Apps

Mar 25 2013

News - Plex for iOS v3.1 Now Available

Plex Mobile Media Server

The Plex team has released a fairly major update to Plex for iOS, bringing the iOS version's featureset up to par with the Android version. The two biggest features are the enhanced filtering that was first introduced with Plex/Web and the mobile media server. With the mobile media server, a device can be used as a Plex server for sharing media with Plex clients, creating a Plex server that one can take on the road. There are also the usual assortment of bug fixes to accompany the other new features which include variable scrubbing speed sliders for all media and the addition of the experimental universal transcoder. 

Ever since the all new Plex for Android was released, iOS users have been wondering when they’d be able to enjoy some of the new features on their devices, and we’re incredibly happy to say that day has finally come.

Plex Blog

Dec 11 2012

News - Xbox 360 Gains 10 New Apps, 40 More by Spring 2013

Microsoft has announced the arrival of 10 new entertainment and content apps for the Xbox 360 as part of their plan to take over the living room via the game console. The new SkyDrive app, which serves up photos and videos stored on a user's SkyDrive account, is the only app that will be available across all regions. The other nine apps, which include access to content providers such as Maxim, VEVO, CinemaNow, and CNET, are either launching in or expanding into specific territories. Today's new apps are just beginning, as Microsoft has also announced that they have another 40 apps on tap for early 2013 that will add content from providers such as PBS, Flixster, CW, and Slacker Radio. To date, no media streamer has offered the breadth of providers and feeds that Roku has been able to put together, but it would seem that Microsoft has plans to change things.

The Xbox 360 is being overrun by apps, following the model established by Windows 8and Windows Phone. Today, Microsoft announced 10 new apps. And over 40 more are coming in early 2013.

Supersite for Windows

Nov 29 2012

News - TunerFree Becomes a Windows Store App

TunerFreeMCE, a longtime favorite Windows Media Center plugin, has made the leap from WMC to the Windows Store as TunerFree. TunerFree collects on-demand content from a variety of sources, including BBC iPlayer, ITV, Hulu, NASA TV, and BBC Radio. As an American, the only BBC content I could reliably access through TunerFreeMCE was BBC Radio, but part of the beauty of TunerFreeMCE was the ability to select the specific content sources you wanted to include in the interface, a feature that the Windows Store app has brought over. TunerFree is available for free from the Windows Store.

TunerFree

For for a long time TunerFreeMCE has been the best addin for bringing on demand TV into Windows Media Center with out the need for a TV Tuner (hence the name). Martin Millmore the developer of TunerFree has brought the app to the Windows Store, bringing TV to Windows 8 and Windows RT.

The Digital Lifestyle

Nov 27 2012

News - PlexSync is the New PlexPass Feature

The release of Plex Media Server 0.9.6.8 also marked the release of Plex/Web, the first new feature for Plex developed under the PlexPass subscription program that the Plex team introduced earlier this year. PlexPass subscribers now have another early-release feature to play with: PlexSync. PlexSync will be a new feature for the Plex mobile clients that promises to greatly simplify the process of syncing media from Plex Media Server to a Plex-enabled mobile device for offline consumption. PlexSync will ensure that media is converted to an appropriate format, sync up metadata to match the content, track watch states, and even protect your cellular data allotment by restricting syncing to a Wi-Fi network connection. Perhaps the most interesting detail is that PlexSync is being developed with an accompanying API for third-party extension. PlexSync is currently only available to PlexPass subscribers on iOS, but Android is in the works. PlexSync will be a premium feature, so although PlexPass subscribers will have to pay for the new feature when it is released, they will have unfettered access in the meantime.

PlexSync

Syncing media to the device is probably the most highly requested features since we launched the mobile apps, and rightly so. Using PlexSync, you can flag content from your library (or from certain channels) for download. Once you’ve done that, your server will convert the content you selected to a compatible format, and the mobile client will download the content to your device so you can view it when you’re offline.

Plex Blog

Oct 31 2012

News - Roku Introduces Roku Search

Roku is pushing out an update for current-generation Roku LT, Roku HD, and Roku 2 boxes that will bring a new cross-app search capability. Roku Search isn't quite universal search as it is limited to Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, HBO GO, VUDU and Crackle, but it will allow users to search for movies, TV shows, actors, and directors across the supported channels. Select the Roku Search channel, run a search, and Roku will display a list of the channels that offer content that match the search term for the user to select from. Text can be inputted with an on-screen keyboard or via the soft keyboard on a remote control app. Given the breadth of content that Roku now offers, cross-app search is arguably a bit overdue. There are some notable Roku channels absent from Roku Search, such as EPIX and CrunchyRoll, so it seems a safe bet that Roku Search will continue to expand its reach. It will also be interesting to see if Roku can expand the functionality to IPTV channels such as DISHWorld.

