The X Factor Coming to Kuwait

Post by Mark

I’m not a fan of The X Factor but for those of you who are you might be interested to know they will be coming to Kuwait to hold auditions on November 30th at Courtyard by Marriott Hotel starting at 8AM. If you’re interested in trying out check out The X Factor Arabia website for more details [Here]

On the other hand I’d love to try out for the Fear Factor if they ever bring that to the Arab world.

Thanks Rayboy

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Big Meets Bigger

Post by Mark

The BBC show Big Meets Bigger came to Kuwait a couple of years back and when the episode was finally aired it was uploaded online to the BBC website but no one outside the UK could watch it. Today though someone uploaded the video onto YouTube and it’s now finally available for everyone to watch. The episode is divded into four parts, the first part is above and I’ve listed the rest below.

Big Meets Bigger – Kuwait 1
Big Meets Bigger – Kuwait 2
Big Meets Bigger – Kuwait 3
Big Meets Bigger – Kuwait 4

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The Syrian from Spartacus

Post by Mark

Interesting tidbit, the charactar Ashur who they call “the Syrian” on the TV series Spartacus (and who is probably the most hated character on the show) used to live in Kuwait back in the 80s. His real name is Emad Tarabay. I tried to get more details like what school he attended but he wouldn’t share any details with me.

Update: I am aware Emad is originally Lebanese, but on the show they call him “the Syrian”.

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Tru:Blood Factory Exploded in Kuwait

Post by Mark

The explosion didn’t actually happen in real life but on the latest episode of the popular TV show True Blood. According to the show there are only 5 factories in the world that produce the synthetic blood beverage “Tru:Blood” and one of them was located in Kuwait. I guess Kuwait found a profitable alternative to oil.

Thanks D’nG

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OSN Play for the iPad

Post by Mark

I just found out from Jacqui that OSN have released an iPad App for their OSN Play service. OSN Play allows you to stream movies and tv shows on the go and now with the iPad App you’ll be able to stream the content onto your iPad wherever you are in the Middle East. It’s perfect timing with the olympics currently taking place.

But I can’t get the App to work for some odd reason. I logged into my account but whenever I try to stream anything I get the error “You’ve now registered the maximum number of devices for this account.” I have no idea what that means but I’m hoping its a technical issue from their side that will be worked out soon.

If you’re an OSN subscriber you automatically have free access to OSN Play and you can download the App from [Here]

Update: Turns out every time you log in to OSN Play from a different computer it adds that computer as a device. You can have maximum two devices which I already have which is why I couldn’t get OSN Play to work on the iPad. There is a workaround without having to remove an already added device. OSN Play allows you to have other members in the house create sub accounts so I just created a second account for myself and this should solve the problem.

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Game of Thrones vs مسلسل عمر

Post by Mark

مسلسل عمر

Check out both intros.

Game of Thrones

Thanks Mbahrani

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Watch The 99 on Yahoo this Ramadan

Post by Mark

The 99 comic book has now turned into an animated series which will be broadcasted exclusively online this Ramadan on Yahoo. Firstly just to be clear I’m a huge fan of The 99 concept and a very big supporter of the creator Naif Al-Mutawa. I really love how a local idea turned into a worldwide sensation and it goes to show how success can be achieved even if you live in tiny little dusty Kuwait.

But, I’m not sure what to make of this Yahoo deal. Does anyone in our region watch TV online? Watching a one minute video on YouTube of a cute cat playing the keyboard is one thing but watching a full 30 minute animation on Yahoo is another. I would much rather have had the animated series launch on a satellite channel or even YouTube. Right now I can’t even embed The 99 trailer into this post because Yahoo doesn’t seem to have that feature. Check out the announcement and trailer on Yahoo over [Here]

Update: According to Alarabiya it’s also going to be broadcasted on MBC3. Now that makes sense, not sure why Yahoo would say they have the exclusivity when they don’t. [Link]

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Three shows you should be watching right now

Post by Mark

Veep is a new comedy from HBO starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elain from Seinfeld) and Tony Hale (Buster from Arrested Development). Julia is the vice president of the United States of American and she’s surrounded by a team of dimwit advisors. Super funny. [IMDB]

