Categories
Apple First Impression Information

Using the Apple Vision Pro in Kuwait

This past weekend I picked up the Apple Vision Pro and since then I’ve been using it daily, mostly exploring it and trying to figure out what to do with it.

First things first, if you’re planning to pick up an Apple Vision Pro in Kuwait, you need to know that you won’t be able to pick the proper sized light seal. Before purchasing the AVP from the Apple Store, they ask you to scan your face so they could recommend the proper light seal. You can do that through the Apple Store app and according to the scan, I needed a size 21W. If you’re buying an AVP from the grey market, there is no way to know what size light seal you’re getting since Apple doesn’t mention the size on the outside of the box. So it depends on your luck, I ended up with the light seal size 33W which was what Apple recommended for my wife. It doesn’t fit well on my face but I’m dealing with it till my light seal arrives. I got a brand new one off eBay for $150 but Apple sells them for $199. So just something to keep in mind.

Secondly, the AVP prices in Kuwait are quite a bit cheaper than Apple prices in the US. The cheapest price I found locally was 999KD at Best Electronics. In comparison, it costs around 1,160KD in the States with tax, but without shipping to Kuwait. Expect to pay around 20-30KD on top of that to ship to Kuwait since the box is pretty heavy. But then again, if you don’t end up with the correct light seal size you’ll have to pay for that, but it would still be cheaper to buy it locally and you’ll end up having an extra light seal.

Other than that, if you already have a US Apple Store account which I assume everyone already has, then you’re pretty much set. If you have a Kuwait Apple Store account it won’t work in the AVP since the AVP is only available in the US at the moment. If you want to use streaming services like Disney and Max, you also need a smart DNS proxy. Disney Kuwait won’t work (uses app from Kuwait store) and I don’t think there is a VPN option on the AVP, but smart DNS is easier to set up anyway.

My first impression of the AVP? It’s difficult to explain. I love it, it’s definitely the future, but if you’re asking me if you should get one, then the answer is no. If you already got one or are planning to get one, then you made the right decision. It’s confusing I know but if you already decided on the AVP it’s most likely for the same reason as me, to be there at the start of what I think is the future, and not because it’s worth getting one now.

It’s such an incredible device, using it and doing things with it is like nothing else I’ve experienced, so much so that I keep wanting to share my experience with someone else. That’s what’s also so weird about the AVP, it’s such a solo device but yet the experiences are ones you want to share with others. I’ve been constantly annoying my wife asking her to put on the AVP so I could let her experience various things I got to experience.

I will have to do a proper review of the device, but right now I’ve mostly been using it for two things, watching TV and playing ToXun. ToXun is a game that randomly puts you somewhere on Earth in Google Street View, and you need to guess where you are in the world. It’s pretty difficult but I’ve been quite good at guessing at least which country I’m in.

Watching TV on the other hand is just a really really incredible experience. For one thing, you can now have a TV anywhere. I have just one TV by choice in my apartment, but with the AVP I can now set up a large Cinescape movie theater anywhere I want in my place. I’ve watched a variety of content so far from simple TV shows to what Apple calls Immersive Videos. I’m not sure how to describe immersive video because until I experienced it I hadn’t experienced anything like it anywhere. Imagine a super large Imax screen that towers above and below you but is also in 3D. Actually, I don’t think that describes it properly. Imagine, you’re standing inside the film watching, that’s what these videos feel like. There aren’t many of them but my favorite is called Adventure and takes place up high in the mountains where a female climber sets up a high line to cross over a cliff. It’s really well shot, the 3D scenes make me feel like I’m right there, and anywhere I look I see beautiful views. They’re not 360 videos, but they do wrap around your peripheral vision.

But your regular 3D movies look great as well. I was never a fan of 3D movies because of the glasses you had to wear and how they darkened the screen. With the AVP they’re much much better. I watched the movie Gravity last night in 3D inside my theater and it was incredible, I felt like I was up there with them in space.

So far the AVP has been a great experience. I just ordered a compact carrying case for it from Waterfield in case I want to travel with it and use it on the plane. Not sure I’d be comfortable doing that just yet, but will see how it goes.

If there is anything specific you want to know or want me to try out, let me know in the comments.

