Sky TV’s long overdue revamp has finally arrived. The new Sky Q service is available to order starting today, ushering in fresh hardware and a vastly improved UI. The basic box costs £42 per month and can record three shows simultaneously in 1080p — you can watch a fourth one live — on a 1TB hard drive. The Sky Q Silver box, meanwhile, is 4K ready and can capture up to four shows at once onto a 2TB drive, with the option to watch a fifth channel live. It costs £54 per month and supports up to four Sky Q Mini boxes, which cost £99 each, for multi-room viewing.
The upgraded boxes are welcome, but the real attraction here is the revamped software. The old Sky TV experience is terribly outdated — moving around the guide is slow, clunky and often confusing. Sky Q is a much-needed refresh that changes almost every aspect of the navigation — it no longer looks like a spreadsheet, with a vertical list for switching between sections and a heavy emphasis on bright, large images.
Sky Q can be bought online and over the phone right now. If you would rather walk into a store and talk to an expert, however, you’ll have to wait until February 12th before making the all-important upgrade.
Via: Sky (Press Release)
Source: Sky Q
Respawn hasn’t said much about its Titanfall sequel beyond plans for multi-platform support, but some details are starting to trickle out… and they’ll be good news for fans of the robot-slash-infantry shooter. In a chat with Forbes, head writer Jesse Stern notes that Titanfall 2 will have a real, honest-to-goodness single-player campaign when it arrives either late this year or early next. That’s not completely shocking given that the team didn’t have the resources to flesh out its solo game the first time around. Still, it’s reassuring if you were frustrated by the original’s barely-there offline experience, which really just amounted to AI matches with a sliver of story in between.
Also, the interview is a friendly reminder that Titanfall won’t be limited to the video game world. Lionsgate quietly revealed in July that it’s working with Respawn on a TV series, and the show is still in development. However, it’s a daunting challenge — as Stern says, a sci-fi series involving giant robots could be “very expensive.” Assuming the project comes together, you could be waiting a while to see the IMC and Militia fight outside of a video game.
The Superbowl. The number one sporting event in the United States of America. It’s also the only thing that I know of on TV, where the commercials are as hotly anticipated as the game itself. In this post, I will show you how to stream Superbowl 50 on your Android device.
This year CBS will be broadcasting the Superbowl live over-the-air and online streaming. This isn’t the first year that the event will be streamed online. In fact, last year more than 1.3 million viewers tuned to NBC online to watch the big game. In 2014, Fox had over 1.1 million streaming viewers. It’s clear that the precedent has been set and we’ll be seeing future Superbowls streamed online as well.
In order to stream the Superbowl on your Android TV, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, or Android-based tablet, all you need to do is download the CBS Sports app from Google Play or Amazon App Store. If you are using an Android-based phone, you can only stream it via the NFL mobile app, but unfortunately, it’s restricted to Verizon customers.
If you would like to stream it to your phone and you use another mobile service, other than Verizon, you can try streaming via their website, wcbssports.com. You may need to use a browser like Dolphin browser that will allow you to change your browser’s user agent to mimic a desktop or tablet.
You could also download Kodi media center and stream it through an unofficial 3rd party plugin. More information about that can be found in my post about how to turn a Fire TV stick into the ultimate media center.
Will you be streaming or watching through traditional media outlets this year? Let us know in the comments below.
The news that Chris Chibnall was going to replace Steven Moffat as the man in charge of Doctor Who wasn’t one I relished hearing. After all, Chibnall lacks the pedigree of both his predecessors, and the episodes that he has written for the show have been underwhelming. His appointment makes plenty of sense when you look at it from the BBC’s perspective, but it also exposes a bitter truth about the state of the UK’s TV industry.
Doctor Who is one of the biggest shows on international television, commanding the attention of around 70 million people worldwide. It is one of the most expensive shows on British TV, with an annual budget of anything up to £15 million ($21 million). It’s easy to forget that its executive producer doesn’t just manage the creative elements of the show. They’ve also got to control the mechanism that ensures that it comes in on time and under budget, as well as pleasing a full percent of the planet’s population.
