Archives For Video

roku-streaming-stick-2016

The newly released and highly regarded 2016 edition of the Roku Streaming Stick is already on sale for a mere $40. Boasting superior performance, compared to both its predecessor and the competing Amazon Fire TV Stick, this streamer represents an excellent value and is the best all-around streamer for most.

Of course, one size doesn’t fit all. And, for example, those needing Kodi would go for the full-fledged Fire TV, while others deep into Apple’s ecosystem would naturally gravitate to the iTunes-sporting, Airplay-mirroring Apple TV. While not my cup of tea, Chromecast remains an inexpensive option for those willing to control their television experience via a smartphone. Perhaps we’ll learn more about its future capabilities and Android TV this week from Google I/O.

amazon-video-directBy Narottam Medhora and Anya George Tharakan

(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc <AMZN.O> launched a service on Tuesday that allows users to post videos and earn royalties from them, setting up the world’s biggest online retailer to compete directly with Alphabet Inc’s <GOOGL.O> YouTube.

The service, called Amazon Video Direct, will make the uploaded videos available to rent or own, to view free with ads, or be packaged together and offered as an add-on subscription. Continue Reading…

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  April 22, 2016 — 7 Comments

A periodic roundup of relevant news…

fashion-fund

To expand the reach of Amazon’s original video programming beyond Prime membership, the company has launched Season 3 of The Fashion Fund … with ads. While Amazon describes this as an “experiment” to Re/code, given the level of effort required to update the video player, inject commercials into the stream, and even lock down the sponsors, I’d say it’s a pretty clear indicator of what’s to come. Fortunately, Amazon also indicates “Prime Video will remain ad free.” Except this one. For now.

In pulling up the 30 minute Project Runaway knockoff, which interestingly “airs” weekly, I was hit with three 90-120 second ad breaks in the timeline of three to four commercials, featuring Philips Norelco, Philips Sonicare, Geico, Lilly Pulitzer, and Proactiv.

Apple TV To Enable App Folders

Dave Zatz —  January 12, 2016

Given the 3000 “channels” Roku boasts, you’d think the streaming pioneer would provide some sort of sensible organizational structure. Sadly, many owners (such as myself) are left with an unwieldy scrolling grid of providers. Yeah, we can rearrange app placement within the grid.. but there’s no way to isolate by category or viewer. And it’s not like this is a new concept as WDTV brought way more robust presentation, including tabs and folders, to the television… about three years ago.

Well, the “new” Apple TV is poised to leapfrog Roku (and Amazon) when they release tvOS 9.2 in the coming weeks. Beyond a new (and improved) podcast app and Bluetooth keyboard support, Apple will port a variant of their rudimentary mobile OS foldering feature to the big screen.

While I can’t speak to actual folder usage (as the feature is in developer beta), given Apple TV remote control fussiness, advanced app management may not be the most comfortable to implement. Yet, I’m highly confident it’ll be worth the effort and look forward to getting organized on my brand-spanking-new unit. Continue Reading…

fios-tv-dvr-anywhere

With the rollout of FiOS TV IMG software 3.0, Verizon is bringing new capabilities to us television customers. However, to pull this off you’ll seemingly need both FiOS TV set-box and router hardware in the mix… as the Quantum DVR becomes a video gateway.

fios-tv-dvr-listings

Within the home, our entire channel lineups will be available for mobile app streaming – versus the subset of channels Verizon has historically offered. And, as you can see from the pics above, we’ve tested it on an iPhone and iPad. However, Android is also supported – including Amazon Fire variants. Beyond live television, we’ll also have access a certain amount of shows recorded on our Quantum DVRs both in the home or on the go, similar to what Xfinity and TiVo offer. As to the various relationships and remote limitations, we’re just going to have to wait and see. Continue Reading…

To celebrate promote the launch of Sling TV on Chromecast, the companies have quite the promotion running. Existing hardware owners are entitled to two free months of the normally $20/month over-the-top television service. Tho Sling TV has occasional streaming issues and a somewhat uncomfortable interface (that’s being improved), nearly a year later, no one else has managed to launch an equivalent nationwide Internet TV service. So why not check it out… for free?

slingtv-chromecast

Try the Best of Live TV for two months free, with Chromecast. See 20+ channels live including ESPN, AMC, HGTV, and more. No annual contract.

As wireless data usage increases, T-Mobile has seemingly come up with a clever solution to satiate customers without saturating their network. “Binge On” will enable unlimited video streaming, from select providers like Netflix and WatchESPN, that doesn’t count against one’s cap. T-Mobile marketing states they’ve “optimized” the video … which some are reporting as 480p. On the go, on a small screen, that may be sufficient for most. I’d probably make that trade at the gym for treadmill Netflix, given the facility’s WiFi struggles and the potential to burn through my Verizon bucket.

From Fierce Wireless:

The reality is that Binge On will be imposed on all of T-Mobile’s customers starting Sunday, including the ones who have signed up for its unlimited data plans. Customers who don’t want the service will have to opt out of it. Yes, Binge On gives T-Mobile’s customers free streaming video, but it also reduces the resources T-Mobile needs to employ to deliver that video. It’s a smart move, but it’s not as altruistic as Legere might imply.

tmobile-binge

Of course, there are two sides to every coin. And some will object to reduced video quality. Assuming they even know T-Mobile took the liberty of making that change on their behalf. Further, “zero rating” is something of a net neutrality issue. Continue Reading…