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Aug
05

Where to Watch the Olympics on TV

olympics_logoToday marks the beginning of the 2016 Summer Olympic games. Of course many events will be available streaming from the internet, however if you want to watch the Olympics on TV, here is a guide for Raleigh viewers with TWC Channels in Red, UVerse Channels in Blue, DirecTV in Purple

  • NBC – Swimming, Volleyball, Gymnastics 3, 1005, 5
  • Bravo – Tennis72, 167, 1181, 237
  • USA Network – Fencing, Equestrian, Field Hockey25, 101, 1124, 240
  • NBC Universo – Soccer, Basketball, Beach Volleyball898, 3009, 410
  • MSNBC – Volleyball, Basketball, Archery45, 203, 1215, 356
  • CNBC – Rugby, Wrestling, Field Hockey37, 205, 1216, 355
  • NBC Sports Network – Soccer, Basketball, Judo314, 1640, 220
  • Golf Channel – Soccer, Basketball, Judo51, 405, 1641, 218
  • Telemundo – Soccer, Basketball, Swimming803, 3007, 406
  • Olympic Soccer – Soccer426, 1638, 205-1
  • Olympic Basketball – Basketball425, 1639, 205-2

UVerse customers can create an Olympics-only channel guide by hitting the “Menu” button on the remote control, then navigating to Options tab | Channel Options | Edit/Add Favorite Channels | “Add a new Favorites List…”. Type in a blue numbers from above and hit OK to add it to the list. Once you are done, you can rename the favorites list by hitting the “Enter” button (next to “0”).

Once the channels are set up, Hit the “A” button from Live TV or from the Guide to show your setup of Olympic channels.

Thanks for the DirecTV info, @DougInNC!

Apr
28

TWC Offering Streaming Set-top Box

fanTVLast week word leaked out that Time Warner Cable will begin offering the Fan TV set-top box to work with its services this summer. The hockey-puck-sized box will only connect to your home computer network, and will allow streaming of live TV, TWC’s On-Demand services, and internet streaming services. The selection of live TV will likely be that offered in the current iPad app, which does not include local channels. At launch later this quarter, the supported services will be Redbox Instant by Verizon, Crackle, Target Ticket, and Rhapsody.

Unlike Time Warner’s current offerings of set-top boxes, the Fan TV box is fully purchased up front, and carries no monthly charges for basic services. The box will retail at $149, but can be pre-ordered at $99 now.

* * *

Fan TV is an interesting offering, given the secret insertion of the Integration Ban legislative proposal last week (which would allow cable companies to design equipment that doesn’t use an internal CableCARD, the next step in their abandonment of the technology – pay attention, TiVO users!). Perhaps this is TWC’s set-top box of the future. If TWC can offer all of its channels to the FanTV,  it can be a fantastic improvement over their awful current selection. This box will not be a DVR, however if the OnDemand services can offer the most recent episodes, that should be enough for non-sports fans. TV behavioral statistics show that people don’t really use their DVRs, so that technology is headed for extinction, anyway.

At first blush the setup seems as simple as the Chromecast, Roku, and AppleTVs, but the remote is simply a touch pad. Interesting (though I much prefer a smartphone/tablet interface that slings to a TV over these 10-foot interfaces on the current devices.) With a $99 introductory price the FanTV might be a great experiment for the summer. Likely the selling prices for these on eBay will be greater than $99, so what’s to lose?

Apr
10

Hunt Library To Be Featured on “Cool Spaces!”

PBS’ new show, Cool Spaces!, delves deep into some of America’s most outstanding new buildings. Episode 2 features 3 great libraries, including the Snøhetta-designed Hunt Library at N.C. State. The episode airs tonight (4/10) on UNC-Explorer (TWC 1277, UVerse 36) at 9pm.

Remember, too, that the library still gives free, guided tours which are fantastic. The tours begin at the BookBot viewing entrance and are given at:

  • Wednesdays at 9:30 am 
  • Fridays at 3:30 pm
  • Second Saturday of each month at 10:30 am

Note: No tours will be given during Reading Days or Finals, April 24 – May 6.

Mar
10

gogo’s Alphabetical Channel Guide Shows Where the Damned Channel Is

twclogoTomorrow Time Warner Cable is putting their channel lineups into a blender. The result will be better groupings of channels, with automatic selection of HD channels. All channels below 100 will stay as-is.

