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Aftermath: Are We in Serious Danger of Losing TCM?


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Yesterday, the news broke that FilmStruck was closing after only two years. It had been one of the few places outside of TCM and DVDs and VHS tapes that people could find classic films. It was probably ended to make room for Warner's new streaming service next year, but also because it was "niche". Unfortunately, TCM is also "niche"

Now admittedly, TCM goes out to millions of households, a much larger stretch than FS ever had. But, although it seems safe through at least the festival in April and its 25th anniversary celebration that same month, what happens after that? Will TCM be left alone, remaining the gem it always has been, will it be turned into another AMC, littered with commercials and no classic-era films, or would the "denichers" turn their eyes to wiping out entirely, thus leaving the general public without any free way of seeing classic films, thus essentially sealing the coffin on classic film culture?

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Filmstruck was competition to Warner's idea of One W-Branded Streaming Service to Rule Them All--That was why Warner Archive had to pull their classic studio content out of it, and take the service with it.  We'll probably hear something similar about their DC Universe channel in a month or two.

TCM, OTOH, is competition to no one on cable--There's no Warner-owned cable channel it's taking movies away from, and it's branded within the company, so there's no reason to disinherit it.  That's one good thing about nobody caring what's on dying cable TV anymore.  ;)

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4 hours ago, EricJ said:

Filmstruck was competition to Warner's idea of One W-Branded Streaming Service to Rule Them All--That was why Warner Archive had to pull their classic studio content out of it, and take the service with it.  We'll probably hear something similar about their DC Universe channel in a month or two.

TCM, OTOH, is competition to no one on cable--There's no Warner-owned cable channel it's taking movies away from, and it's branded within the company, so there's no reason to disinherit it.  That's one good thing about nobody caring what's on dying cable TV anymore.  ;)

Eric, I think I agree with you but from a pessimistic point of view I wonder if they will consider the WatchTCM app to be competition for the new service.  If so, we could see the end of that as well.  Suddenly this all seems very depressing.

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I for one, would be depressed if TCM became a "streaming" service, only available to those "nosedivers" who would download some special "APP" to put on their "smart phones"  I don't have one of those phones and have no interest in acquiring one, and especially NO desire to watch TV or movies on those tiny screens.  :rolleyes: 

Somebody's GOT to provide some outlet for all of us "Ain't broke/don't fix" old schoolers who are too old and tired to sheep-like chase after any new "trend" the market SAYS we have to. :wacko: ( a neighbor of mine calls it "carrot and stick" marketing.  ;) )

Seems "doing your own thing" has become some sort of lost art these days.........

Sepiatone

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

I for one, would be depressed if TCM became a "streaming" service, only available to those "nosedivers" who would download some special "APP" to put on their "smart phones"  I don't have one of those phones and have no interest in acquiring one, and especially NO desire to watch TV or movies on those tiny screens.  :rolleyes: 

Somebody's GOT to provide some outlet for all of us "Ain't broke/don't fix" old schoolers who are too old and tired to sheep-like chase after any new "trend" the market SAYS we have to. :wacko: ( a neighbor of mine calls it "carrot and stick" marketing.  ;) )

Seems "doing your own thing" has become some sort of lost art these days.........

Sepiatone

I can see AT&T as seeing TCM as "competition" for some mega streaming service that they want to host, and thus turn the lights out at TCM and say "if you want to see classics get the app". I guess we have at least until the TCM classic cruise which is about a year away. I don't want to watch classics on a phone either. The screens are too small and I don't even own a cell phone. I don't need one.

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9 hours ago, EricJ said:

TCM, OTOH, is competition to no one on cable--There's no Warner-owned cable channel it's taking movies away from, and it's branded within the company, so there's no reason to disinherit it.  That's one good thing about nobody caring what's on dying cable TV anymore.

I hope this is true.

