July 25, 2013
A press conference to announce all the details will be coming up within the next few weeks, but on Tuesday night the Easton Area School District board of directors approved a proposal that would give Service Electric exclusive rights to televise the Red Rovers' annual Thanksgiving Day game with Phillipsburg, but only on a tape-delay basis.
For more than a decade, the game had been televised live and made available on both Service Electric and RCN by the Sports Traditions Network on WBPH-Channel 60. For a long time, the Easton-P'burg game, one of the great traditions in Lehigh Valley sports, had been the one event unaffected by live TV coverage and attendance remained strong with close to 15,000 fans showing up on Turkey Day morning. However, Easton athletic director Jim Pokrivsak said that the game wasn't sold out last year. "Approximately 900 seats were available last year," he said. "Now, we sell a lot of standing-room tickets at Easton, which means that the actual total of unsold tickets was probably not 900. But at 900 tickets at 10 dollars each, that's a significant amount lost. No offense to anyone, but you have local businesses that open up early in the morning and football fans stay all day long eating and drinking and watching the game on TV. And if they don't go to restaurants they go big house parties where everybody gathers to watch. We got very little from the TV company to make up for that difference in lost revenue."
The deal with Service Electric would entail a $2,500 donation made by Service Electric and also a guarantee of 500 commercials to promote the game as well as plenty of pregame coverage on SECTV's "Sports Scene" show. Service Electric would provide the in-house video on the Fisher Stadium scoreboard and also agree not to interrupt the game for commercial breaks. TV2 would also provide complete coverage of the pregame festivities as well as the performances by the bands at halftime. In return, Service Electric would get a full page ad in the game program as well as well 30 tickets that could be used as giveaways to promote the event and four mentions over the PA system to announce the time of the tape-delay broadcasts.
Pokrivsak said that there will be a pay-per-view capability for people to see the game over the Internet, which means RCN subscribers wouldn't be totally shut out, nor would alums scattered across the country. Details are still being ironed out, but as someone who grew up around here when attendance was much better across the board and tape-delayed high school broadcasts were the norm, I can't blame Easton and Phillipsburg for going this route to protect one of the true treasures on the local sports calendar. Allentown Morning Call
Time Warner Cable Inc and CBS broadcast network, locked in a battle over fees the cable company pays to carry CBS programming, will continue negotiating until Monday, which temporarily averted a blackout in some large cities. "Both parties have agreed to an extension through Monday, July 29 at 5 p.m.," Time Warner Cable spokeswoman Maureen Huff told Reuters late on Wednesday. CBS spokesman Dana McClintock confirmed the extension on Thursday. If both the companies had failed to reach a new deal by Thursday, the No. 1 rated broadcaster CBS would have gone dark in markets like Los Angeles and New York, depriving viewers of summer shows such as "Under the Dome" and "Big Brother."
Threats of blackouts have become increasingly common in the TV business as networks, which provide programming, and cable operators, which transmit that content into living rooms around the country, battle over terms in contentious negotiations. Both companies have been trying to get TV viewers on their sides. In TV commercials airing in the markets involved in the dispute, Time Warner Cable accuses CBS of giving New York a "black eye" while CBS tells consumers in its own spot to "say no to Time Warner Cable." Reuters
Google Inc. on Wednesday made another attempt to embed itself into living rooms, after several false starts. The search giant unveiled a $35 device to wirelessly connect TVs to mobile devices so that people can view and listen to Web content on their biggest screens. Google joins Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and others in the race to bring more Web content to the TV screen, which has remained a big focal point of home entertainment even as tablet computers and smartphones have commanded a greater share of consumers' time.
Google's new two-inch TV device, called Chromecast, looks like a thumb drive, plugs into the HDMI port of a TV and can be controlled by a person's mobile device or laptop using a wireless Internet connection. The device, which is compatible with mobile devices powered by Google's Android software as well as Apple iPhones and iPads, went on sale Wednesday at BestBuy.com, Amazon.com and the Google Play online store. Chromecast's price tag is lower than that of Apple TV, a $99 device whose "AirPlay" technology is similar to Chromecast's but which also has more features and apps that run directly on it. Microsoft's Xbox 360 videogame console, which starts at $199, also has similar technology, called "SmartGlass," that can be controlled by mobile devices powered by Apple, Android and Microsoft software. Apple sold 13 million Apple TV units since its launch in 2007, with about half sold in the past year, the company said in May.
Chromecast will allow people to select YouTube video content using their Web-connected tablet, for instance, and have it play on their television. If Google gains a foothold in helping more Web content appear on TV screens, that could be a boon to Google's core advertising business, as no other company sells more online search, graphical and video ads across millions of websites and apps. The device works with Android smartphones, Chrome-powered laptops and Apple's iPad and iPhone. "We have a multiplatform approach...and we go where the users are," said Google's chief of Chrome and Android, Sundar Pichai. He added that even at the $35 price, Google and its retail partners will make a profit on sales.
Chromecast is the latest example of Google flexing its hardware muscle. Mr. Pichai said the company worked with a hardware maker in Taiwan to build the device, which he said he hopes will be embedded within new TVs and other devices in the future. Earlier this year Google introduced a ChromeOS-based laptop designed and manufactured with an undisclosed Asian partner, and in 2014 it will release its Google Glass wearable-computing device. Chromecast is further evidence that living rooms are a growing battleground among consumer tech companies. Amazon.com is working on a set-top box for streaming video and Apple too is developing television technology, people familiar with the companies' plans have said.
Google's past TV-related efforts have had some challenges. The company in 2010 released Google TV, which is software embedded in some TVs as well as separate devices that connect to TVs, but it failed to gain much traction. Google's chief of Chrome and Android Sundar Pichai said new Google TV devices, which help people search and watch both cable TV and Web connect, will be released in the future. Google's Android division also has been working on developing a videogame console, people familiar with the matter have said.
Google on Wednesday also unveiled a new version of its Nexus 7 tablet computer, boasting features like virtual surround sound and a faster processor, as it looks to boost Android's lead over Apple's iPad in terms of market share. The Nexus tablet is designed in partnership with Asustek Computer Inc. and powered by an updated version of Android, which also is the No. 1 software for smartphones. The Mountain View, Calif., company is working to fend off Apple as well as Amazon.com's Kindle Fire tablets. Mr. Pichai said Android tablets now account for nearly half of all tablet computers sold world-wide, and that more than 70 million Android tablets had been activated to date, up from around 15 million a year ago. The new tablet, which goes on sale at Best Buy, Wal-Mart Inc. and other retailers July 30, costs $229 with 16 gigabytes of storage and $269 for 32 gigabytes. That compares with $329 for the 16-gigabyte iPad Mini, an 8-inch tablet, and $429 for the 32-gigabyte version. The device will soon be available in major markets in Europe and Asia, Google said. Wall Street Journal
- Washington Post: Dish's Hopper ad-skipping service doesn't violate copyrights, court rules
- Associated Press: Netflix deploys trouble-shooting engineers in 'war room' to fine tune its original programming
- Politico: Tech lobbying reports barely scratch NSA issue
- philly.com: Internet woes: Playing with the band
- Politico: What's wrong with 'wiretap ready'
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: House Speaker Sam Smith slams Senate
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: State voter ID trial recesses with no sign of compromise