Frequently Asked Questions


Why Syfy?


1. Why did you change your name?

Although we love the name Sci Fi, because it's a generic term, we can never own it. As the way people watch TV changes, that became a growing issue for us. When we started out, we had one cable network in the US and everyone watched TV live. Now we're in dozens of countries, our content is distributed across dozens of new platforms - from Hulu and iTunes to mobile phones and game consoles - and a growing number of viewers no longer watch live.

That creates problems we've never had before, such as when a search for a "sci-fi show" might not turn up any results for a "Sci Fi show," when we compete in other countries with another network that uses "sci-fi" in its title, and on the text-based menu systems used on many devices, where the name Sci Fi and the category "sci-fi" are indistinguishable. As we expand our brand into new areas such as gaming and technology, Syfy will also help people tell the difference between a game that we're involved with and the hundreds of other sci-fi games out there that we're not.

Syfy is also our way of getting our unique programming point of view across (see next answer). As you may have noticed, we've always aired shows that many people wouldn't consider strictly science fiction: Fantasy, paranormal, etc. Syfy is a way to recognize that, and a way to make our programming more accessible to a broader audience.

2. Does this mean you're changing your programming?

No! We've always defined "sci-fi" a lot more broadly than most people, and Syfy is a way to recognize the programming we already have on our channel, from Defiance and Warehouse 13 to Ghost Hunters and Face Off. For us "sci-fi" includes a broad range of imagination-based entertainment, including science fiction but also fantasy, the paranormal, adventure and others. Syfy helps us define our unique take on the genre.


3. Are you going to continue to make science fiction shows?

Yes! We plan to stay in the sci-fi business. With existing shows like Defiance and Continuum, upcoming shows like Ron Moore's Helix, forthcoming mini-series like Ringworld and Childhood's End, and more on the way, we're definitely still in the sci-fi business.


4. Why did you add reality programming?

 

We've always run reality programming as part of our lineup although people only started using the word "reality" to describe these kinds of shows in recent years. (The term"reality show" simply refers to programs that aren't scripted.) Early in our history we had great success with reality shows like In Search Of with Leonard Nimoy, Ripley's Believe It or Not and even CNET TV. Now we also air things like Ghost Hunters and Face Off, which are two of our highest rated series. Although we know reality programming isn't everyone's cup of tea, it is and always has been an important part of our programming mix. 

 

5. Why show wrestling?

The WWE is filled with larger than life personalities - a horde of real-life costumed superheroes (and super villains) constantly at odds over an ever evolving narrative. Since Syfy is home of imaginative storytelling - both fictional and not - we believe it's the perfect place to showcase the ongoing saga of WWE wrestling.

6. How do you pronounce Syfy?

No change there. It's pronounced just like "sci-fi" is.


Syfy FAQ


1. What's with the Feedback autoresponse? Don't you care?

We care quite a lot, but we're human and, as such, finite. There aren't a lot of hours we can reasonably dedicate to answering all the questions. Although we would like to respond individually to every request and query, we simply can't. The answers to many we do receive really are answered by this FAQ, though. Dig around.


2. How do I get Syfy?

The cable "universe" has been estimated at around 74 million homes, and almost all of them get Syfy.

Click here to find Syfy in your area, and learn how to tell your cable provider what you want to see.

A useful list of companies can also be found at the TVinsite/Broadcasting & Cable trade-magazine site, along with links where available. We are aware of the few cable affiliates in the country that don't presently carry us and are doing everything we can to get them to do so.

International viewers might be able to pick up Syfy by satellite. Syfy UK /Syfy Europe is available to those across the big pond, but although they used to be part of this company, we have no affiliation with them now. Furthermore, Syfy Europe has its own programming schedule and always has.


3. Other channel-related issues:


Can you get rid of that little logo in the corner?

No, but we try to make it as unobtrusive as possible. We want viewers to know where we are and who we are. If you've ever tried to watch cable in another town and have struggled to find your favorite channels, you know how important this feature is.

Why are commercials so LOUD?

Compression. Advertisers use compression so that everything in a commercial is about at the same (loud) audio level, close to the maximum allowable levels. This way, you can still hear their pitch even if you get up to go the kitchen or bathroom. Syfy does not turn up the volume on these commercials - they're just recorded and mixed that way. Most of our shows, however, are not in an audio-compressed format so they generally have a wider dynamic range than the ads. Since we can't go back and add compression to our shows, the ads tend to sound a lot louder than the programming.

Why do you scrunch up the credits at the end of shows/movies?

On-air "real estate" is very expensive, and we have to make the best use of what is available. This includes making some things do double duty.

Is Syfy in stereo?

This is show- and movie-specific. It depends on whether or not a show or movie was delivered to Syfy in stereo or in mono. Some older shows were never available in stereo. Keep in mind that you must have a stereo TV or a TV hooked up to a stereo receiver in order to get the stereo broadcast.


I live on the west coast. Could you explain the West Coast Feed?

