Microsoft has begun to roll out an update for its Xbox Live service that includes new on-demand content from Comcast, along with apps from HBO and MLB, GigaOM reported on Monday. The launch these services will give users the ability to search through a wide range of content directly from their game console. In October, Microsoft announced a number of new content partners that would deliver movies, television shows and other content to its popular Xbox 360 game console. The system had already received updates that included apps from Verizon, Epix, Vevo, Vudu and YouTube. The launch of HBO Go comes as little surprise. In February, the company’s co-president Eric Kessler told reporters that the Xbox HBO Go app would go live on April 1st, in time for the season premiere of “Game of Thrones.” Microsoft fans noted that the company always releases updates on Tuesdays, however, and it was unlikely for HBO to roll out an update the day of the premiere to avoid download complications. More →
9% of consumers in the United States have already cut cable TV service from their monthly utility bills, the latest State of the Media Democracy survey from Deloitte indicates. The company also found that 11% of U.S. consumers are considering cutting cable TV. Younger generations are more likely to get rid of cable TV, too. Deloitte found that 19% of those aged 23-28 are thinking about canceling cable while 13% of Generation Xers and 7% of baby boomers said they are considering doing the same. “For the first time, less than half of all viewers say they have viewed their favorite shows live on their home TV,” Phil Asmundson, Deloitte’s U.S. Media & Telecommunications Sector Leader said. “In 2011, the number was only 49%. In 2008, it was 71%. That’s striking.” Read on for more. More →
Research In Motion is currently working on a media box codenamed “BlackBerry Cyclone” that will launch later this fall, BlackBerry news site NerdBerry.net reports. The rumored media hub is said to be similar to Apple’s iOS-based Apple TV box, which connects to a television and plays streaming video content from iTunes. The BlackBerry Cyclone’s purported capabilities include Netflix streaming, YouTube streaming and streaming from media devices connected to the same Wi-Fi network. The unit will also reportedly feature an HDMI-out port. The move would be a peculiar one from RIM, as it does not have an iTunes competitor to speak of and even with the extremely popular multimedia market, the Apple TV has not been an overly successful device for Apple. The Cupertino-based company announced the million-unit milestone for its refreshed Apple TV late last year, but we haven’t heard much about it since that time. RIM is also in the midst of prepping its first QNX-powered smartphone for release in 2012, not to mention seven BlackBerry handsets due to launch later this year, so we would hope the bulk of its attention is focused on these infinitely more important products. More →
The original Google TV products were met by lukewarm reviews at best, and according to Geek.com, the search giant is hard at work on its new Google TV 2.0 product. Developers have been joining Google’s new “Fishtank” program to get early access to tools that will allow them to create compelling new content for Google’s next attempt at entering our living rooms. Google TV 2.0 runs a barebones version of Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) and there are reportedly only 50 developers partaking in the initial Fishtank program. Fishtank includes an Intel CE4100 reference platform with a beta version of Google TV 2.0 preloaded, and a wireless keyboard. Intel’s Sodaville SoC, part of the CE4100 reference platform, also includes support for 3D gaming and Flash. Geek.com noticed a new “dual-view” feature that allows users to watch TV and use the OS at the same time; and the user interface has the same glowing-blue Tron-like effects as the tablet version of Honeycomb. Developers are said to be up in arms over the “Live TV” application on Google TV 2.0 — many want to interact with the TV interface directly, but Google isn’t allowing that just yet. Will it be enough for Google to tackle Apple TV? We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, another shot of the box and a couple of UI images can be seen after the break. More →
It’s always nice when an email service that contains customer’s personal and private email addresses is hacked. TiVo has publicly disclosed that their email service provider, Epsilon, had customer’s names and email addresses released to “unauthorized” people. TiVo hasn’t disclosed how many emails were accessed in the security breach, but does note that the information was limited to email addresses and possibly customer’s names. The company is advising notified customers to be careful opening any emails from unknown third parties. Nice.
Up until now, Roku devices have only been available online, but that changes today. Roku has just announced nationwide availability of their Roku XD model at all Best Buy locations. This is a pretty large move for the company, and with the success Roku has had online, there’s no question it will translate into retail sales. Press release after the break. More →
It’s finally coming, folks. Sonos told us that an Android client was by far the most requested item (and even noted how passionate Android users were about it). Sonos said that the client has been baking for a long time, and one of the reasons for the long lead time was to make sure they could support as many Android devices as possible — since there are varying screen sizes, form factors, etc. There are some nifty features with the Android version of the Sonos Controller, too, like music controls directly mapped to your the Android menu keys on your device, and even the ability to control the volume of the Sonos system via the volume rocker on your handset, and even use voice search to find that specific song you’re looking for. Sonos is bringing the Android client to demo at MWC next month, and the public release is set for the end of March. Video demo after the break! More →
We had a chance to get up close and personal with Sony’s latest TV set and sister Blu-ray player. Here are our first thoughts:
- We haven’t seen Logitech’s Revue Google TV device in person, but the Sony experience looks similar to it. Sony told us that the only Sony customization was a recommended channel area, so for you purists out there, it looks like this is a really clean Google offering.
