Category Archives: Cable

4 Things to Know about CBS

4 Things to Know about CBS

CBS is experiencing some amazing growth…and a couple serious problems.

The Columbia Broadcasting Service, CBS, has been home to iconic shows. Their current content offering is no different.

Yet, they’ve made a couple of big mistakes.

But let’s talk about two pieces of good news first.

CBS News To Launch Local News Service

CBSN Local, as it will be called, is a new venture by CBS to connect local news providers with cord cutters.

This is a smart move on CBS’s part.

While customers are getting rid of cable and switching entirely to streaming services, the concern for local news stations have been “who will watch us?” To combat this, CBS News will have market-specific streaming news available. Local CBS affiliates will get to produce and stream their local news while alongside CBS’s original content. This streaming service will eventually be part of CBS All Access in the future.

CBSNot all affiliates are getting their own streaming services right now. Only the largest markets will get some first. Other cities will get their own as they roll out the service more and more.

It’s a great idea, but with a downside.

What if some people, namely the author of this post, are not CBS watchers? What if they get their news from somewhere else and are fine missing the local CBS newscast?

CBS may be up a creek with that one.

Then again, that may not be an issue.

CBS All Access and Showtime OTT Subscribers are Rising

CBS All Access, their exclusive streaming service, and their subsidiary, Showtime have been showing strong numbers.

These numbers are so strong that analysts have predicted they’ll break 8 million for All Access and 8 million for Showtime by 2022. Simple math means that will be 16 million new subscribers by 2022.

That’s a big number and something to get excited about.

That is if their forecasters aren’t mistaken like Netflix’s did last July.

The good news is that CBS is adapting to the era of Peak TV better than most of their competitors.

For a broadcast channel that produces shows watched mostly by the over-50 crowd, that’s pretty impressive.

Let’s hope it’s enough to outweigh their bad decisions.

More Star Trek Without Avery Brooks

CBS debuted Star Trek: Discovery exclusively on All Access.

This new show is supposed to be a prequel to the new Trek movies that have come out under JJ Abrams. I haven’t heard much about the show itself. Nor have I had any inclination to.

And for someone who grew up watching Star Trek, that should be shocking.

While it would be easy to blame JJ Abrams for this, in truth, it’s not his fault.

It’s the fault of the executives and producers who decided he’d be a good choice to take control of the franchise. Since I don’t know their names, it’s just easier to blame Abrams for my distaste with the current direction Star Trek has been going.

It wasn’t made any better when I learned that Patrick Stewart was getting another Trek show.

Now, I don’t hate Patrick Stewart. He’s a phenomenal actor.

As Jean-Luc Picard, he brought a certain panache and dignity to the role of a captain. You’ll notice there are very few Trekkie jokes that make fun of his talking style if there are any at all.

Not to mention he did a great job as Professor Xavier in the X-Men movies, despite the horrible turn they took.

No, the issue here isn’t Patrick Stewart at all. Jean-Luc Picard was his role and he made the character what it is today. If he wants to go and make another show based on the character, then that’s his choice.

What I really want to see, and what I’ve been dying to see since 1999, is Avery Brooks step back into the role of Captain Benjamin Sisko.

Who’s Avery Brooks?

For those asking that question, I am deeply saddened.

Avery Brooks played Benjamin Sisko of Deep Space 9.

This spin-off came after The Next Generation, which is what Stewart is known for. Instead of being set on a ship, they set the show on a space station. And not just any space station, but the space station once held by an oppressive regime.

Deep Space 9 wasn’t like the other Star Trek’s, nor any others after it. It dealt with heavy issues like faith, war, and fatherhood, to name a few. DS9, as its called by its die-hard fans, also tossed out the episodic format and set up a mythic arc for the entire series. There were episodes that were “one-offs” like the time Bashir had “James Bond-like” adventure in one of the holosuites.

This idea was ahead of its time. It also made DS9 is perfect for binge-watching.

And yet, no movies, no reboots…nothing.

And why is that?

Just as Deep Space 9 was ending, I expected to see at least one movie where they brought back the entire cast, just like they did for The Next Generation. But they didn’t.

Instead, they made more movies with the TNG cast.

