Loss of MHL, lower price point to help compete with Google Chromecast
Roku has updated its Streaming Stick, in what appears to be a move to compete against other streaming devices, and the Google Chromecast. The new Roku Streaming Stick is usable on a wider range of televisions than the previous model, thanks to a change away from Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL), as well as pricing it at half the cost of the original.
Xbox One's Titanfall Special Edition Bundle now available for pre-order
Multiplayer game Titanfall is now available for pre-order as part of a special edition console bundle, according to Xbox One's blog. Titanfall will utilize new patty and chat improvements that have been in development for Xbox One, as well as multiplayer alerts for matches while users are watching TV, and more. In light of the game's upcoming launch, Xbox and Titanfall's creators -- Respawn Entertainment and Electronic Arts -- have announced the Xbox One Titanfall Bundle, priced at $500. The bundle includes a digital download of Titanfall, an Xbox One console and Kinect sensor, a wireless controller, a chat headset, and a one month Xbox Live Gold membership. The pre-order has begun, with the bundle available officially March 11.
TCL, Hisense to manufacture TVs with Roku-driven smart functionality
Roku is expanding its reach from Internet-connected set-top boxes into smart televisions. The Roku TV, developed in partnership with television manufacturers TCL and Hisense, will provide all the functionality of its existing streaming video devices but built into the television itself, with the first units set to reach customers and retailers sometime this fall.
NPD sees Apple TV, Roku far away in the lead
Apple TV and devices from Roku hold the vast majority of the third-party set-top box market, according to industry analysis firm NPD. Speaking with AppleInsider, an analyst from the firm said that the two systems dominate the third-party box market with roughly 80 percent share between the two of them. As the set-top market expands with a proliferation of devices, the share held by those two entities could make it difficult for other players to carve out a niche.
Google said to prep set-top box
Google may be preparing to release a Nexus-branded set-top box, according to new reports. This according to The Information, which claims that the search giant is planning to release an Android-powered set-top box in the next year. The move would mark an even stronger move into television for Google, and likely a full rework of its previous efforts to conquer that segment.
Channel 4 on-demand video service reaches Roku, Now TV streaming devices
4oD, the on-demand video service from British broadcaster Channel 4 is now available to use on the Roku and the Now TV streaming set-top boxes in the United Kingdom. The on-demand offering from Channel 4 accompanies similar services such as the BBC iPlayer and Demand 5 on the devices, as well as Sky's own Now TV prepaid Internet-based satellite television service.
PlayOn announces availability of PlayCast channel in Roku channel store
MediaMall Technologies, owner of PlayOn media server software for streaming
video content, has announced the availability of its new PlayCast channel in the Roku channel store. PlayCast allows users to send any video from a PC browser to a Roku-connected TV, much like Google's Chromecast service. When used with PlayOn, PlayCast gives users the ability to cast videos from an Internet browser. PlayCast is available in the Roku channel store; PlayOn, which can be accessed through subscription, is available in monthly, annual and lifetime payment options, starting at $9 per month.
Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV negating need for full-scale TV set
Apple is no longer planning to ship a dedicated TV set in 2014, claims NPD DisplaySearch. The firm quotes sources in the TV supply chain industry, who add that one of the main obstacles is the company's inability to secure deals for proprietary content. While Apple is potentially an attractive partner, earlier reports have suggested that TV networks are reluctant to risk the lucrative deals they have with cable and satellite companies, which typically bundle channels into packages.
New device allegedly to run apps, stream from multiple sources
Amazon is reportedly in the process of designing a set-top box, similar in form and function to an Apple TV or Roku media streamer, to be released before the holiday buying season. Divergent from Apple, Amazon is allegedly offering an app ecosystem for the device, allowing gaming or media streaming from sources other than just Amazon purchases.
Roku line refresh shipping to US, UK, Ireland
Roku has refreshed a majority of its line of streaming set-top boxes, in order to coordinate with its existing Roku 3. While the Roku 3 remains the same, the new Roku 1, Roku 2, and Roku LT all have a number of hardware and software updates, as well as an overhaul in external design to match the current flagship model.
RealPlayer Cloud app streams video from storage to smartphones, Roku
RealNetworks has launched its own cloud storage app specializing in video. RealPlayer Cloud for iOS, Android, computers, and Roku will allow users to store video files online, with the new app able to stream or download videos from the storage, automatically reformatting the video to match the device and the available connection speed.
Best Buy to start selling metallic blue HTC One from September 15th
The blue version of the HTC One will be going on sale through Best Buy from September 15th. Identical to the normal model except for color, the "metallic blue" smartphone will be available on AT&T and Verizon, along with Sprint, though the retailer has yet to reveal per-carrier pricing. It is suggested by Engadget that it could cost as much as $700 off-contract through the retailer.
Moto X goes on sale through Sprint, $100 credit for number transfers
Sprint has started selling Motorola's flagship smartphone, the Moto X, on its network. Priced at $200 alongside a two-year contract, the carrier will be offering customers switching their number to Sprint a $100 instant credit off the up-front cost of the device. Though it is not launching with Moto Maker customizations, Sprint states that it will be available to its customers "in the coming months."
Steps into territory dominated by Amazon, Netflix
Barnes & Noble is releasing iOS, Android, Nook, and Roku apps for its Nook Video service, according to an announcement. The apps let people watch movies and TV shows that they've rented or bought from the service, as well as items in a person's UltraViolet collection. In the case of the mobile apps, videos can be downloaded for offline viewing; when a video is streamed, though, progress is automatically synced between devices.
Redbox Instant app downloadable on Roku in United States
Redbox Instant by Verizon is now available to use on the Roku set-top box. Downloadable through the Roku Channel Store and usable on Roku 3, 2, HD, and LT models as well as the Roku Streaming Stick, the Redbox service provides access to over 5,500 streaming movies and more than 1,500 movies at 43,000 Redbox kiosks. Redbox Instant with four DVD credits costs $8 per month.
AT&T starts shipping 42MP Nokia Lumia 1020 to customers
AT&T has started selling the Nokia Lumia 1020 to customers. Available as a pre-order since July 16th, the Windows Phone 8 smartphone with the 41-megapixel PureView camera and Carl Zeiss lens is now shipping from the carrier's online store, and is expected to be in retail locations later today or over the weekend. The Lumia 1020 is priced at $300 when bought on a two-year contract, $659 off-contract, or $33 per month under AT&T Next.
Headphone socket to allow private audio streaming on Roku stick
Roku will be adding an audio output to the remote control for its Streaming Stick, according to filings with the Federal Communications Commission. The filing reveals two version of the remote control, showing a version with the headphone socket built into the side of the device, as well as a more conventional model with the new addition removed from view.
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.