Google is rebooting its ambitions in the living room, launching Android TV. "In some ways, the TV space is not much different to the mobile space in 2006," Google pointed out, with smart TVs all having different interfaces, different sets of apps, and no cohesive ways for developers to create one app for all platforms. Android TV aims to change all that.
Apple TV has seen another update, bringing ABC News as well as several other new or updated sources to the set-top box. Although ABC already had its Watch ABC app for Apple TV as of December last year, the new app does not require a cable account in order to use it, with live and on-demand content served up for free.
A streaming media dongle to take on Google's Chromecast but running Mozilla's Firefox OS has been caught in the wild, taking what so far has been focused on smartphone form-factors into the living room instead. The market for streaming hardware has flourished over the past twelve months, with Google helping drive down prices with its $35 Chromecast, while Amazon challenged Apple TV with its voice-navigated Fire TV.
Google has baked streaming music into search, adding links to popular players like Spotify and YouTube for searches involving musicians. The new functionality sees a link added to mobile searches on Android devices in the US, tied into whatever compatible apps are currently loaded on the phone.
YouTube's apparent attack on independent artists and labels refusing to concede to its new premium subscription music contract may not see the Google-owned service take their videos down: it'll just cut off their income stream. Reports earlier this week suggested YouTube was taking a heavy-handed approach to some big-name indie artists, threatening to pull their content if they didn't sign up to what insiders claimed were unfair terms.
Indie artists as big as Adele and the Arctic Monkeys could be yanked from YouTube within a matter of days as the streaming video service demands they sign up with a new subscription music platform or find somewhere else to host their content. YouTube plans to begin limited testing of the streaming service, which is expected to support offline and ad-free playback, shortly, ahead of a broader roll-out later in 2014, but independent artists could disappear "in a matter of days." Continue Reading
Things have been quiet from media streamers Slingbox of late, but thanks to the FCC we've got a glimpse of a new model, the Slingbox M1, which looks set to release soon. Packing WiFi connectivity in a compact footprint, the M1 will presumably continue Sling's tradition of placeshifting video, taking content you already have access to in one location, such as through a cable PVR, and squirting it elsewhere in the home or to various mobile apps.