Archives For HDTV

Sony PS3 Lands NFL Streaming

Dave Zatz —  August 18, 2011 — 10 Comments

Will you look at that. Not only is DirecTV taking NFL over-the-top for DirecTV subscribers and non-subscribers alike (as they did last year), they’re expanding their reach beyond mobile devices like the the iPad and will stream live football direct to the Sony PS3 in 2011. This is a massive deal given the NFL’s status in the US as not only the premiere sports league but also as one of the most lucrative entertainment properties of any stripe. And this marks the first time the NFL will all be available to a television-based device over the Internet. Minus those in market games, of course.

Engadget reports non-DirecTV subscribers will be able to order the streaming-only version of Sunday Ticket for $350 as of September 1st. As I said last year, “it doesn’t come cheap. But they don’t call it Super Fan for nothing.” Then again, I’m sure I spend more than that at my local wing joint in any given season. Bonus? The PS3 price drop – now only $250. Is it too early to declare Sony’s more-than-gaming platform as box of the year? Although there’s still time for additional lean back partners to be announced…

HBO GO offers arguably the best value in online streaming. For the cost of a HBO subscription, via your cable or satellite provider, you receive bundled online access to a solid stable of relatively new movies plus every episode of every HBO series. While watching Game of Thrones on my (wife’s) iPad or Eastbound & Down on my iPhone (at the gym) has worked out reasonably well, what many of us have been pining for is the “lean back” experience — HBO GO on the television. My attempts to get the web experience going on Google TV failed (thanks to Comcast), yet a full on HBO GO TV app experience is nearly upon us.

Tech of the Hub has been following these developments closely and it seems we missed news back in May indicating HBO GO is headed to “a variety of TVs, game consoles and streaming devices.” Better yet, Tech of the Hub has learned that Internet-connected Samsung HDTVs and Blu-ray players will receive an HBO GO app “soon” – perhaps within the next week or so. But, having abandoned both Blu-ray decks and smart TVs (for now), I’m hopeful some other entrants in the streaming space (Roku, TiVo, Apple TV) might also have good news for us in the near future.

insigita-hdtv-shelf

While Best Buy’s new pair of Insignia TVs featuring “TiVo Design” started trickling into stores last week, as you can see above, the retailer is just now officially announcing their first foray into the “connected” television space. And in discussing this new initiative with Best Buy, they clearly acknowledged something of a marketing challenge… given TiVo’s association with the DVR. This is an Insignia television first, featuring TiVo’s high definition interface. But it’s no DVR. Already, even TechCrunch got it horribly wrong:

a $499 32-incher with DVR built-in isn’t too bad and if you’re hard up for cash you can save a little money by sticking getting a TV and DVR in one.

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Speaking of pricing, I’m happy to say the rumors were wrong. The 32″ set runs $500 and the 42″ clocks in at $700. Which is much more reasonable for a Best Buy house brand like Insignia and allows them to compete with the likes of Vizio. Although, I suspect their intended market exceeds budget offerings. And it surely seems as they’ve invested a lot into this new platform. Continue Reading…

By any measure, Google TV has been a failure. In fact, I’d say they’re not even in the game. And no company has paid the price more than Logitech with their bad bet on Google’s initial foray into the living room. Just how bad has it been? More Logitech Revue hardware was returned in the second quarter than was actually purchased. Ouch. I’m sure both Google and Logitech shoulder their fair share of blame – neither did an effective job explaining the unique benefits of this product or platform. But the software experience failings themselves are on Google. At $250 or $300, as originally priced, there are very few people I could (or did) recommend the Revue too.

However, as of today, the Logitech Revue is now merely a hundred bucks. And its capabilities and shortcomings look much different at this price point… First off, in my experience, Google TV offers the very best television-based web browsing experience. Neverminding for a moment those blocked sites. Next, while the Google TV platform has remained relatively stagnant and most “apps” are actually just reformatted webpages, you’ve got access to core services similar to what’s found find competing platforms in this range - like the new Roku 2. In fact, I’d say Netflix, Amazon VOD, Pandora, and YouTube make the Revue fairly well rounded. Pulling it all together is the full-on wireless QWERTY keyboard… which ran $99 until last week. So now you get Logitech’s complete Google TV experience for the price of the keyboard.

