The World On-Demand Service

World-On-Demand (the leading platform of the The New Media Group) is a network neutral “power-play” IPTV service based in Japan and available across the Asia-Pacific region. Bringing together the best of international television and film to users on demand, it provides a full range of channels and networks for viewing on television sets, PC’s and soon Japanese based mobile phones.

World-On-Demand was launched to bring greater diversity to the Japanese media marketplace by specializing in handling internet television from a diverse and international perspective. Initial reaction by the industry was positive and since its launch the service has added many of the world’s major television networks to its service, along with expanded distribution in Australia, Korea, Taiwan and elsewhere. Although there was some criticism that The New Media Group was entering a competitive market, its unique positioning allowed the company to target a greater diversity of interest groups and communities.

A single subscription allows users to view their chosen channels and video content through their TV’s, PC’s and Mobile phones whenever they choose. Functionality includes browsing for favourite channels across an easy-to-use web or screen interface, swift access to hundreds of the most current and popular television shows in the world and regular updates as to when new shows and viewing options are available.

World-On-Demand also offers online social networking features known as My world communities, allowing users to discuss, share and post comments on tv shows while building online communities based on their shared interests.

Content

Members of World-On-Demand are offered to be a part of communities called “My” that make their viewing more distinctive. Communities come to the World On-Demand to interact, within an online space that World-On-Demand has created to personalize the way people watch major media, altering the one-size fits all approach of tradition broadcasting means.

World-On-Demand carries channels from well-known networks such as FOX, Star TV, TV5Monde, Deutsche Welle, National Geographic, EuroNews, EuroSport, MTV, FCTV, Al Jazeera, VOA and more. By working with partners from every country in the world the service has greater power at serving more community groups and more interest areas and ensures that it reaches them by running neutral to one particular internet service provider or telephone network.

Sports

World-On-Demand has a diverse portfolio of sports rights covering major events in Football, Cricket and more. World-On-Demand includes a mixture of live events and highlights coverage that is picked up from specialist sports channels based in a number of nations.

In addition to the sports above, World-On-Demand is building a broader collection of alternative interest for adrenaline junkies and fans of extreme sporting events.

World-On-Demand intends to encourage a strong following of customers who aim to see their favorite events in different languages, or want quick and easy access to sporting events that are not usually covered in the local mainstream media. For example somebody living in Japan can gain access to international cricket events through Indian, Australian or British TV coverage without having to wait for late and toned down distribution in the Japanese media.

Education

Specialist education packs are offered to language learners and students studying foreign languages. The packs combine powerful elearning tools with television and video content direct from a country’s most popular channels to act as one combined access point to a new culture.

Other Communities groups served include:

Action

Adventure

Business

Cooking

Dance

Drama

General Interest

National channels

Lifestyle

Nature

News and Documentaries

Religion

Travel

Technology

World-On-Demand requires a minimum broadband connection of 4Mbit and Flash 8 or above on either Internet Explorer 6.0+ or Firefox 2.0+. A set-top-box supplied directly by the company is needed for TV viewing.

History

World-On-Demand is owned and operated by The New Media Group, a company founded by ex-employees of media and media financing firms from the US and Asia-Pacific. The New Media group also owns a variety of other new media products and companies, including Media Pay, Dynamobile CMS, Intelligent Ad Delivery and Factor Moble, K.K., all based in Tokyo, Japan.



How to Get Local TV to Cover Your Event

Holding a press event is a tricky thing. It can generate great media coverage and public exposure, but you also run the risk of throwing a party where no one shows up.

If the key to your event is getting press to come, then you need to be able to get their interest and participation. That’s why I’ve jotted down the following tips to help you get the word out to the press in a way that will give you a high percentage shot at having them attend.

Writing Media Alerts

Getting a television crew to your event requires some finesse, and the format of the pitch is different than that of a press release. A media alert is the appropriate tool which gives a TV producer or assignment desk editor all the information they need to decide on whether the event you’re holding is of interest to them. Write the media alert in five sections: Who, What, When, Where and Visuals.

