CES 2020: TiVo Joins Streaming Wars With HDMI Dongle

At CES this week, TiVo announced a new device described by CEO Dave Shull as a “tiny little HDMI puck” that will bring the company “full on into the streaming wars.” The $50 TiVo Stream 4K, hitting shelves in April as a competitor to Roku and Amazon devices, is designed to expand the company’s current user base by offering streaming and live television for today’s cord cutters and cord shavers. While TiVo plans to continue offering its signature cable-ready DVRs, the new 4K dongle could be a glimpse into the company’s future. In December, TiVo announced its $3 billion merger with licensing firm Xperi. “This transformation for TiVo enabled the merger,” said Shull. Continue reading CES 2020: TiVo Joins Streaming Wars With HDMI Dongle

TV Maker Vizio to Sell Ads on SmartCast Operating System

Television manufacturer Vizio is forming Vizio Ads to sell advertising on its Internet-connected SmartCast TV operating system. To do so, the company plans to hire “about two dozen” ad salespeople across the U.S. next year. Senior vice president Mike O’Donnell, who revealed that six salespeople have already been hired, stated that Vizio Ads will be housed with Vizio’s TV data unit Inscape, both of which reside in the company’s “platform business.” Currently, advertising is sold by companies whose programming streams on SmartCast. Continue reading TV Maker Vizio to Sell Ads on SmartCast Operating System

Nvidia Introduces Two Next-Generation Shield TV Devices

Nvidia just launched two new Shield TV set-top boxes, making them the third generation after the 2015 debut and 2017 update. The new Shield TV 2019 Editions are both faster and offer a new remote. The Nvidia Shield TV, priced at $149.99, is housed in a new cylindrical form factor, with HDMI and microSD on the top and wired Gigabit Ethernet and power on the bottom. The Nvidia Shield TV Pro, priced at $199.99, maintains its existing design, with an upgraded Nvidia Tegra X1+ SoC, 3GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. Continue reading Nvidia Introduces Two Next-Generation Shield TV Devices

Google Adopts Open-Source, Secure Password-Less Logins

The FIDO Alliance, a consortium for open source authentication standards, is trying to make passwords obsolete, expanding its secure login protocols. Its efforts were boosted by Google’s announcement that it added certified support for the FIDO2 standard, impacting the vast majority of devices running Android 7 or later. That means owners of these Android 7-based devices should be able to log in seamlessly without passwords on mobile browsers such as Chrome. Websites can now be designed to interact with FIDO2 management. Continue reading Google Adopts Open-Source, Secure Password-Less Logins

Google I/O Reveals Long List of Product Upgrades and News

At the Google I/O developers conference, Google announced compelling updates including: Google Duplex brings new AI tech to Google Assistant; six new voices are coming to Google Assistant (including a version from John Legend); mobile operating system Android P gets an interface refresh, gesture controls, and expanded dashboard features; the new Android TV dongle supports 4K streaming and touts 8GB of storage; AI-powered Smart Compose comes to Gmail; Google Maps adds a new social layer and AR directions functionality by teaming AI with Street View; Google News curates online content via AI; and Google Lens is closer to delivering its text copy and style match features. Continue reading Google I/O Reveals Long List of Product Upgrades and News

Amazon to Debut Two New Fire TVs, One With Built-In Alexa

Amazon will soon introduce two new Fire TV models, both of which will playback 4K HDR video at 60 fps. The first is a dongle that hangs off a permanently attached HDMI cable, similar to Google Chromecast, and the second is a new Fire TV shaped like a set-top box that will be the new flagship model. The dongle is positioned between the existing Fire TV Stick and a new high-end model. The new Fire TV cube has far-field microphones, a built-in speaker and LED light bar, with functionality similar to an Amazon Echo. Continue reading Amazon to Debut Two New Fire TVs, One With Built-In Alexa

Google Play Movies & TV Now Offers High Dynamic Range

For consumers with an HDR-compatible TV and Chromecast Ultra, Google Play Movies & TV has introduced support for high dynamic range video. A number of video services now support HDR in order to provide richer colors and improved contrast, even though the tech has not made its way to many living rooms yet. While top services such as Netflix, Amazon and YouTube offer HDR video, viewers still need an HDR-ready TV from companies including Hisense, LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sony, TCL and Vizio. “People don’t upgrade their television as often as they do other technologies, like smartphones,” notes TechCrunch, “which means broad adoption of HDR in the living room could take years.” Continue reading Google Play Movies & TV Now Offers High Dynamic Range

