Archives For Netflix
While I’ve been quite satisfied with my TiVo Mini as a DVR extender, it shipped crippled in terms of third-party streaming apps. And, after 6 months with no movement, I picked up another Roku today. Perhaps ironically, Sam Biller just discovered TiVo has (accidentally?) published Netflix and Amazon Instant icons to our Minis. Netflix appears to be fully functional, although possibly crashy dependent on output resolution, and feels significantly faster than my Premiere XL4/Elite — although just about every other app platform is. Unfortunately, Amazon is met with a V301 error which suggests the backend isn’t active for us non-beta testers and it’s not yet known if we’ll be treated to an entirely new Amazon implementation (to include Prime streaming). But both apps are clearly on their way and this lines up with news of a scheduled September TiVo Mini update to include dynamic tuner allocation.
Over the years, Netflix has dabbled in user profiles — allowing folks on the same account to build up their own queue and receive personalized recommendations. And, via GigaOm, we’ve learned that the latest profile iteration is now available within the Apple TV Netflix app. As you can see above, the feature is activate in my account (and we’ve recently enjoyed streaming Orange is the new Black and Copper).
As we’d previously reported, the new Roku 3 has indeed launched with a refreshed UI and audio-capable remote control. The 3 takes over the Roku 2 XS‘s top slot in their lineup, running a competitive $100. In fact, the Roku 2 XS is no longer present in the company’s model comparison chart. Like its predecessor, the Roku 3 remote incorporates Hillcrest Labs Wii-esque motion control capabilities for gaming purposes – such as Angry Birds Space. But, the ways in which the remote communicate are new to Roku’s set-top box line. In place of Bluetooth, Roku is now using WiFi Direct – a similar and possibly ascendent technology that we’ve been tracking and potentially one piece of the Roku Miracast puzzle. Another remote innovation is the inclusion of an audio jacks (and pair of bundled Roku-purple earbuds) for “private listening.” The way I understand it, inserting a headset (theirs or yours) into the remote will redirect audio output from television to the handheld, with volume controlled via rocker buttons. It’s an innovative feature, but probably not one that would be appreciated in our household – especially given the duplicity of Roku and tablet apps/channels.
On the hardware front, as Roku’s high-end model, they’ve decided to do away with analog and standard def connectivity options… leaving a sole HDMI jack to handle both video and audio transmission duties. And, speaking of transmission, both Ethernet and dual-band 802.11n are provided for connectivity. We’re told this is the most powerful Roku ever… although the company didn’t get into component details, so we’ll circle back once someone cracks one open. Aesthetically, the Roku 3 is certainly the most beautiful one yet and they’ve come such a long way from the original single-channel Netflix box sourced from off-the-shelf parts. While we can’t say for certain, we suspect that Bould Design was once again tapped to move the product forward. But, beyond visual design, this Roku model is also somewhat heavier to prevent HDMI cables from pulling it across the television stand. And, perhaps, to inspire a higher quality feel. Continue Reading…