Tag Archives: Netflix

Watching TV on the toilet. Simulcasting to apps is the future (of broadcasting)

You must master the four screens.

You must master the four screens.

This weekend, I was watching The Alien, 48 year old Bernard Hopkins defend his title against Karo Murat, the 30 year old challenger from Germany.

The fight was fairly spirited and I was thoroughly engaged.

But as my salsa and cheese dip decided they wanted out, I had a difficult choice to make.

Do I suffer through the next six rounds and try to suppress my bowels or make a b-line for the commode and miss the fight?

My trips to the latrine are rarely brief.

My intestines got the better of me, and as round six ended, I reluctantly broke for the bathroom.

Back in the day, this story would have ended with me Googling the results or checking The Bleacher Report or ESPN.

But something told me to check out the App Store to see if there was an app that would let me watch the fight live from the toilet.

The fight was on Showtime, so I decided I’d start there.

What was there to lose?

As I plopped down upon my throne to handle the affairs of state, I whipped out my iPhone and quickly located the Showtime Anytime app.

showtime anytime

I downloaded and launched the app, and true to form, there was a Live TV tab in the footer.

When it pulled up the program choices, there was a ‘Watch Now’ button next to the Hopkins/Murat listing of the fight.

Before I knew it, I had taken in six rounds of boxing on the crapper, and I realized that broadcasting had come a long way.

The future of broadcasting was in my hands.

No. Not the toilet paper. I had already flushed that.

Although toilet paper is a wonderful invention.

I’m talking about apps which allow you to consume live media.

I think HBO was the first content provider to drop an app which let their subscribers access content from their mobile devices.

Others quickly followed suit and there were similar offerings from the likes of ESPN, A&E and Cartoon Network.

Soon regular broadcast players joined, including ABC, PBS, CBS and TBS.

Not to be left out, cable providers made sure they had skin in the game with their apps, including Time Warner, Cablevision, Verizon Fios and Xfinity.

The battle for eyeballs has gotten so fierce that if you’re not present on all platforms, you’re giving up valuable ground to the competition.

It used to be enough to have a broadcast channel with good content.

Back in the day, all you had were the broadcast television networks, like ABC, CBS, and NBC.

The networks had a virtual monopoly.

Then came cable, which changed the game.

No longer were you restricted to ‘tame’ television.

You had options. And no commercials.

And then the internet decided to change things up a little more, offering tons of video content that you couldn’t find on television or cable.

And for the most part, it was free.

YouTube was the genesis of this, but other players like Hulu and Vimeo kept things interesting (and ever expanding with user generated videos and internet only shows).

When Netflix brought their DVDs by mail into the home, first streaming over the internet and then through set top boxes, the broadcast ecosystem fractured even further.

And now there’s mobile.

It’s not enough that you’re proficient on one platform at the expense of the others.

To meet the needs of an increasingly mobile and demanding audience, you’ve got to master them all.

And as a content creator, you’re going to want to leverage distribution methods that ensure you’re meeting your audience, wherever they are.

If you’re not simulcasting (or offering your content simultaneously across multiple platforms), best believe the next guy is.

As technology evolves, users are going to expect faster, more streamlined access to all forms of media.

I predict that in the future, we’re going to see more players offering content that is traditionally delivered to televisions being delivered to set top boxes, online, and through apps simultaneously.

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Filed under apps, digital advocacy, technology

Apple TV, Roku, watch your backs. There’s a new dongle in town. Chromecast.

Chromecast dongle

One of my colleagues, Salvador Risk (not his real name), is an avowed Google fanatic.

Google Glass, Chromebook, Jellybean. If Google makes it, he lauds it.

Invariably, whenever there’s a Google announcement or milestone, he shoots a link over IM for us to check out.

It was he who recommended that we watch the hellacious Google 1/0 2013.

My eyes are still bleeding.

We usually mock him for being so devout a disciple.

Yesterday was no exception.

You see yesterday, in his typical zeal, he shot us a link for some new innocuous Google product.

Followed by the statement (and I quote) “i so want this” (lowercase “i” and all).

Of course, we mocked him mercilessly, once again.

Who the heck would want “this” stupid thing?

“This” is another attempt by Google to stick it’s tentacles where they don’t belong.

