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  1. #1

    Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Sunday evening, we learned that Netflix will soon completely split up its Instant Streaming and DVD-by-mail services. Netflix will continue to be the home for Instant Streaming and a new company called Qwikster, run by the same guys who have been running Netflix DVD rentals for a decade, will handle DVD-by-mail subscriptions. If you’re like us, you’re wondering what the heck is going on over at Netflix headquarters. While we’ll be keeping our subscription for now, maybe it’s time to look at some of the rising competition in the instant streaming and DVD-by-mail space. Below are some of our favorites.

    Hulu Plus

    If you haven’t heard of Hulu, then you probably haven’t watched TV online before. Hulu is the best place to find just-ran television programs from Fox, NBC, ABC, Comedy Central, MTV, and other cable networks. Some programs are free to watch on the Web, but if you want to watch from a smartphone, tablet, Xbox, or TV box, you’re going to need Hulu Plus, which costs $8 a month and includes expanded access to older episodes and seasons of some popular shows, like 30 Rock and Modern Family.

    Unfortunately, Hulu is very weak in the one area where Netflix is very strong: movies. The film selection on Hulu is improving, but not at the rate we’d expect. Most of Hulu’s time and energy continues to go into obtaining rights to stream new episodes of TV shows that are currently on the air. It has a somewhat decent library of older shows, but it doesn’t have as many older TV shows as Netflix Instant Streaming. If you want to watch Cheers or Roseanne, Hulu is not your service. (Warning: Hulu does have ads.)

    YouTube Movies

    In an effort to beef up its Google TV and Android offerings, Google has begun renting new movie releases on YouTube. The service is usable on the Web and is now built into the Android Market, making it a highly convenient way to instantly stream new titles over the Internet. New movies typically rent for $4 and some old releases go for $2 or $3. You have 30 days to begin viewing a movie and 24 hours to finish watching it once you start. YouTube is still somewhat overlooked, but we really liked how easy and straightforward the service is compared to some others. YouTube is one of the most highly adopted services around and we expect that a YouTube app will soon hit the Xbox 360 as well, making it an attractive option for a lot of people. Best of all, we like that Google isn’t pressuring people to “buy” movies, instead only offering rentals. Purchasing a digital movie is not smart unless you’re certain that you plan to use said digital service for many many years to come. There’s no monthly fee for YouTube.

    Apple TV (iTunes)

    If you own an iPad, iPod, iPhone, or Mac, this may be an attractive option for you. Apple rents movies over iTunes. It also sells them, if you want to spend $15 to $20 for something you’ll only be able to use within iTunes. To make the most of your instant streaming purchases, you may want to buy an Apple TV. The Apple TV box costs $100, but it’s worth it if you have a big TV and like to watch your movies on it. Recently, however, Apple dropped $1 TV movie rentals, casting some doubt on exactly what direction its service and TV box will take. We should find out soon.

    Amazon Instant Video (Prime)

    Amazon’s Instant Video service costs the most up front, but is actually the cheapest of all streaming services and has the most perks. To get free Amazon Instant Video streaming, you must sign up for Amazon Prime, which costs $79 per year. Split up, that’s actually only $6.58 per month, but it does require 12 months up front and if you don’t like it, well, you’re stuck paying for an entire year. However, Amazon Prime comes with the added perk of free two-day shipping on almost anything ordered on Amazon with no minimum purchase required. Getting something in two days is pretty good, and the one-day shipping charge is only $4 per item. Amazon’s Instant streaming library is growing pretty fast. It has some high-profile shows on it that Netflix has like The Tudors, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Cheers, but also some series that Netflix doesn’t yet have like Frasier, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and The L Word. It’s movie selection is widening as well. However, Amazon offers something Netflix doesn’t: streaming movie rentals and purchases. Like YouTube Movies and iTunes, Amazon offers movie rentals for $4. It also lets you “purchase” movies for $15 to $20. If Amazon can beef up the number of devices that support Instant Video, it could be the best Netflix competitor yet.

    Blockbuster

    Blockbuster has a horrible reputation from its days ruling the retail rental market in the 1990s, but times change. Dish Network recently purchased the ailing company, which has been hit hard by the rise of Netflix and Red Box in the last decade. From what we hear, in October, a new Blockbuster instant streaming service will be unveiled that may include Starz, which will be leaving Netflix as of February 28, 2012. Starz provides most of Netflix’s access to new movie releases and comprises as much as 8 percent of the Netflix Instant Streaming library. Currently, Blockbuster also offers movie and TV show rentals and purchases as well. It’s pricing is largely consistent with YouTube, Amazon, and others: About $4 to rent and about $15 to $20 to purchase. Blockbuster is available on Android and iOS devices as well. We hope it will come to more devices and game consoles in the future.

