Category Archives: Entertainment News

The Changing Future Of Cable TV

If there’s any consensus at all among among the pundits and tech gurus, it’s that change is coming, no doubt about it. With so many technological advances available to the industry, the gamble is not on advancing, but rather on which advances consumers will respond to. Hype aside, the ultimate decider will be where Americans spend their money.

Like the music, PC, movie, tablet, and cell phone industries before them, cable TV providers must acknowledge changing consumer expectations and re-invent their product and delivery options. Otherwise, they risk fading into historical obscurity. Following are some of the major elements of change to expect.

A La Carte Options

Anyone who’s ever signed up for cable TV has bemoaned the lack of ability to choose which channels you want. According to Jim Louderbeck of Revision 3, a San Francisco based independent online service, unbundling is the wave of the future. “When technology allows for consumer convenience, that technology ends up winning” says Louderbeck.

Mobility

When the Internet became popular, everyone thought they’d be watching TV on their computers. While that’s somewhat possible today, it hasn’t lived up to initial expectations. DVR’s with whole home viewing features have provided much more convenience for in-home viewing. With the explosion in popularity of smartphones and nearly omnipresent Internet access, TV on the go isn’t just a consumer desire, it’s a demand.

And speaking of smartphones – what about apps? Some say that apps for your TV viewing are not far away. Imagine having an app for your favorite channel or show. Just what would these apps do? NBC and TBS are just two networks already experimenting with apps. Others argue that people don’t want their TV viewing experience to be like their PC or smartphone, that they use TV as an escape from all that. Time will tell.

Convenience

How would you like to get rid of that pesky remote that’s always getting misplaced and control your TV viewing with just a flick of the wrist or a voice command? Xbox is already using the technology, and it looks like it will reach other platforms soon. Some providers are already offering apps that let you program your DVR. What about social media on your cable programming? It might be hard to see how TV can be an effective medium for social interaction, but with the immense popularity of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., expect social media to come soon to a TV screen near you. Some argue that the cable distribution model is entrenched and not going anywhere soon. Nonetheless, others are experimenting with innovative ways to deliver programming. This is more a battle between entrenched cable TV providers and up and coming challengers that will be an interesting match to watch. What ever happens, the coming revolution in cable TV programming point will point to a victory for consumers.

Michael Bay Produces New Pilot, “The Last Ship,” for TNT

Fans of post-apocalyptic thrillers are excited to hear that the cable network TNT has signed on with a new series, The Last Ship. The show is based on the popular William Brinkley novel of the same name, which tells the story of the crew of a naval destroyer. They are among the last people who are still alive after a global nuclear disaster wiped out most of the earth’s population.

Michael Bay, The Last Ship‘s executive producer, is bringing his considerable talents — honed on films such as Armageddon, The Rock, Pearl Harbor, and the Transfomers — to television. Joining Bay, with an array of gadgets behind the scenes, are his Platinum Dunes production house partners, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, who are no strangers to creating chilling stories, having previously worked on A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Hank Steinberg, know for his work on Without a Trace, and Steven Kane, known for The Closer, wrote the pilot script and are also co-executive producing.

The network has been releasing enthusiastic statements about the show. “We believe this show will take viewers on a thrilling ride and fits perfectly with TNT’s expanding line-up of original dramas,” Michael Wright, TNT’s president and head of programming said. “We look forward to working with Michael Bay and The Last Ship‘s outstanding production team.”

Wright described the book that the show is based on as a “gripping page-turner that has all the makings of a terrific television drama, including a great premise, memorable characters, intense situations and heart-racing action.”

Despite the network’s display of enthusiasm, TNT so far has only made a tentative commitment, ordering only the pilot and not yet setting an air date. That could all change on a dime, though. Blogger Reuben at TV Equals thinks that The Last Ship could get a boost from a show on ABC which has some similarities. “[S]hould this fall’s new ABC drama ‘Last Resort’ – which also focuses on a group of naval officers – succeed, TV viewers could see this show popping up on the screen,” she writes.

It appears that no cast members have been announced. The show, at this point, remains a concept, but an exciting one. The talent behind the cameras, with their backgrounds in action and horror films, know how to tell a story that grips an audience and doesn’t let go. The story could provide exactly the kind of escapist fun that so many people yearn for during these lean economic times. And TNT is a network that is committed to developing new original dramas, and it can bring a fresh enthusiasm to the project that larger, stodgier networks are no longer able to muster.

The story of a self-contained group isolated on a ship should offer many opportunities for action/adventure, romance and speculation, opening up the possibility of appealing to a variety of fan bases.

Author —  Annabella Clavette

Annabella is a Chicago-based freelance writer and editor. She specializes in auto mechanics and the technology industry.