Categories
Television

How to Watch House of the Dragon in Kuwait

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan then you probably already know that yesterday the first episode of the GOT prequel House of the Dragon was released. I watched the first episode last night and it was amazing and I can’t wait for the rest of the season to play out. If you haven’t watched Game of Thrones that’s fine, you can still watch House of the Dragon since it’s a prequel and so you don’t need to have watched GOT to understand whats going on.

I watched House of the Dragon on HBO Max on my AppleTV using a smart DNS service. I’ve posted about this service before but I’ll explain it again for those of you who missed my previous posts. Smart DNS works like a VPN into making the streaming services think you’re living in the US. But, unlike VPNs, setting up a smart DNS service is easier and it’s not something you need to turn on and off all the time. It also doesn’t slow down your internet connection.

You need two things to start streaming House of the Dragon, a smart DNS, and a HBO Max subscription.

Smart DNS
If you have an Apple TV or a Smart TV, setting up smart DNS is as simple as going into your settings menu and adding some numbers. I use a DNS service from Smart DNS Proxy (affiliate link) and it allows me to stream from any of the services including Showtime, HBO, Huly, Paramount, Dinsney and more. They also provide easy step by step guides on how to set up the DNS service on your Apple TV and other devices. I’ve been using them for a few years and never ran into issues with them. A full year subscription costs my $18. Link

HBO Max Subscription
Subscribing to HBO Max or other US streaming services is also really simple as long as you do it through your Apple device. If you have an iPhone you might also have a US Apple Store account. An easy way to know if you have a US or Kuwait Apple Store account is how you pay for your apps and subscriptions. Is your Kuwaiti credit card connected to your Apple account? Or do you buy Apple cards and recharge your account that way? If it’s the latter then you probably have a US account. In that case, you need to subscribe to the streaming services either through your phone or other iOS devices. That way the subscription will be deducted from your Apple account and you won’t have to use a US credit card to pay.

That’s pretty much it. If you have any questions let me know in the comments.

Categories
Automotive Sports Television

Watching Formula 1 in Kuwait (2022 Edition)

Every couple of years I post an update on the easiest way to watch Formula 1 and this year has gotten a tad bit easier because there is now an F1 TV app for the Apple TV. F1 TV is the best way to watch Formula 1 since it’s their official streaming app and has a lots of great features and F1 content. The only issue is that it doesn’t work in Kuwait, but there is a way to get around that.

Firstly, you need to get an F1 TV Pro subscription. You can’t use your credit card because it won’t accept Kuwait based cards so you’re going to need an Apple device and have a US Apple Store account. If you have those two then can subscribe to F1 TV from inside the F1 TV app and pay for the subscription using your Apple Store account.

The biggest change over my previous post is the F1 TV app for Apple TV. You don’t even need a VPN if you already use SmartDNS to access streaming services like HBO, Hulu, Disney etc. If you don’t have SmartDNS then you need to get one, I use Smart DNS Proxy (affiliate link) and it’s around $5 a month.

Once you have your SmartDNS set up, it’s just a matter of launching the app whenever there is a race and you’re set. Easy.

Categories
Television

Shows to Binge Watch this Holiday

A lot of people are traveling this holiday now that PCR tests are no longer needed but if you’re staying put and are looking for some shows to watch, here are a few I recently finished watching:

Euphoria
I already posted about Euphoria last year but season 2 is out now and somehow they’ve managed to make the show even better. Season 2 Episode 3 is probably one of my favorite top 10 episodes from any show of all time and the whole series is a must-watch. If you find yoga offensive, skip this show. Euphoria is on HBO Max.

The Shrink Next Door
I didn’t really like this show that much but I’m putting it here since when I was stuck at home with Covid I killed a lot of time by binge-watching this series. The Shrink Next Door stars Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd and is based on a true story. It’s available to stream on AppleTV+

The Book of Boba Fett
Is it me or are the shows based on the Star Wars movies actually better than the movies themselves? First, it was The Mandalorian and now The Book of Boba Fett. Even if you’ve never watched any of the Star Wars film you’ll still really enjoy this series as long as you’re into scifi. You’re going to need Disney+ to watch it though.

