Pluto TV just added The Gorilla Channel to its lineup. Just in case you know someone who was looking for it.

Since I can’t add anything to that, I’ll turn my attention to CES, which had its Press Day today. For all you readers who weren’t there and have never attended this day-before ritual, check out some fresh video here. (CES posted this “B-roll” mainly for TV stations to use as background while local announcers remind viewers that it’s CES Eve, but I don’t see any reason why you can’t watch it too.)

The video accurately shows several examples of the press conferences common to Press Day. Very large companies set up in the Mandalay Bay Events Center’s cavernous ballrooms, which are then packed with reporters. They watch a stage presentation of the latest products that may come to market this year, then they either scurry back to the equally packed press room to write up something or they get in a very long line for the next press conference a few doors down. This provides helpful fodder for the Wireds and TechCrunches of the world, but it rarely addresses the needs of you, dear reader, who come here to learn more about the latest content on TV and video and occasionally new ways of watching it.

This year will be my 12th consecutive CES visit. I’ll be posting notes about it all this week, but I’m otherwise skipping Press Day.


 The Kennel Murder Case (1933) on IMDb

A year before beginning his most famous role as Nick Charles in The Thin Man movies, William Powell finished another film series in which he starred another sophisticated detective, Philo Vance. The Kennel Murder Case, the series’ fifth entry, also starred Mary Astor, who would later turn in a memorable performance opposite Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon.

This Internet Archive Top 100 movie was directed by Michael Curtiz, who won an Oscar in 1942 for Casablanca. The Kennel Murder Case is a prime example of a well-done 1930s murder mystery. Enjoy!

Convention booth showing Give Away Starts in 39 seconds

Scout the giveaways, then arrive in plenty of time to get a seat. You don’t want to stand for too many 10-minute presentations.

This might be the last chance I get to reach some readers before they fly off to Las Vegas for the 2018 edition of CES. (Don’t call it the Consumer Electronics Show.) If you want to read a good summary of the TV-related stories that might develop at this year’s CES, CNET has a good one. It’s been four years, so I guess I ought to forgive them for that time they cheated the Dish Hopper receiver out of a Best In Show award.

Based on hotel prices, this could be the busiest CES ever. If you’re going to join the crowd next week at the show, here’s a freshened version of my evergreen Convention Attendee Survival Guide.

