Archives For Video

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…


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!


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


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?


More than a year after release, Google appears poised to refresh Chromecast (in addition to cranking away on the new Android TV platform). As to what’s improved, FCC filing details are scarce due to the typical 180 confidentiality request. Having said that, we anticipate this is a minor hardware revision given the incoming device sports the same model number as my original streaming+mirroring stick (tho the FCC ID increments from -42 to -2A) – perhaps representing a swapping of internal components for cost savings and/or performance gains. Continue Reading…

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  October 16, 2014

A periodic roundup of relevant news…


Google and Asus release first Android TV device for $99
The Nexus Player, which was announced in conjunction with the Nexus 6 phone, the Nexus 9 tablet and Android Lollipop on Wednesday, is being manufactured by Asus and will be available for pre-order starting October 17 and go on sale on November 3.

HBO’s Over-the-Top Service: Here’s What We Know
HBO has shaken up the media biz with its plan to launch a standalone over-the-top service next year, making the pay-TV titan the first major cable programmer to be marketed to consumers who do not pay for a traditional MVPD subscription.

PlayStation TV Launches, Sans Netflix
While Sony’s new paperback-sized device is primarily a gaming machine, it also serves as a media streamer with initial support for apps, including Sony’s Crackle video-on-demand service, anime app Crunchyroll and the music concert and documentary service, Quello.

Introducing InstaWatch from VUDU and Walmart
Exclusively from VUDU and Walmart, InstaWatch gives you a digital copy of every eligible DVD or Blu-ray that you buy at Walmart stores or on—automatically.

Plex app coming to select 2013/14 Vizio HDTVs
we’re happy to say that we can lend at least some of you a hand. We’re thrilled to announce our brand new Plex app for VIZIO Smart TVs, available today for Plex Pass subscribers! Once the Plex Pass preview period ends, the app will be available to purchase for a one-time fee


As expected, Amazon Instant streaming has gone 4k this month… via a number of award-winning blockbusters such as Vendetta and Time Runners. Michael S sent in a few snaps from his brand spanking new Vizio P Series (which I’m contemplating) and 4k video is designated via a small UHD banner in the upper left of the box. Although Michael tells us the label is inconsistently applied and I’m not certain if the content is natively 4k or if the video has been upscaled from 1080. Irrespective, the future is here… should any of these titles appeal and our bandwidth caps be sufficiently generous.