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What to Watch on Sunday: 'Arrested Development' lands; Liberace flick on HBO

National Memorial Day Concert (8pm, UNC-TV) - Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise host this annual tribute to America's military heroes. Slated performers include Alfie Boe, Candice Glover ("American Idol"), Chris Mann ("The Voice") and Katherine Jenkins.

Arrested Development (Netflix) - In its original three-season run on Fox, "Arrested Development" had low ratings but a devoted, cult-like following. And it's no wonder. It was brilliant, weird and hilarious. Its low ratings are one of life's great mysteries. But starting today, fans can put all that pain aside to watch 15 brand new episodes of the series -- all landing on Netflix at once, and with all the original cast members returning: Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Will Arnett, Portia de Rossi, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter and Tony Hale. A Netflix streaming account is the only way to watch.

Smash (9pm, NBC) - In the series finale, Tom crosses a Tony voter and Ivy deals with troubling news. Then, the Tony Awards finally take place and everyone eagerly awaits the results.

Behind the Candelabra (9pm, HBO) - An adaptation of Scott Thorson's book about his five-year love affair with renowned pianist Liberace, who was four decades older than the teenage Thorson when they met in the late 1970s. Liberace, played here by Michael Douglas, lavished Thorson (Matt Damon) with gifts and attention before a bitter breakup in 1982. If you have HBO, you can't miss this. Just ask Adrienne.

Mad Men (10pm, AMC) - This week's episode will likely be far less triply than the previous one. Tonight, Roger is plagued by a recurring dream and Joan goes to the beach. Are you listening, fellas? JOAN GOES TO THE BEACH.

Mermaids: The New Evidence (10pm, Animal Planet) - Animal Planet's follow-up to their massively popular faux-documentary "Mermaids: The Body Found" (which incidentally airs at 8 with some additional content) with an installment claiming to present "new evidence" about the great global mermaid coverup. It's entertaining and kind of fascinating to watch because of the CGI work, but just remember: MERMAIDS ARE NOT REAL. THIS IS A GAG.

The Borgias (10pm, Showtime) - Cesare burns Constanzo's palace in order to contain the plague. Meanwhile, Lucrezia seeks a Neapolitan power base for herself and her family, and she blackmails Price Raphael.

What to Watch on Friday: Mumford & Sons featured in Showtime concert doc

NAACP Image Awards (8pm, NBC) - 44th annual award show, hosted by Steve Harvey, will give Kerry Washington ("Scandal") the NAACP President's Award (gotta be a joke in there somewhere) and U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Janine Howard will receive the NAACP Chairman's Award. Presenters include Halle Berry, LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, Archie Panjabi and Wanda Sykes.

Mumford & Sons: The Road to Red Rocks (8pm, Showtime) - This documentary offers a compilation of live footage from the British rock band's two sold-out concerts at the Red Rocks amphitheater in Colorado. It also has interviews with band members and a behind-the-scenes look at their life on the road.

CSI: NY (9pm, CBS) - When a young pizza maker is carjacked, the team tries to figure out what the perpetrators were after.

Shark Tank (9pm, ABC) - Hopeful entrepreneurs pitch sandals for barefoot runners and a website that creates personalized soundtracks for children.

Banshee (10pm, Cinemax) - A botched museum heist delivers unexpected consequences. Also, Lucas, Carrie and Job renew their partnership.

Real Time with Bill Maher (10pm, HBO) - Maher's guests are Newark mayor Cory Booker, filmmaker Alex Gibney, author Sam Harris, journalist Jackie Kucinich and actress Eva Longoria.

House of Cards (Netflix) - Netflix's first original series debuted early this morning, available only to Netflix streaming subscribers. It's a political drama starring Kevin Spacey. We didn't get preview access, but I'm reading that it's very good. And unlike most TV series, all 13 episodes are available at once, so you can watch at your own pace -- great news for us binge-watchers!

Why can't mobile users cache Netflix, YouTube for offline viewing?

Peter Rojas of gdgt brings up one of the best points I've seen this week. Where is the offline caching for popular video services?

Rojas compares Hulu and Netflix to music streaming services like Spotifiy and Rhapsody which offer offline caching that allow wireless subscribers to manage their data usage. Users can download a collection of songs over Wi-Fi before heading out the door.

Why shouldn't free services like YouTube and Vimeo offer offline viewing within their mobile apps where they can still deliver their advertising services?

Netflix revives DVD-only plan

Netflix has resurrected its DVD-only subscription that it axed during its Qwikster fiasco.

The Netflix Blog has announced that the DVD plan is back starting at $7.99. The company is offering a one month free trial for eligible customers.