“This” (we opined) would go the way of many of Google’s other lame-brained, ill-fated, poorly executed schemes.

What was “this”?

“This” was Chromecast.

What the heck is Chromecast, you ask?

Well it’s a dongle which will allow you to stream content from your phone, tablet or laptop, directly to your TV.

Simply plug Chromecast into an HDMI port of your HDTV, and voila! You’re streaming.

Chromecast in your TV

Even though the Chromecast dongle isn’t available yet (it’s available for pre-order in the Google Play store), it’s already making waves.

Why all the commotion, you ask?

For one, it’s not a box.

It’s a…dongle.

Unlike other set top box makers, like Apple and Roku (among the more recognizable names in the game), Chromecast won’t take up any space on your TV stand.

It’s just a simple fob that plugs in discretely to your TV.

Which means no power cords or HDMI cables.

With Chromecast, there’s nothing to hide, tuck away or get tangled in.

Actually, there is a little cord, which plugs into a micro USB port in the top of the dongle…but it’s not a big cord.

Second, you don’t need a remote control.

Virtually every other set top box is manipulated by some additional piece of hardware.

But not with Chromebook.

Your Android, iPhone or tablet device serves as your remote.

Third, Chromecast provide much of the same utility of other set top boxes.

Like Apple TV and Roku, Chromecast lets you grab content from Netflix and YouTube.

But they also let you access content from your Google Play account (like iTunes/iPhoto) and the Chrome browser.

But wait! That’s not all.

Lest you think that Chromecast is just some dumb portal that simply lets you stream what’s on your device to your TV, Google claims that Chromecast will also automatically update apps.

And if they’re going after Apple and Roku, I can see the available list of options growing in short order.

Finally, and more (or most) importantly, there’s the cost.

Chromecast is only $35.

That’s way below Apple’s $99 price point.

And significantly less than Roku’s $49.99 streaming player.

In the final analysis, even though we were originally ribbing Salvator (not his real name) mercilessly for his blind allegiance to Google, we had to concede that he was really onto something.

Call me gullible (and a nerd), but I’m kinda excited for the release of Chromecast.

As someone who rocks with Apple TV, I’m interested to see how Chromecast stacks up.

Anyway, nerdfest over.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled life.

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Filed under technology

I love Netflix. Now if they only streamed the movies I wanted to see.

No Fios

I’ve been a cable subscriber for years.

Even though cable sucked, they were the only game in town.

Then came Blockbuster.

Like cable, they had a super selection of movies, which you could watch when you wanted.

But their expensive rental and draconian late fees, made them a not-oft-used luxury.

And it was inconvenient.

Unlike cable, if you wanted a movie, you had to get into your car.

Drive to your local Blockbuster.

And hope that the movie you wanted was in stock.

Netflix_logo

When Netflix arrived on the scene, they gave Blockbuster a run.

As long as you were willing to deal the whole snail mail thing.

And didn’t have a problem waiting until your movie was returned before you could get a new one.

Netflix wasn’t totally intolerable.

And they were dumb cheap.

But they weren’t really an alternative to cable.

You couldn’t just plop onto your couch, point your remote and wham – instant gratification.

But that was yesterday.

Netflix realized that the landscape for movie rentals was going the way of the dinosaur.

And they adapted.

Added streaming to their offering.

Changed to a subscription model.

And watched as Blockbuster folded, under the unbearable weight of it’s brick-and-mortar infrastructure.

Like cable, Netflix offers streaming television programs and movies.

Like cable, Netflix allows you to stream to your television, mobile and tablet devices.

But unlike cable, Netflix is DUMB CHEAP!

And you can stream your movies anywhere – not just in your crib.

I pay like $200 a month for my Verizon Fios.

To be fair, it’s a bundle: internet, phone and tv.

If I just had Fios TV, I’d be paying like $90 a month.

I pay $7.99 a month for Netflix.

$7.99!

If I wanted to add the ability to receive multiple DVD’s at home, it would be another $4.

So for like $12 I could get my movie on.

There is, however, one serious drawback to Netflix…

Most of the good movies are on DVD.

No seriously.

Sure, every once in a while, a movie you want to see is available for streaming.

But for the most part, the really good stuff isn’t available.

Trust me.

I’ve been down this road before.

