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America’s most hated device: The cable box

America’s most hated device: The cable box

August 27, 2013: 5:00 AM ET

Why hasn’t the future arrived for one of consumers’ most used gadgets?

By John Patrick Pullen

FORTUNE — After a month of phone tech support, a month of wireless router reconfigurations, a month in which I restored my computer to a backup from six weeks before, and a month of spotty, poor Internet service, I finally yanked my high-speed modem out of the wall last Monday and hauled it into my local Comcast office for a replacement. And it was there, flanked by more than a dozen people with phone, television, and Internet problems similar to mine — all watching Night at the Museum in the waiting room, like we were stranded in a bus station at the side of the information superhighway — that I thought, “Hey, that’s a pretty cable box they’ve got there. I wonder how I can get that for myself?” Read more of this post

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The Economist explains: Is Netflix killing cable television?

The Economist explains: Is Netflix killing cable television?

Aug 26th 2013, 23:50 by A.E.S.

NEXT MONTH the Emmys, the American television awards, could label a show that never appeared on a television channel as the year’s best drama. “House of Cards”, a series about political maneuvering starring the actor Kevin Spacey (pictured), is available only on Netflix, an online-video service. The show’s success highlights the maturation of video-streaming firms, and the threat they pose to traditional television. People can now watch television-quality shows, including “House of Cards”, only through Netflix, seemingly diminishing the need to pay for a cable subscription. Is Netflix killing cable television? Read more of this post

The rise of documentary film: fact can be more powerful – and more popular – than fiction

The rise of documentary film

The shocking truth

Aug 27th 2013, 7:04 by F.S.

“BLACKFISH”, a gripping new documentary about killer whales in captivity, feels like an action thriller. Opening with the death of Dawn Brancheau, a trainer killed by a whale at Seaworld in Florida in 2010, it builds suspense with a haunting score, shock revelations and emotional footage of the killer in question—a sorry-looking orca called Tilikum. This film (now available on DVD) is an example of a new breed of theatrically-minded, more commercially viable documentaries that are contributing to the genre’s increasing success. Recent British Film Institute data show that the number of documentaries released in British cinemas has grown steadily every year over the last decade, from a measly four in 2001 to 86 last year. Documentaries now also account for about 16% of the Cannes film market according to its director, Jerome Paillard, compared with 8% five years ago. Netflix, an online streaming service that also makes television series, recently announced that it will soon be producing documentaries for the next wave of its original content drive. Read more of this post

Aereo Wins Send Networks on Hunt to Stop Streaming TV

Aereo Wins Send Networks on Hunt to Stop Streaming TV

Broadcasters stymied by court losses in New York are turning to judges in California and Massachusetts in their campaign to shut down the Aereo Inc. online streaming TV service backed by Barry Diller. Aereo, which relays broadcast TV to subscribers over the Internet, continues to expand its service to more U.S. cities even as CBS Corp. (CBS), Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s NBC, Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s ABC and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.’s Fox pursue copyright litigation that may wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court. Read more of this post

Career first, children later: Taiwan women put their eggs on ice; Women play a big part in Taiwan’s workforce, trailing only New Zealand and Australia for female employment among 14 countries in Asia

Career first, children later: Taiwan women put their eggs on ice

7:22am EDT

HSINCHU, Taiwan (Reuters) – Caught between traditional expectations and career pressures, working women in Taiwan are increasingly opting to freeze their eggs at fertility clinics as they postpone marriage and motherhood. Women play a big part in Taiwan’s workforce, trailing only New Zealand and Australia for female employment among 14 countries in Asia, a recent report by MasterCard showed. Read more of this post

Hong Kong’s paper crafters work overtime to feed hungry ghosts

Hong Kong’s paper crafters work overtime to feed hungry ghosts

2:30am EDT

By Grace Li

HONG KONG (Reuters) – At a workshop in an old Hong Kong neighborhood, paper craftsman Ha Chung-kin uses delicate sheets of paper and sticks of bamboo to fashion a huge, expensive boat that will soon be consigned to the flames. The Hungry Ghosts festival that has prompted Ha’s exquisite labors centers on a superstition that the spirits of the dead return to Earth during the seventh month of the Chinese Lunar calendar, which runs from August 7 to September 4 this year. Read more of this post

China appliance makers flip the retail switch to survive

China appliance makers flip the retail switch to survive

8:15am EDT

By Donny Kwok

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese white goods makers like Haier Electronics Group Co Ltd (1169.HK: Quote,ProfileResearchStock Buzz) are muscling in on their distributors and expanding into logistics and e-commerce in a bid to win the fierce battle for margins in the world’s biggest home appliance market. This strategy shift is expected to hurt retailers such as market leader Suning Commerce Group Co Ltd (002024.SZ: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz) and GOME Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd (0493.HK:QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz) as slowing economic growth and increasingly thrifty, web-savvy consumers intensify the already cut-throat competition in the $89 billion sector. Read more of this post

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