Posts Tagged ‘tv’

Weekend reading: The boys of summer, a return to Winterfell and mobile matters

Weekend readingAfter my recent gadget obsession, I was glued to the tube this week. In addition to some notable finales, it was batter up for the Toronto Blue Jays and the final countdown to the Game of Thrones season four premiere. Plus, we learned Canadians are crazy for mobile. Check it out!

Let’s go Blue Jays!

As playoff hopes rise, and fall, across sports stadiums, the Toronto Blue Jays are just getting into the swing of it all with the home opener tonight. Of course, even when the team is at home, I can’t make it out for every ball game. Luckily, all 162 of this year’s games are available with Rogers Anyplace TV. Rogers digital television customers can live stream the games on their computer and tablet with Rogers Anyplace TV and their Sportsnet, Sportsnet ONE or Sportsnet 360 subscriptions, while Rogers wireless customers can tune in on their smartphone via the Rogers Anyplace TV mobile app.

Earlier this week, Sarah shared her story of catching a game while commuting. When have you watched a game on the go?

Game on

Going from the diamond to a different kind of game entirely: Game of Thrones returns this weekend! The Rogers Your World This Week team sat down with Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark) and Kristian Nairn (Hodor) to find out what season four has in store – watch the full video. In case you’ve forgotten some of the finer plot points from last year, Mashable is offering fans a little refresher on life in Winterfell, translated into emoji.

Catch the premiere on April 6 on HBO Canada, or watch it later with Rogers Anyplace TV and Rogers On Demand.

How will you celebrate the season premiere?

Making it mobile

The average Canadian spent more than 34 hours per month online in 2013, with more of those hours being logged on mobile devices than ever before, says new research from ComScore. The Globe and Mail notes that in the U.S., more than half of people’s time spent online in 2013 was mobile – a whopping 566 billion minutes! Canadians are spending that time on mobile checking the weather, social networking and searching.

Finally, getting back to that tube obsession, roughly a third of us are using a smartphone or tablet while watching TV (I was hunting Pokemon while watching TV on Monday night).

I’m definitely reading way more websites and watching more videos on my smartphone every year – how about you?

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Game Of Thrones returns April 6: Get a sneak peek

The calendar may say spring, but really, we all know that winter is coming!

We’re all anxiously awaiting the return to Winterfell when Game of Thrones premieres on April 6. To celebrate the hotly anticipated season premiere, the Rogers Your World This Week team sat down with Isaac Hempstead Wright, who plays Bran Stark, and Kristian Nairn, the man behind Hodor, to find out what season four has in store.

Catch the premiere on April 6 on HBO Canada. Forgot to block Sunday night off in your calendar? No worries – you can watch it on demand with Rogers Anyplace TV and Rogers On Demand.

What would your Game of Thrones name be?

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How to master your Rogers remote

Remote ControlThe Rogers five-device remote is loaded with buttons. Connected Rogers shares how to navigate your options and take control!

We all know the convenience of a remote control – it bestows decision-making power, as well as endless convenience, upon the one who holds it. The Rogers five-device remote is no exception. It’s jam-packed with options to make your life easier. While everyone knows the basics – such as which buttons change channels or volume, and which ones access Rogers On Demand, here are a few lesser-known buttons to make your viewing experience even better.

List

This green button is small but mighty. It displays your list of PVR recordings and the upcoming shows you have slated to record. If you’re anxious to watch the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory you missed but recorded, simply hit List to peruse your recordings to find it.

Instant Replay (button with arrow facing counter-clockwise)

When you’re watching a PVRed movie or show and want to see something again, use this button to instantly replay the last eight seconds of whatever you’re watching. Instant Replay comes in handy for reliving hilarious movie scenes and watching unbelievable sports maneuvers.

PIP (Picture-in-Picture)

This row of buttons is a priceless gift for all your multitasking – or, multi-viewing – needs. So, when you’re glued to your home team’s hockey game, but don’t want to miss out on the wild-card chase, you can keep score of both at the same time. Press PIP On/Off to turn the Picture-in-Picture feature on your PVR off or on. PIP Swap switches sounds and images between the smaller PIP window and the main (larger) window on your TV screen. If you want to move the PIP window somewhere else on your screen, press PIP Move and use your remote’s arrow buttons to pilot where you’d like it to go. Finally, hit PIP CH+ or CH- to scroll between the PIP channels.

HD/Zoom

If you have an HD digital box, use this button to quickly and easily change the aspect ratio of whatever you’re watching. If you prefer widescreen, for instance, click the button and toggle to the ratio setting that suits you best.

