Vizio Unveils ‘WatchFree+’ Fall AVOD/FAST Streaming Content Lineup

Consumer electronics manufacturer Vizio Oct. 18 disclosed the “Fall Fest” programming lineup for its ad supported WatchFree+ streaming platform. Fall Fest is a curated collection of TV shows, movies and originals that is accessible from the Vizio Home Screen and WatchFree+ streaming app.

“With exclusive TV shows, premium fan-favorites, and movie titles that have never before been seen on our features channels, Fall Fest is a one-stop destination for free fall TV viewing,” Katherine Pond, group VP of platform content and partnerships, said in a statement.

Content selections include:

  • “Boston George: Famous Without the Fortune,” a five-part docuseries from Cinedigm on the infamous drug smuggler George Jung, whose antics inspired the movie Blow;
  • “Sanitarium,” an original three-part miniseries that shares the stories of three particular patients of a mental institution;
  • “Haunted Gold Rush,” a two-part feature documentary that explores the ghostly mysteries along an historic Gold Rush Trail in British Columbia, told through the eyes of a female force of paranormal investigators;
  • on-demand TV series including “Canada’s Drag Race,” seasons two and three; and
  • “Hotel Paranormal,” season two, narrated by actor Dan Aykroyd, a firm believer in the paranormal.

Free ad-supported TV streaming channels include:

  • “Space Science Now” (channel 552), exploring black holes, dark matter and beyond with a deep collection of premium space and science documentaries and series;
  • Investigation (channel 350), which showcases true crime stories with a curated “Killer Thoughts” programming block, featuring never before seen episodes, including “Confessions of a Serial Killer,” “FBI Files,” and “Mafia Killers,” among others;
  • American Classics (channel 201), a curated collection of films, including Hondo starring John Wayne, Lured featuring Lucille Ball, and Human Bondage with Betty Davis;
  • Fork & Flight (channel 500), which features new seasons of “Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen” and newly added food and wine documentaries, including “Blood Into Wine” featuring Maynard James Keenan, “A Seat at the Table,” “A Year in Burgundy,” “Barbeque” and “That Sugar Film” featuring Damon Gameau;
  • Kick Back (channel 200), streaming 44 action movies, including the “WuTang Collection,” and movies starring Jackie Chan and Jean-Claude Van Damme, among others;
  • House (channel 501), which showcases horror homes that are rebuilt into beautiful masterpieces, including new episodes from “Mad About the Makeover” and “Building La Dolce Vita,” among others;
  • ION (channel 217), which features episodes of catalog TV dramas, including “NCIS,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago P.D.,” “Blue Bloods” and more;
  • Stories by AMC (channel 241), which dives into the cult-classic AMC shows such as “The Walking Dead,” “Turn,” “Halt and Catch Fire,” “Rectify,” “Making of the Mob” and “Into the Badlands,” among others;
  • All Weddings by WEtv (channel 332), which features outrageous, over the top, fairytale wedding shows; and
  • Baywatch (channel 210), which offers 24-hour access to the hit TV show starring David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson, among others.

Revised Tech Encryption Bill Sent to U.S. Senate for Vote

A bill seeking to prohibit the exploitation of minors on the Internet July 2 was sent to the floor of the U.S. Senate for a full vote. While there is no argument against removing images of child abuse from the Web, technology and trade organizations contend the “Eliminating Abuse and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technology” (Earn It) Act — introduced in March by Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) — could undermine user encryption safeguards and hold platforms such as Facebook and Google-owned YouTube liable for video images distributed by third parties.

Indeed, the bill would enable U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr to force tech companies to bypass encryption found on cell phones, computers and portable media devices for law enforcement purposes.

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“The Earn It Act could end user privacy as we know it,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a statement. “Tech companies that provide private, encrypted messaging could have to rewrite their software to allow police special access to their users’ messages.”

Graham later issued a statement stressing the bill would not undermine existing encryption safeguards.

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‘The goal here is not to outlaw encryption … that will be a debate for another day,” Graham said.

Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, said the bill would stifle legal online speech and harm American competitiveness.

“Rather than targeting the actual problem and giving prosecutors the resources to lock up [sex] offenders, the EARN IT Act would promote lawsuits against legitimate Internet companies,” Shapiro said.

He said the bill would allow states to create a “patchwork quilt” of civil and criminal liability without specifying a “knowledge” standard.

“We appreciate the Senate Judiciary Committee’s interest in fighting child exploitation and believe the committee should pursue more effective measures,” Shapiro said. “There is nothing in existing law … that prevents the Department of Justice from bringing charges against abusers right now.”