Steaming content from your PC to your TV is a pretty easy thing to do but it's amazing how people are scared to try it. Here's a pretty simple video that's easy to understand and will help you with the setup:
What's funny is the video is from Time Warner and is showing you how to stream because some channels were removed from Time Warner Cable. Seems weird for a cable company to push online content but we guess it's better than losing customers.
The day we've been waiting for (since have nothing better to do!). The wonderful TiVo interface is finally going to be available for your home-grown media center. Basically TiVo Inc. and Nero AG of Germany have announced software called LiquidTV that turns a Windows PC into a TiVo based TV recorder. According to the Wall Street Journal:
The kit will cost $199 when it goes on sale Oct. 15, and includes a remote and a TV tuner that plugs into the PC. The interface on the computer screen looks just like the one on a TV equipped with a TiVo box.
It isn't the first software that allows TV recording on the PC. That has been possible for years on computers equipped with TV tuners, and some versions of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Vista operating system include the necessary software. But it will be the first time that both the TiVo interface and functions have been replicated on a PC.
It really sucks that Oct. 15 is still 2 weeks away. We'll definitely be standing in line for this one!
Anytime we can combine the zillion boxes that coming off of our TVs here at the the NAV headquarters, we get pretty excited. One of the coolest dual products to come along lately is the BD-300 from LG. The BD-300 is a Blu-ray player with the ability to play streaming content from Netflix. Excellent! According to Gizmodo:
After adding flicks to your instant queue, you can access them directly from the player, just like with the Roku box. Basically, the BD-300 is a BD-Live Blu-ray player with an invisible bolted-on Roku box--and that's totally awesome, since it chops the number of boxes you need down by at least one (and shows why Netflix's strategy to win the set-top box war is brilliant). If you're a Netflix subscriber, this is three levels of win. We'll see this baby later tonight, but here's all the details we got in the meantime.
What great news. Now when your Netflix Blu-ray DVDs show up you can just pop them in the BD-300. When you're done with the DVDs, you can fire up the Netflix streaming over the same device. Anyone else notice that Netflix is taking over the world? We're not complaining though!
The LG BD-300 Network Blu-ray Disc Player will be available this fall at under a $500 price point. We'll let you know when more details come in.
Here's some news that doesn't surprise us here at the NAV headquarters. More people are watching TV online. According to a poll by Integrated Media Measurement Inc. (IMMI):
A fifth of U.S. television viewers are putting down their remote controls and clicking on a mouse instead to watch primetime programs online -- particularly professional women, according to a new survey.
It showed that 50 percent of people viewing TV on the Web are watching programs as they become available and "appear to be beginning to use the computer as a substitute for the television set," Integrated Media Measurement Inc. (IMMI), which conducted the poll, said.
We're guessing the reason the number of online viewers is increasing is because of the advent of handy devices like AppleTV and the Netflix Player.
As streaming set-top boxes continue to hit the markets, we're glad to see some boxes that link to free content starting to arrive. Recently the WhereverTV Receiver was debuted at the SINO Consumer Electronics show in Qingdao, China. The box streams channels from the Wherever.TV website. According to BetaNews.com:
Content that can be watched on Wherever.tv, which consists of simulcasted regional stations and broadband-exclusive TV channels, can be watched through the WhereverTV receiver with just a high speed connection and a television.
The $199 receiver is similar to the Neuros OSD digital archiving box in both design and onboard hardware, but offers WhereverTV's exclusive Global Interactive Program Guide (IPG) to manage and browse the thousands of channels the service handles. No additional fees are incurred for usage, and the unit offers a simple way to access content from 94 countries in 43 languages on any television. Premium content can also be accessed in real time, at an additional cost to the user.
Pretty cool! With all of the content Wherever.TV offers, $199 isn't too bad for the WhereverTV receiver. We'll try to get a box and let you know what we think.
Looking for an easy to use software to stream your PC to your TV? As long as you have a UPnP-enabled device, you might want to try out Google Media Server. According to Google:
Google Media Server is a Windows application that aims to bridge the gap between Google and your TV. It uses Google Desktop technology such as Desktop gadgets for the administration tool and Google Desktop Search to locate media files. All you need is a PC running Google Desktop and a UPnP-enabled device (e.g. a PlayStation 3). At the touch of a button, you can then:
Access videos, music, and photos stored on your PC
View Picasa Web Albums
Play your favorite YouTube videos
We'll give Google Media Server a shot and let you know what we think. If you're currently using it, drop us a comment and let us know what you think.
We ran across this interesting bit of information at TiVoCommunity.com. TiVo has added several new channels to it's TiVoCast service. The channels are free and available to broadband-connected Series2 and Series3 units. Here is the list and a brief description:
City By City (launched 6/23) has been added to the Lifestyle category of the Video Download service. An On Networks channel, City By City is "a travel show with a twist, your virtual little black book for the swankiest cities across Europe." This show will publish on Mondays along with the other five series from On Networks.
MediaBytes with Shelly Palmer (launched 6/16) is found under the News and Technology categories. MediaBytes is "News you can use about technology, media and entertainment." This channel will be published Monday through Friday.
Golf Tips (launched 5/29) was added to the How-To category of Video Downloads. An On Networks property, Golf Tips "is a show that will make your drive longer, your putts more accurate, and your game better." Every Monday.
