Thursday, March 22, 2012


In today's class, I will be presenting on the Slingbox and how innovations in technology have changed the way that we watch television. I will start by discussing television through the Internet and how over the last decade, our mediums of watching a show have changed drastically. Then I will introduce a product that continues to change the way that we are able to watch our favorite shows. This product is the Slingbox. I will explain how it functions and is able to stream live television to a portable device such as a mobile phone. I will discuss pricing of the Slingbox so that the class can gain an understanding of how much this technology costs. After that, I will talk about the history of the Slingbox. When it was founded and how the Sling Media industry has progressed since its inception. The uses of the Slingbox will be discussed after the history. The uses include traveling for business or pleasure and not wanting to miss a second of your favorite sports team’s game. I will then show products similar to the Slingbox and show that though this is a recently new technology, there is still competition. Some of these include the “Vulkano Flow”, “TV2Me”, and USB TV Tuners.

After this discussion about the Slingbox, I will talk about websites that offer television to be watched after the live airing on standard television. I will reveal something that I found in the book that I thought was interesting on how television networks are allowed to count Internet viewers within three days of the original airing as part of their ratings. Finally, I will ask if there are any questions that I could answer that may have come to mind while listening to my presentation. I will present the discussion questions and come to my conclusion about the Slingbox, internet television, and the direction in which technology is taking us.

The Freeze of 1948

            Today in class, March 22, I will be talking to you about the FCC’s issuing of the temporary freeze in 1948, as it relates to our topic of TV.  The freeze of 1948, which was issued by the FCC, was intended to last six months to give the FCC sufficient time to deal with matters regarding giving licenses to new stations and creating standards for them all to follow. Six months was suppose to give the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) the time it needed to study the issues that were arising and create a blueprint, so to speak, for the future stations that were seeking a license. However, do to circumstance beyond their control, such as the Korean War, the FCC was unable to lift the freeze in the six month time period that they had hoped to.
             The FCC had five major issues on their hands: the freeze the FCC put on new TV stations in 1948, reservation of channel space for educational-  noncommercial television, the reduction of channel interference, establish a national channel allocation map or scheme, and opening up of additional spectrum space. Some of these issues were more difficult to solve, some very easy, and some differed from city to city. The freeze was finally lifted after the Sixth Report and Order was issued, which expanded the channels for very high frequency channels, ultra high frequency channels, and educational channels.
              By the time the freeze was lifted, the war and Great Depression had also ended, which was changing the day to day life of Americans, giving them more leisure time. This new leisure time was filled with television and many new fads such as Davy Crockett and Elvis Presley emerged. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Internet Television: Hulu

Today I will be talking about internet television and specifically about Hulu. Although internet television was around before, it gained notoriety in 1994 when ABC World News began broadcasting their shows on the internet.  After this pioneering broadcast, there was a steady increase of networks putting their shows on the internet as well.  The biggest breakthrough of internet television came in 2005 when the site YouTube began putting videos on their website from many different shows and networks. People knew that if they wanted to see a clip from a show they missed that they could easier find it on YouTube.
            After YouTube was somewhat restricted through copyright laws and impending lawsuits, NBCUniversal and News Corp. had an idea to create an internet television website that would allow consumers to legally watch their favorite shows and movies. This idea turned into what is now known as Hulu. Hulu is an internet television website where people can watch most of their favorite TV shows and movies for free. Since it’s start on March 12, 2008, Hulu has expanded greatly and has titles in their libraries from networks such as NBC, ABC, MTV, Comedy Central, The CW, and Fox. There are many great features such as Hulu Desktop, Time-Based Browsing, and Recommendation that allow consumers to have the greatest viewing experience.  In addition to television shows, Hulu also has hundreds of movies, documentaries, and even original programming that is sure to leave the viewer with plenty of interesting options to watch.
            Recently, Hulu launched their newest venture called Hulu Plus. This is a subscription-based service that gives consumers even greater choices of shows and movies to watch. The service is $7.99/month and also allows consumers to watch it not only from the computer, but from their video game console, connected TVs, smart phones, iPods, iPads, and more.
            Hulu has completely revolutionized the concept of internet television. It has given networks a way to stream their content online without losing revenue or viewership, and has allowed them to keep up with the fast pace of new media and technology. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Motion Picture Code of 1930

