Saturday, November 05, 2011

Digital Digest: Has Internet TV Been Worth the Hype?

Welcome to the weekend, and welcome to Digital Digest! The pace has slowed down here tremendously this week, but we are here nonetheless with your news and a feature story about where Internet TV (specifically Google TV) has been so far, and where it may be going. Let's get started!

DIGITAL NEWS

DVD announcements have been very slow this week (and with the holiday season approaching, and those DVDs already having been announced, we expect things to be this way for a while), but we do have one announcement. Meet the Browns - Season Four is set for a January 24 release. The three disc set will contain episodes 61-80 of the Tyler Perry series.

Netflix and ABC Studios have announced a deal to extend their licensing agreement to stream series from the studio on the service. Though details of the deal were not disclosed, current seasons of ABC series will be available on the service thirty days following the final episode of the season, and it will also bring new content to the service, including the complete run of the series Alias.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (November 8) doesn't bring much to DVD, except for one really big set (which we aren't going to be covering), Law & Order - The Complete Series. It comes at a $699.99 MSRP, and even with discounts, expect to pay about $500.


BLOG FEATURE STORY

Has Internet TV Been Worth the Hype?

Over a year ago, we told you all about the then "upcoming" Google TV, which was purported to change the way that we view TV. The idea appeared to be innovative and cutting-edge, but a year after this product has debuted, it seems that we haven't really been hearing much about it anymore, and we don't hear about anybody saying that they are using this. So what exactly is going on here?

It appears that this new and innovative technology, as nice as it is, has had some major hurdles that essentially have made the technology useless. Not even months after the service debuted, all four major broadcast networks--ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC--essentially decided to block their programming from being streamed on the service out of fears that allowing the service to be used would affect advertising revenue. Even Hulu can't be streamed on the service, meaning that much of the service is limited to Netflix and YouTube. Many of the networks allowed their programming to be streamed on the service initially, which may have enticed some consumers, but that didn't last too long. Other prominent content providers were blocking the service as well, and all of this culminated in this deeply embarrassing story about sales of the product: basically, returns were outpacing sales on the device!

Google's fight to make Google TV succeed isn't over, but even the latest attempts to make the product succeed are falling flat. A new version of the service has a nicer interface, but is still plagued with bugs and isn't bringing any new content. So is it possible that this service can ever succeed with these problems?

It seems that it may be an uphill battle that may be difficult to fight. While in theory, Google had a great idea with Google TV, the reality is that without cooperation from content providers, the device is essentially just going to be a sleek way of watching YouTube videos and Netflix on your TV. This is a problem, though, considering that you can already do this with many Blu-ray players, video game systems, and devices such as Apple TV (which is not even considered a major product for Apple, yet seems to be more successful than Google TV).

Most of this seems to be a battle over advertising revenue, and how the networks can manage to be profitable while allowing their program to be streamed on the device. Unfortunately, even though this is indeed a serious issue that must be resolved in some fashion, this is the one thing that is keeping us truly attached to our standard antenna/cable TV viewing habits. At some point in the future, internet TV will probably become more prominent and useful. But in the short term, it appears that any such offerings will have limitations that are going to be very difficult to overcome in a world where everybody wants a piece of the revenue, since such technology requires cooperation from multiple parties.


CLICK OF THE WEEK

Tim's TV Showcase (http://timstvshowcase.com) - We often like to feature some of the "original" TV websites out there as our Click of the Week, and Tim's TV Showcase is one of the oldest sites out there, and still one of the better ones out there. When you go to the main page of the site, you will find several "channels" to choose from to get started. These well-organized channels will help you get to the content that you are looking for in an easy fashion. Channel 1, for example, brings you a page for all of the series, and you'll find a total of 955 of them listed here, along with a little bit of information about each one.

On Channel 2, you'll find a lot of the "special features." The best part of the content that can be found here are the classic TV commercials. Here, you can take a look back at some classic commercials from the past of television. There is some other content here as well, but the commercials are undeniably the best part. On Channel 3, you can find links to all of the networks. Of course, these are not hard to find elsewhere, but here we have them all on one page. Channel 4 will give you links to other TV websites out there. Unfortunately, the Channel 4 page hasn't been updated in a very long time, so it won't necessarily give you all of the latest pages that are out there. By and large, a lot of the content on this website can be found if you do a lot of Google searches, but what is great about this website is that you get it all easily on one well-organized site with virtually no hassle.

That's all for this week. Until next time, keep it digital!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, August 21

The Big Bang Theory - "The Indecision Amalgamation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
While Raj is wracked with guilt when he tries to date two women at once, Penny wrestles with whether to take a role in a cheesy movie, and Sheldon is torn trying to choose between two gaming systems.

Mom - "Abstinence and Pudding" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Christy is determined to take things slow in her relationship with Adam. Meanwhile, Bonnie and her rival from AA, Marjorie, disagree on what “taking it slow” means. Justin Long returns as Christy’s love interest, Adam. Mimi Kennedy returns as Bonnie’s rival from AA, Marjorie.

Welcome to Sweden - "Parents!/Foraldrar" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Wayne (Patrick Duffy) and Nancy (Illeana Douglas) take a detour from their holiday cruise to visit their son Bruce (Greg Poehler), and a rocky first impression leads to the ultimate culture clash with Emma’s (Josephine Bornebusch) parents, Viveka (Lena Olin) and Birger (Claes MÃ¥nsson.) Meanwhile, Bruce does his best to show everyone that moving to Sweden was the right thing for him to do and Emma shares a huge piece of news.

Welcome to Sweden - "Homesick/Lagom" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Bruce (Greg Poehler) and Emma (Josephine Bornebusch) have to make a decision after he receives an offer from Amy Poehler (guest starring as herself), one of his former clients, to come back to New York to help her with her current financial problems with the IRS, which have taken root since he left. To help ensure he returns, Amy dispatches Aubrey Plaza (guest starring as herself) to stalk Bruce and help get him back to the states. Meanwhile, Bruce decides to take a stab at working as a Swedish celebrity money manager and Emma uses her connections to get him in front of the right people.

Married - "Invisible Man" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Russ's refusal to have his semen tested results in an unexpected climax.

You're the Worst - "PTSD" (FX, 10:30PM ET/PT)
After Jimmy accidentally sleeps with an A-List celebrity, he and Gretchen embark on a sex arms race to even out their score.

Love That Girl - "My Way or the Hallway" (TV One, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Latrell and Imunique get locked out of their condo and must spend the night in the hallway.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 18) (All times ET unless noted)

Thursday, August 21

  • Chris Pratt (Parks and the Recreation) - Catch Chris and the rest of the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Zach Braff (Scrubs) - Zach is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Jeff appears on a repeat of The Arsenio Hall Show, so check your local listings.
  • Ty Burrell (Modern Family/Back to You/Out of Practice) - Ty chats on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City/The Big C) - Tune in to see Cynthia on a repeat of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Josh Gad (1600 Penn/Back to You) - Josh chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.