BBC to shutdown it’s Global iPlayer service

For those of you who like to get their fill of BBC dramas and documentaries from the international version of the iPlayer, you may soon be out of luck.  BBC has just announced that it will be shutting down its international version which was available in 16 countries, including Canada.  According to the Engadget story, auto renewing series subscriptions will end between May 26th and June 26th.  British subjects need not worry as this closure only applies to the Global iPlayer and not the version available in the UK. 

Source: Engadget and BBC

Apple to increase App prices in Canada (update)

As expected the price of apps in the Canadian Apple App Store have increased. Previous apps for 99 cents now cost $1.19 and apps that were $1.99 now cost $2.29.

According to reports on CBC and iPhone in Canada websites, Apple is set to increase prices of its Apps in Canada within the next day. According to Boy Genius Report this price increase will involve the Mac App Store as well. The increase is a result of the recent changes in the Canadian-American exchange rate. Changes are also expected in all EU countries as well as Russia. So get those 99 cent Apps while you can.

Christmas Music 24/7

If just can’t get enough Christmas music, there are plenty of ways to satisfy your needs in the digital era.

From your computer, the easiest way to access your holiday favourites would be to find an online radio station. If you have a favourite terrestrial radio station, you should be able to find an online version that lets you listen live. Other stations that are dedicated to playing seasonal music can be found by searching for “Christmas music online”, you will find hundreds of streaming stations. Most of the stations are free of charge, although some may require registration. There are all sorts of genres to meet your needs, most play music continuously with only minimal interruptions for advertising. A music service that I find particularly well done is that on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) website (music.cbc.ca). On any computer you can access over 50 streaming stations, including two limited play Christmas channels, Seasonal Favourites and Classical Holiday.

You can access most of these same online stations described above using your smart phone or tablet through the browser although the user interface is much better if you are able to find an App for it. For example, the CBC Music application for iOS makes all of their Radio 1 and Radio 2 stations from across Canada available along with all of their streaming stations. Another application that I find quite good is “TuneIn Radio” which lets you listen to more than 100,000 stations from around the world. You can find dedicated Christmas stations, one of my favourites is Radio Santa Claus from Finland.

Seasonal music is also available through your television if you have a Smart TV or a set top box such as Roku or Apple TV connected to it. Most of these devices have a channel or application that allows access to online radio stations. For example, the Apple TV has a Radio application that provides access to hundreds of streaming stations under a number of genres. You can find Christmas music stations under the Religious category. If you don’t have a connected television and get your service through cable or by satellite, most providers have dedicated music channels. I am not talking about Much Music or MTV, but instead channels that play only music with no video, these are usually located in the higher numbers. For example Rogers Cable has approximately 20 music channels provided by Stingray Music, including Holiday Favourites, located on channel 222 and 710 in Ontario, Canada.

So if you’re like me and can’t get enough Christmas music there are many ways to satisfy your obsession.

Do you have any other suggestions? What are some of your favourite radio stations? Send a comment in below and share your experiences?

Happy Holidays.

Rogers Nextbox 3.0 – Real Life Review

I just recently exchanged a Rogers Nextbox 2.0 for a new Cisco 9865 (Nextbox 3.0) HDPVR. I was willing to give Rogers one last chance before abandoning them altogether and signing up with Bell Fibe TV. It’s not that the Rogers television service is bad or the monthly fees are out of line with its competitors, it was just the PVR’s that are supplied by them are atrocious. Based on my return record, I would say more than 80% of them had problems, since I rented the equipment it did not cost me anything to exchange them but after the 4th or 5th time it was getting frustrating. The reasons for the returns included: non responsiveness, endless rebooting, incorrect scheduled recordings, the list goes on. I sometimes think that this bad record is due to the fact that I was likely getting refurbished PVR’s every time I exchanged them but similar problems are described by people purchasing new units from third party suppliers such as Future Shop or Best Buy. I can’t imagine that it makes good business sense from Rogers’ point of view, having so many dissatisfied customers that can’t view their services because the hardware they get from Cisco/Scientific Atlanta is of such low quality. They should just stick to the business of providing good television services and leave the hardware supplying to company’s that have proven track records, a company such as TiVO. With this as a background, I decided to give them one last chance. Click here for my Real Life Review of Rogers Nextbox 3.0.

Netflix going up by $1 (update)

Netflix has certainly given ample us warning of their price increase, well now it is happening. Today it’s customers are receiving notifications that a monthly subscription will now cost $8.99. If you are already a subscriber your price will be locked in at $7.99 for two years.

Update: If you are quick you may still be able to get the old $7.99 price. The Netflix website still indicates the old price.

Source: Engadget

Apple releases update to iOS

Apple just released iOS 7.0.6 to deal with SSL connection verification issues.  Conspiracy theorists believe this will fix a back door that the NSA was exploiting but most people think that it is just a plain old security vulnerability.  Whatever the reason you should download the over the air update as soon as you can.

Source: iPhone in Canada