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Television Q&A: Can you explain streaming services?
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Television Q&A

Television Q&A: Can you explain streaming services?

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You have questions. I have some answers.

Q: I am a senior long past Social Security age. My question is: What exactly is meant by “streaming” as I see it so often about shows. I have a regular TV with cable and really don’t know if I can watch programs that “stream.” P.S. I do not have children or grandkids to explain.

Answer: To start with, here’s one explanation of streaming from Verizon: “Streaming refers to any media content — live or recorded — delivered to computers and mobile devices via the internet and played back in real time. Podcasts, webcasts, movies, TV shows and music videos are common forms of streaming content.”

In other words, it’s a way of receiving content other than from over-the-air broadcast signals or cable, and as such it involves a different delivery system. To watch streaming programs, you need an internet connection (wired or wireless) to your TV set, computer, phone, tablet or other device. How you connect the two is a different question. You may be doing it via an app in your phone, by a Roku device attached to your TV, through the streaming services built into your smart TV (if you have one) or by connecting your internet-bearing computer to your TV set.

Streaming has become especially attractive to people wanting to “cut the cord” — that is, get rid of their often-costly cable service — but still access a variety of programs. But, once you are connected and trying to access Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Paramount+, ESPN+, Prime Video or other streaming channels, you may have to pay a subscription fee to see the streamer’s shows. And besides a streaming service, you may still want another means of watching programs on traditional networks and local stations.

All of which is why my wife just tells me to find shows we want to watch — wherever the heck they are.

Q: When is “Yellowstone” returning with its new season?

Answer: I’ve been getting asked this question just about every week but now have a good answer. New episodes of the Kevin Costner series will begin with two episodes telecast on Nov. 7 on the Paramount Network (the cable service). “Yellowstone” will then provide a launching pad for two new series on Paramount+ (the streaming service). One is “The Mayor of Kingstown,” a drama with Jeremy Renner, arriving Nov. 14. The other is “1883,” about the early years of the Dutton family, with Sam Elliott and Tim McGraw, arriving Dec. 19. They will get simulcasts of early episodes on Paramount Network following “Yellowstone” telecasts, to lure folks to later showings on Paramount+.

Q: A long while ago Tim Conway made a movie called “Roll Freddy Roll.” We saw it two times and died laughing both times. Could you please find some information about it?

Answer: The 1974 movie starred Conway as Freddy Danton, a computer programmer trying to impress his son by winning a place in the Guinness Book of Records for spending the longest time on roller skates. It was written by Bill Persky and Sam Denoff, acclaimed sitcom writers for the original “Dick Van Dyke Show” and other programs. Persky also directed. I have not seen a release of it on disc but there is a viewable version of it on YouTube. Don’t be surprised that the version is only 70 minutes; the movie dates to the days when networks ran 90-minute movies counting the commercials.

Q: I always enjoyed watching the cowboy show “The High Chaparral” years back that ran from 1967-1971. Now that I am retired, I have been watching the reruns. During the last season, Mark Slade did not appear in any of the episodes that I can recall. Did he leave the show? Was there a contract dispute?

Answer: Slade apparently aged out of his role as Billy Blue Cannon, the son of Big John Cannon (Leif Erickson). The High Chaparral Newsletter online includes the text of a 1970 article where “Chaparral” executive producer David Dortort says Slade “is 30 and it was getting increasingly difficult to write convincing scripts that had him playing a teenager.” The show brought in Rudy Ramos to provide some teen appeal instead. Slade is now better known as an artist and writer; you can find out more at marksladestudio.com.

Do you have a question or comment about entertainment past, present and future? Write to Rich Heldenfels, P.O. Box 417, Mogadore, OH 44260, or brenfels@gmail.com.

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