Media Streaming

Oct 13 2011

News - Seagate Launches the GoFlex Cinema Media Streamer

Another day, another hard drive based digital entertainment media device released. This time around Seagate and their GoFlex Cinema. Not many details on the gui, or any third party online streaming services but for those that have a vast collection of stored content this player doesn't hold back in the codec support arena.

Full 1080p playback, HDMI output, SPDIF audio, USB ports adding support for external storage so you can connect it your pc and treat the 3TB of storage as an external hard drive to offload your content to the device.

The GoFlex Cinema has a vast array of codec support including MKV, M2TS, AVI, MP4, and even Mpeg2 in VOB or ISO just to start things off. Again while we don't know what the gui looks like, or weather or not it supports online streaming services, if you are in the market for a simple media tank to hook up your system this just might not disappoint solely based on codec support and storage capabilities.

Seagate has launched its latest home entertainment storage center, the Seagate GoFlex Cinema multimedia drive, packing up to 3TB of internal storage and the ability to extend that by docking the company’s GoFlex removable drives. Capable of connecting directly to your HDTV or projector via a choice of HDMI or composite video outputs, and with a bundled remote control for sofa-friendly use, the GoFlex Cinema supports up to 1080p Full HD video playback.


Oct 12 2011

News - Twonky App Streams Web Media from Tablet to Player

Apple has AirPlay, but the rest of the world has DLNA. The folks behind one of the more popular DLNA media servers, TwonkyServer, also have a neat little product called TwonkyBeam. TwonkyBeam is an add-on for Internet Explorer and Firefox that allows you to stream web video, audio and images from the browser directly to DLNA players on the network. Now TwonkyBeam is available as an app for mobile devices. You can send individual bits of content or create playlists that will continue to stream while you browse. Unfortunately, as is increasingly true of mobile devices and apps, the TwonkyBeam app does not support Flash content.

PacketVideo have released Twonky Beam Browser app that enables you to beam videos from an iPad or Android tablet to any connected device in your home network. With the app you can control videoplayback and volume and add videos to a queue for streaming.



Oct 11 2011

News - UltraViolet Launch Spurs Changes for Warner Bros. and HBO

HBO Logo

We've all encountered instances where a movie, seemingly at random, becomes unavailable from the streaming service or digital storefront of our choice, only to return some time later without explanation. There are a variety of different licensing restrictions that could cause this, but one of the most common causes is special set of licensing restrictions that HBO has traditionally held that grants HBO exclusive digital rights to a movie while they are showing it on their service.

With the UltraViolet digital locker service getting ready to launch, some studios are starting to understand that they are going to have a hard time explaining to customers why they can't download their movies for months at a time. So far it's only Warner Bros. that has cut a deal to lift this particular licensing restriction, but I would expect that we will hear about more such announcements going forward.

UltraViolet hopes to make digital ownership of movies more attractive, by allowing consumers to buy a title once and access it anywhere or on any device. One of the big questions revolving around the impending launch of UltraViolet streaming video services was whether or not studios would have to deal with the rights window, during which HBO has exclusive access to those titles online. Until recently, that meant movies purchased online couldn’t be accessed while HBO had pay TV rights to that content.


Oct 11 2011

News - SlingPlayer Goes Big for Honeycomb Tablets

Sling for Honeycomb

The SlingPlayer mobile app has been available on Android for a while now, but only for Android phones. Folks running Android Honeycomb-based tablets like the T-Mobile 7" tablet have been left to use an app designed for a 3-4 inch screen on their 7-10 inch tablet. The Android phone app will continue to work on tablets in this less-than-optimal "compatibility mode". The tablet version of the Android app will be $29.99 like the other mobile Sling apps and will be rocking an improved program guide, support for higher resolution video streams, and Sling's new virtual remote. The virtual remote creates a replica of the SlingPlayer remote control of the screen and allows you to control your SlingPlayer as if you had the remote in your hand. We have seen similar remote control systems for mobile apps, but never quite so literally translated to the handheld screen.

The application basically lets Slingbox owners watch home TV from their Android tablets. (The Slingbox retails for $180 and up).

