This little piggy stole my bandwidth

I love movies and television, and I enjoy watching when and where I want.  But lately I’ve been thinking: Does this in some way reflect negatively on me?  I mean, I’m not a bad person. But am I greedy or selfish for playing movies and TV shows on my Roku and Laptop PC, rather than on my big screen TV?

Maybe AT&T thinks so.  Because the other day I received a mailer entitled “Updates to Internet Usage Allowances.”  It says that AT&T will be increasing the U-verse Internet data allowances for many customers.  Okay, I’ve expected this because as consumer demands increase, so will the bandwidth delivered.  And we’ve all heard the rumors that companies like Comcast and Verizon are building bigger and better Internet delivery systems in order to meet customer demands.  But then the mailer states “…there’s a $10 charge for each 50GB of data you use over the allowance amount.”

This worries me.  Because I don’t consider myself a data-pig.  I do watch a good deal of video on my PC and my Roku, but I don’t download large movies, and I don’t require full HD when I stream.  And therein lies “the catch.”

When I stream on Hulu or a site like Crackle, I cannot control the exact quality of the content I watch.  In Hulu, I am allowed to select their settings “gear” and choose a low or medium setting – but I have no idea how much bandwidth this uses.  I’d like to select SD or Widescreen SD because I know this would use much less “Internet Data” than true HD.  And in most cases the resolution is just fine for me.   Why?

Television resolution is Relative.  In most cases you cannot see the difference between 720P or Full-HD or Ultra HD.)

I’d have to line up two TV’s next to each other and broadcast the same video in order to appreciate the difference in the details.  You think you need Full-HD or the 4k Ultra HD.  The TV manufactures have been pushing bigger and bigger TV sets on us, and insisting that the Big Screen TV or “10-foot experience” can only be appreciated with a 1920 x 1080 quality video.  And of course to support your Internet TV, you should expect to use large amounts of Internet bandwidth to get the true HD experience – if you can tell the difference that is.  And that’s going to get expensive.

So who is going to pay to deliver HDTV quality video to me?  Is it AT&T’s responsibility to deliver Internet-bandwidth that will support the demands of my PC and Roku while not charging for these upgraded services?

In other words: I’ve been talking with Netflix, Roku and other Connected TV uses for months now about a conflict of interest which is:

How and why would Comcast, AT&T and others want to make TV and Movie programming available to you over the Internet when they already deliver it to you via their Cable/Fiber-Optic/SAT to your TV?

Somethings gotta give, and I’m afraid the folks out there who thought that they could enjoy Full-HD via their Internet connection on a PC and especially on TV’s like the Roku 4K Ultra HDTV or Samsung Smart TV are in for a price hike.

Roku 4 requires a 15mbps connection, but they don’t talk about how much data you will use to enjoy Full-HD on your TV.  And like I say, if you watch a television program on your PC via Hulu or another service you might be able to select a low or medium resolution, but you won’t know how much data you are using.  For the AT&T customer, 50GB’s goes very fast and I don’t want to spend 10 bucks just to watch Sharknado.

What can we do?  I for one try to encourage people to set their connected TV (Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV) to the SD setting.  Not all Set Top Boxes have this feature, so I bought the low end Roku 1.  It has component (RCA) plugs.  I use these plugs instead of the HD port , and I setup my television in the Standard Definition (4×3) mode.  I also went into my Roku’s display setting and selected SD (4×3.)  For programs like Star Trek, I get a 4×3 display.  And somehow, my set up still delivers a widescreen picture when a film is formatted to support it.  It requires much less data for SD than HD.

If you muRoku4st have HD, then Roku’s most expensive model 4 is $129 and it promises to up-rez 720HD videos to a full HD 1920×1080 experience.  But I cannot recommend this as a way to save Internet data use, because for one, the unit requires a very strong Internet connection of 15mbps, and that tells me it’s demanding a large amount of bandwidth (data.)

Have I been able to insure that my Roku settings are really saving me money?  Not yet, AT&T won’t allow me to monitor my data usage until May 23rd!  Haa!  There’s always a catch.

-Dean

 

 

 

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Why competitors to Hulu may not pay you

Yes my filmmaking friend, DIY film Distribution platforms with big dollars behind them do sometimes fail.  BabelGum and Joost are long gone, and now so is Yekra.

Dean Lach

As filmmakers, we trust Hulu, but what about the others like Babelgum (now defunct), Joost (defunct) and others?  Like traditional distributors, Streaming video websites can be a risky business too.

The following is a REPOST from the Yekra FB page. Yekra was a self-distribution program that worked much like VHX and others. But as you see, they streamed indie films…they charged for the streams…but they apparently did not pay the filmmakers.

**Steven R. Ladd
July 15, 2015 at 8:50pm
Following up on my last post, [regarding YEKRA] perhaps all the filmmakers and others who had films on Yekra need to file a class action lawsuit naming the investors/owners in order to recover the money we earned. Shameful that there was no correspondence telling us how to get what we’ve earned. It’s like stealing, which is illegal.

Sonya Waterworth
Sonya Waterworth @Steven R. Ladd I would love to join your lawsuit. As a shareholder I still HAVE NO CLUE what is going on. The investors who shut down the business are a company called Bray Capital, owned by 2 men named Brady Collins and Seamus O’Brien.

Sonya Waterworth Also the Managers who deemed it ethical to behave in such a way before shutting the business down are a Patrick Fitzgerald, Bob Miller, and Kelly Summers.
**End of repost

Please note that I understand I’m not posting this to be negative towards Yekra or other similar svcs. (Note Yekra.com is defunct.)

