Connected Devices

Oct 11 2013

News - Samsung HomeSync Provides Personal Cloud and Connected Entertainment Experience

I have no idea what to make of this since there's no price associated, but my guess it's going to be quite a bit more than Chromecast, but it also has a whopping 1TB of data--ONE. I must be missing something as far as how practical this is, and there's no screenshots of the UI. Would love to test one and see what it's about.

Play content such as mobile games, videos, music, or flip through photos on your home television using HomeSync’s Android Media Center. Mirror content from your GALAXY mobile device on your TV in full HD. Users will also be able to use their mobile device as a remote controller, and enjoy Android applications such as popular games, YouTube, even web browsers, on their TV screens. The device provides a fully immersive media center at home.


Feb 24 2012

News - Half of All Smart TVs Not Connected to Internet

Smart TV

The biggest trend in TVs over the last couple of years has been the move toward 3D and smart TVs. Indeed, it is rapidly becoming difficult to buy a TV without both features, but that is no guarantee that anyone will actually use the features. A recent NPD In-Stat survey has revealed that only 47% of smart TVs are actually connected to the Internet, and even smart TVs that are connected are rarely used to take advantage of the connected features and apps made available. Given how rapidly smart TV functionality has spread through the market, it is likely that a goodly number of the people buying smart TVs never had any interest in the connected functionality, which means these statistics may not be as meaningful as they seem at first glance. Eschewing functionality one never sought in the first place is not an indictment of the functionality's value to those interested, but it does suggest that TV manufacturers need to explore the causes behind the lack of interest if they hope to leverage their smart TV functionality as a revenue stream as Samsung appears poised to attempt with a Blockbuster streaming service. It also highlights how vulnerable TV manufacturers might be to the arrival of Apple's oft-rumored iTV. Whether the lackluster adoption and use of smart TVs is the result of consumer apathy, poor implementation, or simply a lack of consumer education, there will be no confusion about the role of Apple's TV as a connected device or its "magical" properties.

Over a year ago we argued that the "smart" part of Smart TVs—the apps, the connectivity, the widgets—is useless. Unwanted. Turns out we weren't alone. Everyone really does just want a dumb TV.


Feb 17 2012

News - People Watching More Videos, Longer on Tablets and Connected TVs

The explosion of mobile devices has dramatically changed the landscape for streaming video consumption over the last couple of years, so no one should be surprised to see a report, such as the one that Ooyala recently released, that shows mobile device viewership is on the rise for online video. Ooyala is a video service provider for companies such as the Hearst Corporation and ESPN. Every quarter Ooyala issues a report of online video viewership habits based on their analytics. The company's 2010 Q4 report goes beyond mobile devices though. The report also breaks down viewership statistics for tablets and connected TVs. For Ooyala's purposes, connected TVs include smart TVs and TVs connected to an OTT box such as a game console or Google TV.


It's in these statistics that Ooyala found some interesting trends that might reflect on the future of online video consumption. Tablets and connected TVs saw rapid growth in usage in Q4, with connected TV usage nearly doubling, and tablet and connected TV viewers are also more likely to watch a complete video and watch a long video versus a short video than viewers on desktops or mobile devices. It stands to reason that larger screens and more comfortable viewing conditions would result in more engaged viewers. As tablets and connected TVs become more prevalent and command a larger percentage of the time spent viewing online video, we will likely see greater demand for more medium and long format video content.

The iOS vs. Android comparison is also enlightening. Starting with the iPhone 4S launch, iOS usage rapidly outpaces Android usage, correlating with recent sales figures for the two platforms and underscoring analysts' suggestions that iPhone 4S sales benefited from pent-up demand for Apple's new phone. There are also encouraging statistics for Google TV, which saw more than a 90% increase in video plays. Admittedly, the slow start that Google TV has experienced means that just about any growth is going to look explosive in isolation, but it sure beats a downward trend.

As we learned in Q3, the rabid adoption of mobile devices has been leading to increased engagement with online video. Not only that, but connected TVs are really beginning to make waves, Google TV in particular. Ooyala’s report found that video plays on tablets, mobile devices, and connected TVs nearly doubled in the fourth quarter (from Q3).


Nov 22 2011

News - Boxee Box gets SlingPlayer App

Just on the heels of the SlingPlayer integration into Facebook, and addin to Google Chrome, Boxee Box is the latest recipient of the SlingPlayer application. Soon SlingPlayer will have apps to a many other connected devices but for now you can load up the SlingPlayer app on your Boxee box and get live streaming video.

This is an interesting aspect. Right now I use a SlingBox connected to a Linksys Media Center Extender to extend my Media Center experience to my iPad and smartphones. It allows me to stream my content from my Media Center setup to virtually anywhere I want. You can now do the same thing with the SlingPlayer in Boxee Box and essentially get live streaming tv built into it.

Sling first expanded its SlingPlayer app to Facebook and Chrome a few days ago, and now the company is extending those streams to the TV (without a dedicated SlingCatcher or mobile device TV-out) with apps for connected devices. Today the company announced the Boxee Box app would be first out of the gate, arriving ahead of the promised Google TV version we're also expecting. Interestingly, there does not appear to be a charge for the app (which runs $30 on mobiles and tablets), so if you have a Slingbox Solo or Pro-HD and one of the green and black media streamers all you have to do is download and press play. We'll give it a shot and let you know how it works, until then just press play on the demo video embedded above for a quick look.


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