Tag Archives: television

Local Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal impact unknown

CablesWhile much of Birmingham was seeing proof of our winter wonderland melt away earlier this month, a major deal was struck between the two largest cable providers in the United States. Neither one of them has a presence in the Birmingham market, though the proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable by Comcast could impact services provided by Bright House Networks.

The company, the nation’s sixth largest internet service provider is owned by Advance Publications. That New York-based company is also the parent company for the Alabama Media Group/AL.com.

The reason this matters is because Bright House Networks’s cable television carriage deals are still negotiated by Time Warner Cable – as pointed out in this piece published on the Tampa Bay Times’s website on February 13. If the merger is approved, it will . There hasn’t been a major carriage issue for the company since 2009, when a last-minute deal kept 11 Viacom stations, including MTV and Comedy Central, from disappearing off the station guide. 

Photo: CablesDeclanTM/Flickr.

Aereo announces expansion into Birmingham

aereo_antennaThere was a lot of buzz Wednesday afternoon as folks in Birmingham learned New York-based TV tech start-up Aereo was including The Magic City in a 22 city expansion this spring. It’s the result of the company receiving a $38 million infusion of financing from IAC/InterActiveCorp and Highland Capital Partners – a development made public on Tuesday and announced at CES.

It does seem to be a viable solution for those in the metro area who aren’t able to easily receive over-the-air digital signals who don’t want to consider cable TV or satellite as replacements. Customers will also be able to access Bloomberg TV, where Aereo’s CEO, Chet Kanjolia, spoke about the legality of the service yesterday morning. But if you want to watch, let’s say a BCS championship game on ESPN, you’re out of luck for right now.

But back to legality…

Shortly after it launched in New York City last year, many of the broadcast networks filed temporary injunctions against the company on the grounds of copyright infringement. Their workaround involves the digital antenna you’re paying to lease from them (that’s what’s pictured up above, alongside a dime). Incidentally, The New York Times points out that Aereo doesn’t currently pay for the content. There are also concerns about what legally constitutes digital video recording, and how the service will affect revenue for the networks.

Prices for the service range from $1 a day to $80 a year in addition to a one hour per day free trial option, with DVR storage options available from 3 – 40 hours. It works on PC and Mac platforms, with plans for an Android version to be introduced later this year.

Local television stations live stream Shuttlesworth funeral

This Monday morning sees large crowds gathering at Faith Chapel Christian Center on Birmingham’s west side for the public funeral service for and celebration of the life of Rev. Fred. L. Shuttlesworth. The civil rights leader died on October 5.

Those unable to get to the service can watch it online via webcasts available from each of the major television network stations in town.

The service is also being broadcast on most of those station’s primary digital stations. The order of service is also available for reference (though some changes have been made due in part to the shoulder injury sustained by Sephira Shuttlesworth on October 23).

UPDATE: Reports suggest We Have Signal may cease production

We Have Signal logoUPDATE 1 4:35 p.m., 6/28/2011: The show’s producers have posted a note on Facebook this afternoon announcing that next season will go ahead as planned starting in October. For those not on Facebook, we’ve published the note over on Timetable.

Early this morning the Montgomery Advertiser posted a piece to their website that announced the pending closure of Alabama Public Television’s Montgomery bureau at the end of July due to budget cuts at the state level. The report points out that APT will be making reductions statewide to deal with the $1.3 million lost in funding.

One of the losses of significance to folks here in Birmingham is the announcement that “We Have Signal” will potentially cease production. The musical performance series launched in late 2008 and is recorded here in Birmingham exclusively at The Bottletree in Avondale. The show has won Southeast Emmys in 2009 & 2010 and had been nominated again this year.

According to the show’s fan page on Facebook, episodes were shot this spring and scheduled to air this fall. We’re looking into whether these new episodes will be aired. We’re also waiting to see an official statement from the show’s producers about their plans for the future. According to a tweet earlier today and an email exchange with the show’s producers, the first they learned about the potential situation was from this morning’s story in the Advertiser.

Yes, The First 48 returns to Birmingham tonight

The First 48 logoThe increased amount of searches of the site gave us a good idea that the A&E TV series The First 48 will bring viewers back to Birmingham, AL for tonight’s episode. A reminder was sent out to fans yesterday via Twitter complete with a show description:

“In Birmingham, Detective Chris Anderson returns to his childhood neighborhood to investigate the murder of a man killed over ten pounds of marijuana.”

The first episode aired last February after there was disagreement over whether to allow the popular reality series to film here. Don’t worry if you miss tonight’s episode at 8 p.m. – it’ll air again later on tonight (and whenever they feel like letting it).

Image: Courtesy of A&E

UPDATE: The switch goes on

Despite Congress recently passing a delay of the switch from analog to digital television until June 12, many television stations (including several here in town) are still planning to go forward with “the switch” on the original date of February 17.

Currently NBC 13, CBS 42 and APT 9 all plan to proceed with the signal switch. We’d appreciate it if folks could chime in on if they know whether or not the other local stations will follow suit.

UPDATE: Just got word via Twitter (thanks James Spann) that ABC 33/40 will continue to broadcast in both analog and digital until June 12.

Birmingham’s first The First 48 episode premieres tonight

Some of you may remember way back when Mayor Kincaid said that the Birmingham Police Department was not going to participate in the upcoming season of the popular A&E series The First 48, as brought up in a recent Black & White article. Well, tonight Birmingham will appear on the cable television series along with Tuscon, AZ beginning at 8 p.m. If you check out the episode, let us know what you think about it by adding to this posts comments below. And don’t worry, if you don’t get a chance to see this episode, there will be three other ones aired during the season, although we’re not quite sure when they’ll all air by… Or you can find out a little more about the detectives taking part in the filiming before you watch over at al.com.