Monthly Archives: January 2015

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This week’s Roku Channel Reviews story is short. After unloading 40 new channels last week, which was more than most can digest we get a bite sized update this week. The winner of the week as far as I am concerned is Bloomberg news a 24-7 live feed with a close second being Dance Party TV, an interactive game. Check out our reviews. If you like what you read click the icons to add the channel to your own Roku.

Golf Channel
No this is not the Golf Channel as in the NBC owned cable channel with live golf and commentary, It is information about Golf. It features golfing tips,  info on PGA events and tours of glamorous golf courses from across the US. Definitely an enthusiast channel but I wonder how they have the rights to use the name. Maybe I should launch a Roku Channel called HBO for Roku.

BloombergBloomerg TV+
I like this channel allot. It defaults to a live stream from Bloomberg TV, which is an Internet based financial network along the lines of CNBC. It has business and stock market news 24-7 which should be a real hit especially for those in the cord cutting community who miss that kind of thing. There are also curated on-demand clips about the movers and shakers in the news at the moment. Bloomberg had previously been available on Roku as a private channel.

Blood MoonBlood Moon Theater
If you are looking for a big collection of top of the line Horror films you won’t find anywhere else… than this is not the channel for you. Like many before it Blood Moon Theatre( how European) features 106 older science fiction films from the 1950s-through the early 1970s. Not that there is not some fun ktch content but the channel feels like too many others. Like other collections there are some recognizable performers to be found including Yul Bryner and Chrsistopher Lee but the majority of this content is B grade.

CurrentCurrent FM
Listed as Positive Music, this is a christian radio stations that features music from across the plane of the genre. While you would typaically expect to hear country and even pop music with a Christian theme this live radio channel plays rap, Hip Hop Metal Music and more all wrapped in shroud of Christian music. Channel also features collection of themed pod-casts.

Dance PartyDance Party
Quite possibly the most innovative game to come along on the Roku 3 since its debut. Games have been available for Roku since the Roku XS but this is the first that takes advantage of the Roku’s motion tracking remote using what the game creators call Rolomotion™ technology. You can get a workout and have a good time with this one. Users can try the game out on IOS devices too.

Live Church Services

Teach All Nations Ministries
Add Here

The FCC’s redeffinition of broadband speeds is a very important development for cord cutters and streamers. I believe that it will help prevent companies like TWC and Comcast from gaining a strangle hold on towns and cities and their communication needs. Something that most people seem to be missing in the FCC development concerning what is considered broadband is that it may open the industry up to let municipalities provide broadband networks for their citizens and businesses. Communications companies have been lobbying (paying) state and local leaders to prevent towns and cities from building their own networks by pushing regulations and laws against it. But what the FCC has done by pushing higher standards is tell the industry and these municipalities that the private industry is not holding up their part of the bargain for consumers and potential consumers. And when there is not an alternative that meets what the FCC considers broadband now 25 Mbps, it leaves cities an opening to say that they must provide the network themselves in the name of innovation, economic growth and even the quality of life of its citizenry.

Could this lead to a government subsidized lower tier?
If broadband is 25 MBPS then anything under it is no longer broadband. My home only has an Internet connection of 16 Mbps. The thing is that it does not prevent me from accessing all of the services I demonstrate through my videos and write about on the site. Here is what i think is going to happen next. The FCC will define the lower band of Internet as a utility and start allowing municipalities to supply internet connections up to 24 Mbps at a subsidized price to citizens, schools and other institutions for the public good. Why because far too many basic needs are accessed by the Internet and letting private companies control access to those needs cripples those who can not afford access to the Internet.

Why do I think this will happen. Think about it like this. Want to know if your child’s school is canceled check the website, want to apply for healthcare check the website, want to file your taxes without loosing half of your refund to another company go to a website, want to find out what doctors are covered in your insurance plan go to a website. Now that the internet is the essential tool to access public information, safety information, Apply for jobs, apply for loans, file taxes, apply for health care there has got to be an affordable alternative to what private companies provide. It is coming.

