Archive | Television

Are You Following M Media’s Growing Collection?

I subscribed to M Media a few months ago for the sole purpose of watching Bennesbe Labokra Chou again, but soon after I did it I found it hard to cancel my subscription because of their growing collection with titles that never cease to impress me. (They’re soon adding Film Ameriki Tawil by the way)

I personally usually avoid watching Lebanese movies in theaters unless they’re REALLY good, but I still like to watch them in the comfort of my living room (yes even the likes of BéBé). However unlike western movies/series, Lebanese ones are much harder to find online, and M Media has been recently making some great effort adding titles that were produced over the last few years ranging from drama to comedy and documentaries, in addition to famous old plays from the 90s such as “3ammti Najibeh” and “3arisein midreh men wein” with all content being in very good quality. So I have lately been spending time watching stuff that I missed in theater over the last few years (and also learned that Carlos Azar always lands the Jagal roles in his movies).

At $5/month I guess it’s a good deal, and while I know the people at M are doing their best to get more productions onto their platform, I wish they also add old movies from the 70s and 80s such as the ones by the late Maroun Baghdadi for example, I always read he made some great movies during that era but I rarely had access to them. I also don’t think anyone would mind watching Ahmad El-Zein and Mohamad El-Mawla all over again in those cool action movies from the early civil war days!

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This is How I Built My Own Netflix At Home

Ever since we had kids our life changed 180 degrees. With the new responsibilities, my wife and I began spending more time at home, going out less, and naturally started watching more TV at our place.

At the beginning things were quite simple, whenever we had something interesting in mind I would go to some BitTorrent website, download the files, and then transfer them to a USB drive in order to watch them on TV. But as time went my collection became so big that I started losing of what’s on my hard drive, and having to use the USB stick each time I wanted to watch something became annoying. So I started searching for solutions and ended up building my own Netflix at home.

Using my mobile I currently can browse everything I have ever downloaded on a sleek and nice interface (like the one above), and it only takes a second to play whatever I want on my TV which isn’t even a smart one!

The reason I’m sharing how to do it is simply because the setup has always impressed my friends especially when they’re around to watch our favorite series, moreover it’s a convenient solution to control what your kids are watching instead of letting them browse YouTube and stumble upon horrible videos.

Anyway, here’s all you need to set it up.

A Faster Wi-Fi

Playing multimedia over your home network means you will need a relatively fast router. In my case the media I stream within my local network is almost all in Full HD resolution, so my home router has to cope with some good amount of bandwidth, which is why I opted to get a TP-Link Archer D5. It is a 1200Mbps ADSL modem router that runs on two channels simultaneously, a 300Mbps 2.4Ghz channel that I use for my older devices, and a 867Mbps 5.0Ghz channel that I dedicated for newer devices equipped with “fast” Wi-Fi adapters (802.11ac) and this is the channel that I use for media streaming to my TV. Another important detail to add is that it has Gigabit LAN ports.

Network Attached Storage (NAS)

A network storage is a hard drive that you connect to your home router via eithernet in order to acess your files from any device you have. Think of it as your own private Dropbox or Google Drive. The one I have is a 4TB Western Digital My Cloud box that I bought for ~$250 two years ago. Once you go past its easy setup, just map it to your computer in order for it to appear under “My Computer” (if you are using Windows) and from there on you can easily access it just like a regular drive to store your files on it. It’s very important for this storage box to also have a Gigabit ethernet port to ensure high speed file transfer.

A NAS is not mandatory for the setup to work though and you can rely on your computer hard drive instead, but with HD movies having an average size of 3-4GB you can never have enough storage. I personally have a Lenovo Yoga 900 laptop with 256GB storage, so instead of storing downloaded files locally I transfer them to the NAS instead.

Google Chromecast

I have a 46″ Samsung TV that I bought back in 2011 when smart TVs were not really a thing back then. Chromecast is a small device that you can plug to an HDMI port in your TV in order to be able to cast or mirror the things you see on your phone or laptop to the TV. It makes watching videos off the internet (whether on YouTube or reruns from TV websites) much cooler.

Plex Media Server

This is the software that does all the magic and you can download it for free from Plex.tv for both computers and mobiles. Setting up Plex is also quite easy, once your install it on your PC open it using your browser and point it to where you have all your media files stored (in my case the storage box), then just give it a bit of time to download the needed metadata which includes the plot of each movie or series episode you have, along with their posters and rating.

Putting it All Together

This is the easiest part, just lay back and make sure your computer is powered on since that’s where the Plex server will be running, and then launch the Plex app on your mobile to browse your catalog and cast whatever you want to your TV.

