Major movie studios continue to take baby steps toward offering new films to cable subscribers via premium on demand while the flicks are still in theaters. The biggest test to date will come in a few weeks, when Comcast will bring the new Eddie Murphy/Ben Stiller potential blockbuster Tower Heist to a pair of test markets just three weeks after it debuts on movie house screens.
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Its partnership with Skype to bring video calls to its subscribers isn't the only iron Comcast has in the fire at this week's Cable Show. Tomorrow, the cable giant will detail what it's calling its "next generation television experience" for Xfinity TV customers, including a new set-top box and a revamped and more interactive UI.
While Netflix is thriving as it turns itself into more and more into a paid online streaming service, Hulu is struggling internally to figure out what direction it will take, according to the Wall Street Journal. One idea being given serious consideration: turn Hulu into a "virtual cable operator.
In theory, CableCards don't seem like a bad idea: Instead of using a set-top box provided by your cable company, you can slide a small card into a device like a PC or TiVo and use that to control your programming options. The first cards were hobbled by their inability to communicate in both directionsable to transmit to the device but not to send signals back from itwhich made features like on-demand viewing unavailable.
The result isn't really that surprising, but it's still an interesting finding. According to a recent Dutch experiment, it turns out that the power of suggestion once again can make unsuspecting test subjects talk themselves into seeing something that isn't thereliterally, in this case.
Some owners of home theater PCs (HTPCs) want as much of the same experience as a typical cable user as possible, which means they need to install CableCards into their systems to access scrambled digital channels and the like. For those whose TV needs are less demanding, a PC with a TV tuner can get you unscrambled cable channels and over-the-air HD stations.
You may best know Monster Cable as the company that produces the $80 HDMI cables that Best Buy tries to sell you as being superior to the $10 ones you can find online. But with its GreenPower products, Monster is more concerned with the wasted energy being sucked from electronics components than with sucking money out of your wallet.
In a world already saturated with DVRs, Digeo decided this year was the perfect time to launch its own model, with the Moxi HD DVR joining TiVo as independent players in a space increasing dominated by cable and satellite providers' own devices. The Moxi, currently sold only at Amazon.
If its superior number of HD channels isn't enough to elicit some envy from cable subscribers, DirecTV is rubbing it in a little more with the official release of an iPhone app that basically lets you control your DVR from anywhere.More specifically, you can search for shows up to two weeks in advance, then record them onto any DirecTV DVR in your home, either as a one-time recording or a season's worth.
A few months ago, I reported on Cablevision rolling out free Wi-Fi for its subscribers in Long Island as a way to stem the flow of customers toward cellular broadband providers. It sounded like a smart idea at the time, but a new report suggests that it was a really smart move for Cablevision.