Remember when gaming consoles first became popular? They had just one function: to play video games. Much like how cellphones went from making calls to doing, well, just about everything, consoles have continued to evolve and today, they are much more than just games – they are entertainment hubs.
These days, gaming consoles are a staple in Canadian households, and the new Xbox One bridges the gap between dedicated gamers and average consumers. We spoke to Greg Barber, Vice President, Consumer Channels Group at Microsoft Canada about why Canadians are embracing these new consoles – and what’s coming next.
“Consumers expect much more from their consoles than they did five years ago. They don’t want one device for gaming and another for entertainment,” says Greg. “We created a state-of-the-art gaming platform and fused it with the power of Windows. It brings together the best games, multiplayer, and movies, music, sports and TV together in one place.”
Forget being glued to the couch, the most popular games cause users to break out in a sweat. Greg says that Just Dance 14 or trainers such as Jillian Michaels and Tracy Anderson on Xbox Fitness provide Canadians a new age workout in the comfort of their own home.
Upgraded graphics and functionality enhance the gaming, fitness or entertainment experience: “Xbox One games look and feel incredibly real, with cinematic gameplay that rivals Hollywood. With Xbox One, I can snap two things side-by-side on my TV, and switch from one to another instantly, all controlled by my voice through the Kinect Sensor.
What can users expect for the future from Xbox?
“Xbox One is built for the future; it is built for the digital age using the latest technology and the power of the cloud and it just keeps getting better, the possibilities are almost endless,” says Greg. “Thanks to this, Xbox One grows with you over time. The advanced voice and motion control of the new Kinect Sensor are unprecedented; Kinect responds to your commands and gestures like never before, making new game and entertainment experiences possible.”
Canadians can stream their favourite TV on Xbox One with Rogers Anyplace TV. While tuned in, viewers can play around with their next-gen multitasking apps and use their voice or simple hand motions to make their viewing experience highly interactive. If you have an Xbox One at home, create a Rogers Anyplace TV account for free and log in.
What’s your favourite non-gaming feature of the Xbox One?
I love discovering the latest raved about TV shows. My colleagues serve as the most reliable sources for my TV intel. Around the office, we regularly discuss which shows are on our radar – and for the most part, people are fairly good about spoiler alerts!
But sometimes when I turn on the TV, those must-watch titles escape me, which inevitably leads to some lengthy channel surfing.
Those days are now gone. Rogers is rolling out a TV Recommendation App for all NextBox customers in Ontario over the next few weeks. A first for cable customers in Canada, the new app means you’ll spend less time searching and more time being entertained. Built right into your TV viewing experience and easily accessible, the app recommends similar programs based on what you’re currently viewing or just finished watching. Suggestions are based on things like genre and the starring actors.
How do I start getting recommendations?
- Press the “Info” button on the remote, scroll over to the information icon and a prompt will appear
- Select “More Like This Show” to review a list of recommended titles
Bonus: there’s also a new “Most Watched” menu that reveals the most popular programs being viewed by other Rogers customers at that very moment, so you’ll always know what’s trending.
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This afternoon we renewed our commitment to Alberta by announcing that Rogers will invest over $700 million in the province over the next four years to upgrade and expand our wireless network throughout the province, open additional retail locations to better serve customers, and encourage local business growth. This is part of a decade-long growth strategy that involves Rogers investing over $1 billion in network upgrades and expansions in Alberta. We will further enhance our network throughout the province, open additional retail stores, and increase our contributions to local communities and youth initiatives. Albertans will have even more access to innovation and the latest technology from Rogers.
Over the next four years, Albertans can expect the following enhancements and expansions:
• LTE coverage sites increased by 40 per cent. Additional communities such as Leduc and Chestermere will access Canada’s fastest wireless internet from Rogers
• Dozens of new retail stores, providing Rogers customers with more access to technology and customers service. Plus, this will open up more job opportunities in the province
• More innovative machine-to-machine and connected business solutions, particularly in the oil and gas sector.
Go Oilers! Commitment to Alberta also includes a multi-year sponsorship of the Edmonton hockey team
At Rogers we live and breathe sports. As a hockey nation, it’s only fitting that we expand our presence in the rink. We are now the official telecommunications sponsor of the Edmonton Oilers, and have sponsorship and marketing rights for the Oil Kings and Rexall Centre. This partnership will also support the local Edmonton community. Together, the Rogers Youth Fund and the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation will team up to empower and assist at-risk youth in Edmonton and surrounding areas.
The ultimate fan experience
We love that Oilers fans are super passionate and loyal. We’ll use our LTE network to provide the ultimate sports experience for fans. To start, Rogers will power the Oilers website and mobile app and establish a charging zone at the arena. And stay tuned: we have even bigger plans for the future!
