Archives For IPTV
HDMI streaming sticks are everywhere now, but a new one powered by Alticast, and shown for the first time at CES, comes with an interesting twist. The HDMI Media Express Stick includes both the Reference Design Kit (RDK) software bundle developed by Comcast (and now jointly managed with Time Warner), and Android support. That means it can be used as a set-top alternative by cable companies while also including access to Android apps.
Alticast CTO John Carlucci ran through a demo that showed multiple cable UIs running on the streaming stick. One was Korean (Alticast is headquartered in Korea), but one was the Cox Trio guide. Continue Reading…
Vizio was one of the first and perhaps largest manufacturer to take on the Yahoo Internet TV platform. And early iterations could be a bit painful. Fast forward a few years, never minding that brief flirtation with Google TV, and we find ourselves a visually rich, customizable, and robust “VIA+” experience based on Yahoo Connected TV 6.5 and bolstered by the Opera SDK for HTML 5 apps, like Netflix.
All television sizes and lines (E, M, P) in Vizio’s 2014 lineup will have an app-enabled SKU. Beyond the set, remaining Google TV-powered Costar inventory is working its way through the sales channel, with the newer, sleeker Costar LT ($80) acting as its Yahoo-powered replacement. HDMI pass-thru is usually associated with Google TV, but Vizio carries over this clever Input 1 approach to the LT. Also new for 2014 is a redesigned QWERTY remote — it’s still not the most svelte we’ve seen but a dramatic improvement over the prior model.
Like the Rokus of the world, there is indeed a screen of app icons. However, favorites can be pinned to a scrollable dock overlayed over video content, providing a less disruptive experience, and not dissimilar to the new LG webOS smart TV interface. Of course all the usual Internet apps are present. However, of note, Vizio is the exclusive TV launch platform for the new Lyve photo & video service.
By way of our pal @evleaks comes an exclusive image of the refreshed webOS UI headed to at least one LG Smart TV. As you can see, the new card carousel is a looker. And, unlike competing Samsung and Panasonic Internet-connected televisions, apps aren’t buried in a silo-ed grid of icons (and ads). Of course, there’s way more to an experience than sexy visuals… which is why one of our top priorities at CES next week is to track down and spend some quality time with one of these sets.
Having missed the ever so lucrative holiday hopping season, we stop to wonder what Amazon might pack into their forthcoming TV streamer (after failing to reach a deal for the Netflix-backed Roku a few years back).
First, given pulled and presumably filled job openings, one technology Amazon’s Lab126 Kindle division has been interested in is MHL – something we’ve seen leveraged by the Roku streaming sick, as means of doing away with the set-top box. Of course, the M in MHL is “mobile” and this could equally refer to the Kindle Fire line of tablets — either on their own or as a means of interfacing with a Kindle streamer. However, we fully believe any Amazon TV stick or set-top would act as an endpoint to the Kindle Fire’s Miracast capabilities. Continue Reading…
Sling has unveiled a second app for their high end Slingbox 500, a placeshifter with benefits. And, like the company’s first foray in reverse streaming, the EchoStar subsidiary dabbles in nepotism with the launch of DISHWorld — a service that offers a variety of international programming, including live “television” and a sports package that runs $10/month. I’d hoped to take it on a quick spin prior to leaving town for the weekend but, sadly, was hit by the Friday night streaming blues. So I’ll just have to add this, along with Roku Slingcatching, to my growing project list. Meanwhile, I still think Sling would be better served by introducing a lower end streamer and bringing WiFi to the mid-tier, while continuing to work cable partnerships.
The courts have kept the lights on at Aereo so far, but it’s not clear that Aereo itself can afford the power bill. According to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), the online start-up company is facing massive electricity costs thanks to the tiny antennas it has to keep running for every subscriber on its video streaming roster. In the Journal’s analysis, Aereo could end up paying $2 million a year in New York alone if it scales up to the 350,000 subscribers CEO Chet Kanojia says he can support.
Meanwhile, Aereo also announced today that it will launch in the Denver metro area on November 4th. That makes nine markets for the video company, which also debuted in Detroit yesterday, that has said it intends to cover 22 markets by year end.
Kanojia indicates he has some ideas for dealing with the power dilemma. One is to use fuel cells for power generation. Another, and seemingly more likely option, is to combine Aereo’s antennas with its transcoding equipment. Like the cable operators, Aereo is discovering that relying on denser, multi-purpose equipment can (eventually) reduce both cap ex and operating costs.
As for Aereo’s broader business model, Continue Reading…
Hot on the heels of its exclusive partnership with Sling, Arris is already talking additional set-top enhancements. With smarter gateways available to handle video transcoding in the home, Arris wants to slim down client devices and create new form factors that challenge the traditional set-top box. At the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo show, the company described plans to develop hardware like the Chromecast streaming stick. That type of dongle would plug directly into a user’s TV and connect over Wi-Fi to the home gateway – to expand options for whole-home networking and simplify access to premium content from multiple TVs.
Meanwhile on the Sling front, an industry insider suggested at the SCTE Expo that the placeshifting deal was done twice with Arris; first with Arris of old, and second with Arris after the Motorola acquisition. Now that everything’s signed, sealed, and delivered, it’s not clear if any major U.S. cable operators will integrate a Sling solution. However, given Netflix looks to be on the table, I supposed anything’s possible these days in cable land. Certainly cable companies are watching their satellite TV counterparts to see how far they can push the envelope with programmers. Continue Reading…