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Monthly Archives: October 2014

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What is Play Station TV and Why Would I Want It?

Sony has finally launched their uber anticipated Play Station TV Console, and the price is something that has industry insiders predicting will allow Sony to carve a large path into the market place. Their price of $99.00 is on par with the competition, but the increased offerings by Sony through this device sets them apart from the rest.

As of the writing of this article, the Sony device offers access to over 700 games to customers, including some powerhouse titles such as the God of War series, and MLB 14. The device allows consumers to stream their games to the device using available WI-FI. This aspect of the product makes it vastly different from competitors offerings, and predictions are that it will cause gamers to flock to Sony over other offerings.

The product is call the Play Station TV Console, but so far there is no TV to be watched using this device. Sony states that the device is designed to facilitate TV and movie streaming apps for viewers to use, as well as allow them access to a horde of other games available in the Play Station Store.

Sony needs to open the flood gates here though if it wants this product to survive for long. The fact that the Sony owned Crackle is really the only decent streaming app available for the console right now is not such a great thing, and something that consumers are already complaining about. Sony is being very quiet on when services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon will be available for use on their devices. These are standard offerings on other devices on the market with their competitors such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV. All of these competitors offer hundreds of options for their customers when it comes to audio and video streaming, something Sony needs to catch up on if they want their product to remain competitive in the marketplace.

One thing that does have consumers hopeful is that the Soon to be Released pay TV service will be available through this device. Sony’s history of releasing products that are high quality has consumers waiting patiently for this service to be launched. Hopefully Sony is able to get this to market before people lose interest and end up moving on.



LG Goes Extreme High End with New Partnership

swarovski LG TV


LG Goes Extreme High End with New Partnership

LG Electronics has just announced a new partnership that will allow them to offer something that no other TV manufacturer in the world can lay claim to. Their new offering is a high end premium OLED TV designed and manufactured with Austrian jewelry design house Swarovski.

Not only did Swarovski lend their designers to help create an aesthetically pleasing to eye television, but LG is also using crystals made by them as well. For those of you who were not aware, Swaravski is world renowned for their crystal making abilities.

This new offering has an amazing depth of 4mm, and weighs in at an ultra light 16kg. This television appears to float in the air, due in large part to the design of the tv itself, its stand, and the perfect placement of Swaravski’s top-end crystals. This effect was created for  this totally unique stand, by using approximately 460 luminescent Aurora Borealis crystals of three different sizes (SS8, 10 and 12) which were then applied painstakingly by hand using specially made stencils. The end result of this is a subtle but elegant sparkling pattern that turns a top of the line, cutting-edge television into a masterwork piece of art. This is one of those extremely rare pieces of electronics that can truly make a room stand out.

This television also offers many features including pixel dimming technology, which gives this television vibrant colors, extremely sharp images and unparalleled picture quality. While there is no price set for this television yet, it is a safe bet that this TV will not be priced for the average everyday consumer to be able to afford.

LG plans on rolling out a limited number of these sets in Europe in the middle of the fourth quarter, followed by a North American release slated for early into the first quarter of next year.


How Did Redbox Miss Their Chance to Kill Netflix?

Did Redbox Miss Their Chance to Kill Netflix?

Redbox, the Starbucks of movie rentals with their uber famliar bright red kiosk rental centers on every corner moved into the world of online streaming services, competing with the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and others. Their partnership with mega corporate giant Verizon was hailed as the streaming entertainment killer. Articles were written, analysts spoke on tv and the web about how this partnership powerhouse was going to be the end all for Netflix and Hulu at the very least.

While it was never stated publicly, it was obvious from the get go that Redbox and Verizon were aiming to utilize their clout and connections in Hollywood to choke out the competition from Netflix. These two powerhouses hoped to strong arm or otherwise convince their connections into basically no longer offering Netflix access to premium movies and top of the line box office smashes. This plan was implemented in hopes of frustrating Netflix subscribers who would then be forced to make the switchover to their own services if people wanted to watch their favorite A-list actors and directors’ films and TV shows.

When Verizon and Redbox partnered up and launched their service in January 2013, they thought that they were unstoppable with this plan. They blew it though right from the begining. Instead of launching a fully functioning service with a large library of premium titles to view as they had promised, what they produced was a joke.