  • Who: Name your company and any key executives or dignitaries who might be in attendance. Include only those who will be available to speak on camera.
  • What: What is the announcement or the reason for the event? Include all material you consider news.
  • When: Make certain to include the date and time of the event, and how long it will run. Also include the schedules of any on-camera spokespeople, and if they will be available before the event.
  • Where: This is key. You need to include an address, directions, and a link for Google Maps or MapQuest if you can. Getting a reporter or a crew to an event can be won or lost in how well you direct them there. If security personnel will be at the event or venue, make sure they know the media might be coming.
  • Visuals: TV is a visual medium, so make sure you have something for the cameras to shoot. Talking heads does not a press event make. Have demos, graphs, lots of people around, so they’ll have something other than an executive in a suit to shoot.

Timing the Delivery of Your Media Alert

To get a television crew at your event, you should follow these instructions precisely, to ensure the highest level of communication possible without annoying the producers and assignment editors.

  1. First, send the media alert out two weeks prior to the event. Then, one week prior. Then send it to them each of the three days just before the event. The reason for this is that there are different desk editors on different days and different shifts, and they delete all their emails frequently to make room for new alerts.
  2. Two days before the event, call the assignment desks at all the TV stations you want to cover your event. Ask them if they received your alert – they’ll say no. That’s okay. If it doesn’t grab them right away, they’ll toss it. Send it again, and then call him back immediately afterward, and pitch your event. They’ll give you instructions on how to proceed, which will usually include them asking you to call the morning of the event. That’s okay – you’re going to do that anyway.
  3. Call on the morning of your event. By now, they know your event, and they know who you are. If your event is interesting enough for them, they’ll tell you. If your event is on a Saturday or Sunday, please be advised that most TV stations only have one crew on duty on the weekends. They’ll be stretched thin, so you reduce your chances for success with weekend events.

Use the right tools, making sure the producers and assignment desk editors are fully informed, but do it in a professional way so as not to drive them crazy, and you’ll have a much better shot at getting coverage for your event.



Social Media Doesn’t Work in the Industrial Revolution

It’s a given today that Social Media doesn’t work for many companies. Upon further analysis, it rarely has nothing to do with Social Media… it has to do with marketing and using it as if you were still living in the Industrial Revolution.

Around the turn of the Century we left the Industrial Revolution behind us… some are sad and many are happy. We welcomed in the Internet Revolution with open arms and were anxious to see how the Internet could change our lives for the better. It has in many ways… but it has also brought its own set of issues with it.

The Industrial Revolution was awesome for what it stood for… mass production, innovation in technology relating to computing, new companies entering markets to give us more choices and a whole host of other really great aspects. It also, unfortunately, gave us marketing agencies and firms that adopted the concept of “broadcast messaging, campaigns, mass media, radio advertising, TV advertising, and lots of printed materials.”

These agencies were firmly in control of marketing and tight control over what we were “allowed” to hear/see and what we weren’t. We also had news sources that told us what they felt was important for us to know and we had to go along with it since there wasn’t any other means to validate it unless you were physically there. We, the consumer, were at the mercy of these giants and the messages they wanted us to receive.

Fortunately, the Industrial Revolution has died and this kind of “spray and pray” media that made ad agency executives incredibly rich has died (or is rapidly dying) with it. Social Media, a key component of the Internet Revolution, has essentially taken control away from these dominant groups and given it back to you and me… the customer.

The customer is now firmly in control today and there is no sign we are ever going to give it back. This is a good thing… and a bad thing for companies today.

The good part is we now have “vocal and engaged” customers who have the microphone in their hand and can tell anyone they want what they think. They can share insights to help others learn about your product/service and their experience working with you. This is information we were never exposed to when the agency behemoths had control. We have been “information liberated” with the birth of the Internet Revolution.

The other good part is now we can find anything we ever wanted to know about with just a few clicks on our computers or mobile phones. We have more knowledge at our fingertips than we could ever possibly use in 10 lifetimes. And if we want to purchase something, we can find 50 places (or more) that sell whatever it is we are looking for and even deliver it to us with the same few clicks… no more need to get in the car and drive all over town looking for something. We, as consumers, are empowered and we love it.

