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When does FilmStruck launch..?


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The latest email about FILMSTRUCK and the CRITERION CHANNEL indicates the new services start on October 19th and that HULU's license to stream Criterion titles ends on November 11.  Sad for me who just joined HULU one month ago entirely because of the amazing Criterion library (which includes hundreds of titles not on disk). 

 

I have questions which I posed when I called HULU--yes, they have a working customer support phone number--and when I called the Criterion Collection.   So, both HULU and Criterion offer ways to talk to a human being when there are problems...something TCM has never offered even in the face of their current streaming service, WATCH TCM, not working for many of us or when their website is out of order or, especially, when there are audio/video sync problems (as there has been for many weeks this year). 

 

My main questions about FILMSTRUCK and the CRITERION CHANNEL are:

 

Will TCM and/or the Criterion Collection begin a tech support/customer support operation for these two new services?  If streaming from either new service does not work or there are problems with our subscriptions, will there finally be someone at TCM who will respond?  We all know that the TCM support email address NEVER replies to queries.

 

Can one subscribe to only the CRITERION CHANNEL alone and not  to FILMSTRUCK?  The current literature says FILMSTRUCK has a rotating selection of movies.  The write-up on the CRITERION CHANNEL says all titles will be available for streaming at all times.

 

How can we link via WIFI to either service since current smart TV's and Blu Ray players won't have apps for these new services?  Or, will we have to watch on our computers?  HULU is on many/most smart TV's and Blu Ray players and streaming Criterion titles works beautifully on HULU.

 

It appears--although I'm not sure--that TCM will be in control of the tech issues to do with both FILMSTRUCK and the Criterion Channel.  That, frankly, worries me--given TCM's past history of not offering any support.

 

If any of you have any ideas regarding my questions, please respond.  If you are a fan of TCM and Criterion, please contact Criterion with your questions and thoughts.

 

Thanks for listening.

 

Davidf (Tucson, AZ)

 

 

 

 

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DavidST, I just finished participating in the Beta for FilmStruck.

 

As far as I could see, either Criterion or a third party was in control of the tech issues, and not TCM. In fact, I saw little involvement from TCM at all. The site seemed solely Criterion, content-wise.

 

According to the latest info, there are 2 packages you can subscribe to: one will give access to a rotating number of titles from various independent film distributors, as well MGM and WB catalog titles. The second package includes the first package as well as unfettered access to ALL Criterion titles at all times (although I would imagine that there will be a few, like the most recent titles, that will go in and out of availability). The second package also has an annual ($99)  subscription option.

 

Part of the Beta testing I did was viewing FilmStruck via the Amazon Fire TV Stick device. It worked fine, and was similar to the various subscription channel options they already offer. You input your FilmStruck info to use the Amazon FilmStruck app/channel, and view through that. I also watched things via traditional streaming on my laptop.

 

Hope this helped, and for fans of Criterion's output, I definitely recommend the service.

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Thanks so much for your quick and pertinent reply, LawrenceA.   Funny...when I talked to Criterion today, the lady there said she thought most of the tech/customer support issues would be handled by TCM and not by Criterion.  I guess we'll have to wait and see. This is the most important issue for me.  TCM has no customer/tech support.  We can only scream our dissatisfaction here on this message board.  HULU offers good tech support.   With multiple subscription packages to be offered and with streaming tech issues to deal with, the powers-at-be--whoever they are--must instigate a working tech support/customer support operation with knowledgeable staff and phone numbers that are answered and email addresses that work.

 

I don't have Amazon Fire and hope I don't have to invest in another piece of equipment just to get FILMSTRUCK.  I'm really only interested in the second package you mention below...which is as close, I guess, as I'll be able to get to the beautifully functioning Criterion streaming on HULU.  I hope whoever involved you in testing will also realize that many of us want a way of accessing FILMSTRUCK or the Criterion Channel via traditional WIFI streaming to a smart tv or blu ray player.  This, I guess, would mean that we'd need a way of adding an app to our tv or player.

 

Let's keep our fingers crossed.

