Apple TV

Which OTT Device is Better? Roku vs Amazon Fire TV vs Apple TV

In 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the future of TV is apps, and that trend continues to grow at a rapid rate!! There are many over-the-top or OTT devices available to connect  TVs to the internet and you to content via these apps. I personally have tried many of these devices over the past few years.

In this episode of the vlog, I’m sharing a comprehensive review of Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV OTT devices and which device I think is best for you!

Feel free to send me any questions you might have. Don’t forget to share this vlog with your friends on social media!




How to Grow an Audience on Your TV Apps

When it comes to TV Apps, there is a common misunderstanding that an audience instantaneously comes to any channel. Though it’s not as simple as that, a strong audience can be built and engaged through your TV Apps. In this video, I share 3 ways to grow an audience on your TV app.

Is Your Church Ready for TV?

For years Apple has been saying that Apple TV was just a "hobby".  Apple TV was cool and other devices like Roku and Amazon Fire TV have come along and a hobby began to change living rooms everywhere.  Applications like Netflix, Hulu and Sling TV have begun changing the way people watch TV and leading to millions "cutting the cord" when it comes to cable and streaming more media on TV.

Then, just a few months ago Apple made an announcement that they are releasing a new Apple TV and opening up development to Apple TV Apps.  Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, made this bold statement:

"The Future of TV is Apps"

I took that statement very seriously and if the future of TV is apps and I wanted to help ministries create TV Apps that will engage these audiences everywhere.  This won't look like TV as we've always known it, but opens up new and engagement opportunities beyond what we can currently dream.    

For more than 6 months I have been working hard with 3 friends to create a powerful, flexible and affordable TV Application for Ministries!  A little more than a month ago we on boarded 3 beta church apps and have since launched about a dozen more TV Apps (including the Social Media Church TV App). Today, we are excited to open this platform up to all churches and ministries that are ready for TV!  

So, let's talk about where we are and what we have created:

  • A Powerful Platform - In about 15 minutes time you can create an Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV App with On-Demand video through Vimeo Pro and Live Streaming through Media Fusion, Stream Monkey or Brightcove.  By the end of this month we will also have the option to create a Roku Channel from the same platform and integrations. Distributing out to these platforms opens up the opportunity to stream into living rooms, conference centers, waiting rooms, and anywhere that there is a connected TV.  

  • A Flexible Platform - While creating your app you will be able to customize the layout and design within a template system and arrange the media in whichever way you like. Your TV App doesn't have to look like everyone else's and won't be limited to just one form of media integration.

  • An Affordable Platform - We debated greatly over pricing as we need capital for ongoing development and support, but also want to minimize costs allowing more ministries to be able to afford to have a TV App.  Our starting price point for all ministries is no setup fee and starts at $75/month.    

If you have questions we would love to answer them.  If you want to know more simply click the link below and we would love to help get your church on Apple TV!

P.S. If you would like our team at Dunham+Company to help you with your app at no extra charge we can setup the channel for you and manage everything. Simply send me a message on my contact page and we’ll get you started today!

 

8 Technology Trend Predictions for 2016

Technology moves fast! Really fast!  From Virtual Reality to Flying Drones to Snapchat and Periscope, it’s hard to know what trends to pay attention to and what to ignore.  

 

Here are 8 Technology Trends that I’m Predicting for 2016:

 

  1. Smart Everything – as I’ve watched the maturation of the Amazon Echo and the Apple Watch I expect to see a smart everything. As we think of things like smart phones and we move that logic to the home through smart refrigerators, coffee pots, light bulbs etc. Then move that to the car with smart features that include unique settings from auto changing seats, mirrors, temperature and radio functions without our even having to push a button. I expect all of our devices to get “smarter” and more effectively communicate with each other. For instance our phone will talk to our car and it will know we are approaching to then start the car, set the temperature, unlock the door, etc.  

  2. There will be an Apple TV App for that – remember when apps were the rage and we joked about there “being an app for that” and there really was an iPhone app for pretty much anything we could think of? With Apple opening up development for the Apple TV I expect to see many apps developed along with Bluetooth integrated devices (similar to the Guitar Hero guitar) created to integrate with the TV. There will be more shopping opportunities, security functions, video conferencing options and possibilities we never dreamed possible on the TV. As a sports fan I’m really pumped about these possibilities when I think about a customized screen with multiple views, custom stat views, etc.!  

  3. VR/360 Video will explode – I’ve talked about this a lot, but as 360 Degree Video Cameras become more affordable and accessible I expect to see an explosion in 2016. I suspect that 360 video (you can view in browser or on TV, but use arrows to adjust view on your screen within the view box) will trend fast and Virtual Reality goggles will quickly follow. We learned that people didn’t like wearing the 3D glasses when this began to trend, but I believe the VR Goggles experience is so incredibly immersive that it will be better received. Being that Facebook is so heavily invested in this space through Oculus Rift speaks volumes about this development being prioritized as well.

  4. Live streaming will dominate social – live streaming isn’t new to the Internet, but it is somewhat new to social media. Periscope and Meerkat broke the ice in 2015 with mobile live streaming, but I think Facebook will see the greatest explosion when it comes to live streaming on social media in 2016 as it becomes available to all users and isn’t limited to mobile.

