The TV, Internet and Phone Blog

Information on Cable, Digital Television, and Internet Providers

Monthly Archives: April 2015

Watch Live Music on Cable TV with Palladia

Live music fans who are consistently disappointed when the biggest acts don’t hit their town are in luck, as Palladia, a channel begun in the mid-2000s to counteract the fact that MTV and VH1 no longer play music videos, is available on most cable TV systems, including as part of Charter Communications’ new Charter Spectrum Gold TV lineup.

Palladia does show music videos, but that is far from all. Palladia televises major music festivals like Hard Rock Calling and Download from England live, as well as in highlight shows featuring the most popular artists playing their most well-known hit songs. Each night concerts and documentaries featuring a wide array of artists, ranging from classic rock favorites like Rush to newer artists like Fitz and the Tantrums, air multiple times.

Palladia also features regular music programming from around the world. England’s popular Later…with Jools Holland is a show that has broken many artists in the UK, allowing multiple artists to play multiple songs per episode, with insightful interview portions as well. Daryl Hall from Hall & Oates hosts a show where he interviews and jams with current singer-songwriters on their own work as well as classic tunes. The Live Room features bands debuting material from upcoming or newly released albums in studio with perfect sound.

The perfect channel for music fans, Palladia is available on Charter Communications’ top tier of programming, Charter Spectrum Gold TV, as well as DIRECTV. Be sure to make room on your DVR.

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DISH Network to Bring Motel 6 Satellite TV

In an agreement through World Cinema, Motel 6, and DISH Network, satellite TV and high-speed internet access will now be provided to more than five hundred properties in the Motel 6 hotel chain throughout the United States. The goal of the deal is to provide hotel guests/customers with more viewing options, many in high-definition, while lessening the environmental impact of the motel chain on the areas it serves by lowering energy consumption.

More from Hospitality Technology Magazine:

Based on Motel 6’s preferences, DISH tailored a smartbox™ solution that features channel options and scrolling guide functionality that will enrich each guest’s stay at the motel.

Combining this tailored HD TV solution with World Cinema’s optimized internet service represents the future of in-room entertainment. Motel 6 guests will have the at-home experience at their fingertips.

DISH’s smartbox™ features the flexibility to support a custom combination of legacy analog and HD channels at the same property, while easily reconfigured to meet future expansion and technology needs. By enabling new feature downloads via satellite, smartbox™ can support the latest upgrades without the need for new equipment. With a compact form factor, smartbox™ takes up considerably less space and uses significantly less power than other solutions.

Motel 6 is following the lead of many other large hotel chains moving from cable television to satellite TV packages, as companies like DISH and DIRECTV begin to offer smarter, more customizable hospitality solutions. Cable companies are also losing out because they are beginning to charge per box rather than a flat rate for an entire system, while DISH and DIRECTV receivers can serve more than one room, offering greater savings.

2015 NFL Schedule Released for Network and Cable TV

One can’t go a day, even in the offseason, without hearing some news about the National Football League. The NFL has replaced Major League Baseball as America’s favorite sport, and finding out the schedule for the upcoming season, including which games will be broadcast in primetime on network and cable TV, is a favorite day for hardcore fans and sports media pundits alike. Live sports rights continue to escalate in value and profitability, as sports are the only programming that is not improved immensely by watching via DVR. As long as people watch sports—football particularly—live, it’ll be a valuable commodity, with advertising time on primetime NFL games especially. Here is the full schedule of primetime NFL games on network TV and on ESPN and NFL Network.

Via Deadline:

Thursday Night Football (NBC Week 1; CBS/NFL Network simulcast Weeks 2-8; NFL Network Weeks 9-16)
Week 1: Steelers at Patriots
Week 2: Broncos at Chiefs
Week 3: Redskins at Giants
Week 4: Ravens at Steelers
Week 5: Colts at Texans
Week 6: Falcons at Saints
Week 7: Seahawks at 49ers
Week 8: Dolphins at Patriots
Week 9: Browns at Bengals
Week 10: Bills at Jets
Week 11: Titans at Jaguars
Week 12: Bears at Packers (Thanksgiving)
Week 13: Packers at Lions
Week 14: Vikings at Cardinals
Week 15: Buccaneers at Rams
Week 16: Chargers at Raiders

Sunday Night Football (NBC)
Week 1: Giants at Cowboys
Week 2: Seahawks at Packers
Week 3: Broncos at Lions
Week 4: Cowboys at Saints
Week 5: 49ers at Giants
Week 6: Patriots at Colts
Week 7: Eagles at Panthers
Week 8: Packers at Broncos
Week 9: Eagles at Cowboys
Week 10: Cardinals at Seahawks
Week 11: Chiefs at Chargers
Week 12: Patriots at Broncos
Week 13: Colts at Steelers
Week 14: Seahawks at Ravens
Week 15: Bengals at 49ers
Week 16: Steelers at Ravens
Week 17: TBA (flex game)

