Netflix Un-truths

Sep 20 2011 Published by under American Consumer, Corporate America

Reed Hastings the CEO of Netflix posted a video on YouTube on 9/18 to apologize and clarify the changes he is makeing to Netflix.  The big change he announced, in the video, is the splitting of Netflix into two companies. One for streaming called Netflix and a new company for the DVD by mail business to be called Qwikster.

Reed apologized over and over for not communicating  this change, in business strategy, effectively to the current subscriber base. Reed only makes a small mention that splitting of the company will cause a cost increase.

The cost increases  announment was made over two month ago. So if you think about it Reed must have been thinking about the changes for  2 or 3 month before that. I would think a company of this size would do some planning before making shuch a bold change as splitting the company.

So when  you look at the new Qwikster website (9/20/11 screen shot above) and only see a one page website announcing the new site is comming soon? You start to wonder how much planning has gone in to the YouTube video and the decision to split Netflix. After four months of time you think there would be a real site for the Qwikster business. Why would Reed make this huge change and not have the web site ready.

Makes you think he is backpedaling in the video to recover from a bad decesion to raise subscription rates so soon again. The price hike  has caused a loss of over a million subscribers.

Not only are subscribers unhappy, look at Wall Street,  the stock price is down to $143 from an all time high of $286 just (last month Aug 2011). That is a 50% loss in value in a month.

Reed better do a lot better then he did in his apology video or that subscriber base and stock price will continue to erode!

Or was the split done to position Netflix for Amazon to purchase Netflix?


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Google TV let down

Oct 07 2010 Published by under American Consumer, Changing scene, Geek stuff, Google

Wednesday October sixth was a real let down!

Logitech and Google started releasing a bunch of information about Google TV recently. Google luanched a more informative website early in the week.  That was the first sign of the letdown. DVR functional would only be available to Satellite customers. BUMMER!!!

Then on Wednesday (10/6) we get the first detail look at the Logitec Revue. The first thing I noticed was the connections on the back were limited to HDMI In and Out. So how was this going to work with OTA (over the air) broadcasting? well it is not, BUMMER!!

I was hoping  that the Logitech Revue device was going to be able to get ANY internet content.  Thats mean stuff like HULU! But several reporters reported no HULU at launch. Plus it was missing from all the screenshots. Another BUMMER!!

And the cost of the Logitech Revue is $300 dollars. Thats is a $200 dollar premium over most to the rest of the market. Like Apple TV and Roku which are both selling at the $99 dollar price point. So the cost is a real big BUMMER!!

On thing that is interesting about the Logitech Revue is it ability to control other devices like a digital cable , Satellite box, or a A/V receiver.  The Revue has an IR blaster and two connections on the back for IR out. I guess IR control is a no brainer for a company like Logitech that makes all the Harmony remotes. Plus you can use your smart phone (iPhone or Android)  to control the Revue over WiFi with a Logitech App. That is cool.

But the BUMMERS out number the cool factors, so I canceled my pre-order. I will sit on the side line a little longer to see who comes out with the set top box that hits the sweet spot. I thought it was going to be Google , but they missed by a long shot. My one hope is that this is just the initial release of Google TV…. Maybe better features are still coming

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Dumping Cable TV

Sep 03 2010 Published by under American Consumer, Changing scene, Geek stuff

We have dumped the Cable TV feed. Just got tired of all the games the cable provider was playing and the cost. We still get internet through cable but no Cable TV.

At first it was a tough. You know Cable TV withdraws.  Not being able to watch all the shows you get hooked on. Plus with the Tivo you were always able to keep a nice stock of shows to watch at your convenience.

Well after some digging on the internet and services like Netflix Watch Now we were able to make it through the first few months. Watching the LOST series filled up a lot of TV viewing time.  The six seasons of  LOST added up to  over 100 episodes.  Most of LOST was streamed over the Netflix service.

We are stilll streaming a lot of content form Netflix. There a lot of great show to watch Like Dr Who,  MI-5,  Dexter and more. We have also been exploring several of the cable networks wed sites , like USA network, SyFy and History. These networks release full episodes any where form 1 to 7 days after it airs on Cable. The problem here is they only keep the 4 most recent episodes and you can not easily record then for time shift viewing.

