Could merge TWC TV app into Apple TV
Time Warner Cable is in talks with Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft for streaming video deals similar to the one it has with set-top maker Roku, CEO Glenn Britt hinted at today's Bank of America/Merill Lynch Global Telecom and Media Conference. "You should assume we're talking to everyone who makes devices like this, whether it's Samsung smart TVs, Apple, Microsoft," said Britt. Time Warner brought a TWC TV app to Roku boxes in March, letting people watch live TV without a separate dedicated cable box.
Working with device OEMs to make Roku software for TVs
Roku has received another injection of investment to develop its streaming set-top box. The $60 million round of funding comes from new investors Fidelity and Hearst Corp, as well as from previous investors such as broadcaster BskyB and News Corp, and brings the total amount of money invested into Roku to $130 million.
Apps include local content as well as nationally syndicated programming
Media streamer hardware maker Roku has deployed a new app set, adding PBS and PBS Kids content to most of its line of video streaming set-top boxes within the US. Now available for streaming are shows such as American Experience, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, Masterpiece, and Nature. Children's programming now available due to the new additions include Curious George, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Dinosaur Train, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, and Super WHY.
Device would directly compete with Apple TV, Roku
Amazon is planning to extend its range of tablets and ebook readers by selling a set-top box, according to a report. The device, said to be coming out sometime in the fall, will provide streaming content, such as movies and TV shows to the user from the company's Instant Video catalog as well as Prime Instant Video.
Service might still be tied to Internet service
HBO may be relenting on its position towards allowing HBO outside of cable TV subscription packages, Reuters reports. CEO Richard Plepler says that the company is considering allowing access to HBO GO, its digital streaming option, via bundles with broadband Internet subscriptions. That would likely add about $10 to $15 to a person's Internet bill. "We would have to make the math work," says Plepler.
New device has motion sensitive remote with headphones
Today, Roku is launching its fastest media streamer to date. Benchmarked by the company at over five times faster than previous players, the new Roku 3 streamer boasts wide connectivity, a new user interface, a remote with a headphone jack for private listening, and an updated Roku Channel store.
Roku 2 players, Streaming Stick get Spotify channel
Music streaming service Spotify will be available on yet another device, as the company announced today that a Spotify channel would be added to a number of Roku devices in the coming months. Owners of the Roku 2 streaming box will now have access to the Spotify channel, along with the more than 600 other video, entertainment, and casual game channels available on the device. Spotify's channel will also be coming to the Roku Streaming Stick today.
Also releases iPhone, iPod touch versions of Instant Video
Amazon has released versions of its Cloud Player for Roku set-top boxes and Samsung Smart TVs. The update comes at the same time as apps for Amazon Instant Video became available to download in Apple's App Store for the iPhone and iPod touch, four months after it became available on the iPad.
UK Roku users able to watch Sky Movies content
Roku has added UK satellite broadcaster Sky's pay-per-view video streaming service Now TV to its devices. Users will be able to select the app from the Roku Channel Store, and will see the service expanding its range from its current availability on computers, the Xbox 360, YouView, iOS devices and a number of Android portables.
Sound Bar features Coneq processing, Bluetooth streaming
Hitachi has unveiled its fall lineup of high definition televisions and accessories for the US. The new list of HDTVs, divided between the Value series and the UltraVision UltraThin LED series, are also accompanied by 32-inch and 40-inch Sound Bars. Containing six speakers and using Coneq 3D sound processing the Sound Bars can also be used to stream music through its Bluetooth connection.
Velocomp unveils iBike Moto iPhone motorcycle mount
Velocomp has launched a new motorcycle mounting system for the iPhone, the iBike Moto. The mount is made of machined aluminium by motorcycle specialist Techmount, attachable to the handlebars and capable of swiveling 360 degrees. A water- and shock-resistant case covers the iPhone, closed by a Click-Latch mechanism. The included iBike Moto App acts as a digital dashboard and fuel gauge, as well as the mapping system. The iBike Moto is on sale for $80.
Funds earmarked for increased production, Roku marketing
Roku has secured funding from BSkyB and News Corp. A third partner that declined to be named, along with previous investors Menlo Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners, join the funding round and bring the strategic investment total to $45 million. Roku has already earmarked most of the new capital for specific purposes, with generous portions going toward advertising, expanding into new international markets, and increasing manufacturing for existing product lines.