Want to win tickets to a game or score an Oilers Jersey?
Follow @EdmontonOilers for more details and use the hashtag #OilersCheer.
Update Dec. 3, 2013: Today, we’re excited to announce that the new home of the Edmonton Oilers, opening in 2016, will be known as Rogers Place! To follow the construction progress, check out www.rogersplace.com.
Does this sound familiar? You’re cozied up on your couch and notice a show that you‘ve been meaning to check out airing on your TV. Naturally, you click to record the series and then *bam* — a recording conflict window appears on your screen. It’s a moment of sheer panic as you need to make a split-second decision on which show is more important to record.
It’s time to say goodbye to recording conflicts and storage woes with the newly launched NextBox ™ 3.0. The latest TV experience from Rogers is available in Ontario today and it’s tailor-made for the PVR enthusiast. You can now record up to eight HD programs at once and store up to 240 hours of HD shows and movies.
Based on my experience, if you relate to the following three traits, chances are you are your PVR are pretty tight and NextBox 3.0 might be right up your alley:
1. The recording conflict pop-up – as described above
- If other people are present to witness the dramatic ordeal, they’ll probably find your reaction hilarious. I know, because it happens to me all the time. Cut to me yelling “Nooo, nooooooo!” when it’s True Blood versus Long Island Medium on Sunday night.
2. You record entire seasons of TV shows or movie marathons:
- As an avid TV marathoner, I consume my shows back-to-back-to-back. A colleague told me about Ray Donovan and now I’m hooked and in the process of saving the entire season. If a channel is airing all John Hughes movies one night, then my PVR is going to surge with my favourite brat pack flicks.
3. You are a time zone expert:
- With so many favourite shows to record, particularly in prime-time slots, you’re bound to face a recording conflict. You’ve mastered the art of finding your favourite series when they air in other time zones.
Bonus criteria: Without interrupting what’s airing on your TV, you swiftly pull out a second screen (tablet or smartphone) to view and manage your TV recordings. This is where the Rogers Anyplace TV™ Home Edition app comes to the rescue.
NextBox 3.0 opens up a world of possibilities for the ultimate TV viewer. It even lets you skip past commercials. When it comes to your TV, which features are the most important to you?
Kaili is a regular contributor to RedBoard
What kind of TV viewer are you? When it comes to my TV consumption habits, my friends would most likely describe a scenario akin to a bear in hibernation. I select the series I have been meaning to catch up on and hunker down, keeping snacks at a close proximity (no time to pause and grab food). My only major movement consists of pressing play from one episode to the next.
Cut to me last month: I got totally wrapped up in The Walking Dead. I would immerse myself in post-apocalyptic zombie territory for more than six hours at a time.
As you can probably deduce, I can be classified as a “marathon TV viewer.” And I’m in good company – more than 80 per cent of Canadians have watched three or more TV episodes or two movies back-to-back this year, according to the latest Rogers Innovation Report, released today.
More and more Canadians are watching consecutive TV shows and movies, with the longest viewing sessions averaging more than five hours on a weekday and almost seven hours on a weekend. But really, if the next episode is available on demand, how can you wait to continue the storyline?
When taking part in consecutive viewing sessions, half of Canadians are engrossed in action and drama, while six out of 10 are watching comedy. These viewers are taking their TV away from the comfort of the couch to the bedroom (over half) and the bathroom (one out of 10) and even to work (one out of 10). It turns out that Canadians treasure their viewing marathons more than sleep, too, with eight out of 10 staying up past bedtime to catch another episode, or more. And men are two times more likely than woman to show up late for work the next day due to a long viewing session.
Skipping sleep isn’t the only place the gender divide is obvious: men tend to participate in longer marathon viewing sessions than women, hitting up to 7.2 hours of continuous content on average versus 6.3 hours.
Nowadays, living rooms are sprawled with devices, so it comes as no surprise that the report shows an influx of “Multiscreen Taskers” – Canadians who combine TV viewing with multitasking. Seven out of 10 Canadians who own a smartphone, tablet or computer use of one these devices while watching television. They’re using these second screens to look up information online (over a third), monitor social media activity (one out of five) and text friends (one out of five). Those age 34 or under are more likely (nine out of 10) to use these screens to watch content, too.
In addition to zombies, when I’m marathoning TV, I’m glued to viewing vampires or the never-ending aristocratic Crawley family drama. What’s your TV show of choice when you’re in the mood to marathon?
Kaili is a regular contributor to RedBoard
Stream the playoffs live on your smartphone with Rogers Anyplace TV and CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada
As a hockey nation, many of us are getting ready for the start of the playoffs tonight. One of the biggest stories north of the border has been the long anticipated return of the Toronto Maple Leafs to the hockey post-season. The Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators also clinched spots, which means fans across the country are gearing up for an adrenaline-charged series of games ahead.