While those movies were fun to watch, I eagerly awaited them to finally give DS9 it’s big budget time on the screen.CBS

But they didn’t.

Instead, someone decided to never go that direction and junk all that story potential.

And for what?

A reboot of the tired old series where we see reinterpretations of characters that we’ve seen a lot of already.

Again, this has nothing to do with Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, or the cast of the new Trek movies. They’re great actors, and this is not a reflection on them. Nor did I entirely hate the new Trek movies. They were entertaining at least.

It’s a reflection on the absurdity that’s allowed to reign at these production companies.

And it’s no more obvious than with this next bit of news

Les Moonves Is Still There

The CEO, who’s had multiple counts of sexual harassment against him, has been allowed to stay.

While there’s been a long list of offenders who’ve been kicked out for sexual misconduct, and even worse, Moonves name isn’t on that list.

The specifics of the case aside, it’s sending a message that with enough power, men like this can still be allowed to retain their positions of authority.

And I find that unacceptable.

While I didn’t watch a lot of CBS programming, to begin with, I doubt I’ll be doing much of it now.

Maybe one day I’ll get around to watching Patrick Stewart’s new Trek series, but I’m not forking over money to a company that refuses to do the right thing in the name of profits.

Nor will they make a Star Trek: Deep Space 9 movie.

Or reboot the series.

So much potential and such a waste.

Until then, I’ll have to make do with watching reruns of DS9 so I can see one of the best actors, nay, one of the best roll-models I’ve ever seen, get a chance to act on screen.

For the rest of us, it’s a free country. If you want to subscribe to CBS All Access, I’m okay with that. It is, after all, your right.

Just make sure you save some cash first by checking out the best cable and internet packages. Knowing that someone will be saving money will at least make me feel a little better.

And that will have to do until they finally make that Deep Space 9 movie.

4 Great Things Coming to AMC Networks

4 Great Things Coming to AMC Networks

AMC Networks, owner of the eponymous channel that’s home to “The Walking Dead”, “Better Call Saul”, and “Preacher”, is working on acquiring RLJ Entertainment. RLJ owns Acorn TV and Urban Movie Channel, which means AMC is going to be getting bigger.

And offering more for their streaming customers!

RLJ has a huge library they’ll bring to the table. This means even more shows and movies that AMC customers will get to see through the networks bevy of channels.

The best part?

RLJ Entertainment owns 64% of the Agatha Christie Limited, the media rights and literary management company set up by the great author herself.

If this doesn’t excite you, here’s four reasons why it should.

Agatha Christie

Long hailed as the murder mystery writer, Agatha Christie wrote sixty-six detective novels and fourteen short story collections.

Born in 1890, Agatha took up writing poems and short stories. It wasn’t until a cousin recommended a murder mystery that Agatha attempted to enter the genre. If there hadn’t been that one suggestion, the murder-mystery genre may not be what it is today.

Her writing style, use of tropes, red herrings, and characters have helped define what makes good murder mystery writing. She’s also credited with starting the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.

Her works, though dated, have been adapted and many authors are updating them to reflect more modern writing styles. At least one lucky author, Sophie Hannah, has been given authority to continue writing Hercule Poirot mysteries.

Of her sixty-six works, three detectives stand out.

Tommy and Tuppence

Lesser known of her famous detectives, Agatha enjoyed writing Tommy and Tuppence novels the most. These Partners in Crime were her first detectives, and the duo aged with her.

Partners in Crime follow Tommy and Tuppence Beresford as they find themselves constantly getting involved with dastardly plots. The pair didn’t set out to solve crimes at first. Because there were no other jobs, they started up Young Adventurers Ltd. “Willing to do anything. Go anywhere…No reasonable offer refused.”

Those reasonable offers came with a mystery to solve.

While I haven’t read or watched any of the works, if its Agatha Christie, then I at least know it’s good source material. As for the adaptations of the works themselves, again, I’m in the dark here.

Given there’s been multiple interpretations of the characters, it’s safe to say the crime-solving pair are entertaining to watch.

One novel was adapted into a silent movie in 1928 then a series of radio dramas on the BBC in 1953. The late Richard Attenborough provided the voice for Tommy too!

