Posts Tagged ‘ Sky ’

European Rugby – “Not” The Heineken Cup

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“Four tries at the very least, and a 27 point margin to boot. No team could surely ever pull it off. Watch now, as Ronan O’Gara lines up the most important kick of his Munster career…”

Ok so, except that there’s one less pool (and four less teams as a result), let’s face it, this is the Heineken Cup. To Irish rugby fans in particular, the Heineken Cup even in name alone meant a lot more than just sponsorship. It’s a heritage, a legacy. It’s the reason we all looked forward to October. And the greatest Irish successes, be it winning finals or overcoming huge opponents in knockouts, all came at the peak of the competition’s popularity both with the public and financially. Is it any wonder there were calls for change from outside the country? Continue reading

GAA Launches Streaming Service For International Fans

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The GAA today launched its new subscription-based online streaming service which will offer live and on-demand GAA games to audiences worldwide, outside of the Island of Ireland.

GAAGO was launched by Noel Curran, Director General of RTÉ and Páraic Duffy, Director General of the GAA, launched GAAGO, the new subscription-based online streaming service, which will offer live and on-demand GAA games to audiences outside of Ireland starting with the 2014 GAA Championships. The event hosted in RTÉ’s Studios, was live streamed online to an international audience. Continue reading

Bundle Research For TV, Broadband And Phone Deals Is Worth The Time It Takes

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We all know that the cheapest way to get broadband and subscription TV channels at home these days is in a bundle, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve bothered to do it yet. When you come home after a long day, the last thing you probably feel like doing is shopping around for a good deal on your TV or internet subscriptions.

But by not streamlining separate services for broadband, TV and phoneline, you could be paying double what you need to. Doing a little research to compare what each company has on offer won’t take more than a couple of hours – at the very most – and it could save you hundreds on an annual basis. Continue reading

The First Wall To Fall?

You may know the website, surfthechannel.com, but you mightn’t know the man behind it all. Anton Vickerman is his name, a 38-year-old from Gateshead, in England. Or, at least, he was from Gateshead.

Vickerman, who founded the site in October 2007, has recently been jailed for four years, having been convicted on two counts of conspiracy to defraud. He was arrested in 2008 following a lengthy sting operation by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), who amongst other things, hired a private investigator to secretly film inside Vickerman’s house. On hearing of the verdict, Kieron Sharp, Director-General of FACT was triumphant. “This case conclusively shows that running a website that deliberately sets out to direct users to illegal copies of films and TV shows will result in a criminal conviction and a long jail sentence,” he said.

We should surely rejoice. After all, another criminal, an internet criminal and pirate has been caught. The day has been saved, as have lots of dollars for the creators of the television shows and films Vickerman was posting on his website. But wait a minute. Let’s actually do something the courts and FACT appear to have not – examine the nature of SurfTheChannel. When it was live, the website functioned as a sort of search engine for films and tv. Under each title were several links to different video hosting websites. Just the links, mind you, no videos, no hosting. Just a link, and a separate page in between, warning the user that they were about to leave STC, asking them if they really wished to proceed. When you think about it, Google doesn’t even do that. It too is a search engine. If you type ‘watch film online’ into the search bar, 494,000,000 results appear almost instantaneously, far more than you might have found on STC. Google doesn’t host them, it simply links to them, regardless of whether or not they might contain illegal content. It is up to the user to decide if they want to proceed. Only this week, the company announced its intention to downgrade illegal file sharing sites in its search results. Clearly they are aware of the presence of these sites in their index. So why doesn’t FACT come after Google and the other search engine giants? Is there an arrest warrant out for Larry Page too? I doubt it.

Let us link this to the real world for a moment. In any given bank branch in Ireland I would presume there is some sort of safe, containing fairly large sums of money. Now, we all know it’s illegal to break into these banks and steal that money. But what happens if I write a list of each AIB branch in the country, along with their exact addresses. Will I get arrested for simply telling people where to find the money, or posting it up on a noticeboard? After all, I’m not telling them to break in and steal it. That’s up to themselves entirely. Across the web you can find tutorials for almost anything, including some rather disturbing ones; killing somebody and how to get away with it. Now obviously killing somebody is illegal. But the reason you don’t find the creators being arrested is because not only have they not committed a crime, merely shown how one might go about doing so, certainly not advising such a course, but there are no big organisations like FACT, the Scientology of the movie business, ruthlessly cracking down on anyone who doesn’t follow their line of thinking.

The film and television industries are a little behind, as are the businesses which live on their coattails. People want digital entertainment, delivered instantaneously to their laptop and for reasonable prices. Cinema tickets are outrageous. Television packages like Sky extort large sums of money in return for little programming of any value. DVDs are still overpriced. Amazon Instant Video is getting there, though criticism are not so few, and its only available in the States. And Netflix is woefully under stocked in anything that resembles something watchable. The link below summarises the situation in a more humorous manner (though be warned, it is somewhat nsfw).

