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

Wednesday, July 23

The Middle - "Change in the Air" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The first day of school is upon the Heck family, and Sue finds herself feeling a sense of freedom she’s never felt before with Axl not around to make her campus life miserable. But Brick, who is beginning middle school and afraid of getting a swirlie, avoids the bathroom at all costs. Meanwhile, Frankie becomes jealous of Mike when she discovers that Axl calls and returns his texts but won’t do the same for her; and Sue’s feelings for Darrin surface once again when Mike calls him over to help fix the air conditioner.

The Goldbergs - "Kara-Te" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Barry decides to sign up for the school’s holiday talent show but is bummed when the school doesn’t approve karate as a talent. Beverly is livid and brow beats the teacher in charge to change his mind. After the family watches Barry’s routine, everyone wonders whether he will be able to pull off the performance… or crack under pressure. Meanwhile, Erica gets coerced from Pops to also perform in the talent show, but will she?

Modern Family - "iSpy" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Claire and Phil decide to spy on Luke and Manny as they’re hanging out with one of their more questionable friends. Meanwhile, Gloria is furious with Jay because she thinks he had a dream about another woman, but Jay misinterprets her anger for another offense he committed. And, Cam secretly uses Mitch as a scapegoat to get out of attending a party, while Haley tries to keep her photography exhibit a secret from her family.

The Middle - "The Potato" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Frankie and Mike are forced to return the church van when it’s discovered that their car has been repaired, Sue – who has been driving the other car – begins to freak out because she’ll have to start taking the bus again. But when her parents tell her that she could get her own car if she got a job, Sue ends up working as a potato girl at a local mall eatery. Meanwhile, Frankie and Mike are called into Brick’s principal’s (Rachel Dratch) office and are informed that he has not attended any of his classes – and much to the family’s dismay, Axl begins to spend his nights back home when he becomes fed up with having to deal with his horrible college roommate.

Young & Hungry - "Pilot" (ABC Family, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sofia encourages Gabi to start dating again; Josh discovers surprising news about Cam.

Mystery Girls - "Death Becomes Her" (ABC Family, 8:30PM ET/PT)
The girls go under cover at Holly's old high school in order to prevent a senior prank.

Hot in Cleveland - "Straight Outta Cleveland" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Victoria gets a visit from the son she always forgets (Chris Colfer) and Joy and Mitch (Tim Daly) debate their compatibility.

Jennifer Falls - "Three Dates With My Mother" (TV Land, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Jennifer starts seeing a psychiatrist to help her deal with her mother, but even he might not be enough to break through to Maggie.

Wilfred - "Patterns" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Ryan gets sucked into the "End Game."

Love Thy Neighbor - "Lucky Socks" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Danny, Floyd, Sam and Drew have been temporarily evicted; Danny asks Hattie if they can crash with her.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 21) (All times ET unless noted)

Wednesday, July 23

  • Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) - Watch Eric on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS. He chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. He will be on SI Now at 1pm. He stops by PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 8:35am.
  • Josh Charles (Sports Night) - Josh appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) - Kumail is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Hank Azaria (The Simpsons/Free Agents/Herman's Head) - Hank talks about the Showtime series Ray Donovan on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show/Cosby) - Phylicia appears on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.