Such a demanding job requires a figure with a proven track record of being able to handle a job of this magnitude. The requirements mean that the BBC was looking for someone who was (probably) British and has been in charge of at least two mainstream TV shows. It doesn’t seem to matter what those shows were, although a passing familiarity with Doctor Who would probably come in handy. That narrows the field of eligible candidates down from “any good TV writer you’ve heard of” down to a select handful.
That rules out some of the more fan-friendly names that were thrown around, such as “heir apparent” Mark Gatiss. While undeniably talented, Gatiss would have had to give up his acting career to focus on the show, and has no experience at this level. The same goes for Peter Harness, who would have been an excellent choice but for the fact that he’s mostly written, but not produced, the shows he’s been involved with. Jamie Mathieson, similarly, is too much of a writer to be considered a useful candidate for taking the reigns of such a logistically complicated show.
In fact, the list of candidates that would have been suitable to take the Doctor Who job is sufficiently short that it’s possible to bullet-point them:
- Paul Abbott (Shameless, Reckless, Clocking Off and State of Play)
- Matthew Graham (The Last Train, Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes and, uh, Bonekickers)
- Toby Whithouse (Being Human, No Angels, The Game)
- Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax)
- Abi Morgan (The Hour, River)
By comparison, Chris Chibnall ticks all of the boxes with relative ease, having created and run smash-hit murder-mystery Broadchurch. The show’s international success was enough to see it remade as Gracepoint, which aired on Fox in 2014. Before that, he was also one of the driving forces of Law and Order: UK, a show that borrowed scripts from the NBC series, re-written for a local audience. He also has experience of working in a Doctor Who-lite environment, having been one of the producers of the wretched “adult” spin-off Torchwood.
“That narrows the field down from “any good TV writer you’ve heard of” to a select handful.
The fact that only one name, from a shortlist of six, was even considered suitable for taking on a show as gargantuan as Doctor Who says that the UK isn’t doing enough to foster talent. While our broadcasting is often winning plaudits in the international market, we’re not doing enough domestically to establish new voices. If we want to make sure that there’s a wider — and more palatable — set of options when Chibnall steps down, then British TV needs to start pushing its creative talents to excel, and fast.
For years, most people have only known about Apple’s secret design studio through anecdotes. There’s talk of extreme security, loads of specialized manufacturing gear and other stories that make it sound more like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory than a real-world place. However, a lot of that mystery is about to disappear. CBS’ 60 Minutes is airing a tour of Apple at 7:30PM Eastern that, on top of an interview with CEO Tim Cook, includes a rare peek at Apple’s design wing. You unsurprisingly won’t see future products (as hinted by the black cloth above), but there are promises of a talk with design chief Jony Ive about the process behind making all those iPhones, Macs and Watches.
As for the chat with Cook? The show is already willing to spill the beans a bit early… and here, it’s treading on more familiar territory. Cook rejects the notion that Apple is dodging taxes by hoarding money overseas, calling it “political crap.” He insists that Apple pays everything it owes in the US, and that the country’s “industrial age” tax code makes it utterly impractical to repatriate that income. Also, the exec maintains his firm pro-encryption stance — much like the experts, he understands that a government backdoor is really a backdoor for any would-be hacker. It’s doubtful that you’ll get any earth-shaking revelations from the interview, then, but it could be worth watching if there’s more to it than what the preview reveals.
[Image credit: 60 Minutes, Twitter]
Source: CBS News
The future of 4K video has been in doubt as of late. You see, the HEVC Advance group that’s licensing the H.265/HEVC video format (crucial to stuffing 4K into modern data pipes) wanted steep royalties seemingly everywhere, with no cap — even free services faced a small outlay. It was so pricey that tech giants started work on their own royalty-free format to avoid being on the hook. At last, though, HEVC Advance has seen the light: it’s offering a revamped licensing scheme. While it could still be costly for some, it’s inexpensive enough that it might safeguard the future of 4K content.
The new approach not only cuts rates by as much as half, but sets yearly caps between $2.5 million to $40 million per year, depending on the service or device type. Tech giants like Apple, Netflix or Samsung won’t lose a significant chunk of their profit just to handle 4K, in other words. Moreover, any content that’s completely free for viewers is now royalty-free. Public TV and ad-supported websites won’t have to worry about coughing up cash.