The problem is, what do you do when you are used to going to channel 1500 to see SportsCenter? How do you find where Palladia and TLC went? Instead of searching through Time Warner’s Numeric channel guide, you can use the gogoraleigh Alphabetical Channel Guide. Simply fold it in half and keep it in a convenient place. It’s a free download, and it’s gogoraleigh’s way of thanking the readers for keeping gogo going (for 6 years now)!.

gogoraleigh’s Alphabetical TWC Channel Guide (.pdf)

Jan
30

New Time Warner Lineups Coming, Locals Shafted

TWC_logoThis week Time Warner Cable announced a major shakeup to their channel lineup. By automatically selecting the picture mode and reestablishing channel groups, channels should be easier to navigate. The rearrangement also gives more space for TWC’s higher margin channels, movies and On Demand. The changes take place on March 11, 2014.

Channels 1-99 will stay the same, however nearly every channel above 100 will have a new assignment according to the following groups:

  • Entertainment, Life, and Style (100s)
  • News & Information (Lower 200s)
  • Kids & Teens (Upper 200s)
  • Music (Upper Upper 200s)
  • Sports (300s)
  • Movies & Premiums (500s, 600s)
  • Sport Packages (700s)
  • Latino (800s)
  • On Demand (1000s)
  • Local Programming (1200s)
  • International (1400s)
  • Adult (1800s)
  • Radio (1900s)
  • TWC Info (1998)

Because high-definition is the new norm, it appears that the SD version of channels with an HD signal are being dropped. This means that there will no longer be a “+1000” HD counterpart for each lower channel. ESPN HD will be 300, and there just won’t be an ESPN SD. This should make navigating easier…until UHD (“4K”)  content is offered.

It is an excellent improvement that one can access HD channels with only a 3-digit number. However the most popular channels, CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox, are in disarray in the far reaches of the 1200s, requiring 4-digits. WRAL, “channel 5”, moves from 1105 to…1209. WTVD, “channel 11”, moves to…1200. How is that an improvement? These new assignments neither follow the patterns of long-held Over the Air channel assignments nor TWC’s arbitrary single digit assignments. These are the customers’  favorite channels, and they should be offered in more intuitive positions. THEY should occupy the 100 tier, while everything else should be pushed up 100 channels. Sport packages, a very light seller, should be in the 1400s (1000 higher than the 400s, where other sports should be), and Internationals should share the 900s with Latino.

There is still no word, thankfully, about any changes to the Clear QAM channels. Last March the FCC removed the requirement that cable companies offer content that can be obtained freely over the air (with an antenna) with no equipment restrictions. In other words until the FCC’s ruling last year, TWC was required to offer WRAL on 5.1 so that your HDTV could scan and tune this channel without a cable box. Now there is no law forbidding TWC from requiring a box for any channel. (eventually the system will have to drop their analog channels, thus requiring a set top box for every TV – no 1-99 in other words).

There is no need to obtain new equipment for the new channel lineups. Cable boxes will cough, sputter, and reboot magically on 3/11 and load the new channel assignments. For those of us with CableCard equipment (Windows Media Center, TiVo), however, we will have to run a rescan manually to download the new assignments.

Download a PDF of the new lineups, by channel.

Apr
02

Blockbuster Video Closing Another Raleigh Location

Blockbuster_fadingThe Townridge Square location of Blockbuster Video will close on April 28th. This leaves the former video king with just four remaining Triangle locations (Capital Blvd, Cary, Durham, and Wakefield).

My how the mighty have fallen. Pummeled by Netflix and OnDemand, Blockbuster’s sales and locations have almost completely vanished. In some ways this is not an improvement, however, as their large stores offered a large variety of titles to take home immediately. While Netflix has a superior collection, it takes a few days to get their DVD delivery. RedBox’s and Blockbuster’s kiosks have a limited selection. OnDemand by TWC, Netflix streaming, and Amazon Prime offer instant services, but their selections are extremely limited.

Perhaps consumers are finding themselves in a temporary rut, but I, for one, will miss Blockbuster’s stores. As Blockbuster fades, the classic old Raleigh gem, North American Video, still stands strong in Cameron Village. Anyone remember when they charged ~$120 for an initiation fee? Those were the days!

Jan
25

ESPN College Gameday Comes to PNC Arena

ESPN’s Saturday morning franchise, College Gameday, will air live from the PNC Arena tomorrow (Sat) from 9am to Noon. The show features talking heads Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps, Jalen Rose, and host Rece Davis covering the world of College Basketball. The show airs live in front of the home crowd of what is typically the weekend’s most anticipated matchup.

The show will air at 10am on ESPNU (TWC 1502) for an hour, then will flip over to ESPN at 11am (Who is the advertising wiz who came up with that one?). Then the crew will be on the air again at 6pm for the State/Carolina pre-game.

The PNC Arena’s East (Wade Ave) doors open to fans at 9am, however according to an excellent itinerary at NBC17’s page, it might behoove fans to get there well before 7am. Game tickets are not required for entry for the morning show, and the building will be cleared after the show. Therefore entry for the morning show does not imply entry for the 7pm game.

