Using Computers for streaming

The Google Chromecast has been a top seller since its debut.

The Google Chromecast offers a great value for its $35.00 price tag. It is simple to operate and provides access to the most popular Chromecast picweb based video services Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus and HBO-Go. While there was tremendous hype surrounding the product during the summer of 2013 there has been very little news since.  Roku owned the fall and winter so far. It stepped in to the spotlight rolling out new models, YouTube (for Roku 3) and debuted TV sets with the Roku interface. There are also plans to add YouTube to the new current Roku LT, 1 and 2. A $50.00 Roku LT with YouTube could be a real problem for Google. Why has this been an uneven year for the Chromecast so far? Today we look at what Google has done right and what it has done wrong.

What It Has Done Right

Ryan Michael Downey

Are you a current Netflix customer. If you have been considering starting a Netflix streaming only account you may want to get it in place before the pricing plan changes. GigaOm’s Janko Roetgers

Once you add a profile you can begin to customize it.
Once you add a profile you can begin to customize it.

 is reporting that the service which recently announced  a subscriber base of 44 million people is exploring a pricing structure for new members that would include different prices based on the number of access points one uses.

This may be a way for Netflix to curb the sharing of accounts among multiple users . The existence of these sorts of arrangement has been acknowledged by HBO CEO Richard Plepler. According to an article by Buzz Feed’s Mathew Lynley, Phleper thinks that people who access HBO through other means especially while they are young will become paying customers later in life.

Whether it is an attempt stop such a practice or an attempt to increase revenue going forward Netlfix, in a rare case of customer loyalty, says that current Netflix members will be allowed to keep their plan in place.  Netflix may have already tipped their hand on pricing as the company has recently rolled out a family pricing structure that charges 11.99 for use of four devices at the same time as well as a less expensive plan for 6.99 that only streams in standard definition.

Fans of the PBS/BBC hit Sherlock can break out the violins. The first episode of the 3rd season has been posted online for all to enjoy. Sherlock can be seen on PBS’s website as well as through the PBS App available on multiple mobile platforms as well as the PBS channel for Roku and the PBS app on Apple TV. It’s 87 minute run time and tight editing provides fans with a cinematic experience. Between Sherlock and Downton Abbey PBS has gained a new and appreciative audience.

Update!!!!!
Sherlock is no longer available for free (Legal) viewing on the PBS website nor through its apps. PBS does not keep Masterpiece programming available online. When Season 3 becomes available on a streaming service will let everyone know. Until then in order to view season 3 fans can watch on Vudu 4.99 per episode and $19.99 for the season. Amazon Instant Video also has each episode for $4.99. Apple iTunes is selling individual episodes of season 3 for $6.99.

Aereo, the web based service  that provides users with crystal clear local and network channels along with 20 hours of DVR service will be heading to the Raleigh Durham media market in the near future. On the company’s home page there is a message inviting residents to provide an email address in order to pre-register for the service. According to Aereo, those who pre-register will get access to the service before the rest of the public has access along with a free month. Aereo has proven to be a popular option for those looking to cut ties with cable but maintain a dependable source for network television stations like CBS, ABC, Fox and NBC. The service provides viewing for those networks as well as the CW, ION, Qubo and any other channel in a given media market provided that the channel is available via a digital antenna. The service provides the content via remote miniature antennas that collect the free signals from the broadcast towers like a home antenna and then send a digital signal to the homes of subscribers using the Internet. The antennas are not located at the home of the user so there is no set up or maintenance on the part of the customer.

The WWE became the first major media company to launch a new Network exclusively based on the Internet. The Network, which will debut in February and cost 9.99 per month, will stream all 12 pay per events including WrestleMania. The offer may be very tempting to its fans as  WrestleMania  alone sells at  around $70.00 meaning the ppv event alone would costs as much as 7 months of service.

In a Variety  story The WWE said that it will need around 1 million subscribers to break even on the investment. The WWE has reason to expect that goal to be met. According to Variety the WWE App, available for multiple platforms” has been downloaded 9 million times.

How Can You Watch It?
There are many ways to take in the programming including the WWE App on: mobile devices including Amazon’s Kindle Fire devices along with Android and iOS devices. Roku will also be in on the game as well as game console giants the Sony PlayStation 3 and Sony PlayStation 4 along with the Xbox 360.

NFL Pic

Ryan Michael Downey

Variety is reporting that NBC will Air the NFL Wild Card games for free online to all users this Saturday. The Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts will air starting at 4:30 followed by the New Orleans Saints taking on the Philadelphia Eagles. CBS is following the same model and is streaming its full slate of AFC playoff games online with no cable authentication required. Fox, which stream the Super Bowl this year to all users with no barriers, will only allow streaming of the rest of the playoffs including the NFC championship game to viewers who have credentials from participating cable companies. Participating companies include Comcast, Cablevision, and AT&T U-verse.  Last year nearly 3 million people watched the Super Bowl online.

According to an announcement by the Plex developers via its monthly newsletter, new Plex users are going to be required to sign up for a Plex Pass account in order to access the Plex channel on Roku. Part of the January news letter contained this brief statement. The Plex channel will have a one time fee of $4.99.

“Finally, you may have noticed that for new users, Plex is now available as a paid app on Roku with a free 30-day trial. Plex on Roku is still free for all Plex Pass members, and those of you already using Plex on Roku before this update.”