Language support for German and Spanish also included
Roku is now pushing out a software update for its set-top box line. The update to version 4.8 brings performance optimizations to the Roku 2, Roku LT and Roku HD players, along with some additions to help developers for the system. Hints of more channels and features, as well as an upgrade to the Roku iOS and Android apps, are also mentioned on the Roku blog.
Roku set-tops to get TWC live TV streaming
A leak late Friday has revealed that Time Warner Cable is planning to offer live TV on media hubs. The Engadget tip had Roku being the first of multiple devices that would stream IP-based TV. The Roku implementation wasn't clarified, but would presumably go through a custom Roku channel.
Roku media hub arrives with slight premium
Roku on Monday kicked off its Canadian launch. The country will get two higher-end models in the lineup, the Roku 2 XD and Roku 2 XS, both of which can handle 1080p video; the XS bundles in the Wii-like motion remote and includes both Ethernet and USB for wired access and local content. Canadians get much of the same content, including Netflix, Rdio music, and major sports like the MLB and NHL, although US-specific services like Hulu Plus are out of contention.
Roku HD arrives unannounced
The Roku HD that recently surfaced at the FCC has materialized in stores. Dave Zatz spotted the media hub at a retail store, already on sale for $60. Its features, such as 720p playback and the rounded design, suggest that it's a cost-cutting version of the Roku 2 HD at the same price.
Works with content providers to provide streaming
Atlanta-based Skitter has launched a streaming service to offer TV broadcasts directly over the Internet to Roku or WD Live set-top boxes. The service is currently available in Portland, Oregon, with plans to expand to 5 other metro markets by the end of June. What differentiates Skitter from previous efforts to offer live TV over the web is that the company has negotiated licenses for retransmission rights with broadcasters such as ABC, NBC and CBS in each of the markets it serves.
Roku to bring 2 XD, 2 XS to Amazon.ca very soon
The retail launch of Roku hardware in Canada is nearing, GigaOM believes. This lines up with earlier rumors, and two of the Internet players are said to begin selling through Amazon's Canadian website. The devices may then reach physical store shelves later on, though which ones isn't made clear.
Plex branches out to Roku for first time
Plex on Tuesday said its custom media interface had reached Roku's Internet Players for the first time. The new version shows as a Roku Channel Store option and brings a new, streamlined version of the interface within its self-contained section. All subscribed channels are available, as well as access to audio, photo, and video from a local Plex Media Server.
Third-gen Roku HD inbound
Roku has had its third-gen Roku HD box revealed by the FCC as it goes through its wireless certification. The new box retains the same design as previous versions, however it is highlighted by the return of full-size composite outputs. FCC notes also show that the device will pick up a new remote control when it ships.
Turns smartphones into remotes for media players
Roku has released an app for Android devices (free, Android Market). With it, users can control one of the company's streaming media players with a smartphone instead of the remote that normally comes with the hub. Roku made a similar app available for iOS devices in December (free, App Store).
Verizon and Comcast apps on the way
Roku is reportedly working to broaden its partnerships with cable providers to expand the range of TV channels that can be accessed from the company's set-top box. The new content is expected to arrive through official apps that are currently available for subscribers who already pay for traditional cable service.
Roku branches out to UK in earnest
Roku's international plans became real Friday after it began UK and Ireland. The Roku LT and Roku 2 XS are now available for £50 and £100 respectively (60 and 120 euros). British customers are simultaneously getting BBC iPlayer to catch up on the past one to two weeks of TV shows.
Roku Streaming Stick offers alternate to full hubs
Roku preceded CES by creating a unique alternative to its usual Internet Player hubs. The Streaming Stick plugs into any TV whose HDMI ports support MHL, a normally mobile-oriented technology that supplies power as well as audio and video. While it needs a newer TV, it gives buyers full access to Roku's Internet channels in 1080p, such as Amazon Instant Video and Netflix, with Wi-Fi built-in.
Nintendo Wii U may have full tablet-like apps
Nintendo's Wii U may have a full-fledged app store similar to the iPad or Android by the time it ships, according to a rumor early on Thursday. The portal as portrayed by The Daily would give non-gaming apps such as MLB.tv the option of running on the regular TV interface, but it would also allow for more tablet-like apps that run just on the gamepad's 6.2-inch touchscreen. There would be a "wider variety" of apps than what DSiWare and WiiWare offer now, the source said.