In 1984, Partners in Crime was finally adapted for the small screen. James Warwick and Francesca Annis took on the titular roles and reprised the roles again in 1985.

No new adaptations were made until 2005, this time in France. The names of the characters were changed, though the source material remained faithful to Christie’s original vision. In 2008, another French adaptation was made.

David Walliams and Jessica Raine took on the roles in the 2015 mini-series, Partners In Crime.

No news as to whether another adaptation is in the works.

Miss Marple

Miss Marple seems to sit quietly in the background, knitting away.

This turns out to only be deception, as the elderly spinster is quietly observing, assessing, and analyzing everyone and everything around her. This is what makes her a remarkably effective sleuth.

The list of actresses who’ve played Miss Marple is practically a “who’s-who” of classic acting; Gracie Fields, Margaret Rutherford, Angela Lansbury, Helen Hayes, Joan Hickson, and June Whitfield.

Most recently, Geraldine McEwan starred in the role in 2004 with Julia McKenzie assuming the role in 2009.

I haven’t had the chance to catch these adaptations, though I did see a stage production of A Murder is Announced when I was in college. Being a Division III school, they didn’t do too bad.

Hercule Poirot

The most well-known of Agatha’s sleuths was Hercule Poirot (pronounced “pwa-ro,” it’s Belgian French).

If it wasn’t because of his skills as a detective, then it was most definitely the mustache.

The idea for Hercule Poirot is said to not been based on any one person. There is speculation, however, that a specific Belgian refugee who fled to England and settled in the countryside is the true catalyst for Agatha’s most notable detective. There’s another claim that he was based on two other fictional detectives of the time, Hercule Popeau and Monsieur Poiret. And still another that he was based on Sherlock Holmes.

The mystery of who really inspired Agatha Christie to create the character will remain. When it comes to who did the best job of portraying the character, there is less speculation needed.

Who’s the Best Poirot?

From Charles Laughton to Hugh Laurie, there have been too many Poirot’s to list here.

In 2017 Kenneth Branagh stepped into the role for Murder on the Orient Express. Given the film’s high production budget and Branagh’s Shakespearean experience, the movie was amazing. Fun to watch, keeps you guessing (if you haven’t already read the book), and great performances by an all-star cast.

Yet, for me, the standard of Hercule Poirot will always be set by David Suchet.

True, Suchet’s mustache is more downplayed than Branagh’s. Branagh had the advantage of a big budget and having to only wear the titular facial hair for a relatively short time. Suchet, on the other hand, played the role for thirteen years. And yet, the mustache’s even more endearing than Branagh’s.

The ear-to-ear handlebars that Branagh sports are impressive, but only from a production standpoint. From a character standpoint, it’s just a defining feature. Suchet’s is where it’s at. Though subtler, his mustache adds the dramatic flair that is Poirot. To keep that kind of facial hair going for that long takes a rare level of commitment.

To get into the mindset of such a literary behemoth, Suchet took character notes. By the end of his run, he had over 90 traits written down that made Poirot Poirot. Branagh only had to stay in character for a few months.

And that closes that case.

Find Agatha Christie

It’s unclear if AMC Networks will just air reruns of the great Christie works or if they’re going to create original content from them.

Given the recent resurgence in her work, I would hope they’d opt to remake some of her work. They could even go the Holmes route and update her characters.

If that were to happen, then Vincent Cassel would be my first pick to step into the role of a new Poirot. Of course, Dame Judi Dench would be great as Miss Marple. For Tommy and Tuppence I’d name James Marsters and Lucy Davis. Hollywood may go a different direction, and they often do. It’s not the first time I’ve been ignored by Hollywood.

And it won’t be the last.

The good news is that getting access to current Agatha Christie works is simple. First, look for the best internet and cable packages. This way you’ll save money and headache when it comes to watching all the shows and movies based on Agatha Christie’s books.

Second, get to a library or a bookstore and go find Agatha’s actual work. Every library is bound to have at least one.

Third, if reading a book isn’t your thing, then get the Overdrive app or any number of audiobook apps. There’s a few that offer free titles as well.

This way you’ll get to read Murder on the Orient Express, and others, before watching the movie. This will enhance your viewing experience.

