It wouldn't be controversial to say that the interfaces for cable boxes suck. With the possible exception of TiVo, I don't think I've ever seen one that was made for the purpose of being easy and/or efficient to use, especially since the newer ones are more interested in selling Pay-Per-View and on demand content than actually letting you watch TV. That has largely carried over to the remote apps for the fancy new cable boxes, which might help explain why the XFINITY remote app has a 3.2-star rating in the Play Store. Read More
DISH Network has updated their official app with a variety of improvements and new features, making it better both as a streaming video player and as an account management console. Probably the best addition in this update is the ability to support multiple profiles for a single subscriber account, a la Netflix. Each profile will have its own favorites list and recommendations, making family sharing a lot smoother.
Also on the streaming side of things, DISH has tried to make following the NCAA men's basketball tournament simpler. Read More
In a document posted to their corporate website, Netflix sought to describe their long-term plans. The piece reads like a fascinating mixture of investor relations propaganda and fantasy or media theory. While it touches on all kinds of different aspects of their business and the changing environment it exists in, perhaps the most intriguing part has to do with how they are describing their ideal content catalog.
We don’t and can’t compete on breadth of entertainment with Comcast, Sky, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Sony, or Google. For us to be hugely successful we have to be a focused passion brand. Starbucks, not 7-Eleven.
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. Read More
AT&T U-Verse customers can use the Android companion app to watch live channels on a phone or tablet, turn their handset into a TV remote, and manage DVR. The user interface hasn't looked particularly holo over the last several years, but after the latest updates, it now looks kind of ready for KitKat just in time for everything else to go material. Hey, at least it's something.
If you've used U-Verse on a tablet before, then this interface probably won't look particularly new. While AT&T has provided fresh screenshots on both Play Store pages, the tablet UI has looked this way since over the summer. Read More
Andru is probably the most adorable power adapter in the universe. The bugdroid-inspired plug has movable arms, flexible antennae, and light-up eyes (blue means charging, white is for standby), making it a perfect desk charger and about 100 times more dynamic than the average power brick.
The 2.5" adapter has 5V/1A DC output, and normally costs $25 each for an Andru, Andru Dark, Andru Chill, or Andra (pink) unit. In preparation for holiday shopping (or just for fun, who knows?) PowerbyGen is offering all four variants together for just $65, about $35 off the normal price of a full set.
PowerbyGen doesn't specify exactly how long we can expect this deal to last, but if you're looking for a great small gift for a tech lover in your life, you can't go wrong with Andru. Read More
I've wanted HBO for a while now, but I haven't desired it strongly enough to subscribe to an expensive cable plan and put up with an ugly box under my TV. I'm a young twenty-something that has cut the cord with no desire to get tethered down to such a dated system, and since I refuse to pirate content, I've opted to miss out on some great shows. I would love to give HBO my money, if only they would let me. Well, it looks like the company finally will. It reportedly plans to introduce a streaming plan next year that will let people get access to HBO content without putting up with cable or satellite. Read More
I don't think anyone has ever accused cable companies of having the best aesthetic sensibilities, but DISH Network's former Android streaming app was a particularly good example of how not to do it. It was a lazy port of the iPhone version, and it showed, covering the basic streaming and scheduling with the bare minimum of effort. The new version... well, I'd be lying if I said it was great, but at least it gets a facelift and a proper tablet interface.
Old on top, new down below.
Other additional features in the updated app include various new content discovery tools like a Netflix-style recommendation engine, a list of the most popular shows (for better or worse), and a personal watch list. Read More
Another week, another cable channel with its own app, but this one will be particularly welcome for sports fans. Fox is now ready to broadcast its cable sports content to subscribers via the Fox Sports GO app, offering a live feed of available games and various talking head sports shows. Oddly this app shows up as a "version 2.0" release - Fox may have been testing it internally, since the Wikipedia page says that the Android version is still forthcoming. It's been available on iOS for some time.
Fox Sports GO can stream Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, Fox Deportes (Spanish language coverage), and some high-profile events from Fox's network broadcasts. Read More
Verizon is upping the number of channels FiOS subscribers can watch when they're away from home. With 16 additional options - reaching a total of 25 - there's a better chance mobile TV watchers will be able to find something on that they actually want to watch. Naturally, the number of options isn't exhaustive, but the new crop contains heavy hitters including Showtime and Starz.
- beIN SPORT
- beIN SPORT Espanol
- Bloomberg TV
- Cine Sony Television
- Cooking Channel
- NFL RedZone (tablet only)
- SHOWTIME EXTREME
- Sony Movie Channel
- Trinity Broadcast
- Universal Sports
- TVGN (TV Guide Network)
FiOS customers can stream far more channels in the comfort of their own home, with everyone having access to 91 channels. Read More