set top box

Alexa arrives on Amazon’s first-gen Fire TV

Owners of the first generation of the Amazon Fire TV are in for some good news: Amazon is bringing its Alexa digital assistant to the set-top box with a new firmware update rolling out over the next few weeks. First-gen Fire TV users may have been feeling out of the loop lately, with Amazon focusing on the new 4K model, not mention Alexa already being brought the second-gen Fire TV last fall. Fortunately the voice-based assistant is also coming to the original Fire TV Stick as well.

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FCC’s radical new proposal will overhaul set top box market

Yesterday, a report surfaced claiming the FCC would soon propose a change involving set top boxes, and such a proposal was indeed made public today. According to the FCC, “Ninety-nine percent of pay-TV subscribers are chained to their set-top boxes because cable and satellite operators have locked up the market.” If the commission gets its way, its proposal will save consumers money currently spent on leasing boxes from providers, and will open the doors for more consumer options.

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Apple TV 5th-gen tipped to enter production in early 2016

It's well-known that Apple isn't known to waste time when it comes to moving ahead on production of forthcoming devices, even when a brand-new model was just introduced to consumers. Case in point: the new, fourth-generation Apple TV was just released in October, following three years without an update, but now Apple is prepping to begin production of a fifth-gen model in early 2016. This comes a day after the news that analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is predicting a new 4-inch iPhone model to debut in the same time period.

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Time Warner Cable begins trial replacing cable boxes with Roku

Time Warner Cable (TWC) has announced a new trial program that will allow customers in New York City and New Jersey to use a Roku set-top box instead of the company's own cable box. The service is a new extension of the cable company's TWC TV mobile app, which let subscribers watch live TV on their devices, as long as they're connected to the home WiFi network. TWC's goal seems to be moving away from leasing cable boxes, and towards letting customers get their subscription over different apps and devices.

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BBC iPlayer app on its way to new Apple TV

With the brand new Apple TV almost in our hands, and its ability to run native apps from its own App Store, it's time for the announcements about which apps and services are hitting the set-top box first. The BBC is one such example, as the British network has revealed that its popular streaming video service iPlayer will be landing on the Apple TV in "the coming months."

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New Apple TV to hit Apple Stores this Friday too

Apple broke the news on Monday that the new, 4th generation Apple TV was available for pre-order on its website, and deliveries could be expected as early as Friday, October 30th. Unfortunately, Apple declined to mention when streaming video fans would be able to get their hands on the set-top box in stores. Well, according to several Apple Store retail employees who spoke to 9to5Mac, eager buys will be able to pick one up in person on Friday as well.

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New Apple TV hits online store, starts shipping October 30

Apple's newest Apple TV (the 4th generation, for those keeping count), has just become available for ordering from the online Apple store, with first orders scheduled to begin shipping on October 30th (that's this Friday!). Both configurations are listed, the 32GB and 64GB models, each coming with the new touchpad-enabled Siri Remote. First announced in September alongside the iPhone 6s, the new Apple TV introduces a host of new capabilities, including the option to download and run apps and games.

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Roku 4 is now official: 4 is for 4K

With Apple's new Apple TV, the pressure is on long-time players in the set-top box market to start gearing up for tougher competition. One of the oldest in the field is Roku, who is now revealing its play with the new Roku 4 player. As leaked before, the box, which is now really more of a box than a palm-sized trinket, does support 4K video playback. However, that is not the only trick that this new dog knows, a set that includes an upgrade to the Roku OS software as well.

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Roku 4 appears in leaked photo

Signs that the Roku 4 is nearing are everywhere, and the anticipation has sent some hunting for an image of the device. We've seen what appears to be the next-gen Roku appear at at the FCC, and now someone has managed to locate an image of the device on Roku's own website. The link has since been pulled, but a copy of the image remains, showing a device that eschews the common product design for one that is wider and thinner.

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New Roku model turns up in FCC filing

It less than a week ago when a rumor surfaced about a new Roku 4 streaming set-top box model was in the works, featuring a flagship feature of 4K video support. Now, new FCC filing has been discovered, once again by Zatz Not Funny, that seems to give the idea much more credibility. The listing for the new Roku features a designation number of "4400X," and if this truly is the company next streaming video player, it's expected to be announced as early as October.

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Amazon Prime Video, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick land in Japan October 28

While Amazon said last month that its Prime Video streaming service would be debuting in Japan sometime in September, the company has now officially announced its arrival a month later than expected, but alongside Fire TV hardware as well. Both the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick will begin shipping in Japan on October 28, only the fourth nation after the US, Germany, and the UK to see the devices. Meanwhile Prime Video is being released in Japan starting today.

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Roku 4 tipped with 4K support

While the news about upcoming streaming video set-top boxes have been dominated by the new Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, there are rumblings that Roku is nearing the launch of an updated model. The Roku 3 made its debut bake in 2013, and while it's still a decent choice today, the draw of 4K video support is starting to attract viewers. Known tipster Dave Zatz of Zatz Not Funny says leaked information has hinted the upcoming release of the Roku 4.

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