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New Pandora on Roku

2 Aug

Pandora channel gets refresh, version 3.0 arrives on Roku

By   posted Jul 31st 2012 2:29PM

Pandora channel gets refresh, version 30 arrives on Roku

Pandora’s music-sharing channel on Roku has been spruced up with a new station screen design and a few minor (but welcome) new features. Version 3.0 adds genre station functionality within a new grid interface, while the whole family (or at least up to five of them) can now connect their Pandora accounts to the same Roku hardware. For extended play, a new screen saver will display track details alongside album art and the renovated search will also display those album covers in results. Roku owners can expect their channel to auto-update in the next 48 hours, but anyone who hasn’t yet sampled the delights of Pandora can pick up the free download from the streaming box’s channel store.

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Amazon Instant Video app for iPad

1 Aug

Amazon’s push to rival Apple in the digital media space took another step forward on Wednesday with the release of an Amazon Instant Video app for iPad, as noted by 9 to 5 Mac. The free software, found in the iTunes App Store, can play back all 120,000 titles in Amazon’s video library of movies and television shows, both for rent and purchase. Amazon Prime members can also use their membership to watch thousands of videos at no additional charge.

Streaming tunes

25 Apr

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Streaming tops DVDs

3 Apr

Online movie streaming in the United States is expected to top both DVD and Blu-ray use for the first time ever in 2012, according to a study from IHS Screen Digest. The study suggests that in 2012, Americans will legally stream 3.4 billion movies online — twice the 1.4 billion streamed in 2011 — while DVD and Blu-ray movies watching this year will to 2.4 billion from 2.6 billion in 2011. Last year, the unlimited-streaming services offered by Netflix and Amazon Prime accounted for 94% of all paid online movie viewing in the U.S. Additionally, consumers paid an average of $0.51 for every movie streamed online, compared to $4.72 for DVD and Blu-ray discs. “We are looking at the beginning of the end of the age of movies on physical media like DVD and Blu-ray,” IHS analyst Dan Cryan said. “But the transition is likely to take time: almost nine years after the launch of the iTunes Store, CDs are still a vital part of the music business.”

 

Popularity of streaming

28 Mar

I was wondering how many others like me are out there – who has given up the cable in favor of streaming only?

Deloitte did a recent study.  Due to the attractive financial benefits of inexpensive online alternatives and increased accessibility, some Americans have already taken the cord cutting plunge while others are contemplating it for 2012.

According to a study conducted by consulting firm Deloitte, approximately 9 percent of users subscribing to premium television programming such as cable or satellite TV ditched those services in favor of online options during 2011. With more than 2,000 respondents between the ages of 14 to 75 participating in the survey, eleven percent are considering “cutting the cord” during 2012 since they believe their favorite television shows are already available online. Beyond that group, an additional 15 percent want to try out movies and television shows via online digital sources in the upcoming months.

netflix-streaming-demoYounger consumers between the ages of 23 to 28 were are the most likely to “cut the cord” in 2012 with nearly one-fifth of that age range considering the move. As age increases, Americans are less likely to ditch cable or satellite service. Only seven percent of people between the ages of 46 and 64 are considering the change and just five percent of people beyond 65 years of age are doing the same. However, many respondents value DVR service like TiVo almost as much as premium TV service and 80 percent of respondents have no plans to stop paying for cable or satellite service this year.

The study also found that increased accessibility to online media has driven usage up over the last two years. With set-top boxes, gaming consoles, smart televisions, Blu-ray players and smartphones offering access to digital media such as movies, the amount of people streaming movies has risen from 28 percent in 2009 to 42 percent in 2011. In addition, the amount of people that prefer watching a movie through a streaming source rose from 4 percent in 2009 to 14 percent in 2011. Other devices, like eBook readers and smartphones, have increased the amount of people consuming newspapers, books and magazines on a digital device over the paper alternative. The survey also found there are many more homes with smartphones in the U.S. as that number jumped from 25 percent in 2009 to 42 percent in 2011.

 

Technology I’m using

28 Mar

Streaming Players

I already have a DVD player with streaming capability.  I am using it downstairs in my living room.

I am streaming in my bedroom thru the Roku LT – cost, $50 ( I used my Amazon Visa rewards points, so did not actually cost me anything).  The Roku is newer and is my preferred device – I just like the content options better.  It is amazing to me how small it is – not much bigger than my mobile phone.

CNET reviewed the Roku 5 days ago and here is their summary:

The Roku LT earned our Editors’ Choice Award for two major reasons: price and content. Roku’s $50 streaming box has a truly impressive lineup of content, including Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, Pandora, HBO Go, MLB.TV, NHL GameCenter, Epix, Crackle, Picasa, Flicker, Mog, Rdio, TED Talks, Revision3, TWiT.TV, NASA, and CNET. You can see a full list on Roku’s site, and the company has been aggressive about continually adding more content sources. YouTube is strangely missing from that list.

All of the content sources are great, but the Roku LT also gets many of the little things right that competing products don’t. The user interface may be a little bland, but it’s simple and easy to navigate, plus you can customize the layout of the channels. The same goes for the remote, which keeps only the essential buttons. (Roku’s remote now includes direct-access buttons for Netflix, Pandora, and Crackle.) The separate Channel Store is also a great way to offer a ton of content from partners without cluttering the main home screen.

Roku also offers several pricier models, but we think the Roku LT is easily the best value. The core streaming functionality is what makes Roku great, so most buyers don’t need to pay extra for a Bluetooth remote, microSD card slot, or USB port.If your main goal is to stream video and music from a ton of high-quality content sources, there’s no better value than the Roku LT.

Roku LT interface

Subscriptions

I have a subscription to Hulu Plus (less than $9 a month) and to Amazon Prime ($79 per year; includes streaming TV/movies & some free ebooks; also provides free 2-day shipping on Amazon purchases).

Other equipment

I bought a HDTV indoor TV antenna – Terk HDTVa Indoor Amplified High-Definition Antenna for Off-Air HDTV Reception.  It’s $38.79 on Amazon (I used my Amazon Visa reward points for this too) and it ships free with 2-day delivery … another perk of the Amazon Prime membership.  It has received 1582 reviews and a 4-star rating.

It will allow me to view all local TV free.  To see what stations you should be able to get with the antenna in your area, go to http://transition.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/maps.

About Me

28 Mar

I started this adventure with one goal – to 1) experience what it’s like to not have 200+ channels of cable tv and 2) explore the world of streaming TV/movies.  I wanted to share how I experienced giving up something that most of us spend a great deal of time doing each week – flipping channels thru the remote, recording things we like, and watching our recorded shows.  I also wanted to share my research & experience on streaming content to help others be more knowledgeable about what this option offers.  I also hoped to hear from other people about their best/worst experiences in streaming, so I can learn as well.  For my part, I have not missed cable at all!

I’ve expanded my scope to include music streaming as well.  I’m addicted to Spotify and wanted to explore the growing options for streaming music.