New to this release of SlingPlayer is a revamped program guide that Sling Media says makes it easier to browse content choices while continuing to watch TV, change channels and control their DVRs.



Oct 08 2011

News - Hulu Plus Having a Growing Impact on Bottom Line

Rumors have swirled since early summer that Hulu was up for sale, but that has not stopped the company from pushing ahead with it business plans and seeking out new content. Hulu's CEO, Jason Kilar, recently posted an update on the company's Q3 performance on the Hulu Blog in which he highlighted Hulu's newest major content partner, Univision, which he expects will help Hulu grow its influence with the U.S.'s increasingly influential Hispanic population.

Kilar also highlighted the growth of Hulu Plus, the company's premium subscription service. According to Kilar, Hulu Plus is now available on 120 million devices and has garnered over a million subscribers, which by Hulu's calculations, makes Hulu Plus the fastest ramping video subscription service. All of this in less than a year since exiting the invite-only phase for Hulu Plus and right on the heels of launching in Japan. As a result of all this momentum, Kilar expects Hulu Plus to represent more than half of the company's revenue within 12 months.

The Hulu Plus revenue target comes with a caveat: Kilar didn’t actually say that more than half of the company’s revenue will be based on subscription fees, because Hulu Plus also shows ads. However, the emphasis on Hulu Plus and subscription revenue is definitely noteworthy, particularly because Kilar has in the past wasted no opportunity to talk about the importance of advertising revenue for his company.

Giga Om

Oct 07 2011

News - CinemaNow and Intel Team Up on HD Movie Service

CinemaNow is adding 1080p HD movies to its service thanks to a new deal with Intel. Previously, CinemaNow had only offered standard definition movies through its service. CinemaNow has added hundreds of high definition movies from 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros, and is promising that more are on the way. 1080p movies will be available to buy or rent for playback on computers running a Sandy Bridge-based processor and connected to an HDCP protected display.

It is this last detail that should draw the most attention. CinemaNow requires a Sandy Bridge processor because the service relies on Intel Insider technology to protect the content stream. Prior to this announcement the only place to buy movies using Intel Insider for protection was directly from Warner Bros.

The hardware-based Intel Insider protection relies on some vaguely disclosed authentication technology and a protected pathway from the SNB CPU to the SNB GPU to secure the content. This also means no video card unless you are running on a Z68 chipset and using LucidLogix Virtu to enable graphics switching between the on-board GPU and the video card. Finally, the need for an HDCP connection to the monitor means no VGA and only relatively recent monitors will play along. Given the restrictions, it is hard to imagine many average consumers navigating the restrictions on anything but a new laptop.

According to the company, "several hundred" new releases and other popular films from 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. have already been added to its library, in addition to the 15,000 movies and TV shows already on file.



Oct 05 2011

News - Microsoft Announces New Xbox 360 TV Partners

The rumors have been flying for a while about Microsoft bringing television to the Xbox Live service, and now Microsoft has finally gotten official about what we can expect to see in the Xbox 360's fall update. The result is a healthy mix of new video providers and services in the US and internationally. Two big names that have been cropping up in recent rumors have been Verizon and Comcast. Verizon is bringing their FIOS video service in an arrangement that sounds similar to the one that AT&T has for their U-Verse service. Comcast's participation is a bit more limited than what many people were hoping for. Rather than bringing their full cable service to the Xbox 360, Comcast is only bringing their Xfinity app.

Most of the attention in recent weeks has been on the expansion of live TV on the Xbox 360, but the more pleasant surprise might be the list of video provider services that are taking their place next to Netflix and Hulu. I know many will be excited to see HBO GO and EPIX. Personally, I will be looking forward to the addition of Syfy, even if I still resent them changing their name. Another big addition is YouTube, which is going to be available in 22 markets, presumably including the United States.

In addition to adding the world’s largest TV providers and the best names in sports, the biggest names in Web video, news and music are also coming to Xbox 360, including AlloCiné, Dailymotion, iHeartRadio, MSN with, “The Today Show,” TMZ, VEVO and YouTube. Whether catching up on the Web’s latest viral videos, watching breaking news, sports and weather, listening to your favorite music, or sitting down to enjoy your favorite games, movies or TV shows — no other entertainment device brings it all together in one place like Xbox 360.


