With all the fuss over Netflix's price hikes and near-catastrophic amputation of its DVD-by-mail arm, after the all the pitchfork wielding, the mass exodus, falling stock price, and everything else company CEO Reed Hastings and the rest of the Netflix crew would like to forget about, subscribers still kicked back on their couches and tuned in to what the streaming outfit had to offer.
Unless you've been intentionally cutting yourself off from mainstream movies and TV (and we wouldn't blame you if you had), you've probably become aware of the practice known as product placement--when companies pay money to have their product or brand featured in a movie or TV show.
Used judiciously, product placement can be a way for filmmakers to get a little extra cash and flesh out the realism of their world. It makes more sense to see characters at a bar drinking real brands of beer, after all. Unfortunately, Hollywood isn’t known for its subtlety, and product placement can all too often be jarring and obvious.
And, of course, tech brands are no stranger to this kind of advertising. We’ve put together a gallery of 15 of the most shameless, hamfisted instances of tech product placement in movies and TV shows. Check them out, then hit the comments and let us know what we missed.
Western Digital's WD TV media player family just got a little bit better with the addition of streaming movie service Vudu. That's in addition to several new sports and entertainment services WD rolled out to the WD TB Live and WD TV Live Hub media players, both of which are already content rich with support for Netflix, Hulu Plus, Blockbuster, CinimaNow, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Facebook, and a bunch of others.
One of my favorite zombie movies is Revenge Of The Zombies, made in 1943. It stars John Carradine as the mad scientist and Gale Storm as the female ingénue. It’s not a great movie, in fact it’s not even a very good one, but it has an ending that still disturbs me to this day. John Carradine has turned his beautiful wife into a zombie. He’s also trying to breed a race of zombies for Hitler. But his wife still has some free will. She takes control of the growing army of zombies (well, only four or five) and they take Carradine down to the spooky swamp, where she faces him, holds him by the shoulders so he can’t escape, and they both sink down into the quicksand. He struggles, she doesn’t. The rest of the zombies sink down with them. What’s disturbing about this ending is the thought that if zombies never die, then they’re all still down there, waiting, brooding…and maybe some night will come oozing and squelching out of the swamp…?
It seemed like Netflix had it all not all that long ago. A thriving DVD-by-mail rental business, a streaming service that grew more popular than movie studios anticipated, and for the most part, happy subscribers. All that was before Netflix shot itself in the foot with a laser guided cannon, and it's been hopping awkwardly ever since. Watching Netflix stumble around isn't the kind of thing that leads to investor confidence, nor is warning that the worst might be yet to come.
With Netflix’s 21.5 million streaming subscribers set to lose access to Starz’s content in February 2012, everyone has been left wondering what comes next. The company’s content catalog currently includes hundreds of movies from Sony and Walt Disney, including several original programs such as “Spartacus” and “Boss”. Will the company retreat back to the safety of established cable networks? According to Starz President Chris Albrecht they still have a bright future ahead of them online, but will soon be going direct to customers with an HBO Go-like application for phones, tablets, and other popular streaming platforms.
When you look around and see the competition jacking up prices, the temptation must be to follow suit, because that's what all the movie rental companies are doing. Netflix started this craptacular trend, and while subscribers were still raging on message boards, RedBox went and slipped in a price a increase of its own, albeit a comparatively minor one. Now it's BlockBuster's turn, and come November 8, you could pay as much as $4 for a rental at one of those familiar blue Kiosks.
Fun Fact: Most people would rather watch a movie than go to work... unless of course watching movies is one of your job functions, in which case you might be happier reading a book--It’s a strange world out there. Unfortunately, the majority of we worker bees aren’t able to take in a flick while on the clock, forced instead to keep our eyes on spreadsheets, assembly lines and work orders. Don’t fret: Hollywood’s just a set of headphones away, thanks to Listen to a Movie, our Cool Site of the Week.
You may remember our previous assortment of geek heroes. A fine gathering of geeky go-getters, indeed. But in the wide whacky world of TV and movies, the nerd well runs deep and your suggestions as to who was left off the initial list were noted. So why not go back for another bucketful of geeky goodness?
In true Hollywood fashion we've one-upped ourselves—literally. So, in this blockbuster sequel to our previous gallery, we bring you not 15, but 16 more of the greatest geek heroes to ever grace the screen.
In what was largely overshadowed by the intense backlash over Netflix's ill-fated decision to spin off its DVD-by-mail rental business into Qwikster is that you'd be able to rent videogames in addition to DVDs and Blu-ray movies. It was to be an upgrade option similar to the one for Blu-ray, except you'd be able to rent Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 games. Did Netflix nix those plans when it axed Qwikster?