OTT

Mar 05 2014

News - Roku Announces New "Just HDMI" Roku Streaming Stick

Roku's first streaming stick required a [not-quite-MHL] "Roku Ready" host, and I imagine that limited the market dramatically. Why it took them this long to introduce one that works with HDMI and can be powered via USB is beyond me. That said, I think it's a great idea, but if your TV, like mine, doesn't power USB when it's off you'll want to use an external power supply to skip the onerous bootup time if you decide to bring home one of these $50/£50 OTT streamers.

Full PR after the click.

Feb 18 2014

News - Showtime Anytime Comes to Roku Players

Today is a good day if you're a Showtime subscriber and also have a Roku streamer for over-the-top content because the "Showtime Anytime" app is now available on the player. I think it's great how Roku continues to add content, and this is another example of how they keep adding value to their ecosystem.

Full PR after the click.

Feb 04 2014

News - Yamaha Adds Spotify Connect to AVRs

It's always great when an OEM adds value to devices in the field (instead of asking you to upgrade your hardware), so it's welcome news that Yamaha is adding support for Spotify Connect via a firmware update to select audio video receivers (AVR). I've never spent much time with the service so I can't speak to how useful it is in practice, let us know in the comments if this is a critical (or meh) feature add for you.

PR and list of supported AVR after the click.

Sep 10 2013

News - SiliconDust @ IFA 2013

It's unfortunate that the SiliconDust HDHR we saw at CES 2013 haven't meet their dates, it is refreshing to see that they are still coming - just a bit tardy coming late 2013 (US) and early 2014 (EU). Besides this tidbit coming from IFA, SiliconDust has also announced a partnership with StreamTV to build an over-the-air (OTA) DVR with over-the-top (OTT) services built in. If you're at the event in Berlin you should stop by and check out the demo. Otherwise, you'll have to make do with the PR - after the click.

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.

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.

Oct 01 2012

News - FAVI SmartStick Announced

FAVI SmartStickA big part of the appeal of the forthcoming Roku Streaming Stick is the idea of having the power of a full Roku box plugged in and hidden away behind the TV itself. Roku has already begun talking up their Roku Ready branding logo which serves to underscore the reality that the MHL-enabled Streaming Stick is going to be reserved for newer TVs and receivers. For anyone running an older TV or receiver, or not necessarily interested in joining the Roku-verse, then FAVI Entertainment would like to introduce you to the FAVI SmartStick. The FAVI SmartStick is an Android media streamer squeezed up into a small package so that it can be plugged in and hidden away behind the TV. One end plugs into an HDMI port and on the other end is a micro-USB port. The included micro-USB to USB adapter is intended to plug into the TV's USB port to power the device, though the company also sells a USB power adapter in the event one's TV lacks a USB port. The SmartStick will come in 4GB and 8GB capacities for $49.99 and $79.99 respectively and should be available by the end of October. The Wi-Fi-enabled SmartStick will be running Ice Cream Sandwich and have full Google Play Store access and DLNA support. The company has a video of the FAVI SmartStick in action up on their website which suggests that the SmartStick UI is going to be a pretty thin layer, so things will be largely cursor-driven once one gets into an Android app, though is not uncommon among Android-based media streamers. Interestingly enough, the SmartStick comes with an infrared remote control, so using the SmartStick should be fun for anyone who actually takes FAVI up on their offer of installing the SmartStick behind their TV. Good thing the company is also selling a mini wireless keyboard for $39.99.

If you thought smart TVs were only for the privileged few, think again — a technology that once cost hundreds of dollars can now be had for the low price of $50. The FAVI SmartStick is a small dongle that can be plugged into any HDTV, instantly transforming the device into a full-blown Android-powered smart TV with the ability to stream music and movies or browse the Web. The stick runs Ice Cream Sandwich and is equipped with 4GB of storage, Wi-Fi connectivity, DLNA support for media sharing and access to the Google Play Store.

Boy Genius Report

Jan 20 2012

News - Coincident - CES 2012

Those who know me, know that I'm not a big fan of advertising. Of course "the why" isn't nearly as simple as it would first appear however.  The fundamental problem with advertising isn't with the message per se, but the delivery - as an onerous chore, forced upon us in some sort of arcane moral obligation for "free" content. While that model was [at least somewhat] true in a bygone era where over the air (OTA) ruled, with most TV viewers getting their content via a pay-to-watch provider and technologies like the DVR becoming more prevalent, reliance on this out-dated methodology, and a refusal to see ads as content (which like any content needs to be good, and valuable to be worth our time), relegates them to the realm of soap operas and MTV (i.e. things I refuse watch) in my home. With the problem identified, a solution should be obvious; make the content and the surrounding experience relevant and enjoyable.

Jan 04 2012

News - Roku Announces Over the Top on Stick

Roku OTT Stick

If your display is more than a year old, you know what it's like to have been left behind by the OEM's Over the Top (OTT) platform. It's not hard to fix that by putting a Roku or other OTT streamer next to the display, but in some places (like a slim wall mount, bedroom, etc.) it can be difficult to get the install looking as clean as it should. Roku will be addressing this issue, with their newest streamer, which will connect to any Mobile High-definition Link (MHL) equipped device (not just TVs), which eliminates the need for a separate power source.

The PR (available on the next page) doesn't state what resolutions and features will be supported, but let's hope it's is the full feature set (1080p & DD+) offered by the top-of-the-line Roku 2 XS as well as HDMI CEC (which is currently missing), because needing two remotes to enable this incredibly slick solution would be a thumb in the eye.

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