Dr. Bill.TV #372 – Audio – “The SpaceSniffer Chromecast Edition!”

Raspberry Pi 2 arrives: 6x faster for $35, RadioShack is closing: a remembrance, the Kano computer kit, Twitter reaches deal to show Tweets in Google search result, a live action Zelda show on Netflix, GSotW: SpaceSniffer, get Chromecast rewards.

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More Info on the Vudu Stick Release!

Wal-Mart VuduThis is the Wal-Mart media stick to combat the Google Chromecast… interesting how cheap it is!

Walmart starts selling its Vudu Spark streaming stick for $25

GigaOm – By: Janko Roettgers – “Remember Walmart’s very own HDMI streaming stick, which I spotted in the FCC’s online database two months ago? Turns out Walmart already started selling it for just $24.95, and is now getting ready to make it more widely available.

Walmart’s Vudu video streaming service just added a dedicated section for the Vudu Spark, as the streaming stick is called, to its website that includes lots of details about the device. Vudu’s website states that the is “available only at Walmart.com and select Walmart locations. I wasn’t able to find it on Walmart’s website just yet, but I would expect it to make an appearance shortly. A Walmart spokesperson told me that the company actually started selling it “in about 2400 Walmart stores” last month already.

Here are a few more details about the Spark, straight from Vudu.com: It’s a HDMI streaming stick that is controlled with a dedicated remote control and powered via USB. It looks like Walmart is only putting a USB cable but no power adapter in the box, so Spark owners will either have to use their TV’s USB port to power the device, or supply their own adapter. Connectivity is provided via 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, and it supports video resolutions of up to 1080p, and 7.1 surround sound.

As I predicted back in November, Vudu Spark is very much a one-trick pony. The user manual reveals that it only comes with Vudu’s app preloaded, and there is no mention of any way to load any additional apps. In fact, Vudu’s app launches automatically as soon as the device successfully connects to a Wifi network.

I’m honestly not sure how big of a market there is for a single-purpose streaming stick, but Walmart is pricing it pretty aggressively. Not only does it cost $10 less than Chromecast, the company is also offering new and existing customers up to $25 in Vudu credits for activating the stick.”

Chromecast update lets you mirror your Android screen on a TV!

Chromecast UpdateBy: Jon Fingas @jonfingas “Google vowed that Android users would finally get official screen mirroring on Chromecast through an update, and it’s making good on that promise by rolling out the Chromecast 1.7 app today. Grab the new release and supporting devices (primarily from HTC, LG and Samsung) can send just about anything to a TV just by hitting a ‘cast screen’ button. If you’re using a Nexus device, you don’t even have to launch any software — the feature will pop up in Android’s quick settings. You’re high and dry if your devices aren’t on Google’s compatibility list, but don’t worry too much. We hear there are third-party mirroring apps that can pick up the slack.

An update to Google’s Chromecast has been announced at Google I/O, bringing screen mirroring to Android devices as well as a Backdrop mode.

Android mobile and tablet owners will now be able to mirror live to their TV with a connected Chromecast. This will be so fast that it’s even possible to open the camera and shoot live, while the camera’s view is shown on the big screen.

This live stream option also means that users can cast whatever they are doing right there to the TV. So drawing in an app, writing, scrolling through photos, or sharing videos can be done live on the phone as others in the room watch it happen on the big screen.

The intelligent Backdrop function is also really useful. This allows users to feed photos to the TV turning it into a huge picture frame of sorts. But it isn’t just about watching the screen. If the user spots something they like it’ll be possible to pick up the connected mobile and ask “What’s on Chromecast?” to immediately get more information on that. A painting, for example, will be detailed on the phone while the image can be appreciated, unchanging, on the TV.

The Chromecast homepage won’t just be random images anymore as it will now pull in photos from a user’s Google+ page.

The Chromecast dongle is also more friendly than before as it now allows anyone nearby to connect and control it. Previously that person would need to be connected to the local Wi-Fi network. Of course who is allowed access can still be limited.

Expect the Google Chromecast update to arrive over the air in the coming weeks.”

Google Chromecast usage is down… but streaming overall is up!

