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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Chasing Classic Cars in Kuwait

Post by Mark


[YouTube]

Here are two videos taken from the Chasing Classic Cars Discovery show when they visited Kuwait during last year’s Concours.


[YouTube]

As you can see, the Concours d’Elegance attracts some of the biggest names in the automotive industry and really puts Kuwait in the limelight.


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Kuwait TV Filler

Post by Mark

kuwait tv – fillers presentation from infofillers© on Vimeo.

Looks good but if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?


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Louis CK – Live!

Post by Mark

I just got back from watching Louis CK live at Beacon Theater here in New York. As part of the New York Comedy Festival, Louis CK had 3 shows and I managed to score tickets for his 3rd and last one. I’m a HUGE fan of his so watching him live was such a cool and unreal experience. Most of the time it actually felt like I’m watching him on TV which was very odd. He’s super funny and I can’t believe I just finished watching him live!

If you haven’t watched any of his shows you need to do so. First watch his HBO hit Lucky Louie and then watch his current show called just Louie.


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Captioning OSN – Let’s Have English Subtitles

Post by Mark

I first heard about close captioning when I was living in Canada back in the early 90s since practically every station had it. Close captioning was created for the deaf community or hard of hearing individuals to help them understand what’s going on on TV. It’s a button on the remote you press to turn on and off and when on you can see subtitles on the screen along with sound descriptions. Turns out the system isn’t used here and so someone just started a campaign to try and push OSN to implement it. This is their aim taken from their Facebook page:

To urge OSN (Orbit Showtime Network) in speeding up the process of incorporating English subtitles in all OSN channels (whether the broadcasts are in English or Arabic) so that everyone – deaf, hard of hearing and hearing people – can have a better experience.

I’m surprised OSN don’t already have close captioning since they’re on the cutting edge of technology so I hope they listen and implement it soon. To support this campaign and for information on how you can help check out their Facebook page [Here]

On a side note they have a pretty cool campaign page with pre-written emails you can send with a click of a button and lots of information among other things. All campaign pages should be like this.


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Shows I’m loving and hating right now

Post by Mark

Loving
Parks and Recreation
The Office
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Modern Family
The Walking Dead
American Dad
Homeland
Boss
Party Down

Enjoying
American Horror Story
The Ultimate Fighter
American Chopper Senior vs Junior
House (barely on this list)
Family Guy
Chasing Classic Cars
Up All Night

Watching when I have nothing else to watch
Pan Am
90210
Terra Nova
Dexter
The Simpsons
Cleavland Show
Falling Skies
Kitchen Nightmares

Bored of and hating
Grey’s Anatomy
Desperate Housewives
Persons of Interest
How I met your mother
Hawaii Five-O
CSI (all of them)
Rules of Engagement

Still need to watch or get back into
Bored to Death
Wilfred
It’s always sunny in Philadelphia
How to make it in America
Friday Night Lights

Not a fan of
Fringe
The Big Bang Theory
Two and a half men
Supernatural
Community

Note: This is a list of current shows I’m watching or are running which is why you won’t find Louie, Entourage, Mad Men, Weeds, True Blood, Game of Thrones, Eastbound And Down, Suits etc..


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Wham! Bam! Islam!

Post by Mark

A documentary on Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, the Kuwaiti psychologist who created The 99 comic books is going to premier in the States on PBS next Thursday October 13th. This is the description of the documentary taken from the Wham! Bam! Islam! website:

WHAM! BAM! ISLAM! tells the story of Naif Al-Mutawa and his venture to create the first team of superheroes from the Muslim world called THE 99. Following the tumultuous journey of THE 99 from concept to reality, from acclaim to censure by Islam’s cultural gatekeepers, from the edge of bankruptcy to plans for theme parks and an animation series, Al-Mutawa dodges cultural minefields and tries to tackle the harsh realities of the global marketplace while doggedly pursuing his vision to bring new heroes to Muslim children while re-introducing Islam to the West.

I’m not sure if the documentary will be available to download after the release or if it will even be available as a stream online. Once I find out how we can watch it I’ll update this post with more information. For now, here is the link to the Wham! Bam! Islam! website [Link]


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Don Draper Pitches Facebook Timeline

Post by Mark

If you don’t watch Mad Men you won’t get this. [YouTube]


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Pan Am

Post by Mark

There are a bunch of new shows starting this season and so far from the ones I’ve watched I found Pan Am to be the most interesting. The show is about the airline Pan Am during it’s prime back in the 60’s and it’s starring Christina Ricci as one of the airlines glamorous flight attendants.

To me the show is very similar to Mad Men but instead of it dealing with advertising its about the airline industry and like Mad Men, watching it makes me want to go back in time and live in the 60s.

The other new shows I’ve watched so far and haven’t liked are Person of Interest and Up All Night. If you want to watch Pan Am you can do so directly on the ABC website and for free. Just make sure you’re using a VPN so it thinks you’re living in the US. [Link]


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Suits

Post by Mark

I’ve got a bunch of shows I’m currently enjoying but my favorite has to be Suits. If you read the description it won’t sound exciting but it’s really a great show about two lawyers but it’s nothing like regular lawyer shows. Check out the trailer below.


[YouTube]

Not sure if it’s being aired on Showtime but it’s available in the iTunes Store and on Hulu.


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