 

David (Tucson, AZ)

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I heard back from a significant person at Criterion who sent me an email after I'd telephoned them.   He said the details of FILMSTRUCK (and presumably the Criterion Channel which I'm more interested in) are still being worked out.   I was happy to hear him assure me that FILMSTRUCK would have its own customer service which will be separate from TCM.  He expects there to be a live chat feature, seven days a week, to answer any and all questions.  He told me there would be more answers to my questions closer to the launch date in November and invited me to write him again after the launch.  Still confused by the date.  He said November as the launch date.  The press releases I've seen say FILMSTRUCK starts on October 19th and that HULU loses the Criterion Collection on November 11th.    The expected price will be $10.99/month for both FILMSTRUCK and the Criterion Channel.   You can sign up for the email newsletter at the FILMSTRUCK website--apparently, this will give one the opportunity for a two-week trial offer.

 

We shall all see, I guess.

 

David (Tucson, AZ)

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Still confused by the date.  He said November as the launch date.  The press releases I've seen say FILMSTRUCK starts on October 19th and that HULU loses the Criterion Collection on November 11th.   

 

Contractually, I don't think they can show the Criterion films until November 12th, after the deal with Hulu expires. Maybe FilmStruck is launching on October 19th with the WB titles and independent titles. But I bet the Criterion films will not start streaming on FilmStruck until the second week in November.

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Thanks Larry. Do you know if people who have Roku smart TVs will be able to get FilmStruck, like we do with Hulu, Amazon Prime and Sling?

 

DavidST had a similar question in the other thread which is now locked, so I hope he sees the information here.  The filmstruck.com web site says the service will support desktops and tablets (I'm assuming through regular web browser) as well as Amazon Fire TV (OS 5 and up), Apple TV 4th generation (Nov 2016), and 'Coming Soon' to Chromecast and Roku.

 

So it looks like all of the main streaming devices will eventually be supported.

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DavidST had a similar question in the other thread which is now locked, so I hope he sees the information here.  The filmstruck.com web site says the service will support desktops and tablets (I'm assuming through regular web browser) as well as Amazon Fire TV (OS 5 and up), Apple TV 4th generation (Nov 2016), and 'Coming Soon' to Chromecast and Roku.

 

So it looks like all of the main streaming devices will eventually be supported.

 

Thanks for following up. The information is very much appreciated.

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Thanks for thinking of me.  I am following this topic now.   The other thread was for folks dealing with the continuing problem of TCM HD audio/video lack of sync and other such transmission and tech problems which were not being addressed by anyone at TCM.  I thought those folks might be interested in the issues surrounding FILMSTRUCK and the Criterion Channel and the assurance I received from Criterion about customer service.  Perhaps that means that those of us who end up subscribing may be able to get assistance if there are problems with either of these new services.  I hope so.

 

Speaking as a relative luddite who really doesn't want to have to purchase more equipment (Roku, Amazon TV, etc.), I hope...eventually...an app might be developed so that current smart tv's and smart blu ray players can stream these new services directly.  That's why it was SO WONDERFUL to have the Hulu app which enabled us to enjoy the Criterion Collection with one click on my blu ray player's app list.   If I end up having to watch the Criterion Channel on my computer rather than via Wifi on my television, I'll survive but it will be a big step down.

 

David

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  • 3 weeks later...

The latest email about FILMSTRUCK and the CRITERION CHANNEL indicates the new services start on October 19th and that HULU's license to stream Criterion titles ends on November 11. 

 

Since we're beyond the 19th at this point, I am wondering if anyone has started using the service. And if so, what their thoughts might be...

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I got an e-mail last week or the week before that said that the launch was delayed until early-mid November. The reason they gave was vague ("we want to give the best possible experience"), but it's probably partially due to waiting for the Hulu contract to expire.

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I got an e-mail last week or the week before that said that the launch was delayed until early-mid November. The reason they gave was vague ("we want to give the best possible experience"), but it's probably partially due to waiting for the Hulu contract to expire.

 

Yes, that's what I think too. I knew Hulu would not let them overlap. So they were probably getting ahead of themselves.

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FilmStruck has gone live. I received an e-mail today informing me, and telling me that since I participated in the BetaTest, I get use of the site for the rest of 2016 (two months) for free.

 

There seems to be more older films to choose from now. The amount of titles available isn't terribly large, though. Enough to spend two months watching, sure. I hope they continue to add more.

