Sunday, November 15, 2015

Podcasting: Audio Freedom

Hello All. I hope everyone is enjoying their fall. It is so hard to believe that another year is nearing a close. This past September, I decided to head back into the classroom for my Master's Degree at Rutgers. With this new venture comes a long traffic filled commute back and forth to New Brunswick a few times per week. To help pass the time during my travels, I decided to add the endless world of podcasts into the rotation with my usual mix of sports talk and satellite radio.

I've always been familiar with the format but had never really spent a great deal of time listening for one reason or another until recently when i've been obligated to spend hours in the car on a daily basis. It didn't take long for me to get vacuumed into the format. Once you find a topic that caters to your interest, it is a reasonable guess that you may be addicted as well. In a way, it is radio without rules. The formats and genres are nearly endless with literally something for everybody in an uncut and uncensored presentation.

While it isn't the latest creation in the digital world, it has certainly evolved significantly in both distribution and content variety over the past few years. Internet audio is two decades old and has certainly come a long way from the days where a listener would have to connect to dialup and fire up the old real player application on their Windows desktop to listen to a very low quality audio file over their speakers. Today, you can literally access and subscribe to whatever your ears desire with just a touch of your smartphone screen.

With several big names from the entertainment industry aligning themselves with a podcast distributor, I am extremely curious to see where this evolving industry heads in the next few years especially with new options to connect to your vehicle dashboard. We will have to wait and find out.

For the time being, explore and indulge in some audio deliciousness.

Enjoy your week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Roku: A must have for cord cutters

A few months back, I purchased a Roku stick for my TV. I already have an Apple TV in one room, which I love for its airplay capabilities and its integration with iTunes and other Apple devices. I heard great things about both the Roku and Chromecast. After researching, I decided to go with the Roku stick because of its versatility with its streaming store. I am not a cord cutter as of yet. While I still enjoy traditional cable television, I absolutely love the world of digital over the top content.
If you are one who has ditched cable or satellite TV all together, the Roku stick is a handy tool for getting the most out of your TV without the cable wires. In the streaming store, you have the opportunity to choose from dozens of OTT channels featuring various genres of all media. If you are in fear of losing your some of your favorite cable channels, you can subscribe to Sling TV which gives you a bunch of channels normally found on your cable lineup. If all that is holding you back are basic broadcast channels like ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX, you can still purchase a digital HDTV antenna to get free access to these networks.
As easy as it is to produce content today, it is equally as user friendly to customize the way you consume content. The options are endless and able to fit any needs. Traditional cable and satellite still has tremendous offerings with hundreds of channels now with companion digital on-demand offerings and packages. Pairing a Roku device with Netflix and a few other OTT subscriptions and an old fashioned HDTV antenna is also available to satisfy your TV needs.
The modern media world is all about user control. Discover all of the great new ways to access information and entertainment. Research and figure out what fits your lifestyle.
Enjoy the show!

Monday, July 13, 2015

N3twork: Customized mobile television in its purest form

In today's on the go society, we are always looking for quick and easy ways to access on-demand information and entertainment. Many have replaced their morning appointment with the newspaper with scrolling their smartphone for the latest news and videos. While social media and having access the internet at our fingertips every single second of the day, there is no need to sit down and consume a bunch of current events that happened during the previous day at once. Thanks to modern technology, even the most unsavvy user can keep up with current events live as they unfold directly on a smartphone. Another rapidly growing trend on mobile devices over the past few years is the consumption of videos.
When it comes to video, the internet has allowed the user to become the producer with complete content control. Several new stars in pop culture have reached new heights of success thanks to the exposure provided by websites such as YouTube, Daily Motion, Vimeo and others. Continuing the rise of the mobile revolution, users can now not only produce their own content, but can also create their own personal television network.
Enter the app simply called N3twork. The easy to use interface allows viewers to select content and genres of content that they want to watch and form it into a playlist to watch on their smartphone that plays continuously, similar to a linear television channel. If you have an iPhone, it integrates seamlessly with other Apple products such as the Apple TV so you can airplay your channel directly to your TV set.
If you are an avid user of YouTube and other video sites, this app is a must have. It is refreshing to constantly have an updated pipeline of videos, all catering to your interests, directly on your own customized channel.
I highly recommend trying this one out. Check it out today.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The New World of Music