First off, the took forever to get a functioning website and streaming service up and running. When they did get it going, it was only offered to a limited number of potential customers instead of a full launch. Beyond the pitiful limited launch, their offering of titles to watch was an absolute and utter disaster. All they had to offer was b list movies and films from the 1980’s that no one wanted to even be associated with anymore. Combine these short falls with a management team that seemed to have no clue what they were doing, and failure was obviously the only real end result here.

While starting up a massive world wide streaming service is no walk in the park, both parties involved in this partnership should have been much more prepared to take on this task than it seems they were. This launch was a pitiful flop, and thankfully is finally coming to an end. RedBox Instant died a quiet death on October 7th, 2014, and they will not be missed.

ESPN Streaming NBA Games: Bunk or the Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread?

ESPN Streaming NBA Games: Bunk or the Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread?

ESPN just signed a massive 9 year deal with the NBA which will allow them to offer out of market games through their websites without having a cable or satellite subscription. This monster deal calls for ESPN and Turner Sports to pay the league $24 billion dollars over the life of the contract.

While the main contract sets Turner Sports and ESPN as NBA game broadcasters for the next nine years, it is the streaming ability that has some fans overly excited about this. This new clause in their contract will allow the network to offer a NET TV, but it is unclear when they will actually begin to offer this service.

The only problem with this deal is that it does not help local fans watch their favorite local teams without having a paid TV subscription. The reason why is that this deal forces to block local fans access to watch local games. For example, if you live in Chicago and want to watch your Bulls play, you had better have a paid TV subscription or tickets to the game, because you will not be able to watch the game from the ESPN NET TV offering.

The League understands that most fans love their closest local team exclusively, and therefore will pay the ever increasing subscription fees being charged by cable and satellite providers. This deal deal is aimed at the recently displaced fan, or the guy living in Maine that has always been a Lakers fan. This will allow those fans to watch whatever games they want, including their favorite teams, which are not local and therefor subject to the lock out.

This move is very similar to the NFL imposed black out on local viewers if the game was not sold out 72 hours prior to the game start. It is a way for the league and the cable or satellite providers to squeeze those extra dollars out of their fans anyway they can.

Analysts predict that this new game streaming service should become available in the next year, possibly even before the NBA finals next spring.

One thing that does have fans scratching their heads though concerning this deal is the NBA League Pass, which is available on Playstation and Xbox networks, which allows you to watch all games. So why pay for this seemingly inferior service, when it has been available on these two networks for several years now.

DIRECTV Channel Changing Issues

DIRECTV customers, no you are not going crazy, you are not dealing with a broken or faulty remote. DIRECTV has come out with a statement letting customers know that there is an issue with their HD receivers and changing channels.

According to their customer service reps, their website, and their Twitter feed, customers can and have been experiencing delays of 10-15 seconds after pressing the desired buttons for the channel to change to its new destination. Customers wanting to open the DIRECTV guide are having to hit the Guide button several times before anything happens. While this is not an end of the world situation, it is causing a lot of stress and frustration with DIRECTV customers.

While this problem appears to be more than just a couple weeks old from customer complaints and reviews online, DIRECTV still has not fixed the problem. Their customer service twitter page has stated that they are working on a software solution to the problem which should be released soon.

But how soon is soon? According to customer service reps, this is still in the hands of the engineering department, and no fix has been scheduled as of yet. Hopefully this is not something that DIRECTV lets linger for weeks on end.

The NFL BLACKOUT Rule has Ended, or Has it?

The NFL BLACKOUT Rule has Ended, or Has it?

Fans rejoiced, while the league said it was the terrible news. When the FCC released their decision to end the forty year old NFL imposed Blackout Rule, it was met with mixed emotions.

Fans obviously loved it because it meant local viewers should be able to watch their favorite local teams play home games in the comfort of their own homes. The NFL on the other hand hates it because they feel it will cut down on revenues generated by local fans purchasing tickets to home games.

According to this old rule, if a game was not sold out in the 72 hours prior to gameday, the league could black out the game for local viewers. This has always been something that fans have hated with a passion, and for good reason. The NFL sees it as a valid way to increase revenues for the teams and league overall.

The rule change was done in part because the FCC feels that the league no longer relies on gate fees for the majority of their revenues. Merchandising has taken over as the cash cow of the NFL with team mascots emblazoned on nearly any item you could think of.

