This Sunday, you can call me “Khaleesi” because I’ll be in Game of Thrones mode. If you’re a true fan, your NextBox is already set to record this epic finale. We asked Cityline host Tracy Moore, City digital media correspondent Winston Sih and Chatelaine food director Claire Tansey for their top tips on how to throw a memorable #GOT finale party.
How should the host/hostess ensure all guests are caught up?
WS: I suggest hosting a mini catch-up party before the finale. Visit On Demand or Rogers Anyplace TV to zip through past episodes. You should also get to know more about the GOT actors – what do they really look like? How did they kick-off their showbiz careers? Cersei starred in Gossip? Does Khaleesi really have dark brown hair? Just type the actor’s name into your NextBox search to discover their non-medieval TV shows and movies.
TM: You can also play GOT trivia to refresh everyone’s memories. This way you can crown the victor as the official expert of the seven kingdoms.
How would you invite your guests to this evening of the dark ages?
WS: Have fun with your invite – you can personalize one online or use a hilarious example like this one from SomeECards. Address each e-vite with your guests’ official GOT name. How? Use the GOT names generator– just call me “Khal Winstogon Mormont.” For more customization, include an image of a messenger crow and embed music right from the show.
TM: My preference, of course, would be to send a real messenger crow to deliver the invites, but I know this isn’t doable. So instead, I suggest taking the traditional route and creating a hand written scroll – go big, or go throne, right? Identify your House and even use red wax stamps to seal each scroll.
What steps should be taken to set the medieval mood?
WS: Play music that puts your guests in the medieval mood. Check out Songza’s playlists for each of the seven kingdoms. Plus, have your friends create their own family arms online. Divide them by their houses and let the games begin.
CT: Ditch the cutlery and provide guests with only finger foods. Just like the royals, offer your guests a bowl of water to dip their hands into prior to feasting. Incorporate dragon eggs into your appetizer menu with Chatelaine’s devilish eggs, offer hearty, messy entrees like steak & arugula sandwiches or lamb kebabs (and have a mock battle with the skewers). Serve your guests a lemon cake or loaf, Sansa Stark’s favourite dessert. Tyrion Lannister once said “everything’s better with some wine in the belly.” With his advice in mind, make wine-based cocktails like Sangria Spritzers or Orange Ruby Fizz but rename them after key GOT characters – care for a glass of Dragon Lady or Snowy Sangria?
TM: Is your living room going to look more like King’s landing, Winterfell or the night’s watch and the wall? Use candles and dim lighting to reflect Game of Throne’s darkness and mystery, while playing medieval music as guests enter your kingdom (living room). Check online for amazing props to set the tone, for example who doesn’t love an Iron Throne bean bag?
I also suggest inviting attendees to wear their own crowns and swords. This way you can watch the season finale as you sit beside your very own Arya, Tyrion or Grey Worm. You can also print images on transfer paper (get this at most craft stores), and iron your House emblem right onto your shirt!. This get-up is great for photo ops.
What’s your view on smartphone use during the show?
WS: I admit, sometimes I get a bit lost while watching Game of Thrones, so I think having a smartphone or tablet on hand can be very useful. Pausing with your remote can really come in handy while you research a romance or storyline online. Social media can either be your ally or worst nemesis when it comes to the GOT finale. To avoid spoilers, check out these tips. If you are okay with following along on social media, track popular hashtags like #GameofThrones, #GOT, and #thechildren, to learn see how fellow fans are reacting. Also follow key actors on Twitter like @IAMLenaHeadey, @SophieT, and @AlfieAllen.
TM: While I do agree with Winston, that phones and tablets are certainly good to have on hand to keep track of storylines, I think for the last 20 minutes of the finale you can ask your guests to put away their devices so that you can stick to a complete medieval experience. Ask that each attendee place their device in a basket to ensure your TV screen and candles provide the only light, and let the sounds of warfare fill your living room.
Medieval times were entrenched in traditions. In present day, we have our very own rituals. When it comes to TV night, what’s your routine? Tweet @RogersBuzz a photo of your TV ritual using #RTVNight and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a NextBox set-up and Samsung tablet.
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What does it take to host the perfect The Bachelorette TV night? We asked Cityline host Tracy Moore, City digital media correspondent Winston Sih and Chatelaine food director Claire Tansey for their hosting tips, including the best ways to use your NextBox PVR to create the ultimate premiere watching party!
How would you incorporate the rose into your night?
TM: Receiving a rose is the ultimate goal for each contestant as they battle it out for Andi’s heart. So, it should definitely be the focal point of the evening. Channel Chris Harrison by greeting each guest with a red rose, or fill your home with rose-scented potpourri to set the romantic mood. Fresh flowers can be expensive, so seek out fake roses from your local craft store – this way your guests can leave with wilt-free keepsakes.
WS: Incorporate the rose into your e-vite. Just as Andi will offer the rose to her men of choice, you too will offer it to your preferred premiere viewing attendees! There are many free online programs that let you create your own personalized rose e-vites, and Some Ecards already has pretty hilarious options too.
How do you use your tablet or TV to prepare for, and enjoy, the main event?
