Samsung Likely to Enable Third-Party Assistants in 2019 TVs

At CES 2019, when Samsung introduces its latest line-up of TVs, it might also unveil plans to integrate Google Assistant into its 2019 TV sets, according to sources. The company is expected to place a bigger emphasis on audio quality, and might also offer features in its TVs that are similar to Apple’s HomePod, which “tunes” music to its environment. Samsung wouldn’t comment on these plans, but did highlight the 2019 models of its Frame and Serif TVs. In 2018, Samsung added Bixby, its own voice assistant, to that year’s TV lineup. Continue reading Samsung Likely to Enable Third-Party Assistants in 2019 TVs

Nuvyyo and Mohu Unveil Solutions to Stream OTA Broadcasts

At CES 2017, Nuvyyo unveiled the Tablo Live stick, which offers free over-the-air television on any device, a DVR app for the Nvidia Shield game console, and previewed a cloud DVR for broadcast TV. The company, which also manufactures the cord-cutting Tablo DVR, explains that Tablo Live doesn’t plug directly into a TV set but, instead, streams live TV to devices with already-installed Tablo apps, available on Android phones, iPhone, Roku, Fire TV, Xbox One and Apple TV. Tablo Live will ship in Q2 for $99. Cord cutters may also be interested in Mohu, which introduced its Airwave device at CES. Continue reading Nuvyyo and Mohu Unveil Solutions to Stream OTA Broadcasts

App for Broadcasting Text Chats Rolls Out with ‘SummerBreak’

Avner Ronen, founder of consumer electronics startup Boxee, has rolled out Public, a messaging service that he calls “a third medium for broadcasting conversations.” Public, which raised $2 million at the end of 2015 and is available as an iPhone app and website, broadcasts group chats to an audience, complete with GIFs and emoji. A handful of active participants chat about a topic, which anyone can follow in real-time or read later. Chats can also be shared on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or embedded in other websites. Continue reading App for Broadcasting Text Chats Rolls Out with ‘SummerBreak’

TiVo Co-Founders Plan Launch of QPlay TV Streaming Device

Through their San Jose-based startup InVisioneer, TiVo co-founders Michael Ramsay and Jim Barton are reportedly getting ready to release a new TV companion device called QPlay, designed to blend video discovery and curation with smart TV functionality. According to a recent FCC filing, QPlay connects to TVs through HDMI and, similar to Chromecast, relies on an iPad for Wi-Fi set-up and device interaction, rather than a remote control. Continue reading TiVo Co-Founders Plan Launch of QPlay TV Streaming Device

Samsung Acquires Boxee, Plans to Shutter Cloud DVR Service

Samsung has picked up Israel- and New York-based TV startup Boxee for about $30 million. Boxee started six years ago by offering PC-based media center software and eventually launched its own hardware product, the Boxee Box. The company attempted to solve its content problem with the launch of the Boxee TV, which was rebranded in April as Boxee Cloud DVR. With the acquisition, Samsung plans to shut down Boxee’s unlimited Cloud DVR service on July 10. Continue reading Samsung Acquires Boxee, Plans to Shutter Cloud DVR Service

Could Amazon Set-Top Box be an All-In-One Media Center?

Amazon reportedly has plans to launch a television set-top box that would stream video over the Internet to televisions and provide access to the company’s expanding video services, including the Amazon Video on Demand store. The new device, expected as early as sometime this year, would compete with Apple’s set-top box, Apple TV, in addition to video-delivery products from Roku, Boxee, Microsoft and Sony. Continue reading Could Amazon Set-Top Box be an All-In-One Media Center?

Debunking Tech Perceptions: If TV not Broken, Why is Everyone Trying to Fix It?

  • Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku and Boxee are just some of the companies working on ways to re-imagine the TV experience.
  • “But nobody seems to be able to answer the big question: what exactly is so broken about TV anyway?” writes Matt Rosoff in a commentary for CNN, part of a series designed to “debunk commonly held perceptions about technology.”
  • Rosoff acknowledges that channel guides are inefficient… “But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most TV viewers simply won’t care enough about any of this stuff to shell out $1,500 for a new Apple TV, or spend a few hundred bucks and countless hours fiddling around adding a new box to their TV set and figuring out how it works.”
  • He notes that while the tech industry wants to optimize the television experience, it is important to remember that TV is passive. We don’t want to work at it. It’s not too difficult to turn the set on, find your channel and you’re done. Even Steve Jobs sometimes just wanted to watch TV and vegetate.
  • “That’s why we love TV just the way it is,” writes Rosoff. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

New Cord-Cutting Tool: Boxee to Offer USB Live TV Stick in January

  • Boxee is augmenting its broadband box for cord-cutters with a USB dongle that provides users access to broadcast TV.
  • According to paidContent: “Boxee, which has been working mightily to get people to cut their cable cords with its own broadband box for five years, is preparing a new add-on product in January that will let users pull out the cable cord and plug a USB device into their cable box, giving them access to broadcast TV channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC for free.”
  • “If you live and die by ESPN, then yes, you have to stay on cable. But we believe there are plenty of people who just want access to regular broadcast channels,” says Avner Ronen, CEO and co-founder of Boxee.
  • However, Ronen believes there are consumers interested in basic broadcast content that would benefit from this approach. “The problem with canceling your cable subscription and relying just on the Internet has been the lack of live sports, a presidential address, local news, special events and live TV shows,” he told paidContent. “But these things are all available on broadcast TV channels…for free, over the air in HD.”
  • The Live TV stick will be available for $49, as an add-on to the $180 Boxee Box.