  1. Wear comfortable shoes. This is the highest priority, because if you have bad shoes, it will ruin the whole show for you. You will be walking. A lot. On hard surfaces. Most of the time, when you’re not walking, you’ll be standing. Unless they’re used to that kind of treatment, your feet won’t be happy with this. Find those comfy shoes now and break them in before you arrive.
  2. Have a plan, but don’t expect to stick to it. Make note of the high points that you absolutely have to see. Add some topics that sound interesting, but which don’t have the same high priority. Make a list of exhibitors you want to meet. Then walk onto the floor with the expectation that your schedule may change. There will be a lot of interesting stuff out there, including something you never thought of. Don’t be afraid to set aside what looked good yesterday when you want to learn more about something that’s amazingly cool today.
  3. Bring food. It shouldn’t be a lot. A PowerBar or Clif Bar or maybe even a Snickers will do. If you prefer something warm and mediocre, you can take a half hour to wait in line, pay too much, then struggle to find a place to gulp down lunch. Or you can unwrap a protein bar from your pocket or bag and munch on it as you sit and watch an exhibitor’s presentation. Save your time to visit more booths, and save your money for a real meal after the exhibit hall closes for the night.
  4. Drink, especially water. The air is dry in Las Vegas, and hours of walking and standing take more effort than sitting around all day. Dehydration will make you and your muscles feel more tired. When you pass a water fountain, take a drink. Consider bringing a small refillable bottle – it might go well with your PowerBar snack. And when any exhibitor offers any kind of liquid refreshment, it’s probably a good idea to take it. Come to think of it, that’s good advice on any occasion, isn’t it?
  5. Download the CES app before you arrive. Every year for every show, the official app is always lame. But it’s still the best way to put all the exhibit floor maps in your pocket. When you remember that you wanted to visit TooCool’s booth, you’ll want to know where to find it. When you need to find the nearest rest room, you’ll definitely be thankful for the map. (Side note: The best rest rooms in the LVCC are along the southeast wall of Central Hall. Keep that in mind when you’re in the neighborhood.) On the other hand, don’t carry the thick, physical convention guide book because …
  6. Beware of heavy freebies. There are so many great things for free at a big show. Free magazines. Free catalogs. Informational flyers. Pens. Paperweights. Bags for carrying them all. You can probably haul around all the pens that you’ll get, but anything that feels a little heavy at 11 is going to be a burden by 4. If you really need that two-inch-thick catalog, plan to pick it up as you leave for the night.
  7. Wear comfortable shoes. Seriously.
  8. Choose your bag well. With all those flyers and freebies, you’ll want a free bag to carry them around. Don’t just grab the first one you see, especially not the one hanging there when you pick up your badge. This bag will be making a first impression for you for the rest of the show, so find something useful and interesting. You might even spot a bag from one of your favorite brands, made with sturdy fabric with a side pocket for your water bottle. When you see one of those, grab it fast; the most popular bags run out before the show’s over.
  9. Time your presentations well. If you pass by a booth with a mob standing around watching a presentation that you’d like to see, make a note of when the next showing will be, then keep moving. If you pass by a booth with a presentation that’s going to start in 10 minutes, have a seat if you think it’ll be of interest to you. Use this 10-minute break to check your schedule, check your email, and get friendly with the folks at the booth. You’ll get the benefit of an unobstructed view of a full presentation and your feet will get the benefit of a full half-hour break. Then get up and walk back to that booth you passed, if it’s about 10 minutes before that next showing.
  10. For your top priority event, get there early. If your schedule is built around the 2 o’clock show at the Virtual Reality Theater, get there at 1:30. If Harrison Ford is signing Star Wars posters at 4, get to his booth by 3. If it’s really that cool, it’ll be that popular too, and you’ll probably be waiting in a long line. If there’s no line when you arrive, hang around the neighborhood until it starts to form. If no line ever forms, make sure you’ve got your schedule right; maybe Harrison isn’t supposed to sign anything until tomorrow.
  11. For everything, include plenty of travel time. It takes over a half mile to walk from the back of South Hall to the northwest corner inside North Hall, with plenty of foot traffic along the way. If you visit a Westgate hospitality suite, that’s another 1000 feet each way. Want to shuttle between Tech East and Tech West (the Sands)? It’s only a mile and a half, but give yourself at least a half hour to stand in line, ride the bus through clogged traffic, and unpack at your destination. It might be a good time to eat that PowerBar.
  12. Wear comfortable shoes. Okay?

TBD logoIt’s been four weeks, but I just now noticed a new diginet broadcasting over the air to FreeTVBlog World Headquarters in Denver. I usually spot them sooner than that; I blame the holidays. The new guy is TBD (its actual name, not something to be determined), a Sinclair-owned channel providing “TV for People Who Love the Internet”.

TBD is trying to attract millennials, offering mostly curated clips and shows from the internet. On broadcast TV. In between ads for baldness treatments, among other things.

Is there any chance I can trademark the phrase “I don’t get it”? Folks who truly love the internet can, y’know, surf around and see an infinite variety of content on demand. Or they can tune in to TBD and watch externally chosen, dated internet-based clips after hearing about reverse mortgages. Who is in TBD’s audience? Sad teenagers with no data plan? Twenty-somethings who can’t get the internet in their apartments? Kids with parents who won’t let them use computers but will let them watch TV?

With Sinclair’s backing, this channel will last as long as they want it to. Considering my First Rule of Programming (Regardless of its original niche, every channel will become like every other channel), at least there’s hope for the future.

 Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) on IMDb

José Ferrer won a Tony Award in 1947 for his Broadway performance of Cyrano de Bergerac. Three years later, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in Cyrano de Bergerac, a fairly faithful adaptation of that play. Ferrer was the first Hispanic actor to win an Oscar, and I wonder how many more Tony-Oscar winners there are of the same role.

The supporting players are nothing special, and the film was made in a hurry with limited sets, reflecting the accurate notion that a 1950 American audience would not be drawn to a title it couldn’t pronounce. Ferrer’s amazing work lifts this movie above all that to its high position in the Internet Archive Top 100.