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Will On Demand Services Defeat Traditional TV?

By the 1990s, nearly every household in the country had a television set. Today, nearly every person in the country has a means of streaming video from the internet, and it’s leaving traditional TV users to question whether their monthly subscriptions are worth the cost, or if they should begin to go elsewhere to satisfy their in-home entertainment needs.

The 21st-century has seen a lot of changes in the world of digital, but is that really a threat to traditional TV? Many people think that the end to cable and satellite will be coming in the next few years, but researchers have estimated otherwise.

While typically viewed as two separate sources for movies and television, on-demand services (like Hulu) have long been trying to steal the spotlight from traditional TV providers, and in some ways, they’ve succeeded. Netflix and Hulu offer something that traditional TV hasn’t (or didn’t): on-demand television and movies.

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In today’s world where everyone wants instant answers and instant results, there was obviously a need for instant-streaming as well. As soon as the opportunity to instantly stream your favorite shows and movies popped up, millions rushed to the market, but it wasn’t what everyone hoped. Hidden behind the convenience of instant streaming was the fact that the selection was rather small and very outdated. Since services like Netflix were huge competitors against traditional TV, very few networks would sign over the rights to their shows and movies.

Overtime though, Netflix and similar services persevered, and today nearly fifty-percent of all American households are subscribed to Hulu, Netflix, or another online streaming service. The market share is enormous and growing by the day, but the original issue is still present: the selection of these services – while growing – simply isn’t comparable to that of traditional TV.

With so little variety, why would so many Americans say they want to switch? Because the selection of traditional TV comes with one downside: cost. But, even with our frugal society, only 22% of those who say they will drop their cable (or satellite) actually do. This number makes it clear to the industry: selection wins, even if it comes at a slightly more expensive cost.

While some of those who have promised to drop traditional TV have followed through, the market is still devoted to the hundreds of channels and 24/7 always-on availability that traditional TV provides. In fact, researchers found that most of the 47% of American households that are subscribed to on-demand streaming services are also subscribed to traditional TV. This makes one thing clear: people want both the selection of traditional TV and the availability of instant streaming. While the cost of both can quickly rack up, if you choose your services wisely, you’ll be able to have the convenience of movies and shows that can be instantly streamed online, and the wide selection of shows and movies that are always playing thanks to your cable or satellite provider.

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Together, on-demand streaming and traditional television satisfies the needs of any household, and many traditional TV providers have already realized the opportunity. Dish and other TV companies have begun offering their own on-demand streaming services that allow subscribers to instantly watch re-runs and the latest episodes of their favorite shows (and, in some cases, movies). This opens up a new door for traditional TV users, as it gives them the convenience of on-demand and the selection their cable/satellite subscription already provides (plus, most companies aren’t charging extra). But with this option, why are so many Americans joining up with other on-demand services?

The battle between on-demand and traditional TV companies has been raging for a few years now, and it’s now seemed to have reached its peak. With many traditional TV providers offering their own on-demand services, and even some networks selling online subscriptions to their channel (like HBO), why do Netflix and Hulu stand a chance? Researchers have three answers: commercials, cost, and originals.

While some services, such as Hulu, are sticking with the traditional television setup with short advertisement breaks, others (like Netflix) are keeping their platforms 100% commercial-free. Obviously, there’s really nothing to dislike about watching TV shows and movies uninterrupted. Along with commercial-free or minimum-commercial viewing comes an affordable price. Most of these services start at just $10 a month. But, users have to remember that this cost also means less selection, unless you count the original productions that are starting to spring up.

Hulu originals, Netflix originals, and even Amazon originals, on-demand platforms found an interesting way to fill the selection gap: original series. And many of them have been rather successful. Researchers say that aside from the factors of cost and less commercials, many subscribers are choosing to sign-up for these services due to the original series that can only watched by users, and it’s proving lucrative for the companies.

