Remember cable? It sucked. You had to deal with commercials, and you could only watch what the network decided you should watch. It was a nightmare that many of us couldn't wait to — oh, some of you still have it? Oh, you like it? But... but why?
Anyways, times have greatly improved for cord cutters. There's YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, HBO Now, Showtime, Google Play, Watch ABC, CBS, Comedy Central, PBS, and so many other options for streaming video.
The downside? We have to keep up with what's available where. This conundrum has led to the proliferation of TV guide-ish apps that will tell you what's playing on which services (oh how things have come full circle).
You can get by without a cable subscription these days and still watch plenty of video with the magic of the internet. Well, unless you have an oppressive data cap to deal with. Yuck. For everyone else, there's the streaming cable service Sling TV. It launched a while back with support for a few devices, which has been expanding steadily. Now, you can watch Sling TV via the Chromecast.
Heroes fans had something to smile about when NBC announced that it would air a 13 episode mini-series following up the original four seasons. Not only that, creator Tim Kring returned as executive producer. But the fan service doesn't stop there. Phosphor Game Studio has released an immersive mobile game that hooks in to what's happening on TV.
The game, Hereos Reborn: Enigma, stars Dahlia, a young woman whose special powers are needed to solve various puzzles in first-person. Think Portal. You will use telekinesis and time shifting to make it through over 30 levels, all designed using Unreal Engine 4.
Don't think I'll find where a show is available online? Just watch me. There's an app or two for that, and now that JustWatch has brought its search engine to Android and iOS, there's another one. And it's capable of searching through Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, HBO Now, Hulu, iTunes, Netflix, Play Movies, PlayStation, Showtime, Vudu, Xbox, and a couple other online streaming services.
JustWatch's grid layout looks like those of the services it interacts with, and it feels like a natural companion, like the modern-day equivalent of a TV guide. You can create a watchlist without having to create an account or provide any credentials.
How much money do you have to spend to get a manufacturer to throw in a $650 freebie? Well, it looks like a cool $3,000 $1,500 is a start. At least, that's the math behind an upcoming Samsung promotion an anonymous tipster shared with us.
According to The Wall Street Journal, American TV streaming giant Hulu is considering launching a version of its service that will contain no commercials at all. The Journal's sources claim it will cost between $12 and $14 a month, and could launch as soon as this fall.
Hulu is jointly-owned by Fox, Disney, and Comcast (shiver) - companies with very heavily vested interests in the survival of the existing cable and satellite TV regimes. Why, then, would Hulu seek to cut more cables by offering an enticing ad-free subscription option? The answer is almost certainly growth. Netflix has more than seven times the number of subscribers as Hulu (to be fair, Netflix is offered in other countries).
The Time Warner Cable app is somewhat of a luxury reserved exclusively for paying customers. Like competing TV subscription add-ons, it provides the ability to watch shows on your Android device and a way to control the tube other than reaching for the remote. Version 4.0 updates the experience with a new look.
The changes may require a double take. The toolbar remains largely the same, with Live TV, Guide, DVR Manager, and On Demand spread across the top. The user interface tucked away under each category has received an overhaul. Things are flatter now. It's not material, but it's more Lollipop-y than Gingerbread-y.
Have you seen Mr. Robot? The show is only three episodes in, but it's already shaping up to be a surprisingly awesome hacking drama. And I don't mean "hacking" in the CSI/NCIS/Scorpion "120WPM and 60 flashing windows" kind of hacking - the protagonist and his Anonymous-style compatriots use real methods and technology, mostly relying on a combination of known vulnerabilities, social engineering, and brute force attacks to play at being cyber-vigilantes. You should check it out - USA has the first three episodes available for free on its website.
The third episode features a pretty cool segment where (extremely mild spoiler alert) the antagonist gains physical access to an Android phone in order to digitally tap it.