Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due......


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! 

14 comments:

  1. I'm very excited to hear about this news. Please walk me through accessing TVB Anywhere. BTW, love your site. Thanks!

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    1. @Anonymous:  Thanks for the compliment (and for visiting)! :-)

      Ok, so for TVB Anywhere, let’s start with figuring out which method you’ll be using to watch: phone, tablet, computer, Apple TV.  Each method is slightly different in terms of how to access and some methods are easier to use than others.

      For phone and tablet, it’s actually quite simple, as all you need to do is download the “TVB Anywhere” app from the app store (iphone) or Google Play (Android), then open it up and start using it.  The app version actually has a simpler layout with several different categories to choose from – once you find the series you want to watch, click on it and start watching!  Now, I do have to say that I actually have not used the phone or tablet methods to watch, since I don’t like watching stuff on such small screens (lol), but my sister-in-law watches series via TVB Anywhere app on her iphone all the time and she says it works like a charm.  So if that’s the method you prefer, go for it!

      Apple TV is probably the easiest method, though it’s limited to the fourth generation model of Apple TV only – if you have previous versions, you won’t be able to access the app directly from there (though if you really want to watch on the TV, you can always use iphone or ipad to access the app and the series you want to watch, then use the airplay/mirroring thing to put it on the TV screen via Apple TV….those who are familiar with how this works I’m sure will know what I’m talking about).

      For me personally, I prefer the ‘old-school’ method of accessing via a computer / laptop.  It’s a tad bit trickier in that the website name is different and it depends on where you’re accessing from.  You can try to type in tvbanywhere.com in your web browser, but all that will do is bring you to a page with the cast of A Fist Within Four Walls and an advertisement for TVB’s OTTO (Set-top box) service (I think this will be the ‘official’ site in the future but it’s not up and running yet obviously).  If you are in the U.S., the website to access TVB Anywhere is actually:  www.encoretvb.com.  Once you go on that site, you can access series from the home page (though it’s limited choice) or go to the ‘TV series’ tab and browse through the larger selection of series there.  From there, it’s simple – click on the series you want to watch (they actually put all the covers on there so even if you can’t read the series name in Chinese, as long as you recognize the cover then it’s fine) and it will take you to episode one….to skip to other episodes, just scroll down and all the episodes will be clearly labeled on the bottom right.  Oh, also, I haven’t tested all the browsers yet, but I’ve tried accessing via Internet Explorer as well as Chrome and both work perfectly fine.

      One thing to note about the above – if you are in the U.S., there are actually several options to watch, as TVB USA actually has their own app called Encore TVB (used to be called TVB USA) which also has series available and also other programs as well as news stuff (this was basically a revamp of their previous TVB USA app, except more robust).  However, the encoretvb website that I listed above actually is NOT THE SAME as the Encore TVB app versions – rather it mirrors the TVB Anywhere app instead (don’t ask me why TVB did it this way because I don’t know and don’t really care…as long as I’m able to access via legal method without using VPN, I’m good, lol).

      So there you go….sorry for the long-winded explanation – hope I didn’t confuse you.  If you still need help, feel free to drop another comment here.

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    2. One clarification I want to make – for phone and tablet section, depending on whether you have Apple product (iphone, ipad) or a product running on Android platform (whether phone or tablet), the apps apparently work differently.  For Android devices, the app you need to search for is actually Encore TVB, not TVB Anywhere (the TVB Anywhere app in Play store is actually a supplementary app that goes with the set top box – only those who have a TVB Anywhere subscription using the box are able to use the app). 

      For more details on where to go after opening the app, refer to my response to fangorn’s comment below.

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  2. Thank you very much for the informative reply. I'm also in the U.S. and like to watch on a desktop computer. Hopefully, more series will be added to the list later on.

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    1. @Unknown: No problem! I also hope they add more series later on, but also that they organize it a little more like the way they had it with GOTV....that would definitely be ideal in my opinion.

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  3. I live in a country where TVB Anywhere has been available for a long while (like 2+ years from memory). So have been able to watch some of the older series (aka reruns of Journey to the West - my absolute favourite series of all time). They also have some non-TVB productions there as well. It's nice to see they are expanding to other countries since they were effectively pushed out of the market by TVPad.

