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Channels brings Khan Academy to Television

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Channels brings Khan Academy to Television



Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 11.41.07 AMKhan Academy was founded in 2006 by Salman Khan who started tutoring a cousin remotely using Yahoo! Doodle. After creating a few videos he decided to move them to YouTube. Today, Khan Academy’s mission is to “provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. All of our resources are completely free forever, regardless of whether you’re a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology.”

So why is this so important? The videos are hosted on YouTube and are free to anyone, anywhere, who has a computer or tablet and an internet connection. Most of the courses are pre-college and allow learners to take ownership of their education. Khan Academy is designed for computers and tablets, but with Mohu’s Channels, the lessons can be streamed directly to a TV, turning the TV into a vehicle for learning and the living room into a lecture hall.

The premise is simple. Khan Academy hosts, via YouTube, hundreds of mini-lectures on math, history, finance, Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 11.46.10 AMeconomics, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and computer science. One of the simple, but most innovative features of many of the videos is that they abandon a traditional “lecture” format and instead the instructor walks the student through the  problem solving process using just a dark screen, colored “markers” and a voice-over. Listening and watching the instructor demonstrate his thought process (and make mistakes in real time) is less daunting to the viewer and the colored markers make the lectures more engaging.

Khan Academy also includes test prep for several standardized tests including the SAT. The latest development for Khan Academy is its partnership with the College Board to create free online test-prep materials for the redesigned SAT which debuts in 2016. With parents paying up to $900 for test preparation classes this next step could help close the income gap  among students often seen in standardized tests.

In future blogs Mohu will feature the weird and wonderful content available on YouTube. And with Channels coming out soon all this content can be streamed directly to your TV.







Networks Announce New OTA Shows



Over the weekend, the major networks announced what OTA shows will be renewed for the fall and which ones will get the ax. Most of Nielsen’s Top Ten such as NCIS, Big Bang Theory, Sixty Minutes, The Voice, and Blue Bloods have all been renewed. Rumors of Law & Order: SVU’s demise were premature, as it too was renewed, making it one of the longest running dramas on TV.

All of these shows, and more that will be introduced later, can be watched free, over the air with a Mohu antenna. And remember that the Mohu Metro is a great gift for college grads and even for dad’s “man cave.”

Newcomers such as Crisis, Surviving Jack, Believe, and The Carrie Diaries were all cancelled to make room for new shows that the networks will pick up in the fall.
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Mohu Graduates From College



college-graduationCollege graduation season is here and a Mohu antenna can help new grads save money.  A Mohu antenna provides free over the air (OTA) TV for budget conscious college grads. An estimated 1.6 million students are expected to be part of the class of 2014 and they are saddled with the double whammy of high student loans and a tough job market.

According to CNN, the average student loan is $29,000. This class is going to have to spend and save wisely in order to keep their finances in order. Many of these new grads are what the TV industry calls “cord-nevers.” They use cell phones instead of landlines and watch TV content on computers or tablets. The last time they saw cable TV may have been at their parents’ home or at a bar or restaurant.
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Mohu Antennas Love May Madness



May is a great month for watching OTA TV with a Mohu antenna (and be sure to check out our new Leaf Metro). May is “sweeps” month where the broadcast networks show the season finales of their “regular” season shows. But viewers won’t be stuck with a summer full of re-runs because the networks are also introducing new content in May.

crossbones-s1-keyart-xl1NBC is banking on some serious star power. John Malkovich stars as the pirate Blackbeard in Crossbones–The new legend of Blackbeard (Friday, May 30, 10/9c). Set in the Bahamas in 1715, Blackbeard tries to steal a chronometer from an English ship which has the potential to change seafaring and commerce. But the English aren’t giving in so easily and it’s up to the viewer to determine who the villain is–Blackbeard or the English. John Malkovich is outstanding as the villain in this YouTube trailer.