--Complete Press Release after the break.--

Oct 03 2011

News - XBMC Team Begins to Open Up on XBMC 11.0 "Eden"


I've never been a regular user of XBMC, but I happened to be up late last night testing an XBMC install for a special project and noticed a message on the RSS ticker announcing a feature freeze for "Eden". Being otherwise occupied, it took me until today to follow up on the XBMC blog. Sure enough, XBMC 11.0 "Eden" is on the horizon, the project is in feature freeze to facilitate build completion, and the XBMC team is planning to gradually unveil the new release's features on their blog.

So much has changed since Dharma, we’ll use this space over the coming weeks to discuss in more detail what you can expect in 11.0. For now, Here are a few things you’re sure to notice:

  • A new “Files” view in the video library in order to remove the notion of Library Mode vs. Files Mode that confused so many new users.
  • The default skin changed to a horizontal layout allowing for more useful information to be displayed on the home screen (vertical version is still available in Add-ons)
  • Efficiency improvements to reduce high cpu/gpu usage


Every time I use XBMC I find something new to appreciate, so I am definitely looking forward to seeing where Eden takes the project. I know already that I like the new emphasis on a horizontal layout. Any XBMC users excited about what Eden is going to be bringing to the table?

Sep 24 2011

News - Comcast Prepping AnyPlay Service for Live TV Streaming to Tablets

Streaming live TV to a tablet is nothing new. Cable companies, individual networks, and 3rd-party hardware developers such as the Slingbox have all brought apps to the major tablets that allow for streaming live TV on mobile devices. Evidently Comcast has decided that they should get in on the act too. Comcast's Xfinity TV started life as Comcast's online VOD project, but eventually became an umbrella brand for all of the company's increasingly integrated services. The Xfinity app currently provides On Demand access and DVR programming, but not live TV streaming.

Comcast is reportedly getting ready to announce their new AnyPlay service that will allow Comcast subscribers to stream live TV to their tablets. Of course, being Comcast, the service sounds like it will be unusually restrictive.

The service will require proprietary hardware from the cable provider and as such, will only work on your home network, as first reported by Mac Rumors. The site acquired a leaked photo detailing the device which will be called AirPlay. The unit will connect to your home wireless network and allow you to stream live TV to one tablet at a time, although you can register up to 10 tablets with the service.


There is no word yet on pricing, but if I were a betting man I would expect a service sign-up fee, a monthly service fee, and perhaps even a monthly rental fee for the AnyPlay device, which basically sounds like a locked down network tuner. Given the restrictions built into the service, its hard to imagine Anyplay generating a whole lot of excitement, but it might avoid some of the legal tussles that have caused Time Warner to restrict some channels from their streaming app. Is there a better balance to be struck?

Sep 23 2011

News - Dish Reveals Some of its Blockbuster Plan

We've all been wondering what Dish Network's plans were for Blockbuster ever since the acquisition earlier this year. Just a few minutes ago, details were unveiled for the Blockbuster Movie Pass subscription which will include DVD, Blu-ray, Games, in-store exchanges and on-demand streaming for $10 a month. The catch is that this plan is only available to Dish subscribers, some of whom will also receive the service free for one year with certain packages. The company asks non-Dish subscribers to "stay tuned."

With Blockbuster's major competitor, Netflix, losing a bit of its lustre recently, Dish Network's reveal certainly seems timely. While the impact will likely be limited so long as the Blockbuster service offering is only available to Dish subscribers, the service could possibly offer a compelling value to non-Dish subscribers if it becomes more widely available. Presumably, subscribing to Dish offers a subsidized pricing scheme and the Blockbuster Movie Pass subscription will either cost more or have fewer features for non-Dish subscribers. For all you Netflix and Qwickster subscribers, is the Blockbuster Movie Pass intriguing you?

At its "a stream come true" event today, Dish Network finally revealed its plans for a subscription video service called Blockbuster Movie Pass. That includes access to discs (movies and games) by mail, streaming video to the TV and PC and linear TV service from Dish, all in one package. Check back for more information "the most comprehensive entertainment package ever" as it becomes available or just peep the live video stream of the announcement embedded after the break.

Engadget HD

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