TIME Television

Offline Viewing Is ‘Never Going to Happen’ Netflix Executive Says

Netflix Illustrations Ahead Of Earnings
The Netflix website and logo are displayed on laptop computers arranged for a photograph in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2014 Bloomberg/Getty Images

#SorryNotSorry

You won’t be able to watch Netflix without an Internet connection. Ever.

“It’s never going to happen,” said Cliff Edwards, the video-streaming site’s director of corporate communications and technology, speaking to TechRadar about the possibility of offline viewing.

A few other streaming services do offer the ability to download shows and then view them without Internet access, but Edwards said Netflix is of the view that downloadable content is “a short-term fix for a bigger problem” of wi-fi access and quality.

The Netflix top brass fully expects both those things to improve significantly in the near future, and Edwards opined that the concept of offline viewing may be a thing of the past as early as five years from now.

[TechRadar]

TIME Media

Netflix Just Announced a Huge New Partnership

Netflix Dish
The Netflix Inc. application is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone arranged for a photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

It's Netflix's first big partnership with a major TV provider in the U.S.

Netflix has found an unlikely partner to help it recruit more new subscribers—Dish Network.

The satellite operator announced Wednesday that it will be integrating Netflix directly into its Hopper set-top box. That means Dish subscribers will be able to seamlessly switch to Netflix content using the same device, remote control and video input that they use when they watch regular television.

The Dish deal, however, doesn’t mean Netflix will be free for Dish subscribers. It only makes it easier for people who use both Netflix and Dish to watch Netflix content.

“Pairing Netflix with Hopper represents the consolidation of two incredible video experiences,” Vivek Khemka, Dish senior vice president of product management, said in a press release. “It gives our customers easy access to their favorite shows and movies, on both Dish and Netflix, without ever having to leave their Hopper.”

Netflix has aggressively been pursuing partnerships with pay-TV providers in order to place its streaming service in front of more potential new customers. While the company has had some success cutting deals in Europe and with small cable operators in the U.S., the major American TV providers have been wary of giving Netflix easier access to its subscribers — until now.

It makes sense that Dish would be the first big pay-TV operator to hop in bed with Netflix. The satellite company has plans for an “over-the-top” TV service delivered via the Internet that will aim to attract exactly the kind of TV viewers who enjoy Netflix. In the future, Dish says, it may add tighter integration of Netflix content by making the streaming service’s shows and movies searchable via the Hopper interface.

TIME Television

Friends Isn’t the Only Goodie Coming to Netflix This January

Cast of "Friends" on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno"
In this handout photo provided by NBC, the cast of "Friends", actors Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, Courteney Cox-Arquette, David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston sat down with Jay Leno for a special "Tonight Show," on the set of Central Perk Getty Images—Getty Images

Mean Girls also headed to a laptop screen near you

Netflix will begin streaming Friends in all of its 236 episode glory starting Jan. 1 — but that’s not the only new treat to be coming to the service in the new year.

Netflix released a list of its biggest films and TV shows that will be coming to a laptop screen near you:

Jan. 1
101 Dalmatians
Bad Boys 2
Bruce Almighty
Cast Away
Dallas
(season 3)
Election
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas
The French Connection
Friends

Fort Bliss
Mean Girls
Shall We Dance
To Be Takei
Wayne’s World 2

MORE: Netflix Wants New Original Content Every Three Weeks

Jan. 3
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
White Collar (season 5)

Jan. 8
Psych (season 8)
Frank

MORE: 26 Streaming Shows You Should Get Addicted to This Winter

Jan. 9
Z Nation (season 1)

Jan. 16
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Jan. 28
Chef

Read next: 8 Netflix Tricks You Just Can’t Live Without

MONEY stocks

Everything You Need to Know to Give Stocks for Christmas

Rolls of stocks with gold bow wrapped around them like a present
MONEY (photo illustration)—Li Jingwang (bow); Kord.com/Getty Images (stocks)

Introducing a youngster to the world of investing via shares in a company they know and admire could start them on the road to wealth

Before you resort to the Starbucks gift card for the collegian in your life—again—or an Apple gift card for the hip techster in the family, why not consider giving a share of Starbucks STARBUCKS CORP. SBUX -0.7372% or Apple APPLE INC. AAPL -0.7723% stock? Looking for that je ne sais quoi for a Frozen fanatic/sports geek/theme park devotee? A share or more of Disney THE WALT DISNEY CO. DIS 0.3023% , parent of the ESPN Network, plays to those passions.

