We knew it wouldn’t be long before a simple solution brought Apple’s AirPlay streaming media functionality to Windows, and today the deed is done. Independent developer Apostolos Georgiadis has assembled a neat little Windows application called AirMediaPlayer that allows Apple’s iOS devices to stream music and video via AirPlay to a Windows PC. The player is compatible with Windows 7, Vista and XP, and requires .NET framework 3.5, Bonjour and Quicktime to operate. Once those installations are taken care of, AirMediaPlayer is free to use and is compatible with any AirPlay-equipped iOS device. Hit the break for a video of AirMedia Player in action, and then hit the read link to download the app. More →
Sling Media announced Tuesday that its popular SlingPlayer Mobile software is now available for Windows Phone 7 devices. The mobile app will allow Windows Phone 7-powered handsets like the HTC Surround to stream live TV content from a home television via Wi-Fi or 3G. Sling Media uses a hardware component — a Slingbox — to capture signals from a user’s cable or satellite box and rebroadcast the content over the Internet using a private stream. Slingboxes can also stream content recorded with a DVR using the same technology. SlingPlayer Mobile for Windows Phone 7 is available immediately in the Windows Marketplace for $29.99. Hit the jump for Sling’s full press release. More →
Hulu Plus, a premium Web-based video streaming service, is now available to the public. Rob Wong, product director for Hulu Plus, made the announcement Thursday on the company’s blog, saying the service is now available without need for an invitation. Hulu provides a service that allows users to stream movies and TV episodes for free to computers. Hulu Plus, which costs $9.99 each month (for the time being, at least), offers enhancements such as additional content and the ability to stream to more devices like Apple’s iPhone and the Sony PlayStation 3. Rumors suggest interest in Hulu Plus has been minimal though, thanks to widely available free content as well as subscription competition like Netflix’s Watch Instantly. Hulu claims to have had a successful closed beta period, however, and it will continue to expand the service to more devices during the current open preview period.
On an earnings call Thursday, Coinstar CEO Paul Davis confirmed that subsidiary Redbox would soon expand its portfolio to include a streaming product. Redbox currently owns and operates DVD movie rental kiosks situated in and around highly trafficked partner stores across the country. These unmanned kiosks allow customers to rent DVDs at low prices using an automated vending system. Customers are then charged for each day they keep the DVDs until they are returned. In an effort to compete further with rival Netflix, which now offers a popular streaming service called Watch Instantly, Redbox will introduce a Web-based streaming service some time next year. Though the service is expected to provide unlimited streaming for a fixed monthly price, Davis wouldn’t commit when asked whether the company would offer an all-you-can-eat model or an a la carte option similar to Apple’s iTunes model. Redbox’s kiosks played a major role in toppling the once-dominant Blockbuster, and it is likely safe to assume it will attack the streaming market just as aggressively. More →
In my line of work, cell phones come and go faster than mixed drinks on MTV’s Jersey Shore. They’re here, they’re gone and most of the time they’re quickly forgotten. I can’t even recall all of the mobile devices I’ve handled in the past month, let alone the past year. And though hundreds of handsets have crossed my path in the 1,211 days since June 29th, 2007, only one phone has managed to stay in my pocket day in and day out: Apple’s iPhone.
Say what you will about the device, the company, me, my mother, or anything else… the iPhone might be my go-to handset but I have no allegiance to any manufacturer or OS. In fact my iPhone 3GS was almost replaced last year by Sprint’s Palm Pre. I still love webOS but I need hardware that matches the fit and finish of Palm’s great operating system before a webOS device can fly solo in my pocket. And no, unfortunately, the Pre 2 likely won’t fit the bill.
So I continue to carry and use the iPhone because it just so happens to be the device that comes closest to suiting my needs. I almost always have a second phone on me — an Android phone, the Palm Pre or maybe a BlackBerry — but each is just a companion device that rarely gets any face time. Most common tasks are so much smoother on the iPhone than the competition, it just doesn’t make sense to bother with another device.
The iPhone is not a perfect device by any stretch of the imagination, but for me, right now, its the best we’ve got. It has the best build quality and is comprised of the best materials. It has the best display and the most responsive touchscreen. It has the best oil-resistant glass and countless amazing apps. It has the most fluid interface and the best customer service supporting it.
But for every best, there is also a worst. And because the iPhone’s bests are so great, expectations are high and the worsts become much more pronounced. Here, I go through my compilation of the iPhone’s worst worsts. More →
Android fans on AT&T have gotten the short end of the stick more times than we can count. It took far too long for AT&T to hop on board the Android bus and now that the wheels are going round and round, AT&T subscribers are still forced to deal with a less-than-stellar handset selection compared to the competition. In an effort to make amends, AT&T today announced the availability of its U-verse mobile app for Android handsets. The app gives Android users the ability to schedule recordings on their DVR boxes remotely. U-verse mobile can also download and play TV shows and movies that have already been recorded on a user’s DVR. AT&T’s U-verse app for Android is available immediately for the Samsung Captivate and HTC Aria, with versions for the Motorola FLIPSIDE and Motorola BRAVO set to follow soon. Unfortunately, the app is not available for the ancient OS build still residing on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
Earlier today, YouTube introduced a simple and very easy to use cloud-based video editor for its millions of users. Creating things like mashups couldn’t be more simple thanks to the new system, requiring users only to drag their clips into sequential order, trim each clip to length, and then throw in some music and titles. Like we said, it’s a very simple system that doesn’t offer a whole lot of options. But for the average person who possesses neither the right software or the know how, YouTube’s solution is pretty spot on.
