Archives For mari

Chromecast set-up 1

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…

mohu-channels-cart

Not content with being a leader in the over-the-air TV antenna market, Mohu recently launched and then completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a new product designed to combine OTA TV with web video services. Now we know that the new Mohu Channels device will retail for $149.99 and is targeted for commercial launch in the third quarter of this year.

Mohu announced some time ago that Kickstarter participants would receive their Android-powered Channels device come June. Our own Adam Miarka got in on the deal for $89 as an early backer, and while he doesn’t have the product in hand yet, there are signs that shipments are coming soon. Continue Reading…

Aereo Chromecast

Still waiting on a potentially fateful ruling from the Supreme Court, Aereo today announced Chromecast support for its Android app. That means that users with the service can cast Aereo video from an Android mobile device direct to an HD television via Google’s popular HDMI streaming stick. Aereo already works with Roku and Apple TV, but Chromecast is a super-cheap option for making your dumb TV smart enough to handle Internet video.

Direct from Aereo:

Aereo is now live on the Google Chromecast™ platform. The Aereo app for Android™ is available for download in the Google Play™ store. Subscribers can access Aereo’s antenna and DVR technology to record and watch live broadcast television using Google’s Chromecast™.

The Aereo news comes on the heels of another recent announcement of Chromecast support for WatchESPN. That earlier update has me considering whether or not to invest in upgrading my Roku. I had planned on it, but now with Chromecast compatibility, I don’t see a compelling reason to spend the money.

NFL Now Amazon Roku

Amazon and Roku are officially on board as distribution partners for the National Football League’s soon-to-be-launched digital network NFL Now. That’s good news if you’re a football fan because it means there will be a lot more ways to watch NFL Now when it debuts in August that don’t include maxing out your mobile data plan.

When NFL Now was first announced, the League highlighted Verizon as a partner (and later Microsoft and Yahoo), and the ability for consumers to download the Verizon NFL Mobile app for video viewing over the company’s LTE network. Verizon plans to stream NFL Now content using multicast technology. However, while multicast streaming should mitigate bandwidth concerns on Verizon’s side, it presumably won’t lessen the impact on subscribers’ data plans. A few hours of mobile TV watching could easily take you right over your data cap.

As a reminder, here’s how NFL Now will work… now on Kindle Fire TV, Kindle Fire, and the Roku platform: Continue Reading…

fios-196-update1

The FiOS TV guide has grown stale these last few years as Verizon turned its attention to all things wireless. However, while I await the next-gen version of FiOS service, I’m happy to report that Verizon has made a few short-term tweaks to improve the existing interface.

My favorite in the IMG 1.9.6 update (just five months after the 1.9.5 update) is the change to the search screen. Instead of having to scroll to every letter I want to type in, Verizon now lets me use the number buttons on my remote as alphabet keys just like old-style texting. (Or current-style if you haven’t given in to touch screens yet.) Example: you press the “2″ button once for “A”, twice for “B”, and three times for “C”. This may not sound like a big deal, but searching for anything was terrifically painful before, and the new interface definitely speeds up the process. Continue Reading…

Mohu Channels TV adapter

For all of the ink spent on Aereo (and I’m responsible for my fair share), the relatively quiet efforts of Mohu could end up being just as disruptive to the TV service market. Mohu has already had a successful run with its line of over-the-air TV antennas, but the company is ready to take its technology a step further. As Janko points out over at GigaOM, Mohu has just completed a Kickstarter campaign to help with the development of a new product called the Channels TV adapter. The adapter will combine OTA channels fed through an HD antenna (bought separately) with web video apps like Netflix and Hulu, and it will offer a personalized program guide including any channels and apps a user wants to highlight.

If Mohu can deliver a clean experience with the new Channels TV adapter – and that’s certainly a big if, particularly when it comes to switching between OTA and web content – the company will have a very compelling product offering. For the contingent of TV viewers who want broadcast TV and their $8 Netflix subscription, the Mohu device will put all of that content in one place on the living-room flat screen. Mohu isn’t offering DVR or multiscreen services (at least not yet), but it will appeal to the same audience with the Channels TV adapter as Aereo has with its monthly service. And with Mohu, there’s no additional monthly fee, and no cloud of legal drama.  Continue Reading…

hdmi-roku-stick

Roku’s new streaming stick is now shipping in the US online from Roku, Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Walmart. A few other outlets have now reported the news, but I happened to hear the information first hand from Ed Lee, Roku’s vice president of content acquisition, at a Light Reading conference today in Denver. As a reminder, the new streaming stick rings in at $50, or $15 more than Google’s Chromecast device. However, the content options are superior, with apps that include WatchESPN and Amazon Instant Video. The Roku stick also comes with its own non-smartphone remote control and is powered via microUSB. Thanks to a major update to Roku’s mobile apps this week, you can also enjoy universal search capabilities.

Availability of the new Roku streaming stick in stores is still expected in early April.