Anyone who had received shares of those stocks five years ago has more than tripled her money, making stocks one Christmas or Chanukah gift that can keep giving well after the holiday season is past.

It’s true that giving shares of a single stock violates all principles of diversification. But c’mon, it’s a heck of a lot more engaging for a child or young adult than some shares of, say, the Vanguard Target Retirement 2060 mutual fund .

And maybe, just maybe, introducing a youngster or young millennial to the world of investing via some shares in a company they know—and like—tip the scale toward stocks when they eventually start investing in a 401(k) or Roth IRA. Millennials have been slow to embrace stocks. That’s understand given the fact they and their portfolios had to live through the financial crisis. But it also will make it harder for them to reach their long-term savings goals.

Your first gift-giving task is to choose one of these three ways to gift the stock:

1) Make A One-Time Gift, Stock Certificate Included. Sites such as giveashare.com and uniquestockgift.com allow you to purchase a share that comes with a framed stock certificate, which gives the recipient something more tangible than a brokerage statement to hang on to, and hang up. The certificate may be a real-deal stock certificate or a replica. For example, in 2013 Disney, with its fab animated stock certificate featuring Walt, Mickey Mouse, and Donald, stopped issuing the real deal, choosing instead to register owners only electronically. But you can still get a collectible version of the stock certificate:

There’s a steep price to pay for being able to hand over a physical gift. At giveashare.com a framed copy of one share of Apple was recently $214, a staggering $100 more than the share price of Apple. At uniquestockgift.com the pricing is more a la carte. On top of the share price, you will pay a $69 transfer fee, and anywhere from $2.95 to $48.95 for a frame. A customized engraved plaque will run another $6.

2) Transfer Stock You Own. You can have stock you own transferred to another account. Contact your brokerage and ask for a stock transfer form. For recipients under the age of 18 the transfer must be made into a custodial account with an adult (usually a parent) listed as the custodian.

3) Deal Directly with the Company Whose Stock You Want to Gift. Some companies, including Harley-Davidson, Mattel, and Nike, offer direct stock purchase plans, and you can have dividends automatically reinvested in more shares. FirstShare, an online site that offers dividend reinvestment programs (DRIPs) has a list of companies offering direct investment. Fees vary at each company. For example, Harley-Davidson HARLEY DAVIDSON HOG 0.5587% will let you get started with just a one-share purchase. In addition to the share price itself, there’s a $5 purchase fee plus another 10 cents for each share.

Once you’ve decided how to give the shares, you’ll want to pick a company that both taps into the recipient’s interests and has at least some potential to grow over time. Because the major indexes are at or near all-time highs right now, screaming deep-discount values are hard to come by these days. But the following gift-friendly stocks all offer value compared to the 1,500 stocks that Morningstar closely analyzes, which on average currently sell for 4% more than the estimated “fair value.”

Kids’ Play

Both Disney THE WALT DISNEY CO. DIS 0.3023% and Mattel MATTEL INC. MAT -6.4123% currently trade at small discounts to Morningstar’s fair value estimates.

Movie Buffs and Binge Watchers

Having shed about $100 in its share price since this past summer, Netflix NETFLIX INC. NFLX 1.7044% is currently priced at an 11% discount to Morningstar’s fair value price of $386.

Coffee Lovers

Starbucks STARBUCKS CORP. SBUX -0.7372% recently traded at about an 8% discount to fair value.

