Android TV is very much alive, as was made abundantly clear by the plethora of new Android TV powered televisions with Google Assistant capability shown off at CES 2018. Streaming boxes powered by Android TV, however, are conspicuously missing—the last Android TV set-top box to be released in the United States was the Xiaomi Mi Box in October 2016. Apple TV and Amazon's Fire TV products both received hardware refreshes last September, while Roku products received hardware refreshes in October. In comparison, the three year old Nexus Player—arguably the flagship of Android TV—last received a software update in November, and will not be upgraded to Android 8.1 Oreo. So, where have the boxes gone? A brief history of Android TV streaming boxes There have been curiously few Android TV streaming boxes actually available in normal retail channels. In the United States, only five have been made available for purchase. Other devices—like Google's … [Read more...] about Android TV streaming boxes: an uneasy start and apparent death
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Two of the big trends at CES 2018 were AI and smart home stuff. The former was actually a major buzzword, and it became so overused that I stopped caring (thanks, Huawei/Honor). However, the smart home ecosystem continues to thrive and we saw a ton of new products that are launching with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. This post will focus on Assistant; you can expect the Alexa wrap-up a little bit later. Abode Systems Abode announced its all-in-one security system called iota. It features a 1080p camera, as well as a ZigBee/Z-Wave/Abode RF hub to control your smart devices. Best of all, it works with Assistant. You can pick one up for $329 in Q1 this year. Accuweather AccuWeather is launching its new services app for Assistant with "Superior Accuracy using natural voice commands." Basically, the app allows you to ask conversational questions, like "Do I need an umbrella?" (would have been nice for CES — it rained pretty hard). This really isn't all that exciting, and … [Read more...] about CES 2018 wrap-up: Even more things to connect to Assistant
LAS VEGAS--It's too early to tell how Microsoft will fare in its attempt to make personal computers the hub of a digital home, but I like what I've seen so far. Microsoft, which introduced a collection of new Windows XP "experiences" code-named Freestyle, and a new, wireless, tablet-like PC named Mira at the Consumer Electronics Show here, seems to be moving slowly, pushing consumers only as far as they appear ready to go. This step-by-step approach, which we've already seen in Windows's support for audio and photography, takes things power users are already doing and makes them accessible to the masses. In some cases, it does this in a way that angers other companies, such as RealNetworks and Kodak, which see Microsoft as invading their turf. But as far as users like you and me are concerned, the overall effect is positive. FREESTYLE BUILDS on the current digital photography, home video, and music features of Windows XP. It would, by way of example, make it possible for you to use … [Read more...] about How MS plans to put the PC at the heart of your home
If you're looking to give your home a digital makeover, both Apple and Microsoft have some ideas. The two companies last week each revealed new pieces to their digital living room strategy, aiming to move beyond their core strengths. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates showed off Windows Home Server, a slimmed-down version of its operating system. It's designed to power a new generation of cheap and simple servers that can serve as a central household repository for photos, music, movies and more. Two days later, Apple CEO Steve Jobs formally introduced Apple TV, a small box that sits next to a television set and enables people to play content stored on a Mac or PC elsewhere in the home. "Apple--their business has been revived by the iPod and iTunes. It makes sense to try and build on that in whatever way they can," said Matt Rosoff, an analyst at market research firm Directions on Microsoft. "Microsoft--yes, they have a mobile story, but … [Read more...] about Apple, Microsoft have designs on your living room
In March 2013, ZDNet reported that the size of the 2013 bring-your-own-device (BYOD) market would be double that of 2012, making BYOD truly mainstream. Sixty eight percent of respondents in the same research report said that getting buy-in from staff presents no challenge to a BYOD workplace program (no surprise, given how much we all love our own phones and tablets), but of the aspects reported as "a very big challenge", most responses were for "devising a security policy" and "implementing appropriate mobile device management [MDM] software". A more recent study by Greyhound research confirms how many enterprise IT departments are getting on board, and also how many seem ill equipped to do so. Seventy percent of respondents have plans for BYOD, but 30 percent of those have no concrete security or policy plans in place. All of this means that BYOD is here to stay, but is the enterprise world ready for it? The challenges of BYOD Before you even talk about malware or the Apple Store, … [Read more...] about The challenge of mobility and the cost of BYOD fleets
