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


SimulTV brings live internet TV to you

Posted by Alan at 5:42 PM on February 19, 2013

simultv logoInternet-based TV has been the promise for sometime now, but it has proven harder to deliver than expected. SimulTV is hoping to change that. The CEO, Steven Turner, stopped by TPN to talk a bit about the service.

The company licences its product and can provide the portions you need, without the ones you don’t — a-la-carte, in other words. Users can also share viewing  experiences through things like live chat as well as  register devices and move feeds from tablet to phone to TV.

The service works across all devices — computers, iOS, Android, etc. Check out the video below to see an example.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine and Daniel J Lewis of  Audacity to Podcast

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LG’s $12,000 OLED TV

Posted by Andrew at 6:58 PM on January 31, 2013

LG LogoLG bills its OLED screens as “The Ultimate Display” and Don Baine takes a look to see if the claim holds up.

LG’s OLED TVs are stunning on so many levels – the slimness of the screen, the thinness of the bezel, the curved screen with 3D, the blackness of the blacks, brightness of the colours and finally the price. At $12,000 for a 55″ screen, it’s not cheap, but it is the ultimate display.

If you’ve got the cash, you can pre-order now with availability expected in the US from mid-March.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

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LG Uses NFC to Connect Smartphones to TVs

Posted by Andrew at 7:19 PM on January 29, 2013

LG Logo

NFC has been a solution looking for a problem for some time, but products using NFC to solve real world issues are finally beginning to appear. Todd speaks with Brad from LG about how NFC is helping get video off smartphones and onto TVs.

Most people wanting to show video from their smartphone on their TV would automatically reach for a cable and then probably spend the next 10 minutes hunting around for the adaptor to plug the TV’s HDMI cable into the phone’s much smaller socket. NFC eliminates all this by wirelessly providing the information needed to stream the video to the TV using Miracast and all the person has to do is place his or her smartphone on the NFC tag. It’s not limited to sending video to the TV from the smartphone as the reverse is also possible: they can view what’s on the smart TV on their smartphone. Watch the video to see it in action – it’s very cool.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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IOGear Wireles 5×2 HD Matrix announced

Posted by Alan at 4:58 PM on January 28, 2013

Welcome to IOGEAR USA - Rackmount KVM, Wireless Audio VideoIOGear makes some pretty cool hardware, some of which I use in my own home. Most recently the company made a trip to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada to show off one of its newest offerings — the Wireless 5×2 HD Matrix.

The name may be a bit cryptic, so an explanation is required here. Perhaps you have heard rumors of wireless HDMI? Well, it is here now and this device has five ports and a receiver to prove it — that is four inputs and one output. There is full switching capability and it has a claimed range of one hundred feet. Plug in all of your devices and then place the receiver with a TV in another room and control everything wirelessly, even when two TV’s are displaying content from different devices. For instance, one can be using the Blu-Ray player while another plays DVR content. No more need for two boxes.

A two TV setup will run you $399 and the device will be available at the end of March. But honestly, you need to watch the demo posted below to really appreciate this technology.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network

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Netgear goes Google TV at CES 2013

Posted by Alan at 7:40 AM on January 10, 2013

A couple of years ago I had the good fortune to review a Netgear NeoTV set top box. I liked it. The interface was a bit stark and simple, but everything worked very well. However, these days we want more from our set top boxes and Netgear needed to move on into the new generation, which meant either doing a lot of R&D to come up with its own new UI or adopt a different platform.

The company chose the latter option, deciding to go Google TV. At this weeks Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas it unveiled the Netgear NeoTV Prime. Unlike many products seen at CES, this one not only WILL come to market, it HAS come to market. It is available for sale as I write this, retailing for $129.

NTV200S Front-Back

“Building on the features of NETGEAR NeoTV, NeoTV PRO and NeoTV MAX family of streaming players, the new NeoTV PRIME with Google TV extends your entertainment experience beyond just streaming video or even basic TV viewing. NeoTV PRIME opens up the world of apps from Google Play, delivering access to a growing library of entertainment including movies, TV shows, and music from streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, Crackle, Flixter, Rhapsody, Pandora and many more. Google Play gives you movies and new releases in HD, music albums, and apps designed specifically for the TV.”

While it is priced just bit higher than some competitors like Vizio, Netgear has a history of producing solid hardware, so there is no reason to think this box will be anything less. Google TV is moving into the mainstream in a big way, both with set top boxes and built into smart TV’s.

Amazon Prime Video announces move to stay ahead of stiffer competition

Posted by Alan at 8:54 AM on January 4, 2013

amazon prime logoAmazon today announced a new partnership to bring even more content to its Prime video service. Prime is, of course, more than just video — it is also free second-day shipping on all orders (which often arrive next day) and a lending library for Kindle customers, allowing for one free book per month.

Now, in the face of growing competition from rivals, the retail giant has snagged a deal with TV network A&E, which will bring “popular series from A&E, bio, HISTORY and Lifetime to the Prime Instant Video service.”

Amazon announces these deals fairly regularly, but there are a couple of reasons why this particular one is a bit more important. First of all, it is a slap in the face of rival Netflix, who previously had, and lost, this deal. Second, there is a looming problem on the horizon and it is, potentially, a big one.

Redbox, the company who brought us those irresistible kiosks, has teamed with Verizon and plans to launch a competitor in early 2013. I have been among the early beta testers for the service and, I must admit, it is compelling.

So, is this enough to keep Amazon ahead of the market? Certainly Netflix still seems to be the dominant player, but Amazon is moving steadily up and now Redbox is coming. Competition, of course, is good for all of us.

