Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks

Winamp Is Saved! Radionomy Acquiring Winamp, Shoutcast

Posted by J Powers at 10:09 AM on January 2, 2014


Last month, news broke of Winamp getting shut down by AOL. Many have spoke up, which led to rumors abound and AOL didn’t take down the service when they said. Now, word is Radionomy has picked up the ball and will be running Winamp at this point.

Radionomy is a free platform that hosts thousands of stations created by pros and amateurs alike. It is one of the largest online radio networks in the world with over 6,000 stations. The company also has a licensed library with up to 80,000 songs.

So Winamp and the conjoining Shoutcast software is a perfect addition to what they offer. It would also add 50,000 stations to their system overnight.

This deal has not been officially announced yet. TechCrunch has “observed” that Winamp’s nameservers have been officially transferred to Radionomy. TechCrunch has further found out the deal should wrap up on Friday.

Netflix New Years Gift? Drops 80 Movies, TV Shows from Streaming Subscription

Posted by J Powers at 9:03 AM on December 31, 2013

Netflix_Web_LogoIf you are a fan of “Titanic”, “Top Gun”, or even “Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo” — you have only a few hours left to watch them on Netflix.

More than 80 movies and a group of TV shows including “Saturday Night Live” will be removed from the service on January 1, 2014. Netflix adds and removes movies and TV shows on a regular basis. This is all due to licensing contracts.

Nonetheless, TV shows like “Mr. Bean”, “Dark Shadows”, and “Kids in the Hall” will be removed for the new year. Movies include “Platoon”, “Flashdance”, “Being John Malkovich”, amongst others.

These movies might come back with new licensing deals. In the meantime, new movies and TV shows will be added including “Jack Reacher”, “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters”, and “The Talented Mr. Ripley”. TV shows like “Dexter” seasons 5-8 will also be added in the coming weeks.

The full list of Netflix titles ending can be found on this Reddit post


LG Showcases at Pop-up Cinema

Posted by Andrew at 10:11 AM on December 10, 2013

LG LogoIncredibly, it’s been 21 years since the first commercial SMS text message was sent, and appropriately the message was, “Merry Christmas”. It was sent from Neil Papworth to Richard Jarvis on 3 December 1992 but it was a little one sided as Richard’s phone didn’t have a keyboard to reply on. I know how Neil must have felt as I never get a reply from my parents when I text them either….

To celebrate the amazing advances in technology since then, LG are showcasing their latest mobile devices at a pop-up cinema this weekend at Westfield London, UK. Instead of the silver screen, cinema-goers will be able to watch the latest films on LG’s G2 smartphone and the G Pad 8.3 tablet. Between 13th-15th December, the pop-up cinema will feature luxury seats, buckets of popcorn and the latest films in the palm of your hand.

LG Pop Up Cinema

Now showing is LG’s premier smartphone, the G2, featuring a 5.2″ full HD screen and tiny 2.65 mm bezel, giving owners a larger screen in the same overall dimensions.(Don’t you love the juxtaposition of imperial and metric units?) The IPS display keeps colours accurate and clear, perfect for the latest blockbuster.

But if that’s too small, the new G Pad 8.3 is step up from the usual 7″ tablet fare, with an 8.3″ screen to enhance the cinematic experience. The 1920 x 1200 WUXGA goes beyond full HD and the 1.7 GHz quad core processor makes sure that the G Pad keeps up with the action.

LG have partnered with Sky TV, to bring Now TV to their range of Smart devices and visitors to the cinema will be able to view a selection of the latest films using the Now TV app, which is available from Google Play.

If you are still wondering what to get your loved one and you are near Westfield London, pop round and munch some popcorn at the LG pop-up cinema. Apparently it’s near the Disney store….that’ll keep the kids quiet for 10 mins.

4oD on the Roku

Posted by Andrew at 4:59 PM on November 26, 2013

4oDHurrah – 4oD (4 on Demand) is now available on the Roku in the UK! It looks like this is breaking news as there’s no mention of it on either Roku‘s or Channel 4‘s websites and I only happened to notice when I was checking for new channels. A few tweets are beginning to appear. Having a quick rummage, it looks on a par with the web version but without some of the personalisation features.

For non-UK residents, Channel 4 is one of the four terrestrial broadcasters (BBC, ITV, C4 and C5). The BBC’s iPlayer and Channel 5′s Demand 5 are already on the Roku, leaving ITV as the last network to get their catch-up TV service onto the Roku. Hurry up!

Redbox Instant coming to PS4

Posted by Alan at 12:10 PM on November 7, 2013

redbox instant playlists

We are only a week away from the next big gaming console launch — Sony is set to debut its PlayStation 4 on November 15, inching ahead of Xbox One by a week. Both consoles have their pros and cons, and fans residing in opposite camps may cite a particular game or feature as the defining difference, but one thing both boxes will have is Redbox Instant.