Roku updates original boxes with 3.1, more
Following last week's update of its Roku 2 and Roku LT set-tops, Roku has now released an update for owners of the original device. Version 3.1 brings with it not only an assortment of bug fixes and performance improvements but also a number of new features. There is now support for the recently launched iPhone remote control app.
HBO Go spreads to TWC viewers
Ending one of the longer waits for access, Time Warner Cable said it would carry HBO Go within the next month. The deal will let those who subscribe to a traditional TV package stream HBO's current and back catalogs. TWC will need to run a "short" beta before the public launch to make sure the authenticated system works.
Roku iOS app provides visual channel browsing
Roku has quickly followed up on its recent set-top box update with the promised matching iPhone app (App Store). Going beyond what Apple's equivalent Remote app does for the Apple TV, it supports both a one-for-one remote control as well as a truly visual browser. Viewers can flip through the individual channels on the iPhone and get to their ratings without having to look up to the TV.
Players add more games, MKV support
Roku has announced that it is set to introduce a software update for its Roku 2 and Roku LT set-top boxes. Version 4.2 brings a number of significant new features, including support for mobile remote apps for iOS and Android devices. The company will offer the iPhone app sometime in the near future, followed by the Android equivalent.
Apple poised to dominate smart TVs, says analyst
The Apple TV is on track take 32 percent of the Internet-ready TV set-top market in 2011, claims research firm Strategy Analytics. Both Apple and Roku set-tops are said to be doing well as a result of their makers lowering prices. Globally, the market for such devices is forecast to reach just under 12 million units by the end of the year.
iOS 5.1 gives away new Apple TV name
A recently discovered third-generation Apple TV has reemerged in the wake of the iOS 5.1 beta. New hunts in the file system by iH8Snow for 9to5 have seen it get the codename J33, in step with the iPad 3's J-series naming. Apple had been using K codenames even up to the iPad 2's K95.
Roku leaves US for first time
Roku branched outside of the US for the first time Thursday with word it would sell its media hubs in Canada and the UK. Both countries will get devices like the Roku LT and Roku 2 sometime in earl 2012. As part of the expansion, Roku is also adding regional support for its Internet channels, letting local providers support just one country.
Convergence Bridge mixes remote, keyboard, pad
Convergence Technologies is hoping to build a universal remote intended for networked media hubs, not just traditional home theater hardware. The Bridge uses a gamepad-like shape that holds both a joystick to replace the mouse, a full QWERTY keyboard, and buttons for common remote control tasks. The device talks over IR and RF (using RF4CE) and should support Apple TV, the Boxee Box, Google TV, and Roku players, as well as most Macs, Linux, and Windows PCs.
Roku HBO GO now live
Roku has announced that the promised HBO GO service addition to its Roku media streaming boxes is now live. Roku users now have access to over 1,400 HBO shows. However, the service requires users to be authenticated according to their legacy cable provider, but now offers the convenience of delivering their content through the one player.
YouTube may have cable TV rival up in days
YouTube's professional video channels may be active within a week, anonymous tips maintained on Thursday. The details obtained by the WSJ suggest a broader strategy than thought before and would involve a redesign of the site itself, focusing on channels whether they're live or traditional YouTube subscriptions. Some of the live producers would be takes with filling in specific categories, such as comedy, food, or news.
Roku LT arrives with extra low price
Roku hoped to lower the price floor for networked media hubs Tuesday with the Roku LT. By shedding the Ethernet, SD card slot, and Bluetooth used for the Roku 2's gaming on many models, the box drops to just $50, or half the price of an Apple TV. It can still output 720p video streamed over Wi-Fi and has all the channels of regular Roku players, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and Pandora radio.
Apple TV third gen code references show
Apple may be planning a relatively quick upgrade for the Apple TV. A code delve into iOS 5 late Saturday showed a reference to an "AppleTV3,1" profile, a previously unknown mode but which would be a full third-generation model. The 9to5 tip didn't get many more details.