 Roku Search

Roku Search makes it a snap to find movies, TV shows, actors and directors across Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Crackle, VUDU and HBO GO. When you search for a title, Roku Search shows you where it’s available on the Roku platform. Simply select a channel and Roku Search will take you straight to your desired movie or show. 

Roku Blog

Oct 27 2012

News - Hulu Plus, CyberLink PowerDVD 12 and PowerDVD Mobile Arrive on Windows 8

With the release of Windows 8, we are going to see a steady stream of streaming media apps make a splash on Windows 8 and the Windows Store. Netflix got in early, and this week brought a Hulu Plus app and new versions of CyberLink PowerDVD. The Hulu Plus app takes full advantage of the Metro/Modern/Windows 8 UI with touch controls, pin to Start screen, and Snap View. As a Hulu Plus app, it is only useful to Hulu Plus subscribers, so fortunately the free Hulu is just a website away.

At Hulu, we are relentless about creating beautiful, intuitive and engaging experiences that help you find and enjoy popular current season TV shows whenever you want, on whatever device you want. Which is why we are so proud to announce the Hulu Plus app is now available on one of the newest operating systems: Windows 8.

Hulu Blog

PowerDVD Mobile for Windows 8

CyberLink has announced two new versions of PowerDVD with the release of PowerDVD 12 and PowerDVD Mobile for Windows 8. PowerDVD 12 is a fairly standard upgrade to their traditional x86 desktop software. For $14.99, or for free with the purchase of PowerDVD 12, PowerDVD Mobile brings some basic video and photo editing, and MPEG and MKV support to the new Windows 8 UI. The company is also promising an Ultra version of PowerDVD Mobile for Windows 8 is in the works, but they are not offering any specific details at this point. Unfortunately, PowerDVD Mobile does not support Windows RT, so anyone who drank the Redmond Kool-Aid and picked up a Surface is going to have to look elsewhere for their MKV fix.

CyberLink Corp. (5203.TW), a provider of innovative media creation solutions, today launched an updated version of its award-winning media player, PowerDVD 12, along with newPowerDVD Mobile to ensure users of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows® 8 operating system continue to enjoy a premium entertainment experience on their new Windows 8 PCs.

CyberLink

Oct 26 2012

News - NBA League Pass Broadband Comes to Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 has added yet another streaming sports service to its repertoire with the introduction this week of the NBA Game Time app. With the Game Time app, folks who subscribe to both Xbox Live Gold and NBA League Pass Broadband will be able stream regular season NBA games through their Xbox, complete with integrated Kinect-powered voice and gesture controls. The app and service allow for streaming at 720p. There are two levels of NBA League Pass Broadband. The $199.99 "Choice" package provides live streaming and on-demand archives for 5 teams, whereas the $179.99 "Premium" package provides complete access to any regular season game for all 30 teams.

 NBA League Pass on Xbox 360

You'll be able to watch live games, highlights and replays in HD, set a specific favorite team to follow and monitor team schedules and stats all through the app. Game Time also features the ability to watch up to two games at once, or watch a live game and catch up on highlights in a split-screen view.

Joystiq

 

Oct 19 2012

News - VLC for Android Beta 6 Released and VLC Media Player Updated to 2.0.4, Adds Opus Support

The VideoLAN Organization development teams have been mighty busy this week with two different versions of VLC receiving updates. VLC for Android Beta 6 has been released, the latest in a series of rapid fire updates for the project. With Beta 6, VLC for Android continues to improve compatibilty and performance across different Android devices and different versions of Android. Beta 6 also comes with an updated interface that looks to do a better job of taking advantage of the different screen real estate available on a phone and tablet.

VLC for Android Beta 6

VLC media player, meanwhile, has been updated to version 2.0.4. The update brings a number of bug fixes and performance improvements, particularly on Mac OS X, with improvements in UI performance and better support for BluRay. Support for YouTube, Vimeo, Soundclud, and Koreus streams also returns in 2.0.4. The new feature that is likely to draw the most attention is support for Opus, the open source codec recently standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force. Opus was designed specifically to provide high quality sound for Internet streams, and though I have yet to see any online broadcasters offering Opus streams, it is nice to know that VLC will be standing by, ready to receive them.