Budding Buffetts

If there’s someone on your gift list who has shown more than a passing interest in how stocks/markets/investing works, a share of Berkshire Hathaway is one of the best ways to learn through ownership. Anyone can read Warren Buffett’s annual shareholder’s letter, but reading it as a fellow shareholder will likely resonate more. Berkshire Hathaway B shares BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC. BRK.B -0.7271% recently traded around $150 a share, a slight discount to Morningstar’s $157 fair value estimate. (And if your gift goes to someone with a car, Berkshire Hathaway shareholders are also eligible for an 8% discount on GEICO insurance. GEICO is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.)

Tech Enthusiasts

You know Microsoft MICROSOFT CORP. MSFT 0.2946% for its Windows and Office software. If you’ve got a gaming fan in the family they know Microsoft for its wildly popular Xbox console. In the most recent quarter, Microsoft sold 2.4 million more Xbox units. The stock recently traded right around fair value. Apple APPLE INC. AAPL -0.7723% requires a little bit more faith, as the current stock price is at a 14% premium to Morningstar’s fair value estimate. That’s not nose bleed territory, but whoo-boy, the time to buy Apple was last Christmas or Chanukah, when the stock price was nearly 40% lower and the price/earnings ratio was below 14. Today it’s a more expensive 17.4. Unless you have a crazed Android devotee, Google GOOGLE INC. GOOGL 1.0532% doesn’t have the tactile product-connection you get from Apple and Microsoft. But it’s actually the best value of the bunch right now, trading at nearly a 4% discount to its estimated fair value. (That said, a single share is north of $500.)

Social Media Mavens

Twitter TWITTER INC. TWTR 0.9529% trades a slight discount to fair value. Facebook FACEBOOK INC. FB 1.8878% , by contrast, is near a 30% premium — not an easy price to “Like.”

TIME Television

REVIEW: Khan Job: Netflix’s Ludicrous Marco Polo

Phil Bray / Netflix

This tour of the Mongol Empire is a sprawling mess.

If there is an equivalent in today’s TV business to the Mongol horde and its cavalry, it may well be Netflix and its algorithms. Not only has the streaming service’s recommendation engine threatened long-standing TV empires and conquered our video habits by sending us from binge-watch to binge-watch–“If you like this, you might like this”–but also, so the company says, it has allowed Netflix to use its copious data to precision-target an audience for its original shows.

Marco Polo (first season debuts online Friday), the lush drama set in the 13th-century court of Kublai Khan, feels less like precision targeting than a flurry of wildly fired arrows, the scattershot, overstuffed result of a “You Might Like…” algorithm run amok. If you like Game of Thrones, and historical drama, and pay-cable softcore, and martial arts movies (like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, whose sequel Netflix is also making)–and you want them crammed together, narrative sense be damned–you might like this gorgeous but ludicrous saga.

But you might also wish Netflix and creator John Fusco had anticipated that you “might like” credible dialogue and characters as well.

The series begins with Italian explorer Marco (Lorenzo Richelmy) being left by his merchant father as a gift/servant/hostage for the Khan (Benedict Wong), in hopes of winning access to the Silk Road. Kublai rules a massive empire, but still has unfinished business: the holdout remnants of the Chinese Song dynasty, as well as fellow warlords who fear that conquest has softened the Mongol out of Genghis’ grandson. The Khan sees the quick-witted “Latin” Marco as a useful scout and spy, dispatching him on reconnaissance missions among enemies and frenemies.

Marco is the protagonist only in name; Richelmy is too bland to be more than the handsome camera through which we explore the empire. The imposing Wong, on the other hand, could be the show’s compelling star–a Mongol Al Swearengen–if the series didn’t make him such a growling B-movie tyrant. Early, he’s challenged as to whether he wants to be a Mongol or Chinese ruler. “Emperor of Mongolia, Emperor of China,” he roars, “I will be Emperor of the world!“–and impales a map with his sword. It’s a mission statement for the series, if that mission is to make you laugh unintentionally.

