Archive for May 14, 2008


Posted: May 14, 2008 in Entertainment, Life

   Back in December we took up Dish Network on their offer of free HD programming for six months with a one year commitment. The regular programs that everyone has looked nice in HD, but one of the things that Jenn and I really latched on to was The Voom Network.

   The Voom network is a package that that has several HD only channels and you can only get them with a dish or cable provider. They had an animation channel that was ok, but the only thing I ever saw on it that I looked at was the new CGI version of Captain Scarlet. Another channel played a lot of family fair in HD like Flipper, UFO and Thunderbirds. Ok stuff, but not mandatory viewing in our house.

   But then there’s Monsters HD:

   I love that channel. Great stuff 24/7 and in glorious 1080p HD. Hell, even the old B&W stuff looks amazing in 1080p HD. And they have a lot of that old B&W stuff as well as the new stuff.

   Jenn and I both got hooked on Kung-Fu HD:

   They’ve been playing all the Zatoichi films the last few months as well as a number of classic era Shaw Brothers, Jet Li and Jackie Chan as well as the high fantasy stuff that Honk Kong does so well. Jenn, being a huge Jet fan, has been loving it and the Zatoichi films have been on heavy rotation when she’s on Ian duty in the living room.

   Jenn also latched onto Equator HD:

   Very good shows and she was building up a nice DVR load of Wildlife Nannies and Medicine Woman.

   And then this morning they were gone. I called up Dish Network thinking that there was a bug with my set up and was told that they had dropped them so that they could upgrade some of the channels that are still on standard def to HD. It was a bandwidth issue.

   Of course I was told that we also got the MGM HD channel and a few others that I don’t remember added in as well. I noted to them that those new channels kind of killed their bandwidth statement. I wasn’t very happy by the end of the call and said so. The guy on the phone said that he wasn’t surprised. He had gotten a lot of calls this morning about Monsters HD and Kung-Fu HD specifically.

   He noted my complaint in the call logs and advised me email Dish Network. I did, but I don’t expect much to happen. And it’s kind of a shame as well. I told them something in the email that they’re probably going to take as just someone saying whatever they can to back their point, but I told them the truth.

   They can’t beat Direct TV with most of the sports nuts I know. Direct TV has a sports package with locked in exclusives that all the die hard sports nuts I know would sell their left nut (or knocker) for. But the horror, sci-fi and martial arts fans out there are pretty vocal as well. And they like special programming like Monsters HD and Kung-Fu HD. They like it so much that it’s a selling point.

   I’ve talked about 20 people into getting Dish Network since January. Hell, I might have talked 21 (Mulligan) into it if he hadn’t already locked himself into a provider. And I did it mostly on Monsters and Kung-Fu. It was unique programming that Direct TV and out local cable company didn’t have and it was 24/7, uncut, unedited and commercial free movies that catered to the horror/sci-fi and kung-fu fans. And it really was a selling point for a lot of people I know who were on the fence about which provider to go with/switch to.

   And they’ve lost one potential customer already. One of our dispatchers is a horror hound and she loves martial arts flicks. She was going to go Dish in a month or so based 90% on my talking about those two channels. Hey, it only sounds unbelievable until you realize that 95% of the channels that any provider has is identical to every other provider. It’s the perks as much as the price that snags people. For her, that would have been a big perk. When I see her again and tell her that there is no more Monsters and Kung-Fu on Dish, I’m not sure that Dish will be as attractive to her as it was before.

   Sadly, this is just another example of how a portion of fandom is still seen by most power players and money men. We lose two channels that could have been great selling points to a target audience and get two channels that air the same old studio movies that the other five basic cable movie channels air. And the fact that the new ones are HD means very little when you stop and think about the fact that in about six months they’ll all be HD. But we’ve got ’em and those two channels that cater to that nonexistent (but strangely, freaking huge) fan-base out there get almost no advertising. no promotion and then get punted.

   As a horror, sci-f and comic book fan, all I can say is this: