Subject: General Tech | January 5, 2017 - 04:25 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: UHD, streaming box, SHIELD TV, nvidia, media server, hdr, gaming, controller, CES 2017, CES
NVIDIA has announced the newly redesigned SHIELD TV with the promise of higher performance and enhanced functionality from the Android-powered media streamer. In addition to the updated industrial design the new SHIELD TV ships with a game controller in addition to a remote, adding value to what NVIDIA is calling "the world's most advanced streamer".
NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang on stage to introduce the new SHIELD TV
NVIDIA is citing "major improvements" to the new version of the SHIELD TV in the following areas:
Highest Performance, 4K HDR Media Streamer – SHIELD delivers the richest visual experience with support for 4K HDR and 3x the performance of any other streamer on the market. With Amazon Video in 4K HDR, SHIELD offers the largest, most open catalog of media in stunning 4K – also supporting Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movie and VUDU. YouTube’s flagship TV app will also be available for SHIELD in the coming months, delivering immersive, 360-degree viewing experiences.
Amazing Games – SHIELD stands alone among media streamers, with the widest range of gaming capabilities and richest assortment of game content. GeForce NOW has been upgraded with Pascal performance and will soon add Ubisoft’s catalog of hits, including Watch Dogs 2, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, For Honor and countless others. Upcoming native game releases include The Witness, Tomb Raider and Shadowgun Legends.
AI in the Home – SHIELD is the first streamer to announce support of Google Assistant, optimized for TV and 100% hands-free. Coming soon, SmartThings Hub technology integration will instantly turn SHIELD into a smart home hub that can connect to hundreds of smart home devices. NVIDIA SPOT, an AI mic accessory makes SHIELD the central backbone of the AI home, extending intelligent control throughout the house.
NVIDIA has stated that the features announced for the new SHIELD TV will come to existing SHIELD devices via an over-the-air update this month; though the new hands-free commands will require the updated SHIELD controller (now bundled with the new SHIELD TV), which will be sold separately.
Pre-orders for the new SHIELD TV are now available with units shipping later in January. There will be two configurations, with the SHIELD TV media streamer, which includes a game controller and remote, priced at $199; and the SHIELD Pro home media server, which comes with a controller, remote with headset jack, and 500GB of on-board storage, priced at $299.
Full press release after the break.
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Subject: General Tech | March 4, 2015 - 09:31 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: GDC, valve, streaming box, Steam Box, steam, pc game streaming, gaming, gdc 2015
Valve has slowly but surely been working on its living room gaming initiative. Despite the slow progress (read: Valve time), Steam Machines are still a thing and a new bit of hardware called the “Steam Link” will allow you to stream all of your Steam content from your computers and Steam Machines to your TV over a local network. Slated for a November launch, the Steam Link is a $49.99 box that can be paired with a Steam Controller for another $49.99.
Valve has revealed little about the internals or specific features of the Steam Link. We do know that it can tap into Valve’s Steam In-Home Streaming technology to stream your PC games to your TV and output it at 1080p 60Hz (no word on specific latency numbers but the wired connection is promising). The box is tiny, looking to be less than half of a NUC (and much shorter) with sharp angles and one rounded corner hosting the Steam logo. Two USB ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a HDMI output, and an AC power jack sit on the rear of the device with a third USB port located on the left side of the Steam Link.
In all, the Steam Link looks like a promising device so long as Valve can get it out the door in time, especially with so many competing streaming technologies hitting the market. I’m looking forward to more details and getting my hands one later this year.
Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2014 - 05:01 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: streaming box, Netflix, media streaming, html, fire tv, Android, amazon
Amazon is making a play for the living room with its new Fire TV. The tiny box offers up mobile gaming along with movie and music streaming. Users will be able to tap into Amazon’s own Prime Instant Video collection in addition to various streaming video and music services from partners (see below). The box runs an operating system based on Android and HTML and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 SoC which makes it about as powerful as today’s mid-range smartphones. At $99, the Fire TV is, ahem, a shot across the bow of devices from Apple, Roku, and Ouya.