The bad part is the noise. Unfortunately, now that we are now in control, have access to all kinds of information and products, and can make choices from hundreds of options, companies are still behaving like they are still living in the Industrial Revolution. Now, more than ever, they continue to blast us with their information (pushing to us). We don’t just see the advertisement in the Sunday paper, we get 50 e-mails telling us to buy it from them because we happened to search on the item and now everyone wants to sell it to us. “Spray and Pray” is still alive and a key strategy for far too many companies today. For them, it didn’t die with the death of the Industrial Revolution.

Companies who still behave (including marketing) as if we are still in the Industrial Revolution are getting no benefit from Social Media. By using the same old techniques the agencies used decades ago… blasting us with enough ads and propaganda in hopes that you will remember them and buy their product or service… they are actually doing the opposite of turning off their audience. They must not have gotten the memo that the Industrial Revolution is over… the customer is in control and can tell us what they want and don’t want. We don’t want to be told what to buy… we can figure this out nicely for ourselves in the Internet Revolution.

The really sad part of this story is that companies use Social Media as simply another “delivery vehicle” for their Industrial Revolution approach. They believe that blasting us with their messages far more frequently and on more channels than they could have ever afforded to do when they paid their agency geeks millions of dollars is still working… it’s NOT. Social Media is FREE… all channels and frequency of messaging is without cost… just the personnel needed to send the blasts. The same “broadcasting, campaigns, advertisements, and propaganda” are still being sent out… only through Social Media channels instead of the radio, TV, newspaper, direct mail, and other traditional sources. It’s not working…

Companies that choose to still live in the Industrial Revolution are finding FAILURE in their use of Social Media. It’s failing because Social Media doesn’t work for companies who are acting the way they did when they were in the Industrial Revolution. It is a tool designed for the Internet Revolution.

When companies use Social Media to HELP THEIR CUSTOMERS improve their lives or business, the content is valued. When they share stories that benefit their customers and customers offer additional comments to add further insight, this is of value… and how Social Media can be a powerful tool for a company. Finding ways to help your customers save more time by interacting with your Social Media and digital channels is of great value. These are the OPPORTUNITIES for companies that live in the Internet Revolution and have left the Industrial Revolution behind.

Which Revolution is your company participating in today? When you analyze your marketing activities, are you communicating like you still live in the Industrial Revolution by “spraying and praying” or are you “helping” your customers improve their lives? Do the analysis… see which Revolution you are actually living in today and you might have just solved the mystery as to why Social Media isn’t working as well as you were hoping. It works when you help… not when you sell.



What Is Social TV?

What is Social TV?

Social TV is the act of using social media apps such as Twitter and Facebook on a ‘second screen’ namely a smart-phone or tablet, to comment on TV programs before, after or during the transmission.

In 2010 Social TV was named as one of the ten most important emerging technologies in the MIT Technology Review, the following year it was followed up by a report on Social TV analytics and how the information gathered can be utilised in marketing campaigns.

Social TV, especially the analytics side of it, is driven mainly by Twitter and the frequency of ‘Tweets’ before, during and after a television programme has finished.

Although other social media channels are incorporated, currently Tweets volumes are the metrics of choice when measuring the popularity and opinion of the programmes.

Second Screen

A ‘Second screen’ or ‘companion device’ refers to the smart-phone, or tablet that most people now usually have close by and ready to use whilst watching a TV programme.

Whilst watching the programme the viewer will check social media channels, mainly Twitter, to see what there friends or the celebrities they are following are saying about that programme, this leads to interaction which gives users a sense of community and common ground.

The transmitted data from all these Tweets is then gathered by a social media analytics company and then sold to marketing companies and television networks and used to gauge public and social opinion.

In 2011 a joint study with NM Incite & Nielson/McKinsey was carried out which showed that a couple of weeks before the airing of a new TV programme a 9% rise in social media activity resulted in a 1% rise in viewing figures for that programme, once the programme was established it took a 14% rise in social media activity to produce the same results.

Analytics

The importance of these metrics are not only related to television programmes, but can be applied to wider social views in relation to political opinion, and social acceptance of programme content and viewpoints.

For example the political views of a news channel and how they sit with that channels demographic could be measured by the social activity related to that particular news story, or the announcement of a new policy by a government, and the reaction to it by that it’s citizens can be measured in real time by the opinions within the social activity it generates.

