Roku Announce 4K Smart TVs And HDR @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Streaming various forms of video content has revolutionized our viewing habits and provided a more convenient, legitimate alternative to traditional TV broadcasts. Roku’s ability to offer over 100 video channels has made their devices a popular choice for consumers wanting a flexible and no compromise viewing experience. During CES 2016, the company unveiled their plans to integrate streaming functionality into 4K TVs and already working with TCL, Haier, Hisense, Insignia and Sharp to launch nearly 60 new Roku TV models.

Additionally, Roku is releasing the TV HDR reference design to partners which enables them to utilize HDR technology in upcoming 4K smart TVs. Not only that, the system is based on the HDR 10 standard and should contain Dolby Vision support.

QNAP Qmedia App Now Available on the Roku Platform

One of the best things in owning a NAS is the ability to stream the content to all your available devices from a centralized storage, but everyone who has a smart TV that is just a few years old also knows the issues with having the proper codecs to view and stream all these files. This is one of the places where extra set-top boxes such as the ones from Roku come into play and they just became even better thanks to the official QNAP support.

QNAP announced the new availability of the free Qmedia app for Roku players and Roku TV models, allowing users to easily stream photos, music, and videos from their QNAP NAS devices to their TV through QNAP’s DLNA server function. When you couple that with the support for video transcoding and hardware acceleration, users can enjoy a better and smoother viewing experience of their rich multimedia collections.

The QNAP Qmedia app is now available as one of the streaming channels in the Roku Channel Store, integrating the Media Library from QTS with the same user interface that Roku users are familiar with for a consistent browsing experience.

The new Qmedia app for Roku requires your NAS to run the newest QTS 4.2 firmware and that you have turned DLNA on in your settings, but other than that it’s as easy as installing the app on the Roku and connect it to your QNAP NAS. If still in doubt, QNAP also released a small online tutorial to help you get it up and running.

What is your preferred way to stream the content from your NAS? Do you use your TV’s or consoles DLNA function, use Plex Media Server, or something completely different? Let us know in the comments.

Amazon to Boost Prime Video by Banning Apple and Google Streaming Devices

In a controversial move, Amazon will no longer be carrying competing video streaming devices that cannot serve Prime Video. Set to start October 29th, Amazon and its third-party marketplace sellers will no longer carry competing products like Google Chromecast and Apple TV. This effort is being done in an attempt to promote Prime Video, Amazon’s Video-On-Demand service, by removing devices that don’t work with said service.

Technically, there is nothing to stop Amazon from providing Prime Video on competing devices, said devices also come stock with competing streaming services. By removing competing devices, it also allows Amazon to promote their own streaming products like FireTV. Roku, Xbox and PlayStation devices will still be sold as they are compatible with Prime Video and for the last two, are way more than just streaming devices.

What is most interesting is that Amazon is banning marketplace sellers from carrying the banned items as well. It goes to show that Amazon is willing to lose some sales for these devices in the hopes of selling more of their own hardware and Prime service. It will be interesting to see how the marketplace sellers and users will respond to such heavy-handed tactics from Amazon.

Thank you Bloomberg for providing us with this information 

Next Gen Apple TV Much Improved

According to sources close with BuzzFeed, the next-gen Apple TV will be a much-improved version. Apple plans on announcing the new Apple TV at the World Wide Developers Conference they hold in June. During the conference, they also plan on introducing the SDK dedicated to the Apple TV, and its own App Store, much like was done with the Apple Watch recently.

The recent price cut of the current Apple TV, from $99 to $69 during Apple’s live event, and announcing the partnership to make HBO GO an exclusive digital partner, Apple has been busy recently. In addition to the Apple Watch announcement recently, we also are getting a new MacBook, claiming to be the lightest computer ever. With the April 24th release of the Apple Watch coming, Apple updated iOS with support for the Watch.

With so much time since Apple last did much for the Apple TV, if they plan to continue support, this pending update will be much-needed. Especially since there are so many more competing devices, such as Roku, Fire TV, and the Chrome Stick, and their very competitive costs, Apple’s hand is almost forced if they want to stay relevant.

Source: news.com.au

The Ray Super Remote is the Ultimate Home Remote Control

There have been numerous attempts over the last few decades to create a single, universal remote control with the capacity to interact with every one of your home entertainment devices, with varying results, but the Ray Super Remote may now have cracked it.

The Super Remote, developed by Ray Enterprises, is a touchscreen device that can control your TV, satellite or cable box, DVR, games console, and internet streaming box, like Apple TV or Roku. It can connect to over 200,000 different devices, and can run software to control any home device with an IP address, such as the Nest thermostat.

The interface is fully customisable and the software can learn your habits and preferences to suggest programmes that may appeal to you. Battery life is around ten days, and the charging dock doubles as the remote’s holding tray.

David Skokna, CEO of New York-based Ray Enterprises, offered some insight into the development process of the remote, saying, “As we looked at ways to reimagine TV, it seemed like the remote control needed the most help. We think we have a big opportunity to do something magical.”

The Ray Super Remote is due for release in May or June this year, and will cost $199. www.ray.co is accepting pre-orders now.

Source: Business Insider

Google Chromecast Now More Popular Than Apple TV

Google’s Chromecast TV streaming dongle outsold Apple TV over the first three quarters of 2014, according to Parks Associates, a market researcher. Google has been given the boost over their rival during a 10% upswing in the number of households now using home media players. Roku, the market leader for the past three years, remains in pole position with 29% market share, down from 46% last year.

Apple TV is now 7 years old, and has not had a major hardware update since 2012. Rumours have circulated this year that Apple is to update its TV system, adding App Store integration and Bluetooth controller support, but there has been no official confirmation regarding the new model. In the meantime, Google has forged ahead, stealing a significant slice of the home media market share.

Source: MacRumors

Tetris Comes to Roku

On the 30th Anniversary of arguably the most addictive game ever made, Tetris is now available to play on Roku’s media streaming platforms, the Roku 3 and Roku Streaming Stick with HDMI. The marathon version is free to download, with the premium version, featuring different game modes, costing $4.99. The game will only be available in the US, Canada, UK, and Republic of Ireland, at least for now.

This marks a significant addition to Roku’s Channels (what the company likes to call its apps) which to this point has featured little worthy of note, which the possible exception of fellow retro amusement Pac-Man Championship Edition.

Source: TNW

Roku Hopes to Cater to New TV Viewers Streaming Content Into The Living Room

The TV and Internet video markets continue to shift at a rapid pace, and streaming maker Roku hopes to see the industry continue to embrace streaming.

Despite Google, Apple, Amazon, and other companies jumping into the video-streaming device market, Roku still is best known for carving out a niche market for itself.  As the TV industry evolves, Roku expects to cash in on more users trying to stream via Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and other similar services.

Here is what Wood said during a recent interview with the AP:

“To me, it’s pretty clear that all TV is going to be streamed.  It’s either going to be streamed to a smart TV, a gaming console or a streaming player.  That’s the way people are going to watch TV.  Things like DVD players are going to go away.  Cable boxes are obviously going away, too.  DVRs are just a stepping stone technology.  When everything is on demand, you won’t have to record anything anymore so that’s going to disappear.”

Furthermore, Wood still believes the DVR will be dead by 2020, with consumers largely relying on streaming content for home entertainment.  Instead, on-demand streaming content, providing viewers with a large amount of video choices, will continue to rise.

Roku is a privately-held company, but some financial analysts expect to see an initial public offering (IPO) filing sometime within the next year.

Thank you Associated Press for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Philly.com