What happens in the background can be summarized as follows, your mobile communicates with the Plex server on your computer, orders it to fetch the desired movie from your network storage and to mirror it on your TV via Google Chromecast.

Tweaks

  • Instead of manually moving the new media files you download to the network drive, you can use small handy tools like SyncToy (using the option “contribute”) to automatically transfer newly downloaded files to the network.
  • Plex also has the capability to automatically download the matching subtitles for your media file, so you can turn on that option to save time searching on SubScene and the alike.
  • If you want to avoid keeping your computer on whenever you want to watch something, then you can buy a Raspberry Pi 3 (a small computer the size of a pack of cigarettes), install Plex server on it and then attach it to your router. This way you will make it act as a mini server on your network.
  • To avoid manually checking for new episode of your favorite series you can use special BitTorrent clients such as DuckieTV that can do this automatically for you.
  • Since Plex allows creation of multiple channels with different content each, I created a special channel for my little boy with cartoon and animated stuff and just taught him how to use the Plex App on his iPad. This way I can control what he watches and avoid these sick videos on YouTube.

And this is pretty much it! If you intend to build something similar and needed some help then just let me know in the comments.

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Menna W Jerr’s Nady Abou Chabke Does it Again!

If I were Nady Abou Chabke I would have apologized for copying Wissam Kamal’s joke 2 weeks ago and simply carried on with my upcoming episodes of Menna w Jerr. But for some reason he decided to make it worse and copied a whole segment from an Egyptian show this time!

Watch this video courtesy of Elie Iskandar and judge for yourself!

On a serious note, this is great material for Elie Sleiman to feature on his “Radar” segment on Menna W Jerr!

Update:

Nady appeared on April 10 episode of Menna w Jerr and apologized for his mistake.

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Men Marti W Jerr VS. Wissam Kamal

I was watching Menna W Jerr last night and I couldn’t but notice how they copied a joke on Men Marti W Jerr segment from a performance by Wissam Kamal in 2011!

Start watching at the 2m12s mark.

Start watching at the 16s mark.

It’s a shame for a TV program that is basically built around the idea of criticizing other shows to plagiarize content this way. And worse yet, since TV still has a relatively higher reach than YouTube in Lebanon, people who will watch Wissam’s video will probably think he stole his joke from that guy and not the other way around!

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Dalia Freyfer and Télé Liban Break The World Record for Longest Talk Show

Dalia Freyfer just broke the Guinness world record for the longest TV talk-show this morning by going live for 24 continuous hours and hosting more than 90 guests on Télé Liban.

The show started yesterday morning at 8AM and ended exactly 24 hours later today. And as it shows in the above photo, she immediately got her world record certificate .

For those who don’t know her, Dalia performs religious hymns in addition to occupying two jobs at Télé Lumière and Alfa Telecommunications. What makes her special though is that she lost her eyesight at a young age but insisted on pursuing her goals in life by obtaining a degree in psychology and attending the conservatroire.

Out of curiosity, I googled similar record breaking attempts and noticed that presenters from Ukraine and Nepal hosted 52 and 62 hour talk shows in the last few years. This is definitely not to doubt Dalia’s accomplishment since Guinness already approved it, but it would be good if Télé Liban clears out the criteria she satisfied to break the record.

Anyway, congratulations to both of Dalia Freyfer and our national TV channel!

Photo via Mahmoud Ghazayel

Update:

It turned out Dalia actually got the certificate for the first 12 hours of her show in which she interviewed 43 people, but she continued for another 12 hours and interviewed even more people.

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Amazon Prime Video Now Available In Lebanon

Following the steps of Netflix, Amazon just widened the availability of its prime video service, making it available in more than 200 countries, Lebanon included.

If you like shows like The Grand Tour, you can now stream it from the comfort of your living room at just $2.99/month. Unless, you know, you are living in Lebanon and got a shitty internet connection, then you can disregard this story all together. Thank you very much!

source

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Ton Amie Liliane is Coming Back For One Last Performance

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If you grew up in Lebanon in the ’80s then Liliane Karam (AKA Ton Amie Liliane) must have played a good role in your childhood!

Back then kids shows were not abundantly aired like today so we used to eagerly wait for them on the available TV stations every afternoon, and among the shows and cartoon series I used to watch at that time “Ton Amie Liliane” was my favorite. I think the only other show that came close to it was “Kif W Leish” with DéDé in the ’90s.

