25 06, 2019

The Jump to 4K

2019-06-25T09:20:40+03:00Jun 25, 2019|42 Comments

Recently I decided to upgrade my TV life to 4K. It wasn’t something I planned for, I was at Xcite picking up something and decided to take a walk in the TV aisle and got amazed at how sharp the footage was on their 4K TV’s. Since Amazon Video, Netflix and YouTube now support 4K, I decided I might as well get a new 4K capable TV. I ended up with the Samsung NU8000, it cost me around KD260 for the 55″ which is pretty reasonable compared to some other TVs.

So what I didn’t know about upgrading to 4K was that I’d need to upgrade a whole bunch of other things as well to get 4K working. At first, I thought I could just upgrade my Apple TV to the new 4K version and that would be it, but then I found out my sound system receiver which I plug everything into wasn’t 4K compatible. So I had to go out and buy a new AV receiver that was also 4K compatible. Then I found out that my HDMI cables also weren’t 4K compatible (surprisingly 4K HDMI cables aren’t a marketing gimmick!). So I had to go back out and buy new 4K capable HDMI cables. In the end, to get 4K working at home I had to buy a new TV, new Apple TV, a new AV receiver, two new HDMI cables and then on top of that, upgrade my Netflix membership to the more expensive 4K package ($15.99). So was it worth it?

After fiddling a ton with a bunch of settings on my TV and AppleTV (mostly the HDR settings), I finally got everything working the way I wanted it to. Not everything is shot in 4K (or HDR) but most of the new shows and movies are. I think the most impressive things visually I’ve watched in 4K were David Attenborough’s new Netflix documentary “Our Planet“, the documentary series “One Strange Rock” that’s directed by Darren Aronofsky and hosted by Will Smith, and finally the Netflix Sci-Fi film “I Am Mother“. All three were 4K and had HDR so the footage was super crisp and impressive, especially some of the darker scenes in “I Am Mother” where HDR I think made a lot of difference. HDR is a technique used to get a more dynamic range of luminosity in the footage and most TV’s nowadays I believe have it. You can clearly see HDR at work in some scenes, but it’s difficult for me to put in words (but I’ll try). If you’re watching TV in the dark and there is a dark scene and suddenly a beam of sunlight shines through a crack in a wall and hits the camera, the sunlight looks super bright to the point you squint because HDR helps keep the dark areas of the screen really dark. Not sure if that made sense but basically you can get a lot more range of darkness and lightness in the same scene at the same time.

Should you upgrade to 4K? If you’re looking to get a new TV then yes it’s a no brainer. If you don’t have an external sound system or a device like Apple TV and are instead, just planning to use the streaming apps that you can install directly on the TV, it’s not gonna be too expensive to get 4K working. But on the other hand, if you do have a full setup like mine and one that you purchased a while back, expect to spend quite a bit to get 4K up and running properly. If you play videogames you’ll also have the added expense of having to upgrade to the 4K capable PS4 or Xbox as well on top of all the other expenses I mentioned earlier. But, I do think the combination of having 4K and HDR is worth it since it has elevated my TV viewing experience a lot more than when I had upgraded my TV from 720P to 1080P. So do it.

22 05, 2019

Must Watch TV: Chernobyl

2019-05-22T08:29:02+03:00May 22, 2019|13 Comments

I’ve been pushing everyone I know to watch this new mini-series on HBO called Chernobyl. Three out of the five total episodes are out so far and frankly, I think it’s the best thing on TV right now and I was saying that even before Game of Thrones ended. If you do watch it make sure you also listen to the Chernobyl podcast by the show’s creator since its a perfect companion for the show.

If you don’t know anything about the Chernobyl disaster that’s great, you won’t believe this is all based on a true story and really happened. If you do know about the Chernobyl disaster that’s also great since you also won’t believe this all really happened.

6 05, 2019

TV Shows to Watch this Ramadan

2019-05-09T09:24:04+03:00May 6, 2019|21 Comments

If you’re looking to fill up your free time this Ramadan with some TV shows, here are a few I’ve recently watched and liked. They’re fairly new so hopefully you haven’t watched them yet.

After Life
If you’re a fan of Ricky Gervais then you’re gonna love this show. It’s not funny in the same way his other stuff is funny since the subject matter of After Life is a bit sad and serious. This show actually reminded me of how when Louis C.K. came out with Horace and Pete which was also had a dramatic and serious subject with humor injected into it. After Life is available to watch on Netflix.

Black Monday
I’m a sucker for any show based in the 80s so when a friend told me about Black Monday I knew I had to watch it. The show is based around the big stock market crash of the 80s, but it’s a comedy and not a true life depiction of the actual events that took place. Black Monday has an all-star cast that includes some favorite actors of mine including Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells (from GIRLS), Paul Scheer (from VEEP), and Ken Marino (from Party Down and Burning Love). It’s a Showtime series so it’s not available on the usual Amazon Video, Netflix, Hulu or HBO streaming services, but Showtime do offer a free trial subscription which you could use to binge watch the show.

Huge in France
I found out about the comedian Gad Elmaleh around a year ago from a Moroccan friend who was surprised I hadn’t heard of him. Gad is also Moroccan and is a super popular comedian in France. He released a stand-up special on Netflix called American Dream which was his first stand-up in English and it was hilarious. Now he has a new series on Netflix called Huge in France in which he plays himself, a super popular French comedian who moves to the US where nobody knows or cares who he is. A really funny show and very easy to get into.