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FilmStruck has gone live. I received an e-mail today informing me, and telling me that since I participated in the BetaTest, I get use of the site for the rest of 2016 (two months) for free.

 

There seems to be more older films to choose from now. The amount of titles available isn't terribly large, though. Enough to spend two months watching, sure. I hope they continue to add more.

 

Thanks for these updates. And a nice guy like you deserves two months for free..!

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Lawrence:

 

Thanks for the update.  I plan to join after the Criterion Collection stops streaming next week on HULU.  Do you have a sense yet about how the Criterion Channel on Filmstruck will work?  I'm assuming one must join both--i.e., one can't just subscribe to the Criterion Channel alone.   Another question I have is whether Filmstruck/Criterion Channel will offer a way to "grab" or download an app onto a smart tv or blu ray player so that one can stream seamlessly as one can with Hulu.  No sign yet, obviously, of a downloadable icon on my Samsung for either of these new services.  As someone who doesn't want to subscribe to Roku (on top of my pricey Netflix cable box/dvr subscription) and as someone who doesn't want to be forced to watch Filmstruck/Criterion Channel on my computer, I hope soon a Hulu-like app will be obtainable for my smart blu ray player.  If you have any knowledge of these issues, please pass them on.

 

Thanks,

 

David

 

P.S.  love your Donald Pleasence avatar.  Makes me want to watch again his Barchester Chronicles.

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I didn't see anything about apps or other devices. The only one I heard about was an app through Amazon Prime, usable with the Fire TV devices. There may be more, but they aren't listed on the site's main page. The website's main page is one of the more streamlined, uncomplicated pages I've seen. You have options to click between the FilmStruck main page and Criterion Channel mainpage, or the option to browse all of the movies available on the site in alphabetical order. They are also divided by genre, and in various sub-categories that will change from month to month, like spotlights on specific directors, stars, nation of origin, settings, etc.

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Thanks, Cris.  But, the HDMI would have to be 50 feet long.  Not practical.  If Filmstruck (and especially the Criterion Channel) is going to be a serious contender for Hulu streaming of Criterion titles, someone will have to develop a non-hardware way of streaming to a smart TV or smart blu ray player.  That means, I guess, creating an app easy to access from Samsung and similar smart players and televisions.  Since I'm one of many, I'm sure, who balks at paying Comcast every month to rent their dvr/cable box, I'm never going to invest in another rent-a-machine like Roku or Amazon Fire.  Being limited to watching Filmstruck and The Criterion Channel only on my pc is similarly not acceptable.   These new services should at least be able to provide the streaming convenience of Hulu and Netflix.

 

David

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Thanks, Cris.  But, the HDMI would have to be 50 feet long.  Not practical.  If Filmstruck (and especially the Criterion Channel) is going to be a serious contender for Hulu streaming of Criterion titles, someone will have to develop a non-hardware way of streaming to a smart TV or smart blu ray player.  That means, I guess, creating an app easy to access from Samsung and similar smart players and televisions.  Since I'm one of many, I'm sure, who balks at paying Comcast every month to rent their dvr/cable box, I'm never going to invest in another rent-a-machine like Roku or Amazon Fire.  Being limited to watching Filmstruck and The Criterion Channel only on my pc is similarly not acceptable.   These new services should at least be able to provide the streaming convenience of Hulu and Netflix.

 

The website already lists upcoming compatible set-top devices, with current-generation AppleTV by the end of the year.

My machine isn't Rent-A, since I use a Playstation 3 as my Blu3D player and streaming-STB, and they promise the app by "early Jan/Feb. 2017".  Presumably, we'll also have the TCM content on it by then.

(Although that's for PS4, we're assuming the app's for both.)

 

Now, question is, when will Warner Instant Archive admit that Microsoft played them for a sap in getting them to use Silverlight, and create a universal PS3 app for that service?

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Goodbye Hulu, hello Filmstruck.

 

I am waiting till January when they hook up via Roku.  But I have looked over the website, and I am pretty psyched.  I hope that they will make ALL the films in the Criterion Catalogue available.  Hulu claimed to do so, but in fact they were missing quite a few of the classics -- the Apu trilogy, Pasolini's Trilogy of Life, Altman's films, many of Buñuel's, Fellini's NIghts of Cabiria, etc.

