Authors Posts by Ryan Michael Downey (The Streaming Advisor)

Ryan Michael Downey (The Streaming Advisor)


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Expect to see more left-leaning news sources
Why do we say this? Getting an app/streaming channel is not difficult. And History repeats itself. With a far-right president in place, I would expect to see some company push a new news source via the Internet. Much akin to what Glen Beck accomplished with The Blaze on the right. With so many wealthy liberal icons out there in TV land and the business world, it would not surprise me in the least. If Bill Clinton’s 8 years led to the rise of Fox News and George W Bush’s 8 years led to the rise of MSNBC the idea that a left-leaning personality along the lines of Jeff Bezos might launch a news source starting on Fire TV would not be out of the realm of possibility especially considering that he already owns the Washington Post.

We will start hearing about a service that actually streams local channels
This won’t be via any one service like DirecTV Now. It would have to be a combination of major broadcast companies working in concert. Most local TV stations are owned by companies other than a major network. It may not launch in 2017 but here is the thing. These companies know that their content is in demand. We all saw the Aereo issue come and go. If the different parties found a way to work together to provide a service that offered local channels online it could market it and sell it to all of these cable substitute packages so that they could finally offer locals to the majority of people. And once the big guns were making money off it I’m sure the smaller companies would come along.

More Antenna/OTA Streaming
CES already alluded to this with products like the Air TV and Mohu Air Wave. Those two products got a lot of positive feedback and could make a big impact on the market this year. This means that they will likely be imitated. Before either product showed up on the radar there were already Android boxes with ATSC tuners and EPG guides built in with a notable example being products from MyGica, which is also rolling out an antenna/app combo for the major platforms called Eye TV. I would expect more and more of the small companies that market Android products to start selling boxes with ATSC tuners in them going forward.

There are a number of companies and apps that have launched in the past few years as streaming has become more popular. It is inevitable that some companies will realize the need to combine resources in order to keep their heads above water against the Netflix’s and HBO Nows’s of the world. We will give this idea more thought and propose some new streaming companies that should exist in the future as a separate piece.

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T-Mobile customers are getting a lot of free TV these days. The company is now offering customers who switch to T-Mobile free access to Hulu’s $7.99 commercial supported service in addition to access to DirecTV Now in response to numerous customer complaints about the service.  DirecTV Now has proven very popular since it launched signing up over 200,000 users in its first month but has been dogged with complaints that the service does not work. The Streaming Advisor took a look at the service when it launched and did not run into any problems during testing. It appears though that as more people have begun to access the service it is getting bogged down. This appears to be the cycle for new streaming video solutions.

Once DirecTV Now is fully functioning which should be expected considering the companies behind it, T-Mobile customers will have the best of both worlds with the on-demand services from Hulu and the live TV from DTV Now. Now the question is will the actual sell cell service end hold up.

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NewsOn is an app for Roku, IOS and Android that allows users to watch local news from anywhere. The app is free for anyone to use in the US and covers the vast majority of the country. See our full video review of the Roku channel that makes local news national.

How to Watch Local News On Roku

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What could be done to make a Roku for cord cutters

While a number of products popular with cord cutters have emerged over the past five years none of them are truly a cord cutting solution. There are barriers to entry from price, comfort level and compatibility that prevent users from purchasing one device on its own and stopping. There are multiple programs and types of hardware needed in order to give users a fully functional experience. This story is a part of a new series that will look at how existing companies can address the cord-cutting crowd more directly. The first company we will look at is Roku. Continue to see our Roku Cord Cutting Box Concept.

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Those of you who have already made the break from cable for streaming options have come to understand that there are more entertainment options out there then you realized before you started looking. And as we pointed out after CES there are a number of companies looking to deliver some of the biggest shows and events by streaming the major networks straight from the airwaves to established platforms via apps and other means. As this grows there will be more and more great content choices but there are already a number of interesting channels springing up that you may not have heard of unless you are paying close attention. This article takes a look at some of the content streaming via apps and beaming straight from antennas that you can take advantage of with the right set up. Take a look at the Top Ten OTA Channels You Have Not Heard Of.

Laff is a comedy network that features sitcoms from the 80s and 90s. Highlights include Rosanne, Night Court and the Drew Carey Show. The network also has a number of comedy clip shows along the lines of Americas funiest videos deaturing people, pets etc. It’s not just TV shows though, Laff TV Features a number of movies movies.

Can I Get Laff TV?  Look here

Bounce TV is a network that highlights Americans Actors and as well as running shows targeted towards the community. The channel offers a number of TV shows and movies on a weekly basis with examples like Eddie Murphy (Boomerang, Life) , Denzel Washington (He Got Game, The Manchurian Candidate) , Wesley Snipes (The Fan) and a lot more. This is not just a collection of black and white movies it is a solid collection of relevant TV shows and films that anybody would enjoy.

Can I Get Bounce TV? Look here

CometTV is a Sci-Fi based channel that features a variety of shows from classic series like ‘The Outer Limits” to more contemporary fare like “Babylon 5”. One of my personal favorite, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is also featured on the network. The movie selection is more eclectic. It has an old Sunday matinee kind of feel. The network though delivers exactly what it is selling and is worth checking out.