In fact the uses for the information gathered by social TV analytics are endless, and could potentially become the most important source of real time social viewpoint available.

Demographic

The demographic of TV viewers that would bother to tweet/comment about a programme they are watching tends to be between 18-34, this obviously limits the validity of mass opinion but is wide enough spectrum to make the results valid, especially for most TV channels who’s target audience is probably around this demographic anyway.

The future of Social TV

There is no doubt that the next big player in Social TV interaction and Social TV analytics will be Facebook.

A joint study by Nielsen for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing in September 2012, found that Facebook out of all social media channels had had the greatest influence when determining whether someone would watch a particular TV programme.

Facebook is rumoured to be planning various ways of getting in on the Social TV market.

The big players

The recent acquisition of Bluefin Labs by Twitter for $70mil, and the acquisition of SocialGuide by Nielson & NM Incite, both Social Media analytics companies proves that Social TV is growing more important by the week, and for good reason.

The ability to serve targeted advertisements during specific proven social interaction ‘hot-spots’ during a TV show or live event, will enable marketing companies and TV Networks to increase their ROI quite significantly, making Social TV Analytic data a valuable commodity.

You can find out more about Social Television and supporting technologies at http://www.social-tv.co.uk



Media Players – A Quick Overview

Media Players are connection devices such as Blu-ray Players and gaming consoles which allow you to link the internet and your Home Network to your television. It is quickly becoming a staple in home entertainment.

Having a connected HDTV provides applications which bring you film, web content, music, news, weather and much more. Some experts see it as the future for all TV viewing and will eventually replace cable TV. With prior announcements by Sony offering subscription base Hulu Plus to its PlayStation 3 Gaming Console, this just might be the case.

The three major types of devices available for internet connection are Plug-and-Play Set Tops, Blu-ray Players and HDTVs that have web access.

Roku HD-XR, Seagate Free Agent GoFlex TV and Western Digital TV Live Plus players are forms of plug-and-play devices that bring you content such as Netflix streaming, Amazon Video on Demand, YouTube videos, Pandora, Sports and other selections. Seagate and Ruku are forever expanding their selections trying to entice consumers and developers. Seagate has 10 channels in addition to 17 international video feeds of news programs and 17 feeds from CNN, ABC News, NBC, Fox, CBS and MSNBC. Ruku, the first player to stream Netflix content, has almost 40 channels. (Separate subscriptions or transactions are required for most premium content such as Netflix and Amazon Video on Demand.)

Blu-ray Players and Gaming Consoles with streaming ability do not offer the amount of content as the plug-and-play set top media players. However, the amount of web base content is also increasing at a rapid pace. As stated earlier, Hulu Plus will be available on the PlayStation 3. Blu-ray Players offers a very adequate alternative to dedicated media players. Providing access to streaming movies, sports, weather, news, finance, photos, radio stations and much more.

HDTV with internet access is the last option and probably the least appealing. Due to the fact that purchasing a HDTV with an internal processor, you run the risk of having an out dated TV within five years. Your HDTV may be in great working order, but will be rendered out-of-date if it can not keep up with the new advances in technology. With technology changing all the time you need upgradable connected devices. Many feel Blu-ray Players and Media Devices like Ruku are the better options.

Media Players provide a simple implementation of content that can be readily available whenever you want it. Many consumers will come to the conclusion that subscribing to premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime and renting various set-top cable boxes is no longer worth it. And once they discover all the other things they can do (such as social networking) with an internet connected television, it will be hard for consumers to ever go back to just cable TV.



Dish TV

Dish TV and Dish Network are the same company, and offer the same services to all customers. There are a total of 4 regular monthly programming packages to choose from, or 5 prepaid packages to choose from. When applying for Dish TV, you will be required to undergo a credit check, as the company does require a deposit from those with less than perfect credit in most cases. The application will require your name and address, a credit check with a deposit if there is a credit issue. If you have a credit problem, or have not yet established credit, no worries – Dish TV offers prepaid billing options that can get you started with Dish TV for no upfront cost.

