Fire TV Torches Competition!

After much anticipation and a little delay, Amazon finally released their streamer yesterday.  It’s called Fire TV (FTV).  FTV, at $99, competes with the Roku, Apple TV, and, to a lesser extent, Chromecast and Ouya.  I predict it will kill them all.  Let’s look at the specs (click to enlarge)…

firecomp

For less than $100, FTV has impressive specs.  With a quad core cpu, 2G of memory, optical audio out, and wired/wireless ethernet, FTV is a pretty expensive box.  Amazon is probably not making much money on the hardware and this is going to be a problem for competitors that rely on hardware sales to pay the bills.

Then there’s the software.  FTV streams almost all of the important stuff — Netflix, Amazon Instant, HuluPlus, WatchESPN, ShowTime, Crackle, and YouTube.  Not enough?  Install the Plex app and enjoy hundreds of internet streams via Plex.   Plus it does flash.

And the accessories.  ATV comes with a bluetooth remote and a bluetooth game controller is available.  Chances are pretty good that your PS3 controller or Kindle keyboard will pair with FTV.  It’s also, apparently, pretty easy to side-load apps.

And everything else.  In advance of yesterday’s presser, Amazon quietly reduced the prices for their Kindle Fire products.  These tablets are a great FTV companion.  The Fire can be mirrored to FTV or used as a second screen as Amazon extends X-Ray to television.  Free Time for television lets parents their kids’ use of FTV.  An integrated microphone allows for voice activated media searches.

The Fire TV comes with a one year warranty.  Compare that to the 90 day warranties of the other products.

All of this is wrapped in a beautiful gui and coupled with Amazon free apps and media.  If you have been considering a media streamer, Fire TV looks like a winner.


Reviews/Previews

 

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PlayOn Testing Chromecast Support

from PlayOn’s forums

We have some exciting news: support for the Chromecast and a completely redesigned PlayOn browser extension are almost ready to be released! We know many of you are anxious to try it sooner rather than later, so we’re making this new version available as a beta release.

Should you use the beta?

Sure! Just know that betas are unstable and may not always work as expected, so go into this expecting a few hiccups.

What do I do with it?

Well, this version is essentially the same as the version you use right now, so just use PlayOn and PlayLater as you normally would. The only difference is you’ll see your Chromecast devices appear in the device list for PlayCast and the browser extension will look very different (and very cool).

How can I get started?

To make it easy to install the new browser extension, uninstall PlayOn and PlayLater. Then download the new versions of PlayOn and PlayLater from the links below. Even if you only use one or the other, you still need to download both installers.

http://www.playon.tv/downloads/beta/PlayOnSetup.3.9.0.exe

http://www.playon.tv/downloads/beta/PlayLaterSetup.1.5.0.exe

Once you have both installers downloaded, install PlayOn first and then install PlayLater.

What if something is really busted?

Please send email with any feedback, questions, or problems you might have to support@playon.tv.

Tip: Tabcasting Playon

Just a quick for Chromecast owners who run a Playon server.  Google and Playon have sent out a LOT of updates in July and August.  Along the way, http://m.playon.tv in a Chrome tab stopped working properly.  This post provides two workarounds.

The Problem:  When you open http://m.playon.tv in a Chrome tab, the user interface populates with your channels, but clicking a channel does nothing.

Playon’s Response:  You are trying to do something that is unsupported…

Alex Webster (PlayOn Support)
Sep 01 10:39 (EDT)

Len,

PlayOn is not meant to be browsed from a web browser. We do know that Chrome at one point did work, but they have since updated their web browser and it no longer works the same. However, if you use your arrow keys and enter button you can still browse through your server via m.playon.tv in your web browser. The issue is just that it will no longer pick up mouse clicks.

Kind regards,

Alex
PlayOn Support
http://www.playon.tv

Workaround #1:  Use your keyboard.  All that is broken is mouse support, so use the cursor keys to navigate the screen and the enter key to simulate a click.  Once the video is loaded in the Chrome tab, you still need to click the Play control.  This is the only workaround I have tried.

Workaround #2:  Rollback.  I don’t know if this will work, but I was headed down this path before learning that keyboard navigation still functioned.  I’m only posting the information here because it took me a little time to figure things out.  It looks like Google deployed a new flash player which broke the Playon page.  If you only use Chrome for Playon, you may want to try to roll back to an earlier version and prevent updates.

While this seems easy, Google does not archive old revisions in a public place, by default enables automatic updates, and re-enables auto-updates when you open help.  So, you need to locate an older version, uninstall the current version completely, install the older version, disable updates, and re-disable updates everytime you use Chrome help.

Q: Can I roll back Google Chrome to a previous version?
A: No – rollback is not supported.
To get to a previous version (which would not be supported by Google), you would need to uninstall your current version, delete every user’s saved profile data, and re-install the older version. Users’ personal profile data is kept in:

On Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data
On Windows Vista / 7: C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data

This means users will lose their bookmarks, history, etc., so use this method with extreme caution.

Google does not provide access to older versions of chrome, but you can find them here…

http://www.oldapps.com/google_chrome.php

Here are two methods for turning off autoupdates…

Chromecast, Filmon Rescue CBS Fans

Unable to reach a contractual agreement by their Friday, 5 p.m. deadline, Time Warner Cable dropped the No. 1 primetime network in New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas and several other markets.

USA Today is reporting that a contract dispute has left TWC customers in eight markets without CBS programming.  This includes six of Nielsen’s top ten programs and, potentially, NFL Football.  The affected markets are… Continue reading

Chromecast, Aereo Rescue CBS Fans

Unable to reach a contractual agreement by their Friday, 5 p.m. deadline, Time Warner Cable dropped the No. 1 primetime network in New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas and several other markets.

USA Today is reporting that a contract dispute has left TWC customers in eight markets without CBS programming.  This includes six of Nielsen’s top ten programs and, potentially, NFL Football.  The affected markets are… Continue reading