And Just Like That…
Quick confession, I was always a huge fan of Sex and the City but mostly because of the character Mr. Big played by Chris Noth. And Just Like That… surprisingly was fun to watch, not too cringy and somehow relatable. The girls have all grown up, they have families now and we get to watch them adulting while they also try to be their old selves. This show is streaming on HBO Max.

City on a Hill
If you’re a fan of detective shows like The Wire, you’ll enjoy this a lot. The first season was better than the second season but was still good to watch. City on a Hill is produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon while starring Kevin Bacon in one of his best roles yet. If you’re my age you’ll also recognize a bunch of actors from old shows like Rescue Me, The Sopranos, and of course, The Wire. Really easy to binge watch and it’s also streaming on HBO Max.

Dexter: New Blood
As a huge fan of Dexter, I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy this reboot but I just finished it last night, and shit, that was a pretty great series. Except for the last episode that is. No spoilers but I didn’t think it made sense, and going by the reviews online it seems nobody else liked the last episode either. To watch Dexter: New Blood you need to subscribe to Showtime.

If you don’t know how to stream the shows, it’s pretty simple. You need to sign up to a smart DNS service first (easier than a VPN). I use Smart DNS Proxy (affiliate link) and they have step by step guides on how to set it up on your system (I use Apple TV). I then subscribe to all the networks through my Apple TV using my US Apple account.

Categories
Television

Must Watch TV: The Great British Bake Off

A friend of mine mentioned The Great British Bake Off over dinner a couple of weeks back and that same night I found it on Netflix and watched the first episode. Since then I’ve been binge watching the whole series every night until I finally finished watching all the seasons that were available on Netflix. It’s now probably one of my favorite food related shows right up there with Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (not to be confused with the American version Kitchen Nightmares).

The Great British Bake Off is an amateur baking competition which starts with 12 contestants and then every episode one person leaves until you finally have a winner. What I love about this show is how super chill it is. Unlike the majority of the American competitive shows, there’s no dramatic music, heavy editing or any forced drama at all. Anyone who has watched the UK version of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and then the US version would know what I’m talking about. The humor on the show is great and the two judges and the two hosts are really entertaining. Even the personalities of all the competing bakers are usually interesting, quirky or funny.

But there’s one major issue with the show. Ever since I’ve started watching it I’ve also started craving and eating so much dessert. All I’ve been doing the past two weeks is either trying to bake myself, or going from one bakery to another looking for interesting bread, pastries, pies or cake to get. On more than one occasion I put an episode on pause and then walked down to the Paul near my home to get some bread or pastries. The other night at 10PM I actually drove all the way to Avenues just to pick up some stuff from a bakery over there. Thats why I was trying to get through the show as quickly as I can, just so I could stop pigging out and go back to eating healthy again.

So if you’re into food shows and haven’t watched this show already then you should. Just be warned that you’ll probably put on weight doing so. The show is available on Netflix US to stream but not on the Kuwait. I use Smart DNS Proxy to get Netflix US working here and you can get more info on that at this [Link]

Categories
Information Movies Television

Netflix US Working Again in Kuwait

I stopped using Netflix awhile back since the US version stopped working with my DNS Proxy provider and the Kuwait version lacked all the real estate reality shows I enjoy watching (like Beachfront Bargain Hunt). But recently, my DNS provider Smart DNS Proxy fixed the issue and Netflix US has started working again in Kuwait. According to their support page dating September 30th:

We have restored Netflix for many of our users and are working on getting everyone back ASAP. If you see a “United States 01-10” region here, give it a try! Browsers should work without any other changes, devices may need static routes setup.

So there you have it, if you want to use the US version of Netflix in Kuwait you can now do so again. It’s $4.99 a month for the proxy account and you can get it [Link]

Update: There seems to be a bit of confusion regarding Netflix US vs Netflix Kuwait. If you aren’t using a proxy, then you’re accessing Netflix Kuwait. It doesn’t matter if you have a Netflix US account with a US credit card, if you’re in Kuwait you’ll automatically access Netflix Kuwait. Netflix Kuwait and Netflix US look exactly the same, but the Netflix Kuwait library is a lot smaller. Here is a simple test to tell which Netflix you have. Search for the show “Lakefront Bargain Hunt”. If you have Netflix US it will show up, if you have Netflix Kuwait it will tell you not found.