Once you’ve read an Agatha Christie, then watch a movie or a show, then it’ll be no mystery why her work has lasted so long.

2 Solutions for Cable Top Boxes

2 Solutions for Cable Top Boxes

As more and more devices are integrating and folding into others, there’s one stubborn resister- the cable-top box.

No matter what the new advances in technology these days, cable-top boxes are still around. They sit there, blinking dumbly at you whether the show is loading or not. Some customers complain they’re an eye-sore, others hide them behind furniture. Though this does fix an aesthetic issue, it ends up killing your Wi-Fi.

Despite smart home devices becoming more plentiful, and easier to use, the cable top box hasn’t changed much.

Remember the First Cell Phone?

I remember the days of Saved By The Bell.

Remember Zack Morris? Remember that phone?

The cell phone began as a luxury item, much like cable. And much like the cell phone, cable has evolved.

It seemed to be stuck though.

Cell phones, on the other hand, have changed.

They began to get smaller and smaller, lighter and lighter. But they still had horrible sound quality and would drop calls. That’s when providers learned to improve cell signal quality.

Then came texting, games, mapping apps, music, and other bells and whistles.

More and more stuff kept getting shoved into this little device until they ceased to be cell phones and instead became smart phones.

Touchscreens were at first a hip new thing, now they’re a requirement for inclusion in the smartphone category.

If we’re to follow this analogy, cable top boxes are sitting at where cell phones were at the turn of the century. They have a lot of functionality in them, but there’s obvious room for improvement. Not to mention they’re still clunky and come only in one color.

Instead of moving forward, cable-top boxes have halted in their evolution.

Darwin’s Not Happy

Cable companies still make a lot of money off the cable-top box, the main reason why there hasn’t been much improvement with this technology. They’re a requirement for access and customers rent them monthly. It’s an income stream they’re not willing to get rid of. And who can blame them?

As more and more streaming services enter the market, and less and fewer people continue to pay for cable, the cable-top box needs to adapt or die.

Adapt

Cable-top boxJason Brush, the global EVP of experiences & innovation for Possible, argues the cable-top box is not living up to its potential.

With the push for TVs to be less of a TV and more of a smart hub for smart homes, cable top boxes could provide this already. Since cable-top boxes are usually the entry point for internet into a home, it makes sense to make these the hub for the smart home.

Instead of only allowing cable access, with a DVR, cable top boxes could act as the headquarters for all the smart home devices. Brush suggests making them voice-activated, or to expand the user interface to make it more intuitive. The cable top box would become so much more than just “that thing for the cable.”

By changing the gizmo into another smart home device, the cable top box would have more functionality. It’d be part of the home’s network instead of a network on its own.

Or Die

Another suggestion and the one consumers are more likely to approve of, is to have the cable-top box go the way of the dodo. That is, to become extinct.

Take the cable option and incorporate it into an app available on your smart TV.

This choice takes away a huge income stream for the cable company, so it’s the one they’re going to be the least happy with. The consumer, on the other hand, will be glad to get rid of the ugly thing and make their lives a little simpler.

With smart TVs becoming more and more integrated into the smart home, getting rid of the cable top box is a natural part of the process. TVs will absorb the duties of receiving the cable signal and managing the smart home devices. And it’ll only require one remote too!

Or heck, even an app from your phone.

The Future of Cable

Once the cable top box goes, and it will go, cable companies will need to rethink how they provide services.Cable-top box

Although streaming services are pulling in more customers every day, cable television isn’t done yet. There will always be holdouts who decide they’re going to stick with cable, no matter what.

Then there are the cable companies themselves who have spent years and years building their empires. No one walks away from something like that just because they think a new competitor is too strong.

Cable companies will find a way to adapt to the changing environment. The real question is; will they come up with a solution sooner rather than later?

The good news is cable companies are still around and with streaming services coming after them, they’re eager to cut deals to ensure they increase their subscriber base and keep current customers.

Search for the best internet bundles. These bundles put cable, internet, and sometimes phone, into one package. You’ll save money by putting your services into one spot, as well as streamline the connections into your house.

The cable top box will remain for the foreseeable future.

This isn’t a bad thing at all, except if you don’t like the design and color of it.

