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Multimedia - Home Servers

A Media Player for 4K TV Owners

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A Media Player for 4K TV Owners

Customers in want of content for their 4K/UHD TVs get a Sony option in the shape of the FMP-X5, a 4K media player allowing one to stream video content using the HEVC (H.265) standard.

The device is designed for use with the Bravia KDL-84X9005, KD-65XD9005A and 44X9005A TVs. On launch it enables access to the Netflix 4K streaming service, and the company hopes for compatibility with similar future services.

However Sony gives no word whether its own 4K Video Unlimited movie services will make it to our side of the world.

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Kickstarting the Music-Streaming Router

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Kickstarting the Music-Streaming Router

Crowd-sourced wifi network operator Fon what it describes as an the modern jukebox-- the Gramofon, a device bringing together wifi connectivity, smartphones and online music streaming services.

Essentially the Gramofon is a small router with built-in online music service support. It connects to audio systems via 3.5mm jack (it carries no speaker) and to home networks via either wifi or ethernet, and uses wifi to pair with mobile devices.

Once initial setup is complete, users log into the Gramofon's own wifi network (not Bluetooth) via Facebook account to act as streaming service playlist DJ. In addition connected devices get regular internet access.

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Google's Next Stab at TV: Android TV

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Google's Next Stab at TV: Android TV

Google TV might be dead, but Google has not given up on taking over the world's living room-- The Verge reports the search giant is working on Android TV, an STB interface providing users access to content and apps.

It sounds all too similar to Google TV, but it apparently is not the case. "Android TV is an entertainment interface, not a computing platform," a leaked Google document reads. "It’s all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction."

In other words it is similar to other app-enabled STBs on the market, such as the Apple TV, Roku, the recently announced Amazon Fire TV and Google's own Chromecast dongle.

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Amazon Reveals STB, Calls it Fire TV

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Amazon Reveals STB, Calls it Fire TV

So Amazon was truly working on a console-slash-STB after all-- the online retailer turned hardware maker reveals a spearhead in the invasion of the world's living rooms with the Fire TV.

Rumours on the Amazon STB have been going on since April 2013, with Bloomberg first reporting of a Roku/Boxee-style device in development at the company's Lab126 hardware division.

The finished products looks like a small matte black box adorned with a simple Amazon logo. It runs on the latest version of Amazon's forked Android build (aka "Mojito") and carries a quad-core processor, Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB RAM and dual-band dual-antenna wifi. Pushing output are HDMI and optical audio ports.

Media content comes via Amazon's own Instant Video and Prime services, as well as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Pandora and iHeartRadio, among others. An interesting-sounding "ASAP" feature predicts the shows users are most likely to watch, pre-caching them for instant viewing.

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WSJ: Amazon STB to Ship in April

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WSJ: Amazon STB to Ship in April

Rumours on the supposed Amazon STB continues to trickle in-- "people familiar with the company's plans" tell the Wall Street Journal the long-awaited device ships on "early" April 2014 to retailers such as Best Buy and Staples.

According to the WSJ the STB carries a "forked" Android version allowing it to run not only Amazon streaming services but also the likes of Netflix, Hulu and even games.

TechCrunch also joins the Amazon STB rumour game, saying the device features a Chromecast-style dongle/stick design and OnLive-style PC game streaming capability. Reportedly "top-tier games" are to be streamed at 30fps-- a lofty goal, but one has to keep in mind Amazon is (probably) equipped to power such intensive cloud-based offerings.

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Beam+: Newest Telepresence Robot for Home

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Beam+: Newest Telepresence Robot for Home

Suitable Technologies’ latest telepresence robot platform is the Beam+, and it was created to be used at home.

Beam+ is similar to the Beam Pro. Both Beams have a big camera, big screen, big speakers, user friendly software interface, and the ability to drive. Beam+ is slightly shorter than the Beam Pro. Beam+ just doesn't include the dual radios that let the Beam Pro jump seamlessly between multiple access points required in enterprises.

There are no buttons on the system: it's all controlled via Continue reading...

TiVo Co-Founders Put Online Video on TV

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TiVo Co-Founders Put Online Video on TV

TiVo co-founders Michael Ramsay and Jim Barton launch what they claim is a truly hassle-free way of viewing online video on HDTVs-- QPlay, a combination of cloud service, TV adapter and iPad app promising to be "like TV, but better."

At the heart of the QPlay concept is the cloud service. It provides what the company calls "Qs," video streams generated from a number of sources (YouTube, Vimeo and social networks, although the company says it is looking to include Hulu and Netflix). Users can create own Qs from channel subscriptions or browser bookmarklet, or simply watch auto-generated TV-style channels from sources such as CNN, MSNC and Al-Jazeera.

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Mirror PCs via Airtame

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Mirror PCs via Airtame

Danish hardware startup Airtame promises an easy means of mirroring PC displays on HDMI-capable displays-- a wireless dongle able to link push content from PCs to TVs or projectors via wifi.

As presented at CES 2014 the Airtame package consists of the dongle and PC (Mac, Windows, Linux) app. Users simply plug the dongle in a display's HDMI port, and the app handles either mirroring (complete with audio) or display extension.

The app also allows users to create "public streams" to either multicast or unicast displays on multiple computers, with no need for additional dongles. Operation is cross-platform, meaning users can send or receive video from any PC regardless of operating system.

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The 4K Streaming Player

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The 4K Streaming Player

Nuvola claims the NP-1 is the first streaming media player able to handle content in 4K/UHD resolutions, allowing customers to stream higher-resolution content from a variety of sources, including a bundled NanoFlix UHD channel.

The player gets content via ethernet or wifi from networks with 6Mbit/s speeds or higher. It runs on Android 4.2 and carries a Tegra 4 processor inside a compact (9x10cm) package.

UltraHD/4K video support comes through H.264 compression, with upgrades to higher (H.265) codecs following availability. Video format support includes MP4, MKV, AVI, MOV and OOG (H.264), whuile audio includes AAC, FLAC, MP3 and WAV.

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