Of course, it’s not entirely clear how committed Logitech will remain to this product or Google TV in general given the massive hemorrhaging. But if they deliver the marketplace-powered Android Honeycomb Google TV update this summer, as promised, it’s a whole new ballgame.

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If you had any doubts that Best Buy will be launching an Insignia-branded, TiVo-powered HDTV any day now… well, I can pretty much put them to rest. Since my previous speculative coverage, a treasure trove of product packaging photos have come my way – providing a decent amount of detail:

The only TV that combines the power of the Internet with the legendary TiVo user interface, all in stunning HD. You’ll find entertainment from both broadcast TV and the Internet with just a few clicks of your remote. Now get what you want when you want it.

Award-winning TiVo experience: Easily access all your favorite TV shows, movies and more with the easy-to-use TiVo user interface.

Broadband connected: Delivers a plethora of new entertainment choices, including TV, Movies, Music and Games.

Intelligent Search: Search by title, actor, director, keyboard and more…

Access to the best entertainment: Enjoy movies from Netflix, CinemaNow and Insignia On Demand, music from Pandora, and much, much more.

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As expected, the 1080p HDTV features “TiVo Design” but “No DVR Included”. However Continue Reading…

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For the first time in over a year, we recently learned a little something of Best Buy’s partnership with TiVo… consisting of two upcoming Insignia-branded HDTVs. The sets will feature TiVo’s interface, universal search, programming guide and a variety of connected apps – including Best Buy’s own Napster and CinemaNow properties. But no actual DVR capabilities (and no monthly fees).

Some additional information has come my way, and while I have great faith in my network of sources, there’s some data here we don’t have complete confidence in. So, for the time being, please consider the following rumor and speculation.

First off, nothing in in the way of new intel has discounted or reinforced a July 31st launch. But what we may have turned up is pricing details… with the 32″ 1080p set running $599 and the 42″ model clocking in at $999. Which seems somewhat lofty for a house brand smart TV, despite the premium TiVo partnership. Yet, if the 42″ specs I turned up from a public non-BestBuy product database (Google is your friend) are accurate, perhaps its not entirely unreasonable. (1080p, 120Hz LED LCD, dual band 802.11n wireless, 4 HDMI ports, 3 speakers)

And here is where it gets weird… That very same product database indicates the television will feature Chumby apps. Making me wonder if that “cTV” may stand for chumbyTV in addition to connected-TV. Of course this wouldn’t be entirely implausible as Best Buy has previously produced Chumby widget stations. But it also makes me wonder if we’ve either got the wrong product or maybe there are multiple software experiences to be mated to this specific HDTV hardware. Or it is what it is – the Insignia TiVo TV will feature both the TiVo experience and Chumby apps. Regardless, at these possible price points, I’d expect an improved Netflix streaming app and TiVo Premiere-to-HDTV streaming.

We’ll keep digging…

roku-2-channels

Roku 2 launch week continues. Our official Roku 2 XS review can be found here, but we fully expect additional details to trickle out… Such as three unannounced “channels” that are clearly on horizon. Although there’s still no sign of YouTube on Roku.

As you can see from the product box shot above, EPIX and Texas Hold ‘Em are on the docket. EPIX is a premium cable channel that offers a variety of movies – both on your television and online. And it looks like Roku might be the very first set-top box in the mix. However, HBO with HBO GO is the very best value in premium entertainment and I’d choose it over EPIX in a heartbeat… except for that small matter of watching HBO GO on a HDTV.

roku-epix

I remain unconvinced I’ll be spend any significant time (or money) playing casual games on my Roku 2 XS. But, despite my disinterest, it looks like Texas Hold ‘Em will be joining Angry Birds at some point in the near future.

From the Roku 2 launch blog post that was published, unpublished, edited, and republished we know Major League Soccer (MLS) is expected to join Major League Baseball (MLB), National Hockey League (NHL), and National Basketball Association (NBA) streaming offerings. While other outlets have seemingly confirmed this partnership, timing and pricing remain a mystery.