Tag Archives: tv

My Favorites of 2011

Here’s an end-of-year list of my favorite movies, TV shows, books and games from 2011. I’ve added links to Spotify where soundtracks are available. Happy New Year!


My Favorite Movies of 2011


My Favorite TV Shows of 2011


My Favorite Books of 2011

  • The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
  • Sea of Ghosts by Alan Campbell
  • Finch by Jeff VanderMeer
  • The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • A Snowball in Hell by Christopher Brookmyre
  • The Technician by Neal Asher
  • Kraken by China Miéville


My Favorite Games of 2011


Spotify on Virgin Media

Internet service provider Virgin Media has finally announced an “exclusive and groundbreaking partnership with Spotify” that makes it the first UK digital entertainment provider to offer Spotify bundled with broadband and on TV. You can read through the offical press release, but here are the bullet points with comments.

  • Spotify Unlimited and Spotify Premium will be available from Virgin Media

These are Spotify’s two paid-for services, so Spotify on Virgin will be ad-free.


  • Use Spotify on your TV (through Virgin Media’s TiVo box)

Virgin Media’s TiVo box (aka Virgin Media Powered by TiVo) has an Apps section which will undoubtedly be where you’ll launch Spotify from. This will be the first paid-for app on Virgin, as all the others (iPlayer, YouTube etc.) are available for free to all customers.


  • Bundled solution for customers on Virgin Mobile

As with previous deals with 3, I expect this means Virgin Mobile customers will get phones with Spotify pre-installed and monthly subscription built into the contract. There will probably also be specials like free Spotify Premium for two months or six months (both these deals have been offered on Three Mobile).


  • Available to both new and existing Virgin Media customers

As an existing Virgin Media customer this is good news for me!


  • Existing Spotify users on Virgin Media broadband can keep existing accounts and still take advantage of bundled offers

Your username (and playlists) will remain, but this sounds like it would involve switching your monthly payments from Spotify to Virgin Media to receive the bundled offer.


  • Customers choosing Spotify through Virgin Media benefit from exclusive features, content, and special promotions

Will be interesting to see exactly what these exclusives entail. I expect they might include things like linking songs in Spotify to Virgin Media’s TV On Demand music video service, and discount subscriptions for the first 6 months (Virgin Media usually have a “six months half price” deal for all new customers).


  • Spotify app on TiVo jointly developed by Virgin Media and Spotify

…so expect any bugs you find to be caused by the code written by “the other guys” :p


  • Due to launch in the coming months, rolling out to existing Virgin Media customers first (with “special offers”)

Early rumors suggested initial trials with select customers in July, but my sources insist that they’re a little way from that.


The bundles themselves are:

  • Virgin Media broadband with Spotify
  • Virgin Media Powered by TiVo with Spotify
  • Virgin Mobile with Spotify (non-exclusive)

Existing bundles include things like “10Mb broadband and phone bundle: £5 a month for 3 months then £13.50 a month.” These bundles have the option to add top ups such as faster broadband, landline talk-time and additional TV channels, so I expect Spotify will be added as an extra here.

The press release didn’t give any indication of price, but The Telegraph is claiming it will cost the same as Spotify’s current pricing (i.e. £5/month for Spotify Unlimited and £10/month for Spotify Premium), although confusingly they then go on to say that the price point is “still unclear.” I would expect the price to be cheaper than subscribing through Spotify directly, even apparently bundled for free. As Mark Mulligan says:

Spotify and Virgin will have to hit upon heavily subsidized prices, ideally with the cost to consumer hidden entirely in some bundles.  Simply offering a couple of £ discount won’t fly.

This has been a great week for Spotify, what with this Virgin Media announcement, the release of an updated iPhone app that finally brings playlist folders to mobile (yay!), and most-importantly (for our American friends) the official confirmation of Spotify USA.

Top 5 Recent SF Shows I Gave Up On

Here are five recent SF/Fantasy TV shows that I tried to like but gave up on (perhaps too soon in some cases):

  • Fringe – Admittedly I only watched the pilot, but that was enough for me: all the characters seemed to be stereotypes and the plot’s revelations were ludicrous and full of psych-babble. I was never a fan of The X-Files (for similar reason to Richard Dawkins) and this seemed to be re-treading far too similar territory.
  • Sanctuary – One or two good episodes at the start, this soon turned into a freak-of-the-week show. Also I could only take so much of Amanda Tapping’s accent.
  • Bionic Woman – Michelle Ryan wasn’t too bad in this, but the family life aspects felt forced and the action scenes weren’t very exciting.
  • Demons -Fantastic cast, but what an awful script. I found some of it quite funny, unfortunately usually during scenes that were supposed to be serious. This show ended up being even worse than Eleventh Hour, which takes some beating. If only they’d used Philip Glenister and Zoe Tapper (below) in a remake of Sapphire and Steel instead…
  • Merlin – A CBBC programme on at the wrong time: I’m too old for this.

Plasma Drive

This was a big expense but worth every penny – a Pioneer PDP-508XD:

This 50″ kuro plasma TV is phenomenal: excellent on standard-def, stunning on high-def, an impressive upgrade from my 42″ Toshiba rear-screen projector.

Rating: 10/10