The Vudu Spark hit the shelves at Walmart this week for some reason. If that first sentence sounds like the beginning of an article from the Onion instead of a news site there is a good reason. The Vudu Spark is a joke. I have been aware of it for days but was unsure exactly how to talk about it. The product is so limited that its announcement almost does not even qualify as news, which is supposed to be noteworthy, new unusual etc. Why do I say this? Because Walmart is marching a 25 dollar dongle out on to the market with only 1 channel included and it is not the “1 Channel” that everyone seems to try to add to multiple devices. Like its name implies, the Vudu Spark is a dongle that allows customers to add the Vudu on demand service to an HDTV……and nothing else. Users who buy the Vudu Spark will get one Free $5.00 credit per month for 5 months, which essentially makes the item free. But the idea of releasing a product like this in the face of competition from Google’s Chromecast $35.00, the Roku HDMI Streaming Stick $50.00 and the Amazon Fire TV Stick for $39.00. Each of those three items offer so much more value for their costs that the products don’t even belong in the same sentence as the Vudu Spark and if you look back on the story you will see that we made a point not to pair them.

Vudu already failed on its own
In the mid 2000s Walmart tried to market its own Vudu set-top-box. Like the Spark it was focused around the Vudu media service. To its credit it lingered for a few years longer than it should have before succumbing  to competition from far more versatile platforms like Roku and Apple TV. Right now you can buy the Vudu Box on Amazon.com for 35 dollars used and shockingly, and I hope you are sitting down for this one, $169.00 new.

Decent service
Vudu is a perfectly acceptable VOD (video on demand) service. It offers high definition movie rentals, TV shows on demand and movie trailers a slick interface. But the service is already available on a number of other products. Roku, offers the service as a dedicated channel, Android and IOS devices have Vudu apps which in turn make it available on the Chromecast and Apple TV respectively. So outside of the $5.00 monthly credit there is next to no motivation for anybody to invest in the item. If there were ever a company that could get away with offering a media streaming device with only one option available it is Amazon which offers on demand Movies, TV shows, its own Netflix like service (Amazon Prime Instant), along with music and games, but even the everything store knew better than to sell a device without access to Hulu Plus, Netflix, Pandora and other apps. All I can say is that I find this product outright puzzling.

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Last week was a busy week for Roku. There were over 40 channels added. You may notice something different about our guide today. We have decided to remove the Add channel link. You can still add the channel from our site. All you have to do is click on the icon for the selected channel. Enjoy.

-Ryan Downey

Trophy PursuitTrophy Pursuit
This is a channel for hunting enthusiast. It features a collection of decently produced webisodes that take viewers out into the great wide open. Would not recommend the channel to Peta people, but it is a good resource for those who want to learn more about deer hunting.

 

 

Silent NightSilent Night
This is part of what appears to be a new trend on Roku, which has long been a place to find public domain movies. This is a collection of silent movies complete with music and captions. It is a real time capsule. I would hardly go see a silent movie version of the Avengers but from a historical perspective its kind of fascinating to see the old film making style in action. Features a section of who else Charlie Chaplin.

 

Movie ClubMovie Club
Decent collection of public domain movies. I ran across some old science fiction stuff I had never noticed. Maybe I just missed it on other channels of the same sort but the layout is simple to navigate and selection is strong for this type of channel. Plan 9 from Outer Space included of course. It’s the Netflix of public domain films.

 

Trauma Recovery UniversityTrauma Recovery University
This is a collection of videos meant to help victims of abuse from home. They appear to be done via skype or another video chat program. Some of the information looks very practical. Though it is not not a substitute for outright counseling.

 

 

Christian Movie ChannelChristian Movie Channel
This channel did not have any actual Christian movies. There is a collection of Movie trailers, Interviews with Christian movie actors but no films. I don’t know if there is some sort of intention to start including them at a later date. Rolling out a channel like this is a big mistake. There is an audience for Christian movies and TV shows but companies need to stop over promising and under delivering.

