Tags Posts tagged with "Streaming Player"

Streaming Player

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Netflix is the standard bearer for streaming.
Netflix is the standard bearer for streaming.

Netflix
Netflix is the quintessential streaming app and was the very first streaming application that Roku ever supported. With over 50 million customers its quite likely that you already have a Netflix account. What does Netflix offer? A gigantic library of movies, TV shows, documentaries and a growing list of special presentations like concerts and comedy specials. Netflix is more of a streaming network than an app with over a dozen original shows from the gritty like House of Cards, Jessica Jones and Daredevil to the Emmy-winning comedy The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It’s a great way to check out the shows that everyone at work has been telling you to see like The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time or even long time favorites. Best yet if you have a 4k TV and a Roku 4 Netflix is one of the only places to find content for it.

Amazon Video
Amazon VideoAmazon’s video service is a feature included in conjuction with Amazon’s prime service. If you have been considering Amazon Prime for the shipping, Kindle reader perks and and special offers it is a no brainer. Amazon has exclusive streaming deals with CBS that makes it the home of summer hits like Under The Dome and offers a large number of TV Shows and movies from multiple studios. A perk of Amazon’s service is that the content is broken down by network so if you have a favorite TV neighborhood it can be found easily. Amazon has some well regarded originals too including breakout alternative history thriller The Man In The High Castle and the Emmy-winning Transparent. On the movie side of the spectrum Amazon offers the Epics movie catalogue which features big titles from Lions Gate and other studios.

Hulu
Hulu is a great service for those who don’t have a DVR and or cable television. The service offers

Hulu has always had ads and has grown quickly in the first half of 2015.
Hulu has always had ads and has grown quickly in the first half of 2015.

next day replay of content from Fox, NBC, ABC, CW, the majority of viacom based networks including Comedy Central, the entire library of South Park, the Epics Movie Catalogue, The Criterion Collection (art and Indie films) BCC content and a large slate of originals. There are also tons of television shows from throughout the TV landscapes organized by network and studio. Users can pay as little as $7.99 for the commercial supported version of the channel or kick it up a notch for the commercial free version. Hulu customers also have the option to add current and archived content from Showtime. Overall it’s a great value.

NBC
NBC LogoNBC has its own freestanding app on Roku where users can catch up on NBC shows and specials. Users who have a participating cable provider can access even more content. The app will allow users to access a great deal of content for free though including original movies and series without the need to provide a Cable password.

CBSN
CBS NewsCBSN is a 24 hour Internet based news network. It provides a daily rundown of breaking news much like CNN, Fox News and others. The service is free no strings attached. With CBSN you will not be caught off guard when someone asks you about the tornado in Texas or even the latest pop culture buzz.

PBS
PBS LogoPBS is one of the most complete apps on Roku. Any of PBS’s programs can be found via the app and users can sign in with their local PBS station to open regional based programming. For fans of hits like Downton Abbey, Sherlock and what ever makes its way through the BBC pipeline next PBS is a treasure. There are also a number of PBS favorites from yesteryear including the Joy Of Painting.

YouTube
YouTube picYouTube is the most heavily used streaming service in the country. If you don’t know what YouTube is now you can probably ask the person next to you and get an earful about cute babies, Kittens and more but the app overall can become a go to for people from all walks of life. From clips uploaded from all over the world to great original programming from professional production companies it is easy spend an entire night on one short form feature after another. It is also one of the most popular places in the world to find music. Link your own YouTube account and see your favorite subscriptions and saved videos.

Watch ESPN

ESPN will son be available outside of a traditional pay TV package.

Watch ESPN is the app of apps for sports fans. Like its mobile app the Watch ESPN app for Roku provides access to ESPN’s family of networks provided that your TV provider participates in the program. A great bonus offered by Watch ESPN is ESPN 3, an internet based option that gives viewers access to extra contests from major sports conferences including live football and BAsketball, Baseball and non revenue sports. Many ISP’s especially DSL providers allow users to access ESPN 3 content without a cable subscription.