Mission accomplished, repeatedly. Mind you, this is no amateur production. Filmed in Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Venice, Marco Polo looks like it took the riches of east and west to make. (Reports put the season’s price tag at $90 million.) The vistas are stupendous, the sets and costumes gorgeous (and purportedly researched in detail). This would be a great show to watch on a new giant-screen TV you’re getting for Christmas.

And even more so if the sound doesn’t work. Marco Polo quickly becomes a travelogue of pulp clichés: the oily Song chancellor intoning proverbs about “the strike of the mantis break[ing] the back of the cricket”; the concubine-spy (Olivia Cheng) who leaps up fully nude in slo-mo to take down two armored soldiers in her bedchamber, as if in a Rated-Adults-Only video game; and Hundred Eyes (Tom Wu) the sightless martial-arts master who trains Marco with a stream of listen-carefully-grasshopper nuggets–“Untrue by an inch, untrue by a mile” and “Of the yin and the yang, you have an abundance of yang.”

The series’ problem, too, is how badly it balances its contrasts. Making Marco Polo dumb fun would be just as legitimate as making it weighty historical realism. But the show tries to be both (sort of, though producers freely admit to playing with facts and the timeline), lurching between modes without warning. Sometimes it’s a study of court intrigue, as when we see the Song leaders riven between diehards who want to fight the Khan and those who would sue for peace. Other times, it’s like someone watched the most caricatured Dothraki scenes in the first season of Game of Thrones and asked, “Could we have a show of just this?” Then there’s the obligatory sex, worked in a gracefully as pop-up ads; an orgy montage in the pilot, which intercuts naked, red-lit courtesans with images of Hundred Eyes kung-fu-posing with a cobra, is Orientalist hoohah as pure as the spun silk of distant Cathay.

You can’t say Marco Polo isn’t committed to spectacle and popcorn entertainment, and that may make it a hit worth its price tag. But it reminds me of the Simpsons episode in which Homer gets to design a car that has every feature he wants, and ends up with an expensive monstrosity that includes bubble domes, multiple horns and shag carpeting. It may be that Netflix really knows just what we want. With Marco Polo, it’s giving it to us good and hard.

TIME Media

Netflix Wants New Original Content Every Three Weeks

House of Cards, season 2. Nathaniel E. Bell—Netflix

Next up is the historical epic Marco Polo

Expect to see a whole lot more “Netflix Originals” like House of Cards or Orange is the New Black in the near future.

The company’s long-term goal is to premiere a new original show or season every two and a half weeks, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said at a media conference Monday, Ad Age reports. That would equate to about 20 new shows or seasons per year.

Netflix’s pace of releasing new shows is steadily increasing as it invests more in original content. Next on the docket is Marco Polo, a big-budget historical epic premiering Dec. 12. It’s expected to be Netflix’s most expensive series to date. Other upcoming shows include a talk show hosted by Chelsea Handler and a series of superhero shows based on the Marvel universe.

Whether any of these upcoming shows will be a hit is an open question. According to research conducted by CBS, less than 10 percent of Netflix viewing is dedicated to its original shows. David Poltrack, CBS’s chief research officer, said the data shows that Netflix’s batting average for making hit shows is worse than traditional networks, the New York Times reports.

[Ad Age]

TIME Television

26 Streaming Shows You Should Get Addicted to This Winter

Young woman watching television, rear view
Getty Images

Check out this list of recommendations based on what you already watch

This article originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

Feeling the stay-inside vibe this weekend? This is all you need to pass the weekend by in a glorious TV trance. This story was originally published on January 12, 2013 (but we’ve added some new must-watch entries!).

We’ve been there. You’ve exhausted your Netflix queue, flipped through your entire spectrum of TV channels (twice), and seen every season of 30 Rock. It’s tough, but don’t despair. There’s still uncharted territory out there! In fact, there’s oodles of fun to be had from the comfort of your laptop this weekend. You just have to know what to look for.