2 Million Reasons Netflix May Be Losing Their Edge

2 Million Reasons Netflix May Be Losing Their Edge

Netflix has spent over $8,000,000,000 (that’s billion with a B), racked up 112 Emmy Nominations…but they may be losing their edge.

Despite their big push in creating original content and knocking HBO off their throne, they’ve missed their forecast of new subscribers for the second quarter of 2018, by 2 million. This has happened three times in the past ten years, so it’s not as shocking as one would think. Of course, Netflix’s stock dropped more than 14% in response to this.

And now executives for Netflix, as well as outside business analysts, are asking why this happened.

Whose Fault Is It?

The blame, according to executives, lies on poor internal forecasting…and not the recent hike in prices for new and veteran subscribers.

Forecasting is, at best, a guess.

Meteorologists for the local news are guessing every day that the weather will turn out a certain way. There’s sophisticated technology, models, and years of training that go into it. Underneath it all, however, they are still guessing.

Analysts in the world of business, finance, and (insert industry here) are making a prediction when they forecast the future.

And if we know anything about the future, we know it’s going to be wildly different than what we assume it will be.

To blame a miss of 2 million subscribers on poor internal forecasting is a little short-sighted.

Because when the weather turns, do you go after your local meteorologist?

What Can They Do About It?

While Netflix didn’t gain those 2 million new subscribers, there hasn’t been any news that they’ve lost any either.

Netflix retains its current subscriber base of 130 million globally.Netflix

They’re still a powerhouse to deal with and after besting HBO in Emmy Nominations, they’ve done well in positioning themselves to finish strong for 2018.

Now, HBO is working on reclaiming that dominance and has already laid out their first weapon; Joss Whedon. On July 16th, it was announced that Whedon’s new show, The Nevers, will be on HBO. The network beat out Netflix in a bidding war to get the show and ordered the series directly…without ever seeing a pilot.

HBO is taking the smart path by focusing on new content.

Netflix can do the same by doubling-down on their content. By keeping their subscribers satisfied with their shows, the streaming giant can still grow their subscribers organically. Because a satisfied viewer is likely to recommend the show to their friends.

For Netflix to artificially raise their number of subscribers, they should set their sites a little more realistically.

Think Strategically

Without those 2 million subscribers, the streaming giant will lose a little bit of momentum. Not a lot, just a little.Netflix

There’s no harm in being cautious though, as the executives at Netflix have a right to be.

What they can do is get ready for awards season. Netflix can continue to campaign for their shows that helped them get those 112 Emmy nominations. They’re in a good spot to walk home with the most wins this year and deal an even bigger blow to their biggest competitor, HBO.

There’s also the Golden Globes coming up. These awards shows seem to mirror each other when it comes to nominations, so don’t be surprised if Netflix beats out HBO for Golden Globes as well.

Netflix should keep on campaigning like they normally do.

The Forecast for Netflix

So long as Netflix doesn’t panic or commit a knee-jerk reaction, they’ll be fine.

History is rife with companies, and people, who reacted to something small and created a big problem. Just think of The Pig War.

In 1859, a single hog was caught rooting in a farmer’s potatoes. To save his potatoes, the farmer, an American, shot the hog, owned by a British man. Tensions rose when one accused the other of foul play. Soon the hog’s death became an act of aggression by Americans’ towards the British. US soldiers were sent to the island, British Navy ships were sent to bolster the British merchants there.

All because a hog got out and ate a few potatoes.

The executives of Netflix just need to keep their cool. Things like this can happen and it’s important to remember that this was based on forecasted data. One shouldn’t invest too much in the predictions of the future from a single source.

What Netflix should be interested in is HBO’s plan to reclaim their throne.

As the networks continue to battle it out, their main weapons will be content- shows.

The harder they work to beat the other, the better the shows will be.

If this turns out to not be the case, then someone else will swoop in and claim dominance.

Be it Netflix, HBO, Amazon, or someone else, make sure you don’t miss your favorite shows by checking out the best internet deals. You can also save yourself some money in the process!

HBO’s One New Weapon: Joss Whedon

HBO’s One New Weapon: Joss Whedon

Previous posts, like this one and this one, have been detailing HBO’s current woes and challenges as they navigate their new world that’s post-merger, and post Netflix.

