Monthly Archives: September 2015

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The New Google Streaming product family was rolled out today along with an announcement that the company has sold 20 million Chromecasts globally. The new streaming products Google Audio and the newly designed Chromecast will both sell for $35.00 each and offer the ability to turn almost every device in ones home into smart devices.

Showtime Starts support today, Sling TV in the coming weeks

More Sports on the way
NBA, NHL

New Chromecast supports dual band Wifi
(same as Roku 3 and Fire TV)

The New Chromecast has much stronger Wifi then that last generation.
The New Chromecast has much stronger Wifi then that last generation.

New Antenna system
Device has 3 antennas ensuring the wifi chip will use the best antenna for the users needs

Chromecast ON TVNew Form Factor
Smaller with flexible cable to let it fit into more tight spaces, no more jutting out.

New Content discovery with categorized app search
Using The New Chromecast app users can look for content based on subject and genre using their installed apps. Kids apps, Sports apps etc.

Universal search for programs
Chromecast will search for programming at request based on its installed apps. Find shows and movies across services, and it is not Google Play Centered.

Gaming supported by smart phone accelerometers.

What's On helps users find shows on specific services.
What’s On helps users find shows on specific services.

Any device on the network can be a control
This was already an understood feature of the device from the previous generation but it is still there.

Loads faster
Fastplay loads content quicker like Amazon’s ASAP service preloading content based on your watch history Again this is not Google Play centric. Presenter mentioned Netflix in the demonstration.

Chromecast Audio

  • Streams audio from Wifi directly to any speaker
  • Makes any speaker into a smart speaker without the need for Bluetooth
  • Mirrors music from IOS, Chromebook and Android
  • Can Play audio across multiple speakers at the same time
  • Chromecast audio seppersate device
  • Allow Mirroring of all audio content, podcasts, Audio books etc.
  • Chromecast Audio supports RCA and Optical Cables

Also See What Features Roku Needs To Do To Stand Out Here

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The Google event will start in less than an hour. It is expected that the latest incarnation of the Chromecast will be announced along with a music streaming dongle. Stay tuned to the Streaming Advisor for insights and news.

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Roku has been popular with cord cutters for years.

AFTV News gave us the first look at what the Roku 4 will likely look like. Uncovered via a custom script was a picture of a much larger Roku featuring a familiar remote with headphone jack and of course the signature purple tag. The larger footprint has to make me wonder if the new unit has expanded capabilities from its current list of features. The wider footprint is a total departure from the compact boxes we have see in the past. Wish we could see the ports on the back.

 

 

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Roku needs to court cord cutters more aggressively

In our last article concerning the apparent upcoming release of a new Roku model we discussed some key features that the device should offer (see story here) in order to separate itself from the pack that includes a soon to be released Apple TV update and new Fire TV from Amazon. Roku has always been popular due to a number of factors including its early entry into the market, multiple price points, and open platform which until recently allowed the device to advertise the largest number of apps of any device. But its competition is stepping up its game big time with new features. For Roku to hold onto its top spot in this category it will have to at least match some of the features found on newer devices and make some strides on its own. A new Roku could be a cord cutters dream with the right moves. See what we think

OTA Antenna integration
Cord cutting (dropping cable) and streaming are not the same thing. There are a number of faithful cable subscribers who own a Roku but according to a number of studies Roku is the most popular streaming device among the cord cutting crowd. With that in mind we have to think that the integration of an OTA Antenna directly into a Roku would be a great addition. The addition of a coaxial cable jack like the ones found on televisions combined with an inhouse app could be very popular with the cord cutting crowd.

External Storage Support
The Roku 3 currently allows users to play personal media stored on flash drives via the USB port. But what if a new device were to include full support for large external hard drives. In the age of streaming there is less need and interest in physical storage devices but such a setup would allow Roku to build in a DVR option for our proposed OTA option.

(Non Beta) Mirroring
Roku made waves when it rolled out mirroring see demo here on the Roku 3 and Streaming Stick. Mirroring on Roku allows users to display their Windows 8.1 and above computers as well as Android devices running Android 4.4 and above on their television screens. The function has many uses from a presentation tool to expanding on media viewing opportunities via sharing media from web pages. Competitors the Fire TV, as well as the Apple TV both fully support mirroring though Apple TV users can only share displays from IOS devices and Apple computers.