Pandora
PandoraYou might be surprised at just how much you use this free music service. Pandora has a gigantic selection of music available on request. Users can set up their own stations based on specific performers and genres. Want easy listening? Search for adult contemporary or look for James Taylor and the system will populate Taylor, Paul Simon and simmilar artist. Type John Williams and listen to Star Wars, The ET score, and other works from Williams, Hans Zimmer and more. It’s one of my personal favorites when I am writing.

VUDU
Vudu PicNope this is not a cult channel. It is an on demand movie and television service and one of the best places to find 4K content online. Roku 4 users with 4K TV’s should take a look at this channel early. It is free to add and with a free account users can purchase digital blockbuster films and even access their own digital content through Ultra Violet. The service offers multiple viewing options for content including SD, HD and 4K.

Ryan Michael Downey

One of the easiest ways to watch American TV stations online is a service called USTV Now. The service, which is available via its home page as well as through apps for XBMC and a private channel

US TV Now Provides US TV Channels Online
US TV Now Provides US TV Channels Online

for Roku allows users to watch an American based cable package overseas. Viewers using the service via a browser can access the basic networks; CBS, NBC, ABC, CW, Fox and PBS for free. Apple TV users can access the service via mirroring and a compatible laptop or IOS device.

Private channel for Roku, Tablets and other devices adds loads of content

Originally published 9/2013, this article has been republished due to repeated questions and the increased interest in Hulu with the Fall TV Schedule launching.

This article is going to focus on accessing the free version of Hulu  at home on TV’s and mobile devices via PlayOn, a multifaceted media server and DMR (Digital Media Renderer) application with many capabilities.

Everybody’s Favorite Next Day Channel
There is not a more popular legal way to watch current TV shows through a computer or mobile device then Hulu. The company which is a joint venture between Disney, Fox and Comcast has millions of users utilizing both the “Freemium” online service and Hulu Plus pay service which was developed as a mobile app for use on tablets phones and select media streaming boxes.

Apples and Apples
There are a few subtle differences between the free version of Hulu when accessed through a computer and Hulu Plus. But one of the obvious differences is that one does not have to pay to access Hulu while using a computer. For 7.99 per month Hulu Plus also provides its users with full seasons of many current shows and even shows long since cancelled along with a wider selection of movies. It’s programming is available on the go through a smart phone or tablet and at home through a streaming devices which include game consoles, Roku products and Apple TV, Fire TV and the Chromecast through wireless devices. Both services allow users to view shows after they air on broadcast television.

It seems that as long as one is anchored to a desktop or even lugging a laptop the company will give you a break, but you pay a monthly “convenience tax” for the ease of portability. Remember when a slim laptop seemed like a portable convenience? This appears to be the unifying theory of the Hulu universe. But like many seemingly absolute theories further research sometimes opens another path.

How can I use the free version of Hulu?

Enter PlayOn.  PlayOn is a media server based app for multiple platforms produced by Media Mall which allows users to access an entire universe of official and third party apps on their televisions and mobile devices. For our full article on PlayOn click here The app requires users to download a simple to install media server program to an internet connected laptop or desktop computer. Once installed one can stream content to many devices including, Roku boxes, Google TV, tablets, phones or even be utilized on dedicated HTPC’s, computers connected to TV’s for home theater entertainment purposes. For a complete listing of compatible devices see  Playon’s official site click here

In order to utilize PlayOn on an HTPC it is helpful to have some sort of media center software such as XBMC or Windows Media Center. The computer must either be wired in to the same router or have a wireless card.

The PlayOn channel for Roku has many options but one of its most popular features is Hulu and like I said, this is the free version that you would otherwise only access via a computer. The reason this works on streaming boxes and mobile devices is that the actual media is being fed to the devices from a computer instead of directly from the internet. Playon is built from Microsoft’s windows explorer so Hulu’s website interacts with the program the same way it would directly accessing from a PC based browser instead of shifting the user to a mobile based web portal. If you are a user who generally utilizes Hulu online to catch up with shows week by week then utilizing Hulu’s Free content via a TV or tablet may be the perfect solution for your media needs. The free offerings include current shows from all major networks excluding CBS, who is not a partner with Hulu. Along with the traditional networks many cable offerings are also available. The app behaves differently depending on what platform you are utilizing it on. For Instance the app/channel for Roku utilizes a side scrolling method similar to many other Roku apps while the apps for IOS and Android devices and  are optimized for a mobile platform. XBMC explores Hulu with a simple to follow list.