Technology is an amazing thing... Sometimes it can be challenging and complex as it can take time to adjust to utilizing new tools in both the work world and in leisure life. One way or another, technology creates waves in almost every type of industry in the world. While some advances in technology can be extremely helpful, it can be devastating to others. A prime example of this came in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s by way of the internet. The rise of the music industry through vinyl records and the evolution of radio paved the way for new artists from around the world directly to superstardom. Somewhere along the way when the internet became a main staple in the household, software capabilities, such as Napster, led to a rise in file sharing and a decline in record sales. This undoubtedly sent a shockwave throughout the music industry. Was this setback a serious issue that could lead to the decline of the music industry. The answer is absolutely not. While file sharing on the internet created a major issue in the music industry, the internet itself has been utilized by media giants to reinvent music delivery, not only for buying albums from major label artists, but for discovering up and coming artists that might be unknown to the general public. Apple has helped pioneer the new age of media through their iTunes platform and integrating it with the iPod and eventually with the modern day iPhone, bringing millions of tracks and albums directly to the palm of a listeners hand in a few seconds. In the past, a listener's new music discovery path would most likely begin at a concert or by listening to the radio and hoping to catch the name of the artist and track title to go to the local record store and search through bins hoping to find the album that housed their desired track. In the modern day, a listener can pull out their smartphone and use the Shazam app to uncover the artist's name and the track title instantly. The app will then display a link to the iTunes store with the ability to download the song directly. The way that our methods have changed it truly extraordinary. The changing trends do not stop with iTunes and the ability to buy music on a smartphone. The rise of music streaming services have taken off to new levels of success. Several of the services rely on advertising or a subscription based model to generate revenue. It is miraculous how in just a few short years, we have so many new choices through the likes of Pandora, Spotify and now the new Apple Music streaming service to access music and share genre interests with other fans from around the world. The global revolutionary trend continues. Grab a good pair of headphones and step into the new world of audio heaven.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Never look back

It has been a few months since I last posted. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. The spring has been extremely busy for me. I have been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting. Sometimes I get tied up so much that I forget to take a step back and remember what is truly important in life. I tend to let my vision that I have dreamt up for the past several years get slightly distorted with distractions. No matter what, family is the most important aspect in life for me. Nothing will ever top it. Over the past year, I became a husband and a homeowner. My goal is to continue to grow and try to be the best person that I can be. I want to work on getting more involved with the community in different ways as well as inspiring the next generation of talented people to do their absolute best and utilize every resource that they can. For a period of time, I was beginning to lose focus on my mission until very recently.... My goals are now closer than ever. Never give up on your dreams. No matter how long it takes. Never give up and never look back on why something didn't work out at a certain time because there will always be new opportunities. Find something new to get excited about as it may provide an answer to some of your past questions. Focus. Dream big. Keep going..... Enjoy the day! CB

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The future unveiled....

Taking a look into the future of the media industry....
Over 300 years ago, a major staple in mainstream media was born in the form of newspapers. From global news to politics to the local baseball score to the comics, these dailies were a big part of the morning routines and sometimes evening routines for nearly three centuries. 

During the twentieth century, the constant development and improvement of radio and television in both technology and new programming had not only created new venues for information and entertainment but new corporations for major businesses. 

These traditional media outlets, radio, television and print products were the most common ways for obtaining and consuming information. With the internet becoming user friendly in the 1990s, the groundwork for the modern day media industry.

With the consistent development of new technology and the advancement of software, the ability to access information faster and do more with less is in crucial demand.

The key factor to staying relevant in the new media world is versatility. Radio, television and especially print must utilize digital elements to compliment their offerings. 

All three outlets, radio, TV, and print products all provide a unique user experience. From the local community access of the newspaper and the elegant glossy visuals of a magazine to the engaging and energizing "lean forward" content of a radio station to a world of episodic stories of television, all media outlets are great in their own way. 

Today's new media world powered by the internet allows us to access all of these great outlets from a compact device in the palm of our hands instantly. 

We've certainly come a long with technology and media especially over the past decade. We are now the producers. We all have the ability to create engaging content and display it globally in a matter of seconds through social media. All of the things we love, from entertainment to news to interactive content, are at our fingertips. 

The exciting thing is that we have only just recently entered the digital  world and the possibilities for constant improvement are endless. 