Dish TV offers free Standard Professional Installation of Dish TV Systems to all customers. When completing your order, you will be asked for the best installation time so that a Certified Dish TV Installer can come to the home and install the satellite dish and set up service for you. If you do not already have cable outlets in the home for the satellite cables to run through, these will be installed at no additional costs, but you should tell the personnel about this when ordering. This is simply to ensure the installation specialist comes prepared with all the materials required for the job.

When completing your order, you will be asked about what package you would like to purchase. For the lowest priced package, you will pay $24.99 a month for the Classic Bronze 100. This plan includes 120 channels including local channels and CNN, ESPN, Disney Channel and the Discovery channel. The next lowest priced package is $37.99 a month with 200 channels called the Classic Silver 200. This includes family programming, music channels, public interest channels, sports and movie channels as well as children’s programming. For $47.99 a month you can get the Classic Gold 250 which includes 260 channels. These channels are all of the Classic Silver channels plus History Channel International, Discovery Kids, FOX movie channel and even music channels.

There are more regional sports network channels that are added to this package, and are available by zip code. The America’s Everything Pak is available for $87.98 a month and includes all the channels in the previous 3 packages along with 31 commercial free movie channels such as Starz, HBO, Showtine and Cinemax as well as NBA TV and other regional sports networks as validated by your zip code. As of this time, these prices are a total of $15 off the regular prices charged, and are to stay the same for new customers only, with an agreement. There is no longer a prepaid agreement for Dish TV. If you are a customer of the prepaid channels, you must call the toll free phone number in order to determine how to continue your services.

Internet and home phone are available through Dish TV, for additional costs. These services are contracted to local phone service providers in your area that handle other phone services such as AT&T or BellSouth. Dish TV offers high speed internet that is powered by WildBlue. Speeds of up to 20Mbps are available, and there are discounted bundles for those that wish to have internet and home phone services.



How 3D TV Technology Works

3D television technology is becoming increasingly popular with each passing day. Due to the rise of popular 3D feature films (namely Pixar’s Up and James Cameron’s Avatar), major television manufacturers began developing three dimensional home television technology in 2009.

There are several methods that these manufacturers use to create 3D images on an LCD television; some are more expensive than others, and some are more feasible than others. This article will discuss the three primary methods of 3-D home theater technology that will be used in upcoming years.

Lenticular viewing: This technology has been pioneered by Philips, and is available as of today. TV sets that use this technology can be watched without those funny glasses that audiences used in theaters. These televisions use a lens that can send different images to each eye. That is, your left eye will see a completely different image from your right eye, which will emulate your two eyes’ use of stereopsis (the process by which your eyes discern depth). The one weakness of lenticular viewing, however, is that a viewer must sit in a very specific spot in front of the TV. This means that only a couple people would be able to comfortably watch the TV at once due to its small viewing angle.

Passive glass systems: Hyundai is developing this type of LCD monitor which will allow both 2D and 3D images to be viewed. To watch the 3-D images, viewers will need to wear the traditional glasses in order to watch three dinemsional media. This technology is nothing new: the TV has two overlapping images and the glasses have polarized lenses. Each lens is polarized so that it can see only one of the two overlapping images. This technology is very feasible and 40 to 50 inch LCD TVs with this technology are currently available for purchase.

Active glass systems: This system is very similar to the passive glass system, except rather than the TV doing all work, the glasses do. The glasses synchronize with the refresh rate of the TV, then they alternate the polarization of each lens, making the wearers of the glasses see 3-D images. With this technology, people could be watching a 2-D movie comfortably, then at will switch the movie into 3-D. This type of monitor is being developed by Samsung and Mitsubishi, but the downside is that the glasses could be very expensive. Some predict the glasses to be upwards of $100.



Smart TVs – Do I Need a Smart HDTV?

The clear picture quality of an HDTV can offer numerous functionalities that are never before conceived in a regular TV. You can connect your devices in order to get a larger picture of the videos you are watching. Some models can even allow you to directly plug a flash drive to access music, pictures and compatible video files, using the remote controller to navigate through the directories.

But as functional HDTV might already seem, it might be interesting to know that you can even achieve better functionality with it. You won’t be using an ordinary HDTV though, but a special version that is capable of mixing display options with wireless technologies well.

