Google to unveil at least one Android TV-powered set-top box during Google I/O

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Earlier today, Bloomberg published a profile of Android head Sundar Pichai in which it was stated that Google has several Android TV announcements slated for its I/O developer conference tomorrow. The WSJ has now published another report corroborating the earlier profile. According to the report, Google on Wednesday will unveil at least one “small set-top box” running its new Android TV operating system.

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Aereo terrestrial streaming TV coming to Chromecast May 29th unless Supreme Court blocks it

aereoAereo CEO Chet Kanojia announced today that Aereo users will be able to watch and record live television using Google’s Chromecast starting on May 29th. Aereo users, who can already watch live broadcast television over their phone, computer, tablet, or connected TV for $8/month, are anxiously awaiting a Supreme Court decision that would verify whether or not the service is legal.

In the meantime, Aereo users are able to stream local airwave content over IP to their computers and mobile devices.

With the addition of Chromecast, users will have a new way to watch Aereo on their television, through the Aereo app for Android. While it wasn’t announced, the iOS app could also add Chromecast support at a later time.

It isn’t certain why you’d pay $8/month for access to the same channels on your HDTV that you can pull in with a $22 antenna but those who are already paying for the service will find the added feature beneficial. The DVR functions could also serve beneficial.

Press release follows: Read more

Opinion: Will the spring launch of Amazon/Nexus/Apple TV signal the beginning of the end of live, broadcast TV?

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Streaming TV is heating-up. Amazon looks set to launch its TV box in March, we’re expecting Apple to announce a new Apple TV box in April, and Google is reputed to be not far behind with a Nexus-branded box.

So-called cord-cutting – people who give up their cable TV subscriptions in favor of streaming content over the web – is growing in popularity. Mobile TV viewing on tablets is increasingly common.

All of which makes me wonder whether we’re witnessing the beginning of the end of live TV … ?  Read more

Amazon’s long-rumored Roku-like TV box to launch next month?

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Image: digitaltrends.com

Amazon’s TV box, which the company is believed to have been working on for around a year, is to be launched next month, according to unnamed content distribution sources cited by re/code. It had originally been expected to be launched in time for last year’s holiday sales.

People I’ve talked to who are partnering with Amazon believe the company is aiming for a March rollout [...]

Sources tell me Amazon’s box will be powered by Google’s Android operating system, which is also not a surprise — Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets use a “forked” version of Android …  Read more

Hisense announces new Pulse Pro set-top box running Android TV

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Although Google TV has not been the company’s most successful venture by any means, that hasn’t stopped several other companies from trying-out the concept. At CES 2014, Hisense is showing off its new set top box, the Pulse Pro. From the outside, it looks very similar to any other set-top box, but what’s interesting is that it’s running what Hisense calls “Android TV v4.” It’s not technically Google TV, although it’s built off of the same foundation. It is capable of running Google TV apps and also features the same PrimeTime Guide (via CNET).

One noticeable difference between the Pulse Pro and other Google TV devices is the home screen design. Everything is laid out in a very image-focused design, with the ability to quickly access Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Video, and more.

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Google adds an additional 13 markets for Google Play Movies

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Residents of New Zealand, Hong Kong, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago take note as Google Play Movies are now at your disposal. In total, Google added an additional thirteen countries bringing the total available market count to 27. This is the right time for residents of those countries to grab a Chromecast, kick their legs up on the sofa and watch a movie. Unfortunately, TV shows are still only available through the US, UK and Japan with no timetable for additional countries.

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Google reportedly gearing up to launch Android-powered ‘Nexus TV’ set-top box

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For the past few months, rumors have been swirling that another living room device will soon be released by Google. In July, the Wall Street Journal reported on a device with a motion sensor and video camera, while GigaOM reported in October that Google was planning to drop the Google TV branding in favor of “Android TV.” This time around, The Information’s Amir Efrati reports that Google is planning to release a “Nexus TV” set-top box that will run Android.