One can only imagine what's next.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Crackle: The Blueprint for the Future of TV

My thoughts on the direction of television and new media.... There have been several different discussions about where the television industry is headed in the next decade. Two of the major focal points of discussion have revolved around content distribution methods and how it will impact the advertising industry. I have seen reports calling for the end of the commercial and having the networks rely entirely on a subscription over-the-top model. While subscription model networks are unique and fantastic offering the viewer an incredible amount of content at a touch of a button, there are a few hurdles that OTT networks must climb before claiming victory against traditional broadcast television. The issue that arises with this concept is asking the consumer to purchase multiple subscriptions on top of their current cable or satellite package. Even you as the consumer decide to eliminate cable all together and stick to strict digital OTT networks, your monthly fees for a handful of networks would more than likely exceed a basic cable package that might contain over 50 channels. There are several pros and cons to both traditional cable models and digital OTT subscription models. Enter Crackle. A digital OTT network model that I call the best of both worlds. Crackle contains tons of great content with no monthly subscription fee or any aggravating logins and passwords to remember. Crackle's revenue source is powered by interactive commercials. Utilizing a model like this breathes new life into a commercial and actually enhances its effectiveness with the ability to click on the ad (depending on what device you are using) and directly go to a site to purchase the product. If the product draws enough interest, the consumer can literally click to be transferred to the product's ecommerce outlet, read more information and order the product within a few minutes. This new distribution method of advertising creates a new avenue to generate not only product awareness but sales while eliminating several layers of asking the consumer to either drive to a store or search for the product on a website. While browsing Crackle's catalog of content and cruising through a couple of Seinfeld episodes, I took notice to some of the advertising that appeared during the breaks in the shows. One was for a new Samsung smartphone with the commercial linking directly to Best Buy's website with an opportunity to purchase a product. Another commercial was promoting Las Vegas travel with a link directly to a website to book a hotel and airline package. This model of distribution is engaging, easy and effective and it is available not only on your television, but on your smartphone, tablet, or computer on-demand at the viewers convenience. Sony has indeed hit a home run with their digital model. It will be interesting to see how it develops and who will be next to follow the groundwork that has been built.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Fresh Philly Start in 2015

Below is a post that I wrote last month about my beloved Philly teams.... As the unforgiving year of 2014 ends for Philadelphia sports, a clean slate begins for our four favorite teams. While 2015 will probably not look much better, there is hope for some movement toward a positive direction. It is simply going to be a rebuilding year for at least three of the teams and hopefully our fanbase will have something to look forward to towards the third and fourth quarters of this upcoming year. The Phillies have finally begun to dismantle their roster. While the light is by no means in sight, this will give some younger players the opportunity to play and get some of those horrendous contracts off their books. The Sixers might be on pace for one of their worst seasons in history but in light of their laughing stock of a team, it is giving an opportunity for MCW and Nerlens Noel to gel and build chemistry. When Halloween rolls around, hopefully we can expect a healthy Joel Ebiid to join the lineup a long with another high draft pick. The Flyers hopefully can also add an important piece or two in the off season to hopefully propel them from a middle of the road team back to a contender. That leaves us with our beloved Eagles who left us heartbroken after this past season's 10-6 record without a playoff berth. After coming off of a big turnaround last year and falling apart late this season many fans are without any hope for the future after a renewed uncertainty at the Quarterback position. Playing the part of Mr. Optimistic, I see some good things on the future. The Eagles will rebound next year. By fixing some holes in the secondary and getting the offensive line back to full strength, I am confident Nick Foles will have more time to make better decisions with the football. Number 9 is still very young and has a very good mindset of moving forward without looking back. I am confident Chip Kelly will be able to regather his squad after this roller coaster of a season and make some big steps forward in 2015. Let us not forget that the Birds were 9-3 at one point. Discipline and development will be a key factor for all four teams in South Philly. Cheers to building the future. Happy New Year!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Empire - A New Television Revolution

Here is a review I wrote about one of my favorite new series, Empire....

The beat of the music. The bright lights. The glamour of fortune and fame.
All of these elements blended into one emotional fused drama is exactly the formula that FOX has perfected with the new hit series, Empire. From the opening scene in the debut pilot, the show powers through the screen to grasp the attention of the audience.
A major part of the blueprint for capturing an audience and connecting with them through a show is creating the ability to care about the characters and Terrence Howard captures the audience like none other with a gripping performance and makes you care. From the opening minutes, we are taken into the world of Empire Entertainment and while from the outside, everything looks like the high life, we get a glimpse of the underworld featuring Lucius Lyon and his dysfunctional family issues fueled by the return of his former lover and wife, Cookie, from prison. This show is something special. It features a nice mix of veteran cast members a long with some fresh new, very talented faces. The show is edgy and unpredictable.
This show hits on all cylinders with the music, the look and feel, and the chemistry between the cast all bound together in a wildly entertaining sixty minute window of nonstop action, drama, sex, and luxury. While some say that appointment television is fading, this is one show that you cannot wait to watch on Wednesday nights. If you have not had the chance to watch an episode yet, sit back and enjoy the ride. Empire is a five star winner.