Archive for the ‘IPTV’ Category
Including titles from The Criterion Collection, Gravitas Ventures, Kino Lorber, Music Box Films, Oscilloscope Laboratories and Regent Releasing.
Get The Most From Cutting Cable with Online TV (Early 2010 Edition, Part 1 of 5)
Online TV*. The landscape changes fast. The barren wasteland of 2004 became a desert oasis in 2007 and is blossoming into a viable alternative in 2010. While you still can’t (legally) see everything that’s available on cable, there is a lot to watch and the price tag of free is terribly tempting.
There’s lots of ways to dip your toe into online TV. Online TV services are built-in to many new TVs, Blu-Ray Players, Video Game consoles, set-top boxes, and even cell phones. (Not to mention it’s all over the web.) You can get into Online TV right now by clicking any links in the sidebar. Getting it isn’t the problem – getting the most from it is the trick.
Getting the most out of it means the best picture/sound and making it easy to use. You can do this with four basic hardware pieces, many of which you may already own: A computer, a TV/Monitor, a Blu-Ray Player, and an A/V Receiver. After that there are things you can add like video game consoles, DVRs, remotes, smartphones, projectors, and more… but for right now, let’s stick with the basics. If you choose the basic four pieces wisely and wire it together correctly, it becomes a system so easy even company can use it.
You don’t NEED all 4 pieces to get online TV. To get a majority of it, all you need is a computer built in the last few years. But an easy-to-use, internet-based, large screen home theatre with multi-channel sound is cheaper and easier to obtain than you think.
*Note: “Online TV” refers to streaming and downloading movies and television shows, online content for Blu-Ray movies, and Internet Original video content. Other internet content such as music, music videos, social networking, and online gaming is beyond the scope of this article.
Piece 1 of 4: A Screen
Whether it’s a 13″ laptop, a 65″ OLED HDTV, or a 10 foot projection, to fully enjoy Online TV you need a screen to see it on.
My guess is that you will be watching this on your living room television. If this is the case, you can just skip the rest of Part 1 of this article. Part 5 will deal with wiring it all together, and I’ll discuss using your existing stuff.
If, on the other hand, you are planning to build a new internet-based home theatre from scratch, then read on.
When buying a screen, size matters less than resolution and refresh rate.
Whether it’s a TV or a computer monitor, your screen should have a native resolution of 1920 x 1080.
Pitfall #1: Buying a TV
Not all “1080p” TVs are 1920 x 1080. Some TVs “support 1080p” but have a 1366 x 768 screen. These TVs “support 1080p” signals, but scale the 1080p picture down to 720p then back up to 768p – resulting in a soft, muddy picture. Check the native resolution, because that’s what you’ll actually be looking at.
Pitfall #2: Buying a Monitor
Not all “1080p” monitors are 1920 x 1080. Some are 1920 x 1200. Like TVs, these monitors support 1080p signals but stretch the image 10% too tall when connected to DVD Players, Blu-Ray-Players, Netflix Boxes, and video game consoles – making everyone look sickly thin with elongated heads. These are 16:10 monitors, and you want 16:9.
Some 16:9 aspect ratio monitors have resolutions higher than 1920 x 1080, but as long as it’s 16:9, your picture will be the correct shape. Resolutions higher than 1920 x 1080 are great for computers but wasted on TV/Movies because nothing is distributed at higher resolutions than that.
While showing 1080p, it should have a refresh rate of at least one of these: 60Hz, 120Hz, 240Hz, 480Hz, etc. (Movie buffs like 24p and 48p modes, but the screens that output them are as uncommon as the commercial content encoded at that framerate.) Beware TVs that claim 240Hz on the box but reveal in the fine print that it only does 240Hz in 480p mode and does 1080p at 30Hz. Check the 1080p refresh rate, because that’s what you’ll actually be looking at.
After resolution and refresh rate, the next important thing is ports.
An increasing amount of copy-protected content requires an HDCP-compliant port, such as HDMI and DisplayPort, or else it degrades the picture. Neither DVI nor Component connectors are HDCP-compliant, so if you’re connecting anything to your TV with DVI or component, you aren’t looking at full 1080p as often as you think.
To get the most from Online Television, your screen should have at least one (1) HDMI 1.3b or higher port, or one (1) DisplayPort/MiniDisplayPort.
More ports can be better but if you’re getting all four basic pieces you’ll only need one on the screen.
A Word on Built-In Online TV Services:
If you’re going to do at least 2 of the 4 pieces, and one of them is a screen, chances are the other piece will do Netflix Streaming so it’s (next to) pointless to have it built-in to your screen. It needlessly complicates the menus and prevents us from tossing the remote in a drawer and forgetting about it.
A Word on Dynamic Contrast Ratio:
Anything that passes all the other tests is going to be good enough. Don’t go broke chasing a bigger number spread.
Your screen doesn’t need anything else. It doesn’t need a tuner or speakers or Picture-In-Picture or a fancy remote. It just needs to be able to show you the best visual representation of what 1080p content can offer.
Next up, Blu-Ray.
Update: Before reading this post, pull up http://www.realnetneutrality.org/ in another tab. I’ll wait.