These are our favorite finds on Netflix Instant Watch. Never heard of ‘em? Good! Heard the word, but haven’t gotten around to it yet? Now’s the time.

Love Television?
We’re guessing you do because here you are, reading a list of Netflix streaming recommendations. As an aficionado and appreciator of the finer TV series in life, we think you’ll also love The Writers’ Room. In this fascinating interview show, Academy Award-winning writer Jim Rash (who’s best known for playing Dean Pelton on Community) sits down with writers of some of your favorite shows to discuss how they’re crafted. In the first six episodes, he talks to the writers and creators of Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation, Dexter, New Girl, Game of Thrones, and American Horror Story. If you’re a fan of television and love hearing about how it’s created, this is for you.

Love The Sopranos?
Watch Lilyhammer. Steven Van Zandt plays a New York gangster named Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano who tries to start a new life for himself in the titular isolated Norway town after he’s forced into the federal witness protection program.

Love Friends?
Cozy up with the wry Britcom Coupling. It’s a clever and humorous exploration of looking for love when you’re absolutely terrified of everything that comes with it.

Love Halloween?
Cue up Netflix’s horror series, Hemlock Grove. Executive produced by gore-lover Eli Roth, the show focuses on the mysterious goings-on in the fictional titular town, which range from the supernatural to the just plain sadistic.

Love Breaking Bad?
Take a gun-running thrill ride with Sons of Anarchy. Loosely based on Hamlet, it brings the intra-familial intrigue of Shakespeare’s Danish royalty tale to a motorcycle gang unofficially responsible for keeping things going in the fictional city of Charming, CA.

Love The Office?
Watch the British gem that is Peep Show. Part The Odd Couple, part The Office (British version), and filmed through each character’s eyes, the offbeat sitcom is perfect for a weekend binge.

Love Supernatural?
Tune your spidey senses into Psych. This playful show features the overly clever, extremely witty Shawn Spencer who uses his heightened powers of observation to serve as the resident psychic for the Santa Barbara Police Department. Come for the ridiculous fake clairvoyant act, but stay for the lovable characters like Gus, O’Hara, and Lassie. And, did we mention that there’s a musical episode? Because there’s a musical episode.

Love Flight of the Conchords?
Get your New Zealand fix with Short Poppies, a mockumentary series created and written by Rhys Darby, who you’ll recognize from his role as Murray, the Conchords’ clueless manager. On Short Poppies, Darby plays David Farrier, an entertainment reporter. Farrier interviews people he deems “extraordinary New Zealanders,” who live in a fictional town known as The Bay. With just eight episodes, this is the perfect Sunday Funday binge-watch.

Love Friday Night Lights?
That’s a silly question; of course you do. You’re a human being with emotions and a heart, right? Also, you’ve seen Tim Riggins. Texas forever. Unfortunately, we don’t have any updates on the proposed movie (yes, that would mean a book that became a movie that became a show would be made into a movie again), but we do have a series currently streaming on Netflix that will make you feel as many feelings as FNL.

Jason Katims, the brilliant screenwriter who adapted Friday Night Lights for the small screen, also turned the 1989 dramedy Parenthood into a poignant drama now entering its fifth and final season on NBC. Warning: You will definitely need tissues for this one, but the emotional roller coaster of watching the Bravermans is so, so worth it.

Love The Mindy Project?
Check out the short-lived but hilarious Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23. Krysten Ritter plays the titular B, a hustler and legend in her own mind with a gorgeous apartment and a best friend/ex-boyfriend named James Van Der Beek. Yes, the Beek from the Creek. He plays a heightened caricature of himself complete with a tragic stint on Dancing with the Stars. Enter into the fray Dreama Walker, a small-town girl with a business degree who just wants to make it in New York City — plus a pervy neighbor across the air shaft — and you’ve got yourself a delightful little sitcom.

