The Fire TV stick is Amazons answer to Google Chromecast

Amazon Fire TV Stick

Although priced at little higher (USD 39), Amazon did not do any effort to hide what they are after. With their streaming media stick they want a piece of the pie of a market that is dominated by Chromecast. Yes, there are also sticks from Roku, Microsoft en Matchstick, but so far the dominant player is Google.

But there are differences. Chromecast can play anything from a chrome tab on your television and mobile apps can also have the option to view the content on the big screen by pushing a button. The Amazon comes with a W-Fi Direct remote control but who wants another remote in the living room? Luckily there is also an app for your mobile device and Amazon is supporting Miracast, allowing one to mirror their mobile device with the tv which is different from the approach Google has chosen for Chromecast. One can also fling content to the television set making it a very easy to operate.

As for the interface, it is using the same as the Amazon Fire TV interface.

Apart from its own video on demand service Prime Instant Video, Amazon offers apps for Netflix, Hulu, Hulu, WatchESPN, NBA Game Time, Twitch, SHOWTIME ANYTIME, Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, Vevo, Plex, A&E, PBS, PBS KIDS, WATCH Disney Channel, YouTube.com and more. See for all details the page at Amazon.

Nevertheless, the stick will probably work fine and is even cheaper for current Amazon Prime subscribers (USD 19) for the next two days so one might give it a try.

SlingPlayer is now available on Chromecast

SlingPlayer

TV-on-the-go company Sling announced an updated version of their SlingPlayer app to support Chromecast. With the latest version one will now be able to watch live TV and recorded content on the Slingbox on any TV with Chromecast as long as it is in the same network.

The new app is available for IOS and Android smartphones, Android tablets will follow later. As for hardware, a Slingbox 350 or 500 or the newer SlingTV or Slingbox M1 devices is needed.

Although this sounds very interesting at first glance, one cannot help wandering what problem this solves for as one the mobile device and the Slingbox need to be on the same network and live television is usually already available on… the television. As is the recorded content on a slingbox. So the most interesting development here might be a cheap and easy way to connect multiple television sets to the Slingbox using Chromecast.

“Google TV will be Android TV”

Android TV

According to GigaOm, Google is thinking about rebranding Google TV into Android TV. Apart from the name change, no new services or products are about to be released under this new brand so this would be more a cosmetic kind of a change. In a way, it makes sense that Google is naming it Android TV as the current devices are running on Android and Android is a well known brand of its own these days and the brand Google is still more associated with search then with an operating system. However, Google is also pushing the Chrome brand beyond the browser with products like Chromecast, a television HDMI dongle. So if Google would change the name of Google TV, why not call it Chrome TV? Or will they change the name of Chromecast into Androidcast as well?

Google Chromecast now available for international shipping… thanks to Amazon

Google Chromecast

Although Amazon competes with Google in the streaming media space, the technology giant is also still shipping a lot products. Like Chromecast. The nicely priced HDMI dongle allowing to stream video directly to your TV whilst using your mobile device as the remote was an instant hit and got sold out almost immediately. And it was only officially available in the United States. Until now. According to Android Central Amazon is allowing international shipping. At least orders for Australia and the UK were accepted. Let us know if orders from other countries were possible as well.

New Apple TV software will make it more like Chromecast

Apple TV

According to AllthingsD Apple will release a new version of their TV product, but it will only a new version of the software. That is why it will be released next week (September 18), together with the release of iOS7. The biggest change is to make the Apple TV act more like Chromecast in the sense that it is no longer needed to download the content to your mobile device and stream it to the Apple TV but the content will stream directly from the cloud to a Apple TV using Apple’s AirPlay.

 

TV app Vidora is moving into the right direction of the new TV experience

Vidora

Forget the Smart TV, even forget the set-top box, the future of TV is mobile. Previously dubbed the second screen, your mobile device is actually the primary screen. Or at least it should be. It is yours, it is personal, it is connected and it contains already a lot of personal data. So the easiest way to find and select streaming content and share and discuss this with others would be via your tablet or smartphone. The only thing that one could need is another device for is actually watching the content. A mobile device might just have too small a screen or too bad a sound quality to fully experience the broadcast. But if the stream could be pushed to a bigger screen, that problem would be solved too. So why is there no such app. Well, actually there is (more or less). Meet Vidora.

Vidora is an iPad app that helps to discover video content (free and premium like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime) and allows you to push it to a TV screen using the Apple TV Airplay.

Truth be told, Vidora still needs Apple TV and it does not work (yet) for other devices but on the other hand with Miracast and Chromecast on the market now there are some alternative technologies.

Chromecast is getting more support pretty fast, VEVO, Blip and Devour added, Hulu and HBO Go in development.

Google Chromecast

Both Hulu and HBO Go announced that they are working on apps for Chromecast. Just like Vimeo and Redbox Instant did already, now joined by VEVO, Blip and Devour. With the original sources Netflix, YouTube, and Google Play the support for Chromecast is getting traction.

Chromecast just launched a week ago and is the USB dongle variant of the Nexus Q TV-Box that for now is to co-exist with Google TV. The HDMI-dongle is available for just USD 35, although currently sold-out.

Google’s new take on TV: Chromecast

Google Chromecast

Google seems to be determined to play a role in the changing world of television. Already the Android based Google TV platform is used by a number of hardware manufacturers like Sony and LG and there are a lot of Android based HDMI sticks that turn your “dumb” TV into a Smart TV.

And then there was the Nexus Q, the failed attempt to bring a Google device in the living room to compete with products like Apple TV.

After the acquisition of Motorola, there was hope that Google would come up with a better set-top box, especially since Motorola had a large set-top box unit, but that was quickly sold to Arris after the acquisition.

Instead of a set-top box, Google is introducing a HDMI-dongle dubbed Chromecast. With Chromecast you can easily stream content selected from your Android or iOS device to your television screen. It does not stream through your mobile device like Apple’s AirPlay, but the device connects to the indicated service through WiFi itself.

Chromecast might seem like a minor development for Google, but it could be part of bigger development. In the past, mobile devices where called the second screen as the television was supposed to be the first screen. This television was to become Smart or should get a set-top box connected to it to act smart. But more and more one can see evidence now that the mobile device is actually the first screen. It is used for discovering streaming content, sharing it, discussing it and even for watching streaming content. Obviously watching your favorite tv show on a big screen is a much better experience, so sometimes one needs a way to stream the content to bigger screen. Enter Chromecast. Based on the same idea as Apple’s AirPlay and other competitors like Flex, Google now offers a way to stream content selected from a mobile device (or even laptop) to the big screen. No longer that screen needs to be smart and no extra remote or keyboard is needed. Just WiFi and the app on your mobile device.

The Chromecast dongle will cost USD 35 and will support Netflix, Google Play and YouTube to begin with, with more services to follow. And thanks to the integration with the Chrome browser (mirror a tab through what Google calls Tab Casting), anything that can be streamed there will also be available through Chromecast on your television.