Category ArchiveOnline Video
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.
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 »
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?
Netflix subscribers “cutting the cord”
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?
Intel Media preparing Internet TV
Intel is preparing to release a TV service designed to compete with traditional cable and satellite television. This yet-to-be-named service includes live television, catch-up television, on-demand media and internet applications on an Intel powered set-top box.
Intel Media expects to compete with cable and satellite operators on features instead of trying to provide a less expensive service. “I think we can bring an incredible television experience via the Internet to consumers,” corporate vice president and general manager of Intel Media Erik Huggers said at the “D: Dive Into Media” conference this week.
This unique television service is delivered over broadband internet connections but will not be an “a la carte” service; content will be provided in bundles much like traditional operators. Television will remain ad-supported, though advertisement content will be personalized the way online advertising uses user history. But Intel Media isn’t just looking to use viewing history to personalize ads; a built-in camera will identify the active user and learn each unique user’s history of viewing habits and likes and dislikes to not only deliver customized ads but also content recommendations.
Huggers assured those in attendance that the camera feature may be disabled if this feature makes you squeamish.
The Intel Media group includes executives from companies such as Apple, Microsoft, BBC, Netflix and Google. While Huggers declared they were talking with major content distributors for licensing deals no names were provided.
No more doubt that streaming is the future
While the movie studios are trying every idea imaginable to keep their disc business profitable, digital streaming has clearly become the future of content consumption. And nothing can prove this point more clearly than the three headlines which arrived in my inbox from Home Media Magazine; right on top of each other they read, “Netflix Posts $8 Million Profit, Stock Skyrockets,” “Blockbuster Closing 300 Stores in U.S.,” and “Verizon CFO: Redbox Instant Profit Not Likely Until 2014.”
Streaming is profitable, even unlimited subscription services, while physical disc sales and rentals are falling far behind. Even the convenience of Redbox isn’t keeping pace with streaming services.
Near my home there is an empty building bearing the once-ubiquitous name of Blockbuster. Right next door is a Walgreen’s pharmacy with a Redbox kiosk offering two renting terminals. I thought that was a telling example of how Blockbuster has failed. The convenience of picking up a movie almost anywhere just killed off Blockbuster.
Yet recently I’ve learned the convenience of renting movies from Amazon Instant Video even surpasses Redbox considering the rentals are nearly the same price, there are no penalties for returning the movie late, and you don’t even have to leave the house. Pairing Netflix with Amazon Prime and Amazon Instant Video means most movies are available quickly, conveniently and cheaply.
And it’s not just Amazon; iTunes, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Dish Network, DirecTV, Vudu, AT&T, Verizon, and other services all provide instant rental services at varying prices which can supplement the subscription services of Netflix and Hulu Plus.
I’m not totally over physical media. I love Blu-ray Disc quality, and I prefer to own physical copies of certain movies. I just don’t think every movie is worthy of Blu-ray Disc ownership, and when I’m rushing to pick up my kids from child care right after work, it’s so much easier to just rent the movie once I get home instead of stopping anywhere to pick up a movie, which may already be rented out.
Digital streaming is the future, and the faster the content providers can find out how to make it profitable the better.
Get it on sale: Roku 2 XS
While supplies last, Roku is selling their flagship at a $20 discount including free shipping. This brings the price down to the same level as the Roku 2 XD.
The Roku 2 XS includes over 600 entertainment channels, one-stop search, analog and digital video outputs, built-in wireless (b/g/n), 1080p Full HD video support, motion control, Ethernet port, and USB port.
Even if you have a TV or Blu-ray Disc player with internet streaming, the Roku is a welcome addition just for its ease of use.