FAV

Navigate to your favourite channels with the click of a button by pressing FAV. No need to memorize channel numbers or spend precious TV time perusing the guide to find HGTV or HBO or your local CTV affiliate. To set your favourites, press the Settings button until the General Settings menu appears. From there, scroll through until you find the feature you want (in this case, Favourites) and press OK/Select. Then, just follow the prompts.

Check out more great tech tips at Connected Rogers.

What’s the most-used feature on your remote?

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Introducing the team bringing you more hockey on more platforms this fall

Back in November, Rogers Media announced a 12-year, $5.2-billion deal with the NHL, which means more hockey for Canadian fans across all platforms. Today, we’re happy to introduce the team of broadcasters who will anchor our national NHL coverage.

“We know how passionate fans are about hockey, and so we’ve brought together the best anchors to deliver the best hockey experience to Canadians,” said Scott Moore, President of Sportsnet & NHL Properties at Rogers.

Here’s the first line of our all-star roster:

  • George Stroumboulopoulos will host Hockey Night in Canada, and will be the studio anchor for Sunday night NHL Hometown Hockey broadcasts on CITY. He’ll also host other NHL broadcasts on Sportsnet and other Rogers platforms;
  • Don Cherry returns with the twenty-ninth season of Coach’s Corner on Saturday nights;
  • Ron MacLean will also return for Coach’s Corner, and  will host Sunday night’s Hometown Hockey Community Celebration;
  • Daren Millard will continue to host Hockey Central @ Noon on Sportsnet 590 The FAN radio and Sportsnet television, along with Toronto Maple Leafs regional hockey on Sportsnet, and will begin hosting Wednesday Night Hockey on Sportsnet this October;
  • Jeff Marek will host Thursday Night Hockey on Sportsnet 360, as well as Friday Night Hockey and the Memorial Cup.

In total, the team will deliver more than 500 regular season games across 13 networks and seven platforms. This includes up to seven games every Saturday night, plus Hometown Hockey every Sunday hosted from communities across Canada, and every game of the NHL Playoffs and The Stanley Cup Final.

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Gaming transformed: Microsoft’s Xbox One goes beyond the game

Xbox OneRemember 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?

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How to watch your favourite shows with Rogers Anyplace TV

Rogers Anyplace TVFrom the drama of Lena Dunham’s Girls to the zombie hijinks of The Walking Dead, you can watch all your favourites – new and old – from your desktop with our newly refreshed Rogers Anyplace TV website. Even better news? You can start watching right now – Rogers Anyplace TV gives you access to all the great shows you already enjoy with your digital TV subscription.

Here’s how to start watching:

First, you need to register:

  • Go to RogersAnyplaceTV.com
  • Click “Register” in the top right corner
  • Sign in with your My Rogers account
  • OR complete the necessary fields and verify you’re a Rogers customer by doing one of the following:
    • Enter your postal code if you’re currently using Rogers internet
    • Send a verification code to your Rogers wireless phone
    • Enter your Rogers account number

Then you can start watching!

If you have a specific show in mind:

  • Type the show name in the search bar on the type right of your screen
  • As you type more letters, your results will narrow down to a match
  • Click your desired title from the drop down menu
  • Enjoy!

To browse what’s available:

  • Click the “On Demand” button on the top navigation bar
  • Click “TV Shows” in the sub-navigation bar
  • Click the “A-Z” button to sort the shows in alphabetical order and find your show

Or, to see what’s on your favourite channels:

  • Click the “On Demand” button on the top navigation bar
  • Click “Channels” in the sub-navigation bar
  • Click the “A-Z” button to sort the channels in alphabetical order
  • Click on your desired channel and find your show

What TV shows will you be watching this winter?

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13 highlights of 2013

Year endFrom major NHL and magazine announcements to speedy LTE expansion, travel and tablets,  2013 was a busy year at Rogers! I had the pleasure of joining the RedBoard team in 2013 – but I’m told I’m not allowed to call that a highlight of our year! So, in no particular order, here are 13 highlights of the year that was:

  1. Hitting high speed: We expanded our LTE network to new cities in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia and hit our goal of launching in 95 new markets in 2013 (you can see the full list here). Deploying more 2600 Mhz spectrum than any other provider also meant bringing our blazing fast speeds to more Rogers customers in Manitoba, Ontario, B.C. and Quebec. For us on RedBoard, it was a chance to share our favourite speedy apps, a new infographic and quiz people on the street about what, exactly, LTE means.
  2. Tablet talk: We were all about the portable devices this year. We learned a bunch of fun stats as a result – about one in 10 Canadians currently own a tablet and 33 per cent of all time spent with tablets happens outside the home. Neil Shuart shared how tablets are all about speed, Bob Stein focussed on the content and Duncan Stewart looked forward to hybrid devices. We even polled regular Canadians about how they were using their tablets – watch the video with their answers here
  3. Wanderlust: We gave into the travel bug this year, sharing blog posts from San Francisco, California, Buffalo and even Prague. We also shared all things roaming related, from debunking myths, finding out just how many of you want to keep tabs on your pets, and sharing our favourite apps and how to control your data use to explaining our new worry-free $7.99 rate.
  4. Great gigs: We also celebrated our employees this year, starting a new series featuring Cool Jobs at Rogers – from Shelagh Barrett’s work with the Rogers Youth Fund initiative and Elana Schachter’s role in the digital magazine space to Hitesh Lad’s contributions in customer service. LinkedIn also recognized Rogers employees as among the top five in the world for volunteering – measured by those who added “Volunteer and Causes” information to their profiles on the professional social networking site.
  5. Office perks: Rogers was also named one of Canada’s top 100 employers for 2014. The Mediacorp list recognized Rogers for great office amenities, the employee bonus program and parental top-up payments, among other things.
  6. Get inside Rogers retail locations: Google Street View has mapped New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the White House, France’s Musee D’Orsay, and even Parliament Hill. And, in 2013, we were able to add Rogers retail locations across the country to that list. To check it out, browse on over to your store’s Google + page (click the “See Inside” option) or visit the website for your local Rogers retail location on your computer or mobile device to load the virtual tour.
  7. Tackling TV: Would you skimp on sleep to catch just one more episode? If the answer is yes, your TV viewing habits are in line with 80 per cent of Canadians, according to our Rogers Innovation Report. We learned the longest viewing sessions average more than five hours on a weekday and almost seven hours on a weekend, and we took the opportunity to create a nifty interactive infographic to help you decode your TV persona, from “Marathon TV Viewer” to “Multiscreen Tasker.”
  8. Connected in the community: In June, Rogers announced a new initiative to help provide broadband Internet for youth and low-income Canadian families. Connected for Success, which launched with Toronto Community Housing, offers broadband internet for $9.99 a month, plus the option to purchase a computer loaded with software for $150, thanks to Microsoft Canada and Compugen. We also spoke with educator Neil Price about the importance of digital literacy and what the program could mean for students.
  9. Magazine buffet: Rogers launched the all-you-can-read digital magazine Next Issue Canada in October. Offering unlimited access to more than 100 Canadian and U.S. titles, we were excited to take it for a test-drive and chat with Next Issue Canada President Ken Whyte about what it means for readers and publishers.
  10. Rogers Youth Education Day: We took to Twitter and Facebook in September to ask  you to share your #BrighterFuture stories about how education made a difference in your life. As part of Rogers Youth Education Day, we were able to donate mobile tech units to each of our 52 non-profit partners across the country – a $250,000 commitment! Thanks for joining the conversation and helping us give back!
  11. Digital shopping: Bulky wallets, be gone? In November, Rogers announced the launch of the suretap wallet, which lets shoppers make payments with a simple tap of their smartphone. Using the secure SIM card inside an NFC-enabled smartphone, suretap can be used at contactless payment terminals – the same kind that let you tap to pay with your credit card. For even more smartphone shopping power, we also launched Rogers Alerts, which, if you opt in, sends you location-based mobile offers via SMS.
  12. Tube talk: We hosted parenting expert Kathy Buckworth for a Twitter chat about how she manages screen time at home. She shared her top tips, and love of popcorn, in a noon-time chat that trended in Canada! It was also a chance to share details of the new Rogers Kids Zone, a secure children’s entertainment destination where families can enjoy kid’s TV shows and movies at home, on channel 200, or on the go with RogersAnyplaceTV.com/KidsZone on computers, and on the Rogers Anyplace TV application for smartphones, tablets, Xbox 360 gaming systems and LG Smart TVs.
  13. He shoots, he scores! We do love hockey at Rogers, and one of the most exciting bits of news we shared this year on RedBoard was announcing the NHL broadcast deal.  The 12-year agreement, which starts with the 2014/15 season, includes national rights in all languages across TV broadcasts, internet and mobile streaming, as well as all linear and digital highlights including condensed games and video archives. The deal also includes a partnership with CBC for Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts and TVA for French-language coverage. We also started sponsoring the Edmonton Oilers and are excited to start construction on their new home, Rogers Place!

Happy New Year! What will you remember from 2013?

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Rogers shoots and scores broadcast and multimedia deal with NHL

We’ve never been shy about our passion for sports at Rogers. And this morning we have cemented our sports leadership with a landmark 12-year broadcast and multimedia agreement with the National Hockey League that includes national rights on all platforms in all languages. The agreement begins with the 2014/15 season and continues through the 2025/26 season.