Kenneth Corbin Writes:
With the deadline for filing comments on a federal effort to enact network neutrality rules fast approaching, businesses and advocacy groups are making their pitches in an effort to shape what could be a landmark overhaul of the nation’s Internet policy.
The Federal Communications Commission is accepting comments on its Net neutrality rulemaking through Thursday, and advocates of the policy took the occasion to release a pair of academic analyses today making a case linking the open Internet with economic growth.
You have until March 5, 2010 to file a comment.
Net Neutrality is Proceeding #09-191. While you’re there, you may also consider commenting on #07-52 Inquiry Into Broadband Market Practices #09-51 The National Broadband Plan and on #04-186 TV White Spaces.
Vudu, the HD-service that wouldn’t die has started expanding past it’s own hardware and is looking to pull a Netflix and get in set-top boxes, Blu-Ray Players, TVs, and… Wal-Mart? That’s what AllThingsD‘s Peter Kafka thinks.
Sources tell me Web video start-up Vudu is in “meaningful” acquisition discussions, and industry executives believe Wal-Mart is the likely buyer.
Read the whole thing over @ AllThingsD
Where did I hear this? Everywhere. Here’s a quote from the CSM:
The Wii joins the PS3, Xbox 360, LG and Samsung Blu-ray players, TiVo, a set-top box from Roku, and even some TVs in offering access to Netflix’s streaming catalog. Like the PS3, the Wii will require users to send away for a special disc to pop in when they want to watch streaming content.
At freedocumentaries.org we strongly believe that in order to have a true democracy, there has to be a free flow of easily accessible information. Unfortunately, many important perspectives, opinions, and facts never make it to our televisions or cinemas (you can watch movies in our media category if you want to know why).
I was getting ready to type up my views on the Netflix’s announcement when I ran across an article @ TechCrunch called “Netflix Stabs Us In The Heart So Hollywood Can Drink Our Blood”
The problem here is that the assumption is that Hollywood will be ready and willing to favorably deal with Netflix in the future for streaming. Mark my words, that will only happen if and when piracy becomes a problem. Do we really believe that Hollywood wants to give Netflix (or anyone else) movies to stream early rather than having people buy them first? No, it’s the exact same problem. It’s a problem of greed.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Grab your copy over @ Boxee.TV – if you can. Their server seems to be getting slammed at the moment.
The evolution of television is really just the continued evolution of our greatest interpersonal communications system. It was born out of language, matured with writing, and continues to evolve today through interfaces such as the web.
Could it be possible that, after all this time, NBC still thinks that it’s a good business decision to try to squeeze the few internet viewers that actually pay for content for extra payments?
Thomas Fitzgerald writes:
So the season Finale of Battlestar Galactica aired on friday night on the SciFi (sorry, SyFy) channel in the US and I think it would be fair to say that the two hour episode was one of the most eagerly awaited events on television in years. The show has a huge fan base and the much publicized finale was something everyone was gearing up for. Of course a lot of people get their shows off iTunes and this was probably one of the most eagerly awaited downloads since iTunes began selling TV shows. So you can only imagine how pissed off a lot of people were when they decided to split the finale into two parts on iTunes so they could charge twice as much for it.
People want to pay for content. I know the execs at NBC and every other major studio don’t believe that, but a lot of people are willing to pay for good high quality access to their favorite TV shows. But they don’t like being taken advantage of either. As many commenters on iTunes have pointed out, it’s crap like this that pushes people back to bit-torrent.
Read the whole rant @ It’s crap like this that makes people pirate
Speaking of Boxee, if you live in New York (or will happen to be there on March 24), then you should check out the boxee meetup.
They will be releasing a new alpha version during the event and will “share some concrete plans for the beta”.
If you DO attend, send me some pictures.
In the words of Gizmodo’s Matt Buchanan, this is a steaming pile of suck.
Engadget’s Ben Drawbaugh give a glimmer of hope by suggesting that this may signal great things to come.
In a press release, Hulu writes “During Super Bowl XLIII this Sunday, look for the launch of Hulu’s ad campaign. Finally, we’ll reveal the secret behind Hulu.”
Caroline McCarthy said it best.
Ooh! Secrets! I love secrets! Clearly we will learn one of three things this Sunday:
1. Hulu is the Matrix.
2. Hulu is Luke Skywalker’s father.
3. Hulu is people.
Hulu (via Cnet)
When we switched from Airwaves to Cable/Satellite, America got introduced to a lot more networks. Some came and went (Preview, CBN, TheBox), others became household names (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax).
As we switch from Cable/Satellite we’re having to get used to a lot of new names. Hulu, Joost, Boxee, Netflix, iTunes, VUDU, and now Epix.
Epix is destined for cable/satellite and will compete with HBO and Starz for your Premium Package dollars – but it’s got one foot in the old world and one foot in the new. It will begin streaming it’s channel via it’s website a full five months before their cable/satellite launch.
A consortium of MGM, Paramount Pictures, and Lions Gate, the channel will feature more than 15,000 movies from the three studios.
The new channel, which is intended to compete with HBO and Showtime, will feature such hits as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Iron Man, and other movies from the studios’ libraries. The channel is also expected to produce original programming and present live concert performances, as other premium channels do.