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!


New on DVD/Blu-ray (July/August)

Family Matters - The Complete Seventh Season Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete First Season Maude - The Complete Final (Sixth) Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Three Superstore - Season One

07/08 - The Monkees - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
07/12 - Grady - The Best of Grady
07/20 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 5th Season
07/26 - Family Matters - The Complete Seventh Season (WBShop.com)
07/26 - Where's Huddles? - The Complete Series (WBShop.com)
08/02 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
08/09 - Maude - The Complete Final (Sixth) Season
08/23 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Three
08/23 - Superstore - Season One
08/23 - The Wonder Years - Complete Series (New Slipcase Version)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, August 31

The Goldbergs - "I Caddyshacked the Pool" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Adam comes up with an excuse to not swim in class because he is embarrassed of his changing body, but Coach Mellor says he will fail him unless he participates. So he comes up with a plan that could affect his friendship with Dave Kim. Meanwhile, Erica struggles to find an identity, so she creates a club at school, but Barry ruins the experience for her when he joins the club as well.

The Goldbergs - "Smother's Day" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Barry and Erica forget to get Beverly a Mother’s Day gift and make last minute “Mom Coupons” instead.  Beverly is understandably hurt, and decides to get revenge by cashing in every coupon they have made.  Meanwhile, Adam tries to get Murray to let him go to space camp and accuses him of being as dream crushing as Pop-Pop.

Modern Family - "The Party" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Manny and Luke are in charge of babysitting Lily so that the adults can enjoy a day to themselves. Claire and Gloria have a lovely trip to the spa planned; Phil and Mitch nerd out at the movies; and Jay and Cam go to a sports bar to watch the big fight. Things start going awry though when the fire alarm goes off back at the house, and Claire is convinced the boys are secretly throwing a party.

black-ish - "Good-ish Times" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Dre is left exhausted after wrestling with a lot of stress at work and while at home, he drifts to sleep watching a TV marathon of “Good Times” – cue the dream sequence. The Johnson family goes back in time to the 1970s transforming into the classic TV show’s characters.

Modern Family - "Clean Out Your Junk Drawer" (ABC, 10:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Gloria won a bid at the school auction for a family seminar with famed doctor and author Debra Radcliffe, whose self-help book ‘Clean Out Your Junk Drawer’ encourages people get out all their emotional junk to become healthier people and in turn better partners and spouses. Jay is resistant to the whole experience and can’t get away fast enough; Mitch and Cam decide to keep it very surface level so they can come off as super stable; and Phil and Claire also make it competitive and strive to be the best and strongest couple of the group. Things quickly escalate, though, as junk starts flying. Elsewhere, Haley and Alex meet up and counsel each other on their boy problems.

The Middle - "A Very Donahue Vacation" (ABC, 10:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After making some extra money from the diaper business, Mike surprises a rather unenthusiastic Heck family with a spring break vacation at Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. In the hopes of livening up what is perceived to be a lame vacation, Frankie suggests that the Donahues join them. While Mike visits all of the attractions on his own, Nancy asks a not-so-thrilled Frankie to speak with Sean to try and talk him into taking his MCATs; Axl enlists Brick to help him pick up women by playing “Jerk/No Jerk” – with Brick in the role of the “Jerk”; and Mike is anything but excited when an exuberant Sue reveals some news to him about her upcoming summer plans.

You're the Worst - "Try Real Hard" (FXX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Jimmy and Gretchen adjust to life after saying I love you. Edgar and Dorothy have sexual problems. Lindsay and Paul start a new hobby.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 29)

Wednesday, August 31

  • David Spade (Rules of Engagement/8 Simple Rules/Just Shoot Me!) - Watch David on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Christian Slater (Breaking In) - Christian is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Sarah Hyland (Modern Family) - Sarah stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Debi Mazar (Younger/Entourage/Working) - Debi talks about Younger on a repeat of The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan appears on a repeat of LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Constance Zimmer (Good Morning, Miami) - Constance is a guest on a repeat of LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Marilu Henner (Taxi/Evening Shade) - Marilu visits Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Carly Chaikin (Suburgatory) - Carly is a guest on Chelsea on Netflix.
  • Cedric the Entertainer (The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) - Cedric chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Freddie Prinze Jr. (Freddie) - Freddie appears on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Retta guest co-hosts a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • John O'Hurley (Seinfeld/The Mullets) - John is a guest on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Tahj Mowry (Baby Daddy/Smart Guy/Full House) - Tahj guest co-hosts a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Chris Geere (You're the Worst) - Chris discusses the upcoming season of You're the Worst on the AOL Build Show at 12pm.
  • Derek Theler and Jean-Luc Bilodeau (Baby Daddy) - Derek and Jean-Luc discuss Baby Daddy on the AOL Build Show at 4pm.