And yet, HBO keeps on surprising.

As of Friday, Joss Whedon’s newest show, The Nevers, will be on HBO.

This may be their edge in the upcoming retaliation for Netflix edging them out in the count for Emmy Nominations.

Where’s Whedon Been?

Joss Whedon, for those who haven’t been paying attention, has been behind some of the biggest entertainment hits in recent history.

He hWhedonad humble beginnings writing for a few sitcoms in the late eighties and early nineties. His first big-screen writing credit is Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. This cult hist spawned a TV show of the same name and a spinoff series, Angel.

From there, Whedon had a string of shows that lasted one, maybe two, seasons before the brilliant minds in Hollywood decided to pull the plug. The most famous of these was Firefly. Executive meddling got int he way of its greatness and the sci-fi western floundered. When it ended a fan writing campaign was enough to get a movie made—Serenity.

If you want to see a younger Nathan Fillion in an iconic role, as well as lead an amazing cast of characters and actors at their best the watch Firefly.

Other, lesser-known but equally entertaining shows that Whedon created were Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog. Well worth your time.

Luckily, Whedon’s writing and directing skills didn’t end there as he was tapped to helm the first two Avengers movies. These cornerstones of the Marvel Cinematic Universe grossed big in the box office and put Whedon up there, where he belongs, next to other great names in screenwriting and directing.

He also created and produced the ABC Studios Agents of Shields, a weekly drama that tied together the various parts, introduced minor characters, kept the hype of the MCU going.

Unfortunately, the stress of working within a complicated universe, and probably some executive meddling again, cause Whedon to go on hiatus. He didn’t disappear entirely, he just took some time off and wasn’t seen for a little bit.

DC, finally making a smart move, hired him to help write the screenplay for the first Justice League movie. Now if DC could just get a coherent continuity going, they may just be able to contend with Marvel!

Back to Whedon

He is most well-known for his campy sci-fi and fantasy shows, as well as his involvement in The Avengers powerhouse.

That’s not all he’s done though.

There’s plenty of movies to his name, but his best writing work is by far is The Cabin in The Woods.

Bradley Whitford, Richard Jenkins, and a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth show us their acting chops thanks to the superb script penned by Whedon and Drew Goddard. If you’re looking for both clever humor and truly thrilling horror, this movie delivers. It’s also one of those rare gems that you wish they could make a sequel out of but know that it would be impossible to do.

Just watch the movie, trust me, you’ll understand.

What’s Whedon Doing Now?

Thanks to his name carrying clout, when Whedon expressed interest in shopping around a new show, a bidding war erupted.Whedon

HBO won that war, bringing Whedon to their network and quite possibly putting the odds in their favor again as they combat Netflix and Amazon.

The Nevers, described as “an epic science-fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world,” was greenlit before a pilot was very written. That’s just the kind of clout that Whedon carries these days.

While we only have this short description to go on, we know a lot about Whedon’s style based on his previous shows and movies. First, we know he’s a master story-teller and will take his time to build the story. For those who keep with him, the ending is a sweet reward. Everyone else has to play catchup. Second, Whedon was able to create a vast and rich universe on very little money. Imagine what he could do with HBO backing him? Third, there are great actors, and then there are great writers who push great actors to another level. Nathan Fillion is a great actor. It’s a true treat to watch him play the role of Captain Malcolm Reynolds. It’s what has set him apart from the rest.

One last thing- Whedon’s storytelling isn’t the same as the rest. While HBO is known for their gritty violence and blatant sexuality, Whedon will likely chart his own course. There’s no stopping him now that he’s on HBO. Whedon’s a different creator though. He could decide that his story doesn’t need that to win our hearts and capture our imaginations.

Aa Captain Reynolds says, “I aim to misbehave.”

How Long Do We Have to Wait?

As of this writing, the premiere date of The Nevers is unknown.

Until then we’ll have to make do with reruns of Firefly, Agents of Shield, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Depending on your service provider, you can get access to all these titles and more. If not, make sure to check out the best cable internet deals. You’ll be able to bundle both cable and internet. You’ll also lower your bills while getting your mind blown by the cinematic mastery of Joss Whedon.