Casting
Casting is often confused with mirroring because both can be used to view media from mobile devices on connected TV devices. But there is a major difference. The difference is that while mirroring essentially turns a TV into monitor for a wireless device or computer casting allows users to share media directly from a device or computer with the TV. Two mobile apps, YouTube and Netflix can be launched directly from wireless devices and viewed via a Roku. Expanding this functionality to include the full catalogue of apps offered via the Chromecast would allow Roku users to access apps from IOS and Android devices on set-top box via their wireless devices. The Amazon Fire TV has developed its own version of this feature and is inviting developers to integrate it into their apps.

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From Press Release
September 25, 2015 — FUSION today announced it has launched on Sling TV, expanding the distribution of its cable network.  Sling TV delivers live sports, lifestyle, family, news and information channels, and 10,000 hours of on-demand content Video-On-Demand entertainment to broadband-connected devices at home and on-the-go. It is available on televisions, tablets, computers and smartphones.  
 
“FUSION is committed to producing programming for a young, diverse audience that informs, provokes, and entertains. With our launch on Sling TV, FUSION is taking another critical step towards reaching our digitally-native audience in all the places they are consuming content,” said FUSION CEO Isaac Lee.  
 
Fusion is available in the “World News Extra” add-on pack for $5 per month when you sign up for the “Best of Live TV” core package. For more information on Sling TV packages and devices, visit www.sling.com.  
 
FUSION’s video content is also available to consumers on a range of both traditional and emerging platforms including Roku, Apple TV, Spotify, Vessel, and Flipps.

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New Roku reset button physical among new Roku features

Roku will be making some substantial changes to its hardware in its next generation set-top box. One major addition on the new generation of box is a physical reset button. Dave Zatz of Zats Not Funny has been following FCC filings and discovered the button and fillings for what appears to be a new device. See official FCC filings here. The new Roku’s will also have Bluetooth capabilities. Up to this point Roku has thrived with no need for Bluetooth support so the inclusion may mean Roku is looking to do something new with the next model. I have to wonder if that means that the device will support other inputs like Keyboards and or gamepads? The Fire TV supports gamepads through Bluetooth in order to deliver console style gaming to its devices.

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Game system gets in before set-top boxes

Sling TV is updating its interface to make it more intuitive as the live TV app continues its growth. While the interface not impossible to navigate it does have a learning curve of sorts. The more companies like Sling TV can do to make navigation more simple and straight forward the better it will be for customers and the companies themselves. For a full rundown on the new features check out this post from Sling TV’s blog.

New features big improvements

The G-Box Q offers a clean install of Kodi. No more Repositories pre-installed.

The G-Box Q firmware 1.4 update has a lot of nice features that are a major step up from the 1.2 firmware that most G-Box Q owners started with. From transparent buttons and a new place to interact with the installed apps to new convenient access to the recovery menu the G-Box Q Firmware 1.4 brings a lot to the table. Take a look at our video for more information.

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Amazon and Apple TV have made their moves and if the latest reporting from Dave Zats is any indication the leader in the streaming box world, Roku, will be announcing its next product shortly. Despite the reporting otherwise for the most part companies don’t react to each other as much as people think they do. How could they? Obviously Apple and Amazon had to have been working on their new boxes at the same time, though Amazon likely waited for Apple to announce their product so that it could attempt to mute the conversation week later. If Roku is in fact going to release a new product in or before October its feature set must have been in the plans for some time. While the competition has certainly stepped up the game there are some very Roku ways that the company can impress provided its next product is on the same scale power wise.

4K Video
This is an obvious need to meet. It also happens to be the most consistent rumor regarding a new model, which may actually be called the Roku 3 again. 4K is not a major factor in America’s living rooms at this point as there is so little mainstream content being filmed in 4k but the place where we are seeing the most 4K content happens to be via streaming services. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are beginning to offer at least a a dozen titles or more that play in 4K. That is a tiny to almost insignificant number compared to the overall catalogue of each of them but it is sort of a box to check off right now for a product to show it’s cutting edge.