(MORE: An Ode To The Awkward Girls Of ’90s TV)

Love Twin Peaks?
After many requests, Netflix secured the rights to the newest British cult hit Happy Valley. Police sergeant Catherine Cawood is trying to cope with her daughter’s suicide, but things unravel when she spots the man she believes raped her daughter (which led to her death). She becomes obsessed with finding him, which uncovers an even larger mystery involving the kidnapping of a local girl.

Love Family Guy?
Or, any animated show for adults, really, including The Simpsons, The Critic, Bob’s Burgers, South Park, and Archer? Netflix debuted its first foray into original animated programming for grown-ups this week with BoJack Horseman. Will Arnett voices the titular character, a washed-up actor who starred in a popular sitcom called Horsin’ Around 20 years ago and has done nothing of note since. The world of BoJack is populated with humans and anthropomorphized animals alike, so it’s a bit surreal. Aaron Paul plays Todd, BoJack’s sycophantic perma-houseguest, and Alison Brie is Diane, who’s been hired to ghostwrite his memoirs. Can BoJack and his ragtag crew somehow turn his downward spiral of a life around? Watch and find out.

Love Downton Abbey?
If you’re especially attuned to the burgeoning role of women beyond the domestic sphere in Downton, cue up Call the Midwife. Imagine Sybil’s can-do nursing skills transported to a group of midwives in a convent in East London in the ‘50s. That’s exactly what you’ll find in this engrossing BBC series, which airs new seasons on PBS.

Also try The Forsyte Saga. Featuring Homeland‘s own Sgt. Nicholas Brody (a.k.a. British actor Damian Lewis), this show about a stuffy English family through the generations has all the period-piece drama of Downton, presented in a far more engrossing, realistic manner. Don’t be thrown off by the massive time jumps in the first few episodes — once this show falls into place, it’s unbelievably hard to turn off.

Love Pretty Little Liars?
First of all, read the books instead. They’re even more engrossing than ABC Family’s frothy mystery about Rosewood. When you’re done with those (or concurrently), cue up Skins. The British show made international headlines for the reckless lifestyle promoted by “Skins parties” and sent the U.K. into a nationwide panic about the hedonistic pursuits of Millennial teens. No matter what your takeaway, Skins will suck you right in.

Love True Detective?
If you love a slow-build, extremely tense, psychological thriller, watch The Fall. Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan, here causing much inner turmoil when you find yourself attracted to a deviant sociopath) is a serial killer terrorizing Belfast, and Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) is the detective trying to catch him before he strikes again. Season 1 is only five episodes, so you’ll burn through them in no time. Luckily, they’re filming ​the second ​​season right now.

(MORE: These New Ways To Watch TV Will Change Your Life)

Love Gossip Girl?
Guilty pleasures: We all have them. Gossip Girl (well, the first few seasons) was one of ours. The South Korean series Boys Over Flowers follows the whole fish-out-of-water setup, only this time Lonely Boy is Jan Di, the daughter of a dry cleaner who finds herself falling for the spoiled rich kid whose clique runs their elite private school. It’s somehow even more addictive than Gossip Girl — maybe it’s the amazing vintage Bieber haircuts all of the boys sport. And, because of the subtitles, watching it feels a bit more highbrow. Get watching. XOXO.

Love American Horror Story?
Dive even deeper into the uncanny valley with The Returned. The cult French show follows the lives — and afterlives — of a sleepy town where nothing is as it seems. Long-dead relatives return to life; residents try to leave — only to be thwarted by roads running in circles. There’s a serial killer on the loose, but no one seems to care. It’s a slow, eerie build but oh, is it worth it.

Love Silicon Valley?
Try turning your machine off and on again, then booting up The IT Crowd (that’s a joke you’ll get when you start watching). This hilarious British sitcom chronicles an odd couple of IT guys trying to do as little work as possible in their dungeon of an office at a horrible corporation. Chris O’Dowd (before he became a household name in Bridesmaids) plays Roy, the ringleader, while Richard Ayoade is Moss, his introverted, nebbishy foil. And, just like the Pied Piper guys on Silicon Valley, Roy and Moss’ world is rocked when a female enters their daily routine. Fire up the Internet and get watching.

