Sep 28 2012

News - Ceton Companion Available on NOOK Tablets

Ceton Companion NOOK

The Ceton Companion app hasn't been out for that long, but it must have seemed like an eternity for NOOK users watching with envy while everyone else enjoyed managing their Windows Media Center lineups and discovering upcoming premiers from the convenient interface. Fortunately for them the wait is now over (along with some other things like iPhone 5 support) with the $5 app available in the B&N app store.

Now if only Microsoft could get their act together and certify the WP7 version that let's me use a password Smile.

Mar 10 2012

News - Peel Smart Remote and Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus Reviewed

Peel on Galaxy Tab

As smartphones and tablets have come to be defined by the apps they run, one of the more surprisingly popular type of apps has been remote control apps. Most such apps are device specific, but a few companies have stepped up to try to create a new class of universal remote controls with their apps. One such company is Peel with their Peel Smart Remote. We reviewed the Peel Smart Review a few months ago. In our case, we used an iPhone 4S to run the app and to interact with the Peel Smart Remote hardware, a small Wi-Fi to IR converter device that the app communicates with. Recently, Peel teamed up with Samsung to bring their app to the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, Samsung latest tablet. This is an intriguing combination because the new Galaxy Tab has a built-in IR emitter, making the Peel hardware unnecessary. Given the price of some high-end remotes, a $399 tablet devoted to running one's living room isn't completely out of the question, particularly given all of the extra functionality that a tablet brings to the table, assuming that the tablet and app work as advertised.

Well, Peel has now teamed up with Samsung to provide an integrated solution for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus tablet. Because the Samsung tablet has built-in IR capabilities, there's no need for the add-on converter box. Peel sent me a sample of the WiFi-only Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus ($399.99) to try out the Smart Remote system, and I took the opportunity to explore the tablet, as well.

Home Theater Review

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 11 2011

News - Attack of the Inexpensive Media Streaming Tablets: Nook Tablet vs. Kindle Fire

Nook Tablet vs. Kindle Fire

As we all know at this point, Amazon announced their first proper tablet, the Kindle Fire, at the end of September. Based on Android and built to tie into the collection of services that Amazon has built, there was a lot to like about it, especially its $199 price tag. Much was made of it as an iPad competitor, but in size and price, it more directly competes with the Barnes & Noble Nook Color. Amazon had little to say at the time about what kind of apps the Kindle Fire would run, but the general assumption was that the Kindle Fire would be largely limited to Amazon's cloud services for media consumption. Even so, the Kindle Fire was very definitely a media consumption tablet that also acted as an e-reader while the Nook Color was an e-reader that could also run some tablet apps; it wasn't set to be much of a competition.

This week Barnes & Noble announced the Nook Color's successor, the Nook Tablet. The Nook Tablet is priced at $249, but it has a more powerful processor, more memory, and a predecessor to drop to the $199 price point with the Kindle. What's more, the Nook Tablet is a media consumption tablet in the vein of the Kindle Fire, but with the pledged support of some very big names.

Barnes and Noble just announced its Nook Tablet with plenty of content coming along for the ride. Most notable is Netflix integration, described by B&N as the deepest on any tablet with Netflix recommendations getting pushed to your homescreen. B&N calls the 7-inch tablet an "unrivaled portable content machine" and backs up the claim with preloaded Pandora and Hulu Plus services (and free trials). Flixster with UltraViolet is also coming soon with newly released movies and TV shows from Warner Bros. and others.

The Verge

The Kindle Fire remained a formidable entry to the tablet market, but for a short time it appeared that Barnes & Noble might have fielded a true champion. That is, until Amazon decided to share a bit more about the Kindle Fire.

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