Now playing: TCM classic movies on phone, tablet, new app streams movies and more from participating service providers
By Peter Covino
If you love watching movies on the go, the TCM (Turner Classic Movies) Watch TCM app is just made to order.
The newly expanded app makes it one of the best applications around for watching movies, and that includes HBO Go and Netflix.
With Watch TCM you can choose from some 300 titles every month. You can watch classic films via TCM east coast and west coast feeds or watch the titles on demand as well.
The application is available at the iTunes application store and at Google Play.
All that movie watching is included if you subscribe to TCM.
Now for the bad news: When I got the email from TCM I went straight to my Nexus 7 tablet and downloaded the app, with visions of classic movies running through my head. That will have to be put on hold.
Watch TCM is currently not available for Bright House Networks customers (that includes me) and DirecTV.
Bright House, the largest cable provider in Central Florida, hopefully, will be on board in the near future.
“At this time, Bright House Networks does not have a TV Everywhere agreement with Turner that would allow its customers access to Turner networks online or via mobile apps,” said Brian Craven, director of public affairs and communications for Bright House Central Florida.
“We’ll let our customers know as we make this access available,” he said.
Bright House has been pretty much on top of app accessibility. We do have HBO Go, Watch ESPN and you can watch you entire cable line up on you computer or portable app at home.
For those who subscribe to Dish, AT&T U-Verse and CenturyLink and others (check out the app to see if yours is included) Watch TCM is ready and waiting.
Fortunately, the Watch TCM application is more than just a great place to watch movies. Even if your service provider isn’t included yet (or if you are not a TCM subscriber), it is still worth the free download.
You can check out the daily schedule of films, If addition to full-length films you can also film clips of classic films and there is a nice image archive that includes posters and studio publicity stills
You can also access The TCM blog, Movie Morlocks and the Shop TCM website via the application.
Other TCM apps (currently only available at the iTunes App Store are TCM Movie Trivia and TCM Hollywood Tour ($2.99).
With the movie triva application you can choose from customized quiz packs (genre and action related) and connect to other players on Facebook and Twitter.
There also is a leader board and friend challenges.
The Hollywood tour features more than 100 Hollywood locations. You can take in depth tours, virtual tours and guided tours. If you are in Hollywood, the app lets you know when you are near one of the designated locations.
On Comet, on Cupid on Donner and Blitzen
Ok, so you probably won’t see see Cupid and Donner and Blitzen in the sky as the holidays approach, without lots of eggnog, but there is a pretty good chance you will see Comet ISON in the sky right after Thanksgiving.
ISON is the latest “comet of the century” (and that would date back to the 20th century) and while most comets have proven to be major disappointments (Comet Kohoutek 1973 was probably the biggest dud) there is still hope for ISON.
I wouldn’t go and spend money on a pair of good binoculars or telescope yet, but the comet, which hasn’t been wowing astronomers up to now, has brightened significantly in recent days.
If you can find it low in the horizon before sunrise, you probably see a fuzzy object with a green coma, with binoculars. Star-gazers will really dark skies and low horizons might be able to see the comet with the unaided eye as well.
The comet is getting lower and lower in the horizon as it gets closer to the sun and will disappear from view soon.
On Nov. 28, it will have its closest approach to the sun, 730,000 miles, according to Space.com.
And this is the tricky part. The comet, as other comets have in the past, may be torn apart by its near brush with our star. But if it survives, when it becomes visible again it still might qualify for comet of the century status.
Those who have predicted great things for the comet say it could be the brightest object in the night sky, except for the moon.
We won’t have too much longer to wait.
Here are some tips from the Space.com folks about comet viewing.
Get out of the city. The darker the skies, the better and the more horizon you can see, the better the experience.
Even if the comet fizzles, you still will be amazed at how many more stars you can see (yes, there really is a Milky Way) if you can drive far away from the bright city lights.
And you don’t need a telescope to see ISON. A good pair of binoculars are also much easier to use as you scan the seemingly endless sky.
Okay, techies, have you watched what just might be the next great sci-fi series?
Episodes one and two of Almost Human aired earlier this week on Fox (Monday nights at 8 p.m.) and so far it has been one heck of a ride.
Featuring some outstanding effects (the set pieces are a reminiscent cousin to Blade Runner), the show is set in Los Angeles, about 35 years in the future.
Los Angeles still has a police department, but all of the human officers are paired off with an android partner.
Detective John Kennex (Karl Urban) barely survives a police ambush in the opening of episode one and when he reports back to duty he is paired with a lifelike (complete with emotions) android named Dorian.
The second episode works much better, with the two major characters in place, as they investigate a murder and missing persons case involving robots.
Almost Human was created by J.H. Wyman for Bad Robot Productions with J.J. Abrams (Fringe, Star Trek) serving as executive producer).
If you missed the first two episodes, they are available at Fox On-Demand.
Up, Up and Away
I usually fly Delta because of a compulsion for frequent flier miles, but no one is better than Southwest in the domestic airline business.
The discount king (and much more than that) has become the first airline to offer Wi-Fi service from gate to gate.
Taking advantage of the FAA’s new ruline that allows the use of portable devices during takeoffs and landings, Southwest will offer Wi-Fi on 435 of its airlines for just $8 a day. (Delta charged for each flight segment last time I flew, meaning you can spend twice as much or more if you have a connecting flight).
Southwest also uses a different satellite system than Delta. Most airlines rely on air-to-ground towers and must wait until the aircraft reaches 10,000 feet for the service to be activated. Southwest’s system is satellite-based.
While phones, tablets and the like can be used at all times, laptops still must be stowed during takeoff and landing for safety reasons.
In any case, nice going Southwest.