Viewsonic Cancels Boxee HDTV: Will Apple Revive Demand For Smart TVs?

  • Viewsonic announced it will axe the launch of its planned smart HDTV, which would have run Boxee’s media center software. Coupled with Logitech’s price cut for Google TV, it seems there is little demand for smart TVs that are connected to the Internet.
  • However, some analysts believe that may change.
  • “The Logitech Revue and Boxee were both originally priced considerably higher than the $99 Apple TV, which has sold relatively well on Amazon, despite only being what Steve Jobs famously referred to as a ‘hobby’ for the company,” reports ReadWriteWeb.
  • We’re all expecting the future living room to be Web-connected and interactive — as initial steps are taken by mobile technology, social networking and second screen apps — but what we don’t know is exactly how this will play out. Apple has long been rumored to be working on a smart HDTV that would possibly play a more prominent role in our living rooms.
  • Will Apple TV jumpstart the smart TV market? ReadWriteWeb points out: “If Apple’s impact on the markets for smartphones and tablets is any indication, an Apple-branded HDTV may serve to popularize connected TVs in a way that Boxee and Google TV have failed to thus far.”

MOG Offers More than 11 Million Streaming Songs for Boxee Users

  • Subscription online music service MOG has announced the availability of its new app for the Boxee Box by D-Link.
  • According to the press release: “MOG is the first on-demand music service providing unlimited music in high quality, 320 kbps, to be offered as a native app for Boxee. Listeners can now enjoy MOG’s HQ audio through this new living room offering, featuring a wireless remote keypad for quick searches of MOG’s 11.5-million song catalog on a user’s connected TV.”
  • You can test drive MOG free for 14 days, reports Engadget. After the trial period, you have a choice of the $4.99/month basic account or $9.99/month Primo account.
  • The Boxee Box costs $199.

Media Set-Top Boxes: Make Web Viewing More Like TV and Less Like PC

  • In his Wall Street Journal “All Things D” Personal Technology column this week, Walt Mossberg reviews three set-top boxes: the $100 Roku 2 XS, the $99 second-generation Apple TV and the $199 Boxee Box from D-Link.
  • “The intent of the three products I tested is to do what a computer can, but in a simpler, cheaper and more TV-like manner,” he writes, “with easy setup, clear onscreen menus and small, simple remotes.”
  • Mossberg endorses the Apple TV for those who use iTunes or who own an iPad or iPhone. Apple’s AirPlay allows you to wirelessly stream content to your TV. For others, he likes the simplicity and price point of Roku, which also has a game function. Mossberg suggests Boxee is a bit too complicated and rough around the edges, but might be a good choice for techies.
  • Bottom line: “To watch Internet video easily on a TV, either Roku or Apple TV is the best choice for average consumers.”

Boxee iPad App Aggregates Video Content from Social Feeds

  • Boxee launched a free iPad app this week that aggregates video content from social feeds such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
  • If the user has the Boxee Media Manager client on a Mac or PC, the new app can stream video from the computer to the iPad.
  • The company also designed a bookmarklet that allows users to mark video content for later viewing.
  • “One criticism of the iPad application is that it doesn’t offer access to premium applications like Vudu, Netflix and Hulu Plus,” reports Digital Trends. “Missing premium applications is attributed to companies like Netflix preferring to keep content within its own application as well as Flash content on the Web that’s incompatible with the iPad.”

Nine Video Streaming and Rental Alternatives to Netflix

  • As previously reported on ETCentric, Netflix announced plans this week to divide its unlimited-DVDs-by-mail and unlimited-streaming options into two separate plans.
  • The resulting 60 percent price increase (from $9.99 to $15.99 per month for both DVD and streaming), effective September 1 for existing customers, has raised some early controversy with Netflix subscribers and the press.
  • For those who may be looking to opt out of Netflix due to the new price structure, has posted a helpful overview of viable alternatives including: Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, Blockbuster by Mail, Walmart’s VUDU, YouTube Rentals, CinemaNow, GreenCine, Redbox and Google.
  • Amazon Prime, for example, now offers a streaming video service available for $79 per year (or $6.58 a month), while the growing library of movies and TV programs on Hulu Plus ($7.99 per month) is available on multiple platforms including PCs, game consoles, and set-top boxes.
  • VUDU works with computers, the PS3, Boxee, Blu-ray players and connected TVs. Its customers pay $2 for a two-day rental, while YouTube fans can pay $1.99 to $3.99 for streaming rentals. The company has partnered with Sony, Warner Brothers, Universal, Lionsgate and others to provide content via YouTube accounts on computers, Google TV, Android tablets with Honeycomb, and most Android phones.
  • Check out for details on all nine options listed.