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

Watching illegally uploaded films or tv programmes is illegal, there’s no denying that. But its obvious why people are flocking to such websites in their droves. Less money means less to spend on entertainment, and if companies don’t understand that and react accordingly then they’re simply going to lose quite a lot of trade. Curbing piracy comes not by arresting anyone and everyone in sight, but by changing the method of media delivery. And while the users may be acting illegally in their choice of source, if its cheaper than what the industries are providing, then its a no brainer. Those providing the links to such content are simply making allowing for such content to be accessed, without forcing anyone to access it. Guns are not designed to save but to hurt or kill. And a gun dealer won’t advise you to wound or kill anyone, he merely provides you with the tools for the job, and leaves it use up to your own discretion. Anton Vickerman may be no angel but he’s no criminal either. If he must sit in jail for the next four years then Larry Page, Bill Gates and Marissa Mayer should be sitting right alongside him.

The case itself is highly suspect. FACT and the MPAA were allowed quite close to the investigation , and Hollywood officials were disturbingly involved with questioning while much of the evidence used in the case was gathered by those organisations in a private investigation. Also of interest is the crime Vickerman was charged with – conspiracy to defraud, rather than under the UK’s copyright laws. If his actions were indeed designed to circumvent piracy and copyright laws, then why was he not charged under them? Simple – the case was weak and would have been thrown out. And how can one man be charged as a conspiracy? Who did he conspire with? Himself? Perhaps he has several personalities we haven’t been informed of. “This was not a case brought using copyright law,” UK Pirate Party leader Loz Kaye said in a statement. “The interest groups involved couldn’t present a case of copyright infringement and decided to press for the use of the common law offence of ‘conspiracy to defraud.’ This offense is incredibly controversial in English law as it criminalizes conduct by two or more parties that would not be criminal when performed by an individual.” Only last year, the Crown Prosecution Service announced it would not be pursuing action against the founders of FileSoup, a service similar to SurfTheChannel, on the grounds that the case was a civil rather than a criminal matter, while Alan Ellis, the administrator of OiNK, which linked to BitTorrent downloads, was acquitted by a jury of conspiracy to defraud, having successfully argued that a) he provided a service similar to Google and b) he only offered links, and was not responsible for user’s decisions. Sound familiar? But when you have the government in your pocket, securing a conviction for anyone engaged in activities you don’t like shouldn’t be a huge problem.

Make the judgement for yourself. Visit Vickerman’s website and FACT, take a look at the evidence they offer and come to your own conclusions. Just don’t take the official story for granted.

Hit and Miss for Abbott

By the time you read this we will be two episodes and counting into the new Paul Abbott offering Hit and Miss (Tuesdays at 10pm on Sky Atlantic). Starring Academy Award Nominee Chloë Sevigny and set in the very un-Hollywood Manchester its unusual fare. Not least because the very glamorous Sevigny plays a sexy assassin in the north of England, it’s that she plays it with the help of a prosthetic – not a limb but a penis. And what a prosthetic it is, if we hadn’t been given enough glimpses in the first episode (shower scene) we were given two more opportunities in episode two (bath scene and a bizarre scene involving yet another prosthetic – a Cyrano De Bergerac style nose).

In the first episode the penis was definitely the star of the show. Sevigny seemed ill at ease in the role and rocking a very dodgy ‘Oirish’ accent for which she has already apologised for, the story being that Mancunian tones were too difficult to master so she compromised with some ‘begorrah and bejaysus’. She has also gone on record as saying Manchester was the grimmest place she’d ever been – it shows on screen. Mia her character is pre-op (as if we hadn’t already noticed) and suddenly discovers she has a son she never knew about. An old girlfriend has died naming Mia as the sole guardian of her 4 children. This all happens within the first ten minutes, the rest of the episode is devoted to introducing us to the pantomime villain of the piece, the landlord of the small holdings where the family live and raise a smattering of farm animals. It is implied that that the children’s mother and the landlord had an ‘arrangement’ regarding paying rent, and as Mia spurns his advances the back rent must be paid in full or the family will be evicted. Cue a beat down by Mia and the landlord is left bloody and vowing revenge, this he vows to his secret girlfriend none other than one of Mia’s new charges.

By episode two Mia firmly has her feet under the table as she seems to have a sense of duty to the children on the holdings even though the older two children seem to resent her, tellingly referring to her as the ‘Cock in the Frock’. All this Mia seems to take stoically but we don’t understand why- the depth of feeling Sevigny is trying to convey is just not there. Overall the two episodes didn’t spark and this might be down to the fact that Abbott while creating the series is not a writer on it, in comparison to the first three series of his other noted creation, Shameless. The show was at its most daring, provocative and funny when Abbott was also credited as a writer.

It remains to be seen if the remaining four episodes of the series emerge from the shadow of the prosthetic, sharpens up its dialogue and dares to become provocative in its own right.