Boxee Chief Product Officer, Zach Klein gives a low-fi un-Boxee-ing intro video (recorded via iPhone) of the first D-Link Boxee box in its final production hardware. My favorite aspect of Boxee hardware continues to be the IR/RF remote control with QWERTY keyboard on the backside. The Boxee Box is slated for arrival in late October or early November and should retail for approximately $200.
Archives For HDTV
The Popbox ($130) media streamer from Syabas has been one of the more anticipated media players for 2010 and it seems to have arrived a few days ahead of schedule (yet still late). As a matter of fact Syabas, the company that brings us Popbox says they were “surprised” by the early availability on Amazon. Unfortunately, a number of those who pre-ordered the Popbox are having a pretty tough time with the media player so far.
Backing up for a sec, Popbox builds on the popular enthusiast-centric Popcorn Hour as a more general-consumer-friendly device. It features a brand new interface, many online content plugins (but no Netflix folks), a SDK, 100Mbps bitrate support, 1080p video and an attractive form factor.
Anyone who has followed a new-to-market media player knows that beyond the actual hardware specs inside, the success or failure of a device like this is the firmware/software that runs the thing and the diligence of the company to regularly update and improve that code. Typically there’s a private beta where the device is given to testers to report and assist the developers in fixing most problems with the device before it goes out to the general public. Unfortunately it appears the Popbox beta process wasn’t as far along as the company had hoped and, to make matters tougher, the shipments of the device happened a week before expected. Read the rest of this entry »
After a few months of delays used to tighten up their software and experience, the Sysbas folks have christened July 23rd as Popbox Launch Day.
Syabas is no stranger to this space, having produced the powerful Popcorn Hour boxes (and as the guy behind the guy prior)… And the Popbox miniaturizes most of those local media playback capabilities into a smaller form, with a modern UI, and the requisite app platform. Unfortunately, it still looks like Netflix won’t be a launch partner. Along with the also MIA Crunchyroll and Facebook. But there’s plenty others to get us started. With or without Netflix, I’m still quite interested in getting ahold of a unit given my positive, lasting CES Popbox exposure.
Amazon is currently the sole Popbox retailer, and they’ve got the hardware ready to roll in the warehouse. The wired-only unit, perhaps comparable to the WDTV Live, runs $130 while the 802.11n wireless revision will cost you $150.
(via EngadgetHD, thanks Chad!)
Engadget scored a golden ticket Hulu Plus invite and took the beta service for a quick spin… on an iPad, iPhone, and Internet-connected Samsung HDTV. And, unfortunately, my enthusiasm for the new $10/month, ad-supported subscription has been somewhat tempered by E’s initial experiences. At this time, HD video quality is described as merely “watchable” and is accompanied by stereo audio only. Also, Hulu’s content library seems as unpredictable as ever. So, while Hulu Plus might make a nice mobile video companion, it’s not quite up to snuff (yet?) as a primary source of lean back television. But it’s still early, and I’ll probably pick up the entry level Samsung Blu-ray player (BD-C5500, $130), once I land a beta account, to see for myself.
- Engadget’s Hulu Plus hands on review
- Engadget’s Hulu Plus Samsung HDTV photo gallery
- Engadget’s Hulu Plus iPad photo gallery
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Rumored for months, and speculated on for years, Hulu announced today the debut of its premium subscription service, Hulu Plus. It will cost $9.99 a month, and will offer full seasons of current shows and back-catalog series. Equally as important, Hulu Plus will be available on the iPhone, iPad, and HDTV sets supporting Samsung apps.
I have three immediate reactions to the Hulu Plus news. First, I hope nobody starts whining about the fact that Hulu is offering a paid service. It appears that the free content will remain free (at least for now), and it was patently obvious that Hulu would need to add another component to its business model. Second, while I don’t mind that Hulu is offering a paid service, the available competing options make it difficult for me to want to shell out the extra cash. Netflix gets my money now for playback on the Roku, and I’m an avid watcher of Comcast VOD.
Third and finally, money aside, I am grateful that a content provider is taking a first step in offering full seasons of content. In thinking about Google TV last month, I lamented that it didn’t really solve for anything I want in my TV life. What do I want? Full seasons of content. Good for Hulu for including that in the package.
In case you live under a rock, Microsoft announced a number of Xbox updates yesterday including the news that its refreshed Xbox 360 game console will give users access to ESPN games through the ESPN3 channel. The announcement is bigger than most people realize. Live sports events, many of which are only available through ESPN, are arguably the biggest content draw for pay-TV services. And now ESPN is giving consumers a way to bypass those providers’ video networks to view them.
There is one big caveat, however. While ESPN is bypassing traditional pay-TV pipes, it’s not bypassing the providers themselves. The ESPN3 channel, whether it’s accessed on a PC or an Xbox, requires that you have a subscription with a participating provider, e.g. Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Cox, Charter, etc. No subscription, no content.
There are two ways to look at this. On the one hand, the subscription requirement could easily be removed – technically speaking – if ESPN decided to cut out the cable and telco providers. And that would change the game entirely. On the other hand, ESPN has carefully preserved its revenue streams by having operators foot the bill even for online content, which gives the sport giant serious incentive to play nice. From a consumer perspective it might sound good for ESPN to cut out the middle man, but the company has built a very profitable distribution system. ESPN wants to expand the reach of its content, but it has no desire to disrupt the existing business model.
Internet video? Bring it on. ESPN a-la-carte? Not so much.