Where can I get the App
The PlayOn app is free to download but in order to utilize all of its features you must purchase the program. The company offers numerous special offers including lifetime access keys for $50.00 or less. Free Mobile Apps for phones and tablets are available via iTunes store, Google Play Store as well as the Blackberry  official app store. The PlayOn Roku Channel can be added to your Roku via PlayOn’s own website or by clicking here. Once there, users are linked to Roku’s add on screen and prompted enter a short code.  I personally purchased the program over a year ago and have used it on android tablets and an iPad and a Roku.

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There are a number of quad core Android boxes on the market including the Armada Mach 8.

The Armada Mach 8 Set top box is a powerful new entry to the set top box market. The Mach 8 comes pre-loaded with XBMC and runs on aMach 8 Pic powerful Amlogic quad-core processor. The Android version OS Kit Kat 4.4 adds more fuel to the fire with a sharp and cheerful interface and additional apps for your streaming needs.  The streaming box is available for $99.00 at:
www.theaterinabox.tv and Amazon . 

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The JynxBox Live set top box is a compact simple to use item with its own custom app store and proprietary operating system. Unlike many set-top-JynxBox Live Home boxes on the market today the “Live” does not run a full Android interface retrofitted for the TV. It does run on an Android based system but comes loaded with a group of apps optimized for TV and eschews the full Google Play store. The dual core processor powered machine offers a number of popular services and is easy to upgrade via software patches. This internationally loved system is available in the US via www.theaterinabox.com . 

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

The Google Chromecast is well known as a device that integrates with wireless devices from Apple and Android but very Chromecast ready to castlittle has been said concerning the Chromecast is regards to PC’s. Today we present a guide that will help users learn how to set up the Chromecast with a laptop computer and get it ready for action with the Google Cast extension for the Google Chrome browser. This how to article will guide you step by step through the set up process and have you streaming in no time.

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FilmOn, the controversial and popular app found on XBMC and other media server programs is again available for Roku set-top boxes as a private channel. This is not the first instance of FilmOn that has been available for Roku and we do not know if its addition will be a permanent one. But until we are informed otherwise we can report that the channel is in fact active. Learn more about it and how to get it bellow.

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In the set top business like all industries if you are standing still you are getting behind. In lue of releasing a new streaming box every year Matricom has been moving forward through extensive firmware upgrades. It’s release of 1.1.7 has proven to be a great improvement from 1.1.6 firmware released last year.

How do you get the New Firmware?
Matricom provides directions to install 1.1.7 on its website here.

New Interface
Firmware update 1.1.7 brings a simplified interface to replace the companies stylized version of Android’s standard launcher known as the 3D launcher. Its new flatter design emphasizes portals to services that resemble the Windows 8 tiles or other iterations of Android TV found on other devices.

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Fire TV owners may as well make a full investment in the Amazon ecosystem.

Amazon Fire TV A Far more Closed box then the company lets on
Amazon released the New Amazon Fire TV touting it as an open ecosystem and proudly demonstrating its one of a kind voice recognition search, gaming capability and its now industry leading quad core processor. The Fire TV is a slick fast device that performs its intended functions perfectly. But the intended purpose of this device above all others is to sell its products and services above all others.

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(Editors Note) This story originally posted at 12 am on 3/13/14. Due to a server error I had to repost at 4:50. Thank you and Enjoy.

Linux and XBMC Prove to Be a Happy Marriage
When you combine one of the world’s most stable operating systems and one of the most popular media server programs in the world  You get The Little Black Box (TLBB). The Little Black box is a customizable XBMC powered dynamo with one of the most responsive controllers on the market. The Little Black Box which like other XBMC based streamers is able to handle multiple video formats, access apps/channels from multiple sources wraps everything in to an intuitive custom skin that allows multiple access points to the devices many features and menus. With access to Airplay and the One Word Search the Little Black Box is a very compelling product. Continue for our full review.