Love The Killing?
You’ve undoubtedly heard of Top of the Lake — everyone, or at least everyone in this office, is talking about it. Like Twin Peaks and The Killing, it centers around a mysterious, troubled young girl and a small town with a lot of secrets to hide. Recipe for a good time, right?

Love Archer?
If you’re a fan of dark cartoons, this one is a must-watch. In the same way that Archer plays with the spy genre, The Venture Bros — which actually pre-dates Archer, but never seems to get as much recognition — is a vintage-inspired take on superheroes and stock characters.

(MORE: TV’s Highest Paid Actors Include A Lot Of Ladies)

Love Law & Order?
You’ll go crazy for Swedish crime show Wallander. Though it doesn’t cover sex-based offenses in particular, this thriller reminds us of SVU (our favorite iteration, obviously) because of its focus on the cops’ and detectives’ personal lives. There’s also a Masterpiece Mystery version, but we recommend starting out with the original Henning Mankell.

Love House?
Well, this is basically the exact same concept, but British. And that’s usually a good thing. Doc Martin follows the antics of a curmudgeonly MD after he moves to a provincial town, abandoning his prestigious London surgical post for unknown reasons. Weird diseases, even weirder people.

Love Curb Your Enthusiasm?
Check out The Larry Sanders Show. This early-90s HBO comedy featuring a different guy named Larry also reminds us a bit of 30 Rock, with its focus on on-screen/off-screen drama in the television business.

Love Parks & Recreation?
If you’re a fan of all things dysfunctional, British sitcom Black Books is perfect for you. Focused on a perpetually down-and-out bookstore owner who regularly puts a mid-afternoon drink over customer service, this show should be heartbreaking — but instead, it’s hilarious. Plus, if you’re missing the glory days of TV, you’ll dig the distinct early-2000s vibe.

Love Homeland?
British series House of Cards is chock-full of political drama and underhanded scheming, guaranteed to get your blood pumping. It’s also great if totally inappropriate and unethical sexual relationships are your thing. This is a great pick if you’ve already binged through the American version, but are still hungry for more!

TIME Media

This New Streaming Service Is Netflix, But Just for Kids

Nabi pass features videos, games, e-books and educational content Fuhu

Children's tablet maker Fuhu is launching a streaming service

The streaming space is growing ever more-crowded as a new competitor is throwing its hat in the ring Thursday.

Fuhu, which makes the very successful nabi children’s tablets, is launching a monthly subscription service that will let kids binge on children’s movies, shows, music, e-books and interactive games for $4.99 per month. The service, called nabi Pass, is exclusive to Fuhu’s tablet line, which includes the nabi 2 and the new jumbo-sized Big Tab.

Fuhu’s up against plenty of competition, as there are already many streaming subscription services aimed squarely at kids. Netflix added a “For Kids” section back in 2011, and Amazon has a robust multimedia service called FreeTime Unlimited that’s pretty similar to what Fuhu is rolling out.

Fuhu founder Robb Fujioka, however, says nabi Pass’s educational offerings and its focus on curating quality content will help it stand out. Subscribers will get access to the Wings learning system, which offers kids lessons in math, reading and writing, as well as edutainment videos from the likes of National Geographic Kids. Fujioka says the focus on education helps Fuhu differentiate its service and keep costs down, since they’re not competing with the likes of Amazon to bid for expensive Nickelodeon content.

“My hunch is that people will buy it for the education and everything else on the video side is a plus,” Fujioka says.

In addition to National Geographic, nabi Pass will offer videos from DreamWorks Animation, games from app developer Cupcake Digital and music streaming from Walt Disney Records. Fuhu will have a sizable audience to whom it can pitch the service — The nabi tablet sold 1.5 million units in 2013 and is currently leading the children’s tablet market, according to research firm NPD.

