Happy Easter! I spent most of the past week staying with my in-laws in California, thanks to it being a spring-break week at our daughter’s school. I wish I’d had more downtime, but my laptop had other ideas.
3/26/2018: Have a cell phone plan? You could get Netflix or Hulu for free, USA Today
My editor suggested that I write about the various streaming-media freebies that the big four wireless carriers now offer with at least some of their subscriptions. Having spent an unnecessary $20 last year on an MLB At Bat subscription because I didn’t think to cancel its automatic renewal in time to cash in on T-Mobile’s free MLB.tv deal (which then and now includes that app’s premium option), I agreed that we should remind readers of these possibilities.
3/26/2018: Robocalls are worse than ever, but help is on the way, Yahoo Finance
I attended a half-day event at the Federal Communications Commission two Fridays ago about the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission’s attempts to stop illegal robocalls, and I learned a lot. Besides, I had not set foot in the FCC’s offices in a shamefully long time.
3/27/2018: Facebook privacy, WTOP
D.C.’s news station called me up to chat about Facebook’s latest privacy failings, including the way some of its Android apps would sync your SMS and call logs to Facebook if you allowed them to sync your contacts (fortunately, I did not). We would have done this via Skype, but my laptop was still inoperative and the Skype Android app crashed every time I tried to run it on my Pixel.
3/28/2018: ATSC 3.0, IP take center stage at NAB Show 2018, FierceCable
I wrote two short curtain-raiser posts for my occasional client FierceTelecom about the National Association of Broadcasters’ upcoming show in Las Vegas. This one focused on the upcoming ATSC 3.0 standard for broadcast TV that should bring Ultra High Definition to the airwaves–along with some interesting data possibilities.
3/28/2018: From 8K to VR, the future is on display at NAB Show 2018, FierceCable
This one, in turn, covers a group of exhibits meant to spotlight various advances in video technology. After writing it, I kind of regret not being able to cover NAB–but I have a schedule conflict, and ATSC 3.0 shows no sign of being a customer reality this year anyway.
3/29/2018: Facebook privacy, Al Jazeera
By now, I had my laptop back from the dead, so I could do this interview with the Arabic-language news channel via Skype from my in-laws’ living room–which, conveniently enough, had a bookshelf in the right spot to provide me with a reasonably professional background.
3/29/2018: Sorry, baseball fans: These TV networks strike out at online streaming, Yahoo Finance
I had to revise this post on the afternoon of baseball’s opening day when the Mets’ SNY regional sports network finally acknowledged reality and signed distribution deals with three online video services. That leaves seven franchises with sports networks stuck in denial about cord-cutting, D.C.’s among them. So it looks like the first Nats game I watch live will be Thursday’s home opener, which I’ll see from the stands instead of on a screen.
Is ATSC 3.0 backwards compatible with current digital TVs? If we are satisfied with our the current HDTV quality, will we lose channels if they switch to ATSC 3.0? Or will the stations have to broadcast in both the current digital system and the new 3.0 to avoid losing viewers who don’t replace all their TVs and video equipment?
The latter. I really don’t know how this will work out in practice, except that we now have more ways to pack additional channels into the same market-wide expanse of spectrum.
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