ESR Labs Crafts Cheap Nexus Q Competitor With Raspberry Pi

Subject: General Tech | July 4, 2012 - 08:39 PM |
Tagged: streaming, Raspberry Pi, nexus q, media, google, android transporter, Android

Last week at Google I/O 2012, the company announced a new high-end media streaming device that taps into the Google Play cloud to bring music, movies, and TV shows to your living room television. Launched as the Nexus Q, the Android-powered sphere connects to the internet and multiple Android phones to bring a social media sharing aspect to the big screen, for a hefty $299 price tag (available from the Google Play Store).

Granted, it does contain a high end built-in amplifier for connecting to bookshelf speakers – at 12.5 watts per channel – and is made in the United States. Even so, that’s a high price to pay for a media streaming box, and especially one that can only play media from Google Play and not any locally stored content.

Enter the Raspberry Pi, the small Linux-powered $35 computer that is still not easy to get a hold of (at least not with my luck!). Coupled with a piece of new software developed by E.S.R. Labs called Android Transporter, the Raspberry Pi can wirelessly stream media and more from your Android devices to your TV screen for a much lower price.

There are some caveats, however if you are just after the wireless streaming aspects the Raspberry Pi has you covered. The Nexus Q, on the other hand, further brings in a social interface that allows friends to pool their Google Play content and build a playlist. It also has a very nice case with touchscreen controls and LEDs. The Nexus Q also offers an analog amplifier for speakers and optical audio outputs as well as regular HDMI. The Raspberry Pi only has HDMI for high-quality digital audio. Neither device supports HDMI pass through for connecting it between your audio kit and/or HDMI switcher and the TV though.

The Android Transporter software also has a noticeable bit of lag, which isn't really a problem for watching movies or streaming music but may make using the phone as a gaming controller as E.S.R proposed difficult. According to Bit-Tech, the developers are working on reducing latency from the current 150ms to less than 100ms.

To me, this seems like a good compromise between the cool wireless streaming technology (I can never find that darn MHL adapter when I need it!) and the $299 Nexus Q hardware. For the cost of a Raspberry Pi, you can get wireless streaming and screen sharing as well as the ability to stream local content as well as streamed-from-the-internet media. That gets you most of the way to the Nexus Q (while adding local content!) for about an eighth of the cost! I will concede that the Nexus Q's hardware is a lot sleeker looking that that of the Raspberry Pi!

As soon as I get my Pi, I'm definitely going to try this out! Have you gotten your hands on a Raspberry Pi yet? Are you using it as a cheap HTPC/streaming box?

You can find all of our Raspberry Pi coverage on the site by searching for the "Raspberry Pi" tag.

Source: Bit-Tech

Users Will Be Able to Play Hawken On Gaikai Before Release

Subject: General Tech | June 3, 2012 - 12:20 AM |
Tagged: streaming, Hawken, gaming, gaikai

Mech Shooter Hawken will launch on December 12th, 2012 but streaming gaming service Gaikai has made a deal with Meteor Entertainment to allow gamers to play the game before launch to demonstrate its playability through its streaming service using NVIDIA’s GRID cloud gaming technology.

According to gaming website Joystiq, Gaikai has signed a deal with publisher Meteor Entertainment to allow gamers to test out the mech shooter PC game running on Gaikai's streaming service ahead of the game’s official release on 12/12/12. First demonstrated at GTC 2012, the free-to-play game uses NVIDIA’s GRID technology to reduce latency on the server and client sides.

 A video of the NVIDIA demonstration.

Mark Long, CEO of Meteor Entertainment stated that "HAWKEN wants to be free and it wants to be everywhere - and with Gaikai, it will be.” The game has proved quite popular and has hundreds of thousands of gamers signing up for the closed beta. The free-to-play game is returning to a PC gaming classic with mech fighting and if Gaikai is able to deliver it will be a game that will be accessible to all kinds of devices from tablets to high powered gaming PCs.

That last bit is the real question though, and one that many gamers have on their minds. Gaikai is offering up the game pre-release to prove itself as a viable platform, and that is going to be a make it or break it situation. Here’s hoping that the NVIDIA GRID technology delivers and results in a playable game with real world performance benefits. While they have not set an exact date for when it will go live, gamers will be able to access it via the playhawken.com website. Will you be checking out Hawken streaming for yourself?

Source: Joystiq

Sony Shows Off Bloggie Live Video Recorder At CES

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2012 - 01:03 AM |
Tagged: CES, sony, bloggie, bloggie live, camera, camcorder, streaming, qik

Among the Crystal LED televisions Sony had a small pocket camera on display, the Sony Bloggie Live. The successor to the original Bloggie, the stylish camera fits in your pocket and somewhat resembles a smartphone in design.