Today, March 8, 2012, I will discuss the Motion Picture Code of 1930 or the Hays Code (which I will call it for the sake of my presentation). I found this topic to be most interesting because I had never thought to ask where movie ratings come from and learning a little history on film has helped me to appreciate what we view today.
My presentation will start off with a little history about William Harrison Hays. I will then move on to tell you a little about his beliefs and his mission, or the reasoning behind the Hays Code. After explaining the creator of the Hays Code, I will move on to everything the code entailed. The restrictions of the code are lengthy and I will list and elaborate on all of them. Hays came in just in time to “save” the film industry, at the time in the 20’s the film industry was being greatly ridiculed for its “party hard” casts and other offensive behavior. The film’s audiences were greatly devastated and ready to give film up completely when Hays stepped in and created the Motion Picture Code of 1930. The Hays Code was strict in many ways; however, in the 1920’s the audiences vastly differed from that of today’s audiences. The Hays Code did serve its purpose for the time being and did a great job of doing so. The Hays Code was in effect for almost 40 years, when the MPAA came in with a ratings scale and put an end to the code and birthed the ratings similar to what we follow today.
The impact on the film industry was minimal; however, the film companies did greatly resent the Motion Picture Code of 1930 because of the many restrictions that the code placed on them. Hope you enjoy my presentation and look forward to your questions and comments.


 Netflix is a service that allows viewers to watch films and televisions shows. They have two options for doing this. One option is a DVD rental service, where one can receive DVDs through the mail. This is based on a monthly subscription. There are no late fees; one can keep the DVDs as long as he or she wants, but can only have a certain number at a time (this depends on the cost of the monthly subscription). The other option is an internet streaming video service, called “Watch Instantly.” This allows users to view content by streaming it directly to their computer or other compatible device.

The company was founded by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in 1997, after Hastings had to pay a large sum for late fees upon returning a movie. He decided that the traditional movie rental system could be improved. Netflix launched their website in 1998, using a more traditional model than the one they currently use. With this model, viewers had to pay to rent individual DVDs, and there were late fees. During late 1999 to early 2000, Netflix made the transition to the current system, based on a monthly flat fee rather than paying for each DVD. Throughout the years, they have continued to grow, and they now have millions of subscribers. This has also dealt a heavy blow to traditional stores such as Blockbuster.

The ease and convenience of this system has also caused viewers to select more diverse movies to watch. Whereas eighty percent of rentals from traditional stores come from 200 movies, eighty percent of Netflix rentals come from 2,000 movies. Additionally, Netflix has created hits out of movies that did not perform spectacularly at the box office. A big part of this change has been through CineMatch, Netflix's recommendation system, which provides viewers with seventy percent of the films they view on Netflix. Netflix and other such new media services will continue to change the industry, making it less focused solely on blockbuster movies, as well as change audience preferences, enabling them to enjoy a greater variety of films.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Motion Picture Association of America

The Motion Picture Association of America is a trade organization that represents the major film studios. The MPAA has been a substantial player in American culture and politics. In the 1960’s there was an increase in the amount of sex, profanity, and violence seen in movies. This led to the Motion Picture association of America creating a voluntary rating system. The film industry decided to self-censor to avoid government regulation, which allowed people to make more informed decisions about which movies or films they chose to view. The MPAA also controls the content of movie advertising. The Advertising Administration of the MPAA reviews every piece of marketing that is used to promote any film rated by the classification and rating Administration.

In 1968, the MPAA had only four original ratings. They included G: general audience, M, mature audience, R: restricted, and X: adults only. There were revisions made over the years 1972 through 1984, such as taking out the M rating and adding PG and PG-13. Also, in 1990 the rating X was replaced by NC-17. The rating X was replaced because it became connected to pornography in mainstream America.

The MPAA uses violence, sex, and drug use as variables to determine rating categories films receive. Research has proven that the popular media influences adolescent's behaviors. This film industry tries to protect young children from being exposed to content that may not be suited for them or influence their behavior in a negative way. The control reach of the MPAA is not very far because rating restrictions are not strictly enforced by theater managers. Another option available to control the content that children are exposed is the technology of ClearPlay. This is a parental control DVD player that allows content filtering. There are some controversies that the public and filmmakers have with the MPAA rating system. The public argue that there are rating creeps which is a decrease in strictness of rating over a period of time. Filmmaker’s dispute is that the rating system restricts the freedom of speech that everyone is supposedly entitled to. The MPAA has a profound effect on its media audience by determining the content people are exposed to. I learned that the MPAA is helpful in some aspects but there are also ways to get around their set restrictions.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Viewer Ethics: Film Piracy

Worldwide and on the Internet, video piracy remains rampant. The movie industry has invented new ways to fight piracy, and has pushed for anti piracy laws to discourage pirates. Besides pirated DVD copies of films, copies are available online for illegal downloading, through peer-to-peer file sharing networks. High definition camcorders, some not much bigger than cell phones, can copy films from a movie screen with little loss of detail.

