West Wing ends its seven year run in May

NBC announced a shake-up in it's lineup as its shows continue to ail in the ratings. West Wing had been scrapped prior to John Spencer's death late last year. The network also killed Will and Grace and announced it wasn't sure what it would do with twelve episodes of the ill-fated Friends spinoff Joey.

One of the benefits of giving up on current television in favor of watching those worthwhile shows on DVD is that I'll still have two seasons of West Wing to go. That is if Netfilx will ever list them in the directory so I can add them to my saved rentals.

The next digital rights war?

A major announcement from the Disney ABC Television Group today lends support to the idea that video over the internet is taking off. The new titles added will include clips from yesterday's games as well as free video podcasts taking clips from popular news and information shows.

How long until we have a war over not just the broadcast rights but the delayed video rights as well? When will the first college turn it's sideline video into a full-blown video podcast of the season? It is quite possible to choose to avoid the score of a game and watch it tomorrow. What will it do to the ESPN model of charging $20 for a weekend's games if I can download the one game I want to see on Sunday for $2. Sure the quality won't be great, but then again I'm as likely to be doing other things while watching anyway.

NBC brings Law & Order to iTunes

NBC Universal announced today that the company will distribute 11 television shows through the iTunes music store. The shows include classic television shows Dragnet and Knight Rider and newer titles including Law & Order and The Tonight Show.

As with the Disney titles in the store, each title will be priced at $1.99 per show.

In just over a month since introduction Apple reports more than 3 million videos have been purchased through the music store. It could be very interesting to look back on this time in a few decades. As prime-time television became an American mainstay family time decreased significantly. With the increasing ease of watching one's favorite shows on ever longer commute there just might be some extra time on a cold winter's eve. Who knows we might all even be forced to learn a musical instrument to pass the time.

Why ESPN didn't get my $10...

I came home early tonight with the intent of watching the Colorado State at BYU football game. Having scouted the game earlier I knew it would be on ESPN's Game Plan. It has been a while since I used one of the pay-per-view services but thought it would be worth dropping $10 to watch the game. Little did I know that I was only half right. For some reason I won't soon understand ESPN doesn't sell individual games anymore. If you want to see one game you have to buy the $20 "weekend" package. I understand it gives me more games that I could have watched earlier in the day but as I often do I was working earlier in the day.

No worries, I thought, because BYU TV had the game scheduled to be shown with a 1-hour delay. "All right," I thought, I can avoid the score for an extra hour and see the game. Of course when the hour passed and the game was due to start its "delayed" showing a college of fine arts music concert was on instead. It seems the schedule was optimistic in advertising the game for an hour after kickoff. Going online it seems the package is $20 to watch it on either the internet or TV. Why not both? Would it really cost that much extra for ESPN to offer a combined package?

Alas it is now most of the way through the third quarter and the Cougars are mauling the Rams 17-0. ESPN GameCast shows the Rams are having an impossible time crossing the Cougar's 35-yard-line, let alone getting into the red zone. Elsewhere in the league today Utah's woes continued with San Diego State coming up with a 28-19 win.

Home to TiVo

Amazingly with my terrible small portion of television viewing these days one of the things I miss the most in a hotel room is TiVo. Compounding the problem on this trip is that most hotels don't have the Outdoor Life Network, which carries the Tour de France in the United States. At least by this evening I should be able to watch the magical win of Armstrong in the individual time trial.

Chicago pictures will follow when I get back to the PCMCIA card I left at home.

DirecTV DVR gets upgrade to 6.2

DirecTV is mailing notices to customers about the impeding upgrade to version 6.2 of the software on the DirecTV DVR units. The traffic in message boards seems to be a pretty positive response. Faster access to the program guide, folders for TV series and the ability to sort recorded programs by title or date recorded are new features listed. A few posts on the forums indicate problems with the 30-second skip after the upgrade but these all end in successfully getting the skip put back.

On the down side it resets favorite channels so there will be more time spent getting rid of the home shopping network and it's cronies.


Subscribe to Television