Categories
Movies Television

How to get Netflix USA working in Kuwait

For those of you who’ve been using some sort of VPN or proxy service to access the US version of Netflix you’ve probably realized that’s no longer working. Since Netflix has started cracking down on VPN and proxy users a lot of the services stopped working with Netflix. I was personally using StrongDNS and later moved to OverPlay but both now stopped working with Netflix. But after a bit of research and trial and error, I did find one provider which worked with Netflix, Smart DNS Proxy.

They have a page up with the necessary steps you need to take to get Netflix to work with their service. I’ve been using it for a week now and even though it’s slightly buggy it’s been working for me. Basically by buggy I mean sometimes when I want to play a video it gives me an error that I can’t because I’m using a proxy. But after pressing play a few times the warning disappears and the video starts playing. Just an update, the service is working perfectly and it’s now a lot easier to set up. And yes it works with HBO, Hulu and Amazon Video as well.

Smart DNS Proxy costs the same as the other providers which is $4.99 a month but a few days after I signed up to the free trial I got an email offering me a discounted rate and I ended up paying basically $20 for a year which is pretty cheap. So if you’re looking for a DNS service that works with Netflix USA, these are the guys I’m using right now. [Link]

Categories
Information

Watching Formula 1 in Kuwait (2023 Edition)

I just got back from watching Formula 1 in Bahrain and honestly, I always found it super boring watching the races live. You only watch an F1 race live for the experience, not the actual race since while you’re at the track you’re really only watching a corner or two of the race.

My favorite way to watch Formula 1 is through the official F1 TV app. It’s really the best way to watch F1 since you get to watch all the practice sessions, post-race shows, and of course the qualifications and races. For the races, you get to choose between two different English commentary teams as well as have access to multiple cameras and race data. The subscription costs around $80 for the whole year which isn’t bad if you’re an F1 fan.

Technically, Kuwait isn’t a supported country in the app, but there is a way to get around that.

Firstly, you need to get an F1 TV Pro subscription. You can’t use your credit card to subscribe because it won’t accept Kuwait-based cards so you’re going to need an Apple device and a US Apple Store account. If you have those two then can subscribe to F1 TV from inside the F1 TV app and pay for the subscription using your Apple account.

The second thing you need is a VPN or a SmartDNS service, similar to the ones you use to access streaming services like HBO, Hulu, etc. I prefer using SmartDNS since it’s super easy to set up on the Apple TV. I get mine from smartdnsproxy.com (affiliate link) and it costs me around $5 a month.

Once you have your SmartDNS set up, it’s just a matter of launching the app whenever there is a race and you’re set. Easy.

Categories
Television

Disney+ Early Bird Offer

Currently, if you want to watch Disney+ you need to use either a SmartDNS or VPN service but in 30 days’ time, Disney+ will officially launch in our region. Starting June 8th you will be able to access and sign up to Disney+ in Kuwait using your local credit card and stream their shows and movies without requiring a DNS or VPN service.

Personally, I only use Disney+ to watch The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett so I tend to subscribe to watch the new seasons, and then cancel my subscription once the season is done. But, I know parents who like Disney+ for their kids, so if you have kids you might like it too.

Right now Disney+ has an early bird offer, if you subscribe to the service from now till June 19th, you can get a year’s worth of Disney+ for the price of 8 months which is $71.50 (22KD). It’s not much cheaper than the US subscription which is $79.99 a year, but their monthly subscription is $7.99 while ours is going to be $8.99. I think our price is more expensive because they’re including some shows from Hulu like The Kardashians and How I Met Your Father, but don’t quote me on this.

If you want to sign up, head over to disneyplus.com

Categories
Television

Must Watch: Foundation

Foundation just came out last week it’s so good! If you’re into sci-fi and are looking for a new epic series to watch, get AppleTV+ and start watching Foundation, only two episodes are out and a new one will be released every week so you can catch up pretty quickly.

If you don’t know how to get AppleTV+ working, I pay for the service with Apple Store cards I buy from Xcite and I use SmartDNS to trick AppleTV into thinking I’m in the US (Same for Hulu, HBO etc.).