NBC_Rosemarys_Baby_miniseries_posterIn addition,  Zoe Saldana stars in NBC’s two part miniseries Rosemary’s Baby (May 11). In a new twist on Ira Levin’s 1967 thriller, Zoe Saldana and her husband Guy (Patrick J. Adams) leave New York City for a new life in Paris. At first, their arrival in Paris seems surrounded by good fortune. But when Rosemary becomes pregnant, she starts to believe that things are not what they seem and their new neighbors may have dark motives for her baby. Agnieszka Holland (Europa Europa, The Wire, Treme) directs this two-part psychological thriller. Click here to see the trailer on YouTube.

These shows and other great content are available free, over the air with a Mohu Leaf, Curve or Sky antenna. Broadcasters are producing great content for every night of the week and there’s no need to spend $70-$100 a month for cable. Join the growing numbers of cord-cutters and ditch your cable!







Cord Cutters Should Have an Antenna



wralweather1Cord cutters who rely solely on streaming content should strongly consider adding an HDTV antenna to their homes. The recent outbreak of severe weather across the Midwest and Southeast United States led to flooding, tornadoes and the deaths of more than 30 people. Fortunately, improved radar systems and early warnings allow people enough time to find shelter. The early warnings are often broadcast over local networks’ news channels and without a TV antenna such as a Leaf or Curve, viewers may not get the warnings about nearby storms.

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 8.59.13 AM

Storm clouds near Mohu

Fortunately, the severe weather mostly bypassed Raleigh (the home of Mohu) but for two days our local stations broadcast the locations of heavy rain, hail, thunderstorms, flooding and  tornadoes. We were definitely aware of what was going on, and had a tornado or flood come, we would have had time to prepare. Two nights ago, while watching OTA TV, the screen had a ticker running along the bottom updating viewers of where the storms were and their severity. Other stations broadcast the weather alerts directly from the National Weather Service.

The bottom line is streaming content is a great way to cut the cord. But Netflix, Hulu+, Amazon Prime and the rest cannot replace broadcast TV especially in times of emergencies and bad weather. It’s also possible to get warnings on a smart phone, but they are often not as detailed as a real-time weather forecast.

On a happier note, an antenna is great to watch TV content in real time, especially broadcasts like the Super Bowl, the Oscars, and season finales (coming soon in May) and not have to wait to stream it from the network’s website or another streaming provider.







Industry Updates–Streaming Content Gets Big



Lots of changes took place in the TV/streaming content industry in the past few weeks. Let’s pause and look at what has happened.

Supreme CourtABC vs. Aereo–the Supreme Court heard this case on April 22 and the public can expect a ruling in June. Mohu covered it in an earlier blog. Two issues are at the core of the case. The first is does Aereo’s “re-transmission” of OTA content constitute a public or private showing? If it is a public showing, does Aereo owe retransmission fees to the broadcasters? The second issue is murkier and relates to storing items in the cloud. The Supreme Court Justices are more concerned with items in the cloud and the impact their ruling will have on other cloud-based content–anything from iTunes to DropBox.

Netflix is Moving to Cable–Netflix has long lived on computers and streaming devices and, along with an HDTV antenna, is cord-cutting staple. However, according to the Washington Post, Netflix signed a deal with three small cable companies (RCN, Atlantic Broadband and Grande Communications) and will become a cable channel on their TiVo DVR boxes. Viewers will need a separate Netflix subscription to watch Netflix content. However, this is the first time Netflix has explicitly put its content on a cable box.

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Am I a Cord-Cutter?



Cord-cutting is a growing trend as cable bills continue to rise. Many consumers don’t know if they are good candidates for cord-cutting and Mohu is here to help sort that out.

shutterstock_cord_cutting1. Can you get good over-the-air (OTA) reception at your home?

Use our TV for Free tool to determine what stations you can get with a Mohu antenna. Keep in mind that metal can block signals so make sure you aren’t surrounded by skyscrapers, aluminum siding, or even the metal mesh that holds stucco together.