TIME Media

Fewer People Than Ever Are Watching TV

People are watching more online video on their computers, smart TVs and multimedia devices

The long-prognosticated death of TV may be happening before our eyes—but at a glacial pace. A new in-depth report from tracking firm Nielsen shows that TV is still by far America’s favorite entertainment past-time, but individuals are spending more hours surfing web and viewing streaming services. A growing number of households are choosing to dump TV altogether.

About 2.6 million households are now “broadband only,” meaning they don’t subscribe to cable or pick up a broadcast signal, according to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report, released December 3. That figure comprises about 2.8% of total U.S. households and is more than double the 1.1% of households that were broadband only last year. At the same time, overall viewing of traditional TV is continuing its slow decline. The average person watched about 141 hours of live television per month in the third quarter of 2014, compared to 147 hours in the third quarter of 2013. On a daily basis, viewers are watching 12 minutes less TV than they were a year ago. Overall, 2014 has seen a significantly more precipitous decline in TV viewing than any previous year, Nielsen reports.

TV Viewing Trends

Not surprisingly, streaming services like Netflix have benefitted from the decline in TV viewing. Forty percent of households now subscribe to a subscription video on demand service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video, up from 35% in 2013. Thirteen percent of households now have a multimedia device like an Apple TV to stream such content. The same percentage of households have smart TVs, which natively stream apps like Netflix. On computers, viewing of online video increased by about 4 hours per month year-over-year to 10 hours and 42 minutes.

More viewers are also using DVRs or video on-demand services offered by their cable provider to watch TV after its live airing. Viewers spent 14 hours and 20 minutes per month watching so-called time-shifted TV during the most recent quarter, up from 13 hours and 12 minutes a year ago.

It helps to keep these shifts in perspective and recognize that TV isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Overall viewers spend about 14 and a half hours watching video on their phones, computers and multimedia devices, or about a tenth of tenth of the time they spend watching TV. But with CBS having just launched an online version of its channel and HBO prepping a cable-free version of HBO Go for sometime next year, these trends will likely continue to accelerate.

 

TIME

This Company Drove Baby Name Trends in 2014

"Orange Is The New Black" Season 2 Photocall
Jason Biggs, Taylor Schilling and Laura Prepon attend a photocall to launch season 2 of the Netflix exclusive series "Orange Is The New Black" at Soho Hotel on May 29, 2014 in London, England. Karwai Tang—WireImage

Pornstache has yet to crack the list, thankfully

A close look at BabyCenter’s top baby names of 2014 doesn’t suggest anything out of the ordinary. Anyone who’s walked past a gaggle of nursery schoolers wouldn’t be surprised to see names like Sophia, Olivia, Liam and Aiden topping the lists. But dig a little deeper and you will find that for as much as parents-to-be weigh factors like honoring family names and improving junior’s chances for an Ivy League diploma, Netflix is as big an influence as anything. Yes, Netflix.

Parents looked past the crimes of Litchfield Correctional Facility’s inmates and instead reaffirmed the humanity of Orange Is the New Black’s characters. Galina, better known as Red, rose 67 percent in popularity, while Piper cracked the top 100 names for girls. Nicky, Alex, Dayanara and even the ever-unpopular Larry enjoyed a greater share of this year’s baby name pie.

House of Cards held sway in baby nurseries as well, despite the unsavory motivations that drive so many of its characters. Frank, Remy and Zoe all jumped between 10 and 20 percent from the previous year.

The influence of popular culture on name trends extends, of course, beyond Netflix. In a nod to two of 2014’s other major cultural phenomena — Frozen and Shonda Rhimes — Elsa and Hans saw a healthy boost, Olivia kept her top three spot and a handful of names from Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder made their way onto more birth certificates.

Judging by Netflix’s upcoming offerings, 2015 might just be the year of Marco Polo.

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