

If there’s one TV feature I want above all else, it’s an infinite on-demand catalog. I don’t want five episodes of Burn Notice, or the second season of Weeds, I want to be able to start at the beginning of a show’s run and have access to every episode that’s ever aired. Such a model doesn’t exist today. In fact, Clicker released research this week that shows just how far off we are. Despite the fact that 90% of broadcast TV shows (i.e. shows from the five major free networks) from the 2009-10 season became available online at some point, 60% went offline again within three weeks of airing. Certain shows, like Law & Order and The Mentalist, never made it to the Web at all.

The practice of windowing content is in clear effect here. You can get stuff for free, but only for a limited time. The problem is, so far there’s no good pay service available that completes the package. In theory, Hulu Plus is the answer to the catalog conundrum, but in early tests, Dave has so far been unimpressed. Netflix comes closest for me because there are certain shows available starting from season one, episode one. But the overall options are still woefully limited. The holy grail remains elusive.

Rumored for months, and speculated on for years, Hulu announced today the debut of its premium subscription service, Hulu Plus. It will cost $9.99 a month, and will offer full seasons of current shows and back-catalog series. Equally as important, Hulu Plus will be available on the iPhone, iPad, and HDTV sets supporting Samsung apps.

I have three immediate reactions to the Hulu Plus news. First, I hope nobody starts whining about the fact that Hulu is offering a paid service. It appears that the free content will remain free (at least for now), and it was patently obvious that Hulu would need to add another component to its business model. Second, while I don’t mind that Hulu is offering a paid service, the available competing options make it difficult for me to want to shell out the extra cash. Netflix gets my money now for playback on the Roku, and I’m an avid watcher of Comcast VOD.

Third and finally, money aside, I am grateful that a content provider is taking a first step in offering full seasons of content. In thinking about Google TV last month, I lamented that it didn’t really solve for anything I want in my TV life. What do I want? Full seasons of content. Good for Hulu for including that in the package.