This won’t necessarily stop work on alternatives to HEVC, but it could prevent a lot of headaches with trying to create or switch to other 4K-friendly video standards, like Google’s VP9. You may see HEVC in many more places than it would have gone otherwise, especially on low-profit devices like budget smartphones. Also, it could prevent some current 4K TV sets from becoming paperweights. Many of them support HEVC video, but it’s less certain that they’ll play VP9 properly or at all, even with an update. So long as the format takes off at all, you’ll still be using that set when 4K is truly mainstream.
[Image credit: Jack Dempsey/Invision for LG/AP Images]
Source: HEVC Advance (PDF)
Hulu knows that you sometimes want to plow through a TV series on your smartphone instead of a bigger screen, and it’s making that easier through a freshly redesigned iOS app. The new version gives you an “all-new” iPhone interface that helps you find your favorite shows considerably faster. If you can’t help but watch South Park, it’ll be near the top. This is also a big upgrade for parents, as Kid’s Lock is finally available on the iPhone — you won’t have to worry about Junior leaving the children’s hub to watch Wolf of Wall Street. These updates are arguably overdue, but they’ll certainly be welcome in those moments when you can’t catch up at home.
Source: App Store
Streaming services collecting awards for original content is nothing new, and this year’s Golden Globes nominations show the potential for more of the same. Netflix and Amazon both picked up nominations for shows (and a movie), with the former nabbing nine total. All three of Amazon’s nominations came for Transparent, a show which is already critically acclaimed. As you might expect, Netflix’s list of nominations includes two each for House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.
Netflix’s new darling, Narcos, was also nominated for a pair, including Best Drama Series and Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama for Wagner Moura (as Pablo Escobar). Perhaps what’s more interesting is Narcos replaced President Underwood and House of Cards in the two categories it’s nominated. Aziz Ansari is nominated for Best Actor in a TV Series, Comedy in Master of None and Lilly Tomlin for Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy for Grace and Frankie. We’ll have to wait a month to find out who takes home top honors, though, as the ceremony airs January 10th on NBC.
Source: Golden Globe Awards
SeeSo, NBC’s comedy streaming service, began serving up buckets of laughs for those with an invite to is free limited beta last week. The network announced today that it would keep its word and make the service available to all the first week of January. Starting January 7th, access to the collection of movies and TV shows will no longer require a special invitation, but it will demand a monthly fee. If you’ll recall, SeeSo serves up episodes of series like Saturday Night Live, Parks & Recreation and more alongside new original series that are exclusive to the $4 monthly subscription. What’s more, classics like Monty Python are also available to streaming.
You can also expect to catch up on the latest from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers the day after those episodes air. Despite the initial web-only, the service will be available on both Android and iOS when it properly launches next month. And yes, you can expect another free trial period at that time as well. If you were hoping to stream content on your favorite living room device, don’t worry: NBC says it plans to add more platforms “in the coming months.”
[Image credit: Greg Gayne/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images]
TiVo may have dreams of becoming the next Aereo and giving you access to over-the-air TV in the cloud, but one startup isn’t willing to wait that long. FreeAir.tv is crowdfunding CloudAntenna, an attempt at recreating Aereo’s TV streaming model (it even copied the signature “A” logo) without angering broadcasters. As before, you’re streaming free-to-air TV shows that you can save to the cloud for later — the big difference is that you’re buying an antenna box that sits at home, rather than access to a company-owned, legally dodgy antenna like Aereo’s. You can even pay for a World TV package that gives you 600-plus international stations, in case local programming just isn’t enough.
It’ll take at least a $49 pledge to get a CloudAntenna (versus the $149 retail price), or $89 for a model with built-in LTE for internet access away from WiFi. A complete streaming TV package will cost you $20 per month, but FreeAir.tv is promising a year’s worth of free access if you back the project. We wouldn’t blame you if you’re skeptical of such a bold offer — there are devices like Tablo that may cost you less in the long run, so long as you’re willing to record shows locally. If FreeAir.tv does make its promised June ship date, though, it may well pick up where Aereo left off.