One of Google's problem areas has long been the living room, and the Chrome team looks to be coming to the rescue by leveraging the huge mobile device ecosystem. The Chromecast is a new device running a simplified version of Chrome OS. It enables you to get content from your phone, tablet, or laptop to a bigger screen. This is not a Chrome OS computer in a tiny package, but rather a smaller, cheaper, more capable Nexus Q.
Just sitting around with nothing to do? Why not watch some TV on your Android device? The new Watch ABC app offers access to a large number of on-demand shows and even does live TV streaming in Philadelphia, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco. The obvious downside here is almost no devices are currently supported.
Today's update to Play Movies introduces a sleeker experience for Android devices. Unfortunately, the experience is too sleek for the Nexus Q to handle. For the few of you that have one of those endearing little spheres, your movies are now joining your music as content you can no longer stream to the device.
With both Play Music and Play Movies support gone, there is little reason to continue using the Nexus Q.
The Nexus Q has had a tough life so far – that goes without saying. Things just got a little worse for the handful of us that use (and enjoy) the Q though – Google has seemingly sliced streaming support from the latest Play Music update, further reducing the impact of the Q's admittedly very limited use case.
At the start of this review, I was simultaneously excited and frustrated. Now I'm just plain excited. For a bit of context, I have been bouncing between cloud music services since Lala was still a thing. I had one simple desire: I wanted to pay a monthly fee for unfettered access to a large library of content, but still wanted to be able to bring my own. I know that $10/month is not going to get me every song in existence, but if I can pay for most music, and then supply the rest, I'll be happy.
TuneIn Radio is one of the most popular streaming music services on any mobile platform, but it has just gotten a new feature for Android users. From now on when you hear a track you like, tap the Google Play button at the top of the 'now playing' screen to head right to Google Play and buy it. See the before and after images below.
For those not aware, TuneIn Radio streams over 70,000 radio stations live, and it's not just music.
A handful of cable TV providers have been working to bolster their offerings in an effort to keep customers content. Among the top requested features is streaming of content to screens that aren't directly tied to our cable boxes, particularly tablets. We can welcome Cox Communications to the streaming club with the recent release of Cox TV Connect.
The app is intended for homes with Cox TV Essential or AdvancedTV packages, plus Cox Preferred, Premier, or Ultimate Internet service.
If you're reading every word of this post and running it through an internal translator to output a language your brain understands, DISH has something for you. The DishWorld app has launched on Android, bringing over 90 channels in 12 (non-english) languages to your device over the internet. It requires a subscription, but no hardware on the roof.
DishWorld programming is currently offered in Arabic, Bangla, Brazilian (Portuguese, presumably), Cantonese, Filipino, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and Vietnamese (Mandarin and Taiwanese are coming soon).
HBO has been completely uncompromising in its approach to locking up content in pay-for-TV. If you want to watch what are arguably the best TV series currently running, you need to pay your cable provider. The HBO GO and MAX GO apps have provided a little more choice for existing subscribers by streaming to tablets and phones, but the new 2.0 update finally unlocks HDMI video output.
Before this update, the ability to output video over HDMI was blocked for both these apps, so this is kind of a big deal.
As if there weren't enough contenders out there for music subscription service, Slacker Radio has updated its business model. You can still get the standard ad-supported radio station features that were always available. However the company has added a Spotify-like buffet option for $10/month. Pony up the dough and you can remove all ads and listen to as many tracks as you want.
The combination is pretty powerful, as one of the biggest complaints over Spotify is its discovery problems.