Archives For Apple
For a few short hours last week, Apple TV software update 6.0 was available. However, due to a variety of glitches, had been pulled. The patched software has made its triumphant return today, featuring iTunes Radio along with a few playback and synchronization enhancements. While iTunes Radio is frequently compared to Pandora, it feels more like a platform to merely sell tracks – given prices displayed all over the place. And if I wanted to listen to music through my TV, I’d head over to the way more visually stimulating VEVO — MTV for the digital age. Of course, Airplay remains unrivaled… although Google’s $35 DIAL-powered Chromecast dongle looks real promising. But I’m still holding out hope for a more powerful aTV, sporting a full fledged app store and the ability to take advantage of iOS’ new gaming controller API – I think you know where I’m going here. Folders for ‘My Apps’ versus the current Roku-esque clutter would also be an appreciated enhancement.
Our pal Brad Linder got the scoop on PlayOn’s next move from a NYC press event earlier this week… and Chromecast support is in the pipeline. While we’d originally portrayed PlayOn as something of a sketchy hack, our thinking has evolved… Given the rights holders sluggish metamorphosis and often onerous playback restrictions, we now recognize PlayOn for the digital media liberators they are. The way it works is you drop the PlayOn software onto a Windows PC (sorry, no Mac) and then beam over 60 online video services to your Xbox, Roku, etc. Well, as soon as the Chromecast SDK becomes official, PlayOn will also support Google’s $35 dongle - using your iPhone or Android smartphone as a remote. While it’s likely many of these services will ultimately support Chromecast, I can’t imagine them all hitting at once and there’s something to be said for control via a single interface. PlayOn’s revised their pricing scheme several times over the years and it looks like the current dealio is $9/mo, including recording and offline smartphone viewing.
Mere days after Mari dinged Verizon’s lagging app experience, FiOS Mobile has been updated on iOS and Android platforms. Joining existing live cable network availability (77 channels and a smattering of free on demand), Verizon has worked deals with many local affiliates (NBC!) and flipped the switch on out-of-home streaming. Remote viewing is somewhat limited in selection at the moment, consisting of just 9 channels including HGTV and Food Network. But I much prefer the operator app hub approach versus tracking down apps for each channel that can be authenticated… and hope to see this expand to include ESPN, CNN, Cartoon Network, and the like. Beyond the content updates, my largely unused Kindle Fire HD will find new life as the “kitchen TV” given its brand-spanking new FiOS Mobile app. Sadly, the app doesn’t take advantage of the Kindle’s stellar stereo speakers the way say Netflix does – perhaps audio volume and quality will improve with a future update? While the FiOS app remains somewhat crashy on both my wife’s iPhone and my Galaxy Note 2, these updates and bundled service lessen my interest in the currently Android-incompatible TiVo Stream and Roamio. But I still pine for a FiOS TV Roku app… doubly so given my impulsive Groupon purchase.