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.
Sling TV, a new hardware-free, online-only television service from the people behind Dish Network, is the most exciting thing to happen to IPTV in years. It's a $20-per-month alternative to cable and satellite that you access via the web, or more probably, apps on your mobile device or set-top I box. Sling TV is live today, offering a handful of notable cable channels with more available as paid extras.
The service is launching with an Android app, which is a refreshing change from some other online services we could mention.
Dedicated technology newshounds have already heard that all of Sony's upcoming BRAVIA televisions will feature Android TV powering their integrated electronics. At CES, the biggest show around in terms of home theater (among other things), they've made good on that promise. Don't believe me? Watch these attractive people over-emote and demonstrate a BRAVIA television's Google Cast feature and ability to play games from the Play Store.
Android TV runs these TVs, including the various inputs and live television, in a manner similar to some Roku-branded HDTVs already on the market. They have a few Sony enhancements, of course. They include built-in apps for convergent activities like photo sharing.
Today Microsoft has announced its Wireless Display Adapter, a Chromecast-sized dongle that plugs into the back of your TV, monitor, or projector and enables you to mirror content from any Miracast-enabled device. It's not the first product of its kind on the market, but Microsoft's offering is a small and sleek option, and it just so happens to be compatible with Android devices.
NBC Universal has launched Sprout Now into the Play Store, giving parents all over the country the option to let their kids stream a full episode of their favorite series and get a couple moments' rest. The app comes with a full program guide, plenty of shows, and enough content to occupy children for up to four, five minutes tops.
Of course, there are caveats. Parents need to have a TV subscription of some kind in order to get access to the shows. A large number of providers are supported, with major players such as Charter, Comcast, Cox, DirecTV, and Verizon making the list.