I’m sure when you first read the title of this post, you were probably wondering what this post would be about and who in particular I felt the need to ‘give credit’ to. The answer: TVB! Ok, before anyone has a conniption, let me explain why I felt the need to give some rare praise to TVB….
Everyone knows that when it comes to TVB, I have no problems dishing out the criticisms (they actually bring it on themselves to be quite honest, though I’ll save that discussion for a different occasion). At the same time though, I consider myself a fair person who also has no problems giving credit where it is deservedly due….so when TVB has those rare moments where their management actually decide to pull their heads out of their butts (keyword here is “rare”) and do something right for a change, I feel it’s only fair to call it out.
One thing that TVB did recently that I’m actually happy about is that they FINALLY came through on their promise to open up their online TV series platform to overseas viewers (meaning viewers who reside outside of HK). Before I explain further, let me give a little bit of background:
When TVB established their GOTV site several years ago (that was their TV series repository that housed all of their series ever produced, from the 1970s to present), I was thrilled because it meant that audiences would finally have access to TVB’s classic series from the old days (most of which were/are 110% better than the crap TVB churns out nowadays). But of course, typical TVB, they decided to restrict GOTV to HK region only, which meant that overseas audiences would not be able to watch (and to add insult to injury, they made it subscription-based where you had to pay a monthly fee – and if that weren’t enough, they restricted it further to only accepting credit cards from 2 very region-specific banks). The worse thing though was that they decided to limit to HK region, but did very little promotion for GOTV (raise your hand if you heard of GOTV – whenever I would bring it up in online discussion forums, people seemed to have no clue what I was talking about). Needless to say, I was pissed at TVB for essentially throwing away the chance to make themselves relevant again (which they could’ve done by opening up their classic series to a new generation of audiences who never even knew of their existence and possibly recapturing some of that past glory from TVB’s golden years). From day one since GOTV launched, TVB had been promising to extend the platform to overseas viewers – however 2 years passed and still it was only restricted to a very limited number of HK viewers.
Earlier this year, when TVB decided to launch myTV Super, which was basically a more robust version of their myTV online platform, with the difference being that it would be OTT-based but still extend across multiple platforms (i.e. mobile devices, internet, etc.), they announced at the same time that they would be discontinuing GOTV and perhaps merge it with myTV in the future. Of course I was pissed, since I was waiting for them to open up GOTV to overseas viewers but instead they decide to discontinue it (at that time, all indication was that myTV Super would follow its predecessor myTV’s footsteps and continue to be restricted to HK region only).
Well, it turns out that as part of TVB’s myTV Super project, they also decided to put more focus on their ‘international’ arm, which for us here in the U.S. would be their TVB USA division (which, to be honest, has always been a way better division than TVB HK itself – I’ve interacted with TVB USA numerous times and can say from personal experience that their customer service is quite good). Several months ago, TVB USA revamped their mobile viewing app (which was kind of crappy if you ask me – I for one had difficulty getting their app to work properly) and TVB as a whole launched the “TVB Anywhere” platform, which in theory allows audiences to watch TVB programs ‘anywhere’ in the world (now you guys know why TVB cracked down so hard on that illegal TVpad thingie, which made headlines all over the place). Of course, the ‘anywhere in the world’ hasn’t quite happened yet, but frankly, I’m really not that concerned about the ‘world’ part as long as the U.S. part works, since that’s where I reside, lol.
I had some time recently to check out “TVB Anywhere” and was pleasantly surprised to find that, in addition to providing access to TVB’s currently airing series (which I really don’t give a hoot about), TVB also uploaded many of their ‘older’ series from the past 49 years on the site as well! Of course, it’s not as comprehensive as GOTV, since they only upload several dozen series at a time and there is a mix of old and new (versus GOTV where it was ALL their series, conveniently separated out by year and you could do various searches by pretty much any category / theme / genre / artist, etc. that you wanted) – but hey, I’ll take it! For the first time in TVB’s 49 year history, they are actually allowing ALL audiences (basically anyone who has access to Internet) to watch their series online, LEGALLY and FOR FREE! I actually tested it out and it works like a charm – just go to the designated website, click on the “TV series” tab, choose the series you want to watch, and that’s it (I re-watched a few older dramas on there already – ones that I’ve watched/re-watched so many times already that I practically have the dialogue memorized -- and can tell you that they are the EXACT same versions as the old videotape versions, which means that they didn’t cut out anything…yay!). I am currently re-watching Blood of Good and Evil from back in 1990 (one of my all-time favorite TVB series) for like the 50th time (I’ve seen that series so many times over the years, I’ve lost count already) via TVB Anywhere and am enjoying EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of it!!
Ok, now that I’ve given proper credit for a job well done in one particular area, I have to say this: For the record, this does NOT mean that I am changing course or anything – I am and will continue to be highly critical of TVB and will continue to slam their management for the horrible way they operate. So yes, consider this praise short-lived, since I don’t have much confidence that TVB is going to do much else that is praiseworthy (especially judging from their usual pattern of taking 10 steps back for every 1 step forward).
Due to time constraints (obviously, since I’m posting this at 1am in the morning), I’m not going to go into too much detail about how to access TVB Anywhere right now. However, if you would like more details, feel free to leave a comment and I can walk you through it at the next available opportunity I have.
Talk to you all later!