Tag Archives: Netflix

Comcast Becomes the First TV Provider to Offer HBO (and HBO Go) Without a Cable Package

“This is the first time a major TV distributor has offered HBO as any option apart from a premium cable package,” writes Alison Willmore of Indiewire

Comcast has launched “Internet Plus,” a 12-month special offer that includes broadband, streaming video service StreamPix, Limited Basic TV (20 channels plus VOD) and… drumroll… HBO/HBO Go, all for a price that’s around what broadband costs these days — $39.99 or $49.99, depending on the market. As with most of these deals, the price will jump after the year is up, to $69.99 or $79.99.

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Like HBO, Hulu also ‘actively working’ to support Google Chromecast

More Chromecast news from Chris Welch at The Verge:

The content providers are lining up to support Google’s Chromecast. One day after HBO said it was “actively exploring” the streaming stick, Hulu has gone a step further and confirmed a solution is already in the works. “We are actively working with Google to bring Hulu Plus to the platform,” a company representative told Variety. No specific ETA has been given, but with Hulu Plus and (presumably) HBO Go set to join Netflix, Google has already locked down three services considered essential among many viewers.

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Chromecast: Google’s second attempt to take over your TV

Aaron Souppouris writes at The Verge:

Announced July 24th 2013, the Google Chromecast is a tiny streaming device that lets you push content from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop straight to your TV. After Google TV failed to take off, Chromecast is the company’s second attempt to put a browser on your biggest screen, and represents a major effort to compete with Apple’s AirPlay. At $35, it’s far more of an impulse buy than other offerings, but, in typical Google fashion, there are elements of Chromecast that are very much in beta. Official app support was limited at launch to Netflix and YouTube, with additional services available through a beta feature that lets you mirror a Chrome tab to your TV.

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The Curse of “You May Also Like”

Algorithms help us find the songs we like, but that may prevent us from imagining new kinds of music, argues Evgeny Morozov on Slate.


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Netflix And The Niche Of Buzz: A “House Of Cards”

House of Cards

Netflix, Melinda Sue Gordon / AP via BuzzFeed

“Start with a charming but morally corrupted protagonist (usually a male) and throw him into a world populated by weak and compromised souls. Mix in explicit sex…Then intersperse those with non-plot-essential asides to give the show a “novelistic” feel, such as aspirational period or fancy dress…”

If you’ve glanced at a television anytime in the last decade, you’ll know what Richard Rushfield of BuzzFeed is describing here: The prestige cable dramas that are said to have displaced film as America’s cultural temple. (Andy Greenwald over at Grantland has a similar line on this: “The period setting — a crutch that, if we’re being honest, has become the Auto-Tune to cable TV’s pop radio…”)

But even as Don, Tony, Walt, and Nucky, captured dozens of Emmy statuettes and the attention of every media critic on the East Coast and beyond, the shows that reveal their souls–Mad Men in particular–are viewed only by a precious few.

In his piece on the media-hyperventilation over Netflix’s new series, House of Cards, Rushfield reminds us that while these respected programs on moral decay are critically praised, their cultural importance is largely overstated.

Sketching a brief history of “important television,” Rushfield contends that networks like HBO and AMC desperately seek the praise of TV taste makers: social media power users, journalists and art critics. And in this cultural chatterbox insulated with echoed hype, it’s easy to forget that these “adult” shows serve a small and select crowd. Rushfield writes, “while buzz is great, in the end it’s no substitute for actual viewers or subscribers, even if those viewers are more “desirable” upscale viewers.”

With Netflix and House Of Cards, critics are taking the logic of post-golden television to the next, absurd level: First, Tony Soprano killed network TV, now streaming will crush cable and Don Draper. (Netflix released all 13 episodes of House Of Cards at once, which is novel. The show is directed by David Fincher: Seven, Fight Club, and The Social Network and stars Kevin Spacey, aka Seven’s John Doe. Netflix’s series follows a cutthroat politician and, also noted on BuzzFeed, is wildly popular with Capitol Hill staffers and journalists – further proving Rushfield’s point: your perceived twitterverse is actually just a tiny solar system.)

“All of this is not to say that networks should not make shows that they consider quality fare, or that journalists shouldn’t write about them,” Rushfield concludes. “But when doing so, they should bear in mind that just because the group it appeals to is an elite niche, that doesn’t make it any less of a niche.”

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In Netflix Case, a Chance to Re-examine Old Rules

In July of this year the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings posted this on his facebook: “Netflix monthly viewing exceeded 1 billion hours for the first time ever in June.”

Since then the S.E.C. has launched a probe to determine if–through this social media post–the video streaming company violated  “the Regulation Fair Disclosure rule, commonly known as Reg FD, which requires a company to announce information that is material to its business to all investors at the same time.”

Steven Davidoff of the New York Times examines the two critical aspects of this case: 1) Is facebook a public space where investors and analysts know to receive information? And 2) Did the post contain material information?

Struggling to keep pace with our modes of information consumption, regulators reveal their outdated framework.

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