** Here’s my shameless plug for a solution: My solution is quite different than Hulu and other streaming venues. Firstly, I’m not a online streaming “website.”  My channel, called Movies Plus is an actual TV channel that broadcasts through a Internet “set top box.” Movies Plus lets a filmmaker stream your film on our Fire TV, and soon on ROKU and other Connected TV platforms. With this solution, Movies Plus encourages the audience to visit your website so that they may support your movie via donations or DVD or ancillary product sales.  Here’s an example of what you would encode into the start/end of your Sneak-Peak, Screener or completed feature film or TV show:example-artcard-b4-movie-plays-and-after

The Tunnel is an Indie made feature film.  This is a perfect artcard example. This is how a filmmaker should prepare their movie for broadcast on Movies Plus. Place this at the start/end of your film/TV program. Remember you don’t have to screen your entire project, you may prepare a Pilot or a Featurette that drives the audience to your Point-of-sale website where you offer incentives for the audience who supports you.  Things like DVD’s, T-shirts, and other Ancillary products. Plus don’t forget a Donation box from Paypal or whatever.  If you interested in Movies Plus, please see me on my Facebook page and I’ll send you more information.

It’s about time I offered a cheap way to publish a Roku Channel

The landscape at Roku has changed drastically over the last year.

Right now, there are dozens and dozens of Church and Cooking channels clogging up the Public development que. Getting listed in the Roku channel store is a horrible situation, but you can get your PRIVATE Roku channel published immediately.

A little background…Right now it can take 2 months to get a “Public” channel approved. And then guess what…Making money with a Roku Channel is difficult.

Many have tried to monetize free channels with advertising and failed. It’s almost impossible to find a ad-insertion company that will take you seriously unless you get 500,000 views a month. And how do you get that kind of viewership?

Be Crackle, Be Netflix Be Amazon? Ha! In other words, forget it because you don’t have the engaging content that these networks have. 70’s 80’s films, Public Domain, and B-grade movie are just…well, it’s crap. No one wants to watch that stuff. Not convinced?

What do you watch? Game of Thrones? The Americans? The Walking Dead? Scandal? The Voice? Madmen reruns? Now how can B grade movies or TV shows compete with quality programming that networks produce? Unless you have Bruce Willis or better in your film…fo-get-about-it…

So…this brings me back to what they call Private Roku Channel publication. It’s not really private! And it’s something you can do on the cheap. I can make a Roku channel for your organization, without going through the Roku publishing approval process and without owning content produced for mass appeal. If you (or I) build a Roku channel they will come!

Picture this: If you have a Church group, Society, Meetup, VFW, Karate Club or most any other organization, then it’s likely that you’re already posting the videos of your meetings, outings and special events on Youtube or whatever. Now then, with my help you can publish your content on a Roku “private” channel. This is a TV channel that comes alive on your TV. And it’s a great way to distribute your content to your current members and potential recruits.
That’s because a private Roku channel is not really hidden or “private.” It’s just Roku’s term for a channel that doesn’t appear on their published list of channels. You know, the list that includes ABC, CBS and the big boys. Well, who wants to compete with them anyway? (You can’t, so why try.)

Okay, so how much will I charge you and what do you get. Right now I can make a private Roku channel for you for about a hundred bucks. That’s a one time charge. Yep, pay me once and you own the Channel.

This will save you all the headaches of browsing Roku’s development “how to” pages and their almost useless blog. You don’t need SDK’s or any of that “coding” garbage. You don’t need ‘No Stinkn’ Eclipse, Brightscript or any other special software. Oh, I am assuming you know how to email me your organization logo, yada yada.

You eventually will need a Roku device. If you don’t have 50 bucks and a PC to start, then this might not be for you because I’m just a Roku Channel builder. I don’t make the rules, like if you want to use Roku’s billing system, then you’ll have to get approved by them and that takes months. My solution is for free channels or channels that you charge for via your own means like a Club membership fee.
And I don’t have the authority to force Roku to publish a channel, especially one that has “borrowed” content, nudity or other redflag material…So I guess I’m saying there’s no guarantees in the life of a Internet TV Broadcaster. Okay, so assuming you’re an adult and you’re responsible for your own actions, let’s forget the bable and read on please.

You can buy a cheap Roku for around 49 bucks… Now, when you go to the Internet to register the Roku device you’ll eventually see a link for “Developer accounts.” You will need to supply Roku with your name, address, email etc for the Developer account. They call it an application process, but there’s nothing much to approve really. My account was free. I’m assuming they will keep Developer accounts free.

That’s how you start, it’s simple.

You of course will want your own Youtube or other account for your Video content. I like to see that you have Mp4 (mpeg 4) videos when I build your Channel, Mp4 videos of most any quality play fine on the Roku.

That’s almost it for this posting. Drop me a line and if I have time I’ll build you a Roku channel for 100 dollars or so.

*PS: This service is for Private channels only. I will not develop a Public channel for you because the competition is steep and I’m doing everything I can to make money on my own channels. And to ensure this, I will either put a little Accreditation within your channel indicating your channel is PRIVATE and developed by yours truly OR I will use a service like feedburner to compile your videos/feeds. Don’t worry, you’ll have a chance to look at the Channel in demo mode before you pay me or upload it to your Developer account. (I can upload it for you if need be.)

Oh, no offense, but I also will look at your video content to make sure it’s not hate/porn-adult or STOLEN/ILLEGAL content. Why, because I don’t want Roku to associate what I develop for you with my commercial account. (They have the right to cancel accounts if you/I break the rules.)

Contact: metrofilmfestival @ gmail.com (Please remove spaces b4 you email me.)

Some keywords so folks can find me: build a roku channel, create a roku channel, make a roku channel, cheap roku development, bargain roku channel, cheap roku app, roku app, apps, app developer