The Maple Leafs haven’t had playoff presence for nine years. At that time, Canadians would have never watched the team fight for the cup in high definition – much less on a smartphone.
Much has changed
Now you can watch the on ice action unfold in the palm of your hand. You can catch the first round right through to the finals via CBC’s live broadcast coverage of Hockey Night in Canada on Rogers Anyplace TV on your smartphone.
How else has technology changed since these teams made cup runs?
- In 2004, when the Leafs last played in the post-season, Apple had just introduced the iPod Mini, which would eventually be replaced by the iPod Nano. The iPhone wouldn’t exist for another three years. Now we’re on the iPhone 5.
- Leafs nation has never embraced the playoff experience on the major social networks. Facebook - then still known as “The Facebook” – was open exclusively to university students in 2004, starting with Harvard and expanding in March to include MIT, Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern, Stanford, Dartmouth, Columbia and Yale. Twitter, meanwhile, was still two years away from launching its micro-blogging platform. And YouTube was still one year away from entertaining us with endless cat videos and introducing us to memes such as Gangnam Style and the Harlem Shake.
- Virtual playoff runs were still on the Xbox and the PS2 for Maple Leafs fans. The Xbox 360 would launch in 2005 and the PS3 would roll out in 2006. Nintendo, meanwhile, wouldn’t introduce motion controlled gaming to the masses with the Wii for two more years – in 2006. Now, gamers have gotten their hands on the Wii U and are eagerly awaiting news of the “Xbox 720” and the next-generation Sony console.
- Montreal fans watching the Habs’ last playoff run in 2011 couldn’t have been posting about the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge from the Samsung Galaxy SIII – the popular handset was not announced until 2012. For this years’ playoffs, some lucky fans will have the newest Galaxy –the S4 – in hand.
After digesting that list, I’m starting to feel much older.
Here’s what you need to know about the Rogers Anyplace TV mobile app
- In most cases it comes pre-loaded on your Rogers smartphone. In addition to live sports programming, you can also access news, kids and entertainment content while you’re on the go.
- It’s available from the iTunes App store, Google Play and BlackBerry App World.
Take advantage of current promo offers:
- Normally, for $5 per month, you can catch 10 hours of viewing, with overage fees of $1 per additional hour of streaming. But we’ve got good news: overage charges are waived until October 31, 2013.
- If you are activating an eligible Talk, Text and Internet plan (on one, two or three year terms) you will receive free access to the app for the duration of the term. That’s pretty sweet. This offer is available for a limited time.
What technology will you use to tune in to hockey’s post-season?
Kaili is a regular contributor to RedBoard
February 10th marks the Lunar New Year. This holiday is narrated by powerful mythology and traditions which are centuries old, and continue to carry significance in this day and age. I happen to be very passionate about all things astrological, evidenced by the fact that I often frequent a handful of horoscope apps on my phone.
I recently downloaded the free Chinese Horoscope app and I’ve been uncovering the background of my animal zodiac, the Ox, particularly how its forecast relates to the 2013 Year of the Snake. Speaking of apps, a quick search on my phone reveals a wide selection of cool apps you can download for free to digitally bring in the New Year. Categories range from ringtones, wallpapers, greeting cards to my favourite find- the Chinese New Year Photo Booth app, you can insert frames, images, lanterns and stamps onto your photos.
Many people will be celebrating the Lunar festivities in various ways, here’s what you can expect from Rogers:
You can also tune into the free previews that are currently on your TV. I’ve outlined the channel names and numbers below.
Free previews on your TV:
|New Tang Dynasty||
|Channel V Taiwan||
|Star Chinese Channel||
|Star Chinese Movies 2||
Available to Ontario Rogers Digital TV subscribers
Unlimited long distance calling to landlines in over 25 countries for $20, including China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan with Rogers One Number
- Purchase the Rogers One Number International Long Distance Add on to catch up with loved ones overseas
- The main reason I love Rogers One Number is unlimited talking and texting to any Canadian wireless number no matter where you are, at no additional cost from your computer or tablet
Free Lai See packs at select Rogers retail locations across Canada
Request to receive a free Lai See pack from a rep in the store, the picture included in this post depicts what it looks like. Typically these packs come in the form of a small envelope with brightly coloured designs, like red and gold variations.
As one of the most ancient creatures, the snake embodies great wisdom and is both feared and venerated. I like the analogy of the snake shedding its skin; this year will be characterized by peeling away old habits and starting fresh with new goals and ambitions. In other words, a time for reflection and thoughtful resolutions.
What is your favourite aspect of the Lunar New Year?
Kaili is a regular contributor to the Redboard blog.
