Lightbox Is Here – Telecom Delivers TV Over The Internet

A new online service is about to give Kiwis a lot more choice over how they watch TV shows.

Telecom Digital Ventures today revealed that their new streaming service, called Lightbox, will launch in the coming weeks offering people with a broadband connection the opportunity to choose what they watch, when they like and with no ads.

At launch TV shows Lightbox will include 24Live Another Day, starring Kiefer Sutherland as the iconic Jack Bauer.

24 2Game of Thrones junkies will likely get their costume drama fix through Vikings, currently in production on its third season.

Drama series Mad Men is also confirmed as part of the line-up.

While the full line-up of shows won’t be revealed until the service goes live,  Launch Director for Lightbox, Simon Hoegsbro says viewers can look forward to entertainment the whole family will enjoy.

“We’re launching with around 5000 hours of award winning TV shows that span all genres – whether you’re into drama, comedy, sci fi, fantasy, reality or kids shows, there’s something for everyone.”

A free 30-day trial will allow TV lovers to explore the service thoroughly before they make their first payment of just $15.

Vikings 1

The Details: How Lightbox Works

The service can be used across multiple devices, including laptop, desktop, iPad and Airplay on Apple TV.

Up to five devices can be registered to each Lightbox account, and two shows can be played at once, so you can watch the latest drama series in the living room while your kids sing along to their cartoon favourites in their bedroom.A parental control function enables parents to filter out content playback according to rating.

Set up is easy. There are no contracts or installation visits required and membership is available to all New Zealanders, regardless of their broadband service provider.

“Our aim is to bring our service to as many homes as possible,” says Hoegsbro. “We want viewers to discover shows they’ll love, and have the freedom to watch them on their own terms. Lightbox enables exactly that.

“We hope New Zealanders will take advantage of our free 30-day trial to check out what we’re offering and watch some great TV shows. To pre-register, visit lightbox.co.nz and enter your email address.”

Small print: Compatible device and broadband required. Your ISP charges apply. Lightbox is $15 per 30 days after the 30 day free trial. Terms of use apply.

Website: www.lightbox.co.nz

Twitter: @lightboxNZ

Why you should want a Blackberry Z10

Blackberry Z10 showing Twitter

I have been using the Blackberry Z10 smartphone for the past three weeks, and I have to admit, I’ve found it to be one classy little number.

Blackberry executives visited Auckland earlier this month (read my TVNZ.co.nz report here) to announce the arrival of the phone in New Zealand and deliver review units to the tech press. Overseas, the company has been buoyed by strong pre-sales of its new, and some say, make-or-break device.  The phone’s software has already been tweaked to version 10.1, meaning Kiwi’s will get the smoother, more up to date version when it launches here on Vodafone and Telecom this month.

Having spent some time with the smartphone I am tempted to put away my iPhone’s and Samsung’s and use it as my main communication device. That’s a big statement so let me explain what has attracted me to the Z10.

Firstly, it’s no slouch in the looks department.  It’s got a beautiful refined feel to it, from the solid side casing to the removable soft grip plastic back which, when detached, reveals a removable battery and slot for a micro SD card.  Physically it is relatively small and lightweight and it doesn’t try to do too much. It’s not a phablet by any means.

The 4.2 inch touch screen is bright and clear and once you get used to its peculiarities, the 10.1 OS is a revelation of simple programme navigation.

You can see that this phone is aimed at the executive market.  It feels like a Porsche compared to the Toyota that is Samsung’s Android lineup (at least up to the Galaxy S3 and Note 2 – I’ve yet to spend serious time with the S4).

What would Apple be in this game of car-brand analogies?  Probably a BMW with style plus performance.

But back to Blackberry.  What they have done is succeeded in creating a secure work phone that can easily switch over to become a cool entertainment device when the work day is done.  This can happen literally with the Balance setting that allows separation between work and personal modes.

But what about the apps?  Obviously a smartphone can only be as good as the programmes you run on it.  At the Auckland event the Blackberry team said there are now 120,000 apps available, including many hot favourites such as Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp.

Funnily enough, they poured scorn on other app stores, saying “how many flashlight apps do you need?”  Well with 176 results for “Flashlight” in the Blackberry World (app store) the answer must be “quite a few”.

Okay – to wrap this up here are my top likes and dislikes about the phone. If you run with just the likes, then you can see why I think you might want this phone.

Summary of Likes:

Look and feel of the handset; simple navigation; great message management; good screen; good selection of apps; swappable battery; micro SD slot; secure “work” mode distinct from the personal mode.

Minor Dislikes:

  • Do we still need a flashing red sparkle to notify us of when we’ve received a new message?  It’s 2013 – when do we not have new messages?
  • Mixed up contacts.  It’s all well and good to try and pull in contacts from multiple sources – Gmail, Linkedin and Twitter for example but the software didn’t seem up to managing the content.  Confusingly, it merged my own John Buckley contact details with some of the 6 other John Buckley’s I follow on Twitter (that’s another story…) without asking me.
  • Also, don’t be shocked when it overheats, because it does that very easily.  Open a selection of apps, run Bluetooth, tick the screen brightness up a bit and it become hot surprisingly fast.  An online search reveals this to be a common issue with Blackberry’s in general.
  • The 8mp camera is decent enough but the camera and imaging software is underpowered in comparison to the opposition.

All Blacks Rugby Experience Gets a Boost from Telecom

This time last year I was not a happy chappy.  If you follow this link to my blog post you’ll see I had a good old moan about the smartphone experience at Eden Park during the Bledisloe Cup match betwen New Zealand and Australia. It was disheartening, but let’s face it, 12 months is a long time in tech and when I head back to Eden Park for the same fixture tomorrow night, I’m expecting a completely different experience.

Telecom is set to unveil a groundbreaking technology experience which will greatly enhance the game for a lucky group of customers.

I’ll give you a rundown of how it works.

The Telecom Treats technology is Smartphone based. It uses a mobile web app which has been developed specially to deliver a unique Telecom customer experience at three All Blacks games (in Auckland 25th August; Wellington 8th September and 15th September, Dunedin).

Approximately 700 Telecom customers are being invited to celebrate their birthdays by attending these games with a friend or partner.

First up, the customers receive a notification of the event on their Smartphones. This invites them to download the mobile web app which is hooked up to the backend server system.

The app contains a ticket in barcode form which allows them to enter the stadium by scanning their handsets.  In Wellington and Dunedin, an iPhone based ticket scanning system will be used.

Scanning the ticket kicks off another part of the process. Before arriving, they can place an order for food and drink through their app.  When they scan their tickets at the gate, a signal is sent to the kitchen initiating their order and the food is then delivered hot to their seat. This sounds great doesn’t it? Like Gold Class for Rugby games.

Next up, there is a free wifi network around the guest’s seats. The app can now be used to stream a live audio encoding of the game courtesy of an arrangement with Radio Sport. Using their headphones they will be able to hear the commentators and the referee.

Finally, the app gives them to ability to view live match data feeds from Sportal, check in to Facebook and vote for their player of the day.

The mobile web app and supporting in-game technology was developed by Telecom and Satellite Media.  They hope the experience created might one day be the norm at major NZ sporting and entertainment events.

Here’s hoping it all goes right on the night – I’m certainly looking forward to trying it (and will report back with pics and notes). Oh, and go the AB’s!