Scalable Graphics to Feature Wireless KwikVR System at CES

At CES 2017, Scalable Graphics, which specializes in GPU-accelerated cloud computing, is set to introduce a wireless PC solution for virtual reality that is compatible with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets. The company’s one-pound KwikVR is a wireless compression and transmission system that cuts the cord between the VR headset and the computer powering it. Wireless VR and other hardware upgrades or peripherals that make VR experiences better are likely to be trends at CES 2017. Continue reading Scalable Graphics to Feature Wireless KwikVR System at CES

YouTube Introduces High Dynamic Range Support for Videos

YouTube is rolling out HDR support for videos that offer improved picture quality, higher contrast and more vibrant colors. The launch is limited, since HDR is still entering the mainstream, but the video-sharing site is preparing for its future. TechCrunch reports, “if you happen to own an HDR-enabled TV today, you can view HDR content on select YouTube channels going live with the enhanced content, like MysteryGuitarMan, Jacob + Katie Schwarz, and Abandon Visuals.” HDR videos can also be streamed “through Google’s newer Chromecast Ultra device, which debuted earlier this fall with 4K and HDR support.” Continue reading YouTube Introduces High Dynamic Range Support for Videos

Google May Intro New Pixel-Branded Phones, 4K Chromecast

On October 4 in San Francisco, Google will likely reveal new Pixel-branded smartphones, the Pixel and larger Pixel XL. Google manufactures the Pixel phones by itself rather than in collaboration with LG, Huawei or other partners. A teaser video for the event features a rotating group of photos shown in a phone-shaped format. In addition, Google may also use the event to debut Google 4K Chromecast, go into more details about Google Home and reveal more specific plans for its upcoming Daydream VR headset. Continue reading Google May Intro New Pixel-Branded Phones, 4K Chromecast

Google Builds Cast Functionality Directly into Chrome Browser

Google recently integrated full Google Cast capability directly into its Chrome browser, a significant upgrade to its previous Cast extension that allowed streaming from Chrome to supported devices like the company’s popular Chromecast. The Cast icon will appear on all sites that support it, enabling Cast functionality from the Chrome menu, no software download required. Cast is also now available on third party hardware such as TV sets and speakers. More than 38 million casts were sent from Chrome in August alone, representing over 50 million hours of consuming media content. Continue reading Google Builds Cast Functionality Directly into Chrome Browser

Chromecast Numbers Surpass Apple TV, Roku Holds the Lead

A recent survey shows that Google’s Chromecast media dongle is now more popular among U.S. households than the Apple TV set-top box. The small Chromecast device simply plugs into a TV’s HDMI slot to play streaming media content from the Internet. At just $35, Chromecast continues to gain momentum with consumers looking for an affordable means of playing video on their TVs from services such as Hulu, Netflix and YouTube. Despite Chromecast’s new position in the rankings, it remains second to Roku. Continue reading Chromecast Numbers Surpass Apple TV, Roku Holds the Lead

Google Play Movies & TV Comes to Roku, TiVo Includes Vudu

Roku announced that its channel selections now include Google Play Movies & TV, which allows users to watch films and shows rented or purchased via Google Play. Unlike the Google Play Movies & TV app for iOS, users will be able to access content directly through the Roku channel. This may seem like odd news since Google recently announced its own Android TV streaming box, the $100 Nexus Player, which will launch this month. In related news, Vudu is now available on select TiVo models. Continue reading Google Play Movies & TV Comes to Roku, TiVo Includes Vudu

Amazon to Join Crowded OTT Device Market with Fire TV Stick

Amazon announced its Fire TV Stick, a $39 device ($19 for Prime subscribers) that plugs into the back of a television to provide access to movies and shows via online services such as Amazon’s Prime Instant Video and competitors Hulu and Netflix. Scheduled for a November 19th release, the Fire TV Stick offers twice the memory of Google’s $35 Chromecast (a bestseller on Amazon) and is priced lower than Roku’s $50 stick. However, it joins a crowded market of over-the-top Internet streaming devices. Continue reading Amazon to Join Crowded OTT Device Market with Fire TV Stick

Microsoft TV Dongle Could Be Much Needed Boost for Miracast

Microsoft announced its Wireless Display Adapter yesterday, a $60 device that will allow Windows and Android users to wirelessly send content from a variety of screens to any displays that feature an HDMI input. For example, users will have the ability to send what they are watching on a tablet, smartphone or laptop to a TV screen or projector. The dongle could also turn an HDMI-equipped TV into a Miracast receiver, which may spark competition with Google’s Chromecast and Roku’s Streaming Stick. Continue reading Microsoft TV Dongle Could Be Much Needed Boost for Miracast

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