NETFLIX AND SHILL

In a breaking news story that isn’t as broken as it could get, a recent report study from the website CordCutting.com states that one in five TV watchers that view programming on Netflix are watching on somebody’s else’s account. This means that one fifth of all subscribers that tune in to that ever lovin’ streaming service is watching through an account they are not paying for! And that average length of getting that free ride tends to last an average of twenty six months. This translates to watching for “free” for a little over two years!

According to the report, Netflix isn’t the only streaming service that attracts those that stream on somebody else’s account–and dime! Hulu and Amazon Prime also have piggy backed subscribers. Folks that hitch their streaming via Hulu do so for eleven months-nearly a year, while Amazon Prime tend to have these freeloaders some sixteen months.

One could blame the ever lovin’ Millennials–those born between 1998 through 1998, to perform these hatching accounts, and rightly so, as 18% do this via Netflix and 20% at Hulu. When it comes to Amazon prime, it’s the Baby Boomers, the generation that embraced television to its ranging glory, were most likely to stream this service per another’s account!

Although these folks are watching for free, are they “stealing” this service? The people that do don’t believe they are doing anything wrong. However, if they no longer had access to somebody’s account, would they become a legitimate subscriber? According to the report, nearly 60% (59.3% to be exact) would be willing to pay for a Netflix account. Shy of 38% would pay for Hulu, while 27.6% would pony up for an Amazon Prime account.

At the time that this report was curtailed in late 2018, a Netflix account cost $8.99 per month. (Now it’s $12.99). Amazon Prime cost $8.99, while Hulu runs $5.99 per month, the cheapest one of the bunch!

This report isn’t anything that would resemble “breaking news”, as the art of so-called “borrowing” one’s TV service isn’t anything new. In fact, it’s been going around since cable TV started to spring up in communities around the nation. And this writer should know this fact since yours truly has seen it occur!

Back in the good ol’ days when cable TV (or CATV as this method of receiving television programming is know in the industry) was the greatest thing to happen to TV since the test pattern, many communities were starting to wire their towns and neighborhoods for cable, stringing up miles of coax cable along telephone poles, and connecting those cables to single stand alone homes and apartment buildings. Folks living in these areas would now be able to obtain up to 40 channels of TV that could cover many subjects, from all news, all sports, all kids, all music, and channels that features a variety of programs that the “big three” couldn’t and didn’t offer! All of these channels were available for some $25.00 per month! And if one wanted to see recent movies uncut and uncensored, one could do so from such channels as Home Box Office (a.k.a.. HBO), Showtime, Cinemax, and a host of other places existing in CATV land. Those sources would cost a little more, usually going for $10.00 per month per channel, but for watching TV sans commercials, one would become the hit of the neighborhood!

And these is were the “borrowing” would begin. Many forks discovered that if one made an attempt to connect a cable from the pole line that runs to the household complex, one could get the basic channels. And if one was in an apartment unit, it would be a lot easier. Many apartment complexes had a junction box attached to the side of the building or placed somewhere use, such as in the underground parking facility. Although the metal cased box that held the wires and its connection terminals where a specific unit would receive cable was locked, that lock was easy to get into. (Sometimes there was no lock at all!) And the best part of all of this was the cable company would never know that somebody connected their line to a “live” source. The only time this connection was ever discovered is when a CATV technician was at the facility for some reason or another. Sometimes many months, and even years would pass until somebody discovered that their cable was messed with!

And what about the pay services? Those signals coming in the line would have a scrambled video signal. (The audio would be heard normally). In order to get a pay channel in a legit way, one would receive a set top box from the local CATV service that would attach from the coax cable coming in to the dwelling area (usually found in the living room), and through another cable going into the TV set. That box could be “addressed” from the cable TV’s “head end” to the box so the scrambled signal would be unscrambled. However, it was rather easy to get pay TV without paying the CATV company some $10.00 or $12.00 per month!

On the back of many magazines that catered to those into electronics, such as Popular Mechanics, or some of the early computer magazines, one would find small display ads from companies that offered cable TV descramble devices sold via mail order where one would receive every pay service that the cable company offered. The boxes sold for around $50.00 to $100.00 depending on the box and the source that sold them. One could hook it up to the incoming coax cable and to run it out to the TV set. Just plug the thing in and presto! One can get all of the pay channels unscrambled, and the CATV company would never become the wiser! The device would pay itself off as early as four months! And the best part of getting these boxes that it was totally legal! This writer doesn’t recall the loopholes these company used to get away with selling these devices, but in reality, one would be using these boxes to “steal” service!