Two things will stop the lifting of the blackouts to continue, and neither one of them involve the federal government. This is something that the FCC wanted to be made very clear once their decision was made and the ruling came down.

The first is that local stations may continue to honor the agreements and deals they currently have in place with the NFL concerning blacking out local teams during certain games. This could remain in play even after new contracts are negotiated with the NFL and local teams, or it could end tomorrow, that is yet to be seen.

The second possibility is that the NFL will start to transition all of their games from network TV, over to subscription based services or strictly through cable and satellite programming providers such as DISH, DIRECTV, and COMCAST. This would ensure for them an increase in revenue, since no one would able to watch their games for free as we have in the past on network TV.

We will have to wait and see how this situation plays out over the coming months. Will blackouts continue or will they become a thing of the past, something that will be looked back upon in the future by fans as a black mark on the history of broadcast sports.

DIRECTV Announces Renewed NFL Sunday Ticket Deal

DIRECTV Announces Renewed NFL Sunday Ticket Deal

Negotiations have finally ended between DIRECTV and NFL, with a deal between the two corporate giants that both side claim is beneficial for all involved. While this news is great for fans and DIRECTV customers, the information released about the deal leaves many questions unanswered, and has people wondering what is really going on here.

Since the new deal is worth approx. $1.5 billion a year, which is almost 500 million dollars more per year than the previous contract, are customers going to be eating this increase? Will the price for the Sunday Ticket go up for existing customers? Will the price increase only for new customers? How much of an increase are we talking about here.

Currently if you want the NFL Sunday Ticket, you either have to be a DIRECTV customer, or you have to be able to prove that you are unable to get satellite signal at your home, which will allow you to stream the service. With this new deal and the increased payments owed to the NFL each year, will DIRECTV open the doors a bit here to higher revenues by allowing anyone to order this subscription service? Obviously they would be able to recoup their costs much faster by opening the floodgates and allowing anyone with a high speed internet connection to pay their annual fee and become streaming customers, but will they?

With the increased payments to the NFL, will DIRECTV be adding more content channels to their line up for this service to attract more customers? Fans are hoping that there will be more offered, and it would only make sense to do so from their stand point as well, since it would make the package more attractive to new potential customers. More customers equals more revenue which is what any for-profit company is looking to gain.

One final question surrounding this deal involves the merger between DIRECTV and AT&T. If this monster merger is approved by the federal government, how will this affect AT&T’s current customers? AT&T currently has over six million subscribers that pay for access to programming content. Will these customers have access to the Sunday Ticket if and when the merger is approved? Was DIRECTV even forward thinking enough to bring this matter to the negotiating table with the NFL when this new deal was being struck between them? When asked about this part of the deal between the two corporate giants, the NFL brushed this off and said to refer all questions of this nature to DIRECTV.


One has to wonder what all is covered in this deal, how it will affect current and future customers, and how much it will eventually end up costing customers in the long run. Sparse press releases like this always end up creating more questions than answers, but hopefully in the coming weeks, all of these will be answered in a way that does not leave fans upset and wondering if the price they are paying is too much.

ESPN Classic Sidelined

ESPN Classic Sidelined


ESPN Classics has been a fan favorite for years. The ability to sit down with friends and family and watch some of the best games that have taken place over the past 40 years has always been well received. The chance to relive these games has allowed younger generations the chance to experience these games first hand in their entirety instead of just watching highlight reels.

This is slowly changing though as seen on October 1st of this year. DISH announced that they will no longer be offering ESPN Classics as a programming channel. All of the content from this channel will only be available as an ON DEMAND feature going forward.

The statement did not say how long the transition would take to fully implement, or when the channel would be completely pulled from the air. DISH did say that by month’s end the ON DEMAND feature would have hundreds of hours of archived games and events available for customer viewing. Over the coming months, thousands of hours of content will be added, allowing customers to pick and choose which games or events they want watch.

Is this the first step in eliminating non-live sportscasting entirely from their line up as has been rumored for the past couple of years? Some industry insiders has said that DISH eventually plans to move much of their content like this to ON DEMAND only, or available to view from internet streaming sources. Only time will tell where this leads fans, the companies involved, and the marketplace in general.

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