    But wait, there’s more. For those of you pondering leaving the newly formed Qwikster in the dust, Blockbuster offers one of the only comparable DVD-by-mail services: Blockbuster Total Access. The service costs $10 per month and includes Blu-ray movies and video games. Netflix has a base price of $8 per month for one DVD rental at a time (same as Blockbuster), but adding Blu-ray and video games means two more upgrades to your service, making it more than Blockbuster. The fact that there are still some actual Blockbuster rental stores and kiosks (like Redbox) here and there makes it all the more convenient, assuming you’re near a retail location.

    There’s more…

    While we just covered some of the big names, there are plenty more services to check out.

    CinemaNow – Streaming movie rental ($4) and purchase ($16 to $20) service by Best BuyVudu – Streaming movie rental ($4) and purchase ($15 to $20) service by WalmartRedbox – Movie & Game kiosksGreenCine – DVD-by-mail, but for indie, anime, artsy, and foreign filmsOnLive – Video game instant streaming service with unlimited $10-per-month plan or purchasesGameFly – Monthly video-game-by-mail service starting at $8 per monthXbox 360 – Has Zune movie rentals and purchases as well as ESPN3 sports accessPS3 – Streaming movie rentals and purchases through PlayStation NetworkYour local library – You’d be surprised how many DVDs you can rent from your local library for free.

    Are there any viable services we missed? If so, let us know in the comments below.
    [Top image courtesy of Angela Waye/Shutterstock]

    http://news.yahoo.com/change-channel...005406799.html
    Oh heaven...I wake with good intentions but the day it always lasts too long... Emeli Sande

  2. #2
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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    I canceled our Netflix DVD-by-mail service this month. And we're thinking about canceling our streaming service also. Mary's been an Amazon Prime member for years, and our Blu-Ray player supports it, so we can already stream Amazon's content.

    I really think Netflix hurt themselves in a bad way.
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  3. #3
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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    However, after typing out that last post, I discovered that Amazon doesn't have an iPad app. Netflix does (and it works really well). So we won't be canceling Netflix streaming. At least not until Amazon has an iPad app.
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  4. #4

    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    I've been using Amazon Prime and Netflix streaming. I stopped the DVD's.
    Oh heaven...I wake with good intentions but the day it always lasts too long... Emeli Sande

  5. #5
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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    I've been using Netflix and Hulu Plus streaming supplemented by over-the-air local stations.

    I'm curious about the Amazon streaming, though. How is it for those who have it? Does the prime membership give you access to a "free" library, or is it all micro-transactions/rentals on a per-title basis?
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  6. #6

    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Quote Originally Posted by James7 View Post
    I've been using Netflix and Hulu Plus streaming supplemented by over-the-air local stations.

    I'm curious about the Amazon streaming, though. How is it for those who have it? Does the prime membership give you access to a "free" library, or is it all micro-transactions/rentals on a per-title basis?
    Knock on wood so far it's great. The only issue has been some very short lived buffering.

    If you have Amazon Prime you do have access to a 'free" library. I'm watching Inspector Lynley S1 for free right now but I bought S1 of "Carnivale" and S3 of "Damages". I plan to buy S4 of "Damages" when it's available.

    There is also a rental option with Amazon.

    I have Hulu+ but I rarely use it since it never has the shows I want to see.
    Oh heaven...I wake with good intentions but the day it always lasts too long... Emeli Sande

  7. #7

    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Quote Originally Posted by James7 View Post
    I've been using Netflix and Hulu Plus streaming supplemented by over-the-air local stations.

    I'm curious about the Amazon streaming, though. How is it for those who have it? Does the prime membership give you access to a "free" library, or is it all micro-transactions/rentals on a per-title basis?
    From above:

    Amazon Instant Video (Prime)

    Amazon’s Instant Video service costs the most up front, but is actually the cheapest of all streaming services and has the most perks. To get free Amazon Instant Video streaming, you must sign up for Amazon Prime, which costs $79 per year. Split up, that’s actually only $6.58 per month, but it does require 12 months up front and if you don’t like it, well, you’re stuck paying for an entire year. However, Amazon Prime comes with the added perk of free two-day shipping on almost anything ordered on Amazon with no minimum purchase required. Getting something in two days is pretty good, and the one-day shipping charge is only $4 per item. Amazon’s Instant streaming library is growing pretty fast. It has some high-profile shows on it that Netflix has like The Tudors, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Cheers, but also some series that Netflix doesn’t yet have like Frasier, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and The L Word. It’s movie selection is widening as well. However, Amazon offers something Netflix doesn’t: streaming movie rentals and purchases. Like YouTube Movies and iTunes, Amazon offers movie rentals for $4. It also lets you “purchase” movies for $15 to $20. If Amazon can beef up the number of devices that support Instant Video, it could be the best Netflix competitor yet.