Love, Death & Robots
This show caught me by surprise since I started watching it because of the name without knowing what the show was about. It turned out to be so good that I binged watched the whole season in just one seating. It wasn’t that hard to do since the episodes are fairly short, around 10 or 15 minutes long. Love, Death & Robots is an animation where every episode is a different animation style and a different story line not connected to the previous episode. Some episodes are extremely violent and gory while others aren’t at all so it’s difficult to recommend the show for everyone since it would be sort of a Russian roulette of gore, nudity and violence. A good litmus test would be watching the first episode, if you can get through it then you can handle the rest of the episodes. This show is available on Netflix.

Finally, this show was my least favorite on this list (and it’s also the oldest one), but it’s one of those shows you dislike but yet can’t stop watching. The show is about a guy who gets obsessed with this girl and uses the internet and social media to stalk her. It has a pretty high rating of 7.8 on IMDB which is surprising since although I couldn’t stop watching it, I wouldn’t have given it that high of a score. You is also available to watch on Netflix.

Have any other new show you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments.

Update: Just watched the first episode of the new HBO mini-series Chernobyl. It’s sooo good!

22 04, 2019

Local Sitcom: Taqdeer Al Ehteyaj

2019-04-22T08:21:42+03:00Apr 22, 2019|5 Comments

Taqdeer Al Ehteyaj is a new Kuwaiti sitcom that takes place in a public sector office. There are four episodes out right now but I’ve only had time to watch the first one and actually found it funny. Well funny and sad at the same time since the humor in it is really how things are in reality at a public sector office. The sitcom is in Arabic and there are no English subtitles yet, but if you can understand Arabic then it’s really worth checking out.

The episodes are free to watch on Telly, no registration is required and the episodes are quick and short. Here is the link.

1 04, 2019

Watching Formula 1 in Kuwait (2019)

2019-04-01T12:44:13+03:00Apr 1, 2019|7 Comments

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.

12 12, 2018

Must Watch TV: The Deuce

2018-12-12T10:18:36+03:00Dec 12, 2018|18 Comments

I haven’t had much time recently to start a new TV series which is why I haven’t published a must watch tv post since the summer. But, last week I somehow managed to find time start the HBO series The Deuce and after just one episode, I made enough time to watch all two seasons of it.

The Deuce takes place in New York during the 70s and 80s, before the city was cleaned up. We get to follow the lives of prostitutes and pimps and watch the birth of the porn industry and VHS tapes, we get an insight into the gay community at that period of time and the backdoor dealings between the NYPD and the mobs. In a way, the series is a kind of documentary thats filled with sex and nudity, but one thats also informative and very fun to watch.

The Deuce was created by George Pelecanos and David Simon who are best known for their work on The Wire, a series which many consider to be the best ever made. The cast is also incredible with James Franco being the biggest name but a ton of other great actors whom you’ve seen before on other shows like The Wire, The Sopranos, The Night Of, and Entourage. Even the kid from The Karate Kid is in the show.

If you’re looking for a new show to binge watch, I can’t recommend The Deuce enough. It’s on HBO so if you don’t have an account you can always sign up for a month, binge watch the show and then cancel your membership (although I’d also recommend you binge watch Barry, Crashing and Succession as well). I highly recommend it. [HBO]

19 07, 2018

Must Watch TV: White Gold

2018-07-19T11:53:49+03:00Jul 19, 2018|14 Comments

Found this show by accident and fell in love with the storyline right away. White Gold is a show about a team of double glazed window salesmen living in Essex, England in the early 80s. The idea of a show that combines Essex, the 80s and window salesmen is so absurd that I couldn’t resist not watching it. White Gold turned out to be such a great show that I quickly became a huge fan and started pushing it to all my friends.

If you have Netflix and like 80s based shows then you need to check this one out. There is only one season and just six episodes so shouldn’t take you long to zip right through it. [Link]

14 06, 2018

TV Shows to Watch this Eid

2018-06-14T17:33:20+03:00Jun 14, 2018|21 Comments

If you’re not traveling this Eid and are looking for shows to binge watch, check out the list below and make sure to check out some of my previous recommendations [Here]

This show came out in 2016 but I just found out about it a couple of weeks back. It’s just one season with six episodes, and a second season is planned for 2019. It’s really funny and I wish there were more episodes. The show is available to watch on Amazon Videos.

This is a brand new show with just two episodes out. It might not be a show for everyone because of the business subject matter, but I guess if you love the show Billions you’ll probably like this show as well. Like I said, as of this post only two episodes are out and you can stream it on HBO NOW.

I found out about this show yesterday after a clip from the first episode went viral on Reddit. It’s a new show that came out earlier this year and the first season is already done with 10 episodes. I’m only two episodes in and like it so far and I think you guys might like it as well. The only issue is its on Comedy Central which isn’t a network you can subscribe to. So you have two options to watch this, the first is to download the Comedy Central app on Apple TV and stream the first 3 or 4 episodes which are available for free. But, expect to watch 3 minutes of commercials every 5 minutes which is incredibly annoying. The other option is just to torrent the show.

Here are other some other shows I’m planning to watch soon:
A Very English Scandal
American Woman
Castle Rock
Jack Ryan
Making It
Patrick Melrose
Sharp Objects