  5. Group Video Conferencing will become a norm – Google was onto something with Google Hangouts 5 years ago. It was pretty cool if you could ever get everyone in the right hangout or however it worked.  Skype lagged in the space, but Zoom is crushing it and making video conferencing easy for anyone anywhere. I believe Facebook will integrate Group Video Conferencing into Facebook Groups in 2016 and we will see families, friends and businesses using group video conferencing as a norm in so many online interactions. I also see FaceTime expanding to multiple simultaneous users as well.  

  6. Facetime Everywhere – I’m an Apple guy and genuinely believe that while Innovation happens in so many places, adoption continues to flow through Apple’s distribution channels. I believe the next generation of Apple Watches will include a camera for Facetime and there will be hardware that will integrate with Apple TV for Facetime as well. This will make Facetime available on our watch, phone, computer and TV. I’m a digital guy, but still prefer face-to-face interactions and this personalization of digital interactions is a huge feat when it comes to technology and our digital communication.

  7. Podcast user base will double again – podcasting isn’t new technology, but the user base doubled this past year with maturing technologies and content creators prioritizing this media platform. Podcasting is to AM Radio what Netflix was to TV.  It’s talk radio On Demand. Listening live isn’t nearly as critical as it used to be as we’re so highly connected to news on most other channels and we seemingly have internet access available everywhere. As Apple takes over car dashboards in the coming years I expect this to not only be a trend for 2016, but for the next few years. The advantage that podcasting has over video based media is that it’s a passive engagement experience. People can listen to a podcast while commuting or exercising, so there is a unique engagement opportunity here.

  8. The thinning wallet – it almost seems silly when you look through your wallet: ID cards, credit cards, discount cards, insurance cards, etc. Can’t your phone store all of these in a much more secure way? The answer is: YES! Just as the checkbook became irrelevant about 5-10 years ago, I think 2016 will see most wallets get much thinner and less relevant. I don’t think we’re ready for them to disappear, but I do expect to see them becoming much less essential.  

 

 

So, what does this mean for you? We will talk about that more in 2016! I think there are immediate implications and some long term ones as well.  

I would love to know your thoughts and predictions. I would also love to know your thoughts on these technology predictions and which ones you agree and disagree with.  

 

Cutting the Cord

Have you cut the cord yet?  Our family made this decision almost 2 years ago for the primary reason of saving money.  Today, we don’t miss cable for a number of reasons.  What we have found is that our TV watching is far more intentional and just not nearly as essential as we thought.  It almost makes me sick to think how much we used to just leave the TV on because we had cable.  No more time wasted just channel surfing.  While there are a few things we have missed, we still get to watch almost everything we want and honestly even more.  

The first thing I advise you to do in order to cut the cord is to choose a set top box that will allow you to stream video to your TV. Two years ago that was primarily Roku for us, a year ago we switched to Amazon Fire TV, and now we are about to make what I believe to be our last move to Apple TV.  These boxes (or sometimes even just sticks) are essentially small computers that connect to the internet and to your TV. You then download apps like you do on your smart phone and can watch streaming video through that. Here are the key apps for us that make it all work great:

  • Netflix – (cost $8/month) this was the big game changer for us as Netflix had tons of great kids content and cartoons as well as some TV series that we have been able to leisurely watch.  We love not having to wait week to week to watch a new episode.  Some of the series we love to watch have been Lost, Prison Break, Friday Night Lights, Breaking Bad, House of Cards, and Orange is the New Black (don’t judge me).  My wife will also tell you that I’ve watched just about every Documentary on Netflix.
  • Hulu – (cost $8/month) this is how we keep up with our favorite TV shows.  I love watching Shark Tank each week and Nashville is my soap opera of choice.  My wife is a big Jimmy Fallon fan and probably spends more time than I do on Hulu.  So many options whether you want to watch entire series or watch episodes 24 hours after they premier on live television.  
  • Sling TV –  (cost $20/month) this has been the newest addition and quickly became the family favorite.  It has actually brought cable back into our lives a little bit as we are able to stream live cable channels like ESPN and my kids favorite: Disney Junior.  Not only can you watch these channels live, but you can also view the past week’s content On-Demand.  
  • Amazon Prime – (FREE for us) if you’re not already a Prime Subscriber in order to get free 2 day shipping on Amazon purchases I’m not sure that you should continue reading this post.  Stop what you’re doing and sign up today.  That’s another post for another day though.  Along with all of the other great Prime perks comes a video content library that really does rival Netflix with great content.  We actually use Prime primarily for movie watching as we have a family movie night most every Friday night.
  • RightNow Media –  (FREE) if you don’t already have a RightNow Media account you need to connect with a church who can get you one.  If you don’t know of one visit http://CommunityBible.com today to get access as we would love for you to be a part of our RightNow Media community.  This incredible library of streaming content is filled with great Bible studies and children’s content that we all love.  It even includes a ton of great Veggie Tales videos that never get old for the kids.  

So, if you haven’t cut the cord, what are you waiting on?  I guess there is one last thing I left off.  We also bought a $40 Leaf Antennae.  Yep, just like the good old days and it works great for live TV… in HD!  Honestly, while I hope you will cut the cord to save money, I hope you cut the cord even more to save time.  I think TV is great for many reasons including unwinding and relaxing.  I still think there is way too much time wasted in front of TVs in 90% of households and I would love to see this change.