The first four episodes of Game of Thrones have leaked!

Game of Thrones season 5

Ahead of tonight’s season five premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones, the first four episodes have been leaked. Thousands of people have already downloaded and shared the episodes, and all of a sudden the rest of us are behind in Game of Thrones before it even started.

So now, we’re faced with a choice. Do we wait and watch the episodes as they’re aired on HBO, while risking that someone at work has seen the episodes and might let something slip? Or do we put on our pirate hats in an effort to avoid having the season spoiled? In the age of Netflix and House of Cards binge watching, can we force ourselves to wait and watch one episode a week, or is the temptation to see as much as we can at once overrule our morality?

What will you do?

WWE Network free for April / Wrestlemania 31

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WWE Network is currently free for the month of April for new subscribers, so I decided why not check it out and watch last Sunday’s Wrestlemania. Even though I had previously subscribed to the WWE Network last year it still let renew my account while receiving April for free which was pretty cool. It’s also worth noting the six month commitment is no longer in place and you can cancel at anytime. They previously locked subscribers into 6 month subscriptions (billed monthly) so that you couldn’t just drop $10 for Wrestlemania and immediately cancel your subscription.

I’m going to watch Wrestlemania 31 and jot down some thoughts while doing so. Sorry for constantly changing tenses in what follows, you’ll forgive me right?

Note: Wrestlemania spoilers will follow.

I haven’t kept up with the WWE at all for at least the last six months, if not longer. I can’t even recall what was going on when I last watched. I believe I stopped watching around the time when there was the struggle between Daniel Bryan and the “authority” or whatever, where they basically said he wasn’t championship material. It was surprising, then, to see Daniel Bryan participating in the opening seven-man ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship with lower card talent such as Stardust, R-Truth, Dolph Ziggler and defending champion Bad News Barret.

I’ll give the match credit, it was pretty exciting though was often cheesy. The R-Truth ‘scared of heights’ set up was a little lame, as was the opening series of over the rope volleys knocking more and more people to the ground until all seven participants tumbled like bowling pins. It was so absurd it made me laugh, which isn’t all the surprising coming from the WWE these days. I’m glad Bryan was victorious, but I feel like he’s a better talent and not someone who should be relegated to a lower title.

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The Randy Orton – Seth Rollins promo that followed next was pretty exciting. Sure the storyline seems pretty silly (Kane is with the authority, why?) but I’m starting to see parallels between the WWE and comic books. The story lines are silly and often don’t make a whole lot of sense, but you just have to stop trying to justify things and simply enjoy the drama. I kind of wish I had watched the Orton vs. Rollins storyline, it seems interesting (and I don’t think the WWE has been interesting since CM Punk’s reign, though Daniel Bryan’s rise came close).

As I’m watching the match I can’t help but see all the people shielding their eyes from the sun in order to see the action. I’m not sure how much I like the idea of an outdoor venue for wrestling. There’s just something you lose by not having all of the indoor lighting and effects. Maybe it’s just me.

The Orton – Rollins match when on for an excessively long time, though maybe it’s just that I don’t have the patience for wrestling anymore. For the most part it was unremarkable, yet the curb stomp counter into an RKO finish was pretty sweet. Glad Orton won.

This whole Sting – Triple H feud is probably exciting for a lot of long time wrestling fans, but to me it just seems like it’s too late and is overly gimmicky, if that’s even possible for wrestling. I guess it’s all a gimmick, isn’t it? Maybe if there was more of a WCW vs. WWE thing going on it’d be more interesting, but then again I don’t think I can name a single WCW wrestler. Goldberg? He was one right? Meh. Hope Triple H loses.

Sting’s entrance is over the top. They could’ve done something better to build tension. Heck, Triple H’s entrance has hyped me up more and I almost want to cheer for him instead…if he weren’t a total a-hole of course!

I feel like the match is a little unrealistic. I mean Triple H is huge, there aren’t many in the WWE who stack up against his size and power, while Sting is older, less fit and less powerful. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for him to be able to hang in there with Triple H. But here I am, trying to make sense of wrestling again! D-X coming out should’ve been cool, but they’re all so old and terrible looking and they ran out with hardly any energy just to get bowled down by Sting in a scene torn from the opening match of the night. Not as exciting as it should’ve been. Then comes the NWO, another group of elderly men. Why couldn’t this have happened years ago? Hulk Hogan just needs to go away.

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The bat vs sledgehammer scenario was a little cheesy, though why not go all the way? Ultimately I think the match would’ve ended better as a draw. Triple H won, what’s new? The handshake doesn’t really fit with Triple H’s character, or at least what I perceive his character to be at this point. Also I expected more from Hogan (even if I’m sick of him).

Well, I’m not sure how much more of this I can take, so I’m going to stop watching for now. If I get around to finishing it I might drop in with some final thoughts. Until then, thanks for reading. Let me know what your favorite Wrestlemania 31 moments were in the comments!

A look at Sling TV (on the Xbox One)

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So I should start off by saying I’m not a cord cutter, and I probably never will be one. I enjoy having a traditional “cable” service. We have DISH Network and enjoy it immensely. I love channel surfing and having a large variety of content, even if most of it I just leave on to fall asleep to (or leave on in the background). I also enjoy watching live sports, and so far it’s not very easy to do so outside of cable / satellite TV. MLB.tv and WWE Network are steps in the right direction, but the NFL is still locked down tightly (the only negative thing about having DISH is not having as much access to the NFL).

