Aug 30 2013

News - Ceton Abandons Android for Echo Extender

This is not the type of news that we were hoping for at the end of the week. The Ceton Echo Media Center Extender had high hopes of being the end all, be all extender for HTPC users. Not to say it's not a capable Extender, but any hopes of having the unlimited flexibility of running Android on it have just been dashed by the boys. 

A few weeks ago we started beta testing the Android upgrade with people outside of the company as well. Unfortunately the testing results have not been what we expected and we are announcing today that we will not be able to bring Android to the current Echo hardware as we had hoped.


Mar 27 2013

News - XBMC Coming to GameStick Console


Ouya, the Kickstarter-backed, Android-powered game console is about to launch, and in addition to serving up games, Ouya will be serving up media via XBMC. However, Kickstarter has helped to fund a pair of Android-powered game consoles for this year. Competing against the Ouya will be the GameStick, a thumb drive-sized game console, and like the Ouya, the GameStick will be slinging media thanks to XBMC. GameStick's developer, PlayJam, has formed a partnership with Pivos to bring XBMC to their diminutive console. Pivos has a close relationship with the XBMC team having hired two XBMC developers specifically to help develop an Android version of the media center application for the Pivos XIOS DS Media Player, so it is certainly a good company to hook up with for adding XBMC support.

This deal is happening by way of an official partnership with Pivos Technology Group. "Working with Pivos and the XBMC community to integrate a world class media center into GameStick is a major step forward in our ambitions," said PlayJam CEO Jasper Smith.


Nov 27 2012

News - Ceton Echo Getting Android (ICS)

With retail availability just a few days away it turns out that Ceton still has a few tricks up their sleeves - with an announcement going out tonight that they will be adding the Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) rev of  Android to the Echo. Not much is known about what that means exactly with queries around Play access gleaning nothing useful (I'm hoping that we'll get Netflix at the very least). Either way it sounds good.

Adding Android Support

Speaking of new features, one of the big projects we’ve been working on is adding the Android platform to Echo!  As you might imagine, having Android will give us lots of opportunity to extend the Echo in interesting new ways with more capabilities and apps.  Android is not included in this week’s update but we’re working hard to get it out as a Christmas present Smile   Since you’re probably wondering … it’s the Ice Cream Sandwich version.

Oct 19 2012

News - VLC for Android Beta 6 Released and VLC Media Player Updated to 2.0.4, Adds Opus Support

The VideoLAN Organization development teams have been mighty busy this week with two different versions of VLC receiving updates. VLC for Android Beta 6 has been released, the latest in a series of rapid fire updates for the project. With Beta 6, VLC for Android continues to improve compatibilty and performance across different Android devices and different versions of Android. Beta 6 also comes with an updated interface that looks to do a better job of taking advantage of the different screen real estate available on a phone and tablet.

VLC for Android Beta 6

VLC media player, meanwhile, has been updated to version 2.0.4. The update brings a number of bug fixes and performance improvements, particularly on Mac OS X, with improvements in UI performance and better support for BluRay. Support for YouTube, Vimeo, Soundclud, and Koreus streams also returns in 2.0.4. The new feature that is likely to draw the most attention is support for Opus, the open source codec recently standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force. Opus was designed specifically to provide high quality sound for Internet streams, and though I have yet to see any online broadcasters offering Opus streams, it is nice to know that VLC will be standing by, ready to receive them.

For a summary of the most important features, you have:

  • Support for Opus codec, including multi-channel and icecast streams,
  • Support for MSS1 and MSS2 codecs through DMO on Windows and Linux (this can still be hard to use until 2.1.Innocent.
  • Support for Youtube Live Streams,
  • Support for BluRays correctly on OSX,
  • Karaoke control on OSX interface.

Jean-Baptiste Kempf

Oct 01 2012

News - FAVI SmartStick Announced

FAVI SmartStickA big part of the appeal of the forthcoming Roku Streaming Stick is the idea of having the power of a full Roku box plugged in and hidden away behind the TV itself. Roku has already begun talking up their Roku Ready branding logo which serves to underscore the reality that the MHL-enabled Streaming Stick is going to be reserved for newer TVs and receivers. For anyone running an older TV or receiver, or not necessarily interested in joining the Roku-verse, then FAVI Entertainment would like to introduce you to the FAVI SmartStick. The FAVI SmartStick is an Android media streamer squeezed up into a small package so that it can be plugged in and hidden away behind the TV. One end plugs into an HDMI port and on the other end is a micro-USB port. The included micro-USB to USB adapter is intended to plug into the TV's USB port to power the device, though the company also sells a USB power adapter in the event one's TV lacks a USB port. The SmartStick will come in 4GB and 8GB capacities for $49.99 and $79.99 respectively and should be available by the end of October. The Wi-Fi-enabled SmartStick will be running Ice Cream Sandwich and have full Google Play Store access and DLNA support. The company has a video of the FAVI SmartStick in action up on their website which suggests that the SmartStick UI is going to be a pretty thin layer, so things will be largely cursor-driven once one gets into an Android app, though is not uncommon among Android-based media streamers. Interestingly enough, the SmartStick comes with an infrared remote control, so using the SmartStick should be fun for anyone who actually takes FAVI up on their offer of installing the SmartStick behind their TV. Good thing the company is also selling a mini wireless keyboard for $39.99.

If you thought smart TVs were only for the privileged few, think again — a technology that once cost hundreds of dollars can now be had for the low price of $50. The FAVI SmartStick is a small dongle that can be plugged into any HDTV, instantly transforming the device into a full-blown Android-powered smart TV with the ability to stream music and movies or browse the Web. The stick runs Ice Cream Sandwich and is equipped with 4GB of storage, Wi-Fi connectivity, DLNA support for media sharing and access to the Google Play Store.