Monday Night Football (ESPN)
Week 1: Eagles at Falcons; Vikings at 49ers
Week 2: Jets at Colts
Week 3: Chiefs at Packers
Week 4: Lions at Seahawks
Week 5: Steelers at Chargers
Week 6: Giants at Eagles
Week 7: Ravens at Cardinals
Week 8: Colts at Panthers
Week 9: Bears at Chargers
Week 10: Texans at Bengals
Week 11: Bills at Patriots
Week 12: Ravens at Browns
Week 13: Cowboys at Redskins
Week 14: Giants at Dolphins
Week 15: Lions at Saints
Week 16: Bengals at Broncos

Charter Communications Upgrades Cable TV and High-Speed Internet Services

Rolling out throughout the United States, in all of the territories where Charter Communications provides cable TV, high-speed internet, and digital phone services, is a new rebranding effort that also encompasses broad improvements to Charter Communications services.

The rebranding effort has Charter now folding its three major home services under one new umbrella: Charter Spectrum, with cable TV, high-speed internet, and cable home phone services rebranded as Charter Spectrum TV, Charter Spectrum Internet, and Charter Spectrum Digital Voice.

The major improvements to the service come with the internet speeds, moving up from a max of 30 Mbps downloads with the regular service to services beginning at 60 Mbps and as high as 100 Mbps in some Charter Spectrum areas. This is as much as 30 times faster than AT&T U-Verse and 60 times faster than DSL, which Charter is happy to advertise.

Beyond that, Charter Spectrum TV boasts an expanded cable TV lineup, offering the most HD channels available at each of its price points. It is fully digital cable service and more and more high-definition channels are constantly being added to the lineup.

New Charter customers, when they sign up, will receive the upgraded Charter Spectrum services. Current Charter customers will notice new HD channels popping up in their lineup, and internet speeds upgraded automatically.

NBA Playoffs Begin Tomorrow: Cable TV Schedule

The long slog of the too-long NBA season is over, and that means the real, intense, immensely watchable playoffs begin. Tomorrow, Saturday April 18, four series kick off, with the other four following suit on Sunday on network and cable TV. There are many storylines to follow—can the Warriors match regular season success with a deep playoff run, will Lebron James make his homecoming to Cleveland a success, can the San Antonio Spurs continue their decade-plus dominance? They begin very, very soon.

Here is the schedule for the first two days of NBA playoff action (all times Central Daylight Time):

Saturday, April 18

  • Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors, 11:30AM, ESPN
  • New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors, 2:30PM, ABC
  • Milwaukee Bucks at Chicago Bulls, 6PM, ESPN
  • Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets, 8:30PM, ESPN

Sunday, April 19

  • Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers, 2PM, ABC
  • Brooklyn Nets at Atlanta Hawks, 4:30PM, TNT
  • Portland Trail Blazers at Memphis Grizzlies, 7PM, TNT
  • San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers, 9:30PM, TNT

Be sure to tune in!

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Begin Today

After a long slog of a regular season, the National Hockey League’s true season, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, begins today. In the United States, the NBC family of networks has worked to make sure that every game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will air on broadcast or cable TV, with the primary channel for broadcasts being NBCSN (NBC Sports Network), and additional games airing on USA, CNBC, and the NHL Network.

Here are the first games of each playoff series, and where you can find them on cable TV, according to NHL.com.

Today (April 15, 2015)

  • Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens, 7pm EDT, NHL Network
  • New York Islanders at Washington Capitals, 7pm EDT, USA Network
  • Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators, 8:30pm EDT, NBC Sports Network
  • Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks, 10pm EDT, USA Network

Tomorrow (April 16, 2015)

  • Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers, 7pm EDT, NBCSN
  • Detroit Red Wings at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:30pm EDT, CNBC
  • Minnesota Wild at St. Louis Blues, 9:30pm EDT, NBCSN
  • Winnipeg Jets at Anaheim Ducks, 10:30pm EDT, CNBC

Be sure to take advantage of all of this coverage, even if you’re not a fan of one of these specific teams—the Stanley Cup Playoffs are one of the best shows of the sports year.

Sling TV Streaming Service Doesn’t Have Cable TV’s Reliability

This past Saturday, one of the jewels of the United States sports calendar, a must-see event, the Final Four of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament, happened in Indianapolis and was televised on cable TV. Sports fans across the USA sat down to watch, and most were treated to one blowout (Duke over Michigan State) and one big upset (Wisconsin over previously-undefeated Kentucky). Some sports fans, however—specifically, subscribers to DISH Network’s Sling TV online-TV service—didn’t see anything, due to a network outage.

From Bloomberg:

The weekend outage that prevented some Sling TV subscribers from watching college basketball’s Final Four highlighted the Achilles heel of cable cord-cutting: reliability.

