HBOffal n. The garbage that certain "Movie channels" employ to destroy your enjoyment of the complete movie. This garbage includes (a) channel logos superimposed over the movie image, (b) voiceover promotions during credits, (c) superimposed or split-screen promotions over parts of the movie (including credits), (d) time-compression, (e) cuts or changes from the theatrical version of the movie, (f) use of pan-and-scan versions when wide-screen (or "letterboxed") versions are available. The term HBOffal honors HBO, the pioneer in offending movie fans by significantly departing from their promise of uncut films free of commercial interruptions. Note that censorship of film content is also an HBOffal.
Outstanding (96-100) - movie services that never offend the viewer with HBOffal and show widescreen movies in letterboxed format.
Good (90-95) - movie services that rarely offend the viewer with HBOffal.
Acceptable (80-89) - movie services that usually do not offend the viewer with HBOffal.
Unacceptable (70-79) - movie services that frequently offend the viewer with HBOffal.
Poor (60-69) - movie services that offend the viewer with HBOffal so much that they border on unviewable.
Wretched (0-59) - movie services that offend the viewer with HBOffal so much that they are without redeeming value.
Video Promotions on Credits (-15 to -20 depending on percentage of movies that offend with promos on credits)
Voiceovers on Credits (-10 to -15 depending on percentage of movies that offend with voiceovers)
Content Censored (-10 to -15 depending on frequency of incidents, eg daytime only versus fulltime)
Onscreen Logos (aka Bugs) (-10 to -15) depending on percentage of time a movie displays the bug)
Time Compression (-1 to -5 depending of frequency of the incidents)
Letterboxing (presenting movie in original aspect ratio) (2-10 depending on percentage of movies shown in OAR)
What You Can Do
First you can help HBOffal by sending us email when you witness movie contamination on a service not correctly rated here. There's no way I can watch all of the various services rated by HBOffal. I don't even subscribe to some of the services listed here (Disney, Starz/Encore). I depend on reports from viewers like you, people who are upset when a broadcast service demonstrates a lack of respect for the movies they exhibit by tampering with them. Your reports go into a database used to calculate the scores for each of the movie services. So if you see something offensive (or when you see widescreen movies shown in proper aspect ratio), and the practice is not accurately reflected here, send us an HBOffal Incident Report.
Second, you can communicate your displeasure directly to the broadcast service, either by mail, phone call, or by Email (where available). The Addresses page [Contact Movie Services] provides the current known mailing address, phone number, and website URL for each of the rated services. If you do write to the service and you get a reply, please send us a copy of the correspondence. In addition, you should let your service provider (either your cable company or your satellite service provider) know of your displeasure and, more importantly, of your intention to terminate services if offenses continue. Nothing works better than hurting the offenders' income.
TV Ratings: A New Form of Clutter?
This is not the place to debate the merits of the TV Ratings System, but one part of the system deserves our attention. Specifically, the ratings system has a provision for the rating, normally shown at the beginning of a program, to be repeated in those programs that exceed a certain length? Guess which programs those are! Yep, the movies.
Since the movie channels we're reporting on here do not have commercial interruptions, some of the services were superimposing the ratings information over the ongoing movie (not just at the beginning): another bug to distract you from your enjoyment of a film. That practice seems to have ended.