Categories
Television

Now Streaming: Discovery+

At the start of the curfew, one of the things I did was sign up to Discovery+. Since I watch so much TV I had pretty much already gone through all the content I wanted to watch on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, Disney and AppleTV+. Desperately needing new content to watch I found out about Discovery+ which at just $4.99 a month (with ads) seemed like a good deal. Two weeks in and I love it!

Discovery+ is the perfect background TV content with tons of great shows (the above is my list). The subscription gives you access to content from A&E, History Channel, Food Network, HGTV, Discovery, TLC, and more. If you’re a fan of House Hunters like me then you get access to all variations of the show in addition to a House Hunters channel that is live and just plays one episode of House Hunters after another… indefinitely. Thanks to Discovery+ I now know living on an island or in the Alaskan wilderness is not for me.

If you want to access Discovery+ you need to use a VPN or what I recommend, a SmartDNS service. I also purchased the subscription through the US Apple Store so no US credit card needed. If you want to sign up start off with the $4.99 membership and if you like the service and want an ad-free experience, you can then upgrade (it’s $6.99 a month). That’s what I did and I think it’s worth it.

Categories
Automotive Television

Watching Formula 1 in Kuwait (2019)

Yesterday the second Formula 1 race of the season took place and I’ve been getting questions by people asking me how I’m watching it. The answer is simple, I’m watching the races on F1 TV, the question of how is a bit more complicated.

Early last month BeIN decided not to renew their F1 broadcast rights and instead MBC picked up the rights. You can now watch Formula 1 live for free on MBC Action but there are two main issues, the broadcast is in Arabic and there doesn’t seem to be a way to stream the races for people like me who don’t have satellite TV. That also means you can’t watch the races on your phone.

Last year Formula 1 launched their own channel called F1 TV where for $9.99 a month you can stream the race weekends live as well as watch older races from their archive. Technically F1 TV doesn’t work in Kuwait but since I have a US-based credit card, I was able to subscribe and then watch the races over a VPN. It worked for a short while last year, and then F1 TV got strict and started blocking VPN’s, but my internet connection was also an issue since it wasn’t fast enough to stream properly through VPN. So last year I ended up giving up on F1 TV and had to go back to the BeIN digital service which I didn’t like. Since BeIN was out of the picture this year, I decided to try F1 TV again, and my experience this time around has been much better.

This time around my internet is a lot faster since I signed up to Zain Beam last month (for those wondering, I’m still getting a stable 30Mbps download speed with Beam). I also changed my VPN service from StrongVPN to SmartDNSProxy and so far, F1 TV hasn’t blocked a single stream. The F1 TV service has also been polished up since they first launched and there doesn’t seem to be any weird streaming issues (like their stream crashing at the start of the race). I also discovered a cool trick the other day where if I use my TV as a second monitor, I could use one browser tab to stream the race on my TV and then use the laptop screen with another browser tab open to a live race data stream or a driver cockpit view. And on top of all this, I’ve also been able to stream the race on my mobile phone using the F1 app.

So if you want to watch Formula 1 in Kuwait, your only options (at the time of this post) is MBC Action or F1 TV if you have a foreign credit card.

Categories
Automotive Geek Television

F1 TV in Kuwait Update

In my last post on accessing F1 TV in Kuwait, I wrote about how you can access it if you used a VPN and that it would probably start working with SmartDNS soon. Well two weeks later and my prediction came true, F1 TV now works in Kuwait using Smart DNS!

You no longer need to use a VPN which in my case improved streaming speed considerably. I’ve only tried it with my smartdnsproxy.com service (the same one I use for Netflix, HBO, Hulu, etc..) so not sure if it works with another provider. [Link]

Categories
Automotive Information Television

F1 TV Access in Kuwait

There are a lot of companies or brands I don’t like, and only a very few I really really dislike or hate. To get me to really hate you would take a lot of effort (suing me is one way *cough* Benihana *cough*), and somehow beIN have managed to really piss me off. I’m not going to spend a lot of time dwelling on this but to summarize, I only use them to stream Formula 1 races, and when I’ve run into problems, they had extremely horrible customer service. But, I finally found another way to legally (kinda) watch the F1 races… F1 TV.