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While nearly half of American households are signed on to on-demand services, over 80% of all American households are also users of a traditional TV service, leaving researchers to conclude with one solution: traditional and on-demand TV services should be combined for the most customer satisfaction and the best results.

Quantum Dot Technology

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Quantum dots also commonly go by the names nanocrystals, QD, or Qdots, and mention of them has been all over CES this past year. They can exhibit quantum mechanical properties because they are very small. Alexey Ekimov was the first person to ever make the discovery of quantum dots. This took place in a glass matrix in the year 1981, and four years later in 1985, Louis E. Brus discovered them in colloidal solutions. Mark Reed was the person who named them “quantum dots.”

Quantum dots have been considered for a myriad of different purposes. A few examples include LEDs, transistors, diode lasers, solar cells, and even medical imaging. They have in fact been around during the 1990s, used then in lighting technology. The release of the Sony XBR X900A series was the first time quantum dots were released commercially. This took place in 2013 when the flat panel televisions were officially released. Recently, in the last couple of years, quantum dots have begun to be utilized by TV makers.

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What exactly are these new TVs? They are essentially a new kind of LED-backlit LCD TV. In one way they are made a lot like an LCD screen, but the color is much better due to the quantum-dot technology. Just like LCD TVs, the blue LED light is responsible for the blue hues, but the quantum dots create the green and red lights. Quantum dots are excellent at emitting color, broadcasting the colors at much higher quality. The size of each quantum dot actually determines color, and overall they are all quite small and all are similar in shape as well as size, but the larger ones emit a red hue and the smaller ones emit a green hue. The bigger ones are about 50 atoms in diameter, and the smaller ones are only about 30.

Aside from being the source of better colors, quantum dots also have a higher efficiency at a lower cost, both of which are also attractive to TV buyers and TV manufacturers alike. 4K TVs used to be the big thing, and they’ve gone from costing 4 grand a few years ago to costing only about 1 grand now. Of course, now manufacturers and consumers are on the prowl for the next high-end thing, and from the looks of it it’s going to involve quantum dot technology. While the last 4K sets had an abundance of pixels, now the focus is not only on quantity, but quality of the pixels.

The highlight of quantum dot technology is that colors a

 

re brighter, more accurate, and even more saturated, meaning that there is much less light being wasted. Of course, the next big question on the agenda is how expensive is this new colorful technology going to be? The good news is that they will ultimately cost less than OLED TVs because they don’t cost as much to make. OLED TVs do still have the advantage in some areas, such as the contrast and wide viewing angles, but quantum dot technology will definitely have an edge on the color-end which is still a major plus.

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Things You Didn’t Know About The HBO Vice Series

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Vice News is a documentary, television series created and hosted by Shane Smith of Vice magazine. Like the magazine, which focuses on the exploration of arts, culture and various other news topics, the documentary has a similar role in its creation. The show is executively produced by Bill Maher, Shane Smith and Eddy Moretti. The show’s consultant is CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.

Using of an immersionist style of documentary filmmaking, Vice create an entirely new experience for watching documentaries. The show originally debuted in April 2015, and has since been renewed for an additional two seasons by HBO. The third season began on March 6th of this year. The fourth season is set to begin in 2016, likely in April.

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The show has received a mixture of positive and negative reviews, mostly due to its unique mixture of journalism and television entertainment. Rolling Stone magazine wrote that “It feels a little like your buddy from the bar just happened to be wandering through eastern Afghanistan with a camera crew.”

During its first season, the hosts of Vice were criticized for using their knee-jerk stunts to elicit a larger fan base. Their credibility was drawn into question, as was their style and brand of journalism. Their exploitation of the North Koreans was especially criticized, as was their stunt with sending Dennis Rodman as an American ambassador overseas.

Initially, Vice brushed off these criticisms, but seemed to take them to heart if their season two premiered episodes were anything to go by, focusing more on the journalistic approach than the shock-and-awe factors from the previous season. Vice vowed to remain true to their journalistic roots and produce material of more quality substance than earlier.

