Archives For Video
Amongst the various E3 gaming convention announcements is news that Sony intends to bring PlayStation TV to US shores this fall. Introduced in 2013 as PlayStation Vita TV (review), Sony appropriately drops “Vita” branding given its generally poor mobile market reception and the PSTV’s broader capabilities. Part TV streamer, that will surely replace Sony’s unsuccessful line of Roku competitors, and gaming system, PSTV will be priced at Fire TV equivalency: $100 for the base system, add $40 if you’d prefer the gaming controller upsell. Continue Reading…
By way of Twitter, we’ve learned that the Google Play Movies & TV Chrome browser extension has been updated to allow Chromebooks to cache rented or purchased video content for offline viewing. And, given my travels, this may breathe new life into my largely abandoned $250 Samsung Chromebook. It’s been interesting to observe the platform evolve additional local capabilities, given Google’s original positioning as a web-based OS. And, starting at a mere $200, Chromebooks do offer a compelling experience that rivals tablets – especially for those who require and/or are more comfortable with an integrated keyboard.
As Samsung continues to hedge against Google/Android reliance and standardize across disparate product lines, while perhaps avoiding Microsoft royalties, the company has expanding the Tizen OS initiative beyond smart watches and to connected televisions. Via Liliputing:
Samsung’s Tizen-based TV SDK Beta will be available early July following the Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco from June 2–4th. The Tizen-based Samsung TV SDK Beta supports the HTML5 standard through its framework called Caph and enables developers to write apps that run on a Tizen OS –based TVs.
For maximum impact, we expect Samsung will have to provide an efficient mechanism for developers to port Android apps to the similarly Linux-powered Tizen. But what of the Boxee team? The video startup was acquired by Samsung about a year ago… and, since then, it’s been radio silence. I have it on good authority that “Boxee” is dead and personnel form a product innovation team within Sammy’s “visual display” business unit. As to what the NYC-based group is currently working on, we can only guess. But, given their skillset, fleshing out a new television OS and UI certainly wouldn’t be out of the question.
Remember that buzz saw of a fan that the second gen Simple.TV shipped with? Well Simple, and their hardware partner Silicon Dust, have resorted to a variety of software updates and a drill to rectify the issue. And, as you can see above, they’ve begun shipping devices with a newly perforated chassis. But the good news doesn’t end there…
Built into Simple.TV’s Android and iOS apps for phones and tablets, support for Chromecast enables users to easily ‘cast’ their favorite live or recorded over-the-air TV shows onto any HDTV powered by Google’s device. With Simple.TV’s ability to stream live and recorded TV anywhere, users can watch their favorite shows on the big screen at home and anywhere a Chromecast is connected.
As if that wasn’t enough, Simple also has flipped the switch on video downloads for offline viewing. While this is (currently) accomplished via PC/Mac desktop, we imagine the MP4s can simply be relocated to the mobile device of one’s choosing – until such a time that the apps themselves are updated with this functionality. Speaking of updates, Chromecast and content downloads are only available to Gen 2 hardware at this time, but Simple indicates future support for early adopters running first generation hardware.
Following in the footsteps of Netflix, YouTube has just launched their Video Quality Report to rate, and possibly shame, broadband providers as the net neutrality and peering debate boils over. In my ‘hood, Verizon performs admirably, with its worst showing 8PM – 11PM with 93% of streams coming thru in high def, whereas the Comcast Xfinity service performs slightly worse across the board, bottoming out at 89% HD 8PM – 10PM. Granted, Comcast offers lower tiers of service than Verizon (as I discovered from my mother’s originally, painfully slow broadband connection… that we upgraded.) Historically, I’ve had YouTube buffering annoyances on FiOS at both my former and current locations, but that seems to have been sorted at some point – and I doubt it was ever about bandwidth, rather it was most likely in how the traffic was being handled. Google must agree as they currently rate Verizon’s regional fiber performance as YouTube HD Verified:
Users on YouTube HD Verified networks should expect smooth playback on YouTube most of the time, even when watching videos in high definition (720p).