Archive | December, 2010

Android gets a DLNA media streaming app from Skifta, might enable Netflix in the future

For all our media streaming needs, there is a new app in time that offers DLNA media streaming on the Android devices. The new app is released by Skifta and runs on everything supporting Android 2.2 and up. Interesting to know is that Skifta is a subsidiary of Qualcomm and this is their first foray in mobile apps per our knowledge.

The application comes with a client and a server and supports streaming of photos, music and videos, not only on Android but on any other DLNA supporting devices including connected TVs, media streamer boxes, PCs, consoles (XBOX 360 and PS3) and even some smart picture frames.

Beside local content, Skifta will also offer web streaming support, something a la PlayOn or TVersity Premium. The only problem is that, Skifta doesn’t actually transcode the content so you are limited to the formats your device actually supports. What I would be interested is if the Android client can actually work with a server other than Skifta’s own, for example TVersity that can be tweaked to transcode pretty much everything. Netflix on Android devices could also be a future possibility via this venue.

Check for a short video illustrating Skifta in action after the break.

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Kindle 3 best selling worldwide product in Amazon’s history

Amazon just announced that their Kindle 3 eReader is the best selling product of all time on Amazon worldwide. And it all happened in about 5 month worth of sales. The Kindle 3 is selling better than Harry Potter book 7 currently, although we still don’t have exact numbers for exactly how many Kindle 3 were actually sold.
The total volume should give an idea though. During Amazon’s peak day of November 29th, Amazon’s customers ordered over 13.7 million products worldwide making it around 158 items per second in average.
The reason stated for Kindle 3 wild success seems to be the aggressive low price that enticed many customers. Currently, Kindle 3 sells at Amazon in two variants: Kindle 3 WiFi only version sells for $139 while Kindle 3 WiFi + 3G version sells for $189 and offers unlimited 3G Internet surfing worldwide.
Check Amazon’t full press release after the break. Read More…

Logitech Revue shipments stopped waiting for better Google TV software

Boy, what an interesting turn of events. After many reviews (including our own review)  all over the Internet describing Google TV as a half baked device with a software that didn’t reach any degree of maturity (it’s called a Beta, you know?), after Google asked its partners to remove their products from CES 2011, waiting for a better software, it looks like now, even hardware already on the market is suspended and the production stopped, waiting for the same elusive software that would fix things.

Apparently, Logitech has asked Gigabyte Technology, the company that manufactures the Logitech Revue boxes to suspend the manufacturing until January 2011 in the hope that a new Google TV OS makes it out. The new version is widely expected to contain a application market, something that would drastically improve Google’s media streamer appeal.

However, the poor software is not Google’s only problem. Soon after Google TV media streamer devices were launched, the big TV networks that are actually the content providers started blocking Google TV one by one and currently the Google TV based media streamers are faring very poorly in terms of content. Beside improving the software, Google will have to improve its own negotiation skills if it wants to get some content love. The box does have potential with its HDMI overlay capabilities, but nowadays its the content and the software that really closes the deal. And for the current price ($249 currently on Amazon for a Revue and $399 for the Sony Google TV boxes) the device will better deliver the goods, otherwise it won’t sell.

ESPN3 for Xbox 360 to work with Time Warner and Brighthouse ISPs

If you are like me and have Time Warner as ISP you noticed that ESPN 3 client for XBOX 360 doesn’t work for you. Same if you are using Brighthouse.

Fortunately, it looks like the situation will soon change for the better although no time frame is given. The only problem is, you will need Roadrunner AND Time Warner TV subscription to make ESPN 3 XBOX 360 work, which is a bummer, at least in my case. Same restriction applies for Brighthouse and is a part of the deal that was signed with Disney/ESPN earlier this year. The deal intends to prevent viewers from “cutting the cable” and just using Internet and ESPN3.com. Not that we ever thought about doing this, did we?

Time Warner and Brighthouse are the only two ISPs who have the agreement with Disney/ESPN that stipulates a cable/video subscription to get ESPN3.com access. Shame on them!

Rovi buys Sonic for $720 million in cash and stock, goes after Netflix?

Rovi Corp announced today that it bought Sonic for the nice sum of $720 million, both stock and cash. For those that don’t know, Rovi is the new name for Macrovision Corp and provides guidance technology, copy protection and media management technology for digital entertainment devices and services.

Sonic provides the back-end for video streaming for companies like Blockbuster and Best Buy and their clients, Roxio is embedded in many popular media streamers boxes and Blu-ray players currently on the market. Sonic is  holding the rights to stream over 10,000 different titles at this point and plans to have its client deployed on more than 30 million devices in the upcoming year.

With the new purchase, Rovi tries to push itself into the digital streaming market, especially with the previous acquisition of DivX for $300 million. One cannot stop wondering if Rovi in its new incarnation has any intentions to go after Netflix and establish itself as a major streaming house.