In today’s landscape, one doesn’t have to get fancy contraptions to get something one should be paying for, let alone connecting a cable line to get even basic cable service. All it takes is to use a friend’s username and password, and one is all set!

This writer isn’t endorsing the fact that it’s proper to perform this function. However, it’s a method people were doing for the last forty or so years. And the CATV companies knew that this was going on, but was very tough to enforce, let alone nearly impossible to find everyone in their town that was doing this “borrowing”. However, if one really feels guilty about receiving something one should be paying for, it’s best to get one’s own subscription for a streaming service. It’s a whole lot cheaper in this day and age, compared to what one paid for cable TV some thirty five years ago! A basic cable TV subscription, along with getting let’s say two pay services (HBO and Showtime) would cost somewhere around $35.00 per month in 1984,—around $87.00 in today’s dollars! If one received Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, that bill comes around to $30,00 per month for all three services! And one can watch anything whenever they wanted in high def! The only difference is the fact that one can’t tune into to The Nashville Network (sorry county fans!), WGN from Chicago (home of Bozo’s Circus), or WOR from the New York City area featuring The Joe Franklin Show! So much for the golden age of TV!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Theatre 40 continues its 2018-19 season of stage plays with William Fairchild’s
THE SOUND OF MURDER, a classic murder mystery in the British style about a spouse’s plot to do away with her husband with the person she really loves, and the secretary that stands within its middle with a plan of her own.

David Hunt Stafford plays Charles Norbury. He’s a rather successful author of a series of children’s books. Unlike the genteel nature of his writings, his persona is far from kind and simple. In fact, he is rather manipulative to his wife Anne (Kate Whitney), where he uses his personality treating her as a lowly servant, even down to refusing to have children with her–the same beings that made him a success in the literary world. Anne has a lover, Peter Marriot (Gabriel Oliva). The two desire to marry and have a life of their own. However, Charles rightly refuses to grant a divorce with the notion that being a divorced author of kids books would tarnish his longstanding career. So the only way to get rid of Charles is to develop a plot to murder this man as Anne and Peter devise. Meanwhile, Charles has a secretary, the studious Miss Forbes (Roslyn Cohn) whose job is to transcribe the writing he creates as he dictates his verbiage via a tape recorder. She learns about the plot from hearing a recording unintentionally made of Anne and Peter plotting the murder. This situation leads toward a murder and a love affair finally developing. So the elements remains. Will Anne and Peter get away from this fiendish plan in order to live a life of bliss? Is Miss Forbes also in love with Peter? Will Charles really be bumped off? And will the police find out who did what to whom?

This play is one of those classic English “whodunits” that holds the expected (and well received) plot twists that progress while this production plays itself our–so to speak! It’s also one of the more obscure plays of this kind around, meaning that it’s so unknown, it’s near new after some sixty years from when this play was first presented on London’s west end in its rather short run. (It was due to being poorly received!) However, time has been very kind to this play since it’s very well executed on the Theatre 40 stage. The characters presented are those one would find in a British murder mystery. The performers appearing in this show take their English rather seriously as every player are deep into their roles. Theatre 40’s artistic and managing director, David Hunt Stafford takes the lead as the villainous Charles. His character may be described as a bit “over the top”, but is really seen as one that is evil in the less obvious places, including to his spouse as portrayed by Kate Whitney. Although she is the victim, her character is strong enough once she places herself into the thick of things. The same goes for the secretary Miss Forbes as performed by Roslyn Cohn. She may just be a hired hand, but she pushes to what she desires out of the situation. Adrian Cohen directs this show that keeps the spirit of a traditional British bred murder mystery in full check, as those plot twists take their turns in the right places.

Theatre 40’s residential set decorator Jeff G. Rack dresses the rural cottage Charles and Anne dwells with a blend of classic British country home with traces of middle century modernism, meaning that this comfortable space nestled within the countryside has some hipness to it all–something that isn’t necessarily expected within a tale of murder.

Also appearing in this production is Peter Trencher as Inspector Davidson, and David Westbay appears as Police Constable Nash, present to solve the case.

