— John Legere (@JohnLegere) September 6, 2017
Archives For Netflix
After several years of development, it appears a redesigned AirTV Player is nearly here. Originally conceived as an over-the-air network tuner, like Tablo, to stream local antenna television into Sling TV’s user interface, AirTV appears to have been rethought… and nears arrival as an Android-powered, Technicolor-produced set-top box vs reusing Echostar’s Slingbox scraps, Oh, this rendition still channels live television. But that local programming is now output directly into a TV, presumably merged within Sling’s guide, along with over-the-top streaming applications — specifically Netflix (!) and the Play Store itself…. based on support documents and the bundled universal, voice-capable Bluetooth remote that sports a Google logo.
AirTV combines all your live programming with Sling TV and your favorites on Netflix. When you launch your player, you will land in the screen. This screen allows you to customize your favorite channels on Sling TV and launch your favorite Netflix shows and movies
Merging over-the-air and online video into a single interface is pretty compelling stuff… which Apple TV, Fire TV, and Roku cannot do (without assistance). So I’m quite interested to see exactly where Sling lands, especially since it’s not clear if this redesign retains risky (for Sling) out-of-home OTA streaming. The wait probably won’t be long given a newly launched support page and an FCC waiver — a CES announcement next month seems likely, if we don’t hear something sooner.
As Netflix is wont to do, they’ve rolled out a new interface to select users on select platforms. So, while I’ve received this update on my Roku 3, you may not see it on the exact same hardware and it hasn’t been pushed to my Apple TV, Fire TV, or TiVo.
Upon initial launch, I’m presented with five “Now Playing” vertical tiles, comprised of both in-progress television series and two Netflix Originals I’ve never touched – plus some visual indication there may be additional options below. With this revision, Netflix seems to have merged the traditional “Continue Watching” row with my former content discovery pane up top.
However, the results are mixed. As, without interaction after 2-3 seconds, the first vertical tile expands horizontally and automatically begins playing background video at full volume — either introductory material, as seen in Louie above, or, for an episode in progress like Archer, the show itself. Further, a superimposed 20-second timer counts down to full playback of the given episode which ultimately expands to fill the screen as the GUI chrome fades away. Scrolling right or left cycles thru these tiles, resulting in similar auto-play behavior. I don’t mind the opening jingles so much, but playback of existing content is potentially disruptive and that countdown clock is anxiety-provoking. Navigating up and down reveals mostly familiar Netflix interface elements. Continue Reading…
Beyond their monthly ISP Speed Index ratings and hot on the heels of the recently introduced mobile app bandwidth configurator, Netflix appears poised to launch “Fast” – an online service and app functionality to provide customers even more insight into their connections and streaming video potential.
From Netflix’s newly filed USPTO trademark application:
- Downloadable computer software for testing and analyzing the speed of a user’s Internet connection
- Providing a website featuring non-downloadable software for testing and analyzing the speed of a user’s Internet connection
As promised back in January, Marriott has started deploying a suite of streaming applications to their Enseo set-tops and televisions… and Cord Cutters News has gone hands-on. Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Hulu Plus and Crackle are available at select higher-end Marriot properties and it’s believed the plan is to expand to more and more diverse properties. At the moment, there aren’t any television-specific fees but you’ll be required to use your own subscription with Netflix and Hulu Plus. Even should the lineups shift over time, this is a great option and sure beats trying to get a Roku or Amazon Fire TV Stick working in the hotel (via WiFi Marriott once blocked). Or sadly “watching TV” via phone or tablet in bed, as I have on too many occasions. Two more interesting tidbits: Marriott’s Enseo TV remote has a dedicated Netflix button and supposedly the hotel will clear your credentials upon checkout.
At a press event earlier this week, Tom’s Guide learned that Roku will be rolling out software updates beginning June 24th. And the key improvement appears to be support for a faster-loading Netflix channel. The firmware and Netflix updates are earmarked for the Roku 3 and Streaming Stick, with vague references to potential support of other models down the line. While we’re obviously not opposed to a speed increase, I’d say the Roku 3 already provides the fastest Netflix STB experience and is my go-to streamer. For reference, my Roku 3 currently runs version 5.4 build 3340, with the demo-ed model sitting at 5.5 319 – we’ll keep our ears to the ground regarding any additional changes.