By way of an overseas regulatory agency, similar to our very own FCC, we continue to hone in on the elusive Amazon media streamer. And it’s looking to be something far more substantial than a Roku or Chromecast competitor. As the story goes, an Amazon fall set-top box launch was delayed with the potential Apple TV competitor now looking quite likely for a March or April delivery. Netflix and Hulu appear to be confirmed, along does a forked Android build – similar to what Amazon has done with their line of Kindle Fire tablets. Which makes gaming out of the box quite likely.

The uncovered wireless Bluetooth controller features a gaggle of controls, including both shoulder buttons and triggers, in addition to media playback transport controls – ideal for the aforementioned streaming services in addition to Amazon Instant, of course. And we give Amazon credit for using Android-esque iconography for home, menu, and back. Additionally, the central radioactive-looking button presumably taps into Amazon’s GameCircle - perhaps to evolve beyond merely a gaming app hub and into something more full featured akin to Apple’s Game Center or Xbox Live. A LED array is used as an indicator for both battery levels and Bluetooth connectivity. Lastly, we expect the controller, powered by a pair of double As, would be sold as an accessory and ultimately also designed to work with Amazon’s line of tablets to close the circle. Won’t be long now…

Mar 11

AppleTV Gets Jiggly With It

Dave Zatz —  March 11, 2014 — 6 Comments

appletv-jiggy

Along with the massive iOS 7.1 update, Apple TV also sees new software. And version 6.1 is significant given a rare UI enhancement that somewhat mirrors app management on Apple’s mobile devices. Highlighting a content provider, followed by holding the select button down will ultimately get the icon jiggling, at which point the play/pause button provides an option to banish the app from your home screen. While it’s a rather tedious exercise from remote, and only marginally better via the iOS Remote app, it sets the stage for better app management as Apple continues to bring on new partners … amidst rumors of a new Apple TV. For comparison, Roku hides “channels” in a “Store” that can be pinned while WDTV Play offers customizable genre screens/tabs for app management.

WeatherNation TV, who got some attention recently as a Weather Channel alternative given the DirecTV retransmission spat, wrote to remind us their Roku channel is now available. Beyond regional interactivity, the app also provides live video… which looks pretty good windowed, but there’s work to be done on full screen resolution/quality. The virtual channel was last updated updated about a month ago and has garnered over 2000 reviews, as this is exactly the sort of content cord cutters are searching for — and pairing WeatherNation with SkyNews is a pretty powerful combo for 24/7 news junkies (like my wife).

bww-tablet

By way of Engadget, we learn that Buffalo Wild Wings has begun swapping out their existing NTN gaming stations for far more interactive (and less bulky) Android tablets. Beyond gaming, these new devices also provide a conduit to the serving staff:

Buzztime’s BEOND tablet lets Buffalo Wild Wings Guests order food, request songs and television programming, play games (both multi-player and arcade-style), and pay the bill. The seven-inch Samsung Galaxy touchscreen tablets are pre-loaded with games and music options. With a mix of complimentary and paid content, the BEOND tablets enable multi-player, multi-location gaming; guests may play popular trivia and poker games against other individuals, another table or even other restaurant locations.

Fortunately, BWW tables are already stocked with hand wipes… as we imagine this could get messy fast. (Might it make more sense to use our own devices?) And, having flown Virgin America, I do like the idea of summoning drink refills via touchscreen. However, we suspect the primary reason for visiting a Buffalo Wild Wings outpost is still for the food… yet, sadly, both Sriracha wings and Coke Zero were recently dropped from the menu.