Subject: General Tech | August 5, 2013 - 09:00 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: media streaming, hulu, hbo, google, chromecast
Google released its Chromecast streaming stick last month, and the device launched with support for YouTube, Google Play, and Netflix streaming. For the remaining content sources, users need to resort to "casting" an entire Chrome web browser tab from a smartphone, tablet, or computer connected to the same network over Wi-Fi. At launch, Google stated that additional apps are coming, including Pandora (and later Vimeo). Now, stories are appearing online reporting that Hulu Plus and HBO Go support may be coming to the $35 streaming device in the near future.
Variety reports that HBO is "actively exploring" the Google Chromecast as another method for subscribers to access content. As usual, users will need to be subscribers of traditional cable or satellite services along with paying a monthly subscription to HBO itself in order to access HBO Go on the Chromecast. For now, users are able to stream to their televisions by using the tab casting feature, but an app would be ideal. The company has not announced any specific timelines for an app release, however.
Additionally, Hulu has said that it is working on adding its own streaming app to the Chromecast for Plus subscribers. Specifically, Hulu representative Meredith Kendall was quoted by Variety in stating that "We are actively working with Google to bring Hulu Plus to the platform." Hulu seems to be more certain on delivering a Chromecast app for its users, so it is likely that Hulu Plus will come out before HBO Go, though free Hulu users will have to resort to casting the entire Chrome tab.
Have you received your Google Chromecast yet? Are you excited for new apps, or is the tab casting "good enough"?
Read more about Google's Chromecast media streaming dongle at PC Perspective.
Subject: General Tech | July 6, 2013 - 03:01 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: smart tv, Samsung, media streaming, live tv, htpc, cloud dvr, boxee
Earlier this week, set top box maker Boxee was acquired by Samsung in a deal worth approximately $30 million. The Korean company will retain all 45 Boxee employees as well as hold the rights to Boxee assets. Samsung plans to put the Boxee team to work on improving the user experience of its own Smart TVs. Unfortunately for Boxee users, the company announced on its website yesterday that it will be discontinuing its Cloud DVR service on July 10th.
Samsung's new "key talent and assets" from Boxee will work on improving the software used in Samsung's internet-connected Smart TVs. Smart TVs have become rather common, but much like the built-in 3D features, consumers may have a TV with Internet connected functionality but many do not utilize these features. The Boxee team will work on improving the interface, and hopefully with Sasmsung's muscle behind the team it will be able to offer enticing media functionality without running into rights issues with the big media companies, which Boxee has run into in the past.
Other than the brief announcement from Boxee and a couple of short quotes from Samsung to the BBC, details on the deal, the Boxee team's future involvement and road map on Boxee-inspired software are scarce. On one hand it is sad to see a small startup being bought out. On the other hand, it seems like it really takes a big company with lots of resources to make inroads into the living room, especially where TV and video is concerned due to media companies and cable companies (and in Comcast's case, both) fighting vigorously against these Internet streaming boxes. Hopefully Samsung realizes what it has and takes advantage of its new talent to make its Smart TVs better! In the meantime, there is always Roku to look to for alternative streaming boxes or XBMC and WMC for fully-fledged home theater PCs.
What do you think about the Boxee acquisition and the future of so-called "Smart TVs?"
Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2013 - 02:39 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: video streaming, tv, midwest, media streaming, Lawsuit, Internet, aereo
Aereo, the popular streaming service that delivers broadcast television channels via the Internet, has announced its plans to expand into the Midwest US despite the numerous lawsuits facing its future from big broadcast companies trying to shut it down. Fortunately, Aereo is forging ahead and will be coming to several counties within Illinois and Indiana later this year.
When it expands into this new region, it will pick up several local channels and make them (along with a bit of DVR space) available to subscribers over an internet connection to computers and mobile devices. Channels will include ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, and FOX.
On September 13, Aereo will be available to residents of the following Illinois counties:
- La Salle
Additionally, the service will be available to these counties in Indiana:
- La Porte
Conveniently (though mere coincidence), I recently moved from the middle of the state to one of the upcoming counties, and I’m looking forward to finally be able to test the service out.
Have you tried Aereo yet? Is it helping with your cord cutting endeavors or merely a supplement to an existing cable subscription?
Subject: General Tech | January 7, 2013 - 09:21 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: remote access, NAS, media streaming, DLNA, central shared storage, backup, ces 2013, CES, Seagate
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Seagate announced a new home backup and media streaming box that it is calling the Seagate Central Shared Storage. Featuring a form factor well suited to your AV rack in the living room or next to the PC, the Central Shared Storage box will act as a NAS and DLNA server with additional software that enables automatic backup of multiple PCs throughout the home and Facebook photos. The Seagate software will run on computers running either Windows or OSX and will organize audio, video, images, and documents for viewing and streaming on a variety of devices.
In addition, the Central Shared Storage box will also back up your photos stored on Facebook. You can stream or access multimedia on mobile devices (using the Seagate Media App), PCs, or Samsung Smart TVs and Blu-ray players. ON the mobile side, Samsung supports IOS, Amazon (Kindle HD), and Android devices. You can also access your stored content from afar with the remote access feature. social network accounts. Samsung Smart TVs and Blu-ray players will further offer up a customized interface for the viewing your music, movies, and photos on the big screen TV.
It will be interesting to see what the performance is like over the network, and whether the software required for auto-backup is worth using. Unfortunately, there is no word on Linux support, but it may still be possible to get Linux computers backed up to the NAS using something like Wine.
The Seagate Central Shared Storage will be available in March 2013 and will come in three capacities. The MSRPs are as follows:
- 2TB is $189.99
- 3TB is $219.99
- 4TB is $259.99
You can find the full press release here.
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