Why is it Called Smart HDTV?

A Smart TV is technically a TV that is integrated with features that you would normally see on computers. For example, an HDTV that is installed with a custom web browser can be roughly considered as a Smart HDTV. In addition to computer functionalities however, Smart HDTV’s might also feature automatic and suggestive options and interfaces that can be used to simplify access and menu navigation. The development of Smart HDTV’s was highly influenced by the current trend of integrating most of our electronics technologies to modern computers. If you see an HDTV that is slightly more geared towards internet or network based media (having access to streaming and online interactive audio and video files), then it is most likely a Smart TV. Another general term that is used to refer to these appliances is “Hybrid TV”.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Smart HDTV’s

Added media functionality of course is the primary advantage of a Smart HDTV, but this advantage can be subdivided further into these separate positive points:

  • Direct internet access. You no longer need to connect an HTPC, a laptop, or a desktop computer to the HDTV before you can use it for web browsing.
  • It has perfect compatibility with Internet TV services. Supporting the first point, having access to internet means having access to streaming media. For instance, you can watch YouTube videos as if they were “channels” from a satellite TV service.
  • It can be used as a simple computer. Smart HDTV’s might have crude (and sometimes clunky) operating systems, but it should be sufficient to navigate through a home network or to access media files from external devices when needed.

Moving onto its negative points, some of the disadvantages of Smart HDTV are as follows:

  • It can ironically be more confusing to use. With all of the added options, some people who are not used to highly functional HDTV’s might not be able to navigate efficiently through a considerable number of buttons and links.
  • Has a significantly larger price tag. Since it is installed with other technical hardware to have computer-like functionality, it would definitely be a lot more expensive. A lot of Smart HDTV’s are usually near to twice the original price of an HDTV of the same size and screen technology.
  • It holds a higher energy consumption rate. This supports the second negative point, and is also quite easy to notice (due to added hardware), though usage rates are not comparatively as high as its price difference.

Assessing Your Need for Smart HDTV’s

Before getting excited over a Smart HDTV, it would be wise to first assess you actual need for the electronic appliance. First and foremost, if you don’t exactly have plans on using it to surf the net, or would much rather just connect it to your current computer then the Smart HDTV would most likely be just a wasted investment. We have to remember that HDTV’s are quite expensive, and you would not want to waste a huge amount of money on something that would just be used like any other normal TV.

However, if there would be a direct need for its versatile connectivity options (Having multiple subscriptions to different streaming media services for example), then a Smart HDTV could then be your ultimate entertainment investment, allowing you access to almost any kind of media file from any device, interface, network, or website on the planet.



Make Satellite TV the Centerpiece of Your Home Theater Setup

Although you may think that your television is the centerpiece of your home entertainment system, is it really? If you don’t provide it with the right media, it won’t matter how advanced it is. You will not be entertained. The key is therefore to make sure that you feed it the right material. If you decide to make satellite TV the centerpiece of your home entertainment system instead, then you will be able to enjoy a much better experience.

With the right subscription-based entertainment solution in place, your TV will be able to do its job properly. Some people think that only Bluray would be good for that purpose, but what they fail to realize is that cost is just as important as effectiveness. It’s true that Bluray will always be able to take full advantage of your TV, but it’s prohibitively expensive to maintain a proper collection of titles. Each movie is going to cost you around $20, so if you were to purchase just 3 per week you’d end up spending almost $250 per month. You would spend just a small fraction of that if you were to switch to satellite TV instead, which would end up costing you only around $50 per month. The best part is that you’d be able to enjoy your entertainment nonstop all month long whereas you’d likely get bored of your Bluray collection pretty fast.

Some people will be quick to point out that Netflix is the way to go nowadays. Since it costs less than $10 per month, no one can argue that it’s inexpensive. It’s about the cheapest home entertainment solution out there, if you don’t factor the additional services you’ll need for it that is. Since Netflix is a movie streaming services that uses the internet, you’re going to need a fast connection in order to take full advantage of it. Unlike satellite TV, it isn’t really a standalone solution. Most people who are signed up for an internet connection are only signed up for the bare minimum, which usually allows for transfer rates of around 3 megabits per second. Unfortunately, that’s not going to be enough to handle the highest resolutions of video streaming Netflix can offer, and thus your streaming will likely be downgraded to a lower resolution. If you decide to purchase a new connection that can handle the demand, expect to pay around $25 more per month than what you’re used to paying, which brings the overall cost of Netflix to what satellite TV would cost. The main advantage Netflix had actually turned out not to be an advantage at all.

