First Smart Set-Top Box to bring à la carte Cable TV wins

Cable TVRoku, Chromecast, Amazon FireTV, and Apple TV are all fighting for our attention as a device through which we consume our content. And they’re not all. Years ago, WebTV provided a glimpse into what the world would be like in the future. It paved the way for TiVo and ultimately lead the way to Slingbox, Western Digital’s WD TV, Netgear’s NeoTV and more.

Now the race is on to take over our living rooms. If you don’t have a game console like Wii UXbox or Playstation, other options for streaming Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video include Smart TVs, Smarter Blu-ray players and even your cable boxes.

Devices like Roku, Amazon FireTV and Apple TV come in at up to $99, while Google’s Chromecast will run you a mere $35 (and I’ve seen sales around $25-30). All of these devices go a long way toward getting people to cut the cable TV entirely, by providing streaming for all of the shows that people want.

But there’s a problem, and I think the first set-top box to solve it will change the future.

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Watch the ‘Girl Meets World’ Trailer

Girl Meets World cast photoBoy Meets World is one of the best TV shows ever created. Seven seasons of quality television and the world was never really ready to say goodbye to the cast. Here we are, mere months away from a direct sequel to the show. In Girl Meets World, we are reunited with Cory and Topanga, who are now parents to two children: a girl, who is the title character and this series’ Cory Matthews, and a boy.

I’m as ready for this new show after seeing the trailer, as I was when I first heard they were doing the show in the fall of 2012. In fact, I think I’ve viewed all of Boy Meets World twice since learning about the new show.

Pictured here is the cast, which includes the family in the middle, along with a very awkward teen boy in blue who is hopefully a like-able character, as well as someone else that looks like a proto-typical Disney Channel character on the other side.  In addition to Ben Savage (Cory) and Danielle Fishel (Topanga) in the back, the photo features Peyton Meyer (friend, Lucas Friar), August Maturo (Matthews son, Auggie), Rowan Blanchard (Matthews daughter, Riley), Sabrina Carpenter (friend, Maya Hart) and Corey Fogelmanis (friend, Shamus Farkle).

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‘Heroes’ Reborn on NBC in Summer 2015

Heroes RebornThat’s right, the long awaited follow up to Tim Kring’s tv series Heroes is actually going to happen.  Heroes aired on NBC from 2006-2010, and featured a very large cast of characters with a variety of super powers.  The show’s quality went downhill in the second and third seasons, but the fourth season saw some very interesting characters join the cast.  It seemed they’d run out of ideas for Claire, and that storyline tooks some rather odd turns, and is probably my least favorite for her in the whole series.  One of my favorite new characters was Emma, a woman who also happens to be deaf.  She begins to see music and sound in color, which has the potential to become a powerful weapon.

But that’s enough about the past.  If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about.  Where the series ends, however, is what makes me excited about where the mini-series will begin.  I’m guessing it’ll pick up five years later, in real-time, from the end of the series.

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The Wonder Years is coming to DVD with all music intact!

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Finally, after years of waiting, hoping, and beginning to think it was never going to happen, The Wonder Years is coming to DVD.  We wrote about it for one of our articles, explaining the difficulty in releasing The Wonder Years, and were hoping that they’d also consider releasing it on Blu-ray.  It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, even though the discs are more durable, can hold a higher capacity of episodes, and take up less room on our shelves.  But who knows?  Perhaps between now and the release date, they’ll also announce a Blu-ray release.  Now that it’s officially going to be released, we can hope for that, too, right?

Here’s the press release:

In 2014, StarVista Entertainment/Time Life – the premiere marketer of classic TV on DVD – will release THE WONDER YEARS: THE COMPLETE SERIES to the home entertainment marketplace. The most requested TV series never to be released on DVD, which ran on ABC from 1988-1993, garnered multiple Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe and a Peabody, and was named byTV Guideas one of the “Top 20 Shows of the ’80s” will make its very long-awaited debut in the second half of 2014. To best serve the numerous fans of the program, StarVista Entertainment/Time Life has launched WonderYearsDVDs.com, the official site for all updates, exclusive content and pre-orders.

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Disney’s Ultimate Plan: The road to Muppet Babies on DVD and Blu-ray

Muppet BabiesAbout a year ago, Disney made the ultimate purchase.  One that made my dreams of seeing more Star Wars films on the big screen possible.  They bought Lucasfilm.  It was this purchase that has actually completed a project that I am now convinced was the plan from the time they bought the Jim Henson Company back in 2004 for an undisclosed amount somewhere around $200 million.  It was actually a much longer journey as Disney had originally purchased distribution rights to all of the Jim Henson Company productions way back in 1991.  It took until September of 2008 before Disney finally rebranded the Muppets Holding Company as Muppet Studios, and placed it under new leadership.

With phase one complete, it was time to begin work on phase two: the acquisition of Marvel Entertainment.  This was a massive purchase costing $4.24 billion.  Disney needed to get control of Marvel Productions, and this was one way that they could do so.  They didn’t want to have any red-tape, even though they very likely had all of the rights they needed thanks to the acquisition of the Muppets.

Lastly, they needed the final piece of the equation.  They needed the footage that was used from both Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises.  And the best way to do that?  Spend $4.06 billion on the purchase of Lucasfilm.  That brought in both franchises.

With the total cost being about $8.5 billion, Disney is very close to being able to achieve their ultimate goal: the release of Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies on DVD and Blu-ray. I had been thinking about the overall purchases that Disney was making, and one day it dawned on me that all of these things were connected.  And with a little bit of research, I found that I wasn’t the only one to think of this.

From what I can gather, the only thing left standing in their way is a simple licensing of some footage from Ghostbusters from Sony Pictures.  Unless they plan on purchasing the rights to the Ghostbusters franchise (which I’d have no problem with, as they seem to just do everything right with the franchises they acquire).  There are also bits from Star Trek: The Next Generation, which belong to Paramount, among a few other things.  It seems to me that we’re as close as ever, and so is Disney.

That’s a pretty large investment so far, though, and I hope that the eventual release of this classic masterpiece of animation works out for them, and they make back the billions they’ve spent in gathering the exclusive rights to the series.

The Muppets to appear on Good Luck Charlie Season 4 Premiere

Bridgit Mendler, Leigh-Allyn Baker and Miss Piggy on Good Luck CharlieAs readers of this blog may already know, I’m a pretty big fan of The Muppets.  I thought the last film, 2011′s The Muppets was a return to form, and the first that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed since 1999′s Muppets from Space.  With the sequel The Muppets…Again! in production now, they’ve been making more appearances.  It’s a great way to keep them near front of mind when the trailers for the new movie start to appear.

On April 28, 2013, at 7:30 PM ET/PT, The Muppets are going to make one of those appearances: stopping by the Duncan family’s home on Disney Channel’s Good Luck Charlie.

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