Last week the video streaming service landed on the PS3, and it was expected to also come to the next-generation console. Today the speculation becomes official reality.

Like last week’s PS3 launch, this version also comes with an only-on-Sony feature — “exclusive to Playstation, the PS3 and PS4 contain the Playlist feature containing a specially-curated, rotating collection of Redbox Instant by Verizon movies that highlight the most exciting titles and serve as a great destination for fast, simple and fun movie discovery”.

“We’re pleased to continue our partnership with PlayStation by bringing Redbox Instant by Verizon to PS4″, said Shawn Strickland, CEO of Redbox Instant by Verizon.

As with any other Redbox Instant subscription, you will pay $8 per month in exchange for unlimited streaming and four physical disc rentals per month from any of the many kiosks. If you wish to take it for a test run, the company offers the first month free as a trial.

Blockbusted! Blockbuster Closes US Stores, Online DVD Rentals

Posted by J Powers at 8:24 AM on November 7, 2013


Down the street from where I lived we had a “Doorstep Video” (they used to deliver videos to your doorstep). I remember the day that Blockbuster acquired that local video store. It took me 2 years before I finally got a Blockbuster card, which I used all through the 90′s to around 2005.

Now that is just a memory…

Blockbuster – the video rental company that opened their doors in 1985 – has closed all DVD operations in the US. DISH network announced all remaining 300 stores will be closed and the online DVD rental service was also shuttered, along with 3,000 jobs.

Blockbuster opened in Dallas, Texas on October 19, 1985 by David Cook. It was bought out by Scott Beck, John Melk and Wayne Huizenga who turned it into a national brand. Blockbuster even almost made the change to big box retail when they tried to buy the failing Circuit City, but couldn’t come up with the capitol.

Was probably a good thing as shortly after Circuit City collapsed, Blockbuster started to see their decline. They eventually were purchased by DISH networks on April 6, 2011 after filing for bankruptcy.

“Consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment,” said DISH president and CEO Joseph P. Clayton in the press release about the closures.

The service was late and far behind from Netflix on DVD rentals and then streaming movies. Blockbuster suffered the same problem when Coinstar’s Redbox kiosks were placed.

Blockbuster @ Home will still be alive on DISH networks for their on demand service. Further, 50 franchise stores will remain open under the Blockbuster name for the time being.

Roku Surpasses Apple TV as Most-Used Streaming Set Top Box

Posted by J Powers at 11:05 AM on August 15, 2013

Roku-3According to a new report from Parks Associates, Roku has taken the lead as the most popular streaming video device in the US. Further, Parks Associates also showed the number of U.S. broadband households with streaming media device has doubled since 2011.

The group put out a report called Connected TV: Trends and Innovation (report for purchase). In this report, they found that 37% of households with a streaming media device use Roku – as opposed to 24% that use Apple TV.

Parks Associates expect the number of connected TV devices to reach 330 million by 2017. With newer, easier to use devices like ChromeCast entering into the market – along with Apple’s rumored upcoming updated Apple TV on September 10th, this number could grow a lot faster. Adding in 4K or Ulta-TV devices with simple app support that get people introduced to streaming media could spark the market even more.

“Roku customers are passionate about streaming, and we are delighted that independent research shows that we are the most popular streaming platform measured by usage on a U.S. household basis,” said Anthony Wood, Founder and CEO, Roku.

Roku’s newest version – the Roku 3 – is a media streaming device and small game console with programs like Angry Birds, Galaga and Pac Man. You can use the remote with Bluetooth headphones for privacy viewing or pull out your iOS or Android device to control the set top box.

This brings a true fight for the TV’s HDMI port.

Hulu Flip-Flopped. Video Service No Longer for Sale Again.

Posted by J Powers at 12:15 PM on July 12, 2013

Hulu LogoI am starting to wonder if I should even read stories of Hulu being for sale…

The conglomeration of owners that is known as Hulu has once again backed out of the for sale market. The group – consisting of 21st-Century Fox, NBCUniversal and Walt Disney Company – have confirmed via press release they will once again take the streaming content service back off the market and re-invest to bring more customers.

This is not the first time Hulu has done this. Back in 2011, Hulu had a potential suitor where the deal was called off because the group wanted to re-invest.

“We believe the best path forward for Hulu is a meaningful recapitalization that will further accelerate its growth under the current ownership structure,” said Chase Carey, President and Chief Operating Officer of 21st Century Fox. “We had meaningful conversations with a number of potential partners and buyers, each with impressive plans and offers to match, but with 21st Century Fox and Disney fully aligned in our collective vision and goals for the business, we decided to continue to empower the Hulu team, in this fashion, to continue the incredible momentum they’ve built over the last few years.”