Sony Bloggie Live.png

The Bloggie Live features 8 GB of internal storage space, a 3" touch screen LCD, and a water resistant exterior. The ExmorCMOS sensor is capable of recording 1080p or 720p video, and the Wi-Fi radio is able to upload photos and videos to the various sharing services including Facebook, YouTube, Dailymotion, Flickr, and Picassa. The Bloggie Live has an LED flash and a stereo microphone. In addition to video, the camera is able to take 12.8 megapixel still photos. In addition, the camera is able to stream video to the internet over Wi-Fi using the Qik streaming service. Using the PlayMemories application, users are also able to wirelessly transfer files from the Bloggie Live to a smartphone.

Sony Bloggie Sport.png

Alternatively, Sony also showed off the Bloggie Sport, with is a bit smaller than the Bloggie Live and is waterproof up to 16 feet of water. This camera features 4 GB of internal memory, and is capable of shooting HD MP4 video and 5 megapixel still shots. An "Underwater Mode" further adjusts the white balance automatically.

The Bloggie Live is available for purchase immediately for $250 USD while the Bloggie Sport will cost $180 and will be available in February. The price tag is a bit steep considering the storage is not expandable and there is no external mic jack. Still, aesthetics wise, the new pocket camcorder looks slick.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: MSNBC

Acer Launches New "AcerCloud" Cloud Service

Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2012 - 06:42 PM |
Tagged: sync, streaming, cloud, CES, acer

Last summer Acer purchased a cloud-service company for $325 million, and now that we are at CES the reason for the acquisition is apparent. According to Cnet, Acer is launching a new cloud service. Dubbed the "AcerCloud," the new service allows users to stream and sync files between Windows computers and Android mobile devices. Acer Chairman J. T. Wang stated that the company is "determined to make it very successful and sustainable."

acer-picstream.jpg

The new cloud service will launch with three applications to facilitate streaming and syncing photos, music, videos, and documents. These apps are named Clear.fi Photo, Clear.fi Media, and AcerCloud Docs. The company is going to integrate the cloud streaming service with their ultrabook lineup. AcerCloud is only the first of many cloud streaming services to emerge recently. Amazon Cloud Drive Service, Google Music, and Apple's iCloud are just a few of the popular streaming services that Acer has to compete with. That's before taking into account syncing services like Dropbox, Sugar Sync, and SpiderOak among others. Needless to say, the AcerCloud is going to have quite a bit of competition to contend with. Whether their proprietary cloud can carve a niche into the market filled with platform agnostic alternatives remains to be seen; however, competition is a good thing and Acer is likely not (going to be) the last company to launch a cloud service of its own this year.

Do you use any of the streaming and/or syncing services? What would it take to give Acer's solution a try?

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Capture any streamed media with the help of Hauppauge

Subject: Systems | January 5, 2012 - 11:23 AM |
Tagged: htpc, Hauppauge, colossus, streaming, capture

Missing Remote have assembled an impressive guide on how to use a Hauppauge Colossus to capture any media you can stream to your HTPC.  Hulu, YouTube, Netflix or anything else, this guide will show you how to capture streaming media so you can watch it again at your leisure.  Apart from the hardware you will need Arcsoft ShowBiz and likely an RDP hack which they provide for you to use.  Read on to see the trick as well as their recommended audio and video capture settings as well as tips on playback.

MR_HuluHookup.JPG

"So we've all probably experienced the case where, for some reason, our DVR misses an episode and we have to find it via another mechanism. Sure, you can watch it on Hulu or Amazon VOD, but you want to add it to your collection without the DRM (exactly how the DVR would have done), and it came over the air/cable for free (or you paid your cable bill) - so why should you have to pay for it again?! Maybe you've had one too many nasty-grams from Comcast about your bit-torrent downloads so you don't want to go that route."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

HTPC

 

Netflix Announces New Prices For Streaming and DVD plans

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2011 - 05:05 PM |
Tagged: Netflix, streaming, ip

Today, Netflix announced significant changes to the movie rental service’s pricing structure in addition to a new DVD only plan. Representing their lowest price ver for unlimited DVD’s they have announced a new $7.99 a month plan for 1 DVD out at a time and $11.99 per month for 2 DVDs at a time. Netflix is further changing up the way DVD plus streaming plans work. Specifically, they are changing their plans into separate DVD only and streaming only plans. Customers would then further be able to add a streaming plan on top of the DVD plan to their account.

netflixlogo_0.png

The unlimited streaming only plan will be priced at $7.99 a month while the unlimited DVD only plan will also be priced at $7.99 a month. Thus, the price of the lowest cost DVD and streaming monthly price will be $15 USD. The new prices are effective immediately for any new members while existing members will be subject to the price increases starting September 1, 2011.

Netflix claims that they have changed the prices in response to the realization that DVDs still have a long life and the previous model of $2 add on to the streaming plan for 1 DVD out at a time was not making them enough money cost effective. On one hand, customers are up in arms regarding the price increase for the same service they have been paying to for years, and on the other hand the price increase may allow Netflix to update its streaming catalog more frequently with new content. Regardless of the semantics, it is certainly a bold move by the company and it will be interesting to see how its customers react.

What are your thoughts on the pricing changes?

Source: Netflix