Since wifey is a night owl, she’s constantly trolling the channels to find something to watch.

Cable routinely fails to deliver.

So Netflix has become the good old go-to.

And while there are literally hundreds of thousands of movie titles to chose from…

The movies we want are never the ones available to stream!

Netflix get your shit together!

I’m just bitchin’.

Cause there’s nothing on tv.

And the movie I want on Netflix is only on DVD.

Which means I can’t watch it right now.

And I’m a big baby.

First world problems.

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Filed under rant, Smack talking

YouTube, you’re bugging. No one is paying for your videos.

youtube_premium

I’ve been hearing the most ludicrous rumors concerning YouTube.

Apparently, someone at Google thinks it would be a good idea to start charging folks to watch certain channels.

For a small fee, say $5, users would have access to “premium” content on YouTube.

Really?

So the site that has millions of free user-generated videos is now going to switch to a pay model?

Whatever!

You know I’m not trying to pay for YouTube.

Or any other social media service for that matter.

And it’s not like it’s Netflix (for which I have a subscription).

Where you can dial up the movie you want to watch.

And they’re movies – not videos.

But maybe that’s where they’re going next.

YouTube aspires to be the Netflix of videos?

But which videos?

Are labels going to start charging you to watch the music videos of their artists?

Bad idea.

Maybe I’m dense, but I can’t think of any scenario where folks would be willing to come off that cash for some video (when that same content was formerly free).

Sure, the freemium model dictates that you give something of value away initially to induce a later spend.

But YouTube has been free since the word go.

They blew past that incentive point – where if they flipped to a paid model folks would be willing to pay – a while ago.

Now it just looks like they’re trying to make money by any means necessary.

Or maybe they’re trying to provide incentives to content creators to partner with Google.

If you recall, a few years ago, Google flirted with this subscription video model.

They offered content creators the opportunity to set up premium channels, where they could charge users to watch their videos.

Needless to say, the idea didn’t take.

Why they’re resuscitation this obviously flawed strategy again now is beyond me.

Maybe they’re just gluttons for punishment.

Maybe it’s the 800 million YouTube searches that are performed daily.

Or the 4 billion hours that folks watch each month.

Maybe they’re trying to offer an alternative to the current ad-supported model.

Whatever the motivation, we’ll have to wait and see how folks respond.

Google hasn’t indicated when the first of the paid videos or channels will be available.

In fact, no one is quite sure of the exact pricing mechanism they intend to employ.

But I can tell you this: I won’t be paying a damn thing!

Who knows, maybe the second time’s a charm.

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Filed under opinion, social media

I took a day off (from blogging) and now I feel…bad (not really).

I blog. Therefore, I blog.

So yesterday was the first day that I didn’t keep my 2012 blogging resolution of posting every day.

Yeah, I was running around between meetings…

And yeah, I had a class to teach at PAL Harlem Center…

And yeah, I was providing last minute tech support at the Red Rooster…

And I did spend several (valuable) hours (when I could have been blogging) driving around the city…

But there were at least two to three good hours yesterday, when I could have plopped myself down and banged out a post.

But I didn’t feel like it.

There.

I said it.

Yesterday, I simply didn’t feel like blogging.

And for no reason in particular.

I had loads of stuff I could have written about…

Like my meeting with Cheray Black and Q’tyashia Arrington, the founders of The Social Climb, a niche job search engine they’re launching this month…

Or even my meeting with Kembo Tom of GTM Central, the NYC/Atlanta/LA based creative agency that created the Smirnoff Master of the Mix

GTM+Je t'aime=GTM Central

I could even talk about my increasingly deep forays into Pinterest

This is my Pinterest page. I've started a few boards.

But I chose not to.

The hours whittled away and I didn’t make a single keystroke.

As midnight drew closer, I thought that perhaps I should throw something together just to keep on schedule.

The martial arts in this movie is incredible!

But then I started watching True Legend, and put it off.

Interesting movie. But too predictable and really poor casting.

And of course, since I had another movie I hadn’t seen in my Netflix Instant Queue, Knife Edge, I had to watch it.

That was a mistake – too predictable.

Anyway, as I sit here, reflecting on my active omission, I realize that this post is pure fluff.

I’m not really saying anything.

I’ve just got to blog.

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Filed under Smack talking