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Code within the latest version of Plex suggests imminent Chromecast support

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Slowly but surely, Google has been expanding the services that its $35 Chromecast supports, most recently with HBO Go. We heard a while back that Plex support was also coming, but there hadn’t been any concrete announcement from the company itself. A Reddit user, however, has now spotted a file within the Plex Media Server software that further hints at Chromecast support (via GigaOm). The file apparently is one of a handful of device profiles that the software uses when it determines if it has to transcode a video being streaming it.

Google has been doing a lot recently to beef up the streaming service that the Chromecast supports. The company is holding a hackathon next week to preview the Chromecast SDK to a select number of developers. Plex will certainly be a welcome addition the supported services, and we have a feeling that it won’t be the only new service to come.  Read more

HBO Go appears on Chromecast support page, streaming support likely coming soon

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Just a few weeks ago, Pandora became the latest app to receive support for streaming via the Chromecast, as did Hulu Plus just before that. This left a couple of key holdouts, one of which being HBO Go. HBO Go has been rumored as coming to the Chromecast since the device’s launch, with HBO confirming earlier this summer that it was in talks to support the Chromecast in the “future.” It now looks as if the launch is not very far off.

As first noted by Droid Life, Google’s “Now Casting” support page has been updated to include HBO Go. It’s touted as a “new” app, along with Pandora and Hulu Plus. Oddly, however, there is no HBO icon and the description simply reads “none.” This makes it seem like Google’s support page was updated a bit prematurely, although it does signal that a launch is imminent and that the two are still in talks to work together. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear an official announcement from Google and HBO relatively soon.

At $35, the Chromecast is becoming even more enticing of an offer as Google continues to beef up the streaming selection to compete with the Apple TV and Roku.

Report: Google TV getting rebranded as “Android TV” for next-generation of devices

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A new report claims that Google’s next generation of Google TV products are being rebranded to “Android TV” to better communicate the company’s vision of bringing the full Android experience into the living room. GigaOM reports that OEMs producing new Google TV products have informed them that Google is officially changing the branding to Android TV for the next round of products hitting the market. While the company has not yet made the branding change official, it has already started using “Android TV” in some instances, while partners are not including “GoogleTV” branding on recently announced products:

Some of Google’s hardware partners have already made the switch. Sony introduced a new smart TV adapter dubbed the Bravia TV stick last month. The device is based on the most recent version of Google TV, but Sony’s announcement didn’t mention that fact once… Even members of the original Google TV team have started to drop that name when talking about their work. A recently-scheduled developer event in Seoul was officially called “Android TV Developer Day,” and some developers have started to change affiliations in their online biographies from “Google TV” to “Android TV.”

Back in July when Google officially unveiled its new $35 HDMI streaming device called Chromecast, the company’s Android & Chrome chief Sundar Pichai made things clear that Google TV wasn’t going anywhere. At the time, Pichai noted that the company would continue to release Google TV products through its partners and hinted that the product would focus on bringing a full Android experience into the living room, something that Google TV has fallen short of thus far. There are third-party companies producing set-top box products that run a full version of Android in comparison to the scaled back feature set of official Google TV products currently on the market, but these products have failed to gain much traction among set-top box competitors.

The report adds that an official update to Android 4.2 for Google TV devices currently on the market could arrive as soon as this month: Read more

Is Amazon building a ChromeCast-type of TV product called the ‘Firetube’

We got a tip (Thanks Guy!) that Amazon had trademarked the name ‘Firetube’ in Canada and the US. With all of the news surrounding the Amazon Phone lately – I immediately thought that is a dumb name for a phone.

Seconds later it hit me. Tube=TV. Amazon needs a TV product to counter Apple and Google.

It makes a lot of sense.  Amazon has all of this content on the Fire and no way to put it on a TV yet. They have to release some type of Chromecast competitor and quick. There are, of course, rumors of an Amazon TV. Lots of rumors. Bloomberg thinks Fall 2013 is the planned launch window. That’s right now.

Quick thoughts: Will it play from the iOS app? Will it be cheap and cost ~$35 like the ChromeCast?  Bundled with Kindle? Will it work with older devices? I’ve reached out to Amazon for a comment.

With the name now public and the holidays approaching, it would be surprising not to see an announcement soon.