A pair of fresh updates of the Play Movies & TV app rolled out to both Android TV and regular devices yesterday. Like many other recent updates, there's not a lot of new functionality to see on the surface, particularly for the Android TV version. Phones and tablets gained a new toggle to control notifications about expiring rewards, but that's about it. However, a teardown shows a few improvements scheduled for future updates, including 4K support, a special channel for watching trailers, and recommendations for similar TV shows. Read on for details or skip to the bottom for download links.
It's not often that we get to write about standard TVs on Android Police... because there aren't many that run Android. But Sony's high-end models are the exception, and today BuyDig's eBay account is offering one of the latest models at a significant discount. The XBR-65X810C is a 65-inch LED TV with 4K resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and it runs Android TV out of the box. The eBay price is $1199.99 with free shipping, which is $300 cheaper than most online and brick-and-mortar retailers, and an impressive $900 off the retail price.
Most of our readership is more likely to sit down and watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones instead of whatever season Spongebob they're up to these days, but we are aware that some of you have children. (There are even a few running around the disparate home offices of Android Police, if you can believe it.) And those tiny customers are the ones served by the latest major media player to hit Android TV, Nickelodeon.
A list of things that you’d like to watch in the future isn’t exactly breaking new ground for streaming video services – hell, Netflix was doing that back when they were just a mail-order DVD rental company. But the software engineers at Hulu think they’ve significantly improved on the idea with the new Watch List (capital W), which is apparently cool enough to warrant both an intro video and a press release.
While it's hardly taking the world by storm, it looks like Android TV is gaining enough of a footing that there are now high-end televisions equipped with Google's entertainment OS being discounted on a regular basis. (Of course, that might simply indicate that no one is buying them. Either way, it means low prices for us.) Today's television deal comes from Sharp, and it's a big-un: the LC-70UE30U, a 70-inch, 4K smart TV. Buydig's eBay outlet has a new model on sale for $1599.99, a solid $200 off of the price for most remaining new stock.
The LC-70UE30U includes Android TV running on a quad-core processor of unknown origin (though I'm betting it's one of Qualcomm's inexpensive SoC systems).
It seems awfully strange that services like Hulu and the various TV apps require you to pay or log in to access content, especially when that content originally aired for free on terrestrial television. They broadcast the shows with ads in the first place, and they're making money on the ads embedded in the streaming video too, so why put up any barrier to entry and lower your potential revenue? CBS, the self-styled "Most-Watched Network in America," takes this one step further with a full, Netflix-style paid service just for its shows. It's called CBS All Access, and it costs $5.99 a month.
Mobile TV seems like a natural and obvious thing. That's why Sony sold a gajillion of those little portable TVs in the eighties, and why streaming of movies and TV shows has exploded on mobile platforms. So why, then, has mobile television streaming only taken off in a few markets? It seems like adding "unlimited free video with no data charges" to your phone's spec sheet would be something that would appeal to everyone.
Anyway. Motorola has a new mobile HDTV app available now, called... Mobile HDTV. It looks really similar to the other Motorola TV app, Mobile TV.
Have you seen Mr. Robot? The show is only three episodes in, but it's already shaping up to be a surprisingly awesome hacking drama. And I don't mean "hacking" in the CSI/NCIS/Scorpion "120WPM and 60 flashing windows" kind of hacking - the protagonist and his Anonymous-style compatriots use real methods and technology, mostly relying on a combination of known vulnerabilities, social engineering, and brute force attacks to play at being cyber-vigilantes. You should check it out - USA has the first three episodes available for free on its website.
The third episode features a pretty cool segment where (extremely mild spoiler alert) the antagonist gains physical access to an Android phone in order to digitally tap it.
The Chromecast is great! Wouldn't it be even greater if it could actually run Chrome, instead of being a point for streaming video and music? ASUS seems to think so. Tucked into an announcement of new Chrome OS laptops, Google posted a preview of the Chromebit on the official Chrome blog. It's basically Chrome OS on a stick: plug it into the HDMI port on your TV, add some MicroUSB power, and you've got access to a full copy of Chrome OS.
This isn't exactly a new idea - thanks to miniaturization of low-power hardware, manufacturers have been able to cram Android, various flavors of Linux, or even Windows onto these tiny HDMI sticks.
But, according to a report from The Information, Google isn't content to just have a cult hit of a game on its hands. Google has partnered with Sean Daniel Co. to make a television show based on the game, with producers "in talks with candidates to serve as its showrunner." This information comes from "two people who have been involved in the discussions."
Despite this somewhat surprising rumor, The Info is sure to note that this "doesn't appear to reflect a broader move into film or TV production by Google," and that Google "isn't particularly interested in cashing in on Ingress' worldwide audience, instead viewing the TV show as a deeper extension into the game's hybrid reality-fictional world and a way to provide a more intimate connection with its players."
Indeed, the hybrid nature of the game is one of the facets that propelled it to popularity as users choose sides and vie for portals at real-world physical locations, sometimes cooperating across factions to produce "faction art" like this dragon in Norwich.