Category Archives: television

Canadian broadband akin to a propaganda village

Is Canada ready for digital 4K distribution? Not even remotely.

Is Canada ready for digital 4K distribution? Not even remotely.

Canada’s telecom companies are on a public relations rampage of late, with Bell, Rogers and Telus presenting a united front across national media in trying to convince the federal government to abandon its plan to bring U.S. wireless giant Verizon into the market. One of the blitz’s big talking points is how much the companies are investing in Canada, both in wireless and other services. Telus, for one, says it has invested $100 billion since 2000, and that the industry as a whole has spent $420 billion. Of course, as a company spokesman confirmed, that figure includes the cost of labour and supplies, meaning that every-day expenses such as paperclips and envelopes are being counted.

If the companies really were spending that kind of money in meaningful ways, Canadians would literally be hemorrhaging bandwidth everywhere they turned. South Korea who?

The latest Communications Outlook from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development points out just how overcooked the claims are. While the report certainly does show that Canadian companies companies are investing a decent amount in actual telecommunications - they collectively spent the fourth most among member countries in 2011 - it seems like Canadians should have more to show for it, especially on the wired broadband side, which is where most that spending has happened. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on July 29, 2013 in internet, netflix, television, telus


Netflix a lone bright spot among a tech lull

Orange is the New Black: does "TV" get better than this?

Orange is the New Black: does “TV” get better than this?

For technology watchers, 2013 hasn’t exactly been an exciting year. There seem to have been more flops over the first seven months than hits, with a number of big companies either limping along or treading water.

There is, of course, Apple, which hasn’t done anything notable this year other than get nailed in court in the Great E-Book Conspiracy. That hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from churning - are cheaper iPhones on the way? How about ones with bigger screens? Yet, if a smartwatch is the sexiest thing we can expect from the company this fall… well, it’s going to be a boring end to 2013.

Google’s biggest headline of the year so far is the flopping of Glass, the augmented reality glasses that were supposed to transform the world but which actually came to be considered as cool as Bluetooth earpieces. Maybe these things morph into something cool as they iterate, but maybe not. And sure, the company announced a new Nexus 7 tablet and Chromecast streaming device on Wednesday and the Moto X smartphone will debut next week. But smartphones, tablets and media streaming devices? How 2011. Read the rest of this entry »


The real point of Sharknado’s online frenzy

sharknadoIf you use Twitter, it was hard to get away from Sharknado late last week, and the inevitable question that accompanied it: “What the heck is Sharknado?”

If you still don’t know, Sharknado is a low-budget movie produced by U.S. network SyFy about an out-of-control tornado that sucks up sharks from the ocean, then rains them down on Los Angeles. If the premise wasn’t bonkers enough, the movie stars car-wreck celebrity Tara Reid and Steve Sanders… er, Ian Ziering, who really hasn’t done much since the original Beverly Hills 90210. Put all that together and SyFy had all the makings of a viral hit.

Which is exactly what it was. The two-hour movie, which aired Thursday night, had 387,000 comments made about it, mostly on Twitter, where it topped out at 5,000 tweets per minute towards its climax. SyFy wasted no time in proclaiming Sharknado its “most social telecast ever.”

That didn’t stop some media observers from trying to rain on… er… Sharknado‘s parade. The New York Times mentioned how the movie tore up Twitter but not the ratings, garnering only 1.37 million viewers, or slightly better than what the network usually pulls on Thursday nights. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on July 15, 2013 in movies, television


Customer satisfaction = competition, not bundles

videotron-remoteJ.D. Power has released its latest customer satisfaction ratings of Canadian internet and television providers and the results, from east to west coast, were pretty telling on the state of competition for those two services.

In Eastern Canada, Quebec’s Videotron got top marks on both TV and internet service. Shaw’s satellite TV business also scored well while Cogeco did okay with internet service. In the West, Telus and MTS rated decently on TV while SaskTel customers are extraordinarily satisfied with the company. The same goes with SaskTel for internet service, where Telus also did well.

J.D. Power’s scores, which run from zero to 1,000, aren’t exactly explicit in what they mean - SaskTel gets a 705 for its internet service, for example - so I asked for some clarification. I was sent these charts (links to PDF), which do a better job at explaining through the use of a five-point “Power Circle” rating. Five circles, like what SaskTel has, means “among the best,” four equals “better than most,” three is “about average” and two is “the rest.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on July 3, 2013 in internet, television


Internet cord-cutting data doesn’t pass smell test

cord-cuttingWednesday’s Wall Street Journal had one of those double-take-inducing headlines: “Cord cutters lop off internet service more than TV.” Huh? Wha?

As the newspaper reports, “last year around 1 per cent of U.S. households stopped paying for home internet subscriptions and relied on wireless access instead, according to consumer surveys by Leichtman Research Group Inc. Just 0.4 per cent of households in the last year canceled their pay-television subscriptions in favour of getting video entertainment over the internet via services such as Hulu or Netflix.”

The study cited rising internet prices in the face of continuing economic difficulties as the reason for the cord cutting. The average price of home internet service has been rising steadily, from around $28 a month in 2005 to $46.78 last year.

There’s no argument on the internet prices, but some of the other issues premised by the story don’t add up. For one, the article mentions that “hundreds of thousands” of Americans canceled their internet service in favour of using wireless and hotspots. Yet 1 per cent of the 115 million or so U.S. households adds up to more than a million households, meaning that the total number of Americans who should have cancelled would actually be in the millions. So which is it: hundreds of thousands or millions? Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on May 31, 2013 in internet, television


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