 

Clayton ShepherdClayton Shepherd Ministries
Channel features 82 sermons by Shepherd as well as a collection of prayers to address various subjects. The channel is organized by sermon subject and is easy to navigate. Wondered why the Weekly Sermon Archive stops in November. With a little updating this could be a decent channel for its genre.

 

 

Word HookWord Hook
Word game like hangman except missing the work gets fish caught. Bad if you are a fish good if you are hungry. Typical simple Roku game. Most of them make the special remote seem like overkill.

 

 

Dam Its GoodDam Its Good
Collection of comedy videos including a number of musical parodies. There are a number or celebrity impersonations. A lot of the content reminds of the stuff on the YouTube channel Epic Rap Battles of History. Good fun for a slow day.

 

 

Pranksters ModelModel Pranksters
This channel sounds like it would be better than it is. Pretty women funny pranks. How could it go wrong. The problem is the reaction of the audience. Most people just don’t seem to get it. They are not scared enough, shocked enough and so on. To me the reaction is the fun part of the joke.

 

 

DM PranksDM Pranks
Small collection of scare and social experiment pranks based on the YouTube channel of the same name. I have a weakness for the scary pranks. I hope that does not make me a bad person. I don’t know how these guys don’t get hurt in these situations. See clowns jump out of dark corners and terrorize random victims.

 

BaseballBaseball
LA Dodgers centric channel chocked full of player interviews along with baseball tips from pro tips for you. Kind of an uneven channel that should really be branded as a Dodgers channel more so than a general subject channel.

 

 

The Platoon of PowerThe Platoon of Power Squadron
This is a bit different. It is a collection of episodes from a web series featuring a poor man’s justice league. There are 8 episodes overall and each is broken up in to multiple segments of about 5 minutes.

 

 

Bhaynas KitchenBhavna’s Kitchen
nice collection of Indian recipes with Bhavna taking us step by step through the preparation of a number of scrumptious recipes. What you lose in YouTube styled cooking shows often is the preparation steps. She adds chopped potatoes but you don’t see how to cut them etc. So unfortunately you can not turn on the TV and follow along.

 

Message Of ChangeMessage of Change
Message of change is like a one on one at home Bible Study. Each verse is broken down in detail with commentary and relevant information about meaning and context. Could be a tool for personal education or even act as a guide for a group. Appears to be a work in progress not all books of the Bible are represented.

 

Love IsraelLove Israel
A-verse-by-verse breakdown of the Bible but only the book of Zacharia and the Book of Mark. This channel obviously has a lot of growing to do. Will it be fruitful and multiply. If you add it I guess you will find out.

 

 

Shout Factory TVShout Factory TV
This channel has a lot to offer including a large collection of MSTK3 movies 32, Classic TV Shows like Dennis the Menace and a wide selection of rather lesser known movies including some apparent late-night fare.

 

 

MTMT Movie Trailers
A collection of old movie trailers. I guess they felt the need to make up for not having YouTube, Flixter and others. The clips are clear and restored. You will have a chance to relive a bit of your childhood and maybe even your parents childhood.

 

 

Full ScreenFull Screen Selects
This channel collects curated YouTube clips from some of the more humorous independent creators on the web. It is nicely organized in to categories. Popular, Entertainment, Comedy, Series, Screw Attack (all game humor) and Prank videos. It is a great place to check out trending amusements.

 

 

BabesBabes
There are two channels called babes this week. They have almost identical content. I flipped a coin and chose to share a review of this one. This is pretty much a celeb gossip clip collection. Watch out though it could develop in to guilty pleasure.

 

 

Universal NewsreelUniversal Newsreel
This is neat stuff for historians. It is a large collection of newsreels, the current events news information shorts that used to play before full features at the movie theaters before TV News was king. Combine this with one of the old movies on movie club and you can imagine you travelled through time, until you realize you are watching it on an HD TV and getting the video from a computer the size of your fist.

