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.