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    1. @Phixster: Hi there! Happy to see you! :-)

      Oh, so TVB did end up rolling out TVB Anywhere to other parts of the world? Prior to us in the U.S. getting access, I had heard that there were some audiences who were able to access via TVB's official sites/equipment but wasn't too sure what it was all about. Interesting that they would do it that way though -- roll it out to some and not others. I wonder if the version is the same across countries?

      How's the variety of the series in the TVB Anywhere version for your country? I haven't really explored the encoreTVB (TVB Anywhere USA) site in depth yet but from what I've seen so far, it's definitely a step in the right direction. My hope is that in the future, they truly do turn it into more of a GOTV thing where they upload all of their series and categorize everything in a more easy to read/user friendly format (i.e. separating out by year and within that, listing the series by airing month, categorize based on genre/theme, actor/actress, etc.).

      The older series will always be the best ones in my book! TVB's version of Journey to the West was one of those great, quality book-to-series adaptations reminiscent of what TVB used to do with all those wuxia novel adaptations back in the 80s (though it's also a reminder of just how badly TVB has deteriorated over the years...).

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    2. Yea, we've had it for around 2 years now and it's pretty good (minus buffering issues because we have horrible internet connections). There are heaps of channels including all the extra TVB ones which you have to pay to get in HK, movie channels, news and lots of Mainland China channels which are live streams (and for some reason we are getting the dedicated HK Jockey racing channel as well since TVB acquired the rights to it after ATV collapsed). The main TVB Jade channel is also in real time so the series are aired at the same time that it airs in HK everyday (or even an hour before if it's daylight saving).

      I believe the rollout for countries depended on demand and also how many people were using TVPad and had ditched the traditional satellite TVB services. They probably rolled it out here first because of the fierce competition that "grey" set top boxes was giving them.

      In terms of library - it's divided into genres and has a lot of older series (plus we also get the classic channel which basically just shows old TVB series from the 70s, 80s or even older). I'm not too sure of the variety because I'm kind of too young to know or have watched most of the series. But most of the ones I know of from the 2000s are there.

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  4. Thanks Im going to try this in my tablet (time to dust off that seldom-used gadget :p)

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    1. @fangorn: LOL! Let me know how it goes. The tablet option is actually the one option I haven't had exposure to yet (the rest of the methods at least one person in my family uses so I'm somewhat familiar)...so I'm curious to see how well/not well it works. I tried using the previous TVBUSA app (the one before encoreTVB) on tablets and it was always glitchy for me...

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    2. I resurrected my tablet (Sony), downloaded the app, went to website to create an account, logged into account using my tablet...and...after logged in..clicked all the options but i dont see I can select any tv series :S ... what did I miss?

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    3. @fangorn:  I’m assuming you are on an Android platform downloading the app via Google Play, correct? One clarification:  for Android, the app is actually different – when you search TVB Anywhere USA, the app that pulls up is actually Encore TVB…THAT’S the app you need to use, not the one that actually says TVB Anywhere (that app is a supplementary app for those who have the set top box).  So first step would be checking to make sure you have the right app.

      Once it’s determined you have the right app…when you open the app, what homepage do you see?  If it’s the page that says Encore TVB at the top and a bunch of series/variety program covers underneath, then you are in the right app.  At the very bottom of the screen, there should be a grey box with 3 options – the first one is  ‘Homepage’, which is the page you’re on, the second one is ‘Programs by category’ and the third is ‘Interactive Corner’.  You need to click on the box that says ‘Programs by Category’….you will then be taken to another screen with 4 color-coded boxes – blue, yellow, green, pink (from top to bottom)…the blue box at the very top is the one for TV series – once you click on that, you will be taken to another page with all the available series covers with the names of the series underneath.  Click on the series you want and it should take you to the first episode, with all the other episodes listed underneath.

      Try the above and let me know if you are still not able to access. Oh, by the way, the above only works for those in the U.S.

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    4. Eh..then I downloaded the wrong app and Im not in USA ... :S bummer ..want to watch Blood of Good and Evil ~~

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  5. Oh my gosh, thank you so much for letting us know! I'm going to check it out now. I agree with you 100% regarding TVB. Perhaps this is a good step in the right direction, but they're far from cleaning up their current mess of shows. I think the last TVB show I watched (and was excited about) was Steven Ma Chun Wai's Storm of a Cocoon.

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