Archives For Video

lg-fios-app-shutdown

By way of Kevin Hanson on Twitter and Verizon’s own forums, we learn that the television provider has discontinued their LG Smart TV FiOS app. The free streaming video app was first introduced in early 2012 as a means of providing LG owners boxless access to a couple dozen “live” FiOS channels… shortly after a similar experience had landed on the Xbox 360 gaming console. In fact, at one point, we thought FiOSTV-as-an-app was destined for all platforms, including Roku. However, given an industry move towards DLNA CVP-2 and presumed higher uptake from other platforms, we could see Verizon prioritizing development for alternate approaches. Indeed, they continue to crank away on their mobile experience, having just added three more channels (including Nick2 and VH1 Classic) and new “Dashboard view” recommendations to iPhone, iPad, and Android FiOS apps.

slingbox-fire-tv

Without a hint of marketing muscle, SlingPlayer for Amazon Fire TV was quietly introduced a day or so ago. As you’d expect, the app allows you to pipe Slingbox video to another television in the home or really anywhere in the world. Or so their new TV Everywhere campaign proclaims. While I’m not prepared to pass judgement after only a few minutes of steaming TiVo > Fire TV Stick, it does indeed work as advertised (although only Slingbox 350, M1, and SlingTV/500 models are supported).

Interestingly, unlike recent Chromecast and Roku clients, this particular Slingbox presentation does not require a $15 mobile app in the mix… and harks back to the days of the Logitech Revue and WDTV Slingplayer. However, the fee-free sensation may be short-lived given the recently introduced and persistent banner ads now found in the web player… along with pre-roll video advertisements now being injected into our streams?!

(Via our pal Arne in Munich)

mobitv-connect

Next up in the streaming stick space is the MobiTV Connect… that just passed thru the FCC. The company originally known for streaming amazingly low resolution television content to Sprint phones clearly continues to pivot. And, back in September, MobiTV told The Donohue Report their HDMI hardware would launch via two US wireless carriers in early 2015. More akin to Chromecast than Amazon Fire TV Stick, the microUSB-powered dongle is designed to be controlled via smartphone. Indeed, the FCC-published manual includes Android screenshots used for wireless pairing – with both Bluetooth LE and WiFi making appearances. Of course, much more interesting than the stick hardware itself, are the over-the-top video services that may be made available … and at what cost.

After 12 hours with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, some thoughts…

The remote feels exceedingly cheap compared to the premium clicker that ships with the full-fledged Fire TV box and I had some difficulty removing the battery cover. Having said that, a flimsy remote is infinitely more valuable than no remote… versus Google Chromecast, which requires a smartphone for interaction.

In the app department, the Fire TV UI remains somewhat unwieldy compared to Roku given its expected emphasis of Amazon services – but it’s certainly manageable, More importantly, the third party content selection is still lacking. For example, our kitchen TV is perfectly suited for CNN or Sky News (as seen on Apple TV) background noise, yet neither are available. Also missing, but expected soon, is HBO GO. I had no problems streaming Netflix and WatchESPN – both looked great. Plex also seems to be working wellContinue Reading…

google-fiber-tv-box-2

By way of retired blogger Brent Evans, we learned that Google Fiber customers have started receiving next generation hardware. An updated Fiber Jack now receives power-over-Ethernet from a new Network+ Box … that combines both broadband router and DVR storage into a single enclosure with this go around while expanding wireless capabilities to 802.11ac/n. Lastly, the updated TV Box (shown above) is smaller, squarer, and now entirely silent. Beyond feeding “cable” to the television, each dual band unit also acts as a WiFi extender. We’re hopeful that Google will ultimately enable more than 4 per home at some point, given the wireless enhancements and as Brent says this is a common complaint. Also, based on a prior FCC pop, we’re still awaiting a refreshed Bluetooth LE remote. Lastly, on the content front, Google picked up HBO GO and Showtime Anytime within the last few weeks. Score!

roku-google-play

After the debacle that was Google TV and the aborted Nexus Q sideshow, Google bounced back nicely with the inexpensive and effective $35 Chromecast streaming stick. Not content to leave well enough alone, Android TV was announced at Google I/O and the Asus Nexus Player recently hit the market ahead of a revised, second generation Chromecast. And, as these two new products ramp up while project management fails to present a clear vision, Google has hedged their bets… by launching their Google Play video store on Roku. Given Logitech’s abandonment of Google TV and ASUS’ prior streaming efforts, Amazon Fire TV is the “Android TV” I’d go with or that aforementioned Roku for those deep into Google’s ecosystem. While Amazon similarly provides its video service to competing devices, including TiVo, the retailer’s business model and approach is better defined.

HBO GO Headed To TiVo?

Dave Zatz —  October 29, 2014

tivo-hbogo

As TiVo begins rolling out Amazon Instant Prime and Vudu to Roamio and Mini units, an iOS app update slip up references “HBO Go” amongst supported over-the-top video providers. While the iPhone and iPad software description has since been updated to eradicate HBO Go, we’re hopeful this foreshadows access to the prized streaming service … versus a most amazing amazing typo or mental lapse, as getting a “HBO Go” from Hulu Plus or Vudu seems quite difficult. Make it so!

(Thanks Philip!)

Amidst noise of a second generation Chromecast and a curious Roku IPO, Amazon delivers on spring Techcrunch intel with the Fire TV Stick ($39). Beyond the known Fire TV lineup, Amazon looks to extend screen mirroring support beyond Kindle tablets to capable Android devices. Of course, we’re still awaiting HBO GO and an updated Netflix app and it’s yet to be seen how Plex will run on this diminutive USB-powered HDMI stick. But, at $19, for Amazon Prime members during promotional launch pricing, why not?