Category Archives: Television

netneutistockfeature1-e1293050143472While trying to feverishly watch season 2 of House of Cards, I’ve noticed a few spinning rainbows via my AppleTV. What’s up? I tend to blame my Internet connection, but in reality it seems like there’s some nefarious “auto slowdown” occurring. It seems like Netflix is having a conflict with Verizon and other broadband providers over how much content should be carried without additional fees. Netflix complains that they’ve encountered a 14% slowdown in average speeds. The Wall Street Journal is reporting on the conflict between the two titans, but they’re telling us that Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, have already begun paying broadband providers for smoother access to their networks, which leaves Netflix kind of flapping in the wind complaining about tiered access.

The war around the idea of “net neutrality” is heating up as consumers move away from traditional TV and focus more on “binge watching” and a la carte watching via Netflix, Hulu, Google Play, iTunes and other streaming and/or subscription services. Just last month, a court ruled in favor of Verizon’s suit to block the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules, which has spurred chaos among the providers and content creators as more people consume more high-definition video. To add fire to the furnace, Netflix is more than likely very interested in the upcoming federal review of Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable, and may push for new requirements on traffic-swapping deals. As we move forward into the unknown waters of “tiered Internet access” it’s going to be more and more about who pays what: the content creators and/or their customers.

Remember when watching the Olympics was limited to just prime-time television? In particular, I remember Lillehammer. I was in college and my roommate and I would watch the Olympics, followed by Letterman (who sent his mom to the Games), and then wrapped up by Bob Costas. We had a crush a Bob Costas. But that was the extent of the Olympics in our world.

Now, everything has changed. You can view the Olympics 24/7 if you want. NBC is streaming 1,000 hours of Olympic coverage in addition to 539 hours of television. That’s a lot of time. If you’re an Olympics junkie, and you think you can look past the rather distasteful politics and practices of the 2014 Games,  you’ve got a lot of options. 

Prime-time TV: No cable required, NBC will be broadcasting the biggest events each night. However, this won’t be live as the time difference between the US and Sochi is extreme. But you can still get your figure-skating fix this way, even if you don’t have cable.

Cable TV: Many of NBC’s 539 hours will actually be broadcast on NBC Sports Network. NBCSN is a cable station and until today, I wasn’t even aware I had it. (In the SF Bay Area, try ch 81.)

Online: Around 1,000 hours of live events will be streaming on NBCOlympics.com. They will tell you this is free, but there is a catch. You need to authenticate your specific cable provider. So yes, you can view it, but you either need cable, or have a friend willing to share their user name/password.

NBC Sports Live Extra App: No pay-for-cable needed here, you can download the app and watch those 1,000 hours live on your mobile device. The app is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Additionally, standard news apps from outlets like CNN, MSNBC and others will cover the outcome of the competitions as well as the politics around Sochi. 

Available for Android, iPhone and iPad

Available for Android, iPhone and iPad

Social Media: If you don’t want to watch, but still want to follow along, and your own Facebook feed just won’t fit the bill, you can find the Sochi Olympics all over social media. So far, the hashtags look to be #sochi2014 and of course, #Olympics, although I’m sure others will emerge.

   - Twitter: Follow @NBCOlympics for the NBC version and @USOlympic for tweets from the overall team. Additionally, the team has put together a list of tweeting athletes competing in the games. NBC has put together a list of tweeting commentators and I bet they’ll have their own list of tweeting athletes within the next couple of days.  You can also follow Scott HamiltonBrian Boitano, and Shaun White, all in Sochi for the Games, and Lindsey Vonn, who is commentating state-side for the Today Show.

Shaun White's latest tweet

Shaun White‘s latest tweet

- Instagram: Some basics include TeamUSA,  NBCOlympics, Sochi2014, USsnowboarding, and Olympics.  At the bottom of this CBS post, you can find a list of all of the athletes on Instagram.

- Facebook: Both Sochi and NBC have Pages for the Olympics. I’m sure, with a little searching, you’ll probably find fan pages or follow abilities out there for your favorite athletes.

As for the politics, I hope we show the world that, like Jesse Owens in Berlin, we can stand strong against discrimination.

Know of any other ways to catch your favorite sports during the Olympics? Let us know in the comments.

Some rights reserved by bsdphoto

Some rights reserved by bsdphoto

On September 18, 1970, Jimi Hendrix died. At just 27, he died without a will. He only released three albums in his lifetime, but he left a lifetime’s worth of legal issues, evolving narratives, and interesting back stories.

At the time of his death, his estate was managed by California attorney Leo Branton and producer Alan Douglas. In 1995, Jimi’s father, Al sued for the rights to Jimi’s music, and won. Al then created “Experience Hendrix, LLC” as a corporation based in Seattle. This company was created to administer Jimi’s image, control his music, and release new music and memorabilia.

When Al died in 2002, the Hendrix estate was worth an estimated $80 million, which Al left entirely to his adopted daughter, Janie. That’s when things got messy. Jimi had a brother, named Leon, and he contested the will, claiming that Janie had manipulated Al into leaving everything to her. Allegations about fraud and drug abuse were lobbied back and forth, and in the end, a Washington judge ruled that Janie was the sole heir.

