The New York Times is reporting that Viacom plans to pull its Comedy Central programming from Hulu next week because it can’t reach an agreement with the video site on compensation. In a post today on its blog, a Hulu executive notes that Hulu was “unable to secure the rights to extend these shows,” and that they’ll be gone as of 11:59 pm PST next Tuesday, March 9th. After that, you can continue watching them on TheDailyShow.com and ColbertNation.com.
The Motion Picture Association of American wants to rent movies to TV viewers earlier in the release window, but they don’t want anyone potentially streaming that video out to other appliances. That’s why last week they went back to the FCC to once again ask for the power to disable analog ports on consumer television sets.
If you’re going to school at a Florida state university, your fee burden just grew a little bit lighter:
Later this month, Sony will start selling a $199 ebook reader through Walmart and other retailers ($100 less than the Kindle). They’re also dropping the price of new releases to $9.99, which is what Amazon sells ebook licenses for. [Consumer Reports]
Many of Panasonic’s cameras will only work with official Panasonic batteries—the newest models require “an embedded security ID chip,” while older models have been issued a firmware upgrade that locks out third-party vendors. This is already pretty obnoxious, but what makes it even worse is Panasonic can’t keep up with demand, so the batteries they insist you buy for your camera aren’t available.
Alright slowpokes, you have less than a week to finally request your digital TV converter box coupons. The Department of Commerce plans to hand out the last $40 coupons on July 31. You don’t need a converter box if you pay for TV or have a newer set, but if you’ve been wondering where your stories have been since June 12, request a coupon while they’re still available.
Even after the DTV switch, converter-box drama persists. Reader Bob is concerned that his in-laws were oversold on a converter box for their brand new TV.
Back in December we posted this easy to follow flowchart that should help to eliminate any remaining confusion about today’s DTV transition. Enjoy.
In Slate today, Timothy Noah describes his hour-long ordeal to cancel the eFax account he never uses anymore. If you’ve ever tried to cancel an online service, you probably already know how this story goes: it was impossible to find a “cancel my account” link anywhere on the site, support numbers were no help, and a scripted service rep tried to shove an extension on him instead of simply providing customer support.
Matthew emailed us with an interesting link to a Meritline offer that he says is making the rounds on deal sites. The Airlink digital-to-analog converter box is a fairly generic offer, but Meritline is offering a free HDMI cable with it. The only problem is, there’s no place on the box to use the cable. If you just see “free HDMI cable” and don’t read the specs closely, you’ll be in for a rotten surprise when the box arrives. But hey, free cable.
Hillary discovered that her money-saving free digital service self installation kit from Comcast wasn’t so free after all when she got her monthly bill. She says they removed the charge when she called to ask about it, which further reinforces our suspicion that this is a sneaky plan to pass the cost of the free kit back to subscribers. If you request a free self install kit from Comcast, watch your bill for extra charges.
With a vote of 264-158, the House agreed to delay the DTV transition to June 12. The Senate voted last week for the delay, and President Obama is expected to sign it. The delay will help the millions of consumers whose coupons expired before the converters were even available, as well as the two million on a waiting list for the coupons.
The Senate has voted to delay the DTV transition to June 12, 2009, and the House is expected to vote on the issue late Tuesday or Wednesday. [AP]
It’s been a little over a year since Amazon released the Kindle, and now publishers are finally getting the chance to set their own pricing on ebook editions. The result has been a slow creep in pricing on some titles—in some cases to levels above the price of a paper edition of the same book—for a digital edition that you can’t resell, give away to someone else, or read on any other device. Kindle owners have started to notice, and now some of them are complaining that Amazon overpromised the $9.99 bookstore concept to move Kindles.
Dave bought his mother a Samsung digital photo frame for Christmas—Christmas a year ago, and it stopped working after just a few weeks. Since then, Dave has tried regular customer service and executive customer service, he’s waited on hold for up to 2 hours at a time, and he’s waited patiently for RMAs that are promised but never sent. Now it looks like he’s throwing in the towel: “I no longer have the time or energy to waste with them.” You win this battle, Samsung! But you do realize that Dave—a small business owner who has made large Samsung purchases in the past—will never buy another one of your products, right?
The WSJ says that the FCC has sent letters of inquiry to 11 cable companies asking why their customers are paying the same amount each month, even as the companies move channels to digital cable.