Another great web site for content is Hulu. There is a lot of content, some of it old, mostly episodes of previosu seasons or just the most recent 4  episodes.  But if you look around you will find some gems. Just the other night I found a DIY sires called Cool Tools. There are not an current episodes but there are three full seasons of shows.

Hulu is also starting up a paid service for $9.99 per month called Hulu Plus. I would be happy to pay the money if they gave me better access to current cable shows. After looking through the info on the Plus service it did not seem to offer much for the money. But is it early and the service is not in full release yet.

So we have survived the first 90 days of NO Cable TV.  Give it a try it is easer then you thing, plus you save a boat load of CASH.

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Upgrade Sony Tivo to Tivo HD

Oct 27 2009 Published by under Changing scene

sony_tivoThe upgrade from the 2000 vintage Sony Tivo to the Tivo HD was like getting exposed to Tivo all over again. Back in 2000 I did not get or understand  the Tivo revolution. Why would anyone spend $500 just to recoded a TV show. After all I have my trusty VCR.  You do remember what a VCR is right?  Will someone gave us a Sony Tivo for helping then set up a medical office. That Sony Tivo change the way I watched television for ever.  Now I was watching what I wanted when I wanted.  Plus if the phone rang I could pause live TV. All these were first at the time, back in 2000.

Well I have been very slow to upgrade to  a newer Tivo. After all mine dose the job. It has the Tivo lifetime service.  I have converted the phone only Sony Tivo to a ethernet connect unit with a giant hard drive.  The Old Sony Tivo will store almost 200 hours of television. What else did I want.

let me tell you what I wanted…I wanted, to be able to recorder in HD, I wanted to be able to recored two shows at a time, I wanted Netflix streaming, I wanted YouTube, I wanted Yahoo weather, I wanted Pictures and video from my PC and Mac and the list goes on and on….tivo-hd_11-300x224[1]

So I finally found a Tivo HD unit, with lifetime service, for under $500 and I jumped. And now I have all kinds of options all with a touch of a button from the Tivo remote.  Like I said back in 2000 Tivo changes the way you watch television and now Tivo changes the way I use my television.

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Better TV with Widgets?

Oct 08 2009 Published by under American Consumer, Changing scene, Corporate America


To solve the question, that was asked earlier this year “Who Decides What IPTV You Watch?” the industry has responded with the TV Widget. TV widgets allow you, the consumer, to break free from the iron fist of TV manufactures deciding what internet content you watch on your TV.

Several TV manufactures including LG, Samsung, Sony and soon to be Visio have introduced flat panel televisions that have Yahoo Widgets. Yahoo Widgets is a set of software that connects your TV to the internet and presents information kind of like an iPhone. The information comes from the internet but the user experience is not the normal personal computer browser model.

Visio has taken the Yahoo Widgets one step further. Not to be tied to Yahoo and Yahoos release schedule, Visio developed their own widget platform for Visio televisions. Visio developed there own platform using Adobe Flash. So it will be a very open platform. It will also support Yahoo’s Widgets, so you get the best of both worlds.

Visio is planning on releasing a SDK or software developer’s kit, so any one can develop a Widget for the Visio television. You could even develop a custom home automation interface or a interactive Game, the sky it the limit.

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Who Decides What IPTV You Watch?

Are only certain Networks channels displayed on your television set because the television manufacture has done a deal with that network?No, you get all the network channels that are broadcasted in your area.

So then why are Television manufactures making deals with internet video streaming sites and only displaying the ones they get paid too? It would be like Mitsubishi making a deal with NBC and CBS only. And since they do not have a deal with ABC you cannot receive ABC on the Mitsubishi Television. We would all thing that was nuts.

Will that is exactly what is taking place in today’s market. Television manufactures are only allowing streaming services that they cut deals with. No deal, no access through the television.

If the smarts are in a TV to receive, for example, Netflix, then the TV is smart enough to receive others. True the software for streaming is not standardized today BUT it should be. Manufactures should not be controlling what Internet Streaming sites work or do not work on a given television.

