Media Streamer

Mar 06 2013

News - Roku 3 Arrives with Faster Processor, New UI, & Headphones

Roku makes one of the most compelling Over the Top (OTT) streamers available today, offering oodles of content options, a clean, responsive UI, and (my favorite feature) universal search. Of course for those who want to use more than a few of the 750+ channels the current UI doesn't scale well, so now we have another reason to like the diminutive device with a new display scheme available on the new, faster, $99 Roku 3. Fortunately, older devices will also get the update, but they'll wait until April for the privilege.

PR and a pic of the updated UI after the click.

Feb 07 2013

News - Dune HD TV303D Reviewed @ MediaSmartServer.net

Looks like Dune HD hit their delivery target for the TV303D, and Damien has it reviewed. The results were much more mixed than I expected from Dune HD, hopefully just teething issues with a new platform.

Overall I would say I have some mixed thoughts with the TV303D. On a positive note, network performance is excellent which is critical for anyone looking to stream HD content (especially Blu-ray 3D) over a network. However, there are some critical issues that need to be addressed. The most notable one is the DTS(MA) audio drop out issue. This falls squarely on the back of Sigma as they have been releasing chips with this bug for over a year. Hopefully now that Dune has a lot riding on the newer Sigma chips, they can pressure Sigma into providing a fix relatively quick.

MediaSmartServer.net

Jan 16 2013

News - NETGEAR @ CES 2013

NETGEAR CES

After attending NETGEAR's press conference there wasn't anything that new or surprising to see when I stopped by their suite last week, but it was great to get a more detailed look at what they were bringing out this year. I did get a chance to take a closer look at their upcoming Google TV box, and the slick little IP cameras mentioned a few days before as well as a couple other things. Take a look after the click.

Sep 20 2012

News - Roku Queues Up Three, Announcing VUDU Support, Streaming Stick Availiability and App Update

Roku Streaming Stick

I've been looking forward to Roku's Streaming Stick since they first mentioned it back at CES. Of course the specifics around pricing and how long we'd have to wait were unknown, but today that changed a little with Roku announcing that the MHL enabled streamer would be available "soon" at $99. The lack of a clear when is a little disappointing, but for those who like instant gratification VUDU has finally made it's way to the platform - HUZZAH! - and they've updated the mobile application. Who knew that today would be media streamer day Smile, full PRs after the click.

UPDATE: Not sure why this wasn't included in the PR, but the Streaming Stick will support 1080p24 (24p) from VUDU. Unfortunately the current generation boxes don't Sad.

Sep 20 2012

News - NETGEAR Announces Updated NeoTV Media Streamers

NETGEAR NTV300

Features like VUDU and HDMI CEC put the first generation NETGEAR NeoTV on my short list of preferred media streamers. But while they have continued to update the device at a breakneck pace, the lack of 5.1 audio in the Netflix application was a pretty big CON. Fortunately this gap will not only be rectified in the NeoTV (NTV300), NeoTV PRO (NTV300S), and NeoTV MAX (NTV300SL) models set for release at the end of September, but also available to the existing players in the same timeframe. Of course this is not the only feature bumped on the spec sheet with support for 24p output, an updated remote, VUDU 3D (MAX only), underside QWERTY remote (MAX only), Netflix “Just for Kids”, WiDi/Miracast (PRO/MAX) and HTML5/HLS applications also coming – enabling faster, more capable experiences, from new content providers as well as an open SDK for enthusiasts (available later this year). Coming in at $50, $60, $70 the new NeoTVs are also priced very competitively in this space – click through for more details, photos, and the official PR.

Sep 17 2012

News - Nintendo TVii Brings Live TV, DVR, Streaming Media and Second Screen Control to the Wii U

 Nintendo TVii

At E3 this year, Nintendo was beginning to open up a bit about what to expect from the Wii U other than playing video games. At the time, the company was assuring gamers that the Wii U would have access to Netflix, Hulu Plus, and all of the other streaming media services that game consoles are now expected to offer, and that the Wii U GamePad would offer some sort of TV control funtionality. In their official launch press conference this week, Nintendo took the wraps off of Nintendo TVii, a service that allows Wii U users to watch TV via the Wii U and to control their viewing experience with the Wii U GamePad.

As part of its Wii U conference, Nintendo has revealed Nintendo TVii. Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime introduced the service, which will allow users to watch movies, sports and television via the Wii U. The service includes social features, allowing viewers to connect with other Wii U users via Twitter, Facebook and other services.