What’s up with this? I love my Chromecast, AND my Roku… but, it seems, some folks don’t see the benefits of both. Granted, if you get a Roku 3, you have Chromecast capabilities built-in, in that that Chromecast plug-in in your Chrome browser “sees” the Roku3 as a Chromecast… so, best of both worlds!

Nearly 20% of U.S. broadband households now have a streaming media player, but Google Chromecast usage is waning

Parks Associates – “New research from Parks Associates reports that usage of Google Chromecasts appears to be decliningwhile adoption of streaming media players has increased to nearly 20% of U.S. broadband households, up from 14% in 2012.

360 View: CE Adoption and Trends, which includes data and analysis of a 1Q 2014 consumer survey of 10,000 U.S. broadband households, shows ownership of Chromecasts is steady at approximately 6% of U.S. broadband households, but monthly usage rates are slightly lower than the last two quarters of 2013. The percentage of Chromecast owners who use the device at least monthly to view web pages on a TV declined from 76% in 3Q 2013 to 57% in 1Q 2014. Similarly, the percentage of Chromecast owners who use the device at least monthly to watch online video on a TV dropped from 78% to 73%.

‘Streaming media players are starting to play a bigger role in home entertainment, but interest in new entry Google Chromecast is waning,’ said John Barrett, director, Consumer Analytics, Parks Associates. ‘Streaming media players, thanks to their ease-of-use, trail only game consoles and smart TVs as the most frequently used streaming media device in the home. By contrast, only about 22% of Chromecast owners say it is the most frequently used streaming device in their home.”

The research also finds smart-TV adoption increased to over one-third of U.S. broadband households.

‘As consumers add new devices to their home, the usage habits in the home change and adapt to the new device, its benefits, and its capabilities,’ said Brett Sappington, director, research, Parks Associates. ‘Chromecast was introduced last summer. Given the low price, many consumers purchased one and began experimenting with it, producing high initial use. Over time, however, owners developed a better understanding of Chromecast’s usefulness and appropriate niche in the video-viewing environment. Some continue to use Chromecast regularly, while others are choosing different options to get online video to their televisions.”

Glenn Hower, Research Analyst, Parks Associates, will examine monetization opportunities created by streaming devices, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and other IP-connected devices in the webinar ‘Driving revenue from multiscreen opportunities’ on June 11, 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT). The event, hosted by FierceCable, will discuss the revolution in content distribution created by these devices and examine the implications for content providers, distributors, and advertisers. The speakers will also analyze the variety of multiscreen strategies that are currently being used by pay-TV providers. Registration is available online.

To request specific research or an interview with John Barrett, Brett Sappington, or Glenn Hower, contact Holly Sprague at hsprague@gmail.com or 720-987-6614.

About Parks Associates: Parks Associates is an internationally recognized market research and consulting company specializing in emerging consumer technology products and services. Founded in 1986, Parks Associates creates research capital for companies ranging from Fortune 500 to small start-ups through market reports, primary studies, consumer research, custom research, workshops, executive conferences, and annual service subscriptions.

The company’s expertise includes digital media and platforms, entertainment and gaming, home networks, Internet and television services, digital health, mobile applications and services, support services, consumer apps, advanced advertising, consumer electronics, energy management, and home control systems and security.

Each year, Parks Associates hosts industry webcasts, the CONNECTIONS™ Conference Series, and Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer.”

An Important Update to Plex!

Plex is an app that has long been able to stream media from a media server PC on your network. The people behind Plex have now given us added functionality, and have developed apps for all kinds of devices that tie into to the Plex platform. This week they followed through with a promise that they had made to allow uploads of smartphone cameras built into the Plex system.

They announced the new features on their product blog. Plex added support for Google Chromecast in December of 2013, but the upload feature was not available at that time. The new version does away with that problem, and now anyone can cast media straight from the Plex Android, or iOS app, as well as the Plex website, to any TV equipped with Google’s Chromecast device!

They also included the ability to automatically upload photos from your camera equipped with their app to the user’s Plex local media server.

In the video below you can see a demo of the Plex camera upload feature:

Plex Camera Upload from Plex on Vimeo.

Chromecast Development is Now OPEN!

Let the app development begin on the Chromecast! Impress me, dewds!

