Will the Canadian Government Require Cable & Satellite Providers to Offer a la carte Options?

coax cablePretty much what we’ve all been asking for since the dawn of cable television.

While some Canadian providers are already offering some version of a la carte, the ability to subscribe to just the channels you want, it looks like the Canadian government will require cable and satellite providers to offer individual channels to customers. Said Industry Minister James Moore:

“We don’t think it’s right for Canadians to have to pay for bundled television channels that they don’t watch. We want to unbundle television channels and allow Canadians to pick and pay the specific television channels that they want.”

As someone who recently had to shop through my local cable company’s plans and options, the way we currently pay for TV can be incredibly frustrating. Following the realization that I only watch a handful of channels, the tier of cable I have to buy to get the channels I want means I end up overbuying hundreds of channels I’m never going to watch.

However, you lucky Canucks will hopefully get to skirt that soon. Know that I’ll be jealous.

(via Reuters)

Nexus 5 Hands On Video – 5 Minutes with LG’s new Google Phone

Screenshot (122)Not a review. Not an official walk through video. Not really a leak…

However, if you really wanted to see the LG Nexus 5 manhandled and molested on video for, I dunno, say 5 minutes, Youtuber Kkreatorz has THE video for you!

The disembodied hands holding the device rotate it around to show off the hardware, and there are even a few app and UI demonstrations of KitKat. Thankfully there’s none of that pesky “talking” that so often shows up in videos about technology.


There’s a part of me seriously considering starting a fund for supplying better cameras and instruction on how to shoot better video for people who find themselves getting access to leaked tech…

Friday Fun: Apparently Netflix Has AMAZING Customer Service…

netflix-logoI read through this online customer service chat exchange, jaw dropped.

Why is it I NEVER get THIS guy whenever I have a problem with something and have to resort to an online chat?

This dude at Netflix is amazing, and he totally deserves a raise.

No lie.

God speed Captain Mike!

Happy Friday.

Enjoy (I posted the pic of the exchange after the jump).

(via Reddit)

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Valve Shows Off New Steam Controller on Youtube

steam controller game pad steamos somegadgetguyThe more I see from this thing, the more curious I am to try it out. These high-res “owl-eye” sensors, instead of dual analog sticks, look like they could give controller players a nice step up.

Valve details the new set up for their up coming Steam boxes in this video. Sit back, settle in, and enjoy the next four minutes and twenty five seconds of game play demonstration with Valve’s new hardware.

The Post Where (so help me) I Defend the iPhone 5C…

iPhone5c_34L_AllColors_PRINTDamn it tech press! See what you’re making me do here…

It should be pretty clear by now that I’m not pre-disposed to liking Apple products. That’s not to say I don’t think they’re quality tech solutions. They’re just not my cup of tea, and lately I’ve been worried that Apple is missing critical opportunities with recent product releases. No NFC Passbook? Really? But I digress…

While spending some time with the iPhone 5S, I’m actually coming around on the iPhone 5C. I was initially one of those “know it alls” that panned it when it came out. An iPhone 5 in plastic? Meh…

What’s getting frustrating however is the media’s expectations of success. Every new phone or tablet which is released is now expected to be a “hit” instantly out of the gate. No one can really explain what sales metrics a device needs to hit to be considered a “hit”, but apparently no phone recently released is capable of meeting those expectations. After a point, one has to wonder if maybe these new phones aren’t the problem, and that maybe we’re giving too much consideration to analysts who are fantastically terrible at predicting the future.

Apple is launching a new product line.

Sometimes that works for them like the iPad Mini. Sometimes it’s a slow burn like Apple TV. Apple isn’t immune to this kind of market pressure. Customers know the iPhone. They know that a new number comes out, then an “S” model arrives the following year. They get it. They’ve been trained. They don’t know this “C” model. Just like any new company walking into the mobile space now, it should be expected that Apple will have to build credibility for this new line over time. Customers wont part with cash until they see it’s going to stick around for a while and get support and accessories. Anyone expecting the 5C to be a hot seller has no business calling themselves a tech pundit or analyst.

At best we can judge relative success by comparing 5C sales to 4S sales last year, but even then we’d be comparing a very well established phone (the iPhone 4 and 4S sharing a number of accessories) to a completely brand new phone. It doesn’t matter that the internals are similar to phones we’ve seen in the past, Apple customers are a fairly conservative demographic. Tech consumers in general tend to shy away from anything actually “new”.

