Our pal Brad Linder got the scoop on PlayOn’s next move from a NYC press event earlier this week… and Chromecast support is in the pipeline. While we’d originally portrayed PlayOn as something of a sketchy hack, our thinking has evolved… Given the rights holders sluggish metamorphosis and often onerous playback restrictions, we now recognize PlayOn for the digital media liberators they are. The way it works is you drop the PlayOn software onto a Windows PC (sorry, no Mac) and then beam over 60 online video services to your Xbox, Roku, etc. Well, as soon as the Chromecast SDK becomes official, PlayOn will also support Google’s $35 dongle – using your iPhone or Android smartphone as a remote. While it’s likely many of these services will ultimately support Chromecast, I can’t imagine them all hitting at once and there’s something to be said for control via a single interface. PlayOn’s revised their pricing scheme several times over the years and it looks like the current dealio is $9/mo, including recording and offline smartphone viewing.
Archives For Apple
Mere days after Mari dinged Verizon’s lagging app experience, FiOS Mobile has been updated on iOS and Android platforms. Joining existing live cable network availability (77 channels and a smattering of free on demand), Verizon has worked deals with many local affiliates (NBC!) and flipped the switch on out-of-home streaming. Remote viewing is somewhat limited in selection at the moment, consisting of just 9 channels including HGTV and Food Network. But I much prefer the operator app hub approach versus tracking down apps for each channel that can be authenticated… and hope to see this expand to include ESPN, CNN, Cartoon Network, and the like. Beyond the content updates, my largely unused Kindle Fire HD will find new life as the “kitchen TV” given its brand-spanking new FiOS Mobile app. Sadly, the app doesn’t take advantage of the Kindle’s stellar stereo speakers the way say Netflix does – perhaps audio volume and quality will improve with a future update? While the FiOS app remains somewhat crashy on both my wife’s iPhone and my Galaxy Note 2, these updates and bundled service lessen my interest in the currently Android-incompatible TiVo Stream and Roamio. But I still pine for a FiOS TV Roku app… doubly so given my impulsive Groupon purchase.
Via Rich DeMuro, we learn that Apple is on the hunt for Music Programmers to curate content for their new iTunes Radio service. Potential digital DJs are expected to have 5 years experience and a willingness to attend concerts on the clock with:
a strong understanding and background in how the music business operates. Experience and knowledge in retail, radio, A&R, editorial, record labels, and/or any other music related field(s) is a requirement. We’re in pursuit of an individual who can merchandise new releases in these genres, introduce new music to very knowledgeable communities, come up with creative ways to promote and present music; and program various station formats, within these genres, for iTunes Radio.
Of course one of the reasons we prefer Slacker over Pandora is the human intelligence behind genre playlists and suspect Apple’s new service will similarly benefit from experts in the field. However, unlike competing services and despite a looming shakeout or consolidation, Apple is uniquely positioned to prosper given track and album upsell via their existing, strong retail music business. Being preloaded onto every iPhone, Mac, and Apple TV doesn’t hurt either.
Everyone’s on the lookout for the debut of iOS 7 at Apple’s big press conference scheduled for next week. But GigaOM is reporting that, based on available shipping data from an analytics company called Panjiva, a new Apple TV set-top may also be in the cards.
According to the report, Apple received shipments labeled “Set Top Box with Communication Function” from a company called BYD Precision Manufacture based in Shenzhen, China on August 11th, 18th, and 25th. Panjiva is postulating that since Apple’s last set-top shipment was from a different company, Hon Hai, these latest devices are a new product altogether.
Aside from the timing of the set-top shipments, some of the new features in Apple’s mobile OS update also tie nicely with the idea of an upgraded TV product. For one thing, Apple will support device-to-device connections in iOS 7, which would allow a set-top to communicate directly with other gadgets (including gaming controllers!) without the need for an Internet connection. Continue Reading…
By way of The Verge, we’ve learned Roku’s iPhone app has been updated to wirelessly stream video from smartphone-to-TV and Android support is “coming soon.” This joins previously released music and photo beaming, and “Play on Roku” is quite the handy feature. In fact, we’re hopeful the long in the tooth TiVo Desktop will be replaced by similar touchscreen flicking to move personal media to the television.
Over the years, Netflix has dabbled in user profiles — allowing folks on the same account to build up their own queue and receive personalized recommendations. And, via GigaOm, we’ve learned that the latest profile iteration is now available within the Apple TV Netflix app. As you can see above, the feature is activate in my account (and we’ve recently enjoyed streaming Orange is the new Black and Copper).
As we await Chromecast delivery, an interesting TiVo rumor has crossed our desk. Supposedly Series 5 and TiVo Mini hardware will leverage the same sort of technologies (DIAL? via Flingo?) that Google’s Chromecast has implemented. Cast is similar to AirPlay in that a smartphone, tablet, or computer pipes video to a television. However, unlike Apple’s solution, Cast and DIAL are open to all developers and content streams directly via the cloud-to-TV rather than being relayed through a local device – meaning we’d take less of a hit on mobile battery life and television streaming performance.
As most regulars know, TiVo’s been far more successful litigating and licensing their patent portfolio than in moving retail hardware and the Premiere line never really lived up to initial “One Box” marketing – given a meager app selection and generally poor performance. However, the incoming TiVo Series 5 presents a new opportunity to excite us content-loving consumers. And, in a classic chicken/egg scenario, while TiVo may not have a substantial enough customer base to warrant app development (as HBO indicated at the Cable Show and MIA Amazon Instant updates)… Google Chromecast does.
It’s quite conceivable that Google moved more Chromecast devices in the last few days than TiVo has in the year or more. So it’s a platform ripe for development. Beyond the existing Netflix and YouTube integration, we know Pandora is on-board and Sling and Redbox Instant are registered DIAL developers. With many more sure to follow. If TiVo can leverage these Chromecast-capable apps as an endpoint, they immediately expand their platform far beyond what looks to be an abandoned Developer Channel. Could be exciting…!