The West Coast feed is a separate feed of Syfy that runs according to Pacific Time. Before we had the feed, a show listed as airing at "9 p.m." ran at 9 p.m. only in the Eastern time zone, which meant that viewers in the Pacific time zone would see the show at 6 p.m. Now that the West Coast feed is in place, shows listed as 9 p.m. run at that time in both the Eastern and Pacific time zones. Please note that if you have DirecTV, the DISH NETWORK, or a c-band dish you will remain on the East Coast feed, as will certain digital cable subscribers. Also, not all of Syfy's Western cable affiliates may have the necessary equipment to utilize the new feed, so in those markets viewers will still see Syfy's East Coast broadcast. If you're not sure which feed you are receiving, please contact your local cable or satellite provider for details.


4. Why doesn't Syfy have... [insert popular show]?

Some common reasons might be:

  • The show has been licensed by another cable network, is in a syndication window and airing on local stations nationwide, or is simply not available for licensing at the moment.
  • Some cable networks may own the current license term for your favorite show even though they are not airing it.
  • Shows may be kept on the shelf until they are needed, or have been put on the shelf due to poor ratings performance.

Other reasons may be budgetary or strategic: If, for a given show, ratings estimates are low and/or the target demographics don't fit the Channel, Syfy may decide not to acquire that program.


5. Why so much horror on Syfy?

It is true that there is a lot of horror programming on Syfy, but we try to maintain a balance between sci-fi, fantasy and horror in order to present a wide variety of programs in these related genres. We constantly strive to bring our viewers the best in science-fiction, fantasy and horror programming.


6. Why did you change the time slot of my favorite show?

We alter our schedule quarterly, with big changes tending to happen at the beginnings of the first quarter (January) and the fourth quarter (October).

The reason it was moved is the same reason it was scheduled where it was in the first place: namely, ratings. A program is scheduled in the hopes of getting good ratings and of helping the shows around it get good ratings. A show is given a new timeslot in the hopes of raising either its ratings overall, raising the new timeslot's ratings, or raising the original timeslot's ratings - and hopefully the ratings of the shows around those timeslots. Sometimes a change can result in lower ratings for some shows that were moved yet still be the right thing to do.

For example, say a show called Intergalactic Space Ninjas aired Mondays at 8pm and was moved to Sundays at 10am. There's little chance it could get higher ratings in its new slot, but if the new Monday night show gets a higher rating, and "Intergalactic Space Ninjas" gets a higher rating than the show it replaced, the net result is better ratings for the network as a whole.

Keep in mind that no show has a "natural" or "rightful" time slot.


7. When will my favorite show/movie be back on?

We schedule episodes and movies only a few months in advance. The best thing to do is to search the coming months' schedules on our Schedule page. If a program has been officially scheduled, it'll show up there. If not....


8. When will you be airing my favorite episode of [insert popular show]?

You can actually find this out for yourself by checking our Schedule. If you are not sure what the title of the show is, check the "Shows" tab at the top of this page.


9. How can I get in touch with my favorite actor from my favorite show?

The best way to contact your favorite actor is to send a letter care of the company that produces the show. Please keep in mind that shows are not actually made here but are initiated, created and executed by specific production companies. The best way to find out what company produces your show is to watch the credits.


10. How can I find out about jobs, whether with the network or with Syfy.com?

Please send résumés in electronic format to feedback@syfy.com.


11. I have a great idea for a show. How do I submit ideas?

Syfy does not accept unsolicited material. We only accept submissions/pitches from distributors, producers, agents, talent with representation, etc. This is to protect both the Channel and the individual with the idea.


12. Where can I find a copy of [ Insert Movie Title ]?

Check your local video store or an online retailer such as Amazon.com. For basic information on movie casts and crew, try the Internet Movie Database. For plot descriptions, TV Guide.com has one of the Web's most comprehensive journalistic movie sites.


13. The letterboxing looks terrible on my small screen! Why do you do that?

We firmly believe that movies and shows that are shot in widescreen (also known as letterboxing, abbreviated "LBX") should be shown in widescreen. It preserves the proper aspect ratios and displays the moving images as the creators intended them to be seen. We are trying to faithfully transmit the original creators' intentions.


14. [My Show] needs to be close-captioned! Why isn't it?

Almost every show on Syfy is close-captioned, as well as a large percentage of our movie inventory. A lot of programming is delivered with captions; however, some shows air without captions the first time. This is a timing issue. The captioning process takes a lot of coordination and if Syfy makes a last-minute acquisition, there may not be enough time to prepare captioning for a show's initial airing.


Syfy.com FAQ


1. I have trouble viewing your site.

Click on the following link to review your system settings:
http://www.syfy.com/faq/flashdetect/

Next, check the information we detected automatically from your computer. If your computer meets all the specifications required to view our site, please send us an email, providing as much detail as possible to help us diagnose your problem. The more information you can give us, the better we'll be able to help you.

2. Why does your site use so much Flash?

More than 80 percent of Syfy.com users access our site with a broadband connection, such as a cable modem, DSL, or a T-1 line. To take best advantage of such high-speed connections, Syfy.com uses a variety of Flash media to create a richer, more rewarding online experience for its users.

