When it comes to cable, there's a lot not to like. The monthly bill continues to go up, and no matter how many channels you add, there's still never anything good on to watch. This somehow manages to be the case even while many shows are still exclusively available on cable. Yet as frustrating as the major providers may be, there is one trend that I can readily get behind, and that's the addition of Android apps meant to supplement their traditional service.
We have a second screen problem. The TV may have the largest display in the house, but it fails to consistently hold our attention even during engaging content, let alone commercial breaks. Cable and satellite companies have tried to respond to this phenomenon by releasing companion apps that place their content on both screens at once. Unfortunately, these apps typically aren't that good. The DIRECTV Android app was completely revamped not too long ago, but already a new update is available that changes things around a bit.
Why would you want to watch TV shows on a TV? That’s so 2005. The options for live streaming your favorite TV shows on various devices abound. But until now, the options for live streaming on Android were hard to come by. None of the popular apps (Hulu, Netflix, Crackle, etc.) have this feature. This is why Aereo is different. It has been available for a while on iOS, although curiously not through an app, but via the browser.
The time has finally come, couch potatoes: Aereo is here. This service has been making waves ever since it launched in February of last year, offering rebroadcasted over-the-air television across the Internet. The web service and iOS app has been available for entirely too long, but now it's time for Android to play (albeit in beta form). The Aereo app is a free download, but the service requires a subscription... and Android 4.2 or higher.
It's about bloody time. Starting today, some of HBO's most popular currently-running original programming is available for purchase on the Google Play Store. For starters the fantasy drama Game of Thrones (seasons one and two), urban fantasy True Blood (seasons one through five), and political drama The Newsroom (season one) are available. Episodes are $2.99 for the dramas and $1.99 for The Newsroom, with small discounts for buying a full season.
Of all the major broadcast networks, CBS has been the slowest to adopt streaming models. With most of its rivals moving more into online content, CBS is finally responding, which is good for us. The new streaming video app for Android includes schedules, clips, and full episodes – all available for free in HD.
The app contains a wide array of programs, many of which have multiple full episodes to stream.
It's not often that RCA does something worth talking about these days, but the company has apparently been working on a product dubbed the Internet Music System (model number RCS13101E). This device streams media to the included speakers, or to a TV over HDMI. That's cool, but the important thing is that it's powered by Android with Google apps included. It has just started popping up in Walmart stockrooms, and will presumably be on sale soon.
Google Play Movies & TV received an update to version 2.7.15 today (or yesterday, but I haven't seen anyone with an APK until today), and while
the changelog is still missing, we have noticed a number of new things.
The previous version was v2.6.9, so these line up with a point release - nothing too significant, but still more than just bug fixes.
Update: I just realized that the changelog, which Google updated on September 18th, is actually current - they just never released the update until now.
Somewhere amid the rest of Google's app updates today, Google updated its Search app. While the Play Store still shows an old change log, there are at least a couple of notable changes with the new update.
First among them, as part of Google's ongoing quest for better language processing, is the ability to have language packs automatically update themselves. This is something we uncovered in our last APK Teardown, though some of the more exciting features we saw evidence of (custom hotwords) haven't quite hit prime time yet.