  8. #8
    "Human" James7's Avatar
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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Quote Originally Posted by Miles View Post
    From above:

    Amazon Instant Video (Prime)
    Yeah, but it said nothing to address my question of whether there was any actual "free" content as the summary only cited additional fee-based rentals and such.

    Thanks, Ti.
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  9. #9

    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Quote Originally Posted by James7 View Post
    Yeah, but it said nothing to address my question of whether there was any actual "free" content as the summary only cited additional fee-based rentals and such.
    What??? Maybe the writer needed to be more clear but given the description, it was obvious to me that Prime comes with a library of free content.

  10. #10

    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    If Netflix succeeds in destroying its brand, and it is doing a very good job of it at the moment, its failures will be taught in business schools for years and years to come.

    Most corporations are quick to pull a mea culpa pretty fast when faced with such a negative reaction from its customers, but Netflix seems hell bent on worsening its own problems.

    BTW, we still need more TV threads.

  11. #11
    "Human" James7's Avatar
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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Quote Originally Posted by Miles View Post
    What??? Maybe the writer needed to be more clear but given the description, it was obvious to me that Prime comes with a library of free content.
    I take nothing for granted.

    The way I tend to read things is that implied free is often not the case. But maybe I have seen too much marketing geared toward taking advantage of people's natural tendency to draw conclusions by failing to explicitly state otherwise.
    Last edited by James7; 09-20-2011 at 07:38 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    I was skeptical also about the Amazon Prime free streaming.

    We watched one 1/2 hour episode of something then waited a week to see if it appeared anywhere on Mary's account as a charge. LOL.

    It never did.
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  13. #13
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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirkus View Post
    I canceled our Netflix DVD-by-mail service this month. And we're thinking about canceling our streaming service also. Mary's been an Amazon Prime member for years, and our Blu-Ray player supports it, so we can already stream Amazon's content.

    I really think Netflix hurt themselves in a bad way.
    And I totally forgot to clear our queue. A new movie will arrive in the mail tomorrow.

    Hopefully I can get it back to them (and empty the queue) before my rebilling occurs.

    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  14. #14

    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Excerpts from a very detailed article.

    Bottom line : between September 2006 and May 2011, NBC launched 30 dramas : 23 were cancelled after a single season, 3 had two seasons (Lipstick Jungle, Life, and Harry's Law which is still in production) and only 4 have had more than two seasons (FNL, Parenthood, Heroes and Chuck). And none of them is exactly a hit. Southland also has 3 seasons (and the fourth is premiering in January) but unlike for FNL, here NBC has nothing to do with it. That's equivalent to the figures of September 2002 to May 2007 : 75.80-76.70% of shows cancelled in their first (and only) season, 9-10% dying in their second year and 13.50-15.15% having more than 2 seasons.

    Meanwhile, throughout these years of chaos, the peacock lost all its major dramas :

    - L&O : Criminal Intent (6 seasons - picked up by USA Network) and Crossing Jordan (6 seasons) in 2007.
    - Las Vegas (5 seasons) in 2008.
    - Medium (5 seasons - picked up by CBS) and ER (15 seasons) in 2009.
    - Law & Order (20 seasons) and Heroes (4 seasons) in 2010.
    - Friday Night Lights (5 seasons) in 2011.
    - Chuck (5 seasons) in 2012.

    Sure, they still have Law & Order : SVU, which will be entering its 13th season tomorrow (it will have a tough time against CSI and without Chris Meloni), but if it weren't for this procedural, in March 2012, the oldest drama on NBC would be Parenthood (on the air since March 2010) since the 91st and final episode of Chuck will air in February.

    (...)

    That's how bad things are on NBC, they almost have to start from scratch every year, regarding dramas. Fortunately, their (outstanding) Thursday comedy lineup is alright : Community, Parks and Recreation, The Office and 30 Rock. All these 4 terrific sitcoms return this season, and with 30 Rock next January, it will be the same lineup for 3 years now, and stability s a good thing. NBC executives have proven they have faith in their struggling comedies (pretty much all of them except The Office). Sure, they're struggling in the live ratings but they're TiVO'ed a lot and they get huge praise by the critics, and that's what might save them (aside from fairly decent ratings on the 18-49 demo compared to most NBC dramas) — NBC almost has to work like a cable channel now.
    Taken from: SpoilerTV http://www.spoilertv.com/2011/09/nbc...#ixzz1Ybjqnprm
    Oh heaven...I wake with good intentions but the day it always lasts too long... Emeli Sande

  15. #15
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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Las Vegas ran for 5 seasons? I don't think I know even one tiny little thing about that show


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