Media Streaming

Sep 09 2011

News - Vulkano Flow Gets Official in the Great White North

Winter in Canada. Mornings in the shack on the lake for ice fishing. Afternoons at the rink for a little curling. Home for Hockey Night. At least that's how I imagine it sitting here in the middle of the desert in the summer. And now it seems that I can also throw in a whole of lot television watching and Hockey Night on the go thanks to Vulkano.

We commented on the Vulkano Flow placeshifter when it first launched, and now comes word that the Flow is going wide in Canada. Keeping the $99 price tag, the Vulkano Flow is going to be available from Amazon, The Brick, and directly from Vulkano.

Summary of Vulkano Flow Features:

  • Place shift television programming and view on smartphones, Android tablets, iPads, PCs and Macs
  • Pause, fast-forward or rewind live TV
  • Browse EPG for shows and episode descriptions
  • Record live TV streams directly onto mobile devices
  • Watch and control your live TV on the go via Wi-Fi or 3G
  • Connect to all major TV sources - cable, DVD, satellite, DVR, TiVo
  • Stream video at H.264 standards at rates as low as 150kbps
  • Connects wirelessly through Vulkano’s on board .11n WiFi to home router
  • TV content is passed from the set-top box’s analog output (component, composite) to Vulkano; using resolutions up to 1080i

Vulkano Press Release

Sep 02 2011

News - PowerDVD Taps the Power of Honeycomb

PowerDVD MobileCyberLink has always done a good job of at least trying to move its flagship PowerDVD product beyond simply being a media player by jumping on new disc formats and building a social experience via MoovieLive, but now CyberLink is adding some mobility to its repertoire. Their new PowerDVD Mobile looks like a pretty solid Android media player with some iOS design cues for good measure, but it also taps into the power of DNLA for sharing and streaming between Android tablets and to other devices.

Given that media management and playback has been the clunkiest aspect of the Android platform in my experience, a streamlined, integrated app could be a nice addition to an Android tablet. It doesn't hurt that we haven't seen a lot of developers targeting Honeycomb exclusively and really designing their Android apps specifically with tablets in mind. CyberLink's focus on streaming media also suggests the company is smartly preparing for the distributed computing future that we all seem to be hurtling toward.

It's known as PowerDVD Mobile for Android, but don't let the name fool you, because smartphones need not apply. The software allows users to stream media from PowerDVD on their computer directly to the tablet, share media between tablets, and stream media from the tablet to DLNA-certified TVs.

Engadget

Sep 01 2011

News - Starz Ditches Netflix

Starz + Netflix

Starz has decided not to renew its contract with Netflix. Starz and Netflix signed a deal back in 2008 when Netflix's Watch Instantly streaming service was still in its infancy. Starz was the first big name to make a major commitment to Netflix and was widely seen as a validation that Netflix had a shot at getting content that was not dredged up from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 vaults. Starz also got some premium positioning on the Netflix website. Indeed, when the Criterion Collection jumped ship for Hulu, there were a lot of grumblings that the primary motivation was that Netflix would not give Criterion the kind of placement that Starz enjoyed.

Unfortunately, it sounds like Starz has decided that Netflix can't afford them anymore. When Starz leaves Netflix they will be taking along their original programming as well movies from Sony and Disney, which Starz controls the cable distribution rights to. The current Starz deal lasts until February 2012, but my guess would be that we will see little or no new content come from Starz between now and then. Sony movies abruptly disappeared from Netflix a few months ago and Starz also recently made an announcement that they were placing a 90 day window on their content before allowing Netflix to start streaming it.

The question remains: where does Starz go from here? My money is on an HBO Go-style service, but I wouldn't rule out a sudden Amazon announcement in the near future.

Now, Netflix has some new problems on its hands. Satellite TV channel Starz released a statement that said it would not renew its distribution deal with Netflix when it expires next February, which means Netflix will lose Disney and Sony-related programming from its library. 

Anandtech

Aug 26 2011

News - ESPN3 Steps Up to the Plate with an Xbox 360 Update

ESPN on the Xbox 360

Microsoft continues to focus its living room aspirations on the Xbox 360. For a long time, one insurmountable advantage that Windows Media Center held over the Xbox 360 was access to live sports content. The addition of the ESPN3 app to Xbox Live changed that, and now the Xbox's ESPN3 app is getting an update that might just convince me to watch some sports. The app gets a UI overhaul that brings navigation more in line with the conventions of the Xbox 360 and would make the app feel right at home on WMC.

Users now have the option to turn on a live sports news ticker that runs along the bottom of the screen. With it running, the app looks for all the world like a standard cable channel, right up until you open the new mini-guide or the full content guide to pick a different stream. For college football fans, there is also an option to track the NCAA football scores, complete with live alerts that will pop up while watching other content and a fly-out scoreboard that can be pulled up with the press of a button. I can see this being a popular feature, though I wish that it was possible to use it for other sports as well. I can see how the live alerts might not work for every sport, but fly-out scoreboards probably would.

There are also a few new features that I have not had a chance to play with yet. One feature that I will leave to my son to try out is the Kinect voice control. He can't get enough of giving the Xbox orders. There is also a new option to run two streams at once in a split screen mode.

Aug 26 2011

News - Vizio's Tablet Gets Hulu Plus

Vizio recently released their first Android tablet, and now Vizio has the first Android tablet that can access Hulu Plus.The fact that the Vizio Tablet runs Gingerbread instead of the tablet-focused Honeycomb probably helped. There are a number of Gingerbread-based smartphones running Hulu Plus already, requiring the Hulu app developers to expend relativly little effort tweaking the app and certifying the device. 

Vizio has taken a fairly low key approach in marketing their tablet, but one consistent message has been Vizio's focus on the Tablet as an entertainment and media device. I suspect that we will be seeing other similar services coming to the Vizio Tablet.

While it sounds like it would have made more sense for Hulu to work on support for one of the more high-profile Android tablets first, the reason it went with Vizio's offering is likely that it is powered by Android 2.3, the same version of Android that most of the Hulu-supported phones run, as opposed to Android 3.0+ ("Honeycomb").

In addition to letting users stream a huge back catalog of movies and TV shows, the largest value in Hulu Plus is that users are able to watch the most recent episodes on their supported devices.

TG Daily

Aug 23 2011

News - Home Server 2011 Media Streaming Known Issue and Workaround

Looks like Microsoft has published an article and acknowledges the streaming issues that people are seeing with Windows Home Server 2011. Microsoft has published a Technet Wiki with the problem and solutions to fix the three issues. Two of them have to do with the repeat button repeat button. The other is issues with Music Album art and tag get overwritten. Head over to the link below and check out the fixes you need to do if you are seeing these issues. No comments on Microsoft if they will be releasing these as a SP or hotfixes.

 

To ensure imported music files can be refreshed automatically with online album art, a scheduled task syncs media metadata regularly for files on WSH music shares. However, this task will also overwrite some customized properties of the tags.

Technet Wiki

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