A scream of rage goes up, a long howl filled with frustration. You forgot to set the DVR to tape the latest episode of Breaking Amish: L.A. But there’s hope yet for cable and satellite customers, as video on demand programming has been improving through the years, and is now available to 60% of American TV households. [More]
video on demand
Not content to let the likes of Netflix and Xbox pass it by in the realm of TV streaming, Sony is reportedly trying to swing deals with major networks in order to secure rights to programming. The idea seems to be to turn PlayStation 3s and Sony’s internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray players into competitors against cable boxes and satellite receivers.
Movie theater owners successfully stared down Universal Pictures, which planned to release the Ben Stiller comedy Tower Heist on video on demand three weeks after it debuted in theaters. After a large contingent of theaters vowed not to play the movie if Universal stuck to the plan, the studio backed down.
Having a more difficult time getting viewers out to theaters, movie studios want to get their films into homes faster. Theaters aren’t happy with plans to subvert the traditional theatrical window, and the conflict is coming to a head with the Ben Stiller comedy Tower Heist, due out in theaters Nov. 4 and slated to go on demand three weeks later. Some theater owners, including mega-chain Cinemark, are protesting the quickie on-demand plan by refusing to show the film unless the studio changes its plans.
The feds approved the Comcast-NBCUniversal merger earlier this year, but the deal had to clear another hurdle Thursday. Earlier, the FCC and U.S. Department of Justice agreed that the company needed federal court approval of the online video aspect of the deal. Now a U.S. District judge has given the merger a thumbs-up on the condition that the court will keep a close eye on the company’s effects on the video industry for the next two years.
Come March, Netflix’s array of video streaming options could be considerably thinned. Starz announced it’s stopped negotiating an extension with Netflix and all its movies and TV shows will vanish from the service when the current deal expires February 28.
The Charter Communications CSR who spoke with Dustin has some pretty astounding news about what’s on the horizon for all of us. It looks like starting May 1st, cable companies will have total, FCC-sanctioned control over streaming video and will take down all competing services.
While Walmart sells everything from gasoline to groceries, and they have a pretty sizable online presence, they haven’t gotten into the lucrative business of on-demand/streaming video. But that could all change with news that the box store leviathan is about to purchase streaming video service Vudu.
This past summer, Time Warner Cable introduced a new DVR service to subscribers. The New York Observer noted at the time that some of the changes–namely the “Start Over” feature that lets you watch something from the beginning even if you just switched to it–were nice. At least one customer, however, doesn’t agree. In fact, now that he’s given the revamped service a 4-month trial run, he’s ready to list the problems with it, some of which sound suspiciously anti-consumer.
If you own a DirecTV DVR, did you receive a mysterious, unwanted rental of “Angels and Demons” this weekend? Readers Jeff and Catastrophegirl did, and they have a warning: Don’t watch it! It’s a trap!
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 not one of the lucky people who has Netflix video-on-demand pushed to their account, you can click here to enable it.
We love whiny CEOs here at the Consumerist. There’s something special about men with net worths greater than most small nations complaining to Congress about unfairness that tickles our irony receptors. In this case, Ed Whitacre, CEO of AT&T (pictured) and Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon Communications, traveled to the Capitol to bitch about the regulatory barriers-to-entry that telephone companies have when trying to get into the video delivery business—a business obviously dominated by cable companies.