Game Consoles

Mar 27 2013

News - XBMC Coming to GameStick Console


Ouya, the Kickstarter-backed, Android-powered game console is about to launch, and in addition to serving up games, Ouya will be serving up media via XBMC. However, Kickstarter has helped to fund a pair of Android-powered game consoles for this year. Competing against the Ouya will be the GameStick, a thumb drive-sized game console, and like the Ouya, the GameStick will be slinging media thanks to XBMC. GameStick's developer, PlayJam, has formed a partnership with Pivos to bring XBMC to their diminutive console. Pivos has a close relationship with the XBMC team having hired two XBMC developers specifically to help develop an Android version of the media center application for the Pivos XIOS DS Media Player, so it is certainly a good company to hook up with for adding XBMC support.

This deal is happening by way of an official partnership with Pivos Technology Group. "Working with Pivos and the XBMC community to integrate a world class media center into GameStick is a major step forward in our ambitions," said PlayJam CEO Jasper Smith.


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.


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.


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. 


Dec 16 2011

News - Console Media Streaming Usage Continues to Rise

The most recent Xbox 360 dashboard update has received a lot of attention here at Missing Remote and around the Internet because of the update's focus on enhancing access to streaming media. Thus it should come as no surprise that Nielsen is reporting that game consoles are increasingly being used for media streaming purposes. Nielsen recently released a report detailing usage patterns for the three major consoles for 2010 and 2011 and the percentage of time spent streaming media increased across the board, particularly for the Wii. Also of interest was that the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 both saw drops in the amount of time spent watching media on DVD and Blu-Ray, suggesting changes in usage patterns that go far beyond the world of game consoles. It will be interesting to see what next year's numbers look like given Microsoft's increasing interest in pushing the Xbox 360 as a media streamer.

Nielsen Console Stats

Nielsen, the purveyor of all things statistical and demographic, published a new study this week on game console usage within the US. According to the report, released on Wednesday, gamers this year spent notably more time streaming video to their consoles than they did in 2010, due in large part to the growing availability of services like Netflix, Hulu, MLB Network and ESPN3. 


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