Tweet and get $5 Amazon Video on Demand Credit

If you got a shiny new media streamer and want to test it, or just want to watch a free movie on your PC,  Amazon gives you $5 credit for their Amazon Video on Demand service for free, just by tweeting once! Check Amazon’s website for instructions, it just takes a minute. Screenshot below:

You can get another $5 credit for Amazon Video on Demand by buying John Wayne-Ultimate Collection 25 Movies also from Amazon, currently on sale for $5 making it practically free.

How to root Nook Color 1.0.1 using Auto-Nooter 2.12.25 and higher

If you rooted your Nook Color and you got Barnes and Noble’s mandatory update and you are now at version 1.0.1, or you never rooted it but want to do it now, there is an easier way right now using Auto-Nooter, thanks to the developers from XDADevelopers where all the credit should go. Again, this method only works if you upgraded to Nook firmware version 1.0.1. To check your version, Navigate to Settings->Device Info->About Your NOOKcolor->Software version.

If you are still at the version 1.0.0. you can read our original How to root Nook Color article or you can update to 1.0.1 (recommended).

Update: If you own a Nook Touch, we just posted our Nook Touch rooting tutorial.

Now assuming that you are at version 1.0.1, let’s see what Auto-Nooter can do for you:

Auto-Nooter is a script designed to automate a number of steps for the Nook Color rooting process that makes everything faster and easier. The script will also install several utilities like Softkeys 2.0.2 and Android market. Below is the detailed list:

  • Installs su and Superuser.apk
  • Installs Busybox
  • Installs Softkeys 2.0.2
  • Installs NookColor Tools (To Enable Non-Market Installs)
  • Installs Calendar and Calculator.
  • Installs Android Market, Gmail, Youtube
  • Enable Multi-touch for Android Apps
  • Enables Live Wallpapers
  • Enables Android Market and Gmail.
  • App Auto Install (Open up NooterFiles from sdcard drop in /data/app)

If you do not have yet Nook Color firmware 1.0.1, you can manually download it from B&N website or just wait until it happens automatically.

Nook Color 1.0.1 rooting Prerequisites:

  • Your device should be registered, ideally using a GMAIL address. If you used a GMAIL address to register your device, that is the e-mail address to be used for this process.
  • Have a microSD card ready to use, at least 128MB large. I used a 4GB card without any issues.
  • You need to link your GMAIL account to your YouTube account. The process is using Android YouTube application to create a GMAIL account in your Nook Color
  • Download WinImage (if you are using Windows) or dd (if you are using Linux). For instructions about how to use WinImage to copy the image on the microSD card, read our original article about how to root Nook Color (steps 3 to 10)

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Microsoft brings Windows to ARM processors

This is an amazing news: It looks that Microsoft will announce a version of Windows compatible with ARM instruction set at the upcoming CES Show in January 2011. The news was initially published by Bloomberg.

This is amazing, folks, and opens a potentially very lucrative domain for Microsoft and their operating system. Just imagine the various Android tablets modified to run Windows and have access to the huge application library already existent, just in need for a recompile. Or iPad dual booting in iOS and Windows. Whatever venue you choose to go, it is a game changer, and until now, it was developed in complete secret.

The new Windows version will not only be ARM centric but it will also work on the Intel / AMD processors as well. Could it be Windows Phone 7? One of its derivatives? Is it possible that Microsoft actually ported Windows 7? An early version of Windows 8? We’ll add more news as they become available.

Logitech Revue Google TV on sale at Amazon for $249

If you want to get the new Google TV Logitech Revue Box (full review of the Sony unit here)  in time for Christmas, Amazon has it for $249, a large discount $50  from the original $299 price.

Since the initial review, Google released a software update that added a new Netflix client supporting categories and search, beside other improvements:

  • The new Netflix UI is based on HTML 5 just like the PS3 one that we reviewed not too long ago. The new interface enables searching and browsing by categories and even allows you to add DVD in the DVD queue.
  • Dual View is improved and the picture in picture can be resized and moved anywhere on the screen
  • Android Phones get a shiny new Remote Control App with voice search and movie sharing from your Android Phone on the big TV
  • You can now search for Movies and the Google TV will find them wherever they are available (live TV, Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, etc)

Deal of the Day – $80 – Roku XDS 1080p Media Streaming / Player 1080p

Amazon has the top of the line Roku XDS on sale for $80 (reduced from $100) with free shipping and no taxes in most of the US.

If you don’t care too much about local network content, Roku XDS is by far the best (and cheapest) media streamer on the market when it comes to online streaming. It features Netflix, Hulu Plus,  YouTube,  NASA, Flixster, Vimeo, Amazon Video On Demand , Pandora, MLB.TV, Ultimate Fighting Championship and a hundred other online clients available.

Roku XDS is the only Roku media streamer to have a local USB port that gives you access to video / music / photos stored on an external USB harddrive / memory stick and  dual-channel 802.11n wireless adapter.)

The box also features both HDMI and component outputs together with an optical port. The max resolution supported is 1080p.

Update: If you order now any one the Roku boxes, you will get one month of free Hulu Plus service!

Update2: A very popular deal, the box is out of stock but you can still order it at this price and it will ship when available.