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2 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

I for one, would be depressed if TCM became a "streaming" service, only available to those "nosedivers" who would download some special "APP" to put on their "smart phones"  I don't have one of those phones and have no interest in acquiring one, and especially NO desire to watch TV or movies on those tiny screens.  :rolleyes: 

Somebody's GOT to provide some outlet for all of us "Ain't broke/don't fix" old schoolers who are too old and tired to sheep-like chase after any new "trend" the market SAYS we have to. :wacko: ( a neighbor of mine calls it "carrot and stick" marketing.  ;) )

Seems "doing your own thing" has become some sort of lost art these days.........

Sepiatone

But FilmStruck is not just for viewing on little screens.  In fact, I doubt any of us do so.  You can watch the films on your television, just as you do with TCM and WatchTCM.  It could be that confusion over the advantages of streaming channels was one factor in FilmStruck's inability to acquire more subscribers.  That and the lack of any strong marketing campaign.  It's a real shame because FS provides not only a great library of films but all the extras to go with it.  The presentation and curation are top notch.  This is a film lover's dream, and I very much doubt that any other company will ever achieve anything like it.  The people at TCM who were tapped to run it know their business, and their business is quality cinema.  WarnerMedia, unfortunately, is run by a bunch of beancounters who are aiming at Mass Market Entertainment, like Amazon and Netflix and Hulu.  The very fact that they are interested only in copying that model, rather than offering something different like FilmStruck, reveals their lack of imagination and, consequently, a very dismal prospect for the future of televised cinema.

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1 hour ago, calvinnme said:

 I guess we have at least until the TCM classic cruise which is about a year away.

I don't anticipate anything happening to TCM.  I believe it's too strong a brand.

However as far as the cruise is concerned, like we've seen with the Now Playing Guide and now FilmStruck money can always be cheerfully refunded.

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This discussion has appeared on these boards quite a few times already. Filmstruck was more niche than TCM and it didn't pan out. TCM is a very successful business so I don't see it going under or radically changing any time soon. 

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I don't see hardly any TCM wine club promotions any more. You need:

  1. High Speed Internet connection
  2. Cable Box (free from your provider)
  3. Wireless Router (I bought one for a little over $30)
  4. A computer (which most of you on the message boards obviously have)
  5. A Chromecast device (again between $30-40)
  6. A HDTV that has HDMI connections.

I get TCM over the internet on Sling TV. The cable wire goes into the cable box (provided by the cable company) and from there connects to a wireless router (provided by me (they used to be about $30) that sits beside it.  I can sit at my laptop and google up Sling check out what's on TCM. I can just watch TCM films live, with the promotions, or just scroll through the 20-30 recent presentations and watch them whenever I want on demand.

Here is how it works if you have a computer you just open Sling. Go to TCM. When you make your selection you click it and it will start playing on your lap top screen, once playing, you just click the Chromecast box that appears on the top right of your laptop screen and it will immediately start playing on your TV, even turning on your TV if it's off. 

I have the movie package on Sling also so if TCM doesn't have anything appealing I can see what is on HDNet movies, Sundance, Epix, Independent Film Channel, SyFy, Reelz, Fox Movie Channel, etc., etc. Same deal with them watch them live (with commercials/promotions between the films) or on demand. 

OK so that is all on Sling (just make sure you upgrade to movie package with TCM)

If you can't find anything on that you also have access to any film you can find on Youtube just search you'll be amazed sometimes what is there for free. When you find what you like click play and also the Chromecast box and voila its up on the big screen TV.

There are also web pages that offer free streaming films:

  1. Rare Films the cave of forgotten films
  2. Internet Moving Image Archive - 3 million videos (including 1 million Television News programs)
  3. Kanopy ( access available with a public library card) Watch over 30000 Documentaries, Classic and Indie Films. You get 10 watches per month.

 

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13 hours ago, cmovieviewer said:

Eric, I think I agree with you but from a pessimistic point of view I wonder if they will consider the WatchTCM app to be competition for the new service.  If so, we could see the end of that as well.  Suddenly this all seems very depressing.

