Prototypes said to have Kinect-style motion controls
Microsoft is looking to create a set-top box for media playback, according to one report. Continuing previous rumors, the software giant is working on a device that will allow users to sign onto Xbox Live and use its apps to view streaming video, effectively cloning the non-gaming aspects of the Xbox 360 game console into a relatively-cheap product.
Reports say device similar to Apple TV, but supports casual gaming
Multiple sources are reporting unsourced claims that Microsoft is developing a set-top box to supplement its future Xbox strategy. The new device is allegedly part of a two-SKU strategy for the next iteration of Xbox hardware that will be announced in 2013, and released prior to the holiday purchase season. The move would put Microsoft in a position to capture living rooms that it might not otherwise see with only a pure gaming console, and position it adjacent to Apple's offering in that market space, the Apple TV.
Date of additional content launch matches Nexus 10 release
Google is expanding the number of markets that can use Google Play Movies and Music. Launched last month in the US for Google TV devices, the same service will be available on supported set-top boxes in the UK, France and Germany from November 13th onwards. An earlier post by the company claimed that it would also take place in Canada and Australia, but this has since been corrected.
Company expected to focus on software ecosystem
Apple may be relying on the popularity of its iPad, iPhone and Mac hardware to help monetize a "fully integrated TV ecosystem," according to an investor note circulated by Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes. Amid rampant rumors surrounding a new Apple set-top box, the analyst emphasizes that the company is likely aiming to create a software-driven ecosystem, "not just hardware," even if necessary partnerships with content providers have yet to be inked.
Rumors point to cloud-based DVR
Rumors surrounding a new Apple set-top box continue to grow, potentially shedding more light on the company's latest strategy to engage television viewers. Following on the heels of yesterday's report, unnamed sources have told The Wall Street Journal that the company is attempting to eliminate the distinction between live television content and on-demand offerings.
Vizio Co-Star STB includes support for OnLive gaming
Vizio has fired its latest volley in the battle for people's lounge rooms with the launch of its Co-Star Google TV set-top box. The device is now up for pre-order on the Vizio website for $100. In addition to Google TV, it also offers users the ability to install apps like OnLive, bringing console level gaming to users with high-bandwidth Internet connections.
Language support for German and Spanish also included
Roku is now pushing out a software update for its set-top box line. The update to version 4.8 brings performance optimizations to the Roku 2, Roku LT and Roku HD players, along with some additions to help developers for the system. Hints of more channels and features, as well as an upgrade to the Roku iOS and Android apps, are also mentioned on the Roku blog.
Hub leases for $10/month with basic packages
Dish Network has reportedly begun selling its Hopper whole-home DVR system, which was first unveiled early this year at CES. The system centers around the Hopper, a set-top box that integrates a 2TB drive, and smaller 'Joey' units that serve as extenders to distribute the video throughout a home.
Players add more games, MKV support
Roku has announced that it is set to introduce a software update for its Roku 2 and Roku LT set-top boxes. Version 4.2 brings a number of significant new features, including support for mobile remote apps for iOS and Android devices. The company will offer the iPhone app sometime in the near future, followed by the Android equivalent.
Titles include casual games, Texas Hold 'em
Less than a month after Roku launched its second-generation set-top boxes with new gaming capabilities, the company has expanded the list of available game titles. New content includes popular puzzle game Sodoku and poker variation Texas Hold 'em, along with other casual games such as Dracula's Coffin, Rockswap Adventures, Patience, Kaboom and Mahjong Fruits.
Latest iteration for connected devices
Sling Media has previewed a new SlingPlayer utility designed specifically for the Boxee Box, the latest connected device to take advantage of the television streaming system. The Boxee Box offering appears to work in the same way as SlingPlayer for Google TV, smartphones, tablets and other devices, providing yet another method for users to watch video streamed from the Singbox set-top box.
Will demo at Cable Show in Chicago June 14-16
Internet content company Chumby Industries and digital video device manufacturer Pace have collaborated on a set of applications to run on Pace's Internet-connected television set-top boxes. Chumby had previously focused on managing content through stand-alone Chumby-branded and third party devices such as the Sony Dash and Best Buy Insignia Infocast Internet Media Display. Chumby apps are also available for the Android OS.
Other casual games will follow
Streaming media hub maker Roku and Rovio Mobile announced that the popular Angry Birds games would now be available through Roku's set-top boxes. In addition to Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio video games, Roku will launch an Angry Birds video channel featuring Angry Birds animated shorts. Roku will also sell Angry Birds merchandise on the Roku Channel Store.
Feature to arrive first for beta testers
Cable TV provider RCN has confirmed plans to allow customers to stream video between TiVo Premier set-top boxes. The company's director of video product and video operations, Jason Nealis, has informed beta testers that the multi-room streaming functionality will arrive in a software update. Other improvements include support for an iPad app, video-on-demand previews, and a revamped UI.
Fate of desktop software remains unclear
Boxee has announced details surrounding an upcoming iPad app, along with an update to the software that runs on the company's set-top box. In a TechWebcast podcast, Boxee marketing VP Andrew Kippen confirmed earlier rumors that pointed to a new tablet app in the works. Although the company already offers a remote control app, the new utility, which is said to only work with the iPad 2, will allow users to stream content to a TV via AirPlay or view previews of items that are being watched by friends.
Device works as external drive
Acer has expanded its Aspire series with a new network-connected media player, the RevoView. The DLNA-certified box offers 1080p video playback, an Ethernet port, optical audio, two USB ports, and a memory card reader. Users can also load media onto swappable 3.5-inch internal hard drives, with a tray that can be shared with the company's Aspire M Series desktops.
Sales expected to hit 500,000
Logitech has reportedly begun shipping its Revue set-top boxes to retailers such as Best Buy. Total shipments are expected to surpass 500,000 units by the end of the year, industry sources affiliate with component makers have told DigiTimes.
Up-front pricing normally $300
TiVo has continued to expand the pricing options for its range of set-top boxes. Customers can now obtain the TiVo Premiere for $0 up front, as long as the device is tied to a two-year contract priced at $19.95 each month. Paying $99 only requires the subscriber to maintain a single year of $19.95 monthly payments.
Boxes to support stereoscopic RealD format
PopBox has announced a new partnership with RealD that will bring 3D support to the PopBox set-top boxes. RealD technology presents the left and right streams as a single channel, requiring special glasses to achieve the 3D effect. The company's technology is widely used at the cinema level, featured in blockbuster films such as Avatar.
Company working with SoC makers for TVs, Blu-ray
Microsoft on Thursday announced several new products and initiatives that will be dully disclosed at next week's NAB show in Las Vegas. The Silverlight team is said to be working with System on a Chip (SoC) makers, such as Intel and Broadcom, to bring Silverlight support to set-top boxes, connected TVs, Blu-ray players, or other devices.
Networking device manufacturer D-Link and DivX have begun shipping the first DivX Connected media player in the U.S. (distribution in Canadian markets is expected to soon follow). The HDMI-connected D-Link MediaLounge DSM-330 offers streaming of music, photos, Internet services and high definition video from PCs to any connected television, ostensibly challenging Apple TV, Apple's device for the living room. The set-top box, however, uses the slower 802.11g networking (or optional wired Ethernet), while most newer devices, including Apple TV, use the new (and faster) 802.11n band. Unlike Apple TV, the device supports a larger range of format, including DivX (including DivX VOD files), Xvid and WMV9 (transcoded on PC) as well as a variety of image formats, including JPEG, JPEG 2000 and BMP (non-compressed).