With that out of the way, you’re probably puzzled as to why I would sign up for Sling TV if I already subscribe to DISH (and pay over $100 a month). Well, I have to say I’m a huge fan of new ways to consume entertainment, and services such as Sling TV, Playstation Vue, HBO’s new cable free service and the forthcoming Apple streaming TV service are wonderful for all consumers.

These services are great for the college student who can’t afford cable, those in living situations where installing cable or satellite TV isn’t practical, and those who know exactly what they want and don’t want to pay for what they don’t watch.

Sling TV starts at $20 a month, and is completely commitment free. No contract, no extra fees, cancel any time. Heck, you don’t even have to deal with customer retention services to cancel, you can do so right from your account (though I haven’t tried canceling yet as I’ve just signed up).

The sign up process on the Xbox One was a breeze. I was signed up in a matter of minutes. Xbox One users are able to try out Sling TV for 30 days free. You can also add ALL of the add on packages ($5/mo each) for free for the first 30 days as well. Set up your package, enter your payment information and there you have it, you can jump right into watching live TV.

The picture quality is great. I have a 50mbps connection and I can’t tell the difference between a channel on Sling TV when compared to the same channel coming through my DISH. There is some buffering that causes a subpar picture for a few seconds when first switching to a channel, but it quickly clears up (I imagine this could be worse or better depending on your internet connection).

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If you have a data cap, using a streaming TV service might not be practical if you watch a lot of TV. We have a 400GB monthly cap that I already eat into a good bit by downloading games and watching Netflix. If I tried to use Sling TV as my primary TV service I would easily blow through my data cap. I checked my bandwidth usage on my Xbox after using Sling TV for about twenty minutes and found that I had used 638MB during that period. I wasn’t downloading anything else, but I wasn’t watching the data in real time so I can’t say for sure how much of that was used by Sling TV. Still, it’s a pretty high number so you can imagine how much data you’d use in a month.

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The Sling TV interface is clean and easy to navigate, though I think the DISH interface is easier to navigate (though not as good looking). I like that when viewing a channel’s schedule you’ll see pictures for most of the upcoming shows or movies. However, there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to see everything that is on all the channels without scanning through each one. I could be missing something, but I don’t see any sort of traditional guide.

Sling TV guide (xbox one)

 

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Sling TV’s base package includes a lot of high demand channels such as ESPN, TBS, AMC, IFC and Cartoon Network. With the $5 addon packages you can get even more content, such as the sports pack (ESPN News, ESPN U, Universal Sports Network among others), movies (four EPIX channels and Sundance), news and more.

So far I’m pretty impressed with the service. I’m excited to see if these services can affect the traditional cable services, possibly giving users more control over what they get for their money. We can only hope!

Watch on Netflix: Iliza Shlesinger: Freezing Hot

iliza schlesinger freezing hot

Last weekend we watched Iliza Shlesinger’s Netflix exclusive comedy special, Freezing Hot. I loved her War Paint special and Freezing Hot is just as great. Iliza is smart, clever, original and outrageously funny! There isn’t a dull moment, and I was left wanting more.

Luckily there’s a great way to get more Iliza Shlesinger in the way of her weekly podcast, Truth and Iliza. There are currently 24 episodes on iTunes featuring guests such as Joe Rogan, Bob Saget, Diablo Cody and Jay Leno. I’m looking forward to adding it to my podcast feed and going back and listening.

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I highly recommend watching Freezing Hot if you’re in the mood for some great stand up comedy.

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You can now watch Netflix through Dish Network’s Hopper

I recorded this video the other week and just got around to uploading it. In it I take a look at the new Netflix app that’s available on Dish Network’s Hopper. The app is a convenient way for many to access Netflix if they don’t already have a way of using the service (such as a Roku, Chromecast, smart TV or video game console).

Amazon Prime is $72, today only!

Amazon Prime $72

I just found out about an awesome discount on Amazon Prime, effective today (24 January) only! To celebrate Amazon’s series Transparent winning two Golden Globes they’ve discounted the price of an Amazon Prime subscription to $72 from the usual $99. This $27 discount is a great deal for an incredible service.

I usually sign up for free trials of Prime when I can (especially around Christmas), however this marks the first time I’ve committed to an entire year of the service. The free two day shipping is awesome (and addictive!) but you also get access to Amazon’s video and music streaming services, which are pretty cool as well.

Head over to Amazon to take advantage of this discount while it lasts!

Girls Season 2

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I haven’t finished the first season yet (have three episodes left I believe), but I found a pretty decent deal on Season two on Blu Ray. It was $19.99 on Amazon and I had $20 in cash back credit on my credit card so I got it free! As I mentioned in the last post, I subscribe to HBO and do have access to all the seasons of Girls on demand, however I’ve been pushing the limits on my bandwidth cap lately so I decided I should watch the second season on Blu Ray.

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I haven’t bought a DVD or Blu Ray in years as I prefer to either download or stream everything I watch using iTunes or Xbox Video, but again I need to get my bandwidth use under control. Fortunately the Blu Ray pack came with an HBO Select code redeemable on the service of your choice. I redeemed it on iTunes (you also get a VUDU version) so it’ll be nice to be able to just go back and stream any episodes I wish to watch again later (I hate having to dig out DVDs, which is another reason I pretty much abandoned physical media).

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Looking forward to finishing up season one and digging into the second season. Love the show and hope to catch up soon!

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