A couple of days ago I came across this cool news on Annahar reporting that she is currently collaborating with her daughter Lara Rain to prepare for a new play that will start showing on time for Christmas on Platea theater Jounieh before moving to other Arab countries and Canada.

So if you have kids, let it be your excuse to go re-live old memories since Liliane will be performing some of her old songs, and it will also be an opportunity to let them get a glimpse of what we used to enjoy when we were young! I personally will get my little kid a ticket once they’re out for sale.

ANNONCE SURPRISE:
Bientôt, je chanterai cette chanson sur scène pour vous!
Décembre 2016 va être magique!!

A mon ami* …votre chanson préférée, et une des miennes aussi <3

Posted by Ton Amie Liliane on Sunday, October 9, 2016

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Lebanese TV Stations and Copyright Basics

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Most Lebanese TV stations have been uploading their content to YouTube for a while now, and I’m personally glad they do because I rarely manage to watch programs on time. My wife and I usually put my little kid to sleep and then start watching our favorite shows starting 8:30 or 9:00PM, including anything interesting we might have missed on a Lebanese station thanks to YouTube.

However, I’ve been lately noticing that those in charge or maintaining the YouTube channels are sometimes uploading every show the stations are airing regardless whether it was produced by them or not. For instance while it is normal for LBCI to upload their news reports or Nharkom Saiid for example, I don’t think it’s ok for them to upload a series they bought from some production company because they don’t have the right to redistribute it.

Yesterday for example I was going through MTV Lebanon videos and noticed that they have every single episode of “Metel El Amar” series on their YouTube channel even though it was produced by Marwa Group (link). On the other hand, LBCI have episodes of “Shaware’ Al Zell” (produced by Phoenix International) on their channel.

I know there’s no way to compare but imagine some European TV channel uploading Game of Thrones episodes the minutes they finish airing them, that would piss HBO off big time… And in case you’re wondering, I personally don’t respect copyright laws as I get most of my movies and series from torrent websites, but I was just thinking that TV stations should be more responsible about such things.

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Pamela El-Kik Would Make a Good Translator

pamela el kik vs charlie chaplin

Pamela El Kik delivered a speech when she appeared on Menna W Jerr three days ago to express how desperate is the political situation in Lebanon, but little did everybody know that her “moving” speech was nothing but a word by word translation of The Great Dictator’s final speech by Sir Charlie Chaplin without crediting him.

You can check the two videos below which are currently being extensively shared on Facebook and see for yourself.

Earlier in February, the Menna w Jerr team thoroughly discussed in the below segment how Rudolph Hilal ripped off The Ellen Show and how it shouldn’t have gone unnoticed by the staff at LBCI. I guess the same thing now applies to them, so it would really be interesting to see what are they going to say about it.

Update:

MTV Staff contacted me shortly after publishing the post to let me know that Pamela did in fact explain to Pierre Rabbat during the show that she was inspired by Charlie Chaplin, but the conversation was unfortunately edited out in order to keep the episode within its time limit which is quite absurd. They claimed that this segment will be uploaded tomorrow morning to make it clear to the people, and I will of course be adding it to the post here.

Pamela herself also explained the situation on her Facebook account.

Update 2:

Here’s a link to the original uncut segment.

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Kawalis Al-Madina – The Real Story Of Al-Madina Bank Scandal

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I’m not really a fan of Lebanese drama series, but I have lately found Kawalees Al-Madina which recently started airing from Wednesday to Saturday on Al-Jadeed TV quite interesting.

The series is written by Ghada Eid (presenter of Al-Fassad show), and even though the crew denies it but it is mostly based on the true story of Al-Madina Bank collapse between 2002 and 2003 which was mind boggling at that time. Other corruption stories of the kind that went public but never got settled down legally the proper way are mentioned as well, such as the drug ring that was uncovered among AUB students during the same period. I remember the media suddenly stopped talking about that ring because the son of some politician turned out to be involved in it.

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The reason I see Kawalis Al Madina so relevant right now is because several scandals were unveiled over the last few months from garbage, to illegal internet, and finally the manipulation of health care bills by corrupt ISF officers, but unfortunately they’re all on the way of being covered up without holding any of the key suspects accountable for their wrongdoings. The biggest proof about that being how incapable is the ongoing investigation about illegal internet in identifying the nature of a stupid fiber optic cable in Nahr El Kalb!

Disregard the lousy acting we always complain about in Lebanese series, but as long as we are unable to punish the corrupt people in authority, I think it is just fair to irritate them by exposing them on TV and let the public know about their sleazy jobs.

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