Sign-up for the disc only option was dropped last fall while the company clumsily tried to spin off its non-streaming content in the form of Qwikster. 

Netflix doesn't want your business

Netflix announced today that they are splitting off the DVD delivery part of their business into a separate enterprise called Qwikster. So if you want to subscribe to DVDs and streaming, you'll have to manage two separate accounts (streaming with Netflix, DVDs from Qwikster).

All of this is beyond bizarre. In the message released today, the Netflix CEO apologized for the way the company introduced news of their very unpopular fee increases in July (apparently, done to make way for this split), and then announced the Qwikster news like it's a good thing. It's not.

My personal opinion is that Netflix is doing this so that they can sell off the DVD rental portion of their company and focus only on streaming. They said at the time of the price changes that they didn't really want to be in the DVD business anyway, because there's more profit in streaming. In that context, it all makes sense. You splinter off the part of the company you no longer like, and because you don't care about it or intend to keep it around for long anyway, you don't care that it doesn't make sense or that it angers customers.

Watching TV without cable or satellite

If you haven't seen it already, I have a piece in today's Connect section on different ways to watch TV without cable or satellite. I compare the pros and cons of options like Netflix and Hulu and iTunes and Amazon Instant, but the list isn't intended to be all inclusive. There are probably dozens of ways to pull this off (feel free to discuss in the comments). I just picked out some of the most popular sources and focused on how you might watch cable shows (like "Breaking Bad" or "Mad Men" or "White Collar") if you don't have cable or satellite. I'm aware there are some free options out there that aren't exactly legal. And I'm aware that you can just plug in your TV and watch and record over-the-air broadcast shows without anything special.

Er, except maybe a better TV antenna. 

Speaking of antennas, there are lots of them out there and apparently you can even build your own. But if you're interested in the Mohu Leaf antenna I mentioned, you can check out the Raleigh company's website or contact them online or by phone (919) 896-7696.

Steep Netflix rate hikes for dvd+streaming subscriptions

Netflix has announced they are changing their subscription plan in a way that sharply increases the monthly rate for those wanting both dvd rentals by mail and the company's streaming content.

Currently, Netflix charges $9.99 per month for unlimited dvd rentals by mail (1 dvd out at a time) plus unlimited streaming content, which is available online, through gaming devices such as Playstation or Nintendo Wii, or via mobile devices such as iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch.

The new plan, which takes effect for current subscribers on September 1, charges $7.99 per month for dvds only (1 at a time) and an additional $7.99 for streaming. New subscribers get the new rates immediately.

Blockbuster closing more Triangle stores

Bankrupt video-rental chain Blockbuster continues to reduce its retail footprint in the Triangle.

The stores in Garner and Clayton rented their last DVDs last week, staff writer Colin Campbell reports. The locations are holding liquidation sales before they close for good in April.

The Blockbuster in Raleigh's Mission Valley closed last week, and other closures are likely.

The chain filed for bankruptcy protection last fall amid mounting debt, consumers shifting to online rentals and increasing competition from rivals such as Netflix and the $1-per-night Redbox kiosks.

Blockbuster seeks bankruptcy, will keep stores open

Blockbuster, the world's biggest movie-rental chain, filed for bankruptcy protection this morning.

The long-anticipated move was prearranged with bondholders and will allow the Dallas-based company to reorganize and reduce its massive debt.

Blockbuster, which has 20 locations in the Triangle, said its 3,000 stores in the U.S., DVD vending kiosks, by-mail and digital businesses will all continue to operate normally. In this region, Blockbuster Express is installing its kiosks in retailers such as Kerr Drug, Sheetz and Rite Aid.

Still, filing for bankruptcy "will enable (Blockbuster) to break the leases" on its stores, Kenneth Latz, director of the New York office of financial restructuring firm Conway MacKenzie, told USA Today.

Finally, the unaired episodes of "Better Off Ted"

ABC has refused to air those elusive final two new episodes of their canceled cult-hit "Better Off Ted" (that might cut into their "Bachelor Pad" time!), but at last, there's a way we see them.

The second and final season of "Better Off Ted" was released last week on iTunes and on Netflix Instant Watch (but not yet on dvd). That means you can purchase the episodes on iTunes or if you're already a Netflix subscriber, you can stream the episodes for free over your computer or Wii or however you watch your Netflix Instant shows.

"Better Off Ted" starred Jay Harrington as Ted, the R&D director at Veridian Dynamics, a powerful corporation that did experiments on its own employees, invented some truly evil products, and enforced twisted company policies. Their motto was "Money before People." The show also starred Portia de Rossi as Veronica, Ted's cold-hearted but hilarious boss. . . .

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