The New Age of Online Television

, posted: 19-Jun-2013 20:27

I've been watching with interest the announcements over the past few days regarding broadcasting of the English premier league football.

In a nutshell, the incumbant broadcaster - sky television, New Zealand's primary pay TV broadcaster - lost broadcast rights to the EPL.

What subsequently came out, was the set up of http://premierleaguepass.com, a subscription based online service for watching all 380 games of the league.

Quite a way down in the press releases and articles that were released it noted that subscriber would be able to watch all the games on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPads,  Androids and Apple TV devices.

This is where I think the service will fall down.  Yes watching a footy match on your iPhone or android phone will be great - for a highlights package, while on the train or bus. But do they seriously expect people to watch all the games on these small screens?

What about those with their 50" televisions and surround sound audio? Will they connect a laptop to the TV every time they want to watch a game? Standing up by the TV to navigate the desktop designed web site?

Where is the ability to pause or rewind the game, via remote, from the comfort of their couch?

While I applaud the break from Sky TV, the online, ondemand model in New Zealand is not mature enough yet for mainstream use. To transition for the average joe, a device is needed, a set top box, connected to the TV as is the sky decoder, with a connection to the Internet, a remote, and the ability to load user selected channels.  The reason for the user selected channels is becuase one single sport would not be able to sustain the costs of such a device by itself.  It would take colaboration by a number of networks and services to be viable (TVNZ, TV3, C4, Prime for example).

Such a device already exists, in the US, a roku. The roku combines the simplicity of use with the ability to add user selected channels -  either free or paid. 

The Apple TV is another solution, but short of adding each game as an "episode" or persuading apple to host premier league site for the New Zealand region (of which apple would take a cut of the subscription as they do with Netflix and Hulu) then this would not happen either.   To date apart from a number of US based services, only one other non US subscription based service has been added to the Apple TV (http://www.imore.com/apple-tv-gains-subscription-service-watchever-germany)

The other potential solution, is some of the smart TVs that currently sport App Stores.  The Samsung Smart TVs allow for the loading of a TVNZ Ondemand App and a Quickflix App.

Exciting times, and hopefully this will be the start of a new model of ondemand television in this country.




TVNZ Ondemand App behind UnblockUS Service - part II

, posted: 1-Mar-2013 07:14

Update, based on a commend @bagheera made, I reversed the process, put telecoms DNS servers in my router and used DNSMasq.conf to put all the overseas services to http://www.unblock-us.com


Here's the config I'm currently running:
log-facility=/var/log/dnsmasq.log
log-queries

server=/unblock-us.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/netflix.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/hulu.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/cbs.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/abc.com/go.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/mtv.com/mtvnservices.com/fwmrm.net/google-analytics.com/imrworldwide.com/demdex.net/scorecardresearch.com/quantserve.com/doubleclick.net/chartbeat.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/thewb.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/cwtv.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/crackle.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/nbc.com/video/library/full-episodes//<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/fox.com/theplatform.com/akamaihd.net/chartbeat.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/tv.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/pbs.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/vevo.com/fwmrm.net/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/history.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/logotv.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/crunchyroll.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/dramafever.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/dsc.discovery.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/spike.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/aetv.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/vh1.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/pandora.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/last.fm/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/lastfm.es/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/iheart.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/turntable.fm/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/mog.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/rdio.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/bbc.co.uk/iplayer/tv/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/itv.com/itvplayer/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/blinkbox.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>
server=/zattoo.com/<unblock-us.dns-server>

I've confirmed netflix, bbc, itv and ABC.com. 

The version posted yesterday included mylifetime.com which included the brightcove domain name - this stopped TVNZ Ondemand from working.  I've never heard of that network so don't really mind losing it.



Enjoy



TVNZ Ondemand App behind UnblockUS Service

, posted: 27-Feb-2013 19:39

Recently TVNZ brought out an Ondemand App for IOS.  Whoohoo!!

Happily I downloaded it and gave it a spin but to my dismay nothing would show up.  

I had a thought though, I use the http://www.unblock-us.com  service for accessing overseas media services.  A quick change to my iPhone to set the DNS to my ISPs DNS servers confirmed that this was the problem.

The router I use is a TP-Link WR1043ND - but using the Gargoyle-Router.com firmware (v1.4.7) - in this I have the unblockUS DNS servers which means all traffic is generally sent through them.  They confirmed that TVNZ was not a service they deal wtih and so it was best to not use their DNS servers if trying to access them.

That meant I was up for changing my phones DNS settings everytime I wanted to try using the TVNZ Ondemand app.  

Screw that I thought.

So a bit of googling revealed I should be able to use different DNS servers depending on the client doing the accessing - ok I thought, before stumbling upon being able to use different DNS servers based on the domain trying to be accessed - perfect!!

I'm not entirely sure of the full mechanics of it, but essentially on the router I was able to say, if accessing any domain that contains brightcove.com (the video provider used by TVNZ) then use my Telecom domain servers.

This is done by editing the dnsmasq.conf file in the /etc/ directory of my router.

I went for a pretty broad bruch stroke approach and inserted at the bottom:

# add entries to use telecom DNS servers for brightcove.com domain.
server=/brightcove.com/202.27.158.40
server=/brightcove.com/202.27.156.72

After restarting the router I tried the app and off it went.  

There's a couple of refinements possible, that is defining the servers down to a lower level.  I turned on dnsmap logging:
log-facility=/var/log/dnsmasq.log
log-queries
and this showed the domains being accessed and the name servers being used. 

So your homework dear reader is to try and limit the domains further.  That said, I had a look through BrightCove's customers and the only one I saw was ITV (accessible via UnblockUS) -and it didn't seem to be affected, so I've left mine as it.


Update, based on a commend @bagheera made, I reversed the process, put telecoms DNS servers under my router and used DNSMasq.conf to put all the overseas services to unblock-us.com - see the post at http://www.geekzone.co.nz/davidcole/8355



davidcole's profile

davidcole Cole
Lower Hutt
New Zealand


Been thinking it would be nice to have a blog but not sure if I have enough to say.

I'm an I.T worker from Wellington New Zealand.

I like my toys so this will probably have posts about my dealings with those.

My Cellphone is an iPhone 5s

I run a NextPVR based PVR at home to replace my video recorder, DVD player and to host all my music. I'm also really big on Plex, for centralising all my music, videos and I've written a plugin or two for it for accessing live TV and for storing recordings with metadata.





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