The box measures 4.5" x 4.5" x 0.7" and comes bundled with a remote small remote control. Amazon provides hardware ports for HDMI, optical audio output, Ethernet, and USB. The remote has basic playback controls along with a microphone used for the voice search functionality. The Fire TV is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 SoC with four Krait 300 CPU cores clocked at 1.7 GHz and an Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB of DDR2 memory at 533 MHz, and 8GB of internal flash memory. Networking includes wired Ethernet and a 802.11n + Bluetooth 4.0 radio. A large heatsink is used to passively cool all of the components.
The Fire TV is launching with a number of applications from partners. Users can stream video from Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vimeo, Vudu, Flixter, NBA, and YouTube among others. Music apps include Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Vevo. Finally, users can play back music and photos from their Amazon Cloud Drive storage. Amazon further offers up an app store for free and paid games. For example, users will be able to play Minecraft Pocket Edition, The Walking Dead, or Sev Zero using the included remote or optional $39.99 game pad.
For media junkies with children Amazon has added the FreeTime functionality from its Kindle tablets to the Fire TV. FreeTime restricts the device to kid-friendly programming and a new optional $2.99 per month FreeTime Unlimited subscription offers up a catalog of kid-friendly media for streaming. Other software features include X-Ray (in-media information, such as identifying an actor) and ASAP which attempts to determine what programs you are likely to stream next and begin caching it in the background. For example, it will begin to cache the next episode of a TV series so that when you go to watch the next episode you will not see any loading screens.
The FireTV is a compelling alternative to the Roku (latest being the $50 Streaming Stick) and Apple TV (so long as you are not already invested in the Apple / iTunes ecosystem) while also offering up mobile gaming on the living room TV in a more-polished way that the Ouya ever did. The $99 Fire TV is available from Amazon immediately.
I think the Fire TV has real potential to catch on with most consumers, though the real test for enthusiasts and readers of PC Per will be to see if the extra features and Amazon polish will be worth the price premium over cheaper options like the Chromecast and Raspberry Pi setups.
Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information and hands-on experience with Amazon's latest bit of hardware.
Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2013 - 05:26 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: western digital, streaming box, media player, DLNA
Western Digital may primarily be a hard drive manufacturer, but it also dabbles in media streaming boxes. Last week, a new product called the WD TV Play joined the existing lineup as a cheaper alternative to both the WD TV Live and Live Hub boxes.
The WD TV Play measures 4.17” x 4.13” x 1.07” and is black with a blue outline. Unlike the other streaming boxes, the Play ditches the rectangular shape for one that resembles a trapezoid (where the base is wider than the top). The WD TV Play has support for a number of streaming media services, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Youtube, Spotify, and Pandora. Notably absent is Amazon Video on Demand and Vudu, but otherwise it is a decent lineup of the popular internet media sources.
Additionally, the WD TV Play can playback local media from a flash drive or from a DLNA server. It support a variety of video and audio formats, but unlike the more expensive WD TV Live it does not support MPEG-2 or DTS Audio. That is the necessary compromise in order to get an approximately $20 cheaper device.
|Media Type||Supported File Formats|
|Video||AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG4, VC-1), MKV (h.264, x.264, AVC, MPEG4, VC-1), TS/TP/M2T/M2TS (MPEG4, AVC, VC-1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, AVC), WMV9, FLV (AVC)|
|Photo||JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF, BMP, PNG|
|Audio||MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AAC, FLAC, MKA, AIF/AIFF, OGG, Dolby TrueHD|
|Playlist||PLS, M3U, WPL, M3U8, XML, CUE|
|Subtitle||SRT, ASS, SSA, SUB, SMI, MKV (embedded sub)|
Rear IO on the WD TV Play includes a composite video output, HDMI, Ethernet jack, and Optical audio output. The media player reportedly also supports Wi-Fi and a USB 2.0 port for loading up media files. It comes with an infrared remote control, but you can also download the WD TV app to your smartphone and control the box using your phone's touchscreen.
In fact, the new case design and removal of certain codecs are the only real differences between the new Play and existing Live streaming box. The WD TV Play has an MSRP of $69.99 USD. For comparison, the WD TV Live is $99.99. If you do not need MPEG-2 or DTS audio, the Play can easily save you a few bucks.
More information can be found on the WD TV Play product page.