Netflix is easily one of the best iPad applications available to date. Unfortunately, however, it’s not available for the iPhone. That is until this weekend when a ModMyi reader showed the world it is possible to run the app on a jailbroken iPhone. Getting the app loaded up is surprisingly simple. In fact, all you really need to do is extract and make minor changes to the Netflix .app file, borrow the iPad’s MediaPlayer.framework folder, change a few permissions and you’re pretty much good to go. If you’re planning on trying this out thinking it’ll be all rainbows and kittens, we should warn you that there are a few drawbacks. In particular, battery life is said to suffer horribly and the app takes a while to load and buffer videos, and it is prone to crashing if you race through the catalog too fast. But if you’re feeling adventurous this long weekend, why not give it a try?
Thanks, David! More →
In a blog post discussing some new features that were recently rolled out, Hulu’s Eugene Wei took a moment to outline some of the reasons why HTML5 won’t be a part of the video streaming websites for a while yet. Planted inconspicuously between talk of “meeting the needs of its customers,” and delivering “premium visual quality,” Wei mentioned that the primary setback has to do with DRM, or more accurately the lack of support for it. Without DRM, Wei said that Hulu would not be able to “secure [its] content,” which would essentially allow anyone to save the videos they’re watching as easily as they could save a photo from any given website. In light of this, it’s easy to see why so many are suspiciously watching others as they make the transition from Flash to HTML5. After all, what sort of TV network would want to distribute their content on a site that is so easy to steal from?
Outside of the debate on the future of Flash and Flash video on the Internet is a separate but related battle over the video standard that will be supported by HTML5. On one side of the battle line is Firefox and Opera which has pledged support for the Ogg Theora video standard, and on the other side is Apple which has been pushing for H.264. Apple is no longer alone in this fight and now has an unlikely ally in Microsoft which announced on Thursday that IE 9 will support H.264 for HTML5 video. Ogg supporters are understandably disappointed with this decision as the two computing giants may now have the combined power to squash Ogg Theora support in these other browser platforms. Look for things to get messier before they get better as Google is expected to debut its own On2-derived V8 video protocol at Google I/O next month. More →
VUDU has taken a great leap forward, moving from its small lineup of streaming media set-top boxes and its presence on a few home entertainment devices to being the embedded media service of choice for LG, Mitsubishi, Samsung, SANYO, Sharp, Toshiba and VIZIO. The popular streaming movie service will be installed on select models of broadband TVs and Blu-ray players across all partners, an arrangement that may put millions of VUDU-enabled home entertainment devices into living rooms across America. Customers who purchase a VUDU-spiced HDTV or Blu-ray player will be able to access VUDU’s 3,000 strong on-demand HD movie catalog and its exclusive 1080p HDX formatted feature films. VUDU also announced its new VUDU Apps application platform, a cloud-based application service that allows customers to browse photos, stream video, access social network sites and more from the comfort of their favorite chair. They’ve got over 100 applications in the catalog and they will be available on broadband HDTVs from Mitsubishi, SANYO, Sharp and Toshiba and on broadband Blu-ray players from Toshiba. We need this. Now. More →
Looks like EyeTV pulled a fast one on the quality assurance peeps in Cupertino. Our friends from Electricpig in the UK are reporting a quick and easy workaround that allows the EyeTV app to stream media over 3G on the iPhone.
“Tap the OK button, and the app will act as if it can’t receive broadcasts. However, tap the text of the warning message instead, and the Eye TV app will stream live TV over a 3G connection.”
Doesn’t seem like Elgato was trying very hard to hide their little secret, and we’re fairly certain Apple isn’t going to find it very funny. Will Apple go all Google Voice and pull every media streaming app in their catalog? Probably not — however we’re thinking that this particular version of EyeTV isn’t long for the AppStore.
Everyone knows we here at BGR have a long-standing love affair with mobile video streaming service Qik so it’s with great sadness we report that it has become the latest victim of Apple’s App Store shenanigans. Now ripe for the pickin’ for all 3GS owners, Qik for iPhone comes with with two ridiculous caveats attached — Wi-Fi only and no live streaming. In other words, if you want to get your video up ASAP while you’re roaming about town you better have a few bucks in your pocket to pop into a Starbucks and buy a latte because without that Wi-Fi you’re S.O.L. A build of Qik with live streaming over 3G has been submitted to Apple’s App Store approval monkeys, but honestly, we’re not holding out much hope that it will slide through. Why? Because it would just be oh so silly for Apple to allow a company to get an app approved without having to fundamentally disrupt its entire purpose.