Joystiq

Although announced and official, complete with upbeat promo video, there are still alot of details to be fleshed out. We do know that the Wii U GamePad serves as the control point for all of this functionality with a user profile customized program guide that pulls from TV listings, services like the aforementioned Netflix and Hulu, and from recordings on your TiVo. The GamePad also offers full QWERTY text input or a radial keyboard that comes up out of the lower right hand corner of the screen, which should come in handy for utilizing the universal, cross-platform browsing and search. We also know that Nintendo TVii is powered by technology from i.TV, a company that focuses on developing second screen control apps for mobile devices.

Brad Pelo is suddenly in charge of a major Nintendo initiative for the Japanese company's next big console, the Wii U, despite not being an employee at Nintendo. Instead, Pelo is CEO of i.TV -- a "social television and second screen technology company" that's worked with everyone from Entertainment Weekly to Engadget parent company AOL -- and he's the man responsible for Nintendo TVii.

Engadget

What we don't know is exactly how all of these pieces work together. The streaming media components are fairly straightforward, but the details about the TV and DVR control are still a bit vague. For the TV side, Nintendo has already talked about using the IR-blaster in the GamePad to control a TV, but Nintendo still has not shared any details about how this universal remote control functionality will be programmed or how exensive it will be. As for the DVR functionality, Nintendo has clarified since the press conference that the Wii U does not have any TiVo hardware built-in, so one would need to own a TiVo, but there are still no details about how the Wii U connects to the TiVo or whether intermediary hardware such as the TiVo Stream will be necessary. There has also been some debate about whether the DVR interactions are exclusive to TiVo. The TiVo logo is in the press materials, but Nintendo has also been fairly specific to use the more generic term, "DVR", rather than TiVo when talking about the ability to playback recorded TV. If Nintendo can make TVii flexible and exensible enough, the company may just have a chance to upend Sony, Microsoft, and Google in offering consumers the one living room device to rule them all, but only time will tell how all of the peices will come together.

Still, there's plenty of reason for skepticism over how well Nintendo will be able to integrate with cable and satellite DVRs. While Nintendo touted TVii's TiVo integration, other TV providers weren't mentioned, although Nintendo says it will work with all major cable and satellite providers, plus over-the-air broadcasts. 

CNET

Jun 30 2012

News - Vizio Announces Google TV-Powered Co-Star

Vizio Co-Star

Vizio recently announced the Co-Star. The Co-Star, previously known as the VAP430, is Vizio's take on Google TV. Like all Google TV set top boxes, the Co-Star is intended to sit between your cable or satellite box and your TV. It sounds like Vizio has gone to some length to create a fresh, clean overlay UI and is looking to differentiate their offering with the inclusion of support for the OnLive cloud gaming service and a $99 price tag, half that of the NSZ GS7 that Sony announced earlier this week. The Co-Star does not come with a wireless OnLive controller, but it does come with a Bluetooth remote control that can offer gaming support in a pinch and also integrates IR blaster capabilities. Coming in at such an attractive price point, the Co-Star may well be the sort of device to spur renewed interest in Google TV.

The device itself offers support for 1080p video over HDMI, 802.11n wireless, Ethernet, a USB port for storage and peripherals, and ships with a Bluetooth remote that has a touchpad, full QWERTY keyboard with gaming buttons on its reverse side, and direct launch buttons for Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and M-Go.

TechSpot

Jun 19 2012

News - D-Link Announces SharePort (DIR-505) Mini-Wireless Access Point

DIR-505

We don't usually cover networking product announcements, but this one was too interesting for me to pass up because I've been looking for something just like this for when I travel and need to stay in a hotel that uses web browser based authentication for WiFi access - which isn't supported by most of the small (Netflix enabled) media streamers available on the market. Obviously I could tote a full size access point around, but that's not nearly as convenient as something the size of this device.

Click through for the full PR.

Jun 11 2012

News - D-Link Announces MovieNite Plus (DSM-312)

D-Link MovieNite Plus

You'd be forgiven if it seems like D-Link just introduced the "MovieNite" because it's only been a few months since the DSM-310 was announced. Obviously they are discrete devices, with the first rev offering only six channels - VUDU, Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, Picasa, and mydlink. More is better, and channel count matters; so today we get the "MovieNite Plus" (DSM-312) which builds on the existing capability, adding 130+ apps and content sources for about $30 ($79.99) more than the earlier model. Check out the full PR and PDF spec sheet after the click.

Jun 07 2012

News - NETGEAR Announces NTV200S Media Streamer

NETGEAR NTV200S

NETGEAR just announced the NTV200S (aka NTV PRO) as successor to their popular NTV200 media streamer this morning. Those with familiar with the previous device will be forgiven for not noticing the difference as it essentially the same device (offering all the good stuff we loved like VUDU and Netflix) just with WiDi support (via 2x 2.4GHz antennas) for $20 more ($69.99 v. $49.99) - which is a steal if you were looking at adding that feature to your home theater (standalone WiDi devices usually run $80-$100).

Datasheet, PR and more information after the click.

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