As of now, the Plex channel is not listed under pay channels. Since its launch as a private channel, the Plex channel for Roku has been exceedingly popular especially ammung XBMC fans. Because Plex was built from XBMC code it allowed for much of the same functionality that XBMC provided from the ability to play local files in multiple formats as well as utilize third party applications, which at one point offered many options not available in the Roku channel store especially in the case of YouTube. Many of those channels have since been added including YouTube although exclusively for the Roku 3 at the moment.

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Ryan Michael Downey

The Developers behind My Video Buzz have released a new installer for easy setup of the popular My Video Buzz Image cropped editedYouTube option for Roku. Myvideobuzz is a private open source channel that can be side loaded on to a Roku which allows users to access their YouTube accounts via a Roku in lieu of an official YouTube app being available to all of the Roku Models available.

What Is The Installer?
The installer is a compressed or zipped file that can be downloaded from the My Video Buzz page on the github website. Simply click the link and you will be brought to the page to begin. the devs have made this quick and easy with step by step on screen instructions.

Requirements To Use The Installer
In order to access the My Video Buzz installer you must have a windows laptop or desktop computer on the same network as your Roku device. The computer is essentially the launch pad for the program and the side loading action. This action can not be performed on a windows tablet, a smart phone, Ipad or an Apple computer.

How Do You Install The Installer
In order to install the installer click the green button labeled Download MyVideoBuzz installer. The file will quickly download on to your computer.  After the zipped file has finished downloading  click on the file and it will open where you should see an icon called Myvideobuzzinstaller.exe. Click the icon labeled “Extract” and chose a folder for the program to be sent to, I recommend a desktop folder so that it is easy to find. Once the program is in the folder of choice open the folder and double click the icon labeled MyVideoBuzz Installer. It will open the instillation program. Click next and agree to the terms given.

My Video Buzz Installer Button

Entering Developer Mode
In order to install MyVideoBuzz on to a Roku you must access the developer screen for the Roku. This will not harm your device. In order to access this you must press the buttons on the remote in a specific sequence. The Installer will prompt you as to which buttons to press. This is simpler then it sounds. Once in developer mode agree and let the Roku Reset. Once this process is over you are almost done.  

Finish Instillation
The program will then automatically scan for Roku devices on your wireless network. Once it finds a Roku or multiple Rokus depending on your setup click on the dropdown menu that says “Please select a device and click next” choose the Roku you wish My Video Buzz install screento install myvideobuzz on. Select said Roku and the process will complete. My Video Buzz will open on your system and you will be able to enjoy your favorite videos right on the Roku. In order to learn how to get the most from a YouTube Account see our guide here. Once you have My Video Buzz installed on your Roku device you can use the installer to put the program on any other Roku device that is on the same network as your computer by allowing the program to scan for Roku devices again. The installer can also be used in order to install My Video Buzz on to other Roku devices on other networks provided your laptop has access to the network. Use this method any time in order to enjoy the wonderful YouTube Channel for Roku.

Ryan Michael Downey
In a highly anticipated move the Google Chromecast has added HBO Go to its list of officially supported apps. HBO-Go, which is an Internet based service from Time Warner owned HBO, provides on demand viewing of its library of original shows and movies along withimage a large selection of feature films and documentaries. The films change frequently to reflect what is in the TV stations rotation. Until now Chromecast  users could only access HBO Go via a laptop using its Google Chrome tab mirroring abilities. The service is only available to those who possess the ability to authenticate a cable subscription. Besides cable access smart phone or tablet users will have to have the HBO Go App installed. This brings the number of officially supported app for the device to six. The device also supports Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Pandora and Google Play movies, TV and music. The Chromecast has been adding support for the most popular internet services slowly but surely as it builds partnerships with media companies who must first Integrate DIAL support.

Play cast requires a subscription to the PlayOn service.
The PlayCast app may be the first step in a new direction.

Ryan Michael Downey

Roku is taking a step towards full mirroring from computers and other devices on its products via its new integration with PlayOn and its new PlayCast app.  The extension allows users to send videos that can be viewed on a windows computer to a Roku in order to view them on their TVs. In order to use the application a PlayOn media server must be installed and running on a windows based computer and the PlayCast app and the PlayOn app must be installed on the Roku. Once PlayOn is fully installed a PlayOn icon can be added to the users preferred browser. Feature Not Free PlayOn is not a free service but it has many pricing options from a onetime fee to monthly charge.  As a special bonus to Roku users, owners of the set top device can sign up for PlayOn’s lifelong membership for only $29.00 Upon loading the PlayCast app to the Roku and opening it users are provided with a special code that can be redeemed at PlayOn’s site. A full review of the new service’s capabilities will be coming soon. More To Come This development is likely far from the last we will hear concerning Roku and mirroring as there has been persistent reporting concerning Roku and DIAL (Discovery and Launch) the protocol that enables the Google Chromecast as well as Miracast a separate second screen protocol developed to provide a service counter to Apple’s Air Play, primarily working with Android devices and laptop computers. There has even been reporting that indicates development of an extension to allow full mirroring from Mozilla Firefox.  Both Miracast and DIAL are expected to be widely adopted as more people understand and embrace the wireless transfer of video and audio content. Roku stands to be at the forefront of these developments going forward and may well be making more related announcements going forward.