Not too long ago, an IBM Cloud Service study conducted by eMarketer, stated that some two-thirds of adults (18+) now have some type of subscription video-on-demand streaming service.
Called “Over The Top” television (OTT), this kind of television viewing consists of services such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO-GO, and perhaps the biggest one of them all, Netflix. Every one of these services provides visual programming that can be accessed through any electronic device that sports a screen, be it a laptop, an electronic pad, a smartphone, and of course, a television monitor. Many of the said TV devices are now “smart” sets, meaning that they hold the capacity of getting any streaming service without the aid of an outside settop device (i.e. AppleTV, Ruku, etc.) connected to the unit itself. This method of obtaining video is now the new procedure of how one can get access to programming as home-based entertainment, even if the viewer isn’t watching “at home”!
What makes this study interesting is the fact that legitimate subscribers to these services have a tendency to share their accounts with family and friends. According to the report, the survey found that nearly half of streaming service subscribers share their password with others within the subscribers’ domain. To encounter this fact, little more than one-third (35.5%) said they didn’t reveal their password to anyone.
As this domestic society is becoming obsessed with so-called modern technology that is now becoming accessible to the public at large thanks to the smaller-faster-cheaper method of offering, it’s no surprise that people and their gadgets are now becoming a way of life, far removed from the time where such gadgetry was once considered a novelty that appealed to a selected few.
Over the previous Christmas/Holiday shopping season, many folks took advantage of a number of the sales that were going on through Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all days in between. They were grabbing such devices that can depict visual signals and content. Although phones, pads, and laptops can perform the same functions in terms of displaying moving imagery, TV sets were the choice of those fans of streaming services. These devices can offer a big picture with its booming sound. And many of these new devices can offer 4K high-def pictures. However, there are only a handful of programs out there that can offer 4K. But at least it’s nice to know that one can eventually get 4K when the moment arrives.
But getting back to the passing of the passwords. Although it’s rather cheap for what it is to get a month’s worth of unlimited programming through Hulu, Netflix and the like, others who subscribe don’t seem to mind (let alone care) if somebody they know can get access to their account. Some people that are subscribers offer internal crowd funding plans with their family and friends. They may have others chip in a dollar or two per month paid to the subscriber to gain access. So if somebody who shells out ten dollars a month for a Netflix account, and knows of nine others who also want Netflix, everybody pays a buck per month! This may be a bit sneaky, but it does work out for all!
Right now, traditional content services by way of receiving programming through a satellite dish or coax cable are making efforts to hold on to their existing subscribers that are paying as much as $100 per month for 100+ channels of programming where the subscriber only tunes in to a handful on a regular basis. That “many are called but few are chosen” method of viewing habits go back to the days when getting 50 channels was mind boggling! It really wasn’t easy to watch every channel the subscriber was paying for, so only a few selections that catered to the subscriber’s tastes were viewed, while the others were totally ignored! However, in those earlier days of cable TV (pre-1990), many of the cable companies did state that they has some 50 or so channels as part of their lineup, but many of those channel spaces didn’t have any content! One only saw a graphic text message on the screen that read “reserved for future use”. On the soundtrack, one only heard music, mostly the signal of a local FM radio station that programmed “beautiful music”.
So even though Netflix, Hulu, and the rest don’t encourage anyone passing their passwords to anyone else, people still do and will continue to do so. But then again, getting video over the air by way of one’s 1950’s-era TV antenna on one’s rooftop is still accessible! It’s all hi-def, it’s local, and best of all, it’s still free! One really can’t beat that notion with a stick. And no passwords are required!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
Performing at the River Street Theater in Hollywood is Steve Tesich’s THE SPEED OF DARKNESS, a tale of one man’s family, the business that he’s involved in, and the recently misplaced friend that comes back into his, and family’s, life.
Taking place in rural South Dakota in the year of that state’s centennial lives Joe (Eddie Kehler), a man that operates a small construction company, living with his wife Anne (Janet Chamberlain) and their daughter Mary (Sara Molinar), who is on the cusp of turning eighteen. Joe is a hard working soul who takes pride in his family and what he has done in his life, working his way since he served his country fighting the war in ‘Nam shortly before his daughter was born. Things are looking bright for Joe as he’s been nominated as “South Dakota Man of the Year”, a title that brings him some form of attention–wanted or otherwise. What he didn’t expect is a visit from Lou (Kenny Johnston), a old war buddy who is also Mary’s godfather. Unlike his fellow military chum, Lou’s success in life didn’t match up to Joe’s. He’s living a homeless lifestyle on the streets, and his visit to Joe’s humble home has been the first time in a while that he feels welcomed, but only to a point. But there is more to Joe getting his pal to return. There’s a few secrets that Joe must face. And what is going on with the mesa that is located near the family homestead?