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Hockey is back, woot woot! Who is going to be tuning in when the puck drops tomorrow? There are some great free previews, deals, and ways to stay close to the ice action. Here’s an overview of what hockey fans can expect.
Free preview of NHL Centre Ice:
- Rogers customers can enjoy a free preview of NHL Centre Ice from Jan. 19 to Jan. 31
- Approximately 600 games available for the full season
- NHL Centre Ice is available as part of the Rogers Super Sports Pak, which also includes OHL Action Pak, NBA League Pass, MLB Extra Innings, a subscription to Sportsnet magazine and more
- Rogers customers can also purchase NHL Centre Ice à la carte for the reduced cost of $49.99 for a one-time fee for the full season
Get your hockey fix from Sportsnet: Sportsnet will deliver unparalleled NHL coverage across broadcast, radio, digital and print, including Sportsnet’s Hockey Central Tonight, Hockey Central @ Noon, Sportsnet.ca and Sportsnet magazine
TSN HD free preview – Rogers digital TV customers who subscribe to TSN can tune into TSN HD for 3 months (until April 30) at no additional cost
Rogers wireless customers from coast to coast can catch CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada on their smartphones
- The Rogers Anyplace TV mobile app features live CBC Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts of all national games
- For $5/month, the app provides 5 hours of viewing with overage charges of $1 per additional hour. Until April 30, 2013 overage charges are waived providing unlimited viewing
Follow the puck on your tablet with live streaming in the home with the Rogers Anyplace TV Home Edition app
- Supplement your TV watching with live streaming of Sportsnet and CBC on your tablet from the comfort of your couch
Where will you be watching the game on Saturday?
UPDATE: January 30 2013, 1:27pm On your computer (coming soon to tablet) : Rogers digital TV customers in the GTA who subscribe to Sportsnet Ontario and/or Leafs TV can log into RogersAnyplaceTV.com to live stream Toronto Maple Leafs broadcasts. This includes live games aired from Sportsnet Ontario and Leafs TV only .
UPDATE: February 26 2013, 9:24 am: The Sportsnet Leafs Live app is now available on iPad. See url here: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/sportsnet-leafs-live/id600547579?mt=8
Kaili is a regular Redboard contributor
The big day is a mere week away. The last minute purchases and hectic scheduling of holiday engagements prove that this is one of the most chaotic times of the year. I try to stay peaceful each holiday season by maintaining a handful of my own annual traditions. My top activity is simply being up north and trekking through the snow, and eventually heading inside to linger by the fireplace with a hot chocolate and classic festive flick in hand.
I also recommend these five holiday essentials listed below. They may help you rejoice in the festive spirit of the season, without getting too exhausted before the New Year.
1. Get the Fireplace (channel) burning (channel 204) – Sadly, I don’t have a real fireplace in the city, that being the case, this is the modern equivalent to lighting up that warm glow in your home. Did you know that it actually sounds like a crackling wood log.
2. Establish your musical mood- Galaxie holiday music channels on your TV – I always have music playing in the background and these channels are the perfect excuse to crank up the carols while I’m entertaining or feverishly baking away. Rogers digital TV customers can enjoy the following:
- Holiday Favourites - channel 710
- Franco Fêtes – channel 750
- Smooth Jazz Christmas - channel 744
- If you’re by your computer, click on the Holiday music video playlist here.
3. Holiday movie marathon mode- The Holiday Cheer collection on Rogers On Demand, channel 100 has the movies you’ve been eagerly waiting to re-watch while you’re snuggled up indoors such as Miracle on 34th Street (classic and remake), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and one my childhood favourites, All I want for Christmas. This year Ed Burns came into town for the premiere of The Fitzgerald Family Christmas. I absolutely fell in love with this film, which he wrote, directed and stars in. It’s also available on RogersAnyplaceTV.com.
4. Reconnect with loved ones – if you’re a Rogers wireless customer and have friends and family across Canada and around the world, sign up for Rogers One Number to extend your mobile number to your computer and compatible tablets. Bonus: users have unlimited Canada-wide calling when using the Rogers One Number web phone on their computer or tablet. This way if your cousin abroad can’t make it to dinner or for the unwrapping of gifts, just save a chair for your computer or tablet and have them virtually present (I have yet to do this, but it does seem highly entertaining).
5. Rock out - Electronic dance music fans out West, check out Contact powered by Rogers; Western Canada’s largest EDM festival at BC Place in Vancouver taking place on December 26. Featuring Deadmau5 unhooked, Alesso, Nero and more. Rogers Wireless Box Office ticket holders get in early and Rogers pays the ticket service fees. If you’re shopped out, this is another great way to spend Boxing Day.
Wishing you a very merry next couple weeks!
I’m curious, what’s your favourite holiday film or song?
Kaili is regular contributor to RedBoard