WatchTCM was pretty much doomed from the start--It was left around from the days (about '08 or so) when everyone buzzed about "Online movies", but no one yet knew where anyone would watch them.  So every network and studio tried building their own browser-site streaming service, with varying degrees of success.

That's probably why TCM was so eager to create FilmStruck with Criterion's attempt at a browser channel, and take it to the new 10's media of mobile apps and STB's, and ditch their earlier amateur attempts at an online identity.

4 hours ago, Gershwin fan said:

This discussion has appeared on these boards quite a few times already. Filmstruck was more niche than TCM and it didn't pan out. TCM is a very successful business so I don't see it going under or radically changing any time soon. 

The big myth is floating around that "Well, Warner must've dropped Filmstruck because it wasn't popular!"  I don't know about its financial profits, but FS was getting a fierce cult online and becoming the main topic of the affluent mainstream TCM was trying to court, so it wasn't because of unpopularity.

It was because of, as noted, Warner eliminating stragglers and circling the corporate wagons, under their mighty Shield.  They live in terror of Disney having their own one branded studio-content Netflix-rival streaming channel, and whatever roofs Disney jumps off of, Warner must jump as well...Batman must not lose to Mickey!!

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I don't think TCM will disappear any time soon.  As far as watching whatever you want, I've mentioned the best apps to side load on any fire device before and everyone reacts like it's voodoo...it so easy..with Cinema HD, Morpheus and Cyberflix I can stream anything that's on a server anywhere, old or new..(and you don't have to watch android apps on phones..I've got a droid emulator on my pc..they've been around for many years..free and safe)  oh well...

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4 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

I have no idea what a fire device is, so I'm probably one of the people thinking everything you say is voodoo!

Never shout Fire in a crowded thread:  ?

https://www.amazon.com/Introducing-Fire-TV-Stick-4K-with-All-New-Alexa-Voice-Remote/dp/B079QHML21

As for me, I'm stuck with a PS4 game console and a TV with one HDMI input.  So, whatever I watch comes in through the console, meaning games, Blu-ray, Blu3D, DVD, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube, Crunchyroll, HBONow, Vudu VOD streaming...but NO Filmstruck, even when the service was around!!

(And before that, Warner Instant Archive could never adapt themselves to Set-top, since their site had been Microsoft-conned into using Silverlight early on..)

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OK,  JOE;

Technophobe that I am, I understand by your "instructions" up there, that if I do all that on my PC, which is ACROSS THE HOUSE from where my "main" TV is, the movie will somehow get sent to it.  How is this accomplished, or do I now too have to shell out $$ for a LAPTOP to sit in front of my TV with?  (I'm speaking about film struck and other "streaming" services, as I get TCM as part of my cable service's "basic" package)....

I mean, given the choice of watching a movie on my 15" PC monitor or my 50" LG flat panel, the LG wins every time.  My chair I use for when using my PC is comfortable enough for the limited time I'm online and fooling around with various forums, but NOT a "whole night" sort of seat.  ;)

Sepiatone

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2 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

OK,  JOE;

Technophobe that I am, I understand by your "instructions" up there, that if I do all that on my PC, which is ACROSS THE HOUSE from where my "main" TV is, the movie will somehow get sent to it.  How is this accomplished, or do I now too have to shell out $$ for a LAPTOP to sit in front of my TV with?  (I'm speaking about film struck and other "streaming" services, as I get TCM as part of my cable service's "basic" package)....

