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  • Physical Graffiti

    • 10 out of 10
    • Led Zeppelin
    • This album bears every flavor of genius from the five records that came before. It is, I believe, the band's finest. With Physical Graffiti, Zep came raging back to their musical home territory -- har
  • Aretha Sings the Blues

    • 6 out of 10
    • Aretha Franklin
    • While she didn't always have the best taste in song selection, Aretha Franklin is a must-study for anyone with interest in the human voice. She has the kind of powerful, recklessly passionate deliv

  • Bowie at Beeb: Best of BBC Radio 68-72

    • 10 out of 10
    • David Bowie
    • The companion CD to a BBC television concert, BBC Radio Theatre has some of the best renditions of many of Bowie's best songs throughout his career. "I'm Afraid of Americans" is substantial

  • De Nova

    • 10 out of 10
    • The Redwalls
    • Wow! Perhaps my 5-star rating is simply because the Redwalls are not only new and fresh (none of them older than 22!), or perhaps its because -- despite their ages -- they are able to totally capture
  • How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

    • 6 out of 10
    • U2
    • U2's latest entry is a mostly underwhelming collection of songs that does very little to sound any different from its equally pedestrian predecessor, 2000's "All That You Can't Leave Behind." While

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Disney to Offer Free Shows Online

Walt Disney Co. plans on rolling out a new addition to its Web site on April 30 where viewers can watch Disney and ABC shows for free. According to the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), The Disney theater will feature commercial-laden television shows like Desperate Housewives and Lost that you can watch online, but not download to your computer.

Viewers will be able to fast forward and rewind shows, but won't be able to skip past the commercials. The service will start with ABC programming available through the ABC Web site, and Disney Channel shows will be added to the Disney Web site some time in June. Disney's Soapnet channel will also start offering online shows on its Soapnetic Web site starting April 17.

Disney already offers ABC and Disney Channel programs on Apple's iTunes Music Store (iTMS), but this new venture isn't likely to impact sales there. Although Disney theater shows will be free, and cost US$1.99 each at the iTMS, the free programming can't be downloaded and played on an iPod. Viewers on-the-go will still have to purchase their shows.

The DVD resellers are the most concerned about Disney's new service. Companies like Wal-Mart fear that fewer consumers will purchase TV programming on DVD. Affiliate stations are also concerned, complaining that their revenues will be undercut even more than they already are by the iTMS.

In the long run, however, the Disney theater may have an impact on Apple. Disney hopes to eventually add the ability to download its programs for a fee. One pricing idea includes offering add-free shows for $1.99, just like the iTMS, and versions with fewer ads than the free streaming offerings for $0.99.

There is no word yet on whether or not Disney's new service will require a specific Web browser, or if it will be limited to only one operating system for viewers.

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