Xfinity to expand to more consoles, connected TVs
Comcast will bring its Xfinity video-on-demand service to consoles other than just the Xbox 360 as well as other TVs and set-tops. These include Nintendo's Wii and Sony's PS3, as well as LG and Samsung TVs along with the Roku media hub. Comcast Converged Products president Sam Schwartz revealed these plans at a panel on Thursday.
Roku, Disney team up on short videos
Roku has added some Disney-made short video segments to its online lineup, ZatzNotFunny learned. The on-demand mix includes entertainment and advertisement clips or promos for Disney's feature-length movies and is free to users. The content numbers in the hundreds thus far, but is said to expand in the months to come.
Rdio offers multi-user streaming plans
Rdio tried an experiment with Internet music streaming Monday by testing out family plans. Listeners can pay $18 per month for two accounts or $23 for three and save more than they would if they got separate accounts. The approach gives each account its own separate history, playlists, and cached music, giving them an advantage over just sharing one account.
Titles include casual games, Texas Hold 'em
Less than a month after Roku launched its second-generation set-top boxes with new gaming capabilities, the company has expanded the list of available game titles. New content includes popular puzzle game Sodoku and poker variation Texas Hold 'em, along with other casual games such as Dracula's Coffin, Rockswap Adventures, Patience, Kaboom and Mahjong Fruits.
Apple TV sells quickly but may not get 2011 revamp
Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Apple wasn't likely to update the Apple TV this year. New checks in Taiwan showed little signs of a new model coming in the summer, he told AppleInsider. Instead, Apple would rely on the software updates linked to iOS 5, such as for iPad 2 display mirroring, to sell it.
Roku 2 media hubs arrive with game remote
Roku late Tuesday claimed a defensive stake in the media hub world through second-generation players. The Roku 2 HD, XD, and XS all have a smaller, nearly Apple TV-like profile and expand beyond just media channels to focus on apps and games. Every model can use a Bluetooth-based Roku Game Remote that provides Nintendo Wii-style motion gaming, such as for special ports of the Angry Birds games and future titles.
Game appears in leaked video
Corroborating earlier reports, Roku may be preparing to launch the popular game Angry Birds for the company's upcoming line of second-generation set-top boxes. A YouTube video briefly showed Rokue 2 packaging with references to Angry Birds. The video was quickly pulled, likely at the request of the company, but it was later reposted by Engadget.
Roku 2 HD gets early unveiling
The Roku 2 HD, which surfaced in pictures courtesy of its recent appearance at the FCC, has now been caught in unboxing photos ahead of its official launch. The likely reason for the early unboxing pics (embedded below) is that it is a test unit intended for beta hardware testers. As Engadget speculates, the packaging which looks close to finalized, seems to imply that Roku is happy with the hardware, but may need to work on ironing out any kinks in the software ahead of its release.
New players are smaller than predecessors
Roku's second-generation streaming media players appear to have surfaced at the FCC. The documents suggest the series will include three model numbers: 300X, 3050X and 3100X. Each of the devices offers a smaller form than its predecessor, much closer to the size of the current Apple TV. Common features include Broadcom 2835 SoC components, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a reset button, and a microSD slot for storage expansion.
Other casual games will follow
Streaming media hub maker Roku and Rovio Mobile announced that the popular Angry Birds games would now be available through Roku's set-top boxes. In addition to Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio video games, Roku will launch an Angry Birds video channel featuring Angry Birds animated shorts. Roku will also sell Angry Birds merchandise on the Roku Channel Store.
Peel gets 16.7m cash to build mobile TV remote app
Peel began its week by getting a large $16.7 million round of financing. The creator of an iPhone TV remote add-on and independent iOS app planned to both get its "fruit" remote control bridge as well as expand to other platforms and more content sources. Most of the money would come from Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Google asks Roku to take down gray YouTube channel
Roku has run into a dispute with Google over an unofficial but widely used YouTube channel on its media hubs. Google has sent a takedown notice to Roku that in turn led to a block on the channel for any new subscriber. Roku told Zatz Not Funny it was "in the midst of negotiations" but didn't say what the core issue was or whether the channel was likely to stay.
Concord says Apple TV may have hit 1.82m total
Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo on Wednesday estimated that sales of the second-generation Apple TV had been steady since it went on sale in October. Extrapolating from the official tally of one million in December, he determined that another 820,000 of the media hub had shipped in the first three months of 2011. He didn't directly explain the reasons why to AppleInsider.