I mean, given the choice of watching a movie on my 15" PC monitor or my 50" LG flat panel, the LG wins every time.  My chair I use for when using my PC is comfortable enough for the limited time I'm online and fooling around with various forums, but NOT a "whole night" sort of seat.  ;)

Sepiatone

You can cast as in "broadcast" from computer to TV so you can get TCM playing live on your computer just like on Cable. For example in my house the cable box is in a room on second story that is kitty corner to the TV on ground floor, the farthest they could possibly be apart. I can sit on my sofa with the laptop it picks up the signal wireless and gives me internet. I'll open up a tab with google for Sling TV if gives me my channel choices on the screen I choose TCM, I'll get a screen that looks like this (its current for right now today).

vIkAcn2.jpg

The very top row are the channels TCM is top left under the blue "Sling" you scroll right or left for the channels. I clicked on Follow Me Quietly its playing live as I type, the next film up as you cab see The Good Earth then The Male Animal. If you look all the way to the right on that row you see a black box where the content is for some rights reason "unavailable." If you don't like what you are watching "live" the bottom row has what you can watch "on demand." There are about 30 or so choices. The only screw up with the image above is it's displaying a video I was working on in the rectangular yellow box bottom center.

If you are connected to the internet on your computer without a cable, you have a wireless connection. That's all you need. The streams go both ways. Over your internet to the computer then cast to the TV, or a DVD on your computer to your TV or a family reunion video from computer to your TV.

If you have a smart phone you can cast from it also. Sit in your easy chair and just get a youtube movie playing on your phone and cast it to the TV. Once you have a wireless router (again about $35 dollars when I bought one) and a Chromecast (again about $35) when you go to Youtube you'll see the typical Youtube screen on your computer but now with the "buttons" (the red text and the two lines. See below:

mzItbmZ.jpg

Right now currently today, you can watch Naked Alibi with Gloria Graham, Sterling Hayden, and Gene Barry. You just click the PLAY button and then the CAST button and it's playing on your big screen TV. The button on the Youtube screen lower one with play the film directly. If you click the top Cast Button the whole screen as seen above will display on your TV with a small display of the movie playing like you see above. To then make it big screen you hit the button just to the right of the lower cast button.

Or I can go to Rare Films

xY1MYG7.jpg

Here at top of page is The Lemon Drop Kid, If I want to watch that I click where it says watch movie and that brings you to a Youtube like page with a "cast" button. Hit that and it plays on the big screen.

Or I can go to Kanopy with my public library card (free) tou just log on with your library card number. The opening page below is announcing that it has Criterion Collection films. I click the Browse drop down menu....

PG3jbUB.jpg

then clicked Classic Films and landed on the page below:

gLa3LLP.jpg

You can scroll left or right and up and down its got American and foreign titles. But you are limited to 10 films a month. At top right you see my name Ray with Number 3, means obviously I can still watch 3 films. When you click on a film like Youtube you get the screen with the cast button.

I originally had a Time Warner Cable package with TV, Internet, and Phone, it was over $100 a month. Now its Spectrum, I cut out the Cable TV part of the bill, If I cut out the phone too it would be about $20 less to boot.

Sling TV is about $35-40 a month, for the package that includes TCM.

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3 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

How is this accomplished, or do I now too have to shell out $$ for a LAPTOP to sit in front of my TV with? 

It's funny you mention this because I do do this since I tend to use TCM as a radio, background noise. If its something I've seen before I'd rather have TCM on as opposed to radio. I can tell you one thing I can't stand to listen to any commercials anymore at all. 

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On 10/27/2018 at 7:00 AM, Sepiatone said:

Somebody's GOT to provide some outlet for all of us "Ain't broke/don't fix" old schoolers who are too old and tired to sheep-like chase after any new "trend" the market SAYS we have to. :wacko: ( a neighbor of mine calls it "carrot and stick" marketing.  ;) )

 

It is not so much a new trend as it is an evolution of equipment. It is little different from replacing your 56K telephone modem with a 100Mbps cable modem.

You Internet provider supplied appropriate modem and surely has wifi routers available. All you need from that point is a Roku device to connect to your television. The Roku can be used in any place in the home which is reached by the wifi signal. 

You then use the Roku as you would use a cable box to select what you want to watch. 

A new Roku device costs between $30 and $50 but can be purchased also at pawn shops for approx. half of that. 