 

Barak TVBaraK TV
Nope not that Barak. He can be on TV whenever he wants. This is a Christian educational channel of sorts. There is a stunningly uneven collection of videos from a variety of sources along with a live feed of Barak TV that I never managed to see in action.

 

 

The Gardening ChannelThe Gardening Channel
This is a channel with some very practical information on you guessed it gardening. Some of us have green thumbs and some of us have fumble hands. Checking out these videos may help change the shade of skin on those hands a bit. My only criticism is that there could and should be a lot more.

 

 

Arts & Crafts ChannelArts and Crafts Channel
15 videos that help teach origami and Jewelry making. The channels designers share where to get the materials used in the designs which is a nice touch. Not very much content here though.
Roku did not provide a link for this channel

 

 

Travel Tourism Channels
These channels are blocked together because each is essentially the same concept with different locales. There is a lot of info about what to do in each country. They are well produced and well shot for an on the road blog. If you are looking to travel to any of these places check these channels out. It may help you map out your next big adventure.

The Reunion ChannelSpain Travel

 

 

 

 

FinlandFrance

 

 

 

 

Italy TravelHawaii

 

 

 

 

California TravelThe Cuba Channel

 

 

Cuba (that was fast)

 

 

Paid Movie Collections
There was a slew of paid movie collections last week. Like the Travel stations each movie selection is interchangeable. The majority of the content in each and every channel consists of grainy old TV shows and public domain films. You can call it golden age all you want its just old. The worst thing is that there is far too much overlap between each channel. Each costs 99 cents per month.

Robin Hood HeavenRobin Hood Heaven
Collection of the Adventures of Robin Hood series.
 

 

Mystery Movie NightMystery Movie Night
Small Collection of public domain mystery features. Features early depictions of Sherlock Holmes, dick Tracy and more. Need I mention that this is a pay channel with public domain movies again?
 

War Movie ChannelWar Movie Channel
Nope no Patton.Get ready for the movies that used to play on Sunday afternoon before they invented football on TV. Thank you NFL. If you recognize any of these films congratulations on hanging in that long.

 

 

 

Sherlock Holmes HeavenSherlock Holmes
Did you know that Sherlock Holmes was not always based in modern times. Take a trip back through time where Watson was fat and bumbling and they wore hats. Collection of Sherlock Holmes television programs along with a collection of Sherlock Holmes movies. No Robert Downey Jr unfortunately. No HD quality either.

 

Spies PIsSpies Pi’s and Bounty Hunters
This is Mystery movie night again with the order changed. I’m sorry I call them like I see them. Nearly identical cast of characters.

 

 

 

Live Church Channels

Celebration Church
https://www.roku.com/channels#!details/52305/celebration-church

Calvary Christian Fellowship
https://www.roku.com/channels#!details/49074/calvary-christian-fellowship

Faith Church.tv
https://www.roku.com/channels#!details/52255/faithchurch.tv-media

Bethany Baptist Church
https://www.roku.com/channels#!details/52253/at-bethany-live-service

Philadelphia Romanian
https://www.roku.com/channels#!details/52129/philadelphia-rom.-pent.-church

 Assumption Catholic Church Seattle
https://www.roku.com/channels#!details/49875/assumption-catholic-church

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Another group of programmers is creating buzz with app for Windows that is sure to make a big splash and certain to invite scrutiny. The App “Free Instant Movies” features a number of films and TV shows that appear to be unlicensed material. The app is relatively new back to November of 2014. Free Instant Movies App For Windows 8.1. I have a hard time believing that all of these films are being distributed for free. It’s developer is listed as Prospera Software Inc. The company has no mention of the service on its website on a list of applications developed by Prospera can be seen here.

