Tags Posts tagged with "Streaming"

Streaming

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A recent poll by JD Power showed something that a lot of self-professed experts on streaming might find surprising or even unbelievable. When it comes to people’s opinions on streaming cord cutters are the least happy with their experience in streaming and even more, the most enthusiastic streamers are cable customers. The survey showed that a group now being called “Cord Stackers” which is a term for those who have cable and use streaming to add to their TV experience rates their streaming experience higher than “Cord Cutters”, People without cable. Frankly,  the idea that people keep trying to come up with labels for every type of content viewer is getting convoluted but that is an article  for another day.

The survey showed that 83 percent of people who stream content subscribe to a pay TV service. 13 percent of people who use streaming regularly are cord-cutters. For cord cutters, news like that may sound unrealistic but there are plenty of reasons to believe that this might be true.

The information provided by the release from JD Power looked at respondents feelings on a number of well known streaming delivery platforms, though comparing Netflix alongside iTunes is difficult. This is because iTunes is a transactional service where people rent or purchase TV Shows and Movies with an exhaustive catalogue of content and Netflix is a set service with a monthly price that offers viewers unlimited streaming but a more eclectic catalogue that is missing all of the new content that can be found in a transactional service like iTunes based on a number of factors. Basically, iTunes is a media superstore and Netflix is a choose from what is on a massive pile  “Free Market”. When you want to see the latest home-video movie release it’s going to be on iTunes or even Amazon, unless of course what you want to see is a Netflix original series.

An interesting tidbit from the study is that cord cutters appear to appreciate original streaming content more than those who have a bundle of options to choose from. This isn’t a big surprise as those without as many options from TV networks may well be looking for more original content that cannot be found on TNT or many cable networks. While those with 300 channels to choose from have less need to use Netflix or Hulu for new content and may appreciate being able to catch up on content that they picked up on half way through and said “I’d like to see that series from the beginning!” That was 30 Rock for me.

Important Unknowns
Something that cannot be read into from the study is what makes a person a cord cutter in the first place. At some point, it would be fascinating to find out.  Are they cord cutters because of budget constraints? Is it because of some bad service experience with a provider? Do they just think that there is nothing on TV worth paying for? Are they just too busy to take in content? For the “I can’t find anything good in TV crowd, it may be very hard to satisfy them. If they already hated paying for TV shows in a bundled manner, paying a price at all for something they consider subpar or cliched may never add up to a net positive. While those who are enjoying the content they watch may just appreciate getting more of it. There is always a crowd that says “Netflix doesn’t have enough good movies” These are people who want to have their $8.99 or so cake and eat it too. Though, it’s important to note that the most well-received service which included a listing of Amazon Video, Hulu Plus, (Which technically does not exist anymore due to rebranding) iTunes and Vudu was Netflix.

It appears though that the TV industry is beginning  to figure out what is really happening in the modern content marketplace. Streaming is not an option to cable, it is a new delivery system for all content whether it is produced as part of a media conglomerate like Disney’s ESPN and Time Warner’s HBO or whether it is a partnership between Netflix and an independent studio. Learning how to deliver content to the homes and devices of customers is the key no matter what you call the viewers who are “hopefully” paying for it.

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.

Android box offers a mix of XBMC and Andriod

There are a number of Android devices on the market meant to provide users with access to the popular media center program, XBMC. One of the latest to emerge is the Rippl-TV. The system which is built on Android features a quad core processor, Android 4.4 and a number of features including the Google Play

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It looks like Roku is getting ready for the holidays. But unlike retail stores that simply put ribbons and fake Christmas trees up hoping to lure shoppers in to overspend the company has made its Internet storefront in to less of a store and more of an interactive commercial. Roku’s new site which launched last week offers visitors a virtual tour of the full scope of the product and what it can do. It is a flashier more mobile friendly set up with a brightly colored universal theme throughout built cleverly on the color scheme of its products.

The thing that set’s this apart is not that it is a redesign as much as how it differs from its competitors.

Apple TV has a one page landing page for the product that one can find via a web search, but on its home page www.apple.com the company lists the iPod, iPhone, Mac (its computer line), even its possibly ill-fated watch prominently at the top of the screen but leaves the streaming box off. It has sold millions of units despite this, 20 million world-wide. But once one finds the Apple TV page there are three small sections describing the product. The Fire TV is only accessed via Amazon.com. It’s page is descriptive and does a nice job of explaining what it is and what it does but does not reel anyone in. Its strength is that you can not miss anything if you scroll all the way through the site but at the same its its weakness is that the one page scrolls for miles.

Roku’s site is essentially a multi-page commercial with videos, information, an app store, user reviews all packaged in fancy wrapping. If this fall is like last fall it will be filled with announcements and possibly even more product announcements. Roku is in a stronger position now to tell its own story then its competitors including the Chromecast and Nexus Player. With a site that explains the product in the way the new one does Roku will not have to rely on the legions of rather miss informed writers.

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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Server adds many options popular with XBMC

Originally Published 1/2014

If you own a streaming device or have been considering purchasing one you have probably noticed there are multiple services free and paid to look in to but very few that offer access to recently aired material and even less that provide entertainment from cable channels. PlayOn is a service that allows users to watch TV shows and movies from multiple websites on their televisions through neatly packaged channels.

PlayOn Adds new channels to multiple devices.
PlayOn Adds new channels to multiple devices.

Nearly every TV channel has a website. Whether it is ABC, HBO, ESPN, A&E and everything in between. Each of these websites has video content and often full episodes of popular series, sometimes web exclusives and in other cases a collection of clips and interviews featuring the power players of an individual series. Each of these sites are accessible via a computer and users without PlayOn can bookmark the sites for later viewing, but finding all of the sites that have free video content and collecting them in one place can take a lot of time and energy. That’s where PlayOn comes in.

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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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Net Neutrality is finally getting major attention in the popular media and it has been given a face. Greed. John Oliver did two important things in his rant/presentation this week. First he made net neutrality an issue that everyone has at least now heard of and second he put a bulls eye right on the head of the cable industry. What we wonder is whether the attention the issue is getting while it is trending on Twitter will keep up over the next few weeks or will it be replaced by what ever Kanye West says next. It is important for the public to pay attention and not let up on this issue. For all of the talk about small companies getting a fair shake on

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Roku has a number of free Spanish language channels.

1. Roku is not a cable box
Customers looking to save money on their cable subscriptions sometimes look to Roku as a replacement for a cable box. Roku This is not what the Roku isdesigned to do. There is one caveat. Time Warner Cable has a Roku channel that works in tandem with the companies cable boxes. Customers who have at least one cable receiver can add the TWC channel to their Roku and access their cable channels via the Roku. This can be a fee free option for customers looking to add HBO go access to a guest room or another television in the home. As of now there are no other companies with such an arrangement.

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This article is an update from a previous story published on the Streaming Advisor in September 2013. To see the original piece click here.

Not just Speculation

Amazon has  a press event scheduled for Wednesday in NYC. And it looks as though the device in going to be called the Firetube. We found pretty convincing evidence this Saturday with pictures to prove it. To see that story click here The story on Fire Tube has been hot since an Amazon filing during the fall. The company has also made a number of moves in the past year indicating something big on the horizon. This should come as no surprise as it is a natural follow up to news in 2012 when Amazon began recruiting for development of a new product . The statement contained this very telling passage.

“We are working on a new revolutionary V1 product that will allow us to deliver Digital Media to our customers in new ways and disrupt the current marketplace. We believe this new product will be even bigger than Kindle.”