ARCHOS TV Connect Controls Your TV Like a Tablet

Posted by JenThorpe at 4:09 PM on January 3, 2013

ARCHOS has come up with another innovative device that you won’t want to miss! It will make your TV viewing experience into something much more interactive. It’s called ARCHOS TV Connect. It turns any HDTV into an Android powered smart TV that provides the full Android ecosystem. There is a specially designed TV Touch remote for you to use.

Instead of sitting in front of your TV, and perhaps clicking the buttons on your regular remote, you use the TV Touch remote. Suddenly, you are able to control your TV like you would a tablet. You can tap, swipe, zoom in or zoom out, select something or type. It even has a full keyboard with Android shortcuts, (including a key for voice controls and voice typing).

You can choose from over 700,000 apps and games on Google Play, and play them on your TV. The TV Connect has dual analog thumb sticks and a gaming mapping tool.

Use TV Connect to call a group of friends or family and have a video chat with them through your big screen TV. ARCHOS TV Connect has an HD webcam for high quality video calling. An LED light will notify you of an incoming call while you are watching TV. It is compatible with Skype or Google Talk.

TV Connect includes the ARCHOS Media Center applications. It will read your favorite video files with format and codec support including H.264 decoding in full 1080p HD. You can stream media content over your home network through WiFi or Ethernet. The TV Connect features HDMI (cable included), full USB host and micro SD slot.

The ARCHOS TV connect runs Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean”. It will be available beginning in February of 2013, and will cost $129.99. You can experience the ARCHOS TV Connect first hand at CES 2013. ARCHOS will be showing off its new line up of tablets, including the Game Pad and more. The ARCHOS booth is in the Central Hall (15322) of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Using PlayOn with DirecTV

Posted by Alan at 12:05 PM on November 30, 2012

PlayOn has been around for several years now, but for most people it has remained on the edge. However, the app has managed to become more prominent and insinuate itself into more places. It can work with almost any DLNA-capable device and also works with other popular  hardware like Roku and Google TV. Since DirecTV’s HR line of DVR’s are DLNA-capable I decided to give it a shot.

There are a few things you need to take care of before getting started. First and foremost, you need to make sure your DVR is connected to your home network — mine is hardwired thanks to an ethernet jack I installed behind the media cabinet and network switch that feeds, not only the DVR, but the HTPC, Netgear NeoTV and Blue-Ray player.

Now you will need to install the PlayOn server on a computer on your home network. The free version contains home media access, Pandora, YouTube and HBO Go (subject to your  subscription). The paid service contains about 60 additional channels and costs $19.99 per year.

Enable the “My Media” feature and then point it to the folders where your media — pictures, video and music — is stored. It may take a bit of time to catalog everything.

Now, on your DirecTV DVR click the “Menu” button, browse to “Extras”, click “Music & Pictures” and you will find a list of the available channels and files from your PlayOn server.

Under many of the stations you will find sub-headings, including subsidiary channels like NBC Sports under NBC. While it work great with a DirecTV DVR, it really is more for those who are looking to cut the cord and PlayOn with a Google TV box may just be the way to go.

DirecTV Offers Free Upgrade to Genie for Current Customers

Posted by Alan at 8:06 AM on October 22, 2012

DirecTV subscribers are often frustrated by the lack of benefits to current customers, while the service continues to advertise great deals, like free NFL Sunday Ticket, to new subscribers.  Well, right now the satellite company is throwing a bone to current users by offering their brand new Genie HD DVR for free.

The Genie is the latest upgrade to the receiver / DVR and it offers a long list of benefits that make it a much better device than the current HR 23 and HR 24 hardware.  Those older receivers featured two tuners, meaning you could either record two shows at a time or record one while watching another.  They also featured a fairly sizable 500 GB hard drive, which provided plenty of storage for most people.

If, however, you find yourself, as my family has, receiving messages that you need to cancel a recording because you have more than two things set, or because you are watching something while two other shows are scheduled, or running out of space during an big event like the summer Olympics, then you may want the Genie.  The new DVR offers an incredible 5 tuners and 1 TB of storage.  In addition, all of the previous version’s features are also included.

So why not upgrade?  Well, there is one stumbling block that may turn off some customers.  You will need to agree to a brand new two year contract just like the one you got way back when you first signed up for the service.

If you don’t mind the extra two year agreement, or simply can’t live anymore without more tuners or more space, then this is a no-brainer.  If you aren’t worried about these things, or planning to cut the cord, then you should probably skip this deal.

Enforced Obsolescence

Posted by Andrew at 2:55 PM on October 9, 2012

Casio TV-470As the last analogue TV signals are turned off tonight in the UK to make way for 4G and digital TV, thousands of TVs, videos and hard-disk recorders will become obsolete literally overnight. While an external decoder may prolong their life, the sheer inconvenience of multiple settings and synchronised recordings will consign many of these perfectly functional devices to the rubbish bin recycling centre. Reflecting, I suspect that this is probably the first time that enforced obsolescence has impacted on me personally.

Undoubtedly, I’ve had other gadgets that have become obsolete but they became out-of-date because I chose to make them so, usually by purchasing a newer devices. If I plugged in and turned on my first laptop, a Tandy 1400LT that ran MsDOS 3.2, I guarantee you that it would still work, albeit with somewhat crude CGA graphics accompanied by whirring floppy drives. The 1400LT became obsolete when I bought an 386SX desktop, but it still worked as designed.

But when I wake up tomorrow, my Casio TV-470 pocket TV and my Pioneer 530H hard disk recorder will be of almost no use as the analogue TV signals these devices need will no longer be broadcast. I find this enforced obsolescence somewhat disturbing as faceless government officials simply made a decision and that was that. Game over for the unfortunate gadgets.

To be fair, the analogue TV signal has had a good run for its money. The PAL system started in 1967 so it’s lasted over 40 years and my TV-470′s been around for about half of that (1991). I hope it’s happy in TV heaven.