Shortly before his death, a fortune teller had told Jimi that he wouldn’t live much longer. He believed her, and told close friends about this “vision”. Although he had grown up in poverty, at his height, he was earning millions. Surrounding him were, naturally, bottom-feeders. Jimi had to wrangle with his corrupt manager, deal with the Black Panthers trying to shake him down, faced heroin possession charges in Canada, and fought a paternity suit in New York.

Ultimately, Hendrix is remembered for his mastery of the guitar, not necessarily for his money management skills. And since his family gained control of his estate, they have been on a mission to “sterilize” him as an icon without a troubled life. A recent documentary about Jimi on PBS, I Hear My Train A Comin’, was seemingly “scrubbed clean” of Hendrix’s legendary appetite for women and drugs. A memoir just released, Starting At Zero, supposedly authored by Jimi (a curation of his diary entries, letters and interviews), was published without the cooperation of his family and clashes with the image the family is now portraying. Even the minutiae of his life is being sanitized. For example, Jimi enlisted in the 101st Airborne Division because he had been given a two-year jail sentence for “riding in a stolen car”. That’s where he met Billy Cox, a bassist who he ended up playing with. He was in the military for less than a year. According to I Hear My Train A Comin’, he was honorably discharged due to an ankle injury he suffered while jumping out of a helicopter. The truth is he pretended to be gay in order to get himself thrown out.

The first biography of Jimi written after his death in 1978, ’Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky still remains the definitive biography of his life. But the Hendrix machine is alive and well, sterile or not in 2014. A new biopic entitled All Is By My Side is forthcoming, and is produced by John Ridley. Although fondly remembered as a peace-loving hippie, according to Starting At Zero, Hendrix was quite conservative, distrustful of “Black Power” and was not supportive of the antiwar protests of the time.

When he died, he had an ulcer in his stomach, was increasingly dependent on cocaine and amphetamines to get through all his tour commitments, was frustrated by the cost overruns in the building of his state-of-the-art studio, Electric Ladyland, and he was completing an album “First Rays of the New Rising Sun”. To escape some of the overload, he ended up in London with a former lover. Unable to fall asleep, he took nine Vesparax tablets (18 times the recommended dosage) and went to bed. He choked on his own vomit that night and was found dead in the morning by his lover. Although the family is trying to sanitize his life and legacy, what really matters the most is the magic he left behind for us in the music he created. Music historians will have to wade through the morass of all the “propaganda” to try and keep the real story alive, but the casual fan will always just let the music speak for itself.

With smartphones and gadgets like Google Glass grabbing all the headlines, what some of us realize is the vast wasteland of bad reality shows, over-hyped sports events, and sensational specials we call TV is about to undergo a transformation that will forever end the viewing experience as you know it. And although tech companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft have been fiddling around with their idea of how to change TV for a few years now, it’s the big networks and pay television providers that are finally making some decisions to move TV land forward. What’s driving this change? Three biggies:

1. Viewers’ increasing multi-screen behavior — now their TV is just one screen in a world of many. People often watch TV while multi-tasking with their tablet or smartphone. More and more, people want to carry their TV shows with them, and continue watching from different locations.

2. TV execs have realized that you will actually pay for digital content. Paywalls on some online news sites such as the New York Times and revenue on iTunes and other digital marketplaces have shown the money guys that you will actually hand over your hard-earned dough for content. So, they will soon end free broadcast TV. You can start the death countdown now. Viewership on broadcast TV is at its lowest ever Pokies, down from 69% in 1993 to 42% this year, according to Nielsen.

3. Small startups like Aereo have begun to offer free access to broadcast TV over the Internet, and are winning court cases to stay alive.

After Aereo got a reprieve from a federal judge, News Corp is now considering going to cable only. And now, Intel is trying to design a new online TV service that will let you control more of your viewing experience.

The coming transformation of TV promises to offer you:

–De-bundling so you don’t have to pay huge monthly fees for just the few channels you actually watch.

–Easier discoverability through better interfaces

–Smarter content relevant to your viewing history

–Easier and more affordable subscription options

Of course, everyone is waiting for what Apple will do with its rumored TV. Will they just make hardware, or are they going full-on with hardware and content?

What all this says is there is no business model for TV right now. Programmers are unwilling to hand-over rights for online TV because they don’t know what to charge for it. But they know they don’t want to end up like the music industry when Napster came along, so they’re scrambling. Either way, you win. TV will transform based on the way you want to consume it. Stay tuned!

Big news this week in the area of watching TV on your mobile device.

The first announcement is that HBOGo, the app that streams HBO programming to your iPhone and iPad, is finally compatible with AirPlay. This means you can take that HBO show with you to a friend’s house and, from your iDevice, watch it on your large TV screen via an Apple TV. Boardwalk Empire just got a lot more accessible to those without HBO. Support for Airplay is also now available for Cinemax’s MAX Go app.

According to All Things D, HBO’s Eric Kessler said they also intend to “get on Apple TV” directly jennifer anniston pokies, although a timeline for that is unknown.

Lifetime, A&E and History Channel have updated apps.

Additionally, A&E, History Channel, and Lifetime have all updated their iOS apps (iPhone and iPad) to stream their top programming to iDevices for free. The apps include syncing with iCloud, allowing you to pick up where you left off as you move from device to device.

The apps and content are free, although if you sign in using a Comcast Xfinity account, you’ll receive more behind-the-scenes footage.

The new apps do not yet support AirPlay, but 9TO5 Mac reports that feature is in the works.

 

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