Will Free Instant Movies have a first birthday?
Time will tell if this app will have lasting power or if it is the next Popcorn Time see our story on Popcorn Time here. Popcorn time grew in popularity and prominence right up until the mainstream media began to report on it. Soon after that the services’s original founders shut it down. It was later resurrected by a separate entity and lives on though not in the Google Play Store. A similar fate met the TVMC app for Android. It lasted no more than a few days in the Google Play Store before being pulled.

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The small staff of the Streaming Advisor must take a personal health day today. Lots of new content including an extensive Roku Channel Update coming tomorrow. Stream on friends.

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WRAL News out of Raleigh NC is reporting that Google Fiber will begin construction of a high speed fiber network in Raleigh and the greater metro area known as “The Triangle” possibly as soon as April 2015. Google will be adding Raleigh to a growing list of youthful growing cities. If this reporting is correct it is the end of a major lobbying effort by the State of North Carolina, the business community and city leaders across the region. The region could serve as a major showcase for the service for a number of reasons. A formal announcement may come as early as next week. There seems to be a method to googles madness when choosing a new city. To see our article on how we believe the company evaluates future hubs click here. We believe there are a number of reasons why the area was chosen. Here are a few of them.

Google Fiber provides the fastest Internet Speeds possible.
Google Fiber provides the fastest Internet Speeds possible.

Prestigious Universities
The Triangle area is the home of three major Universities, Duke, The University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University along with a number of HBCU’s and small private colleges. You can bet that the company will quickly reach out to these institutions as a way to illustrate its capabilities as an educational aide.

Major Tech Companies
There are a number of prestigious technology firms based out of Raleigh/Durham area and surrounding communities. It is a major hub for IBM, Red Hat, computer game development companies like Red Storm, LED pioneer (Cree) and many others.

Growing Area
The Triangle area is one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country regularly rated in the top 5 fastest growing metros in multiple publications. It is also teaming with young upwardly mobile professionals that the company will have an opportunity to indoctrinate into its culture. The area is considered a top 10 market for young families; ( Wake County School system 5th biggest school district in the US); Young professionals and even a top 10 place to retire due to access to high quality health care through UNC and Duke Hospitals along with public and private hospitals and medical centers throughout the region. People move for job opportunities, weather and cost of living.

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TV Everywhere will not stop the exodus, it is speeding it

Dish Network’s Sling Television product will launch soon. How the public reacts to the launch could have major ramifications in the television industry. Last fall The Streaming Advisor published a story that stated that if ESPN and HBO were to be available without the need for a bloated cable package that it would send shockwaves through the industry. That day is here. Cord cutting is really happening. Most TV executives write it off as an issue that only affects younger people in their 20s-30s (which should really concern them far more than it seems to) but an executive from MLB I spoke with at the CES told me that the second largest population of cord cutters is in fact people 55 and

ESPN will son be available outside of a traditional pay TV package.
ESPN will son be available outside of a traditional pay TV package.

older. Could we be seeing a major shift in the way people watch TV? If the only group of TV consumers solidly behind the cable industry happen to be between the ages of 36-54 this means that the generational issue is the only thing keeping the industry afloat. The cable industry is losing steam with the baby boomers and millennials. What’s the industry’s response more cable everywhere!

Is it convincing people
Couched in the recent announcement that NBC will be streaming the Super Bowl was multiple mentions of how the game would be a great showcase for “Cable Everywhere”. What is “Cable Everywhere”? No it’s not a trip hazard. Cable Everywhere is feature available through a growing number of cable companies that allows cable subscribers to access cable programming on mobile devices outside of the home. Cable everywhere not a service as much as it is a group of apps available across a number of platforms. They include Nat Geo, FX Now (home of every Simpsons ever) Comedy Central; The

HBO Go has been a major success, but will it hurt the Pay TV industry in the long run?
HBO Go has been a major success, but will it hurt the Pay TV industry in the long run?