Vogue.TV (launched 5/29) has been added to the Lifestyle category of the Video Download service. Vogue.TV takes you behind the scenes of fashion, beauty, and culture and gives you up-to-the-minute trend reports and more. Vogue.TV will be publishing on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Budget Health Nut (launched 5/21) from On Networks is found in the Lifestyle category: "Don't let modest funds get in the way of gourmet taste. Instead, learn how to shop, cook and eat on a budget with culinary cheapskate, Joe Dias." Every Monday.
Cocktails on the Fly (launched 5/21) from On Networks is also under Lifestyle: "Alberta Straub (a.k.a Miss Flighty); is known for turning fresh homemade ingredients into wildly sexy, exuberant drinks." Every Monday.
ON Dating (launched 5/21) from On Networks is another one under Lifestyle: "Online dating is the fastest growing social phenomenon on the Internet, and something celebrity dating coach Andrea Syrtash knows all about." Every Monday.
Zipidee Action Sports (launched 5/15) has been added to the Fitness category of Video Downloads. Zipidee brings us "cutting edge BMX, skateboarding, surfing, mountain biking, snowboarding, and more! Visit zipidee.com/tivo for the full-length videos!" Every Wednesday.
beYOU.tv (launched 5/15) now appears under the Fitness category of Video Downloads. BeYOU.tv "brings you informational and inspirational video to help you attain all of your fitness, health and wellness goals." Every Wednesday.
Zen Living (launched 5/7) from On Networks, under Lifestyle, is all about incorporating a balanced lifestyle through the connection of food, exercise, spirituality, and medicine, blending old world philosophies with the convenience of contemporary advances to improve well-being. Every Monday.
If you're not familiar with TiVoCast, here are a few FAQs from Tivo:
What is TiVoCast?
TiVoCast is an exciting feature from TiVo that lets you easily download TV programming to your TiVo box via your broadband Internet connection. The programs will appear in your Now Playing List, just like regular television recordings.
How Does TiVoCast Work?
TiVoCast downloads are available to all current TiVo® service subscribers with a TiVo® Series2, HD or Series3 HD DVR connected to their home network and a broadband Internet connection, at no additional charge.
The ZvBox was supposed to be released in June but it now appears the new release date is July 31, 2008 (My birthday, so I guess it's an Omen!). So what makes the ZvBox different than devices like the Apple TV, Slingbox, Vudu, etc? For starters, the ZvBox uses your coax cable to stream PC content to all of your TVs in the house. According to Gizmodo:
The box itself converts the video from the PC's VGA port into a high-def channel and sends it out to your home's coax cable network.
A PC app acts as a launcher for all the good PC-based internet video clients, like Hulu, Joost and even Microsoft's own Media Center.
The remote controls not just your TV, but the app on the PC too, giving you decent control over the otherwise PC-locked experience.
The article also states what the ZvBox really does:
As soon as you connect your VGA out to the ZvBox and connect that to the coax network in your house, it scopes out the channels occupied by your cable box, and picks one that's not. Any TV with an ATSC tuner will see the ZeeVee stream as a high-def channel, and display it as such via the coax input most cable and satellite customers have generally forgotten about.
You put the ATSC tuner to use, your coax cable gets new life, and you get an easy way to toggle from your other cable content to your PC's video bidness.
Even though the ZvBox is a bit pricey at around $500, this is one of the powerful media streamers on the market. So if you're an early adopter when it comes to streaming media, you may want to preorder your Zvbox now!
We had reported earlier that Hauppauge was working on releasing a very cool HD-PVR for the home. Well the time has come and they have officially started shipping the them. You can cruise over to their site to read more about it, buy it directly from them or head over to Amazon to get it.
This will be the first DVR on the market that will allow you to record your HD content on a separate box. It uses the 'analog hole' to grab content off of the component output on your digital receiver and converts it to the H.264 format. This is a very cool way to record content off of your HD tuner without having to use the mostly craptastic systems that are out there( I'm looking at your Comcast ). Go check out Brent Evans sweet site Geek Tonic for the full skinny. He has one in the mail and on the way to his house. He has been following this product of a long time and has a ton of information on it. If you are interested in getting the HD-PVR from Hauppauge jump over to Geek Tonic and read all he has to say and then head over to Amazon and throw one in your cart. If anyone has already ordered one we would love to hear about your setup and why you went this route. We are really excited for this unit to hit the market and we'll be sure to post again once some reviews start flooding in.
Equinux has been around for awhile and they make all kinds of products for your Mac, but the one that most people reading this blog will recognize is the TubeStick. This little USB stick will allow you to receive TV right on your computer. These are some of the smallest TV tuners on the market and they are known not only for their quality, but their very snappy design. Their latest addition to the TubeStick line is the new TubeStick Hybrid. This new TV tuner will allow you to receive "digital over-the-air HDTV (ATSC), digital (QAM), and analog cable TV (NTSC)" all the while being so small that you won't have to sacrifice any other of your ports on computer. It also ships with an external antenna to allow you better reception for the over the air channels. Using their software you can record your favorite shows to your computer for viewing at a latter date. For only $129 this is a great deal. You can read the rest of the details here, but from what we have read it looks like a homerun of a product.