While I love my Nano, and I enjoy using iTunes, the one thing that cheeses me off are the hoops I have to jump through to play iTunes music I’ve legally purchased on non-Apple products. For example, I recently purchased the entire first season of “The Ricky Gervais Show” podcasts from Audible (cos I’m a latecomer, which is defined in weeks anymore), and I had to waste 6 CDs converting it to .mp3. WTF? That ain’t right.
One of my favorite niche sites out there is Gord Lacey’s TV Shows on DVD, which is exactly what it claims to be: a place where you can learn about TV Shows on DVD. It’s essentially a compendium of news/rumours/release dates (Battlestar Galactica 2.5 is coming out in early September?!?), reviews, and a place where you can vote for shows that haven’t quite made it to DVD.
Anyways, just for the hell of it, here’s my list of shows that I’m still waiting to see on DVD (or On-Demand) (or even downloadable):
While you were figuring out ways of getting around your Network Admin policy of cutting you off from March Madness, we were dissecting the panels we attended at this year’s SXSW:
- Librarians vs. The Search Giants – Sure, that sounds like a particularly bad Monty Python skit, instead, it’s a spot-on recap of a SXSWi panel about the issues surrounding the digitialization of books.
- My Sony Settlement, Part 1 – Is there anything more disheartening than being part of the winning side of a class-action settlement against a evil multinational?
- Fast, Cheap, and Redefining News: Rocketboom – Can people still create quality content without being backed by huge corporate infrastructure? Duh!
- The Darknet Panel: Meet the Consumer – Wanted: a way to be anti-piracy without being anti-consumer.
- Nick Denton is the Most Generous Man on the Internet – Another report from SXSW, but less on a hard-hitting panel discussion, and more about free drinks and pool playing Roombas. Really.
Sometimes new media media ideas get retrofitted into older media. A perfect example of this is a start-up called LaLa, which takes distinctly new media concept — using the Net to share files — and applies it to an older technology, the Compact Disc.
Part MySpace, Netflix, eBay and iTunes, La la incorporates pieces of each: Users list online the CDs they both want and have. In the process, they find others who share the same taste in music. Then, when one user requests a CD that another person owns, the owner drops it in the mail in a pre-paid envelope. The receiver is billed $1, plus 49 cents for shipping; the shipper pays nothing.
It’s devilishly simple, of course, and 100% legal.
While other TV shows will be taking their summer vacations, much of the cast of The Office will be participating in a series of webisodes that will be available from NBC.com this summer. According to an NBCU press release, there will ten eps: a story arc centering on a missing $3000, and the attempt to locate it.
And in keeping with this season’s emphasis on the secondary and tertiary characters, the webisodes won’t have most of the big names: Steve Carrell, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer and B.J. Novak. Those people will be getting to take actual full vacations. Sounds more and more like a real office, doesn’t it?
Conspicious by his presence is Rainn Wilson, which causes us to make a prediction: Dwight done it. No doubt to finance the purchase of a of a brand-new Prism DuroSport 6000.
AOL launched their In2TV service today, featuring an eclectic mix of 30 Warner Bros. TV shows from the past half-century. Some good, some bad, some on DVD, some not — and all available for high-quality streaming in their entirety with “minimal commercial interruption.” 1 to 2 minutes, for now. Though if it’s successful, that will no doubt sneak up a bit: the whole point, of course, is another revenue stream.
We haven’t yet had a chance for a test-drive of the service through the Medialoper Review Labs — the pilot ep of Welcome Back Kotter, prior to Travolta becoming a superstar, will be just the ticket — but here are a couple of random initial impressions:
- The home page is clean and well-organized: less clutter than iTunes, and easier to find stuff than Google video or YouTube.
- Don’t come here looking for full seasons. Looks like they’ve launched with about 10 eps of each show.
- They’ve also launched with features and interactive games.
- There is more than one way to find an individual show: they’ve categorized them, have a search feature, broken out clips; and have a “show all feature” that actually lists more than a few at a time.
- One of the best ideas: “Pilot Theatre,” which is exactly what you would think.
All in all, a nice auspicious start for IN2TV: one can only hope that they add more shows, and more episodes for each show.
Warner Home Video, the only studio which had a firm release date for any HD DVD titles — March 28 — has now told retailers that the date isn’t so firm after all. Worse yet, they really aren’t sure when they’re gonna release those titles.
“To be honest, the outlook is tenuous — we’re still coming out with an initial slate, but we may be a week or two later; we just don’t know,” division president Ron Sanders said.
Translation: don’t look for any HD-DVD movies before Easter, or maybe even Memorial Day. Fourth of July? Meanwhile, the big mass market retailers are reportedly canceling pre-orders and changing ad campaigns to compensate for the lack of product. And no other studios had even announced actual release dates. Even without the format wars, this would be a less than auspicious beginning.
Meanwhile, Toshiba, the only manufacturer to even make the players right now (though LG just announced their dual player), is going to be all dressed up with nowhere to go.
And nowhere seems to be where the format is headed right now.
I was one of the unlucky people who happened to purchase a copy-protected CD from SonyBMG last year. It was the Foo Fighters album On Your Honor, and I remember at the time cursing the fact that I couldn’t rip it to put it on my hard drive to listen to at my leisure. Turns out that was the least of my worries, as they also left my hard drive vulnerable because they decided that the simple act of purchasing a CD from a band I’ve always liked meant that they could do anything that they wanted to do with my system.
Gee, thanks SonyBMG!! Thank you ever so much for that!! And by the way,this whole fiasco actually kept me from buying another SonyBMG album that I had borrowed and actually quite liked: My Morning Jacket’s Z. Sheesh. No wonder people like Kirk have given up purchasing physical CDs, even while the record companies try desperate measures to force people to do just that.
In any event, thanks to the EFF call to get the settlement, I am now going to get whatever restitution that I am offered, and I thought that it might be fun to track the process.
When I was a kid, I used to place a handheld Panasonic cassette tape recorder (with a condensor mic!) next to a transistor radio to tape songs off of KYNO-AM. Not yet having the the money to go out and buy every single song I liked; these recordings were key to how I connected deeply to pop music, on which I’ve since spent a huge amount of my disposable (and not so disposable) income.
Little did I know, that in the eyes of the RIAA, my 10-year-old self was a thief, and they were itching for a way to keep me from stealing their songs. And now, with the advent of digital radio, they may have found a way.
According to the New York Times, in a desperate attempt to goose CD sales, major labels are considering stepping back a decade, and experimenting with the concept of not releasing advance single downloads from upcoming albums.
So just as iTunes hits it’s billionth download; and it’s clear that people are embracing downloading as a viable option the major labels decide, welllll, that ain’t good enough.