Archives For Video

Breaking down the PS Vita TV: Why Sony's $100 set-top box is more than a consolation prize

roku-android-video

The Roku Android app has just been updated to stream video from phone to television, as recently introduced on the iPhone. As you might expect, we’re talking unencrypted content and there’s probably some limitations in terms of codec and container. Although I’d assume anything shot natively on your ‘droid would work. Initial support is limited to:

Samsung Galaxy SIII, Samsung Galaxy S4, Nexus 4, HTC One, and Nexus 7 (2012 model).

By way of TechCrunch, we learn that Target is posed to launch an UltraViolet-compatible online video store. Presumably “Target Ticket” is a collaboration with someone skilled in the space or even a branded white label product and, beyond the web screenshots, the Android and iOS apps are sure to follow. As to why, well let’s just say it’s part of a broader and questionable virtual land grab (right, Toys R Us?)… and ZNF readers will continue to have the vast majority of our Internet video-on-demand needs met by Amazon and Apple, maybe even Walmart’s Vudu. Not to mention this incoming a la carte service poses no threat to the all-you-can-eat Netflix.

Chromecast photo sharing local media

Thanks to Google, you can’t stream local content with third-party apps via Chromecast anymore. But you don’t need an app to share content with a Chromecast device.

At least as far as photos are concerned, it’s easy to port pictures over to a TV set using the Chrome web browser. Go to File-Open, or hit Control “O” in a new tab and select the photo from your computer to launch. The photo opens in the browser, and you can then cast that tab to your TV.

Videos are a little more complicated. Continue Reading…

tivo-video-portal

Thanks to TiVo’s recent site refresh, a few interesting items have been surfaced, including an Operator-Branded Web Portal PDF. Of course, we’ve long known TiVo has been prepping this cable company “TV Everywhere” offering and even shot some video of it in action (embedded below) at the Cable Show. And given that particular development site appears to have been redirected to a RCN URL, we can’t help but wonder if launch is imminent. From TiVo’s pitch, the web portal offers:

  • What to Watch (recommended shows)
  • Search across TV, operator VOD and OTT content – and get integrated results on what you’re looking for
  • Schedule and manage recordings and ongoing
  • Season Pass recordings on your TiVo DVR even away from home
  • Grid Guide with up to 14 days of programming

Continue Reading…

kaliedescape-one

Kaleidescape, best known for industry skirmishes related to DVD decryption and archival, is out with the new Cinema One. Unlike the rest of Kaleidescape’s product line, the budget priced Cinema One can be picked up at any Best Buy Magnolia outpost for a mere $4k – without the expense or inconvenience or going through their dealer network. Touting a “breakthrough user interface” and “beautiful form factor” the One (not to be confused with the other One) takes a page from Vudu’s initial playbook in offering super high quality movie downloads for purchase. Further, DVD and audio discs can be essentially ripped onto the integrated hard drive for quick browsing and playback. However, if you happen to have a large Blu-ray collection, you’ll need to pick up the D700 Vault for just a couple more thousand dollars to handle licensing verification à la Xbox. Who’s in?

We quite liked the WDTV Play when we reviewed it back in February. The streamer is a step (or three) slower than the Roku and with far fewer apps, but brings several nifty tricks of its own including a fresh, customizable UI with Android-esque widgets. After receiving Sling’s monthly email blast, featuring promotional WDTV Play pricing, and inquiries from a pal maintaining an out-of-state apartment (where his children live) I figured it was time to fire up the SlingPlayer app.

wdtv-play-slingbox

The SlingCatcher may be long gone, but the dream of a television-based Slingbox endpoint lives on…. And the WDTV Play SlingPlayer app works exactly as you’d expect, relaying Slingbox video content from elsewhere in the home or cross-country (as I tested). Interacting with your remote set-top is of course somewhat sluggish and picture quality will vary dependent upon available bandwidth, but that’s the tradeoff for “real” TV Everywhere. One of WDTV Play’s most clever features is the ability to power up the box into a specific app – and I suspect my friend will put that to use as he continues to enjoy his Comcast subscription several states away.

Should you be similarly intrigued, Slingbox or no, the promo knocks $20 off the WDTV Play — click here and use coupon code WDTVPLAY20 to receive the $50 pricing (plus tax and $3 shipping).