Archives For Mobile

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  May 4, 2015

firefox-tv

This is what Firefox OS looks like on TVs
Firefox OS is an operating system designed around the technologies used in the Firefox web browser. The first commercial devices with Firefox OS software were smartphones. But it can also run on tablets, TV sticks, and TVs. Now the developers of Firefox OS at Mozilla are giving us a closer look at how the operating system works on TVs.

Comcast Spent $336 Million On Failed Merger
The uncertainty of the now dead Time Warner Cable merger certainly didn’t hurt Comcast’s broadband growth. According to the company’s latest earnings report, Comcast continued to slowly bleed video subscribers (8,000 lost on the quarter) but added 407,000 high-speed Internet subscribers.

Summer TV Preview 2015: 15 New Shows You Need to Know About
Kids are leaving school. The weather is getting warmer. Superhero movies are about to take over our theaters. Basically, everything is getting worse — except your upcoming slate of new TV shows.

Alternatives to Windows Media Center (Make your own Home Theater PC)
For more than a decade Microsoft has made that by offering Windows Media Center. But when Windows 10 ships in the summer of 2015 it won’t include Media Center. The good news is that there are still some solid options available for Home Theater PC (HTPC) enthusiasts.

For having been a pioneer of over-the-top video space, the Amazon Instant iPhone and iPad apps have been something of an anomaly in this space — only streaming over WiFi and in standard def. On a smaller screen, the resolution issue hasn’t bothered me as much as you might imagine, but there have been times I’ve been mobile and sorely aware of that missing cellular coverage. Well, both issues have been corrected this week as Amazon brings HD and 3G/4G streaming to iOS. Now if only we could get Prime downloads, like Amazon provides on their own Kindle Fire hardware…

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After a couple month absence, with the ports reopened and another production run under their belts, TiVo Stream ($130) is back in stock. And, along with it, comes a TiVo Stream software update that enables “premium sideloading” for iPad and iPhone as first referenced at CES. However, it’s not actually the act of sideloading or downloading that’s “premium” — rather, it’s the ability to get at content that’s been flagged as ‘copy once’ via the CCI Byte. When appropriately applied and for most providers, we’re talking premium cable content like HBO… versus, say, the misguided Time Warner Cable approach that flags just about everything other than the locals. Whereas these recordinings were previously inaccessible from iOS, they can now be transferred for offline viewing… assuming you’re OK in deleting it from the source DVR. Presumably, this functionality has or will also make its way to Roamio devices. Indeed, it seems like an incremental post-OnePass update is already rolling. With Android downloads on the horizon too, it’s all looking pretty rosy for TiVo owners with a penchant for mobile.

(Thanks John R and JWhites!)

verzion-weather

Verizon has begun alerting customers that an agreement with the Weather Channel could not be reached… and, thus, the channel has been dropped from my FiOS TV lineup. Not only can’t I remember the last time I tuned the Weather Channel, I view its ongoing presence as something of an anachronism in this day an age. Although, apparently there are a number of people who do appreciate their on-air personalities and turning routine weather events into mass hysteria highly marketable content. Should you still turn to cable for atmospheric updates, in its stead, AccuWeather is now available (on channel 619) — as photographed by Parker below. Continue Reading…

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Let me preface this post in saying that for the majority of the last decade, despite the occasional Chromebook or Windows aberration, a MacBook of one flavor or another has been my primary computing device. (Some examples: MBP, MB, MBA) So I clearly have both appreciated and invested in Apple’s take on portable computing. But the newly introduced “Macbook” ($1300 and up) appears to be something of a compromised curiosity (which, incidentally, is how I responded to the original MacBook Air).

buystrip_macbook_largeIn whittling away a laptop to a mere two pounds, the MacBook is an engineering marvel. Stunning, really. I mean, just look at the pic above – the brains of the computer reside on that small board, with the rest of the space dominated by the laptop’s structure and molded battery. Beyond the guts, the laptop is a beaut. Which probably means more to me than it should – guess I’m shallow like that. However, as a laptop’s primary interface remains keyboard and touchpad, these redesigned elements concern me. Like most, I haven’t actually touched the new MacBook yet… but, based on the visuals and early reports, I certainly won’t be pre-ordering. Further, it seems the MacBook’s processing power will be equivalanent to my 2012 MacBook Air. For most of what I do, most of the time, that wouldn’t really be a problem. But it does seem a step backwards to save a marginal amount of size and power consumption. Lastly, we’re provided just a single USB-C port to cover both charging and any peripherals (beyond headphones) for a fee … that runs more than Apple TV. Continue Reading…

Sling TV from Dish with ESPN on iPad

Many, many other writers have reviewed Sling TV (the new online video service from Dish that was announced at CES), so I won’t belabor the points they’ve already covered. There are licensing issues. Not all features are available on every channel. It’d be nice to have more on-demand television content instead of mainly VOD movies.

But, on the other hand, ESPN is pretty great (plus Disney, HGTV, etc.). And any-screen access for live TV is a plus.

What struck me about Sling TV, however, is how much it doesn’t feel like TV. It feels like Netflix.

Continue Reading…

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Intro

At $450, I had no intention of buying the original Withings Activité watch. That’s a bit steep for my watch buget, even if it does incorporate activity tracking and is Swiss-made. Seeing an opportunity to use a similar design, Withings announced at CES 2015 a new version of the Activité called Pop ($150).The Pop looks almost identical to the Activité, except that it is made with cheaper materials which brings the price point down to a more reasonable $150. The features remain the same across both trackers. The Activité can record steps, track if you are running, and can automatically log sleep at night. These features are very similar to the new Fitbit Charge, but it’s safe to say that one of these looks more stylish than the other. :-)

Read on for additional impressions of the Activité Pop! Continue Reading…

tivo-roku-myshows

As CES gets rolling, TiVo has announced plans to demo Roku and Chromecast clients… to cable partners. So there’s no telling when or if these implementations will make their way to us retail customers or to what extent, but it’s exciting stuff – on top of the already previewed Amazon Fire TV app. In the interim, you can effectively turn your Amazon Fire TV Stick or box into a TiVo Mini now by sideloading their Android app. Speaking of which, that app is being entirely rewritten from the ground up (to presumably add content downloads) and the iOS app will soon see the addition of “premium sideloading” … as the current implementation is uncomfortably slow and requires the app remain open for long periods of time. Should CES visual imagery present itself, we’ll update the post.  Continue Reading…