This play written by the late Steve Tesich who also penned a number of other plays and screenplays, creates a very dark and somewhat depressing look at a man who did well for himself, but only to have his life slowly unravel for events that took place long before the fact. But in spite of this rather deep undertone this play projects, the cast that portrays their roles live up to every moment on stage. Eddie Kehler as Joe is the man that exists for his family while moving up the (rural) corporate ladder. Janet Chamberlain as Anne holds that hard scrubbed look and feel that folks dwelling in that part of the upper Midwest keeps toward their image. Sara Molinar as Mary is the teen that has a whole life to look forward to, even having the notion of attending college soon. Kenny Johnston as Lou is rather upbeat in nature, even through he’s yet another homeless vet that is starting to make up the post-modern nomads that will eventually multiply in the few years ahead. And rounding out the cast is Leo Ramsey as Eddie, Mary’s close friend that could pass as “boyfriend” material.
Along with the performing cast on stage is Zack Guiler’s set design of Joe’s home, a pleasantly furnished dwelling one could find in the so-called wilds of South Dakota. (Nothing rustic per se, but quaint and comfortable!) And Jo Amari’s costuming consists of everything between formal ware to the dingy duds found on homeless vets drifting between one part of town to another.
William Alderson directs this production that has been described as provocative, suspenseful, and mesmerizing. Those adjectives fits this play and program to its correct marks. THE SPEED OF DARKNESS shows off its shade with its own deep movements.
THE SPEED OF DARKNESS, presented by the 437 River Street Theatre Company and performs at the River Street Theater, 1103 North El Centro Avenue (off Santa Monica Blvd., one block east of Vine Street), Hollywood, until March 18th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations, visit online at http://www.RiverStreetTheater.yapsody.com/event/index/171616.
The Actors Co-Op Theater Company presents Lee Blessing’s A WALK IN THE WOODS that features a pair of munitions negotiators representing two world superpowers on a chance to compromise a deal to lay down their weapons of total destruction.
During the era when the cold war was still rather “hot”, two designated diplomats meet face-to-face in neutral Geneva, Switzerland. Russian Andrey Botvinnik (Phil Crowley) and American Joan Honeyman (Nan McNamara) are together to work out an agreement regarding each nation’s supply of weaponry. Instead of meeting at an embassy, a government building, or some other certified location, they come to face in a wooded area, free from government officials, the media, or anything that may influence anything stated. Their only backdrop is nature. When they first meet in the late summer, their attitudes hold a difference stance. Andrey desires a friendly meeting, while Joan is all business. Andrey encourages small talk, while Joan wants to know what are the concepts of keeping said weaponry at bay. Over time and tide as summer turns into fall into winter, these two will keep a number of meetings in the same woods throughout the seasons. Their walk doesn’t confide of much walking, but mostly as a deep meeting of the minds while encountering sincere irritation with the notion of the mistrust of both governments
This well respected play by Lee Blessing was created based upon an actual episode in 1982 where a pair of intermediaries did meet in a wooded area, far from the intense backdrop of a war room-type setting. In this play as presented by Actors Co-Op, Phil Crowley as Russian Andrey Botvinnik is a man that has seen it all within his nation and how they desire to progress through their national dominance. Nan McNamara as Joan Honeyman plays her role as the no-nonsense diplomat that desires to get to the point right away. Although they do meet over time, their moods and points of view change through progression. The dialogue they speak swings between charming wit and intense drama, never missing out on a beat. Standing among a minimal stage set as designed by Ellen Lenbergs consisting of a wooden bench and a flat platform representing a bridge over a creek, these two focus upon their characterizations keeping up through their pacing as depicted. In short, it’s a mood moving showpiece as effectively staged. Ken Sawyer’s stage directions adds a lot of intimate interludes throughout. Those added episodes may be trivial in nature, but they do add a lot to the tense drama this play projects.
A WALK IN THE WOODS as produced by Actors Co-Op is a great performance. Although Russia is no longer the treat as they once were, that doesn’t mean that the so-call “cold war” is total done and over with. There are other nations that are stockpiling their “toys”, and they are willing to play with them all! If they eventually do, then that’s going to be another incident to face, far away from any stage! Stay tuned!
A WALK IN THE WOODS, presented by Actors Co-Op, performs at The Crossley Theater, located on the campus of Hollywood First Presbyterian Church, 1760 North Gower Street (at Carlos Street), Hollywood, until March 18th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 PM. Special Saturday matinees take place on February 17th and 24th at 2:30 PM.
For ticket reservations or for more information, call (323) 462-8460, or via online at http://www.ActorsCoOp.org
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