Instead of season one’s collection of humorous stunts, season two opening with executive producer Shane Smith investigating the billions of taxpayer dollars that America has thrown at the reconstruction of the war-ravaged Afghanistan.  Vice has revamped their image and doubled their efforts to bring actual news to their audiences, and not just glamorous pictures and funny stories.

It was only three years ago that Vice were in a verbal confrontation with The New York Times, who called out Vice and company for being sensationalist journalists at best. David Carr had had enough when the guys from Vice—literal nobodies at the time—said their small venture into journalism was better at uncovering stories than anything anyone else had done. In that moment of arrogance, the boys from Vice were put into their places and shown what real journalism is. But since then, Vice has grown up some, becoming a more reputable crew of journalists and reporters.

With the continuous growth of the show, and the crewmembers taking on a more serious approach to journalism than before, many who initially supported Vice are questioning its credibility as hipster journalists. Despite their change towards a more serious, less prankster approach towards reporting serious topics across the globe, Vice and company have not lost the essence of what originally made them hipster journalists. In their daily professional careers, there’s still off-the-handle remarks, the occasional swear while on air, and most definitely the old and familiar brutal honesty of the hosts. Click right here to find more more home entertainment opportunities with AT&T U-verse Internet Plans.

Why Was Season 5, Episode 5 of the Walking Dead Almost Pulled From the Air?

Comic-Con Trailer: The Walking Dead: Season 5 (Screengrab)

Michael Cudlitz, the actor who plays Abraham in The Walking Dead, revealed on Twitter that the show’s fifth episode–aka the episode where viewers decided they hated Eugene–was almost pulled from the air by the FCC. This may not come as a surprise to regular viewers of the Walking Dead—even diehard fans of the show have been surprised at the amount of violence and gore that the show has been allowed to air. But fans might also notice that the episode was not nearly as violent or gory as previous installments. Why, then, was the fifth episode of season five almost pulled from the airwaves?

There are two likely culprits which may have led the censors to object to the episode. The first is a scene where Abraham beats several men to death with his own two hands—and a can of beans. His family flees after the incident and Abraham later found them lying dead in the grass. The scene showed an explicit shot of Abraham’s dead and partially eaten wife—and his two dead and, once again partially eaten, children. A shot of two dead children may not have set well with the censors, although it wouldn’t be the first time that the show depicted dead children.

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The more likely culprit is something that may have fans rolling their eyes: a scene between Abraham and Rosita where the couple is obviously engaging in intercourse while Eugene watches from behind a bookshelf. The scene wasn’t particularly explicit, but considering the fact that television censors are often far more considered about nudity or implied nudity than they are gratuitous violence, it would not be surprising if the objectionable content was not violence—but an implied and relatively tame scene depicting two consenting adults together.

This particular theory is bolstered by the fact that the AMC network’s social media accounts have been contacted by numerous parents complaining about the sex scene in the current season’s fifth episode; these same parents, however, had no objections to the gratuitous violence in the show, nor did they apparently pay attention to AMC’s warnings about adult content prior to each return from a commercial break.

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Unfortunately, this would not be the first time that parents—and television censors—objected to sexual content while ignoring gratuitous and extreme violence.

Thrilled that censors didn’t pull epsiode 5 from the airways? You need this hoodie in your closet.

 

Will Sacha Baron Cohen Play a Villain in the Upcoming Alice in Wonderland Sequel?

Disney’s live action Alice in Wonderland film, starring Mia Washikowska as the titular Alice and also starring Johnny Depp as the wacky Mad Hatter, was not exactly a popular critical success. Many critics disliked the slick look of the picture and the somewhat confusing way that Disney decided to adapt the book’s storyline as a “sequel” of sorts. Despite mixed critical reviews, however, the film has quickly become a fan favorite and based on the strength of the film’s box office and merchandise sales, Disney quickly lit the green light for a sequel.