2. Does your TV have a digital tuner?

Most TVs made after 2009 have one. If you aren’t sure, check the manual. If you have an older TV, you can buy a digital converter at Best Buy or another electronics store. It will cost about $60-$80 but will convert your OTA digital signal to an analog signal so the TV can get reception.

money3. Do you feel like you are paying too much for cable?

It’s sort of an obvious question because we all feel like cable costs too much, it’s just that we’ve gotten used to paying for it and thinking of  it as a “necessity.” Well, time for a shift in thinking because cable is not a necessity. Consider how many channels you REALLY watch and whether you can get them OTA or their content via a streaming service such as Netflix or Hulu+. The average American only watches 8 channels and over 90% of the top rated TV shows are OTA. So the chances of you getting what you want to watch via a combination of OTA and a streaming service is pretty good.
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ABC vs. Aereo



abc

The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in ABC vs. Aereo. There are two main issues that the Court will need to address. The first issue is whether or not the re-transmission of OTA content constitute a “public” or “private” performance. The second issue is murkier, and concerns the future of “the cloud” where data and entertainment content is moving.

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. came down hard when he told Aereo’s lawyer: “Your technological model is based solely on circumventing legal prohibitions that you don’t want to comply with.” In summary, copyright law allows for the private use of the broadcaster’s airwaves. For example, it’s completely legal to hook up a Mohu antenna to a television, or even a Sky to four televisions in one home because that use of the airwaves constitutes a “private” performance (even if you have friends come over to watch the Super Bowl). However, the cable companies pay approximately $3 billion a year in retransmission fees to the networks because their capture of broadcasts and sending them to million of customers is a “public performance.” Aereo claims its performances are “private” because each customer (who pays between $8-$12/month) is assigned a tiny antenna to digitally capture an OTA broadcast and store it in the cloud. The “owner” of that antenna then has the content streamed to a tablet, smartphone or computer.

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Cutting the Cord–One Month Later



Mohu has a guest blogger today. Last month, Michelle–a friend of Sarah’s–wrote her experience about cutting the cord. She’s back with an update.

cutting-the-cord-cord-cutting-mI was a little nervous when we started our cord-cutting experience and there have been a few glitches with the cable company, but overall I’m really happy with our experience. I found out, very painfully, that the cable service didn’t terminate the day I called to cancel, though they did cut the signal immediately. The date of termination happened when I returned my boxes and remotes to their over-crowded office. I waited for over an hour to return them and saved the receipt and they STILL sent me a bill for $90+ that includes some sort of late fee. I haven’t paid the bill and called them to inform them that I am no longer a customer so we’ll see what happens.
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OTA Show Update, Part 2



Mohu’s antennas–from the tiny Metro to the rooftop Sky–bring cord-cutters great over the air television for free. Here are updates on two new action-packed mid-season dramas.

nbc-crisisCrisis (NBC, Sunday, 10:00 ET ) looks promising. Clearly, something big is happening when a busload of children, including the president’s son, are taken hostage while on a high school field trip. Washington DC is a rich backdrop to fame, money and power. And who doesn’t like bashing rich parents?  The LA Times review, written after two episodes and several plot twists, says, “In the first two episodes, the plot turns and turns again, and the motivation for what is clearly a very elaborate crime becomes murky to the point of nonsensical. Fortunately, the motivating force (and the show’s tag line) — How far would you go to protect your children? — is easily understood.”

Some of the high schoolers are typecast–the vulnerable alpha girl, the scholarship kid. And there are some unexplained plot elements–how did the FBI know about the kidnapping when the bus was in a part of West Virginia with no cell phone reception? Suspend your disbelief but pay attention to the plot twists and turns. With Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) and Dermot Mulroney (August: Osage County, Jobs) NBC has added some star power to this mid-season drama.
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