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End of an Era – Analog TV

Jun 13 2009 Published by under American Consumer, Changing scene, Goverment policy

Today June 12, 2009 is the end of the analog television era. Television, analog broadcasting as we knew it , was developed in the 1920s.  All analog broadcasting stops, in the United States, today June 12, 2009. President Obama delayed the transition early this year when he proposed the new transition date of June 12, 2009.

so if you switched on you older television set and got only snow it is time to buy a converter box or a new Digital television. All television broadcasting, after today June 12, 2009, must be digital.

3 responses so far

Final Countdown to Digital TV

Jun 02 2009 Published by under American Consumer, Future things


As of today June first, 2009 there are only twelve days left of analog television transmission. If you are not ready now you are out of time to get a government discount coupon. But you can still get a converter box. You’re just going to pay full price.

You will need a converter box if you are still receiving your television over an antenna. IF you are using a satellite dish, cable, internet or phone services to get your television you have nothing to worry about. You will see not anything difference or will not have any interruption Saturday morning June the thirteen.

The government has put together an extensive website with all kinds on helpful information on the fast approaching cutover date. They have, maps, troubleshooting guide, do it yourself info, transition statistics, DTV made easy section, Broadcasters Center, and a Media toolkit. All to help the America public make the change to digital television.

Digital Television is all most here, and it is about time.

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The truth about Digital Television

Mar 10 2009 Published by under American Consumer, Changing scene, Future things, Geek stuff

analog_tv3Will my Old fashion TV stop working and go black after June 12, 2009?
No and Yes.
No, If you are using a satellite service or Cable. You will see no change in your picture. Yes, If you are using rabbit ears or an outside antenna, your in trouble. Your TV will not display a picture.

I can only receive Digital Television content  on a NEW expensive HDTV device?
Not true.

You can receive the new Digital transmissions on your old fashion analog TV by using a “Converter Box”. The converter box receives a digital signal and converts the signal to analog so your old TV can display it.

So I Need a  “Converter Box”  and I will get  High Definition Television ?
Again No and Yes.

NO, you will not get a High definition 1080 picture on your old fashion TV. YES you will get a picture but, and it is a big but, your picture will be reformation and down graded to fit and display on your old fashion analog TV.

Digital television (DTV) and High Definition Television (HDTV) are the same thing?
False, No way!
Digital Television(DTV) is how the signal is broadcast vs. the old analog. Digital is just a bunch of ones and zeros being broadcasted and analog is a modulated wave signal. High Definition Television (HDTV) is based on a Digital signal, but is a higher resolution picture. Digital television is a picture defined as 480 lines of resolution. High Definition television it 720 or 1080 lines of resolution. So with HDTV you get a picture that is much cleared and finer detail.

So if you are using an old analog television, with an antenna, you must buy a converter box or a new digital television to watch over the air programs after June 12, 2009.

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Delay DTV NOT!

Jan 28 2009 Published by under American Consumer, Dumb Americans, Goverment policy

Question from J Q Public:
Why the DTV delay?

Answer from Washington:
You are not ready!

First I would think that the Obama administration would have more important things to deal with, like the failing United States economy!

But instead they are pushing a bill through the House and Congress to delay the Digital Television transition. The Digital Transitions has been going on for eight years. So is four months going to make any difference?

Ok so the 1.3 billion dollars ran out, that means 32.5 million converter boxes were bought. According to 58% of the households have cable, 29% have satellite. If there about 100 million households in the United States that means the majority of us are ready for the conversion to digital television or do not need it.  Remember anyone using cable, satellite or IPTV will not be effected by the digital transition.

So there are two million plus waiting for a converter box coupion.  Let them buy a converter box and get a tax credit. There is no delay and no excuses.

The delay, if approved, will cost the broadcasters millions of dollars in cost over the additional four months. This increase in cost is because they will need to run both the analog and digital transmitters for an additional 4 months. Most broadcasters have hundreds of  station across the country. So this adds up fast.

In my opinion we should not add to the confusion over the digital transition. Instead after eight years of having feet in both the digital and analog world, just do the cut over on February 17 , 2009 as planed. Washington should get on the task at handle the US economy. Washington does not need to be worried about or TV.

2 responses so far

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