The Future of TV Isn’t Anytime Soon

There’s a rumour going around that HBO will be launching its new HBO Now with Apple as a partner, via the Apple TV. This is exactly what cord-cutters have been waiting for: access to premium content without a cable or satellite subscription. And it’s exactly what the cable companies have been dreading. But it’s not all roses for cord cutters, and it won’t be for a while.

I want to cut cable, but I watch HBO shows and live sports, and I often like to watch things when they’re on – like the Oscars, certain TV shows, and local news. Netflix, Crave, Showmi and all the other on-demand services don’t solve those problems. They’re great for legacy content, and original shows (especially Netflix), but they’re not enough for a lot of folks. Continue reading “The Future of TV Isn’t Anytime Soon”

Is Blu-ray Dead?

…Or Just Dying?

I purchased a Panasonic Blu-ray player in the spring of 2008. Six years on, it is showing its age and I can count on one hand the number of times I have used it in the past year. I paid almost $400 for it, and I really don’t know if I got my money’s worth, but at the time it was the only way for me to fill my new plasma HDTV with glorious 1080p content. Here’s what I notice about my has-been Blu-ray player: it’s unbelievably slow to load discs and navigate, it doesn’t decode all audio formats, it doesn’t have Ethernet or wifi for updates or extra features, and it doesn’t have any smart features. In my search for a new player, I started thinking about Blu-ray as a format and where it’s headed. Let’s start at the beginning. Continue reading “Is Blu-ray Dead?”

Contest: Win Sneak Preview Tickets to the New Steve Jobs Movie

Attention Halifax (and area) readers: I have a double pass to the new Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher to give away!

The sneak preview screening is at 7pm on Monday, August 12th at Empire Theatres Bayers Lake.

I will announce the winner on Sunday at noon. Please only enter if you are sure you will be able to make it, as the timeline is very tight to announce the winner and get a hold of you!

To enter, you just have to:

  1. Like HalifaxTech on Facebook or follow @HalifaxTech on Twitter. You can also do both of these very easily in the sidebar ->
  2. Tweet to HalifaxTech or post on the Facebook page telling us your favourite Apple product, or why you want to see the film.
  3. That’s it! Good luck!

If you already follow or like HalifaxTech, you’re good to go. Just tweet or post to complete your entry!

Eastlink vs. Aliant, Part One: Local, Bundling, and Contracts

In Halifax, there are two major players when it comes to home internet and television services: EastLink and Bell Aliant. There are a few other options, but this series of posts will concentrate on the two main providers in the area.

Both companies offer packages that include high-speed internet, home telephone, and television services with HD and PVR options. They both offer various packages that contain different internet speeds, channel packages, calling features, and so forth. And, confusingly, both offer packages that are more and less expensive than a similar package offered by the other. So, which one should you choose? Unfortunately, it’s not a simple decision. Over the next four posts, I’ll take a look at all the options and hopefully by the end, it’ll be just a bit easier to make that call.

For perspective, I spoke with several people from the region, as well as representatives from both companies – Jill Laing from EastLink, and Christine Manore from Bell Aliant.

The four parts will be:

  • Part One – Local, Bundling, and Contracts
  • Part Two – Television Service
  • Part Three – Internet Service
  • Part Four – Conclusion

So, let’s get started.

Continue reading “Eastlink vs. Aliant, Part One: Local, Bundling, and Contracts”

Netflix and Canadian ISPs

When Netflix launched in Canada last fall, it landed with a bit of a whimper. The selection of titles was minuscule, especially compared to the US version. There was some confusion with the Wii player – at first you had to order a disc that would need to remain in your Wii if you wanted to access Netflix, but before mine arrived in the mail there was an app in the Wii store. Finally, there were some streaming and quality issues out of the gate.

Within a couple of weeks though the selection began to improve, and it is now expanding each day, adding newer content like current TV series Mr. Sunshine, hit movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and some great archives of TV shows like Arrested Development.

I complained about the quality at first, and spent a few minutes on the phone with some very helpful Netflix people. They explained that the streaming quality slowly improves while you watch, and usually within five minutes Netflix figures out the optimal settings and you will then be served the HD feed if your connection is fast enough. When you first start up a movie, the quality isn’t great so it may be a bit of a turn off. Rest assured that most of the titles do substantially increase in quality as you watch.

netflix_canada

Continue reading “Netflix and Canadian ISPs”

Philips' Cinema 21:9 TV

Last year, Philips announced a very unique television. Its aspect ratio is 21:9. To say that is wide is an understatement. It is much wider than a typical HDTV (as shown in the image below), which has an aspect ratio of 16:9. Not only is it wide – it’s huge. There is only one model and it pans 56″. Unless you sit twenty feet away from your TV, that’s quite an immersive experience.

So, what are the benefits of this unit over a 16×9 56″ TV? As you can see in the image above, when you watch a film that is shot in a wide film format like 2.39:1, the image fills the screen of the Philips unit. Regular HDTVs would show black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.

Continue reading “Philips' Cinema 21:9 TV”