Archives For Video

According to Buzzfeed, tomorrow YouTube TV will expand it’s over-the-top television service to include Turner channels — and, beyond the requisite CNN, basketball fans can now call YouTube TV home with the addition of TBS and TNT. But, wait, there’s more — NBA League Pass will be available as an add-on. Less interesting, to me anyway, is the inclusion of original YouTube Red content. I get YouTube needs to pump their own stuff, but hopefully they’re continuing to work top-shelf programming deals and will be able to soon offer Scripps channels of HGTV, Food, and Travel. Given the incoming $5 price hike from $35 to $40, let’s hope so. In any event, YouTube TV remains one of the more interesting and compelling OTT aggregators given a generous 6 accounts and unlimited DVR capacity.

By way of AFTVNews, we learn that DISH went back to the well.

AirTV was originally conceptualized as a network tuner designed to stream local OTA into SlingTV apps, on various platforms, alongside the premium content. However, what they ended up launching was a Playskool-looking Android TV box, with optional tuner, for local antenna TV playback only. But, for 2018, it looks like DISH’s AirTV LLC subsidiary has two new boxes on the docket.

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By way of Twitter, we gather Channel Master has licensed the Technicolor Skipper and is poised to introduce it as the Stream+ at CES in January. The Skipper is a 4K Android TV set-top box, with voice control remote, and over-the-air capabilities… which will hopefully see greater uptake as the Stream+ versus the competing and largely forgotten DISH AirTV, also produced by Technicolor. Stream+ joins CM’s OTA DVR+ in their post-antenna lineup. And given that DVR button on the Stream+ remote, perhaps we’ll be fortunate enough to see some interplay between the devices or even local recording capabilities via USB drive – in addition to requisite cord cutting streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu. Stay tuned!

Skipper details:

  • Out of the box industrial design
  • Android TV certified
  • OTT and Live TV services with optional Broadcast TV services
  • 4K Ultra HD: HEVC/VP9 Ultra HD 2160p/60 video
  • Wireless Connectivity: Dual band IEEE 802.11n 2.4 GHz (2×2) and IEEE 802.11ac 5 GHz (2×2) interfaces
  • Media sharing functions using a USB 3.0 port for plugging of HDD
  • Enhanced user experience with 3D graphics
  • Future-proof quad core CPU ready for gaming services
  • Bluetooth Low Energy remote with voice control

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Amazon To Expand Fire TV Lineup

Dave Zatz —  September 6, 2017

Taking a page from Roku, Amazon appears poised to expand their Fire TV streaming lineup from two models to three streamers. In addition to the current generation Fire TV Stick ($40), AFTVNews suspects two new models will ultimately replace the existing second generation Fire TV box: At the higher end ($100? $120?), Amazon appears to be prepping a 4K streamer, with dedicated GPU, to bring 60fps and HDR for the first time. While a new offering mid-tier offering ($60, $70?) will serve 4K to the masses. Meanwhile Apple will likely announce a 4K box next week, perhaps with 4K iTunes and hardware pricing improvements to better compete in light of their $1b original programming initiative, and Roku will soon unveil a beefed up 4K Streaming Stick. With this upcoming round of fall updates, I’m hopeful Amazon and Apple also bring more powerful gaming capabilities to the table as an alternative to the bloated Xbox and Playstation experiences.

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  May 24, 2017

A periodic roundup of relevant news…

In what one customer suggests “feels like a bait & switch,” AirTV has shipped without its primary selling point enabled. Instead of directly integrating over-the-air television content into the Sling TV guide, there is merely a button to launch the separate, Google-produced Live Channels OTA app. Further, the promised Netflix integration may also be incomplete leading another owner to describe the suspiciously backordered Android-powered box as “basically equivalent to a Nexus Player.”

Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch indicates beta software was pitched at CES and that they intend to deploy OTA integration “soon” whereas another source indicates “early 2017” — whether or not they’ll deliver within the 30 day return window is anyone’s guess, but it’s certainly an inauspicious beginning to this initiative. Consumer trust is difficult to recapture, once lost…

In a move that probably surprises to no one, I can confirm reports that Echostar subsidiary Sling Media halted Slingbox production last year.

Sling Media, the video place-shifting pioneer, has stopped manufacturing Slingbox units, but will continue to sell Slingboxes that remain still in stock, Satellite Business News reported in its January 6 issue.

In fact, this seems like such an obvious and natural progression given the state of the industry and what I assume have been poor, waning sales, it didn’t even occur to me to blog the development. Of course, Slingbox was Blake Krikorian’s pioneering and liberating technology that brought us TV Everywhere before that phrase had been coined. Yet we always suspected it was something of a transitional approach, with much of that video streaming functionality now offered directly via television providers — originating either from their set-tops or the cloud. Granted, it’s more locked down and ad-infested – but also way more accessible to the general populace.

The Slingbox M1, introduced back in 2014, is effectively the last Slingbox… as it was rebranded the M2 in 2015, featuring no hardware changes but an expanded focus on advertising — part of a last ditch effort to justify the businesses continued existence. Similarly, that Slingbox hardware was intended to be partially repurposed as AirTV… but that was ultimately replaced by a different technical approach and outsourced hardware production.

Fortunately, existing owners have nothing to fear in the short term as Slingbox services will carry-on. Although I wouldn’t hold out hope for much in the way of application enhancements.

So what comes next?

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