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lyve-perspective

With the amount of pictures that I take every year, making sure they are backed up and easily accessible is a primary concern of mine. In the past, I have been burned by losing all my digital photos from a drive crash. Once that happened, I vowed to never let it happen again. Now, at any given moment, my photos are backed up via a local NAS, Dropbox, Google Plus Photos, and Amazon Cloud. Prices have come down for online storage that it is actually affordable to store 80+ gigs up in that beautiful cloud.

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Lyve ($300) brings yet another solution to the mix. Think of it as a centralized place that sucks in all your photos from a mobile phone, tablet, computer, etc. You can even just pop in an SD card or attach a USB drive and have it transfer photos directly to the device. On top of the centralization, Lyve also then presents your photos and videos in a streamlined view. All of this done within a small white box with a touchscreen interface. Safe to say, I was definitely interested in the product when it was announced.

Now Lyve has finally shipped. And we wanted to give a quick unboxing before a proper review. Stay tuned for our impressions!

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With TiVo’s minor spring update behind us, the company has turned its attention to perhaps the most dramatic interface update since the launch of their original HDUI in 2010. It appears the primary objectives are improved UI consistency and completeness, along with additional discovery and organizational options. As RCN’s Jason Nealis alluded to just a few days ago, TiVo “plans to have the UI better present content from across these different sources in much more of a one stop shop” and a bit earlier had mentioned “some very cool enhancements coming down the pipe.”

Indeed, TiVo’s summer update is slated to bring the sharper Roamio interface to Premiere and Mini hardware, as TiVo VP Margret Schmidt had suggested several months back. Further, we see minor UI tweaks throughout. Yet, Continue Reading…

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By way of an overseas regulatory agency, similar to our very own FCC, we continue to hone in on the elusive Amazon media streamer. And it’s looking to be something far more substantial than a Roku or Chromecast competitor. As the story goes, an Amazon fall set-top box launch was delayed with the potential Apple TV competitor now looking quite likely for a March or April delivery. Netflix and Hulu appear to be confirmed, along does a forked Android build – similar to what Amazon has done with their line of Kindle Fire tablets. Which makes gaming out of the box quite likely.

The uncovered wireless Bluetooth controller features a gaggle of controls, including both shoulder buttons and triggers, in addition to media playback transport controls – ideal for the aforementioned streaming services in addition to Amazon Instant, of course. And we give Amazon credit for using Android-esque iconography for home, menu, and back. Additionally, the central radioactive-looking button presumably taps into Amazon’s GameCircle – perhaps to evolve beyond merely a gaming app hub and into something more full featured akin to Apple’s Game Center or Xbox Live. A LED array is used as an indicator for both battery levels and Bluetooth connectivity. Lastly, we expect the controller, powered by a pair of double As, would be sold as an accessory and ultimately also designed to work with Amazon’s line of tablets to close the circle. Won’t be long now…

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Via BBY Insider, we’ve learned that Best Buy intends to replace the Roku 1 on store shelves with a revised Roku Streaming Stick come April. Unlike the poorly received first gen Streaming Stick that ran $100, may or may not have been MHL-compatible, and relied on a partner television’s (or projector’s) remote for control, the new agnostic version will be hitting the streets at $50… including remote. Further, the 2014 HDMI Stick sports USB connectivity – which we suspect will be utilized for power as seen with Google’s Chromecast. And, speaking of Chromecast, we wonder if Roku will finally pull the trigger on Miracast screen mirroring. It should go without saying that Roku’s existing 1200+ “channels” (of varying quality and interest) are confirmed for the ride.

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Via a most trusted Best Buy source (now on Twitter), comes a planogram of Best Buy’s May shelf reset… featuring the inevitable Amazon streamer and a possibly new Apple TV (reporting over 100 apps, without listing an existing SKU). Amazon details are amazingly light, with only the brand name and a tick in the WiFi box. But Amazon’s set-top or stick timing does line up nicely Recode’s intel. Won’t be long now…

Fellow tech enthusiast and DC neighbor Joel Ward continues his role as a Features contributor here at Zatz Not Funny. Beyond ZNF, Joel can be found at Joel Explains It All and @joelsef on Twitter.

A few months back, we finally replaced our 2007-era Sony SXRD rear projection 1080p HDTV with a newer Samsung LCD/LED model. Not only do we find Sammy’s picture quality light years ahead of the Sony–even though it’s still “only” 1080p and not 4K—the new set shipped with all the bells and whistles of a modern “Smart TV.” In fact, it’s hard to find a large, high quality television nowadays that doesn’t have some sort of apps built-in. So whether you want them or not, you’re probably getting something.

Samsung’s Smart TV Hub is impressive, featuring one of the nicer TV UIs out there right now. While the LG WebOS TV unveiled at CES may be a contender, I’d say Samsung is probably the most sophisticated TV UI at the moment. It definitely has a lot of features and the Smart Hub is divvied up into five main screens: On TV (aka TV guide); Apps; Social; Photos, Video & Music (aka DLNA); and Movies & TV Shows.

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Continue Reading…

Bringing tech to the corn fields of the Midwest, gadgeteer and cat lover Adam Miarka contributes to Zatz Not Funny when the overlord allows. When not on ZNF, Adam posts pictures to http://www.adammiarka.com and harasses the public from @adammiarka on Twitter.

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Background
Being a Kickstarter for the first generation Simple TV, I’ve always been interested in technologies that could disrupt traditional TV viewing. When the original Simple TV was announced back in 2012, it looked like something that could actually let me break from my current (TiVo) setup while lowering our monthly expenditures.The original Simple TV had one fatal flaw, a single tuner for recording.

Despite this limitation, I decided to back the project to get a feeling for how this new setup might work in our household. The idea of having a device that could basically capture any OTA or ClearQAM signals and then have it playback on a myriad of devices (web browser, iOS devices, Android devices, Roku) was very enticing. You only need to bring a hard drive to get the Simple TV party started! Continue Reading…

TiVo Coming To Roku?!

Dave Zatz —  January 15, 2014

From CES, The Digital Media Zone got their hands on some very interesting screengrabs… showing what looks to be a TiVo app running on Roku. No, not the full-fledged, cloud-based TiVo UI ported by ActiveVideo that we filmed at the Cable Show. Rather, this sports a more traditional Roku interface that appears to replicate TiVo Mini functionality in piping both live and recorded content to another television. However, given what I know of Roku’s platform, I’d imagine the technology at play is more akin to TiVo’s iOS apps in requiring a TiVo Roamio or Stream to transcode the content into something a bit more efficient than the raw MPEG2 that TiVo DVRs record. This would be a huge win for customers, such as myself, even though a service fee isn’t out of the question for the virtual client, as seen with DirecTV and DISH. Stay tuned?

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Update: As Takeagabu points out in the comments, the Roku channel may just be an endpoint for TiVo’s network DVR to be offered by cable companies and not necessarily an option made available to retail customers. I know I’d pay for it…

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