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The sequel, Through the Looking Glass, is currently set to come out in 2016. It is unknown exactly what Disney will be doing with the plotline of the film. The first film worked very loosely with the mythology and storyline of the Alice in Wonderland series, and it is likely that they will do just the same with this sequel. The first film turned the story into an action-adventure fantasy which borrowed elements from the original book; the first Disney animated film, as well as other books in the Alice in Wonderland series.

It was recently revealed that Sacha Baron Cohen has been tapped to play a villain in the upcoming sequel. The particular role is unknown, and there are a vast amount of villainous characters in the Alice mythology that may come into play. Sacha Baron Cohen is no stranger to villains, working with Johnny Depp or director Tim Burton.

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He starred as the ridiculous but ultimately gritty and threatening Pirelli in the film version of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, which starred Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, and was also directed by Tim Burton. Although the sequel will be directed by James Bobin, who recently directed The Muppets, Tim Burton’s direction-style will no doubt influence the second film.

Sacha Baron Cohen has proved himself more than capable of playing villains, ridiculous or otherwise, and Disney would be wise to tap into his popularity with male audiences, who may be less likely to watch a film about the adventures of an (adult or otherwise) Alice in Wonderland.

Cohen has yet to be cast in the film, but sources say that he is interested in taking on the role and his previous experience with Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton will likely sway the casting direction in his favor. Go to http://www.pagesz.net/blog/ to find more entertainment news, muse and reviews.

The ‘Magic’ Origins of Darren Criss

To most people, Darren Criss is best known as one of the breakout stars from the hit TV show Glee  His character, Blaine, began his fictional life as a supporting and temporary side character meant to help the character of Kurt deal with coming out and moving to a new school. The popularity of Criss’s character, however, and his relationship with Kurt quickly led to the role becoming a full-time staple of the show. And with that, of course, came more exposure for Blaine’s actor—Darren Criss.
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But Darren Criss was not always a popular television actor who snags roles on Broadway and sings with some of the most popular singers in the world. The origins of Darren Criss are, like so many other actors before him, rather humble.
Criss began performing at an early age and took violin lessons for 15 years. When he was just 10 years old, he was accepted into the American Conservatory Theater Young Conservatory Program, where he studied acting and continued to study and play musical instruments.  He composed his first song when he was only 15 years old.
After high school, Criss attended the University of Michigan and graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in theater performance and a minor in musicology and the Italian language.
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It was in 2009 that Criss became a YouTube sensation. Along with various friends from the University of Michigan  Criss helped write and starred in an unofficial musical parody of Harry Potter. The show, titled A Very Potter Musical, was performed for University of Michigan Students. The show was recorded by the student-based theater company and put on YouTube for posterity. The show quickly became an internet sensation, reaching over a million hits in a matter of days, and its popularity led to the forming of “Starkid Productions,” of which Criss was at the helm. Criss, who played Harry Potter in the parody musical, quickly gained a fan base that arguably led to him being considered for the role of Blaine on Glee.

 

Criss went on to star in two more Harry Potter musicals from the Starkid Production company  including the fully staged A Very Potter Sequel in 2010 and the last Harry Potter musical for the company, A Very Potter Senior Year, which premiered as a staged reading due to the schedules of the actors in 2012.

The Walking Dead-Carrying the Zombie Torch

It all started in 1968, when George Romero shocked audiences and fans all around the world with the Zombie film. Night of the Living Dead, in which the word zombie is never uttered, set the standard and archetypes all other zombie films or media have copied since. I don’t say copied as a bad thing. It’s just difficult to imagine any zombie film (or show) to not take some kind of something from what Romero set down in that movie.

There have been ups and downs over the years but to be honest, it has never been a better time to be a zombie fan. There are more films around today then ever before; it seems everyone is making a zombie movie. Some are great, some less than great, there are parodies like Shaun of the Dead, video games, video game movies like Resident Evil (about to release the 6th film in the series in 2014) and all kinds of novels and even awesome board games that feature zombies.