United Airlines' new bug bounty program is dishing out the rewards -- granting one researcher a massive 1,000,000 air miles for a reported security vulnerability. United's bug bounty program was launched in May this year. Joining the ranks of Facebook, Google and Microsoft to name but a few, in keeping with the firm's industry, United offers air miles in return for vulnerability disclosures. The program offers rewards for security flaws which impact on the "confidentiality, integrity and/or availability of customer or company information" on front-facing websites and third-party services used by the airline. Rewards range from 50,000 to 1,000,000 air miles per vulnerability, depending on the severity of the problem. Security researcher Jordan Wiens decided to poke around United's systems and managed to discover a remote code execution (RCE) flaw. Wiens' reward for disclosing the vulnerability was one million air miles, disclosed on Twitter: The researcher said it was "not … [Read more...] about United Airlines showers air miles on bug bounty researchers
Caavo, the exciting machine vision-powered universal TV control system, is finally getting a very delayed ship date, after being first promised in June: the first 5,000 units will arrive February 14th, priced at $399. And the company has raised another $17.5M in venture capital for a total of $32.5M with an eye on delivering cheaper new products in the future. Caavo was announced at Code Media in February in a demo with Walt Mossberg and Lauren Goode. It’s a powerful control system for virtually every streaming, cable, and satellite box out there. It’s not just a simple remote, though: you plug everything into the large Caavo unit, and it uses machine vision (what the company is now calling Caavo Vision) to intelligently navigate the interface for all of those boxes behind the scenes. That’s very different than a standard universal remote like the popular Logitech Harmony series, which generally fire out a series of infrared macros without being able to verify that … [Read more...] about The gamechanging Caavo universal remote that uses machine vision will ship on Februrary 14th
Now that the World Series has come to a close and baseball is taking its seasonal hiatus, eyes across the nation turn to basketball. For NCAA fans, the season begins in about 10 days, but for NBA fans, the ball drops October 30, 2012.Although football has historically gotten more fans out of their seats to buy new TVs than any other singular sport, we’re beginning to see an end to that trend. No matter; we don’t see why anyone should wait around for the Super Bowl for an excuse to buy cool new home theater gear. In fact, it makes more sense to gear up right now, since this is arguably the best time to purchase a TV. Besides, buying now allows lets you get everything set up and dialed in for all of the winter and spring sports action.Here, then, is our trend-bucking guide to gearing up for the basketball season. From special sports programming packages to the best TV’s to watch them on, we’ve got you covered.Sports programming packages (Editor’s note: … [Read more...] about Get courtside in your living room with a home theater upgrade for NBA season
A new Apple TV is coming, but it looks like we’ll have to wait a bit longer than we thought. Originally expected to be introduced at Apple’s WWDC event June 8, rumors now indicate the company is pushing back the products launch due to trouble finalizing deals needed to finish its streaming TV service plans. We’ve got all the latest news, starting with this latest development, indexed below.Click on a link or go to the next page:Apple reverses course, reportedly pulls the plug on new Apple TVat WWDCCBS will ‘probably’ be a part of Apple’s streaming serviceApple’s plans to integrate local live TV may delay its streaming serviceThe slimmed down new Apple TV will ship with Apple Watch controlsNew Apple TV may feature redesigned remote with touchpadApple to introduce new Apple TV with Siri in JuneApple’s new video streaming service may land in September Apple reverses course, reportedly pulls the plug on new Apple TV at … [Read more...] about Apple TV rumor roundup: Did Apple pull the plug on new Apple TV for WWDC event?
Although consumers are increasingly cutting the cord and opting for streaming services , there are many others who still prefer satellite television service. And in that space, there are two big players: Dish and DirecTV. Of course, both Dish and DirecTV argue they have the best service, the most channels and the best content. And they both stake claim to extras, like high-end DVRs or streaming. But rather than take their word for it, we compared both services head to head to decide once and for all which satellite TV provider is really best. Channels and Packages DirecTV DirecTV, now owned by AT&T , offers a host of packages to consider. And they all offer different options. Here’s a breakdown of DirecTV’s Packaging: 1. Select All: 150+ channels starting at $50 per month. 155+ channels at $55 per month . Choice All: 185+ channels at $60 per month . Xtra All: 230+ channels at $70 per month. Ultimate All: 245+ … [Read more...] about Dish vs. DirectTV: Which Satellite Service Wins?