Jan
23

Battaglia Joins Amazing Race

Once a member of the infamous “BBC” line that got the Carolina Hurricanes to the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals, Bates Battaglia will compete in the upcoming season of CBS’ Amazing Race, reports TBJ’s Jason deBruyn. The show starts February 17.

Jan
16

What’s The Deal With This TWC Letter?

In the late fall Time Warner Cable subscribers received a letter informing them of the digital migration of channels like C-SPAN, CMT, OWN, etc. The letter notes that starting around December 4, customers would only be able to tune the channels mentioned using a digital set-top box. While confusing and possibly irritating, this trend isn’t over.

Back in 2007 CED Magazine and Engadget’s Ben Drawbaugh wrote about the difficult cable digital transition (not to be confused with the over-the-air “digital transition” that got so much attention.) The articles explain that while companies like Time Warner Cable have a vast installation of wiring installed in our cities, that network, like a highway, can only handle a certain amount of traffic.

20121030_TWCLetrThe classic method of delivering a cable signal, “analog”, is like a series of wide-load trucks barreling down the highway. Digital signals are like motorcycles on the highway, so many more of these signals, or channels, are able to fit in the existing network. Customers want more channels, so instead of going through the costly process of digging up the city again, cable companies are converting channels over to the digital method of transmission and shutting off the old analog signals.

The problem with the cable digital transition, is that digital signals need to be received with special equipment. Hearing your neighbor lean out the window yelling,”Hey YO”, doesn’t require equipment, but to receive their telephone call, one has to have compatible equipment on his or her end to receive the neighbor’s call. Our old TVs could only receive these analog shouts, but needed a digital cable tuner to receive the other channels. Newer TVs have a digital tuner only in them, so they can receive digital signals (that aren’t encrypted).

2-trans-chartSo Time Warner Cable is, rightfully, in the process of converting its cable signal from analog to digital, and in the process is carrying one of each version of the most popular channels. That’s hogging a lot of bandwidth! The letter we received is simply notifying us of the next wave of channels that will be taken off of the analog package of signals. Eventually all of the analog channels will be shut off, requiring every TV to have a digital tuner to receive the signal. This will allow companies to offer faster internet and more HD channels without radical infrastructure improvements.

What’s this CableCARD thing they mention?

Because some people in the 90s were fed up with the cable companies’ crappy cable boxes and numerous remote controls, the cable companies agreed on a standard key that could be inserted into the customer’s own equipment, allowing the customer to get all of the digital signals on his or her equipment. The CableCARD dream was for all TVs to have a slot where the key, the CableCARD, could be inserted, unlocking all of the channels and allowing the user to use the TV’s remote control to see the guide data and all of the channels. Unfortunately the cable companies’ agreement was simply to placate congress, and the companies did everything they could to make the CableCARD concept fail in the marketplace. They discouraged TV manufacturers from implementing the technology and they changed their own technology to make CableCARD incompatible with all offered channels and any on-demand items. CableCARD is still a great option though, allowing superior DVRs like Windows Media Center and Tivo to exist.

What about watching WRAL on 5.1, not with a box?

Ahh encryption. To circumvent piracy cable companies started encrypting their signals, which requires even more specialized equipment to receive and decode the signals. Time Warner’s boxes and DVRs do all of this behind the scenes work for the customer. Currently all channels above 99 are encrypted, and require a Time Warner box or CableCARD to decode the signal, not just receive it. Until October, however, federal law stipulated that cable companies could not encrypt signals that were also available over-the-air, ie in the public domain. This meant that cable companies had to provide channels like WRAL, WTVD, PBS, etc to all customer TV sets without requiring special equipment (“in the clear”). This allowed customers who don’t want a Time Warner cable box to scan the channels and get HD signals for WRAL on 5.1, for example, instead of just watching the SD signal on channel 3.

Not anymore. On October 12, 2012, the FCC ruled that cable companies are allowed encrypt our local stations, requiring customers to have their special equipment to tune content that is also carried via the public trust of the airwaves. Time Warner Cable has made no reference to this and has not stated any intention of requiring equipment to tune the major networks, however the gate is open for them to do so, which would disable customers’ abilities to tune WRAL-HD with their TVs on 5.1.

I’m just going with U-Verse or satellite

We certainly have options these days, which is great, but Time Warner Cable remains the only option that currently doesn’t require a settop box at every TV, allowing customers to tune programming with the TV’s integrated tuner. My prediction, however is that supplier’s logic will trump market demand and we will all have to have a converter box on every TV regardless of provider.