The deal is big news for hockey fans and for Rogers customers. It includes national rights across TV broadcasts, internet and mobile streaming, as well as all linear and digital highlights including condensed games and video archives. On any given night, Rogers will provide multiple game coverage on up to nine TV channels (including City and Sportsnet) plus digital and radio.

And we’re going to partner with CBC for English-language broadcasts of Hockey Night in Canada and with TVA for all national French-language multimedia rights.

Here’s what people are saying about the deal:

“Sports content is a key strategic asset and we’ve been investing significantly to strengthen our sports offering to Canadians. Canadians are passionate about hockey, and through this landmark partnership with the NHL we’ll be able to bring hockey fans more games and more content on their platform of choice. We are proud to select CBC as our partner to carry on the Hockey Night in Canada tradition for Canadians. We are also excited about our long-standing sports alliance with TVA Sports and Quebecor, which will use its many channels and platforms to deliver French-language NHL coverage.” — Rogers president and CEO Nadir Mohamed

“Our fans always want to explore deeper and more emotional connections to NHL hockey, and that is precisely what Rogers has promised to deliver over the next 12 years – channeling the reach of its platforms and the intensity of its passion for the game into an unparalleled viewing experience.” — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman

“Our vision is to build on the NHL’s legacy in Canada with an emphasis on storytelling, innovation, and technology, weaving the NHL, its teams, and its stars even deeper into the fabric of Canadian culture.” — Keith Pelley, President, Rogers Media.

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Goodbye searching: New Recommendation App switches up TV viewing

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.

To view a demonstration of the Recommendation App, watch the video here and for more information visit www.Rogers.com/NextBox.

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Weekend reading: Tweeting, TV and the NextBox 3.0

Weekend readingThis week, we’ve got television on our mind, with research linking tweets and TV ratings and the launch of our new NextBox 3.0. Plus, we learned that more people are tuning in from their devices than ever before. Finally, for something a little different, we look at the state of social around the world. Learn more in this week’s edition of the weekend reading!

Tweeting and the tube

I tweet, therefore I tune in? A new study from Nielsen found that the volume of tweets can be linked to the TV ratings of live events.

As reported by 680 News, the study looked at 221 broadcasts, finding that active Twitter conversations boosted the number of viewers for nearly 30 per cent of the episodes. This turned out to be especially true for live sports. Increased numbers of viewers also boosted the number of tweets about the program. That said, not all social media buzz-worthy events also saw great ratings – for example, Sharknado’s numbers didn’t live up to the hype.

Personally, I tend to tweet about sports, but I don’t share potential spoilers from my regular True Blood or movie sessions. Do you tweet about events you’re watching on TV?

Marathon even more movies and shows

While appointment viewing may be the only way to truly spoiler-proof my TV experience, there are so many times when I just can’t be home in time to catch the latest episode – or multiple shows I love are occupying the same timeslot, forcing me to make a tough decision. The PVR has become an essential tool for catching what you want to watch, when you want to watch it – and this week, we were excited to announce our new NextBox ™ 3.0. You can now record up to eight HD programs at once and store up to 240 hours of HD shows and movies. Check out our list of three ways to tell that you and your PVR are BFFs and let us know which shows you just can’t bear to miss!

Video to go

Size may still matter when it comes to traditional sets, but for video content on the go, Fox reports that people now spend the same amount of time consuming media on the small screens of their smartphones and tablets as they do on their laptops and personal computers. This same research estimates that nearly 40 per cent of media consumption in the U.S. this year will be digital – and evenly split between mobile devices and laptops and computers.  On average, people spend more than two hours a day watching online video or using social media. Of that time, tablet users spend a larger chunk watching videos than people who are using computers.

What’s your preferred device for screening?

It’s a social, social world

Last week, we learned that Facebook is still dominating the social sphere around the globe – but this week’s research from eMarketer shows that even though we’re all fielding friend requests, different countries have very different attitudes about social networks.  In Asia, mobile messaging applications continue to rule, and are evolving to include photo and file-sharing. In China, where Facebook and Twitter are blocked, microblogs (or weibo) continue to grow, with 50.9 per cent of internet users having an account. Only 46.6 per cent of Chinese internet users belong to a social network. In Russia, local networks such as VK and Odnoklassniki.ru are still the most popular, a trend that continues in Germany.

Another fun fact: people who live in the United Arab Emirates are the most likely internet users in the Middle East, with 71 per cent of residents online in December 2012.

I’ve got a pretty robust collection of social network logins, but definitely still focus most of my time on the biggies, including Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare and Instagram. Where do you spend most of your online hours?

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