- We caught some lag when hopping menu to menu and typing when using the remote sometimes took a second or two to catch up but all in all, the Intel Atom-powered TV seemed pretty zippy.
- Speaking of the remote, we’re completely torn about it. Andrew loves it, but I couldn’t care much for it. The size is definitely intriguing as it is way smaller in person than we expected it to be. Also, the feel is right — pretty light without feeling inexpensively cheap. However, the myriad of buttons sort of confuses us, especially when a bunch of them don’t serve a purpose 90% of the time in what we’d imagine would be your daily use. I’ll use my Android handset to control my Google TV device as opposed to a manufacturer remote, you can believe that. Last thing about the remote… no backlight! So sad.
- The picture in picture capability is practically the selling point here… if you’re a multitasker, you’re going to love with PIP on. It’s pretty amazing that you can have that picture window of the current TV show or recording you’re watching open on the screen and at the same time browse a website, check something on Google Maps, search for a program to record, and more.
- The range in sizes and price is pretty spectacular. At a cost of $1,399 for the 46″ edge-lit LED model is practically a steal — and the time to market is also delicious as the sets and Blu-ray player will be available this weekend.
All in all, this wasn’t something we didn’t expect, yet we’re incredibly excited for Sony to pioneer this new category of TV entertainment. Let’s see if they can knock it out of the park…
Cable and satellite television operators may be in talks with entertainment companies to develop new TV packages that offer fewer channels at a lower cost to consumers. With the average television bill hovering around $80, and the economy struggling, many subscribers are dropping this non-essential service and turing to cheaper, online alternatives like Hulu and Netflix for their home entertainment. This trend has, seemingly, not gone unnoticed by those in the media business. Time Warner CEO, Glenn Britt, confirmed that television operators are exploring ways of lowering the consumer’s monthly bill:
It would be a good thing if we could all figure out a way to have one or more smaller packages that would be attractive to people who can’t afford bigger ones, especially if we could do it in a way that the entertainment companies are still able to finance the product
Though the idea of smaller, cheaper TV packages are in the early stages of discussion, it is a big step forward for operators to even consider lowering the bar on the basic package. Hopefully, this trend continues and expands to include not only less channels but some a la carte features for which consumers are clamoring. More →
The folks at Colorware have added the latest Xbox 360 S to their impressive repertoire of custom-colored electronics. The new slim and sleek Xbox 360 S can be painted in your choice of 46 custom colors for $175 if you already own the gaming console, or for a reasonable $500 if you buy the system with a custom paint job directly from Colorware. We’ve been impressed with Colorware’s work in the past and highly recommend the service if you want something more than drab black for one of the hubs of your home entertainment system and don’t mind the cost. More →
Motorola means business when it comes to its upcoming breakup and it is throwing cash and moving debt around around like crazy. The split will form a new Motorola Mobility which will encompass the struggling mobile phone division along with the profitable home hardware division that manufactures set-top boxes and DSL/Cable modems. The remainder of Motorola, which is responsible for two-way public safety radios, handheld scanners, and telecommunications network gear, will be rolled into the new Motorola Solutions. The Mobility company will get a much needed shot in the arm with an infusion of cash that will total $3 to $4 billion and the removal of pension liabilities and other encumbering debt. The Solutions company will shoulder the burden of this split by assuming these pension and other liabilities and will receive any remaining cash reserves. With that much cash in hand and momentum with its DROID series of smartphones, Motorola Mobility has an opportunity to make some waves in the mobile marketplace. For competition sake, let’s hope they do. More →
Pure Digital Technologies, maker of the popular Flip Video portable video camera, announced the new FlipShare TV, a Flip video sharing and streaming device for your TV. The FlipShare TV connects to your TV via component video or HDMI and uses a wireless dongle to stream your Flip videos, and only your Flip videos, from your computer to your TV. You can browse your local content using the supplied remote and can also create online channels to share your Flip videos with friends and family. Though the hardware is pretty enough, the concept is way too limited. Do we really need another streaming video appliance, especially one that is proprietary and only streams Flip-formatted videos? If you think we do, you can pick one up from the Flip video store for $149 starting today. More →
File this little guy under gadgets we need ASAP. VUDU has been tearing it up lately as the company wisely broadens its horizons beyond dedicated set top boxes. The HD on-demand content provider recently announced partnerships that bring its service to various LG and Mitsubishi flat-panel televisions, and now VUDU is taking things to a new range of products: LG Blu-ray players. It certainly makes sense — if you’re going to add an on-demand HD streaming service to a line of home theater components, why not make them Blu-ray players? The first LG model that will be graced with VUDU service is the BD390, which is available now with an MSRP of $399. VUDU will go live on the player via a free software update toward the end of the month, though CEDIA attendees will be able to get a preview of the VUDU-enabled player this week at the show. If you have a High Def addiction and you’ve given up fighting it long ago, the BD390 is definitely the 1080p fix you’ve been looking for. Hit the jump for the full release.