I’m pulling the plug and going with AppleTV

Apple, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Hulu, Roku, Boxee, etc are all trying to figure this out. Currently these companies offer equipment that users plug into the internet and to their TV. While these boxes do use the internet provider’s pipes, they pull their content from sources other than Time Warner Cable. Unfortunately they don’t currently provide the content most users want. Live sports, live news, the latest movies, and the most popular TV shows are difficult to find through these services, and will continue to be as long as cable and satellite providers hold on to content for dear life. Eventually these challengers will win, and companies like Time Warner Cable will continue to thrive as metered internet providers, as will as internet-based video providers. The concept of a live stream that offers shows at certain times will be a thing of the past, and local TV stations will have no role other than as local news agencies. However that day is still a long, long time coming.

If you are interested in sports, pulling the plug will definitely leave you very disappointed. The content offered outside of the mainstream providers is still too scant for most people. These alternative companies are definitely on to something, but the current model of delivering video content to customers is here to stay for quite a while longer.

May
16

Sun Sets on Miami

After 10 seasons the run is over for CSI: Miami. On Sunday CBS announced that the show would not be renewed. So, it is the end of an era for Emily Procter. The Raleigh native who made her first prime time splash on The West Wing, parlayed her success into the top female role on one of the most popular TV series in the last decade. 

What’s next for Procter? Probably a lot of time with her 1-year old daughter. Apparently the news of the show’s cancellation wasn’t known to the cast before it was made public. So, many phone calls will likely take place with her manager over the next few weeks. Procter took to Twitter for this message to the fans:

To have driven recklessly in high heels and tight pants for 10 years has been more fun than I can say. To know that y’all have had fun with me makes me so happy. There are many things and many people that I will miss with this change but I know there is also beauty in the Impermanence of things. I want to send a big squeeze to all of you: full of love, appreciation and thanks.

Incidentally, the last time I talked to Emily I asked her how much of the show is actually filmed in Miami. Incredulous, she replied, “None.” Of course the scene bumps are filmed in Miami, but every scene with the talent is all Hollywood. It’s actually still surprising, however, because there are many scenes shot in marinas, in front of Miami -looking highrises, and the like that are on completely flat ground with nearly Floridian vegetation.

However if there is one thing that will stick with people about this show, it is the corny Carusso one liners:

read more…
Apr
20

“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” Coming to UNC

On Tuesday, April 24, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” will tape their show from UNC. The show’s primary guest will by President Obama. Ticketing information is not available yet.

Mar
12

NCAA Tournament Calendar Tools Ready for Download

GcalThe 2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament is upon us, and all three Triangle teams are in the field. The games begin tomorrow night, however all of the ACC teams in the field play on Friday at these times:

  • 12:40 – NCSU/San Diego St. (TruTV)
  • 2:10 – UVA/FLA (TNT)
  • 2:45 – FSU/St. Bonaventure (CBS)
  • 4:10 – UNC/(Lamar/Vermont) (TBS)
  • 7:15 – Duke/Lehigh (CBS)

Time Warner Cable in Raleigh carries these networks on the following channels:

  • CBS (1105, 3, 105)
  • TBS (1302, 34, 302)
  • TNT (1301, 26, 301)
  • TruTV (1313, 44, 313)

As usual, gogoraleigh has all of the materials you need for catching the action.

The printable schedules are inverted for optimal black & white printing. They are an outstanding layout of game times. Read left-to-right, the games are in chronological order. Read top-to-bottom, most columns are venue-consistent. Television network assignments are also shown.

Finally, all of the games can be easily added to your Android phone, iPhone, Outlook, Google Calendars and more! Simply visit gogoraleigh’s Calendars tab, and use the links provided in the “2012 NCAA Tourament” line.

Jan
01

Broughton Band Featured in Tournament of Roses Parade

Tomorrow morning (Monday) the Broughton Band will take another long-awaited step into the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA. The Golden Regiment first marched this parade in 2008 and ever since rumors have floated about the actual retirement date of the band’s director, Jeff Richardson (“JR”). It was this second shot for which JR held out, and it was completely worth the wait, according to JR. After becoming active in the hosting process of the parade in recent years, the band was invited to not only return to the parade, but to march in the parade’s coveted final band slot. JR’s retirement is for real, this time, however, as his replacement will take the reins on February 1..

The parade will be aired from 11am to 1pm. While NBC is the more prominent network covering the event, HGTV (TWC Channels 1350 and 350) blows NBC’s coverage away year after year. Not only is their commentary about the craft of each float superb, they also show the marching bands for more then 5 seconds each.

Take a look at the Broughton Band during their first pass of the Raleigh Christmas Parade six weeks ago:

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