Monarch-iPad-holders

As a former frequent flier, I can’t tell you how many battles between passengers and/or flight crew I’ve witnessed in relation to wireless devices and reclining seats (including very dramatic testimony from a breast-feeding woman who asserted the man in front of her had starved her infant). Fortunately, we appear to have moved to a better place with the advent of gate-to-gate wireless gadgetry and what looks to be an end of reclining seats… on at least a few airlines. And next up is Monarch Air. The carrier is outfitting their fleet with thinner, non-reclining seats… that conveniently provide a tablet holder where one might expect an entertainment console — which sure beats attempting to prop up your device via water bottle (as shown below), providing more stability and a better viewing angle. Not to mention if US carriers like Southwest or United follow suit, our iPads would truly replace the seat-back TV given onboard streaming options. Continue Reading…

simpletv-drilled

Remember that buzz saw of a fan that the second gen Simple.TV shipped with? Well Simple, and their hardware partner Silicon Dust, have resorted to a variety of software updates and a drill to rectify the issue. And, as you can see above, they’ve begun shipping devices with a newly perforated chassis. But the good news doesn’t end there…

Built into Simple.TV’s Android and iOS apps for phones and tablets, support for Chromecast enables users to easily ‘cast’ their favorite live or recorded over-the-air TV shows onto any HDTV powered by Google’s device.  With Simple.TV’s ability to stream live and recorded TV anywhere, users can watch their favorite shows on the big screen at home and anywhere a Chromecast is connected. 

As if that wasn’t enough, Simple also has flipped the switch on video downloads for offline viewing. While this is (currently) accomplished via PC/Mac desktop, we imagine the MP4s can simply be relocated to the mobile device of one’s choosing – until such a time that the apps themselves are updated with this functionality. Speaking of updates, Chromecast and content downloads are only available to Gen 2 hardware at this time, but Simple indicates future support for early adopters running first generation hardware.

Given the enhancements, and new press representation that we hope keeps it real, we’ll probably give Simple.TV another look (in relation to Tablo, which we’ve been quite impressed with). Stay tuned.

I have no doubt we are building a very, very, strong strategic asset and to the extent the best interest of shareholders are served by providing an exit through acquisition from a strategic player who sees the fundamental uniqueness of what we’ve created, obviously that will get all the consideration it deserves.

Tom Rogers, TiVo CEO

youtube-rating

Following in the footsteps of Netflix, YouTube has just launched their Video Quality Report to rate, and possibly shame, broadband providers as the net neutrality and peering debate boils over. In my ‘hood, Verizon performs admirably, with its worst showing 8PM – 11PM with 93% of streams coming thru in high def, whereas the Comcast Xfinity service performs slightly worse across the board, bottoming out at 89% HD 8PM – 10PM. Granted, Comcast offers lower tiers of service than Verizon (as I discovered from my mother’s originally, painfully slow broadband connection… that we upgraded.) Historically, I’ve had YouTube buffering annoyances on FiOS at both my former and current locations, but that seems to have been sorted at some point – and I doubt it was ever about bandwidth, rather it was most likely in how the traffic was being handled. Google must agree as they currently rate Verizon’s regional fiber performance as YouTube HD Verified:

Users on YouTube HD Verified networks should expect smooth playback on YouTube most of the time, even when watching videos in high definition (720p).

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…

giik-headphones

Meet giik, a new line of thoughtful mobile accessories by geeky road warriors such as ourselves. While you can find similar products from both well known manufactures and inexpensive imports, the folks behind giik up the ante as each widget features “+1″ capabilities — so that headphone splitter also supports dual mics and the aux car cable brings speakerphone capabilities.

giik, pronounced “geek” not gick, devices ship with a 1-2 year warranty and are currently available via Amazon, Fry’s, and direct from the company.

TiVo continues to execute on their multiscreen strategy, having just cranked out a significant update to their iOS app. In addition to the requisite iPhone and iPad bug fixes, the revised app features:

  • New design for iOS7
  • New Facebook feed in “What To Watch”
  • New YouTube video feeds in “What To Watch”

By linking both my YouTube and (wife’s) Facebook account, new panels of suggested video appear in the sprightlier What To Watch section… with options to playback video on your TiVo-connected television or directly on the phone. Also interesting is the “Shared by Friends” Facebook heading – as it leaves the door open for other means of pulling in social video. As I’m blogging from an airport terminal, I haven’t yet had a chance to fully explore the features… so consider this a community project and let us know what you’ve discovered in the comments below.