The co-owners of Hulu continued by saying they will be adding another $750 million into the service. This will go toward building a larger subscriber base.

Hulu started in 2008. They currently have content from over 400 partners, 4 million subscribers and 30 million monthly views.

Finally Mobile Streaming Becomes Truly Practical

Posted by tomwiles at 8:05 PM on April 23, 2013

I remember driving around back in the early 1980’s dreaming of what it might be like if I could listen to what I wanted when I wanted to. Back in those days, in many areas of the country, there was nothing to listen to but farm reports and hog prices. AM and FM stations would quickly fade in and out. Driving cross-country it was necessary to constantly change stations as they faded in and out, often vainly searching for something worthwhile to listen to.

When podcasting came along in 2004, in many ways it was the answer to that dream. Suddenly there was new content to listen to, on demand, on a wide variety of topics. It had to be downloaded and put onto a player in advance.

The past few years I’ve been experimenting with mobile streaming. For a long time, it just wasn’t practical in rural areas. Pandora would generally work better than all the other streaming services, but attempting to stream regular radio stations or even podcasts was generally not going to work.

However, now things have changed once again. With the widespread deployment of LTE mobile networks, successful casual streaming all kinds of different audio is not only possible, but practical in most of the areas I’m driving in. This opens up yet another new world of possibility.

Podcasting itself is a good case in point for something that came together because enough bandwidth was available. MP3 files had been around for a long time. Computers had already had the capability of recording digital audio for quite a number of years. RSS had been around for a while. All of these things converged and became something new.

Today I’m spending a lot of time with the Stitcher app on my Google Nexus 7 here in my truck, suction-cupped to the truck’s windshield and connected to stereo speakers via Bluetooth. Stitcher makes a great streaming mobile radio service. Now that the mobile data network is good enough in most areas to make streaming practical in the real world, new possibilities have opened up.

All of these things have been around a while. Stitcher is not new. The streaming concept has been around for quite a number of years. Podcasting as well has been around for probably at least nine years. What is different is now I don’t have to fuss with downloading them ahead of time. I really like the way stitcher lets you search for a keyword or two and then sequentially plays the different podcasts that showed up in the search. I find myself on a voyage of discovery, bumping in to podcasts I’ve never heard of. Because everything is on demand, like watching Netflix or Amazon streaming video, if I find an audio podcast I don’t like I simply skip ahead to the next one.

I can’t predict exactly how this will eventually develop. However, I can say, now that the mobile data bandwidth is a reality, there’s something here, and it’s pretty interesting. It beats the heck out of listening to farm reports or hog prices. It also beats having to fumble around with an iPod and auxiliary audio cables.

StreamVu Producer Station Review

Posted by geeknews at 10:25 PM on April 21, 2013

streamvuOver the past several weeks I have been testing the StreamVu Producer Station from StreamVuTV, as you all well know I stream multiple times a week to services like Ustream, Livestream and my own personal Flash Media server that is hosted on Amazon. So I was excited to test the commercial StreamVuTV Producer Station offering.

This is a pretty powerful service / product offering. Lets start with the Producer Station (PS-102) box that you input your source video to, you input a HDSDI, Composite or HDMI source video which then pushes it in the desired format to the StreamVU TC Control center. Through their web interface you set the service / streaming box up to ingest and push at the exact stream size / desired bitrate from 32kbps to 10Mbps. Giving you the flexibility to scale down the stream rate when you have limited bandwidth.

For a commercial broadcast product it is very versatile, and the folks at StreamVu have designed their platform so that you can easily set your service up, so as to charge for access to your programming and hold a pay per view event. From the time you get your gear, set it up and configure your broadcast channels you should be able to be up and running in a hour or less.

Their service control panel takes a little getting used to, but it is relatively straight forward. Administrators though should take some time and learn the interface and put the streaming service through some test runs. Like many other services you setup your channels, and once you have done so they provide the embeds for you to put on your site. They also have set it up so that you can upload a video trailer that people can watch to be informed of your upcoming event.

This is a commercial service and is designed for the serious webcaster. They have three packages starting at $15.00 a month plus .50 cents a GB going all the way up to $500.00 a month which includes up to a TB of bandwidth.. While the pricing is not for the faint at heart, if you are a serious webcaster and you are doing on demand events the cost is very reasonable. The also offer an addon service for $6.00 a month plus bandwidth that enables the stream to be seen by iOS users.

The StreamVU TV Producer station itself comes in three models with prices starting @ $399 for the composite only box, $999 for Composite & HDMI and $1999 for the unit I tested that takes Composite, HDSDI & HDMI.

I want to thank the team at StreamVu for being patient we both attended NAB and I have had the box a little longer than I wanted to.. Their team is excited to start working with folks in the New Media space and is a viable player in the streaming media space.