Female hands grabbing shiny coins.

© winterling / DepositPhotos

Maybe I’d be better off waiting for Cyber Monday, but Fridays are often depressing and Mondays tend to be newsworthy, so I’ll try something different. I’m going to list affiliate links to some of my advertisers. If you click on one and buy something, I’ll briefly get one of the coins in the photo before sending it along to my web host. (Hmm, add to my Todo List: Get an affiliate link for my web host.)

Antennas Direct has a very interesting ClearStream TV™ Over-The-Air WiFi Television Digital Tuner that’s on sale as I type. I haven’t tried it yet, and I don’t expect that I’d prefer it to my HDHomeRun and Tablo devices, but yaneverknow.

On the other hand, I’m already very happy with my Roku, so much so that I bought a second little one to keep in my suitcase. If I break down and buy a 4K TV, it’ll probably be one with Roku built-in, so then I’d have a spare to send off to college with my kid.

If you’re one of the people who create those streaming videos to send out instead of just watching them, then you could do worse than use Vimeo, especially now that there’s 10% off Vimeo Live! Use Code LIVELAUNCH10.

Finally, for some serious coins, you could use TripAdvisor to book your next hotel in Las Vegas, maybe for CES or NAB next year. I love the reviews, and you’re going to see some hotels (cough downtown) that are convenient to the LV Convention Center at a lower price that most conference-based booking agencies. Then again, if you’ve got the cash for a really expensive, nearby hotel, you’re probably better off booking with at the conference site. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Sure enough CBS blacked out Dish customers Monday night. Dish responded with a press release that talked about over-the-air antennas. “In recent weeks, thousands of eligible DISH customers in CBS markets have made the switch to OTA … Customers with qualifying equipment, programming, and location can choose to receive local channels free over the air and save $10 per month on their bill.” And here’s another reason, if true, for me to dislike CBS’s tactics: “In addition to asking for significant price increases for local channels, CBS is attempting to ‘force bundle’ unrelated and low-performing cable channels (CBS Sports Network, Pop and Smithsonian Channel) at a premium.” I have always thought that retrans talks for OTA stations, which are designed to serve the public airwaves, needs to be separate from pay-TV channels.

Last week, I wrote that BTV Phoenix was soliciting feedback for dropping its Katz diginets (Bounce, Escape, and Grit). It’s not asking for feedback any more. Those channels had been grayed out, with an invitation for viewers to profess their enthusiasm for them, but now they’re simply not present, just as happened with those networks on BTV Bay Area. Jeff Baumgartner at Multichannel News got a response from Didja, the BTVs’ parent, that it believed “the situation is temporary, and remains hopeful that they will be restored to its lineups.”

And on Tuesday, Dec. 5, Public Knowledge will host Net Neutrality & Competition: The Final Days of Internet Freedom at the Internet Archive in San Francisco. With the FCC likely to strike down Net Neutrality protections, AT&T looking to merge with Time Warner, and Sinclair trying to gobble up the Tribune stations, “Public Knowledge is coming to California to discuss these important political shifts with engaged individuals, and to build new connections with individuals who want to learn more about standing up for an open internet.” Sound like fun, in a depressing kind of way.

Mill Creek 50 Movie Collection: Mad Scientist Theater

One of Mill Creek’s inexpensive movie collections

Seriously long-term readers of this blog might remember Mill Creek Entertainment. I mentioned these folks way back in 2010 as a source of classic public domain movies after White Springs TV went off the air. At the time, the Internet Archive’s movie collection was still skimpy, and broadband internet was less common, so a lot more people could watch a Mill Creek DVD than download a movie.

A few months ago, Mill Creek flipped that paradigm on its head by releasing a series of movie packs on its Watch Mill Creek online platform. For less than $5, about a quarter of the price of the DVD equivalent, you can buy 50 online movies in one of several flavors: Crime Wave, Cowboy Legends, Icons of Comedy, Mad Scientist Theater (pictured), and many more. Once purchased, that owned content is available through a Roku app and most web browsers to watch as often as you want.

The online movie packs don’t match up with any particular old Mill Creek DVD collection, but the titles are very familiar. Most of these are available at the Internet Archive, but Mill Creek’s better user interface might be worth a few dollars for the convenience of calling up one of your favorites on demand. And their email specials, such as this Mad Scientist pack for a dollar at Halloween or a special free Thanksgiving sampler, are another reason to sign up.

There’s also a smattering of non-public domain available for purchase, such as It’s Ernest (the Jim Varney TV show), Archie’s Weird Mysteries, and Liberty’s Kids, but when it comes to Mill Creek, I’m looking for the quantity entertainment of 50-movie packs. These flicks might not be worth much, but they might be worth their asking price and even a little more.

 

 

Classic CBS logoAs I was watching the Broncos lose at home again yesterday afternoon, there was an occasional crawl at the top of the screen telling the world that Dish customers should call Dish and complain that they might lose CBS. Or something like that – the game was hard to watch. I rolled my eyes inwardly and thought, here we go again.

The first CBS-Dish fight from over 10 years ago was the impetus for me to install a good Yagi-style over-the-air antenna on the roof. Not only did that let me bypass that dispute, it opened up the world of digital subchannels. I’ve since upgraded to a less pointy version with even better reception, but that’s only part of the reason I just don’t care this time.

When Dish sent out its nigh-annual rate increase around the beginning of this year, for the first time it broke out Broadcast TV as its own $10 charge. “Cool!” I thought, and called in to get the satellite-delivered locals turned off. That wasn’t how it worked; with my typical package of channels, that separate broadcast component was still mandatory.

Which was why I was surprised to get a postcard from Dish a couple of months ago offering to save me that $10/month if I picked up locals via an OTA antenna. They even offered to send out an installer. I called again, and this time the satellite-delivered locals went away and $10 stayed in my pocket. I no longer have PrimeTime Anytime, and my Hopper doesn’t record OTA all that well, but I’ve got a Tablo in place for my OTA DVR. I’m saving money and getting the pleasure of thumbing my nose at CBS’s tactics.

That’s the part that bugs me most. CBS already has enormous leverage in retransmission consent talks, and for the network to bug all viewers just to reach some Dish customers to increase that leverage, I think that’s a jerk move. As long as its stations continue to have an obligation to freely serve the public airwaves, then that’s how I’ll watch my CBS.