Google Opens Chromecast To All Developers

Frederic Lardinois for TechCrunch – “When Google launched its Chromecast HDMI dongle, it only allowed a small set of developers to create applications for it. The company always promised, though, that it would soon open the platform up to all developers. Today, it is doing just that.

The move opens up Chromecast to a whole range of new applications. Until now, unless you wanted to watch Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Pandora and a handful of other apps, you were out of luck. Now, there’s no reason why Spotify, Facebook, Twitter or any other app wouldn’t add some support for Chromecast as well.

Developers can now download the Google Cast Software Development Kit and build Chromecast support right into their apps and websites. The company says integrating the SDK is ‘simple.’ Developers do have to pay a $5 registration fee, though, which gives them access to the Google Cast SDK Developer Console so they can register their apps and authorize devices for testing.

Media apps can just use the default Chromecast media player to play back HTML5 media content, or they can customize the player with their own branding. For other apps, developers can create their own custom receiver applications that support standard streaming protocols like MPEG-DASH, HLS and Microsoft Smooth Streaming. To help developers get started, Google has also made a set of sample apps available on GitHub.”

Geek Software of the Week: Allcast for Android!

Do you want to stream content, a la Chromecast from your Android tablet, phone, etc. to most DNLA supported devices (this includes Roku, Apple TV, etc.)? Well, now you can! Koushik Dutta, from ClockworkMod has posted a new app in the Google Play store! Here’s a video on how it works:

And, if you “have to have it” here’s the link to the Play Store for the app:

Allcast for Android in the Google Play Store

I know, this Geek Software of the Week is different, but, expand your mind!

New Apps for Chromecast!

No sooner do I do my “Three Reasons to Love Chromecast” and now they have even more apps!

Chromecast Gets 10 New Apps, Including Songza, VEVO, And Revision 3

Techcrunch – “Slowly but surely, Google’s Chromecast devices is beefing up with content partners. The company just announced 10 new apps landing on the $35 smart TV dongle, including VEVO, Revision 3, PostTV, and Songza, to name a few.

For those of you who don’t already know, Chromecast is a device developed by Google that plugs right into your TV to add various streaming services like YouTube, Netflix and most recently HBO Go.

Here’s what Google had to say about the new apps:

Beginning today you can enjoy action sports, news, music videos, and more with the addition of VEVO, Red Bull.TV, Songza, PostTV, Viki, Revision 3 and BeyondPod.

And for those many holiday gatherings, you can also cast your personal media straight to your TV using Plex, Avia, or RealPlayer Cloud apps. There’s no need to huddle around small screens when you can share your own photos and videos using your phone, tablet, or laptop.”

More Reasons to Love the Google Chromecast!

1) You can watch anything that you can view in your web browser. I have been talking about this feature for a while. But, I am not sure folks “get” this feature even yet! For instance, there are TV shows on CBS, and other TV networks’ web sites, where they have full episodes available to view in your browser. Once you start a show in the Chrome browser window, then you can go “full screen” in the player, and if that is in a tab cast to your TV via Chromecast… guess what? You have a full screen TV show via Chromecast! Want to watch the latest version of RWBY on the Roosterteeth web site, guess what? Full screen on your HDTV in your living room! Now even your web-based shows are available!

2) Watch your own local (on your hard drive) videos. Wait! I thought that you couldn’t do that with the Chromecast! Yes, you can… because anything that you can view in your Chrome browser window, you can watch on your TV screen! So… all you have to do is open a local video file in your Chrome browser using the “Control-O” command in Chrome. It will come up in a player within Chrome, then you can hit the “full screen” button in the lower right corner of the player. (Basically, it is the HTML5 player.) Since Chrome supports file format viewing for such formats as AVI, MP4, M4V, MPEG, OGV, and WEBM videos, you can then watch you own local videos using this hack!

3) Do you want to show your entire PC screen on your HDTV? Maybe you want to show someone how to do something in a training setting? Well, you can! It is an “experimental” feature, but it is available. Just open your Chrome browser, click on the “Cast this tab…” option as usual, then select the drop down menu, and choose to cast your whole screen! As I said, it IS experimental, but, you can do it!

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