It’s a sci-fi thriller and a good one which is a rare find these days. The show takes place in two timelines, 2077 and 2012. Without ruining the story too much, a few terrorists from the future end up making their way to 2012 and a female detective accidentally ends up in the past with them. They want to change the future and she’s trying to stop them. [IMDB]

Honestly I thought this was going to be a lame drama about a single father trying to take care of his disabled kid and the only reason I considered watching it is because the father is Kiefer Sutherland (Jack Bauer from 24). But, after watching the pilot episode I’m so hooked on this show. It’s nothing like I expected it to be and if you loved the movie Magnolia you’re so going to love the pilot. [IMDB]

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OSN Play – Just like Hulu

Post by Mark

I found out about this yesterday and it completely caught me by surprise. OSN now has their own version of Hulu! If you’re an OSN customer you can register and sign up on their website and then stream movies and tv shows online. How cool is that?

You don’t watch the shows live instead they’re on-demand similar to Hulu. You find the show you want and just start watching it. Right now they have a pretty good collection of content online and I’m sure their library is going to grow with time as well.

I didn’t have any streaming problems and the interface is pretty good with the ability to watch the videos in full screen mode or in a window. You can also turn subtitles on and off for those that need it.

The funny thing is I’m used to watching videos on Hulu using a US based VPN but if you do that with OSN Play you’ll be turned away in a similar way Kuwait internet users get turned away from Hulu.

So try it out, it’s very easy to register just make sure you have the code from your OSN card with you. Here is a link to their website [Link]

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Trying out CABLiTV

Post by Mark

CABLiTV is a local business that recently launched with the aim of bringing American television channels to the Gulf. A couple of weeks ago they contacted me asking if I would be interested in trying out their service and I agreed. I’ve now been using their service on and off since then and here’s my thoughts on it.

First just a bit of simplified information on how their service works. CABLiTV get a cable and internet subscription in the States, they connect a Slingbox to their cable box and then stream the video feed online. You can then access the video stream in Kuwait and anywhere else in the world via a Slingbox player. It’s not a new service but they’re the first one’s I know of that are based in the GCC.

The amount of American channels CABLiTV provides is bewildering. Their smallest package consists of around 210 American channels while their most premium package consists of over 285. There are a whole range of standard channels to choose from like Fox, NBC, ABC, SyFy, etc.. and depending on the package you choose you could also have access to premium channels like HBO and Showtime.

So you’ve got all these channels but how do you view them? Well you can access your channels using your web browser which is probably the easiest but also my least favorite way. You can also access the channels via the Slingbox Player on mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, BlackBerry, Android phones and tablets, Windows Mobile etc.. which is more interesting than the browser but still doesn’t feel natural to me. The best way to access your CABLiTV account is using either a Boxee (pictured below) or a Logitech Revue since both these devices connect directly to your television. That way it feels like you’re watching proper television instead of feeling like you’re streaming a video off of YouTube.

Unlike OSN and ART, you don’t need to install a satellite dish on the roof to get these channels. All you need is an internet connection albeit a pretty fast one depending on the resolution you’re trying to stream. With my 10Mbps WiMD connection at home I sometimes managed to stream in full HD but majority of the times I would watch using the setting “Best” which is the second best setting and provides a pretty sharp picture. The slower the connection the lower the resolution but once you get past the middle setting of “Good” the picture becomes good enough for small screens like the iPhone or Blackberry while looking pretty pixelated on larger screens.

The idea of getting all these American channels to your home here in Kuwait is great but there are two downsides for me. The first which can easily be solved is you need a decent internet connection. The faster the connection the better the video quality you get and the more chance the video will stay stable while you’re downloading other things over the internet. The second issue I have is with the subscription price. Their most affordable package is KD578 a year which comes out to around KD48 a month while their most expensive package goes for KD770 a year which is KD64 a month. I’m sure there are a lot of costs involved in providing this service but it still comes out a lot to the end user and although I would love to have this service it wouldn’t replace my iTunes AppleTV account, nor would it replace my OSN subscription. So in the end I’m still going to pay for those services and then at least another KD48 on top of that for these channels.

Cost aside I do love the idea of this service. If you’re interested to find out more about what they have to offer you can visit the CABLiTV website where they also offer a free trial account. Check them out [Here]

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