Ultimately, nothing is going to match what satellite brings to the table, not even cable. Contrary to how it’s portrayed, cable TV doesn’t actually represent stiff competition. It delivers less channels broadcasting in 1080p, it costs more, it’s available in less areas, and it doesn’t have nearly the same package selection. People only end up signing up for it because they didn’t know that satellite TV was also available to them too. Don’t make that same mistake. Sign up for satellite and make it the centerpiece of your home entertainment system instead.



Alternatives To Cable TV: Apple TV

Overview

Starting with the Apple II, continuing on to the iPod, and progressing to the iPhone Apple has been the leader in creating revolutionary technology for decades. Now they are continuing this trend with the Apple TV streaming media player. This device brings the same features we have come to expect from Apple for decades. The Apple TV provides access to most of the top media apps available like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. Combine that with the way Apple TV seamlessly integrates with iTunes allowing you play all of your downloaded music and video through your television, as well as integrate it with all of the other Apple devices in your Apple ecosystem. These features make one of the alternatives to cable TV: Apple TV worth considering for anyone that has decided to get rid of cable.

The Good

The selection of channels on Apple TV is pretty decent hitting most of the major ones like Netflix, Hulu+, HBO Go, and others. Additionally you can download and watch or listen to anything available on the iTunes store as well as your personal iTunes library. The interface is extremely easy to read and navigate so it won’t be difficult to find what you are looking for.

Apple TV can also quickly use home sharing in order to connect to your MAC/iPhone/iPod Touch and playback the video with AirPlay technology. The software also includes reliable iCloud support, which can allow you to look into all of your photos through the Photo Stream. You can also stream music from the iCloud with your iTunes subscription, and apersonalization feature can allow you to use one of your photographs as the screensaver for the device.

The Bad

Apple TV provides you with the quality you have come to expect from Apple products but it is not without its flaws. The Apple TV misses a few channels and services that some people may want. Channels like Amazon Prime and Pandora Radio are pretty glaring omissions that are motivated by business rather than user experience. Furthermore, unlike Roku 3 you can’t add any channels other than those Apple provides the device making its customization options virtually non-existent; essentially it is Apple’s way or the highway.

Some people like the slim remote control but I found that it is so small and thin that it is difficult to manipulate and easy to lose. It also doesn’t have a clear home button so for a long time I thought you had to press the menu button several times in order to get back to the main menu; it was only by accident that I ended up discovering that holding down the menu button would end up taking you back to the home screen. This was probably in the instruction manual, but who reads those?

With my Apple TV I found that it was just generally unreliable. I will be watching a program and it will randomly just go back to the main menu. No error, no warning or freezing just one minute in the middle of an episode of True Blood the next minute the main menu, which is already frustrating but even more so when you realize it has no recollection of where you were and you have to fast forward to pick up where you left off. Playback in general is just not very smooth and it seems like it has a weak WiFi receiver as it will constantly pause to buffer or freeze and say it cannot play the currently selected product. The Roku 3 in the same place, in the same room, playing the same content did not have these issues, and a Google search shows that it is a very common complaint with no solutions other than “Reboot the device” or “Upgrade the firmware”.

Summary

If you are someone that owns numerous Apple devices and are committed to the Apple ecosystem Apple TV will easily integrate with everything else. With Airplay, iTunes, and home sharing you will have more than enough access to all of your Apple device content and if that is what is important to you then you will probably enjoy the Apple TV as an alternative to cable TV. However in my opinion that is the one, and only one place the Apple TV is better than the Roku 3. The Roku 3 gives you a better channel selection, a more functional remote control, and more reliable performance… all for a lower price. If you are looking for alternatives to cable TV: Apple TV can play content from your media servers is the device for you but overall I just can’t recommend it and suggest you spend your money on a second Roku 3 instead.