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Goodbye Hulu, hello Filmstruck.

 

I am waiting till January when they hook up via Roku.  But I have looked over the website, and I am pretty psyched.  I hope that they will make ALL the films in the Criterion Catalogue available.  Hulu claimed to do so, but in fact they were missing quite a few of the classics -- the Apu trilogy, Pasolini's Trilogy of Life, Altman's films, many of Buñuel's, Fellini's NIghts of Cabiria, etc.

 

The most I ever saw on Hulu was about 450 to 500 Criterion titles. I had catalogued them in a word file, but it fluctuated a bit from month to month. I think there are over 900 (maybe close to 1000?) Criterion restored classics at this point.

 

Any word on what day in January FilmStruck will hook up with Roku..?

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The most I ever saw on Hulu was about 450 to 500 Criterion titles. I had catalogued them in a word file, but it fluctuated a bit from month to month. I think there are over 900 (maybe close to 1000?) Criterion restored classics at this point.

 

 

Going by Spine #'s, Criterion is up to 853 as of Feb next year. However, that doesn't include the many titles released as part of the Eclipse sets, many of which are up on FilmStruck, so the grand total is close to 1000. Plus, there are several films on FilmStruck that have been restored and start with the Criterion logo that have not yet been put out on disc by them.

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Going by Spine #'s, Criterion is up to 853 as of Feb next year. However, that doesn't include the many titles released as part of the Eclipse sets, many of which are up on FilmStruck, so the grand total is close to 1000. Plus, there are several films on FilmStruck that have been restored and start with the Criterion logo that have not yet been put out on disc by them.

 

That's what I thought. Thanks for confirming. I don't remember Hulu ever having more than 500 of them at a time, which is a good total-- just, as the previous poster indicated, not all.

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I will likely use the free trial soon to check out the library.  Have been basking in Japanese films of the 30's through the 50's from Criterion via Hulu.   Almost none of these many wonderful films have every been available on dvd or blu ray from Criterion.  I just ended my Hulu membership with a sharp word to them about how stinking it was for them not to send one word out to subscribers about the Criterion Collection license ending.  Hulu didn't even post a note on their press page about the change.  As to Filmstruck and the Criterion Channel, I'd love to find out if out of print Criterion titles will reappear for streaming...such as THREE SILENT CLASSICS BY JOSEF VON STERNBERG.  Subscribing to Filmstruck will depend on its convenience comparative to Hulu.  I won't string a 50 foot ethernet cable.  I'm not going to get Roku since I already pay for a Comcast box/dvr.  I hope someone at the Criterion Channel will set about creating an app that common brands of smart televisions and blu ray players--mine is a Samsung--can grab and use like the convenient apps for Hulu and Netflix. 

 

David

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I will likely use the free trial soon to check out the library.  Have been basking in Japanese films of the 30's through the 50's from Criterion via Hulu.   Almost none of these many wonderful films have every been available on dvd or blu ray from Criterion.  I just ended my Hulu membership with a sharp word to them about how stinking it was for them not to send one word out to subscribers about the Criterion Collection license ending.  Hulu didn't even post a note on their press page about the change.  As to Filmstruck and the Criterion Channel, I'd love to find out if out of print Criterion titles will reappear for streaming...such as THREE SILENT CLASSICS BY JOSEF VON STERNBERG.  Subscribing to Filmstruck will depend on its convenience comparative to Hulu.  I won't string a 50 foot ethernet cable.  I'm not going to get Roku since I already pay for a Comcast box/dvr.  I hope someone at the Criterion Channel will set about creating an app that common brands of smart televisions and blu ray players--mine is a Samsung--can grab and use like the convenient apps for Hulu and Netflix. 

 

David

 

The app I've been using through Amazon Fire TV seems like something that would be easily adapted as an app for smart TV's or other devices. I was enjoying using it, but it started acting wonky a couple of days ago, kicking me out mid-movie and saying that my subscription was lapsed, although the site streaming on my laptop worked fine. The tech support, which was live realtime chat, couldn't figure out the problem, although they may have resolved it in the ensuing days. I haven't checked on it again.

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