What makes piracy illegal is copying a film and selling/renting that copy to anyone. Also, a consumer may not copy a film from one computer, VCR, DVD onto another.

In the 1970s, Sony, developed Betamax, a video tape recording format. Universal Studios and the Walt Disney Company were among the film industry members who were wary of this development. The companies therefore decided to sue Sony and its distributors alleging that because Sony was manufacturing a device that could potentially be used for copyright infringement, they were thus liable for any infringement that was committed by its purchasers. The ruling on this was manufacturers of home video recording machines could not be liable for contributory copyright infringement for the the potential uses by purchasers, because the devises were sold for legitimate purposes and had substantial non-infringing uses. Personal use of the machines to record broadcast television programs for later viewing constituted fair use. The case established a general test for determining whether a device with copying or recording capabilities ran afoul of copyright law. This test has created some interpretative challenges to courts in applying the case to more recent file sharing technologies available for use on home computers and over the Internet. 

According to MPAA, 90% of new movie releases that are pirated are recorded with a camcorder. As a way to stop piracy in theatres, movie industries will pay employees up to $500 for catching a recorder in the act. With the use of night-vision equipment, this is possible to do.

Even though there are federal convictions, an individual usually sits in the movie theatre with a miniature camera in their cup holder and simply tapes the film. As a way to improve sound, some pirates plug the camera into the theatres audio system.

Because of the advancement in technology, high definition camcorders get cheaper thus pirated copies get better. Today, you could by a high definition camera for as little as $130.

Various technologies to prevent recording have been developed. Films now have flashing colored dots that carry identifying information about the print so that the studios can track down the pirates.

The MPAA has created laws to stop the use of film piracy, like the camcorder laws. Internationally, The Berne Copyright Convention administered by the WIPO is the main protector of rights of authors and composers to authorize or prohibit reproduction, widespread communication and adaptation of their works. The Commercial Felony Streaming Act, still pending, but would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted material for the purpose of "commercial advantage or personal financial gain", a felony.

No one can measure piracy accurately, but a study through MPAA found that $18.2 billion was lost through piracy around the world. Not only is our economy hurting, but the film industry is too. 

Internet Radio

Internet radio is an automated service transferred via the Internet. It refers to any media being webcasted and cannot be replayed, much like traditional radio. While traditional radio is limited by the short range that it is broadcasted and in sound quality, internet radio allows anyone to listen to virtually any broadcast around the world. This new technology is becoming increasingly popular for a society that does more and more on the web. While various models are used, people use stations like Pandora and Grooveshark to play artists that interest them and also to discover new music. Many internet radio sites use complex algorithms and characteristics of musical songs and genres to personalize the stations they have, and some have the option for the user to customize their station by creating playlists. Many sporting events and talk shows are also being streamed online as well. FM stations have also started streaming online to broaden their audience range and to keep up with the increasing popularity of other internet stations. Although FM radio offers convenience and accessibility and streaming online helps them to compete with so many other stations, Internet radio is often favored because of variation, ease of access, and sound quality. Most models of internet radio are like FM radio stations, which have cater to their audiences and advertisers for years. They use advertisements between songs or on their site to pay for the licenses necessary to stream music, but have to pay more in royalties than terrestrial stations do. There are devices for internet radio to allow anyone with an Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection to listen to the streamed music, and many internet radio stations have created applications for smart phones such as the Android or iPhone so that users may listen to music on the go. The effects of Internet radio are still unraveling, although it has already exponentially increased in the amount of popularity, providers, listeners, and music available online.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Owned by Clear Channel Communications, iHeartRadio is a fully integrated digital radio network provided by Clear Channel that allows access to radio stations across the country from anywhere, and most recently the ability for customized stations.

Originally launched in April 2008 as, the online station then offered a smaller scale version of today’s iHeartRadio network.  In October, they released their first version of the phone application to Apple, later releasing it to all markets throughout 2009 and 2010.