Dish Network Corp.’s new online-TV service, which offers about 20 channels for $20 a month, is one of a growing number of Web services that offer a few popular channels at a lower price. Such Internet-based bundles are giving consumers more options to watch TV without paying for traditional cable packages.

However, these Web services rely on a foundation that is more fragile than television. They’re vulnerable to buffering or crashing during traffic spikes caused by popular TV shows or sporting events like the national men’s college basketball tournament. Sling TV, which announced last week it was adding an online version of HBO to its package, will be tested again April 12 during the season premiere of HBO’s hit show “Game of Thrones.”

“The problem with the Internet is you have so many different pieces in the ecosystem and all it takes is one of these pieces to go down and it impacts quality,” said Dan Rayburn, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan who writes for the blog StreamingMedia.com. “There are a lot of potential places where things can go wrong.”

Sling TV apologized Saturday on Twitter after some subscribers weren’t able to watch the the NCAA National Semifinal basketball game between Duke and Michigan State.

Many cord-cutting evangelists will say that cable TV has outages too, and that satellite TV service can go down in a storm due to rain fade. While this is true, this is not because more people are watching—it’s due to circumstance. When the most popular programs are the ones that cause streaming TV services to go down, that is a problem that needs to be fixed.

DISH Network’s Misleading Ads

If you’ve been watching any sports for the past month—and if you’re a sports fan, you likely have, with baseball’s opening day, a month of March Madness leading into the Final Four and NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball national title games, and the race for the playoffs in the NBA and NHL—you’ve probably seen a DISH Network ad in which the satellite TV service claims it carries all of the sports broadcasts available on its primary competitor DIRECTV. This is mostly true, but like previous misleading DISH Network ads—leading consumers to believe they could record or watch up to 5 programs of their choosing in prime time with their Hopper, instead of the pre-chosen primetime programming you can actually record—there is a catch.

The catch here is also DIRECTV’s major advantage over both DISH Network and other satellite and cable TV providers: DIRECTV is the exclusive carrier, at the moment, of NFL Sunday Ticket. For NFL fans living outside of their home markets, or who want to follow all of their fantasy players, NFL Sunday Ticket, with its coverage of every regular season NFL game, every Sunday, is an essential package. DISH Network claiming that they carry all of the same sports broadcasts as DIRECTV at a lesser price fully ignores one of the major reasons people subscribe to DIRECTV in the first place: and that is NFL Sunday Ticket.

In fact, where DIRECTV is not available in the United States, NFL Sunday Ticket is still available through DIRECTV, and not DISH:

For those who can’t get DirecTV satellite service, the company has three tiered offerings for its NFL Sunday Ticket.TV, from $200 to the $330 MAX bundle, with different combinations of device compatibility. Customers who purchase the NFL Sunday Ticket ‘Max’ season pass will also have access to the online/mobile service and be able to watch their games on computer, smartphone, tablet, or video game console. Max subscribers will also get a Game Mix channel with up to eight games on one screen and the ‘Short Cuts’ feature, which offers replays of each Sunday game in 30 commercial-free minutes.

Just a word to consumers: if you’re looking for NFL Sunday Ticket, don’t believe the ads. Don’t believe the hype.

Rural Missourians Cannot Access High-Speed Internet

Nearly a third of Missourians, and nearly two-thirds of Missourians living in rural areas, have no access to high-speed internet service, according to an FCC report. Missouri is fifteenth in all states in the largest number of residents without access to high-speed internet service.

This does not mean they have simply chosen not to have high-speed internet access in their homes. This means that the infrastructure is not there to provide them high-speed internet service, and high-speed internet providers have thus not begun to serve these areas.

Here’s more on the impact of this from St. Louis Public Radio:

“It means that towns can’t compete economically. It means that people don’t have basic access to data and even more importantly now, access to enough data to run the apps and websites and services that we need to survive, whether it’s doing your taxes or watching Netflix or everything we’ve come to rely on its so data-heavy,” [Attorney Mike] Orlowski said. “If you are out in rural Missouri, you’re going to have a hard time having enough bandwidth to just perform daily functions.”

In rural areas, many internet service companies are reluctant to spend a lot of money building out infrastructure to provide high speed service to limited numbers of people in small communities, some of whom may not even be able to afford the advanced services.

“That’s why a lot of small towns in Missouri, particularly ones that have populations of less than 10,000, don’t have many providers there, because…towns of that size and smaller really don’t have enough revenue coming out of subscriptions to cover the costs of landline traditional networks,” he said.

In contrast, only five percent of Illinois residents are without access to high-speed internet. The difference between the neighboring states is a huge one, and shows why many businesses choose to operate there instead of Missouri, even though land and rent may be cheaper in the Show-Me State. If Missouri wants to compete, it should invest in the infrastructure needed to bring high-speed internet to every resident in the state that wants it. It’s only a matter of time before it’s even more essential than it already is.