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Multimedia - Home Servers

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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Xbox One (also) Sells 1 Million Units

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Xbox One (also) Sells 1 Million Units

The newly launched Xbox One is already a record breaker Microsoft says, with sales reaching 1 million units in the 24 hours following the 22 November 2013 global launch.

The 3rd Xbox console hit the market to much fanfare in 13 territories, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. Other markets should follow from Q1 2014.

"Xbox One is now sold out at most retailers," a Microsoft statement reads. "We are working to replenish stock as fast as possible to meet the unprecedented demand from our customers." The Guardian confirms such claims with at least one retailer, since apparently John Lewis sold all its entire Xbox One stock within 2 hours of the console being available online.

However it remains too early to declare Microsoft winner of the next gen console tournament-- Sony also sold 1 million PlayStation 4 units in the 24 hours following the 15 November N. American launch.

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Happauge Makes Game Recording Portable

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Happauge Makes Game Recording Portable

Happauge launches a portable game video recorder at Paris Games Week 2013-- the HD PVR Rocket, a standalone miniature version of the HD PVR 2 recorder launched back in 2012.

Small enough to fit one's hand and weighing only 130g, the HD PVR Rocket features a built-in audio mixer and a USB port for the plugging in of any USB storage device. According to Happauge a 16GB USB drive can record up to 4 hours of gameplay at 1920x1080 resolution. A microphone jack allows the recording of commentary as well as game audio, while a control panel handles volume adjustments.

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The Square Enix Take on Cloud Gaming

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The Square Enix Take on Cloud Gaming

Square Enix has the Final Fantasy formula down, but can it claim the same with cloud gaming? The company reckons so with Project FLARE, a development it describes as no less than a "technological breakthrough in cloud game architecture."

FLARE is similar to the likes of OnLive or Gaikai, but with a different take on the technology running the service-- according to Square Enix the architecture makes more efficient use of server hardware, with games natively built for the cloud. Or, as the announcement press release puts it, "a unique, patented architecture enabl[es] cost-efficient scalability of processing power, through which images are streamed as video."

According to the company FLARE will offer “Hollywood-quality animation running in real-time to deepen the player’s immersion" and "video streams allowing even existing games to be enjoyed in new ways."

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Fox Proposes "Digital Bridge" for UHD Content

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Fox Proposes

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment president Mike Dunn proposes what he believes is a simpler means for customers to access and manage media content-- a Blu-ray player with enough storage for content in HD and even 4k/UHD resolutions.

Described as a "Digital Bridge," such a device would not only store content downloaded from the cloud on terabytes of HDD space, but also make movies and TV shows available to any device in the home.

“Consumers would have the ability to copy their physical discs and store and manage their entire digital library in one centralized location... in the living room,” Dunn says in his keynote at the CEA Industry Forum 2013.

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Amazon Preps STB, Calls it FireTube?

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Amazon Preps STB, Calls it FireTube?

More news emerges from the Amazon STB front-- The Wall Street Journal reports the retailer plans to launch the device on the holiday season, while 9 to 5 Google points out Amazon recently trademarked the name "Firetube."

Of course, Firetube might be the name of the rumoured Amazon smartphone, but one has to admit it would make more sense attached to a piece of online video streaming equipment of some kind.

The WSJ does not mention the "Firetube" name, instead saying the STB is code-named "Cinnamon." Apparently it will not only push media content available on the Prime subscription service but also connect to competing services "for streaming video and music, as well as some games."

Wait, games? Game Informer and TechCrunch did report Amazon is working on a games console a few months ago...

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Sony Sticks With Google TV

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Sony Sticks With Google TV

Sony does not give up on Google TV (even as Google itself appears to do exactly that) and announces the NSZ-GU1 Bravia Smart Stick, an MHL/USB dongle for post-2013 Sony TVs similar to the Google Chromecast.

It carries 8GB storage, connects to TVs via MHL port (USB takes care of power) and "seamlessly integrates Google and Sony's own BRAVIA apps, allowing viewers to stay in a single menu to launch any of their apps."

In other words customers get access to both Sony and Google Play apps, as well as regular TV services, with a single menu handling access. It also allows picture-in-picture web surfing/TV watching, while an included universal remote features a touchpad on one side and a QWERTY keyboard on the other.

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