In our crowd, just a few years back watching OTA and cable on your computer was all the rage. Platforms like Windows Media Center, SageTV, and SnapStream BeyondTV allowed you to attach a tuner to your PC, watch and pause live TV and record shows. I was all about Windows Media Center, and with the advent of Windows 7 it was available in every edition of the OS (well, except Home Basic). Instead of needing to buy a “Digital Cable Ready PC” like with Windows Vista, Windows 7 allowed WMC to view encrypted cable via a CableCard with the right tuner attached to any PC. Who needed a cable box anymore?
Just got an email from Google Fiber saying we’ve been selected into their test program. Test includes replacement of the hardware, which will combine the network box and storage box into a single unit, as well as upgrade of WIFI to 802.11ac. New Google Fiber app, as well, but currently supported only on Android platform.
We’re not entirely surprised as we’d previously documented incoming TV Box updates and recently stumbled upon this public image - picturing, for the first time, the v2 extender in the lower left. But cramming the Google Fiber router and television hub into a single, refreshed Storage Box is news, perhaps shedding light on Google’s ongoing service intentions. Continue Reading…
While Comcast dicks around with TiVo, to presumably avoid costly Time Warp licensing and FCC scrutiny, the cable giant continues to crank away on their preferred platform – the X1, which has been deployed across 100% of their footprint and sees 20,000 new installs every day. And now, in possibly a first for a cableco, they’re ‘going Google’ by making pre-release features available to subscribers via “Comcast Labs”
Comcast engineers have added a subsection under “Settings / Preferences” called “Comcast Labs,” designed as a sandbox to beta test new features before they go live. Comcast Labs [...] serves as a playground where customers can test innovation before it receives the final stamp of approval. [...] beta features will be given a thorough test-drive to aggregate user data in order to determine whether they get the green light to officially launch on X1.
While we’d long ago heard from a reliable source that Slingbox Chromecast playback was a lock, Sling hasn’t communicated anything publicly in recent weeks … with “soon” having come and gone. However, Sling support staff has once again come through with pre-release intel:
Yes, a Slingbox M1 with the latest firmware (this would be updated during initial setup) will support SlingPlayer for Chromecast.
Having a Slingbox has always made it easy to watch your TV around the house, around town, or even around the world – on laptops, mobile phones, or tablets. SlingPlayer for Chromecast, combined with a Slingbox and SlingPlayer on your mobile device, allows you to extend your complete living room HDTV experience to any TV around your home, or to a TV in another location where you have an Internet connection. With SlingPlayer on your supported phone or tablet, you can stream your TV programs to a Chromecast device connected to a TV, and then onto the TV. And after you have established a connection with Chromecast, you can run other apps on your mobile device.
Note: This software only works with the Slingbox M1, Slingbox 350, or SlingTV/Slingbox 500
While the agent seems to suggest Chromecast support has launched, this isn’t actually the case. But we’re clearly getting real close. Continue Reading…
A year after Google’s Chromecast launch, I am still a big fan of the TV streaming stick, but also a sporadic user at best.
Here are some of the Chromecast positives:
- Free stuff! To celebrate the one-year anniversary, Google is offering three free months of Google Play Music All Access to Chromecast owners. (Although it may only be good for folks who haven’t tried Google music before. Dave had trouble registering.)
- WatchESPN is now a Chromecast-supported app. My early-gen Roku box doesn’t get the online ESPN station, so this will become very important during college basketball season.
- Full-screen Android mirroring is now a thing. Unfortunately device support is limited, but progress is progress.
My husband also had an interesting experience with Chromecast recently when he couldn’t get a Netflix episode of Mythbusters to run smoothly through our Roku. (Yes, we have FiOS, which has had trouble with Netflix quality.) Oddly enough, he found that casting the episode from his Chrome browser (not even from the Chromecast-supported Netflix app) improved quality significantly. I have no idea why this would be, but will experiment further to see what I can find out. (Different CDN handling the traffic??) Continue Reading…
Next up in our buy more TiVo series are steps to hide intrusive pause menu advertising. While TiVo produces arguably the best DVR, beyond consumer sales and service, the company augments revenue by leveraging their userbase for advertising and analytics. The vast majority of these initiatives are applied with a soft touch, but pause menu ads clearly cross the line by layering paid promos atop television content. As TiVo says, Continue Reading…
To generate awareness during the San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Unlimited has gone on sale — 99 cents for a single month. While not quite “unlimited”, the subscription grants your mobile devices access a large catalog of digital comics. Having previously used the service over a year, I’d say the iPad provides the best reading experience and I found the content to be Hulu-esque given a rotating and incomplete selection. But, hey, at 99 cents it’s surely worth (another) look! I assume we’ll be on the hook to cancel prior to a recurring $10 monthly fee kicking in… if the value isn’t there. Continue Reading…