For a summary of the most important features, you have:

  • Support for Opus codec, including multi-channel and icecast streams,
  • Support for MSS1 and MSS2 codecs through DMO on Windows and Linux (this can still be hard to use until 2.1.Innocent.
  • Support for Youtube Live Streams,
  • Support for BluRays correctly on OSX,
  • Karaoke control on OSX interface.

Jean-Baptiste Kempf

Oct 18 2012

News - Netflix Looking to Second Screen for Controlling the Experience

Utilizing a mobile device app to control another device has become commonplace. Indeed, build a new home theater with the right equipment, and it's fairly easy for an iPod to provide more funtionality controlling the equipment than a remote control. In the last couple of years, we have also seen networks and streaming services explore how to tap into mobile devices as supplementary second screens, extending the experience and encouraging viewership. Netflix sounds like they might be looking to mash these two ideas up by using the second screen to control the service across multiple devices. The basic idea would be to allow users to engage in their browsing and searching from their mobile device, a task for which the devices are generally better suited than the 10-foot interface apps deployed for Smart TVs and settop boxes, and also control playback on the television from the mobile device. The Smart TV or settop box would still be doing the heavy lifting of streaming, unlike a system such as AirPlay where the mobile device is pushing the content to another device, but it would instead bring all of the discovery and remote control functionality into one place on the user's mobile device. 

Netflix is getting ready to let users control the playback on their TV with their mobile phones. The company recently added support for such AirPlay-like features to the PS3, and is now looking to extend support to a number of other connected devices.

GigaOm

Oct 17 2012

News - Boxee TV Gets Official, Packs DVR, Unlimited Cloud-Storage for Recordings, Slimmed Down App Selection

Images of the Boxee TV leaked last week, along with some early details about what to expect from the Boxee Box successor, but the Boxee TV is now official. As anticipated, the Boxee TV sports two TV tuners that finally add the DVR capabilities that everyone thought the Boxee Live TV would add to the Boxee Box, but the new DVR functionality probably won't be what most people were expecting. The Boxee TV does not come with internal storage for recordings, and though there are two USB ports, external storage is only for local media playback. The Boxee TV will save your recordings to the cloud instead. The cloud-based DVR will cost $15 a month and will be gradually rolled out, starting with 7 major markets at launch and then to other markets based on demand.

Boxee TV

The Boxee TV will be a major departure from the Boxee Box, and not just because of the inclusion of DVR functionality. The new device eschews the distinctive cube/pyramid stylings of the original in favor of more traditional rectangular settop box dimensions. The monthly fee is only required for those interested in the cloud DVR; everyone else will appreciate the significantly reduced $99 price tag. Unfortunately, also reduced will be the number of apps available on the Boxee TV. The wide range of apps for accessing online content sources was a distinctive feature of the Boxee software and Boxee Box, but the Boxee TV will only ship a handful of apps for major services such as Netflix, Pandora, and YouTube. The Boxee TV also will not support as wide a range of file types and containers as the Boxee Box for local media playback. Finally, the once-innovative remote control with a QWERTY keyboard on the flip side has been retired in favor of a more traditional remote control.

I suspect the Boxee TV is going to be a tough sell. The $15 dollar monthly fee for the DVR is going to be a tough sell, and heaven forbid you have an ISP with bandwidth limits. Every gigabyte of recorded TV will take 2 gigabytes of your allotted bandwidth; one to go upstream and one to go downstream. Remove the DVR, and the Boxee TV is a less capable iteration of the Boxee Box, and there will be no fleeing to the Boxee Box as it has been discontinued and Boxee is stating that it will not receive anything more than maintenance updates, a prosepct most will find laughable given the abysmal level of support the Boxee Box has received over the last year. Without the launch of the Boxee Live TV, it is unlikely there would have been any updates to the Boxee Box in 2012, an update that dropped in March and came with several major, unresolved issues. It should be interesting to see how long D-Link will give the Boxee team to show that they have a clear vision of the future for cord-cutters.

The Boxee TV attempts to address a large void in the TV segment: DVRs for cord cutters and casual cable subscribers. The D-Link-made set-top box can pull in over-the-air HDTV signals and unencrypted cable signals. The dual tuner setup also allows it to record two channels at once. Built off the lessons learned with the Boxee Box’s Live TV dongle, the Boxee TV includes every feature found in a traditional DVR. Best of all, like TiVo, it’s not tied to the cable provider and even works with over-the-air signals. But, also like TiVo, there is a monthly charge to use the cloud DVR of $14.99 a month. Yeah, that’s a lot.

TechCrunch

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