Before I continue, yes I am aware there are multiple ways to stream the F1 races illegally. Personally, I always try to go the as legal way possible route, unless I hit a wall and then I resort to piracy.

If you’re a Formula 1 fan and you follow the news, you might be aware that Formula 1 just launched F1 TV. Depending on where you reside, you’ll be able to subscribe to F1 TV and have access to their full archive of races as well as being able to stream their current races live via their website.

F1 TV in Kuwait
Kuwait sadly isn’t one of the countries where F1 TV will work. I think that has to do with the agreement F1 have with beIN but since beIN is so buggy, I had to find a way to get F1 TV working in Kuwait and I managed to do just that. To get F1 TV working in Kuwait you need two things:

– VPN with an American server
– Credit card issued by an American bank

The first is easy to get, there are hundreds of options available online and my guess is that pretty soon you’ll also be able to use smartDNS to access F1 TV like we do to get access to US Netflix and Hulu. The credit card on the other hand is much harder to get. I got mine while vacationing in the States but I think there are ways of getting one online although I haven’t tried them. Once you’ve got these two things you can just subscribe to F1 TV and get access.

What’s F1 TV Like?
There are two F1 TV packages, F1 TV Access, and F1 TV Pro. Access doesn’t allow you to stream the races live but with the Pro package you can. If you pay month by month, Access is $3 a month while Pro is $12. If you sign up for a year then the prices drop down considerably with Pro coming to $8 a month, the same price beIN charge for one day access.

This past race was the first time F1 TV went live and it was super buggy. It was so bad that F1 TV sent out an apology and a refund because they weren’t able to cope with the load this past weekend. But, thats fine, it was their first weekend live and nobody was expecting them to be perfect.

When it did work though the service was spectacular, more than anything beIN could offer or any other channel for the matter.

– During practice, qualifications and the race you get access to the cameras inside every single car. So if you’re a Verstappen fan, you can choose to view the camera in his car, and then watch him race until he crashes into something.

– During practice, qualifications and the race you get access to different audio channels. When watching the main stream you can choose to listen to commentary in different languages, or you can choose not to have any commentary at all and just have car sounds. While watching the race from inside the car of your favorite driver, you get an additional option of being able to listen to the team radio.

– With F1 TV you get access to 68 seasons of races! SIXTY EIGHT seasons of Formula 1 racing, that’s just insane. Last night I was rewatching the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix when half the cars crashed at turn one of the race. I then watched a documentary on one of my favorite drivers of all time, Mika Häkkinen. Even if F1 TV didn’t include the archive, I would have easily forked out $8 a month just to stream the races live. The fact that they’ve included so much content with this $8 is an incredible bonus.

As you can tell, I’m very excited about F1 TV. If you’re an F1 fan and have any questions about the service let me know. There are some negatives right now with F1 TV including the lack of an Apple TV app being one. Currently I’m using the browser on my iPad to watch F1 TV which is annoying, but they only properly launched a few days ago so they’re still super busy working out all the kinks and I’m expecting them to launch an app soon. Things will only keep getting better from this point onwards.

Categories
Movies Television

Amazon Prime Video Now Available in Kuwait

Last week Amazon announced that Amazon Prime Video was officially available in more than 200 countries… including Kuwait. I had previously assumed that there was no country restrictions since I was using Amazon Prime Video anyway, but I guess there was. Amazon Prime Video if you haven’t heard of it before is similar to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. They have a ton of popular shows and movies available on the network (like all 8 seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm), but they also have a bunch of great exclusive content like The Grand Tour and my favorite, The Man in the High Castle. If you already have an Amazon Prime account then you already have access to Amazon Prime Video (and Music), but if you don’t then the monthly subscription to Amazon Prime Video is just $2.99.

I use Amazon’s FireStick to stream Prime Video onto my TV but there are multiple ways of watching including using your browser. For more details, check out this [Link]

Update: If you use the Kuwait version of Amazon Prime Video a lot of the content will be restricted similar to how Netflix restricts content based on geographic locations. To get around this you need a DNS proxy and I personally use smartdnsproxy.com