Tablo Takes TPN Award at CES

Tablo LogoDigital video recorders (DVRs) are commonplace but usually they’re integrated with a cable decoder. Tablo’s offering records OTA (over the air) HD broadcasts that are transmitted from local TV stations, free of charge. Still not excited? The Tablo can stream both live and record programs to any connected device including Android and Apple devices, and set-top boxes like the Roku or AppleTV. Now that’s cool.

The Tablo contains two tuners (with a four tuner option), so can record two broadcasts at once. There’s no built-in storage but there are 2 USB ports for external HDD units to provide whatever space is needed. It’s perfect for cord-cutters. I’d love to see this come to the UK too.

The Tablo is on pre-order for US$219 and will be available in February 2014.

Interview by Daniel J Lewis of The Audacity To Podcast and Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Hulu Plus Now on Chromecast

hulu on Chromecast

huluplus on Chromecast

This morning, Hulu Plus updated their website to include Chromecast support. With an update of the App, you can now watch your hulu subscription on the big screen.

Chromecast is Google’s answer to over the top television. For $35, you can plug into your HDMI outlet and use your phone as the remote. With the introduction, you could only send Netflix movies, Google Play content or Youtube videos to the big screen. With the addition of Hulu plus, the Chromecast is starting to feel more useful.

Chromecast has a long way to go from say Roku - with over 750 channels to their arsenal. On the way are apps from Vimeo, Vevo, Twitch.tv and more. Also coming up is extended support for Netflix with iOS apps.

My Assessment of Chromecast

It does make things easier since I don’t have to look for a remote to call up a show. I did notice the quality – at 1080p, Chromecast projects darker on the TV screen. Roku and Apple TV are brighter and more vibrant.

Also, if you are using your phone for something else (like talking on the phone), switching to remote mode is tougher. Good thing others can control the screen with their smartphones…

 

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

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.

Apple TV Updated with More Content Including HBO Go and Watch ESPN

Apple TV Today Apple updated the Apple TV and added several new channels to the line up including HBO Go, Crunchyroll, Qello, Watch ESPN and Sky News . With both HBO Go and Watch ESPN you must have an account with an authorized cable or satellite provider. Plus you also have to have a subscription to HBO for HBO Go to work. Also when you set up the services, some ask for your id and password and others like Watch ESPN and HBO Go have you input a code into a web site. It would be nice if you could do everything on the Apple TV.

Clearly this is not for the cord cutters, however hopefully it is a step down that road. I do see this as the next step in the development of the Apple TV. People talk constantly about Apple producing a TV I always thought this was bunk, it made no sense to me. The problem has never been the physical TV, the problem has been the content and how it is presented. Unfortunately, neither Apple or any other tech company has control of the content. Those who do the control the content, like cable and satellite providers along with the content creators and the traditional TV corporations all have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Hopefully overtime Apple and other companies like Roku, Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix and Google will be able to break through this stranglehold and we will be able to easily get the content how, where and when we want it. The current Apple TV or an updated version of it would be a good platform to handle this without Apple getting into the actual business of building TVs

TV by Apple-A Rant

Sometime this week, if not today there has been a rumor published about the imaginary TV that Apple is building. Most of these reports are assuming the new TV by Apple is a done deal and it is just a matter of time. From the time these rumors started the question that has run through my brain has been why?

I am really not looking for a TV made by Apple. I have no doubt that Apple has the technical know how to make an awesome TV, including retina display and Siri integration. That is not where the problem lies, the problem lies as always with content. Apple somehow has to convince the various content providers to allow their content to be used. Something that Google has been unable to do with the Google TV. Let say they get the content providers to agree to an arrangement, that is just the first problem. Then they have to get the content to the consumer through cable companies like Comcast, which has already shown that they will favor those who have an agreement with them over independent content. Third, it will have to convince consumers that purchasing a new HD panel is worth it. A panel which will probably be over 1,000 dollars if Apple’s history is any indicator.

Instead of creating a whole new TV, I wish Apple would improve the Apple TV they already have. They need to open it up to more third-party video platforms like Plex or XMBC. That way I could watch content not only from providers such as PBS or Aljazerra or HBO Go, but also live streaming from Ustream, Justin TV or YouTube to name a few. Second open up the platform to games and allow third-party vendors to create wireless controllers. Yes, I know a lot of this can be accomplished by jail breaking the Apple TV, but I shouldn’t have to do that. Plus if you do jail break the Apple TV, than you are always in this constant game with Apple. They do an update and you have to wait for the new jailbreak to come out, they do another update and it’s another jailbreak and on and on.

I know I am probably wrong the current Apple TV will continue to remain what it has always been for Apple just a hobby and this fall just in time for the holiday season, there will be an Apple TV monitor for sale in the Apple Store. The Apple pundits will write about it like it is the next coming.  I and all the other Mac fans will be drooling over it, wishing we could afford it.  Meanwhile the hobby which could be so much more will continue to be ignored, I just wish it wasn’t so.

GNC-2012-03-08 #748 Apple TV Fail

What the heck was Apple thinking. The Apple TV update was the weakest hardware update in Apple’s history. Lots of great tech today and luckily I do not dwell on the Apple news.

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Apple TV Update Disappoints!

We where all waiting with baited breath today for Apple to announce the new Apple TV aligning with other Apple products in having access to the App Store. Sadly they did not add this functionality. It has left me wondering what Apple’s end goal really is for the Apple TV.

I guess Apple wants everyone to buy gaming and productivity Apps on $500 to $900 iPads, and not on a $99 Apple TV.  I can think of no other reason for the new Apple TV not to be breaking new ground.

So for at least the time being no Angry Birds, or Media Channel apps on the Apple TV! Once again the Roku, Boxee, Samsung Smart TV team can sigh a breath of relief!

 

Worshipping at the Altar of Apple Tomorrow

When I started reading the following linked article over on Gizmodo this evening, I nearly sprayed soda all over my computer screen when I read the following about the Apple event in the morning.

“Apple has an event tomorrow, and it will be the Biggest Consumer Technology News of 2012. It will likely remain the Biggest Consumer Technology News of 2012 until Apple’s next event, which may then overtake it.”

Thinking some fan boy had went off the deep end, in their worshiping at the alter of Apple I almost did not read the rest of the article. Realizing a paragraph or two later that the comment was made in jest, it did make me sit back and think a little on how, we as bloggers treat Apple. One thing is correct though if you had a event planned for tomorrow you better re-schedule as it will be all hands on deck for the Apple announcement.

Speaking of fan boys, I have a fan girl, my wife who never asks for anything special has already asked me to order here a new iPad! When my wife knows that a new apple product about to hit the street, things have jumped the shark.

So will you be worshipping at the altar of Apple tomorrow with your credit card in hand? Personally I am not sure about the worship part but I will have my credit card in hand and will be watching the live blog feeds along with millions of others.

Image: Blogger with Bullhorn by BigStock

GNC-2012-01-27 #737 Shame on Hawaii Legislature!

Going to be implementing some Studio upgrades in the next couple of weeks should be fun. I go after a couple of my state legislatures pretty hard tonight on two idiotic bills that they introduced. Also hope I was not to punchy on the last show notes. I am feeling much better by the way and although the voice is not a 100% I feel a 100% better.

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GNC-2012-01-02 #734 Happy New Year

Happy New Years everyone. I am really pumped up for an exciting 2012. Have you made your New Year Resolution? I made a few now the goal is to try and keep them. Several real nice support staff donations came in, thank you for your support. Lot’s of tech tonight.

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Credits:
Jack Ellis – Executive Producer
Mike Baine – Associate Producer

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