Google Preparing To Launch Android TV Box?

After the debacle that was Google TV, the company stepped back and revised the idea. The new service will be called Android TV, and it seems Google is readying the service to be launched in a new set-top box.


Image source The Verge

Reports suggest that Google is having another attempt at bringing the smart internet TV service to consumers,  as they bid to keep up with established rivals Apple TV, Roku, as well as the new entry from Amazon – the Amazon Fire.

The Google TV interface was used as an operating system that powered TV sets, and Blu-ray players from big names such as Sony and Logitech, before being mercilessly killed off.

The new Android TV software would be less complicated according to the report, saying it would be, “an entertainment interface, not a computing platform… It’s all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction.”

The new service will strip out apps that need touch-screen, camera interaction, but solely focus on getting TV and movie content along with games use, just like the new Amazon Fire STB which was launched last week.

The report published by the Verge says that the new slick interface would comprise of scrolling screens that bring the user access to movies, TV shows, apps, and games. Google are said to be in discussions with app developers to create apps, services and games that have consistent interfaces.

Google would launch more simple apps for the streaming media device to appease the average couch potato, and the device would also feature a simple remote just like those found on Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire, making a four way battle for under the TV dominance.

Although Google have already launched the wildly successful Chromecast HDMI stick into the market, this would be a different device that operates as a stand alone internet TV, app and game player which delivers services such as Netflix and Hulu.

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Mohu Launches Kickstarter STB Combining Internet & TV Tuner

A new kickstarter offering from Mohu promises to combine the best of web TV and traditional into it’s new little set-top box. The company previously known for selling Mohu Leaf antennas for digital TV signals, are looking to appeal to cord-cutters looking for low cost TV.

Mohu-STBThe box is a combo of an over-the-air (OTA) tuner, and a streaming media box. The company will try, just like Google before it, to bring the two services together.

The box looks like an over-sized plug in dongle that comes with a qwerty keyboard/remote, with connections for a HDMI cable as well as an antenna slot giving the box traditional TV, streaming services and the web.

It will present users with a Channel Grid that integrates live TV and streaming services, and web bookmarks in a TV guide style. The device will be based around the Android OS so that it has access to plenty of apps from the Google Play Store at launch.

The Mohu box will come in different packages, just the box and remote and HDMI lead for $89, an antenna included in the second, and a signal booster added to the third.

Although it may just seem like another Android streaming box, the Mohu does have an antenna input, and will win or lose by the software that combines internet and OTA TV without the need to change inputs. Will it be a cord cutters dream, or another Android box destined for obscurity?


Android Smart TV Coming From Philips

Dutch electronics manufacturer Philips, have revealed they will launch a Smart TV powered by the Android OS this year. Philips owners TP Vision say Android will come integrated in the high-end Ambilight TV’s.

Philips-Android-TVThe Smart TV’s will launch in Europe in Q2 of 2014 and give users access to Google Play as well as Philips Smart TV apps. The TV is said to be man enough to run Android apps boasting a quad-core chip.

As Smart TV’s evolve from the clunky interfaces we currently see, there will be a number of operating systems to choose from. As well as the Android OS, Philips will be competing with the LG range of webOS powered Smart TVs, and with the Roku powered televisions coming from Polaroid as well as TCL and HiSense models.

Speaking about the new models, CEO of TP Vision, Maarten de Vries said, “In 2014, we will start the roll-out of Philips TVs featuring Android in the higher end of our product portfolio. We expect that consumer appreciation and take-up will rapidly grow. By 2015 already the majority of our Smart TVs will be Android powered.”

TVPlayer App Offers Live UK Streaming Channels on iOS and Android

UK streaming viewers looking to watch live TV channels have another option available, following the launch of a new app called TVplayer.

TVplayerThe app available for both iOS and android phones carries a number of channels that include both BBC 1, 2,  3 & 4, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, and a selection of news and music channels to boot.

Created by a company called Simplestream, the service promises many more channels when it fully launches later this month. Users can choose by channel or select a ‘Pack’, which is just another name for a category such as kids, business, entertainment, music etc.

The app is functional and does just what it promises but there is no catch up option or pause, rewind features either, so you can only watch what is on right now. It does have a snazzy feature that lets you see whats on other channels as an overlay while you watch your show.

TVPlayer joins other apps such as TV Catchup and the iPlayer which are also capable of offering live TV streaming. Available now from the app store for iPhone, and Android devices from Google play. A Windows and tablet version is promised to follow.

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Sky Go Launch Dedicated Android Tablet App

Satellite TV provider Sky have released a dedicated Sky Go Android tablet app offering live TV and on-demand programming. Although subscribers have been able to watch content on Android tablets, it has taken until now for a dedicated app to become available that caters for the larger screen.

sky-go-appThe new app joins other platforms that can already access it including iOS, Windows and Android smartphones. It is compatible with tablets of screen size 7 inch and above running Android 4.0 OS and above. Although it is having some problems running on Android KitKat, which shouldn’t be a problem as not many customers are using it.

Speaking for Sky, Brand Director of TV Products Luke Bradley-Jones said, “We know that lots of our customers are using Android tablets, so we look forward to even more customers now being able enjoying the flexibility and convenience of watching their favourite content wherever they want.”

The Sky Go service lets Sky customers stream live TV from over 50 channels (depending on subscription level) that include all the movie, entertainment and sports channels, plus a library of on-demand TV content and full seasons of shows. The service can be used on smartphones, tablets or a desktop PC.

Sky Go can be registered on two different devices although more can be added along with a download option for an additional charge. The new app can be downloaded from Google Play.

Aereo Expands Android Compatibility For Internet TV Service

The Aereo Android app that gives viewers access to mobile TV streaming, has been expanded so it will work on even more devices. The service is now compatible with devices running Android OS 4.1 and above.

aereo-android-appThe app was released last month in public beta format for smartphones and tablets, but could only run on devices running Android 4.2 or above. The service is currently undergoing a nationwide launch and is currently available in New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Detroit and Denver.

The Aereo service works via a bank of mini antenna’s and cloud based DVR technology, allowing subscribers paying from $8 monthly to watch live TV and record free to air television. Speaking about the update, Aereo’s CEO Chet Kanojia said, “We have been hard at work to expand the number of devices compatible with Aereo.”

Subscribers can watch content on a number of devices from computers to tablets and phones, and watch browser based versions on  iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Roku and Apple TV.

Chet continued, “With the addition of Android 4.1 compatibility, more consumers will have the ability to access Aereo’s technology on more devices, giving people choice and control over how they watch television. We’re continuing to add new features that improve the consumer experience and our team is very focused on continuing to expand to more cities.”

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