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Whew. So the success of The Walking Dead is no surprise. Zombies are cool and for me, they never get old. Not only do I own many of the films out there that feature zombies but I’ve also played many of the video games, including every single Resident Evil game, plus I own four separate board games with zombies as the focus. So believe me when I say I know my zombies.

With The Walking Dead, we have a show that is based on something written, in this case a series of comic books. This is always superior, as films based on novels at least have that going for them, even if they aren’t as good as the source material. With The Walking Dead, we get a sophisticated, adult drama that happens to have zombies in it.

It is a tough balancing act but the show never forgets what it is; a show about zombies and the human reaction to it. At its center, it is a show about people and because the characters have the comic book foundation from which to draw inspiration, they have a certain depth to them already out of the box.

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The Walking Dead has taken up the mantle of the Zombie Story well and there is no telling how high the form can go.

Two Underrated Kids in the Hall Sketches

Kids in the Hall is one of the best—if not THE best—comedy sketch shows in the history of television. Quirky, hilarious, and often ahead of its time, Kids in the Hall relied on creating hilarious, memorable characters and great comedic storylines for each half-hour sketch episode. When most people think about Kids in the Hall, they think about the show’s most popular sketches—such as the reoccurring “I crush you!” character or the many gay waiters performed by Scott Thompson. But among the show’s many sketches are a few hidden gems definitely worthy of more recognition. Let’s look at two very funny, but very underrated, sketches from KITH.

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Season 5: Dipping Areas

Dipping Areas is an underrated sketch from the show’s fifth season, which centers on a waiter at an “upscale” restaurant whose inquiry into the type of dessert his patrons have ordered results in a low key but memorable discussion about what to do with the dessert plate’s dipping areas.

The key to the comedy in this sketch is the show’s ability to take something to small–”Patrons use up their dipping areas before they run out of mouse”–and turning it into something much bigger than it really is, creating humor out of something many people have experienced before in their workplace. Who hasn’t had a similar discussion at work over something so unimportant?

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Season 3: The Polite Axe Murderer

Who says an axe murder can’t be polite? In this sketch, a polite axe murderer—drenched in blood, of course—knocks on the door of an older woman in order to ask her if he can borrow her axe. He’s been chopping up her neighbors—the Dumonts—and he swung his axe too hard, resulting in it flying out the window. Because it’s so dark, he can’t seem to find it, and he’s come to the neighbor for help. Unfortunately, she’s only got a rubber axe from a vacation and a small hatchet, though the small hatchet will “have to do.” The absurdity of the murderer’s politeness and the calm, with which the neighbor responds, as if he were asking for nothing more than to borrow some milk, is really what makes this sketch one of the most underrated of the show.

U-Verse Apps

Do you want to open up a whole new world inside your television set? Now you can with the all new U-Verse App, compatible with AT&T subscribers. Make sure you contact your local retailer to ensure you get the best possible deal, and also to find out if the service is available in your area.

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Smart phones have revolutionized the world, with apps that enable users to get the most out of their hand held technology, all of them pushing the limits of the form. Think these apps are only available on your phone? Not anymore. Now many apps are ready to use for your television set and can deliver awesome entertainment value for each dollar you spend.

Now with your smart phone, you can download the U-Verse App and start managing your TV features right in the palm of your hand, taking all your TV fun with you on the road. You can manage your DVR (which lets your record hundreds of hours of live TV), schedule recordings, and with a qualifying AT&T package that allows you to watch an enormous library of hit shows and blockbuster film, all when you browse the selection of titles. Learn more online. This is a free app available from Google Play or Apple ITunes. Find out more at http://www.S9.com/att/uverse-tv-.html.