Hallmark Channel, sports channels like Fox Sports 1 and ESPN, Movie channels like Showtime, HBO, Starz and Encore. The “Cable” everywhere even includes NBC, which is in fact not a cable channel at all. For an example of cable everywhere apps check out this list  of cable based apps from Time Warner Cable. There are a number of problems with this approach. The apps are not all the same. But this attempt to hold on to their customers is having unintended effects.

Channels are leaving the nest
The biggest problem is what has happened to the most popular cable everywhere apps. The owners of the content have decided that it should be available to people without pay TV subscriptions. Showtime and HBO, which once were the calling cards for the Pay TV industry, will both soon be available without a subscription to a pay TV service and ESPN and ESPN2 have been packaged as part of Sling Television’s 12 channel lineup which will cost $20.00 a month at launch. It appears that as the people behind these cable everywhere apps see the viewer data they decide that maybe they don’t need the industry as much as the industry needs them. Other channels will grow more popular as online entities. What is to stop them from doing exactly the same thing? While a full freestanding ESPN will not be available until when as ESPN’s CEO Bob Igar “the market demands it” but the mere fact that he acknowledges that it can happen has to worry pay TV companies.

Next Shoe to Drop Could we see Fox Take Its Programming Directly to the Market?

Fox Has many popular properties. Could it be the next to leverage an OTT offering?
Fox Has many popular properties. Could it be the next to leverage an OTT offering?


The most popular cable news networks in the US is Fox News. If Fox were to package the channel along with other networks like Fox Business, Fox Sports 1, FX and others at a reasonable price or work out a deal with Sling television it could shake up an already shaky foundation. The FXX app is available on a number of platforms including IOS, Android, Roku and Apple TV and has proven popular. Fox basically already has the resources and no how to put an online product on the market. Would it be a stunner if the Newscorp owned company, which is also a part owner of cable alternative Hulu, decided that the next impasse with a major pay TV company ended with Fox saying we are going to take our viewers and leave? CBS is already laying the groundwork for such a day with its recently announced service. My guess is that all eyes are going to be trained on Sling Television and what ever HBO’s new service will be called. If millions sign up for the services it could be a new day in the industry. And if that day comes a number of companies that have taken years of customer complaints and frustrations for granted may find that they built their castles on quicksand.

 

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LOS ANGELES, CA (January 22, 2015) – Hulu today announced the launch of Toyota AdZone, an annual experience that brings the best in Super Bowl advertising to one place. Now in its fifth year, Toyota AdZone will host one of the most comprehensive libraries of Super Bowl ads past and present, and will allow fans to vote in real-time for their favorite game day commercial.

Starting today, fans can head to Toyota AdZone on their laptops, PCs and mobile devices to watch leaked ads, teasers and commercials from Super Bowl XLIX before game day, as well as hundreds of memorable and historic ads from previous years. Toyota AdZone will continue to be updated with new ads daily leading up to game day, and will include curated categories of top commercials including:

  •       Leaked Ads
  •       The Funniest Game Day Ads of 2014
  •       Super Bowl XLIX Ads That Inspire
  •       Celebrity Sightings
  •       Best Super Bowl Ads of All Time
  •       Toyota: One Bold Choice Leads to Another

Toyota AdZone on Hulu will also put fans and viewers in control by providing the opportunity to watch, share and vote on their favorite ads with the click of a button. After the Super Bowl, Hulu will announce the top ads as voted on by fans on Toyota AdZone.

“Hulu is thrilled to renew our partnership with Toyota to bring you the Toyota AdZone for the fifth year in a row. The Super Bowl is a great American tradition and we are excited to bring fans a comprehensive space to check out the most memorable Super Bowl commercials, past and present,” said Peter Naylor, Senior Vice President, Sales, Hulu.

Toyota AdZone Direct Link: http://www.hulu.com/adzone/

The return of Toyota AdZone continues to make Hulu the premiere destination to catch all the best and newest Super Bowl ads. This marks the fifth annual year for Toyota AdZone, and Hulu’s continued efforts to celebrate the best in advertising on the biggest day for advertisers of the year.