This is a one-time expense. There are many free channels available which serve a wide variety of interests. Selecting them for ready use is similar to using the 'favorites' channel line-up on a cable box. 

It is in this way a change of equipment to provide the same service.

 

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

I have no idea what a fire device is, so I'm probably one of the people thinking everything you say is voodoo!

an Amazon fire stick or firetv...it just plugs into your tv like a roku, but unlike other streaming sticks, it can be side loaded, which means you can put on apps that allow you access to hundreds of sources that were designed for android devices..does not rely on pc or any other device, and it costs 0 to stream..with only a handful of exceptions I've found old tv shows (and what aired last week), films from silents to what's new (yes, all the old mgm, warner, criterion stuff is there), even old made for tv movies I was looking for.  I've got baskets full of dvds collecting dust, because I can just stream it all now.

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18 hours ago, SansFin said:

 Roku device to connect to your television. The Roku can be used in any place in the home which is reached by the wifi signal. 

You then use the Roku as you would use a cable box to select what you want to watch. 

A new Roku device costs between $30 and $50 but can be purchased also at pawn shops for approx. half of that. 

This is a one-time expense. There are many free channels available which serve a wide variety of interests. Selecting them for ready use is similar to using the 'favorites' channel line-up on a cable box. 

It is in this way a change of equipment to provide the same service.

 

 

 

 

So, what you're saying is....

I have to BUY yet ANOTHER device?  :blink:

I guess my problem is,  I usually try my best to walk around with my pants UP.  ;) 

And as I also don't have WIFI, it sounds as if it's gonna get more expensive and crowded in here.  ;) 

Sepiatone

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31 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

So, what you're saying is....

I have to BUY yet ANOTHER device?  :blink:

I guess my problem is,  I usually try my best to walk around with my pants UP.  ;) 

And as I also don't have WIFI, it sounds as if it's gonna get more expensive and crowded in here.  ;) 

Sepiatone

This is a rare situation where buying is a good thing. A cable box generally costs $120 or more each year because you rent it from the cable company. A Roku device is a one-time purchase for $30 to $50. 

I do not personally recommend wifi but it is the most popular option and is often the easiest. A better alternative is Cat-5e or Cat-6 cable. There are many benefits in speed and reliability over wifi. The major difference is that an adequate wifi router will cost approx. $30 and can be up-and-running within half an hour while running cable will cost approx. $15 but may take a long time to run from the modem to the television's location.

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5 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

So, what you're saying is....

I have to BUY yet ANOTHER device?  :blink:

I guess my problem is,  I usually try my best to walk around with my pants UP.  ;) 

And as I also don't have WIFI, it sounds as if it's gonna get more expensive and crowded in here.  ;) 

Sepiatone

What I'm saying is if something does happen to TCM there are other options out there that are relatively cheaper than Cable TV.

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11 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

So, what you're saying is....

I have to BUY yet ANOTHER device?  :blink:

I guess my problem is,  I usually try my best to walk around with my pants UP.  ;) 

"Well, they'll never catch me any other way!...His Excellency's car!"  

11 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

And as I also don't have WIFI, it sounds as if it's gonna get more expensive and crowded in here.  ;) 

Despite what Comcast tells you ( ? ), you don't need an Internet provider to provide you with WiFi--They're just looking for an excuse to sock you with a more upgraded package and device charge.

On the provider's tech-support page, they should (Comcast/Xfinity does, anyway) have a list of what specific models of modem and WiFi router are compatible with your paid Internet service, and a quick trip to Best Buy or Staples will soon reduce that dependency on rented boxes.  If you buy the latest compatible modem off the shelf, you can return your existing one to the provider and avoid the fee, and if you buy a compatible WiFi router off the shelf, it should operate free of charge.  The trick is not getting more devices, but getting the right ones.

It's not the same as "Cutting the cord" with the cable-TV service, but as more and more programming moves from the cable channels to the streaming services, it helps to reduce a few of the wires. 

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