What you can do with this app is startling and not limited to the following. Not only can you watch whatever TV program available for view, this app is free to download and once a show is downloaded, feel free to watch it anytime, it’s locked into your phone! Watch whatever popular shows you want by browsing the available titles that you can either watch instantly, save for later, or manage within your personal library. The app lets you do it all with simple and easy understandable language and guides. Thanks to u-Verse DVR you can have quick access to hours and hours of content in a flash.

Another cool feature is the AT&T U-Verse Multiview. Check out My Multiview and get in touch with a hip new feature that allows you to choose which Multiview channel you want to watch. You can also pre-program this to set up for a specific viewing option, such as for Kids, News or even Sports. Have whichever pre-set option you want for quick viewing.

What is great is that you can have ESPN Gameplan, ESPN Full Court and these subscribers get a seasonal viewing choice as well, including The Masters, Cubs baseball, The World Cup Soccer playoffs and even the Winter and Summer Olympics! Be ready now for all the best programming now.

For all the HD subscribers, you can now enjoy HD Multiview for News, Kids, and Sports, which is a great upgrade for people already on the plan. Take advantage of this offer as soon as you can. See the offers available at http://www.s9.com/att/.

Another great feature for use on your smart phone is the AT&T Voicemail Viewer. This application is a great way to access your U-Verse voicemail in a way never seen before. This unique feature requires a compatible phone in use with an AT&T retailer so check with your local dealer.

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You also can choose to have the AT&T Weather On Demand App. TV customers can now get weather updates anywhere and anytime, important for those last minutes jaunts into work during off hours or when you might need to go somewhere afterwards, but are not sure what the weather will be. Stay ready with this app and be more prepared when things happen.

Your phone and TV can now be more closely related thanks to U-Verse phone services for your TV. If your phone is in the other room, never fear, because now you can check who has been calling you, what time and how often, all at no extra charge.

What are you waiting for? Get started today!

Current Time Warner Cable Deals Are Exceptional

Time Warner Cable is an exceptional service provider, acting as the second largest cable TV provider in the nation. This provider makes it easy and affordable to get the great programming, reliable digital voice and solid broadband internet connections that everyone in the house needs for quality home entertainment and communications services.

Time Warner Cable TV is best known for their digital cable services. These services include programming with digital and High Definition channels. These channels come in several different channel packages, with the option of movie and sports premiums to give all of the best possibilities for satisfying home entertainment options available.

Time Warner Cable offers On Demand selections, for thousands of additional viewing choices all in the comfort of the family home. These selections include prime time programming from networks, children’s channels, music videos and On Demand selections for the newest blockbuster hits, straight out of Hollywood. These selections make it possible for any viewer, on any work or school schedule to get the viewing selections they want, any time of the day or night.

Pay Per View makes it possible to get live action programming from locations all over the world. These programming options include UFC fights, live boxing and wrestling matches and live golfing tournaments, among other sporting events. Pay Per View also includes music and comedy events, giving everyone a well rounded selection of programming to choose from.

The Time Warner Cable also offers the DVR, a digital video recorder that can record and store up to 60 hours of programming on the hard drive at one time. The DVR can record on up to five channels at one time, making it possible for everyone in the house to get the programming they want, no matter what channel it is on. Viewers can also use the DVR to watch their On Demand and Pay Per View selections. The DVR can be used to rewind, fast forward and pause to these selections, even if they are live events. The DVR is the perfect solution to total control over the viewing selection.

Time Warner Cable TV can also provide Parental Controls to keep the children separated from the adult programming, even when the parents are not home. These Parental Controls are the answer for keeping the children away from adult programming, even when the parents are not home.

Time Warner Cable Digital Home Phone services are the solution to high monthly phone bills. This service offers local and long distance calls to any location in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. These services also come with calling features like call waiting, call forwarding, three way calling, call blocking, call return and more, for up to 10 features in all.

With Time Warner Cable, the family can get it all through the Time Warner Cable Triple Play Bundle. These bundles make it possible to get digital cable TV, digital voice services and broadband internet services, all in one monthly package, for one set monthly price.