Boy Genius Report

Sep 05 2012

News - Pivos XIOS DS Media Player Reviewed

We reviewed the Pivos AIOS HD Media Player earlier this year. At the time, the AIOS HD was the first product from Pivos. One of our big issues with the AIOS HD was the limited selection of apps, particularly for major streaming services. For a follow-up to the AIOS HD, Pivos has come out with the XIOS DS, an Android-based media streamer with a motion sensing remote control. With Google Play at its disposal, the XIOS DS should offer up a lot more options for app lovers. Pivos has also been working closely with the XBMC team to ensure that the XIOS DS plays nicely with the Android version of XBMC. If nothing else, the XIOS DS offers an unusually bright paint job.


The idea from Pivos is to make the XIOS DS Media Play! a unit that won't replace the smartphone in your pocket, but with this device there is a seamless transition from the phone while you are on the go, right on into the couch for catching up while you eat dinner or lounge around the house. Of course this media box doesn't make phone calls, but with all the apps that come on the XIOS DS from Pivos and the huge Droid Marketplace, there really isn't much you can't find to do with this unit.


Aug 24 2012

News - Diamond Multimedia Releases AMP1000 Android Media Player

There was a time when anyone interested in video cards or PC TV tuner cards knew of a little company called Diamond Multimedia. Diamond Multimedia is not exactly the same company they once were, but they still dabble in PC multimedia add-ons and related devices, including media streamers. Their newest media streamer is the Android Media Player or AMP100. The AMP1000 runs Android 2.3 and aims to bring all the wonder of the Google Play app ecosystem to the living room. Diamond is also promising a future firmware update will bring Android 4.0 to the device. The AMP100 bundles a rather promising looking remote control/keyboard and promises support for all of the requisite file formats. The $119.99 MSRP would probably be a bit more palatable if the AMP1000 was shipping with Android 4.0, but if Diamond Multimedia can serve up better performance than some of the other low-cost Android media streamers floating around out there, then they might have a winner on their hands.

Diamond Multimedia is well known for its AMD graphics cards and USB capture devices. The Android Media Player, AMP1000, being launched today is the latest addition to their TV connectivity product line. The unit is being positioned by Diamond Multimedia as a standalone external Android-based media player, game box and Internet device for the big screen home entertainment center.


Jul 26 2012

News - Plex for Android Updated with Remote Control and Experimental Transcoding

Plex on AndroidThe good folks at Plex have released a relatively substantial update to their Android app, fixing a number of bugs and adding two big new features. First up is a remote control, allowing for control of Android-based Plex devices as well as enabling remote browsing and streaming from other devices. The other new feature is a beta version of Plex's "Quicksilver" transcoder. The Quicksilver transcoder requires version or higher of Plex Media Server and the Plex developers are quick to stress the beta nature of this new transcoder, so use at your own risk. It was also interesting to note the Plex team has been demoing on the Vizio Google TV, especially in light of the budding interest that Vizio has already managed to cultivate with their stand-alone Google TV set top box. 

It’s been far too long, in our opinion, since the last release of Plex for Android. Despite all appearances to the contrary, we’ve not been idling. In addition to being at GoogleIO and demoing on the new Vizio Google TV, we’ve been deep in the bowels of the labs at Plex working on some new features.

Plex Android Blog

Jul 24 2012

News - Comcast Xfinity TV Player Adds Beta Support for Nexus 7, Jelly Bean

With rumors of Google's new tablet selling out, we can probably expect to see a number of media and streaming service providers following Comcast's lead in announcing explicit support for the Nexus 7. Comcast has announced that their Xfinity TV Player has been updated with beta support for the Nexus 7, not to mention beta support for the forthcoming Jelly Bean update of Android. There was a fair amount of anticipation about the future of Android media tablets when the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet hit the scene, but the two tablets took such a custom route that neither tablet seemed to have much of an impact on the overall Android app ecosystem. However, with Google apparently scoring a hit, that looks set to change.

Xfinity on Nexus 7

Comcast subscribers who have already received their Nexus 7 tablets or are sporting Android 4.1-powered phones should cast an eye towards Google Play for an updated version of theXfinity TV Player app. Version adds beta support forJelly Beanin general and theNexus 7tablet specifically.


Apr 08 2012

News - Lenovo Prepping 42-Inch K71 TV Powered by Ice Cream Sandwich

At CES this year, Lenovo was showing off their new TV, the K91. The K91 was a 55-inch TV, but the interesting part was that Lenovo was building their new smart TV platform on Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of Android. Now comes word that Lenovo is working on a 42-inch follow-up, the K71. Though smaller, the K71 should be packing the same 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor, 3D playback, and built-in Wi-Fi as the K91. Unfortunately, the K71 is also following the K91's lead by being launched exclusively in China. Android has been a popular OS choice for some media streamer manufacturers, but we haven't seen too many TV manufacturers give it a shot. Lenovo has apparently put a quite a bit of effort into the UI of their new TVs and taking advantage of the Android OS for apps, so I am hopeful that Lenovo will branch out a bit to some other markets.

Lenovo K71

Similar to that K91 TV we saw Lenovo tease back in January, its K71 brethren's also stuffed with Ice Cream Sandwich, and according to the outfit's online shop it's ready to hit Chinese shelves by the end of the month. Along with running a flavor of Android four-dot-oh, this 42-inch smart TV is also packing an undisclosed 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, WiFi and 3D capabilities, plus a gaming remote control (you know, to use while playing TurboFly 3D).


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