Better Games
Roku was the first set top box to offer native gaming on its devices starting with the Roku XS. This was a breakthrough in the set-top box world but it has never developed into a major feature for the device. The motion enabled remote has gone unused in more game offerings. The games are for the most part very basic in style and substance though there are some old arcade favorites like Pacman and Galaga and the grandaddy of tablet online games Angry Birds. But compared to the immersive titles offered by The Amazon Fire TV, The promised gaming capability of the upcoming Apple TV and offerings from Android TV devices, most notably the Nvidia Shield the Roku is a bit stuck in the mud. If the company has any interest in truly competing in this space it is going to have to offer a far more substantial selection of titles as well as allow for more complicated game play. Support for games that require an actual game pad may be needed.

HBO Now
Roku is the only major platform left out of the HBO Now family and that is strange to say the least. The company offered HBO Go long before Apple TV and featured a number of other tentpole apps ahead of Apple including CBS All Access, and Hulu Plus. But as it stands today Apple TV, Fire TV and even the Chromecast support HBO Now and Roku does not. Any announcement about a new product ought to include HBO.

Interface Refresh
Roku’s interface is by far the most simple to understand. You add channels/apps via the streaming channels section (they should not have changed the name of the channel store) And they then appear on the right side of the screen.  With thousands of apps to choose from Roku is missing an opportunity to differentiate itself by not offering an organizational option. Folders or sections within the interface would be a great way to differentiate its experience. Organizing ones channels by genre sports, movies etc would make finding apps easier for those with numerous installed channels. The company could allow users to still arrange channels in the current grid manner as favorites for the channels people use the most, but a topical or genre based interface would set Roku apart big time.

Parental Controls
For all of its features one of the things that sets Amazon’s Fire TV apart from the rest is “Free Time”. Free Time is a parent and kid friendly option available as a addon to prime membership that allows parents to lock in kids entertainment based on age and other preferences. Once a parent has activate Free Time a secret code must be entered to log out. A similar feature for the Roku would be a great addition to an already strong product.

Multiple Profiles
A question I get often is “Can I set a roku up in my kids room without all of the channels I have on our main one?” That is a logical question but the answer is sadly no. Roku could fix this problem by allowing for multiple password protected profiles. If you don’t want your kids to get late night content from HBO Go or Showtime or Starz block it in their profile. Want to set a timer so that they don’t watch TV all night put it in the profile. This would be a great option for people with multiple Rokus especially those with older slower models that may struggle to perform when burdened with apps that are optimized for the top models.

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What is wrong with the total installer? Nothing that can’t be fixed with a little quick editing and entering a new URL. The Total Installer, which used to be housed at the website totalxbmc.tv now has a new home called noobsandnerds. At the moment users attempting to access the original site totalxbmc.tv will be redirected to noobsandnerds where they will find a collorful new site that is essentially linked to a new forum, the Community thenoobsandnerds forum. Gone is the black and green dominated site that became a familiar landing spot for Kodi enthusiast looking to add an app store for Kodi or XBMC,

Why the new Address?
The owner of totalxbmc.tv sold the website and its properties to a Chinese company which has moved the information to Chinese servers and rebranded it.

Is there still a Total Installer?
No. There is still a functional way to add addons but it has been rebranded as The Community Portal.

How Do You Add The Community Portal

  1. To add the Community Portal go to systems -> File Manager -> Add source and type in the URL http://noobsandnerds.com/portal
  2. Name the source Community Portal
  3. Back out of the file manager and select settings
  4. Scroll to Add-ons
  5. Install from zip file
  6. Select The File
  7. Select Community_Portal_Repo.zip press ok/enter
  8. select noobsandnerds_repo.zip and press ok
  9. Back out of settings and scroll to Programs
  10. Select Program add-ons
  11. Select Get more
  12. Select Community portal and press ok

 

I was a member of the Total XBMC Site Do I have to register again?
No. Your original login will allow you to access the features. Just be sure to differentiate between Your registration email and your actual user name.