THE SOUND OF MURDER is indeed a “sound” play! It’s not Agatha Christie, but then again, only Agatha Christie is Agatha Christie! This play is just as deep as a scheme of having somebody snuffed because of one loving somebody else. That is good enough for those that really love a mystery, and this play proves its plot points in full!

THE SOUND OF MURDER, presented by Theatre 40 and performs at the Reuben Cordova Theatre, located within the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off little Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until April 14th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org
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The Road Theatre Company presents the world premier of Stephanie Alison Walker’s FRIENDS WITH GUNS, a dark comedy/drama of a pair of young married couples that have a few things in common, and one that doesn’t seem to jive quite yet!

Kate Huffman and Arianna Ortiz are Shannon and Leah. The two meet one morning while tending each other young kids at a nearby playground located on the westside of Los Angeles proper. Besides being a mom, Shannon is a real estate agent what performs well in what she does, but lacks an inner self confidence. Leah, also a mom to a pair of young kids, is friendly enough to encourages her to keep her kids in order. This episodes sparks a friendship between these two. Later, Shannon and her spouse Josh (Brian Graves) meet with Leah and her husband Danny (Christian Telesmar) for dinner. As these four get to know each other as friends, Shannon and Josh discover that Leah and Danny possess a small collection of firearms. They only keep these guns as basic protection, away from the kids, and locked up in a gun safe in their garage. They insist to Shannon and Josh that they are not gun fanatics. They just keep them “just in case”. This notion of keeping guns at bay are of a concern at first. Until one day, Leah gives Shannon an opportunity to try shooting a gun at a firing range. This simple task leads Shannon a chance to give her some self being that she didn’t possess, in spite of what Josh may believe.

This play takes a slice of domestic life where two couples meet and bond, and brings forth an aspect that one couple hold an interest where the other may step back upon, let alone to bring a sense of fear. The play itself doesn’t take a side on the interest of barring arms, or the lack thereof, is a proper notion to have. It just shows how an interest to one source may be a major concern to another. Stephanie Alison Walker creates a play that can occur in any neighborhood that is red, blue, or even grey, as well as how one’s self esteem can be enhanced from an element may not be for everyone. The cast of the four players appearing in this stage work can be your friends and neighbors. That aspect makes this play as real and believable. Randee Trabitz’s stage direction enhances these facts with a sense of what is one person’s self confidence and another person’s inner dread.

Perhaps the most simple aspect of this play is its set design by Stephen Gifford. With the use of some floating pieces of furnishings serving as place settings, as well as a backdrop with a view of palm trees tops from looking upward, the mood brings a sense of a virtual reality that is the center focus of this tale.

FRIENDS WITH GUNS isn’t necessarily a play that has been “ripped from today’s headlines” thanks to the gun-related issues of late, but gives an opportunity to think about one’s fears. Generally speaking, are these people really friends, enemies, or “frenemies”?

FRIENDS WITH GUNS, presented by The Road Theatre and performs at The Road on Magnolia, 10747 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, until May 5th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.
For ticket reservations or for more details, call (818) 761-8838, or via online at
http://www.RoadTheatre.org
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The Sierre Madre Playhouse will present for a limited run, Scott Drier’s DORIS AND ME-ONE MAN’S OBSESSION WITH DORIS DAY, a cabaret-esque program where Scott will wax poetic upon one of Hollywood’s genuine stars dubbed as “America’s Sweetheart”.

Scott will sing as well as perform on the keyboards along with bass accompaniment, many of the tunes that made this “girl next door” type one of the favorites to ever to grace the screen (both big and small), as well as through the hit parades of not so long ago. Scott will also reminisce about his personal fondness to a woman whose professional career spanned generations from the 1950’s through the turn of the 21st century.

Doris Day, long out of the media limelight, is presently involved with her animal rescue groups-The Doris Day Animal League and The Doris Day Animal Foundation that speak for the welfare of animals big and small.

DORIS AND ME-ONE MAN’S OBSESSION WITH DORIS DAY, will be presented for four shows only, Friday, April 6th, Saturday, April 7th and 13th, and Sunday, April 14th. The Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8:00 PM, and the Sunday, April 14th showcase commences at 2:30 PM.

The Sierre Madre Playhouse is located on 87 Sierre Madre Blvd. in “downtown” Sierre Madre, two blocks west of Baldwin Avenue. For ticket reservations or for more information, call (626) 355-4318, or visit the playhouse’s website at http//www.SierreMadrePlayhouse.org
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

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