Archives For Video

hbo-amazon-instant

As announced a few weeks back, Amazon has begun streaming HBO content… without requiring an HBO subscription. The exclusive, multi-year deal has a few caveats, tho. First, we’re mostly talking back catalog content here, with a three year dark period after broadcast. So you’re still going to have to borrow that HBO GO password for Game of Thrones. But what a back catalog it is, with series like The Wire, Deadwood, and the Sopranos to keep you entertained for weeks, if not more. Second, you’ll need an Amazon Prime account — which currently runs $99/year. In addition to two day shipping, it features a variety of multimedia benefits including the Kindle “Lending Library” and all-you-can-eat video streaming… that has largely replaced Netflix in my household  this year given a decent and comparable library, along with the option to fill in the gaps with current season purchases. If only I could get my Fire TV to stop dropping the network connection mid-show.

Share Your Vudu Movies

Dave Zatz —  May 14, 2014 — 13 Comments

vudu-share1

We’ve long pined for the day we could legitimately share our legally acquired digital content, similar to how we often recycle physical media, without piracy or loaning out HBO credentials as so many do. Well, the UltraViolet consortium, consisting of a large number of movie studios, obviously sees some value in keeping their customers happy — perhaps as a way to cut down on theft and grow their digital ecosystem. And Walmart’s Vudu is the first provider to implement their new licensing.

Share My Movies by Vudu allows us to grant access to our cloud-based video library to five others. And, instead of messing with passwords and the like, invites are handed out via email address – as similarly implemented on Slingbox. This makes me a whole heck of a lot more more likely to purchase Blu-rays (with digital copies), knowing I can have my mom tune into any worthy flicks via her Roku. As we saw with UltraViolet’s disc-to-digital initiative, I anticipate other UltraViolet services like Flixster and Target Ticket will eventually offer similar sharing capabilities.

amazon-fire-tv-update

Just a few short weeks after launch, Amazon has rolled out their first Fire TV update. Sadly it doesn’t include expanded voice search functionality, an updated Netflix app, or Prime browsing (as promised). In fact, Amazon has yet to even update their support page with new 51.1.0.2 software versioning. So we’re left to assume this is merely a minor maintenance release… but pleased to see the new platform is worthy of Amazon’s ongoing development.

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  April 24, 2014 — 7 Comments

A periodic roundup of relevant news… that we may have missed due to database issues

A Tale Of Three Remotes

Dave Zatz —  April 12, 2014 — 8 Comments

While we rarely have the inclination to tackle a full-on review (like Adam), the $99 Amazon Fire TV streamer that we tracked so closely ahead of launch is worthy of a few posts. Overall, it’s a solid debut… but not quite ready to displace the similarly priced Roku 3 or Apple TV, for those that have already outfitted their televisions.

I’m always fascinated by the decisions companies make in regards to the remote control, which is the primary interface to their TV-based experience. Take the now defunct Sezmi for example – they originally promoted a unique and beautiful remote… only to launch with an off-the-shelf skinned variant to save a few bucks. While that alone didn’t sink the product, a clunky clicker earns no fans. By comparison, TiVo is quite well known for their iconic and practical peanut… still going strong well over a decade now.

In the small streamer category, and without the need for channel number buttons, all entrants have gone for similarly small remotes. None more minimalistic than Apple’s metal sliver of a thing. Continue Reading…

amazon-fire-tv

As most know, I’ve been tracking the Amazon streamer for some time — turning up a Best Buy planogram as the first hard proof of its existence, followed by regulatory filings of the dual-band box itself and curious Bluetooth gaming controller. Of course, the devil is in the details, with complete capabilities and pricing eluding us until launch. Fortunately, Amazon has moved on from the awful “Firetube” and settled on the much more palatable Fire TV. And the $99 box is shipping now! (Which is really how all product announcements should go.)

While Fire TV lands at the higher end of category pricing (for 2014), Amazon touts voice search of Amazon content via remote along with quad core processing and dedicated GPU, suitable for handling Android gaming via the aforementioned controller accessory ($40). Dozens of apps are available immediately, Continue Reading…

Unboxing 0

Netgear ReadyNAS is a line of network attached storage devices that allows you to centralize all your content into one place. The main benefit being that you can then access your content from one place. The Netgear ReadyNAS 102, released about a year ago, incorporates a new modern UI for web management, a marketplace for apps that can be installed, and additional backup tools for your computers and mobile devices. Overall, the ReadyNAS is a fairly intuitive system that should fit basic storage needs while providing additional features with app support (and is a distant descendant of the highly acclaimed Infrant NAS line).

Hardware
The ReadyNAS 102 is the base model for the home ReadyNAS series. It provides 2 bays for hard drives and the ability to swap drives if your storage needs should grow. The 100 series is meant for home use with multiple users accessing the device. Along with the 100 series, Netgear also has a step up in performance with their 300 series, but those devices are geared towards business office crowd. You can view the different model’s on Netgear’s site here.

You can purchase the 102 with or without hard drives depending on how much you want to spend, and whether or not you have extra drives sitting around. The base 102 model starts out at $199 (diskless) and goes up depending on storage amount. Other options for the ReadyNAS 100 series included a 4 bay option.  Our loaner review unit arrived with two preinstalled 1TB drives in RAID 1 mode, meaning that the data was mirrored on both drives and the over storage space was 1TB.  You have the option to put the device in RAID 0 which would provide double the storage at the loss of drive mirroring. Continue Reading…