TechPublishing Now MS Certified

TechPublishing Now MS Certified
Professor Robert McMillen, MBA Microsoft Certified Trainer and Solutions Expert

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Fun New Internet TV Options Anyone Can Use

Fun New Internet TV Options Anyone Can Use

Fun New Internet TV Options Anyone Can Use
By Robert McMillen, Koin’s Tech Guru
There are a slew of new ways to watch TV on the internet. This works whether or not you watch on a computer screen or directly on your TV. We will be discussing You Tube’s new streaming service called Leanback and also Clicker.TV.
All of us have a little “attention deficit” when it comes to watching TV now that we have hundreds of channels of nothing to watch. Many people have dropped their premium cable packages because of this. We don’t need more content, just better content, right?
Before getting into these services, I should probably mention the ways you can watch them. If you have an internet capable TV, you only need to go to the Internet Component option and open your web browser. If you didn’t spend $2500 for this new type of TV, then you can connect your computer to your component TV by either S-Video or HMDI connection. Then your computer screen will show up on your TV. If your computer doesn’t have one of these types of connections, you can buy one from any computer or office supply store for around $40. I suggest you get the USB type so you can move it between computers in case you decide to change which computer you use to connect to your TV.
The alternative is to just watch directly on your computer monitor and skip the TV. Although monitors may be smaller than the giant LCD or plasma TVs out there, they are typically four times sharper than your high end TVs. This is because they have a massively higher amount of pixels packed more tightly compared to television sets.
Once you’re connected, go to your You Tube account and sign in. Then go to youtube.com/leanback. From there you will need to use your keyboard. The mouse doesn’t work, and it begs the question “why?”  But that’s a rant for another time.
When I tried out the service, I was pleasantly surprised by the HD quality of the videos. The first video just started playing. It supposedly picks videos based on your You Tube account settings, but the first video that played for me was a Spanish speaking South American tribal melodrama. At least that’s what it looked like. I couldn’t tell what they were saying. I had no idea how You Tube thought this would be what I wanted. By using the keyboard I was able to point the arrows left and right to scroll through a list of other videos I had no interest in. But the service itself is a great idea because once one video completes, it just starts the next one.
Another completely new website TV service is Clicker.TV. You don’t even need to sign up to use it, which is great. I am so tired of creating usernames and passwords for more websites. If you do decide to sign up, you’re supposed to get better results. This seems to be a little more like Hulu because it also shows network videos, but it will search far beyond that for you if you want it to.
Just start typing on the screen and videos start popping up. I typed in “The Office” and not only did episodes from the American show pop up, but the UK version did as well. But it didn’t stop there; I also saw You Tube parodies, and other shows that had an “office” atmosphere. Even news shows about offices came up as options. Very cool! When I clicked on any video, it would redirect me to the location of the website that played that video. For instance, when I clicked on an episode of the well known TV show, it played in Hulu. When I clicked on a news option, it redirected me to MSNBC’s video player since it was a news story from that site.
It wasn’t all chocolate bunnies and Yoo-hoo, however. It didn’t search every option as I had hoped it would. It won’t pull up local TV news stories. I typed in Koin News and didn’t get anything. Also, some players didn’t give me the option to stop and rewind the video. It just played on and on until it was over. A little work definitely needs to be done, but I still like this service a lot.
Another cool feature appeared when I clicked on the movie section. I was linked to “pay per view” movies that are available using “On Demand” like Comcast uses. I had options to go to all different kinds of sites that offered movies, and I was able to choose which site I would use to watch it. Some sites charge more than others and this way I was able to shop for the best price. For instance, I could watch Hurt Locker at either Amazon or iTunes. The iTunes site allowed me to watch it online for several dollars less than Amazon. I wouldn’t have known this if Clicker didn’t do the checking for me.
There are other new services like Google’s Android TV I plan on trying out next. This service goes even further than just searching for shows because it also includes “Apps.” It’s like having a giant smart phone.
Check out the alternatives to watching TV. You’ll find just what you’re looking for in a fraction of the time it takes to scan through the hundreds of channels you normally look through.
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Published Monday, July 12, 2010 10:35 AM by Mallory