So there it is. I get what Apple is doing with the 5C. I think they need to diversify the iPhone line up like they did with the iPad. I don’t know if the 5C is the right answer, but they needed to do something. However this fake shock, and the tech backlash towards cool sales is getting terrifically frustrating. From users and consumers, I completely understand the cynicism and skepticism, but so-called “journalists” need to cool it with the constant barrage of fanboi hate.

I mean DAMN IT! You just made me defend the iPhone 5C…

Ask Juan: Yeti USB Microphone for Youtube Video VO?

Screenshot (88)A question from Timi on Twitter:

How good is the Yeti mic. $149. Looking for something to dub review videos.

I’m a big fan of the Yeti. I recently reviewed the Yeti Pro (black version) here on the site. It’s one of the more versatile USB mics you can pick up.

But do you need that versatility?

If your main use is to record yourself for the voice over behind video, the Yeti might be overkill. Having variable polar patterns which change the “shape” of what the mic will pick up probably wont be necessary if you’re recording videos with similar tone and if you’re in a consistent space while recording those voice overs. I’ve also produced a video explaining polar patterns if you need more info.

The Yeti also makes for a fine interview mic, so maybe it’s worth grabbing it if you think you might want to do that. If that’s not really on your radar however, you’ll be spending cash on features you wont be using.

Some alternatives? 

Taking a step down to Blue’s Snowball can save you some cash, and it now comes in fancy new colors.

You could also take a look at Audio-Technica’s lineup. The AT2020 USB is an entry level standard, and many have started their home recording careers with that mic. If you don’t mind the price tag bump, A-T recently updated the AT2020USB Plus to include on-mic volume and headphone controls. Compared to the Yeti these mics aren’t as versatile, but in my opinion they do their one job better than the Yeti does that one job.

Now all of these will be fine options for dubbing a review video, but in terms of maximizing your bang-for-buck, you just need to be honest with yourself regarding what capabilities you actually need.

Happy hunting!

Youtube Offline Viewing will allow viewers to store video on device for up to 48 hours

somegadgetguy youtube htc one app softwareWe finally have more details!

Announced last month, Youtube will be rolling out an offline mode for Youtube, allowing users to buffer videos on devices to watch later if they don’t have an internet connection, or if you’re trying to be frugal with your data plan. What we didn’t know was how and when this was going to implemented, but now Google’s explaining a bit more.

Through the Youtube app, there will now be an option to allow offline viewing. The videos stored through this setting will stay on the device for up to 48 hours. If the phone or tablet doesn’t connect back to the internet within that time frame, then the videos will no longer be available. For people who operate a Youtube channel, viewing stats will be updated once the device connects to the internet. This service will also work for certain types of Google ads, helping to keep monetized channels paying out.

This is pretty great. There have been a number of times I wished I could buffer videos before taking a flight, or where I might not watch a video because I don’t want to use a ton of data, but I could’ve pre-loaded the video while on WiFi. Google expects the offline mode should be available in November.

And if you aren’t already, you should subscribe to my channel on Youtube, so you can watch all my awesome gadget reviews offline. I’m shameless like that.

(via Youtube FAQ)

Boston Judge Rules Aereo can continue streaming TV over the Internet while awaiting Copyright trial

Scale_of_justice_goldScore one for the little guy.

Currently available in only seven states, Aereo streams TV over the internet for $8 a month. Unlike Hulu or Netflix which have to enter into costly negotiations and pay huge licensing fees for content, Aereo streams basic HD TV, much like you can get on an Over the Air Antenna. The company is able to skirt that expense by pulling a little old school trickery. For every customer who signs up, Aereo operates a separate HD antenna just for them. You’re essentially paying for mobility and cloud storage, the ability to watch TV on any gadget you want, anywhere you have data.

Unsurprisingly, TV networks aren’t thrilled with this business model, and you can imagine the courtroom battles taking place over who owns what, and how content can be distributed. The most recent salvo is a copyright dispute, and leading up to the trial broadcasters filed an injunction to pull the plug on Aereo.

aereo_logoThis morning Boston Judge Nathaniel Gorton refused to grant the injunction, saying in his ruling that Aereo better resembled a DVR, and that Aereo did not resemble other services which illegally rebroadcast content. When elaborating on claims that this service was financially harming broadcasters, Judge Gorton acknowledged that Aereo could pose a long term threat to traditional distribution, but that it didn’t appear to be causing any such harm currently.

Aereo is free to continue operating leading up to the trial, and then there will be another fight to help define the boundaries of digital media and distribution. It’s clear that consumers are increasingly looking for alternatives to their current relationships with carriers and broadcasters.

Read the full court transcript after the jump.

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