Mailbag: FCC Investigating Fox's "Our Little Genius"; Sezmi

Categories: New TV Technology

Written By

February 21st, 2010

Received an e-mail saying, "I can't believe you didn't post about Fox's "Our Little Genius" being investigated by the FCC!"

I probably should've posted about it. The New York Times had a good write-up on it on Friday.  I wasn't very interested because other than a former potential contestant filing a complaint with the FCC, there was little new news there.  The show was pulled from airing because producer Mark Burnett discovered there were some hinky things happening with contestants being coached.  Had the show actually made it to the the airwaves with coached contestants, this would be a very big story.  But it didn't.   Realistically the FCC isn't going to do anything about a show that was never actually broadcast, so the only way Our Little Genius will become a story is if Fox really does try a do over with the show and it makes it to the air.  At this point, I doubt that will ever happen.

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Not an e-mail but some commenters, particularly "Cas127" have been asking a lot about Sezmi.  A service  that will offer 15 basic cable channels (as well as local channels, of course) over the air that is rolling out in the Los Angeles market for $19.99 a month.   It also requires set-top box equipment that runs $299, though that equipment includes a DVR.

I'm not personally interested for a few reasons, starting with not living in Los Angeles.

Sezmi also offers a basic package of local channels for $4.99 a month, and that is available in my area and will also offer free and on-demand shows from the Internet for those with a broadband Internet connection and a WiFi router.  But I can get those channels anyway, without needing to buy a $300 box that Sezmi requires and I can already get the free and on-Demand stuff from the Internet on my TV.

The basic cable offering from $19.95 is interesting - it includes a lot of channels from the Time Warner empire (TNT, TBS, CNN, truTV, Cartoon Network) and Viacom (MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, VH1), NBCU (Syfy, Bravo, USA) and Discovery (TLC, Discovery, Animal Planet).

If those are the only channels you really care about, even with the $299 equipment necessary, it's probably worth looking into.  But if you need Disney Channel or ESPN, it's probably not going to fly with you either.

For now I see it as a niche service with the $299 equipment currently being a huge barrier for the masses, plus the home networking issues with Internet will be an issue for some people.  For me of course, the much bigger issue is no ESPN.  It's also not clear to me Sezmi's cable offerings are in HD.

Sezmi says it's cable lineup will continue to grow, but if that's really the case, so will its monthly fees.  But for the people who really only care about the cable channels they are offering, it is an interesting alternative.

 
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