Amazon adds new NBC titles to Prime Instant Video
New additions include the NBC series Grimm, USA Network series Suits (a personal favorite), and Covert Affairs. These titles add to the existing NBC Universal titles Smash, and Syfy dramas Alphas, Eureka, and Warehouse 13.
Later this year NBC’s engrossing thriller Hannibal (the most boundary pushing drama on broadcast television), and Syfy’s Defiance will be available.
Amazon is also expanding Kindle FreeTime Unlimited to include animated series Curious George and Land Before Time.
It’s not a podcast if you don’t offer a subscription URL
I have been on a bit of a podcast kick lately, subscribing to a multitude of shows and then listening to them from my Android smartphone while I am on the go. I use the Google Listen app, which is no longer supported, but there are many free alternatives out there if you are looking for an Android podcast app.
Let’s define podcast
The Wikipedia page for Podcast currently leads with this sentence: “A podcast is a type of digital media consisting of an episodic series of audio radio, video, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device.” Emphasis mine.
Merriam-Webster defines podcast as “a program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet.” Emphasis mine.
Real home theater: Gamer
Ostensibly the requirements for a gamer are no different than the movie buff; but the gamer’s system is more fantasy. A movie system is a perfectly sensible luxury sedan while the gaming system is an over-the-top sports car, and for good reason.
Continue Reading »
Real home theater: Movie buff
The movie buff
Also known as a cinephile, the movie buff loves watching a wide variety of movies and strives to bring the cinema experience home. They might watch four or five movies every week. The movie buff will prefer a home theater setup targeted at movies with little consideration for video games and broadcast television. A home theater for a movie buff must feature surround sound audio and the largest screen size to fit in the given room.
In addition to the audio/video components a home theater for a movie buff might also include acoustic room treatments, lighting control and even cinema seating.
Tips for the movie buff
The first aspect a movie buff should consider is where the theater should be located in the home. Most people just assume the living room or family room should be where a home theater is set up, but a true cinephile is less concerned about casual viewing and more with the best quality home theater experience. We suggest using a smaller room dedicated to the home theater. But why shouldn’t the big living room be used for home theater? Most main living spaces are large and cavernous with lots of reflective surfaces; a smaller room provides less sound reflections, doesn’t require large speakers, and doesn’t require as large of a screen either. Not only does the quality of the sound improve, but less money has to be put into the equipment – or an equal amount of money can be spent on higher quality equipment. The trade off is you will likely have fewer seats to share the theater experience with friends and family. Continue Reading »
Verizon has just launched Redbox Instant, the new streaming video service aimed at competing with Netflix and Amazon. You know Redbox from their … uh … red boxes outside and inside almost every retail store you’ve visited this week. So what does Redbox Instant offer?
First off you can sign up for a free trial which provides a month of free service. The service includes unlimited streaming to web browsers and mobile devices with other consumer electronic support coming soon. But not only is this a streaming service it also comes with four DVD retals at Redbox kiosks every month. After your free trial ends the service costs $8 per month.
That is some deal. A similar subscription from Netflix costs twice that amount ($7.99 for streaming and $7.99 for one-DVD-at-a-time by mail = $15.98).
The downside is Netflix has been spending a lot of capital to procure titles for many years now so Redbox is behind on that front. Just a brief glace at the offers showed several new releases (like Denzel Washington’s latest Flight) but mainly a lot of title you’ve never heard of before (The Hit List, Dolan’s Cadillac, etc.).
It’s a free trial, what can you lose?
What home theater is right for me?
What seems like a simple question gets complicated by the myriad opinions out there. Not only are there established standards from THX, DTS and Dolby, but home theater gatekeepers also have their own take. Each one is more snobbish than the last. If you don’t do it exactly right then you’re lacking.
This is the first part in a series looking at specific user needs for home theater to help you find what works best for your own personal needs; and as always the main consideration is budget.
What is home theater?
The first consideration we must approach is what we will be calling home theater in this series. A home theater does not have to be a facsimile of the megaplex, and it doesn’t even have to be used for movies. What we will consider home theater is an audio/video system providing multiple sources of entertainment including a display and speakers. Really basic stuff.
The reason we have to get this out of the way is because there are industry organizations that have their own definition of what a home theater is and how it should perform. These organizations differ – sometimes dramatically – on what a home theater should be. We want to focus on what a consumer like you would consider to be an acceptable home theater system.
Analyzing the standards
We can’t provide you with any real consensus on what the standards are because they all differ on number of audio channels, speaker placement and sound pressure level. However, we can address what the general agreements are.
- Discrete multi-channel sound playback
- Channel separation
- Intelligible voice playback
- Simulates cinema experience
- Delivers the director’s intent
These are broad definitions, and purposefully so. Even attempting to narrow down the agreed upon standards we can only find intentions. How we get there is debated. Continue Reading »
Netflix subscribers “cutting the cord”
We have talked about the phenomenon of internet video consumers cutting their cable subscription and streaming on demand video instead. A survey released this week by Cowen & Co. may be the first indicator that more people have been doing this than previously thought. Respondents to the survey showed 23% of Netflix subscribers have cancelled their premium TV channels.
This doesn’t necessarily mean these respondents are cutting their cable altogether, but it does mean Netflix is providing enough premium content to fulfill the desires of almost a quarter of Netflix subscribers. Netflix is a real, honest competitor to HBO, Starz and Showtime. With Netflix offering more and more original content, we’ll continue to see this work out.
Netflix had previously released documentaries and low-budget dramas on the Red Envelope label, but recently have release serial dramas such as Lilyhammer and House of Cards, with plans for much more. Already in the pipeline are new seasons of Arrested Development and Lilyhammer, Hemlock Grove by Eli Roth, Orange is the New Black, Derek and children’s program Turbo: F.A.S.T., a spin off of the upcoming Dreamworks Animation motion picture Turbo.
What about you? Have you cut the cord?