3. How do I run Flash? Where do I get it?

http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/

4. Why can't I hear anything when I view video or other multimedia content on your site?

If your computer produces no sound at all: Check your speaker(s) for loose, disconnected or improperly connected wiring. If your speakers require a separate power supply, make certain they are plugged into an active AC outlet. Check your computer's sound settings to ensure the volume controls are properly set and that the mute is not activated. If all of the previous have checked out OK, verify that your computer has a sound card. If a sound card is installed, it might be damaged. Contact your computer or sound card vendor for further instructions.

5. What is a podcast?

A podcast is an easy way to automatically download audio files to your computer and MP3 player. Use a free application (see below) to subscribe to the appropriate podcast feed. The application checks the site regularly and starts a download whenever new content is available.

How do I get started?

Here's what you'll need: a computer, an Internet connection, a portable MP3 player or MP3-playback application on your computer, and some free podcasting software. Install the software on your computer (Windows or Mac). Subscribe to a Podcast Feed by pasting its URL into your Podcast application. The next time you synch your MP3 device, any new audio files added since your last synch will automatically be downloaded.

What software do I use?

Depending on your preference, you can use iPodder, jPodder (Windows), iPodderX (MacOS X) or another Podcast application of your choosing. We recommend iTunes, because it allows you to both download and listen to podcasts in the same application. iTunes also supports enhanced podcasts.

What are enhanced podcasts?

Enhanced podcasts can contain chapter markers, which makes finding your place in long podcasts much simpler. They also can contain additional imagery that changes as the podcast is playing.

What do I need to play enhanced podcasts?

iTunes 6 or later and Quicktime Player 7 or later on a computer running Windows or Mac OS. You can also play them on any Apple iPod with a color screen.



6. How do I get to see your shows on iTunes?

Go to Apple's iTunes site and download the iTunes application for your computer. Run the iTunes application and click on its green iTunes Music Store icon. Select the TV Shows category from the store's main menu, then choose Syfy from the list of participating networks. This will display all of our channel's available iTunes content.

7. Which shows can I buy on iTunes?

Many of our prime-time series are now available through iTunes, including Eureka, Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, The Dresden Files, Who Wants to Be a Superhero? and Ghost Hunters. Visit the iTunes Store for the most current lineup of available series and episodes.

8. What is an RSS Feed and how do I get it?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is a newsfeed that will let you access Blastr with a newsreader such as Newsgator or Bloglines. You can subscribe to our RSS feed here:
http://blastr.com/rss.php

9. How can I get your site on the go?

Click here to visit Syfy's mobile headquarters, where you can find information on receiving text alerts, iPhone apps and mobile-phone optimized sites for many of the channel's shows.

10. I'd like to receive Sci Fi Magazine. How can I subscribe?

Go to http://www.syfy.com/magazine/ to subscribe online, or call 1-800-77SCIFI (1-800-777-2434) and have your MasterCard or Visa ready.

I subscribed to your Magazine a while ago, but I haven't received it yet. What should I do?

Call the Customer Service line at 1-800-219-1187. Have your billing information ready for the operator.

11. Your Channel Guide is giving me incorrect information. What should I do?

Send an e-mail to feedback@syfy.com. Include the show you want information about and tell us specifically what the error in the schedule is. Is it a broken link? Is the information out of date? Is it misspelled? Please be as detailed about the error as possible.

12. I see out-of-date information and/or a broken link. What should I do?

Send an e-mail to feedback@syfy.com including the broken link or the link to where the out of date information is.

13. I live in (anyplace outside of the continental U.S.) and want to watch your shows.
How can I get your channel?

a. Contact your local cable/satellite television service provider.

b. Check our sister sites:

 

 



14. I have the perfect idea/script for (show title), or a new show. Where should I send it?

Our policy is that NBC, NBCS, and NBC Enterprises will NOT accept any such material unless:

  1. an NBC, NBCS, or NBCE executive agreed in advance to consider the material; and
  2. the material is being submitted by an individual or entity with whom NBC, NBCS, or NBCE does business.

We have adopted this policy to avoid legal disputes and to protect ourselves in the event of claims.

For more information on how to become a TV writer, visit this link:

http://www.nbcunicareers.com/earlycareerprograms/writersontheverge.shtml

15. I have a comment/complaint about your site content; there is something I'd like to see on your Web site; there is something I'd like to see on Syfy.

Please send us an e-mail detailing your comments to feedback@syfy.com, or feel free to call and leave a message with your comments on our Viewer Comments line, at 212-664-4453.

16. I'm having technical issues with a Syfy Games game. What should I do?

If you are experiencing technical difficulties with one of Syfy Games' multiplayer online games, please visit the official Big Point site for that title by clicking on its name below:

Dark Orbit

Sea Fight

Space Invasion

If you are having trouble with any other Syfy Games title, please post a description of it to the official forums here.

Tell us what you think about your favorite NBCU programs by becoming a TV panel member.