 

“I Think I can get it to go down.”

“Do we want to go down?”

3 Things to Know about the Peak TV Era

3 Things to Know about the Peak TV Era

The Era of Peak TV is still going strong.

First, it was broadcast channels, and it was not enough.

Then came cable television, and it was better, but not still not enough.

Now we have streaming networks, internet TV, and more ways to get new and scripted shows.

In 2015, the head of FX, John Landgraf, dubbed this the Era of “Peak TV.”Peak TV

Not just TV, but the abundance of scripted shows. And Landgraf warned that if there were more than 500 that would be “the peak.” After that, there would be too many scripted TV shows to go around.

Too many options of what to watch.

As a result, the bubble would burst and we’d see a sharp decline in scripted television.

By some counts, there are more than 500 scripted shows on television right now.

We’ve passed Landgraf’s limit.

So…what happens now?

While some networks, like Freeform and MTV, have switched from scripted programs to reality, the trend hasn’t quite caught on. Networks and streaming services, the most obvious being Netflix, are still churning out new shows. And while viewers can take advantage of this with internet bundle deals to make the most of cable and internet, the bubble still appears intact.

With no end in sight, the Era of Peak TV marches on.

But what does that really mean?

The Good

As stated previously, there is an abundance, a plethora, a deluge of scripted television to watch.

Either broadcast, cable, or streaming, there is something that is bound to catch your attention and draw you in. Gone are the days when you had to wait for the show to air on it’s selected channel and night. And worse than that, if you couldn’t watch it, you had to set the timer on your VCR to record it and hope that a power outage wouldn’t screw that up.

Now we are blessed with DVR, on-demand, and best of all, streaming.

Thanks to these services, creators have produced more shows to fill the demand. Or was it the other way around?

Peak TVWhichever came first, the point is that the ability to watch a show when you want necessitates an excess of television.

To meet that need, big names like Judd Apatow and Shonda Rhimes have been wooed to subscriber-based television to produce shows that a dedicated audience will pay for. If they watch everyone single one of them or not at all, it doesn’t matter. These services have provided a better outlet for producers and writers to create the shows they want to create.

The Bad

The downside of this abundance is the quality of the shows being produced.

With any group, no matter how big or small, there will be top performers and bottom performers. When there were few shows, the bad ones were easily weeded out and replaced with ones that might do better. Now, with the 500+ shows available, that means there will be a lot of bad ones out there.

Since those shows are already paid for, you might end up wasting your money on them.

Another facet of this is that the scriptwriters are the ones who are apparently suffering.

Since more shows are being created, they tend to come in smaller packages. The old 22-episode seasons of a sitcom or drama is not the typical format you’d find these days. Instead, we’re seeing eight, ten, thirteen-episode seasons. A writer will usually be paid by the show or for a set number of episodes. If there are fewer episodes, that means a smaller paycheck.

The simple answer would be to just write for more shows, but that will lead to burn out and a decrease in quality. This ties back to the previous item of bad shows being produced.

One last thing- option overload.

With so many shows available it’s hard to decide on which show to watch. Some nights you might find yourself debating which show to watch and end up not watching anything.

When Will It End?

We may have passed Landgraf’s omen of 500 shows, but there’s no telling how long it will last.

500 shows this year could mean little. Next year there might be 550, and the year after that 600. Maybe then we’ll find out if the bubble will pop. Another possibility is that we may hover around 500 for a few years and then see the bubble pop.

There’s no way of telling.Peak TV

Having access to nearly 500 shows isn’t a bad thing. We get to see a wealth of stories and expand our creativity more.

Another downside is the price that all this entails: To get access to this wealth of engaging stories means having to pay for more than one subscription.

This is on top of already paying for cable and internet. So then why not pay less for both? Save yourself some money while you download the latest episode by checking out internet bundle deals.

Switch your provider or plan, and you’ll be in the best spot to enjoy all the Era of Peak TV has to offer.