TM: Set a romantic, cheesy mood by recording romantic movies using your NextBox or search the classics On Demand (Ch. 100). Play a film in the background while everyone’s getting settled or play a music channel for ambiance.
CT: As a foodie, I’m always seeking out the latest recipe inspiration. You can use the search tool on your TV or tablet and enter keywords such as “cooking” and “baking” for shows that may appeal. I set a bunch of my recordings this way so I’ll have a personal library of shows to check out when I have the time.
WS: Use your tablet to follow fellow fans’ reactions as each contestant is revealed. Seek out Bachelor/ette alumni on Twitter like @AliFedotowsky, @EmilyMaynard or even @JuanPaGalavis! Make sure you’re following the popular hashtags and share hilarious updates and trends with your guests … during the commercials of course!
How do you create your dream guest list? Who would you invite and why?
TM: First and foremost, determine which friends are The Bachelorette lovers – no need to have negative guests who may question this “unconventional” way to find love. In a dream world, I would suggest inviting old contestants to provide their thoughts and insights, and of course, Chris Harrison for a personal debrief after the show, and to dish out all the inside scoop! What happens when the cameras aren’t rolling?!
CT: I think the guest list is up to each individual host/hostess, but for me I would truly appreciate the attendance of not only my hilarious friends, but also my favourite female wits. I envision Nora Ephron, Tina Fey and Gertrude Stein all sitting on my couch snacking on my spicy Georgia pecans and providing their two cents.
WS: I’m with Tracy on this one; I’d love to have past contestants in attendance!
What’s your essential viewing party etiquette?
TM: Premiere night may get quite loud, with excited squeals, cat calling, laughter and maybe even some booing for the soon-to-be villains, as your guests ‘meet’ The Bachelorette contestants. To ensure nothing is missed, develop a fun set of rules for when your guests can chime in during the show, you can even write them on post-it notes as reminder.
CT: The evening is all about being social – so serve your guests appetizers, not dinner, so they can mix and mingle with ease. Why don’t you serve snack food with a southern flare, in honour of Andi’s hometown of Atlanta? Might I suggest spicy Georgia pecans – they’re easy to make, delicious and as a bonus they won’t cause any damage if thrown at your TV screen!
WS: As Tracy said, your evening may get rowdy so be sure to ask your guests to keep it down during times of high-stress and drama! However, if this seems like an impossible ask (probably – let’s be honest), this is where Rogers Anyplace TV Home Edition comes in handy. Your friends may think they have control over the remote, but you can pull up your virtual remote on your tablet to pause and rewind the TV without them even noticing. Also, as a host it’s good etiquette to provide your guests with your Wi-Fi password, so they too can follow along on social media.
How should the evening end?
TM: Once your guests catch their breath after meeting all of the eligible bachelors, invite them to fill out a prediction card. Choose a prize for the person who correctly picks Andi’s future man – a “fantasy date” for two? Or a gift card to the salon to prep hair for a hot date?
CT: Just as Andi had to make tough choices during the premiere, you too can replicate the rose ceremony drama at home and trick your guests into thinking that not everyone will receive a rose-frosted cupcake from you before they leave.
WS: At the end of the episode, while everyone’s nibbling away at their treats, you may want to replay a certain scene. Without interrupting your TV experience, use your tablet again to navigate back to the must-see moments.
Want to share the snark? www.citytv.com/toronto/shows/the-bachelorette will host live chats throughout the season. You can also download the app for online chat and fun facts about the show and the contestants.
The Bachelorette with my friends’ running commentary is my weekly TV ritual, one that my friends are invited to take part in each Monday night. Tweet a photo @RogersBuzz sharing your TV ritual using #RTVNight and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a NextBox set-up and Samsung tablet.
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I’m spending more and more time online every day. With Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter merely a click away, it can be easy to lose track of time. I could also spend an entire day watching hilarious YouTube and Rogers Anyplace TV videos. Not to mention keeping up with that local sports team. These days sports and streaming go hand in hand – we had a huge spike in Rogers customers who watched the recent Winter Games on their computers.
This reliance on the web also means Canadians are ramping up our internet data usage. Recognizing this, you can now get faster upload and download speeds, plus more usage options, with Rogers new internet packages that launched today.
These new packages are simpler to understand and you can choose from bigger data buckets and faster speeds. Plus they come with a new name: Hybrid Fibre. What’s that? Our network is a combination of fibre to the neighbourhood plus high capacity coax cable to the home. Unlike copper cables (which are built for voice delivery) this combination lets large amount of information travel much faster – like cars on a multi-lane highway – so your videos keep on streaming.
Let’s not forget the importance of Wi-Fi. On average, Rogers customers have six connected devices in their home. The Advanced Wi-Fi Modem rental fee is included in most of the new internet packages. It’s up to three times faster than other modems (based on testing by Allion USA ) – perfect for a home packed with laptops, tablets, and gaming systems.
Just how important is the internet to our daily lives? Our Innovation Report revealed that 28 per cent of Canadians would give up their morning coffee for always-on internet!
Let’s go by the numbers:
- Over 25 million Canadians say they go online daily
- Canadians watch 291 videos on average online per month
- A majority (64 per cent) of Canadians have at least one social media profile
Check out Rogers.com/internet to find which internet package is right for you. What device keeps you connected?
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