Choices, Coming to a TV Near You

Netflix has made some terrible mistakes in the past year. First it was the idea to separate the DVD service from the streaming (with a huge price hike), then the announcement they will be splitting out the DVD and streaming companies all together, then changing their mind on that, then relegating streaming users to only one stream at a time, then saying that it was an error on their end and they weren’t doing it, THEN actually (lately) rolling out the one stream at a time thing slowly without much fanfare thinking there would be less of an uproar that way. We reported on that last month here:  Netflix: N8107-154-5006 Back to One Stream at a Time.

Their loss is another companies gain. Apparently, Amazon is real close to cutting a deal with Viacom for their programming as well as offering a stand alone streaming subscription for customers without Amazon Prime. The announcement and program may come as early as this week. Amazon has already cut some deals with some other major TV providers such as  CBS Corp, Warner Bros, Fox, Sony Corp, NBC Universal and Walt Disney Co. Viacom is the last of their building block to offer the subscription service with likely more deals with networks to come.

Amazon, in addition to it’s Prime Video library (and soon to come subscription service) also has a rental library similar to iTunes already, which boasts some big name newer movies. The subscription service would round them out to be a huge player in the streaming world and most definitely provide the biggest competition to Netflix to date.

Verizon is also jumping into the streaming game. Just announced this week, Verizon will be teaming up with RedBox to offer streaming subscriptions for content as well. No word yet on what deals they have made with content providers. Verizon says they should be up and running with RedBox in the second half of this year.

What will Netflix do, if anything? Netflix has been on quite a bumpy road lately and appears to be making some very bad decisions, at least where customers are concerned. So bad that it almost seems as if they are trying to go out of business. Are they? Who knows. I will say for me, who has both Netflix and Amazon Prime as well as occasionally use Redbox, I am liking more choices stepping forward. Maybe we can have more deals floating around. Maybe Amazon will be able to offer their newer movie rentals for less… like the price of a RedBox rental perhaps? All the choices coming can only add up to a good thing for us consumers.

What do you think? Do you use Amazon Prime already? Do you like their service? Looking forward to more choices all around? Sound off below!

Tech Tuesday: Google, Hulu and Twits!

Welcome to another edition of Tech Tuesday! Here are the top stories in the tech world you may have missed!

Google Logo: Diver Down!

Honoring Jules Verne, the French author who pioneered the Science Fiction genre, Google has an interactive logo today that allows you to explore the depths of the sea.

Jules, best known for his classic novels ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’, ‘A Journey to the Center of the Earth’, and ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ was born on this day in 1828.

Check out the interactive logo HERE.

TwitPic Launches Video for Twitter

Twitpic is bringing support for video to Twitter today, allowing users to timely share their clips. Now, instead of posting your links to YouTube to spread your awesome vid, you can upload it over to Twitpic and share it immediately.

So be sure to tweet @yakkityyaks so we don’t somehow miss your video! Hey, if it’s a good one, it may just get notice on Webtastic Wednesday!

“The Social Break-Up” Study

A study that surveyed 1500 consumers on why they unsubscribe, unlike, or unfollow brands in the social media world was conducted, and the results are in! I would think this shouldn’t be surprising…

More than 90% say they they do it because of too frequent, irrelevant or boring communications. Of the 1500, 91% have opted out of e-mails, 81% have “unliked” on Facebook to remove the company from their News Feed, and 77% say they are just more cautious about who they share their information and e-mail with.

So, now that you have that shocking information (sarcasm), why don’t you go follow the Yak on Facebook and Twitter! We promise not to bore you, too much anyway, and we promise to NEVER share ANY of your information, including your e-mail address!

T-Mobile – All Phones FREE!

As part of a special Valentine’s Day promotion, T-Mobile will offer all of the phones in it’s inventory for free with a new 2 yr. contract this Friday and Saturday. (February 11th and 12th.)

This includes their high-end Smartphones, like the HTC HD7, the T-Mobile G2 and the Samsung Vibrant. You can see a list of all the offers on T-Mobiles website HERE.

These are huge savings, but just like all other companies, I’m sure you will still need to pay the sales tax based on the original price. To take advantage of their offer, you must go to a T-Mobile store. However, there will be some offerings online if you wish to order from the comfort of your home.

Care to guess if this is really just for Valentines Day, or could it be because the Verizon iPhone comes out this weekend? Hmmmm.

The Daily Show and The Colbert Report Returns to Hulu

Fans of Jon Stewart, Colbert and Hulu unite! Both shows are returning to a computer near you. Hulu closed a major deal with Viacom last week, and as part of the deal, a “selection of great current programming from MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, TV Land, BET, and other Viacom channel brands will also be added to Hili Plus.

What does this mean for us? Well, previously the two above shows were on Hulu (free) and have now moved to Hulu Plus. Hulu Plus is a subscription based service that currently costs $7.99 a month. It’s a nice add if you are thinking about cutting the cable cord and accessing HULU through other platforms attached to your TV.

Well there you have it, all caught up. So, what do you think? Will you subscribe to Hulu? Will you run out this weekend for a new T-Mobile phone? Will you @yakkityyaks your Twitpic video? Let us know below!

Say What?! Dora Sues Nickelodeon

Ok, well maybe not Dora herself. Caitlin Sanchez, the voice of Nickelodeon’s Dora on Dora The Explorer, has filed a lawsuit against the network with the support of her parents. Sanchez, 14, has voiced Dora since the show hit the airways in 2007. According to a report from the New York Daily News, Sanchez and her parents claim that she was pressured by Nickelodeon into signing a complicated contract that has ripped her off millions of dollars. The suit claims that they were rushed into signing the contract without consultation of a lawyer. Sanchez’s agent, Jason Burcy, allegedly gave the family 22 minutes to look over the contract mentioning that if they didn’t sign quickly Nickelodeon would pass on the offer for Caitlin to voice the cartoon character. The contract would allow Nickelodeon to exploit her as her alter-ego, Dora. The suit claims that Sanchez was not compensated for hundreds of hours of recording sessions and was compensated only $40 a day for travelling around the country promoting Dora The Explorer. She was also promised $5,115 per episode and compensation in residuals and merchandise. Nickelodeon, MTV Networks, and Viacom International are named as defendants in the suit who “”used Caitlin, unjustly enriching themselves of millions of dollars in profits from the series and branded products, which Caitlin performed and promoted.”

Nickelodeon has released the following statement in response: “The claims being made are baseless. Unfortunately, Caitlin’s voice changed and she was no longer able to portray the Dora character, as happened with the actress who originated the role. Caitlin’s contract was extensively negotiated through her agent and in compliance with her union. She was well-compensated for her work and for personal appearances. We have enjoyed working with Caitlin on Dora the Explorer these past three years, and we did in fact offer her a contract for other work with us.”

So what do you think? Are you heartbroken to hear this beloved cartoon character is turning on Nick? Let us know in our FORUMS or just comment below!