How DIRECTV Now Will Give You Life

How DIRECTV Now Will Give You Life

Cut the cord.  You’ve heard the phrase before. More and more people are taking the plunge – ditching their cable subscription for “skinny bundles,” or live streaming TV that is transmitted over the Internet.  One of the main goals of cord cutting (the term itself is not literal, so please don’t hack at your cable cord just yet) is to save money.  DIRECTV Now, owned by AT&T, is a major contender in this growing trend.  With over a million subscribers, we anticipate that they will be a force to be reckoned with moving forward.

Cord cutting in a nutshell

Customers are sick of receiving a triple-digit cable bill, and rightfully so.  Ain’t nobody got time for all that!  With so many streaming service out there – over 200, actually – there’s really no shortage of content to satisfy even the most demanding of consumers.  And if all else fails, you can read a book.

While we’re on the subject of antiquity, remember TV antennas?  Well, they’re back.  You can get a high-def feed of local channels by installing (or, hell, even building your own) antenna.

Opposing Views

Before you go cancelling your service, you should know that there are legit, or at least considerable, arguments for why you shouldn’t cut the cord.  Full Disclosure: I do work for a company that sells cable TV subscriptions.  Nonetheless, I get the struggle; I get why people are tired of cable.  Well, it’s not cable that people are tired of.  People want the content on cable TV programming (some of it, anyway), they just don’t want the price.  But, we can get into all that another time in a different blog.  For now, let’s just assume you do cut the cord.

With so many streaming devices and services to choose from, how do you decide?  I’m telling you: DIRECTV Now is noteworthy candidate.  Despite the decline of DIRECTV, AT&T’s over-the-top service provides a worthy substitution.  We’ll be hearing a lot more about it in the coming years.

What’s All The Fuss?

Consider the entry-level DIRECTV Now channel bundle.  You get 60+ channels for $35 per month plus a free 7-day trial.  That’s not bad.  Sling TV only gives you 30 channels for $20 (that’s their basic package – which also includes a 7-day free trial).

I think they really stand out with their channel selection.  It’s all the good stuff.  If you don’t believe me, go look.  They have Animal Planet, Discovery, E!, and National Geographic.  I see VH-1 (I need to watch the next episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race) in there.  I also see the Food Network, Lifetime, the History Channel.  PBS is on the horizon (supposedly).  And if you already have their platform, you can pay just $5 per month for HBO.  I’m talking good stuff here!  For all you sports nuts (not my thing), they have Fox Sports, ESPN, NBA TV, and NBC (don’t they show ball games on there?).

How To Use DIRECTV Now

So what is it like to actually use it?  I think the user interface is pretty sweet.  It’s clean-looking and straightforward in the way it operates.  I tend to think that the best designed systems are the ones that are no-brainers to operate.  Look at the user interface of an iPad, for example.  It’s intuitive.  You don’t even have to read the user manual to get how to work it.  That’s what I mean when I say DIRECTV Now has a sweet interface.  It’s just easy to get.

You can find videos on YouTube that show you quick run throughs.  There’s a quick, good one below from SearchingforSignalLLC.

More To Come…

To sweeten the pot, I have a feeling that AT&T will launch the long-awaited cloud DVR feature very soon.  As time goes by, we’ll see other improvements.  We already know that AT&T has their eye on 4k video support.

To use it, you just need a media streaming device, like a Roku or an Amazon Fire TV and an Internet connection.  Shameless plug warning: you can always visit BundleYourInternet to find the best Internet service deals in your area.  Hell, cable TV service, too for that matter!  But, I digress.  Once you have your media streaming device, you just download the app.  DIRECTV Now has an official app for Roku, Apple TV (4th generation), and Amazon Fire TV devices.  You can also stream it with Chromecast (2nd generation).  With iPhone and iPads, you just need to make sure your operating system is iOS or higher.  Android users need 4.4 or higher.  Web users can use Chrome version 50 and up or Safari 8+.

Also, AT&T has been developing its own 4k TV box which will use Android TV software.  There’s speculation that it will support Netflix, HBO Now, and Hulu.  It may be released as early as this year.

Final Words

So, there you have it: my love letter to DIRECTV Now and cord cutting in general.  Actually, consider it a love letter to the Internet (we’ll talk about the pros of cable later).  But, for now, let’s just say that as more and more people migrate to streaming TV services, it’s worth investing in the very best Internet service that you can get.

How else are you supposed to fully experience the new era of TV?