Can I Get Comet TV?  Look here

Antenna TV
Antenna TV is one of those retro networks with major shows from across the spectrum. The channel features series from decades between the 1960-1990s. The channel has a very Nick at Night feel and offers a number of shows that will appeal to baby boomers and older Gen Xers. One of the clever things Antenna TV has done is begin to air episodes of Johny Carson’s The Tonight Show. It airs at 11:00 pm in the same slot as contemporary late night talk shows. Kind of a neat option especially if you want to revisit the past.  Shows include Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Good Times, The Monkees, Mr Belvidere, Doogie Howser MD and more.

Can I Get Comet TV?  Look here

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By Chris Brass

Is it time for a new Roku? I’ve been a Roku user since the Roku XD but before trying out the Roku Premier my primary Roku was the Roku 2, a third gen product that rolled out after Roku started number based naming. This gave me a good starting point for where they’ve gone with this souped up version.

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The new Roku mobile app  looks like a digital version of its physical controller.
The new Roku mobile app looks like a digital version of its physical controller.

Roku is rolling out a new version of its mobile app that more closely mirrors its physical controller. The app, which will be available for IOS and Android, looks like a digital version of the physical controller sold with all Roku products.  Like the previous version of the app, the new one will allow users to access features like voice control, keyboard, launch channels through the app and play their own media. Other features include the ability to browse suggested TV shows and movies directly through the app.

The Roku mobile app has always been a popular way for users to add features to even the most basic Roku products. Many models do not feature the private listening option or voice search options.  Plus sometimes it is just so handy when you can’t find the actual remote.

One unadvertised benefits of the app is actually that it does not require line of site. This is very helpful for users who wish to keep a Roku unit out of view. While some Roku models will work perfectly behind a television others require users to be able to point the remote at the unit. But because the mobile app uses a wifi connection to communicate with the Roku this is not an issue.

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Most of the time when people talk about the fake news epidemic they are referring to fake stories about politics or medical studies. It has become an issue on Facebook and other social media sites and even a national news story. A real one. Fake news drives message boards, rumor sites and fuels blogs that have very little interest in reporting on anything that doesn’t show up in their inbox. In the home entertainment world, the results of poor reporting or fact checking are not going to topple a government or cause thousands to get sick. But you know what it does do? It hurts the credibility of those who work to do it right. In every industry.

I understand that not every story is the Watergate scandal but it is just embarrassing when a story breaks simply because nobody bothered to follow up with anyone of record. Recently there was a story bubbling up out of CES about a box “Made Just for Disney Content”. Heck, there was even a picture of it. One blogger on the show floor typed up a quick description of the device and of course the description was copied and pasted into dozens of “authoritative” sites without anybody really getting the story down. Why? Because just like other forms of electronic media it’s all about the clicks to most folks out there and not about telling a story or informing anyone. Shortly after the story began to grow legs the company that was featured in the bogus story reached out to say there is no Disney Streaming box coming, that the box was just a concept. A number of sites updated their info to say that the earlier reported information had been updated, within the story of course because you can’t miss out on those clicks. So there are still numerous headlines still proclaiming the Disney box aimed at kids etc. I won’t link to the stories, just google Disney Streaming Box and you will see what I’m talking about.

A few simple questions about the device would have stopped the bogus reporting from coming out. “Hey what is this thing?” “Is it part of a service?” “Why would Disney release its own box when their strategy is obviously all about distribution partnerships?” “Is there anyone who can tell me more about this thing?” Maybe ask oneself, why didn’t Disney break the announcement instead of waiting for someone to trip over it at CES?”

Reporting 101
Do you know how I confirmed that Amazon was working with partners to release new TV’s running the Fire TV OS? There were representatives from Amazon and the respective partner companies on site and I asked them to explain what was going on with the partnership. I got names, cards and recorded representatives on video in some cases. We all have this simple ability called asking questions and follow up questions. And just because we are reporting on tech does not mean that we have zero responsibility to know what we are talking about. In fact, so many people look to websites in order to learn about technology and trust what they read in print tech reporters can cost our readers time and money by feeding them nonsense without checking facts.

The blogosphere has got to grow up. Freedom of expression is important and using it correctly is more complicated than not shouting “Fire” at a movie theater. It’s about producing content that informs instead of confuses, It’s about headlines that actually represent the content that will be found in a story. Tell a story worth telling guys. Good reporting can be rewarded too. Not as fast as a slick, totally misleading headline can, but at least you will be doing a service and not degrading the tenuous reputation that the media clings to.

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CES can be a tiresome parade of technology that nobody asked for or needs, drones, impractical smart car tech and more. But this year turned out to be a big one for streaming led by some of the bigger names in the industry. Something big out of this year’s show is that OTA is getting a major push in the streaming space. The idea behind it is helping people streaming local channels.

We had a chance to see Air TV live in person at CES and made a video to share with everyone on YouTube. The Air TV system integrates OTA signals into the Sling TV interface and works on top of The Android TV platform. Take a look below.