“The best of live radio” is now offered through iHeartRadio’s phone application which compiles over 800 of the most popular live radio broadcasts from around the U.S., including non-music and national programming. The network recently revamped and newly introduced itself to the online radio market by adding “Custom Radio”. Listeners can create their own stations based on songs, artists or genres choosing from a library of 400,00 artists and 11 million songs. They then can control the level of mainstream artists verses unknown/independent artists by sliding the cursor on the ‘Station Control’ feature. iHeartRadio also boasts deeper social media interaction by linking to Facebook and Twitter so that consumers can post their current stations and follow friends’ recent listening habits. The entire service is totally free as well as commercial free through the end of the year.

iHeartRadio is a great opportunity for local radio stations to increase listener loyalty with a nationwide platform. Stations around B/CS can now ground the revolving door of their listener base, while Aggies who move away can stay connected no matter where they are. These apps allow the radio industry to keep a strong foothold in this new age of media, and while there isn’t any threat of total extinction, radio can continue to evolve by providing this stronger connection and personalization between consumers and the radio broadcast industry.

Radio Giant: Clear Channel Communications

Clear Channel Communications, founded by Lowry Mays and Red McCombs, is the largest radio conglomerate in the United States. Owning 850 stations, Clear Channel earned over $6 billion in revenue (2007). After purchasing its first radio station in 1972, Clear Channel slowly bought into multiple markets. The beginning of their radio domination didn’t begin, however, until the Radio Communications Act of 1996 passed, deregulating media ownership and allowing companies to own multiple outlets in any given market. This prompted a buying spree on Clear Channel’s part, purchasing 70 media companies, in addition to individual stations. After investing over $30 billion in acquisitions, the once small radio owner became an media powerhouse, owning several stations in multiple markets.

Clear Channel’s rapid growth has led to criticisms and accusations of saturation, with some markets having as many as seven Clear Channel owned radio stations. Having control of so many stations can lead to abuse of power, which many accuse of Clear Channel of doing. After Sept 11, a list of songs handed down by corporate were deemed inappropriate and therefore not to be played on their stations. This list included any songs making any references to images one could associate with the attack, as well as banning entire discographies from bands deemed un-patriotic, such as Rage Against the Machine.

As media moves more and more towards the internet, Clear Channel has assured it has not been left behind in the transition. Their stations allow live streaming though their respective website, giving listeners the option to listen to their favorite station, regardless of geography. They also own iHeartRadio, a mobile application that gives listeners the option to listen to various stations on their smart devices; most Clear Channel Stations are featured on the app.

               Even with all its criticisms, Clear Channel’s absolute power over the radio industry grants them great influence over their listeners, and, whether through radio or emerging technologies, has a large presence in media entertainment.

DJs in the 21st Century

All forms of media are undergoing changes in this world of change and technology.  Newspapers are becoming digital and going towards an online presence, TV shows are becoming digital and going towards an online presence, and radio, not to be left out, is also becoming digital.  New media in the radio industry include satellite radio, Internet radio, and podcasting.  All of the changes are affecting the way the radio industry works.  In particular, they are affecting the role of the DJ.

The glory days of the DJ was in the 50s and 60s where strong radio personalities filled the airwaves and defined stations identities.  Nowadays, however, the DJ isn't as vibrant and flamboyant at it once was.  Their role however, to provide the radio with personality, has not changed much.  But the demand for them has.  According to the Labor of Bureau Statistics, the employment of announcers (radio DJs included) is expected to decline by 4% from 2008-2018.  More and more DJs are getting laid off or are simply switching to other jobs or other forms of media.  However, those DJs that do have jobs work both in new media and old media.

In new media, DJs find jobs in some satellite radio stations.  In old media, there are both local DJs and (what I have been calling) “centralized” DJs. Local DJs are of course DJs that work in the physical location of the local radio station. They are part of the community, they know about local events that are going on, they know the personality of the community, and they can give up-to-date weather and traffic reports. Centralized DJs are not part of the community which they serve. Centralized DJs work for network stations and their broadcasts can go out to several different radio stations in several different communities. These DJs do not know the personalities of the communities they serve.

Lastly, Howard Stern is an example of a strong radio personality who has recently, like other radio DJs and personalities, made the switch from traditional broadcast radio to new satellite radio. He has been in radio for many years and has his own show on Infinity Broadcasting. He has gotten in trouble numerous times with the FCC for the indecent and controversial content on his shows, however, despite all of this, he still has millions of followers. In 2006, Sirius Satellite radio made a 5 year contract with him for $500million, hoping to increase their number of subscribers (which they desperately needed to do).