Video: Hands-on with Amazon’s Fire TV set-top box

Amazon recently surprised us with its Fire TV set-top box, offering a native solution for customers to stream movies, music, and even play games. Fire TV will only set you back $99, and in my opinion, it’s just what Amazon needed. Instead of relying on third-party streaming solutions, Amazon now has the power to take its media services in a new direction. Take a look at our overview video above to see Fire TV in action.

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Android TV screenshots reportedly leak, show off simplified card-based interface

For years now companies have been claiming to that they make the perfect set-top box, with Amazon being the most recent to do so with its FireTV. Notably missing from this arm’s race, however, has been Google. The company was one of the first to offer a set-top box OS with Google TV, but the idea quickly failed and was never widely adopted. Over the past year, reports have started to emerge claiming that Google is plaining a reentrance into the set-top box market with an Android-powered set-top box. The Verge has now published an extensive report on Android TV, with screenshots of the actual interface and much more.

The report, which cites internal Google documents, claims that the idea is far along in development with major app providers already building for the platform as we speak. While Google TV was also based off of Android, this new revision is entirely rebuilt and is something very different. “Android TV is an entertainment interface, not a computing platform,” writes Google. “It’s all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction.” It will be “cinematic, fun, fluid, and fast.”

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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

How-to: Setup and Use Chromecast to stream your content from a Mac and Android device

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The Chromecast, Google’s streaming HDMI dongle came out last summer. It is compatible with any Android device running 2.3 or later, iOS devices with iOS 6 or 7, and any Mac or PC. Initially, users were able to stream Netflix or Youtube from an iOS device and Android device, Google Play on Android, or stream websites to a TV using the Chrome browser on a computer. The Chromecast works differently from Apple’s AirPlay system in that you can multitask and do other tasks on the device or you can let it go to sleep while streaming.

Very quickly after its release, Chromecast has received support for Hulu +, Pandora, and HBO GO. Last month a major update added ten new apps including Plex, Vevo, Songza, Red Bull TV, Post TV from the Washington Post, Viki, RealPlayer Cloud, Avia, Revision3 Internet Television, and BeyondPod. The most recent update the Chromecast received allowed users to stream Google Play movies and music directly from the Chrome browser on a computer.

In this How-to, we’ll discuss how to setup the Chromecast, use it with a Mac and Android device, and explore its gaming potentials.

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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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