HBO al la carte Coming In April To Apple TV Streaming Box

One of the big  announcements Apple made at its press event last week was about a deal with HBO which will now allow you to purchase HBO al la carte, as in without subscribing to a cable package through your local cable TV provider!

Of course, there is a caveat, you have to have an Apple TV streaming box (and Internet access) to access the HBO Now library of programs.

The Apple TV box now sells for $69 and the HBO Now monthly subscription price will be $14.99 a month; however, this is a huge, huge deal as far as video fans being able to watch TV shows and movies wherever and whenever they want to because for the first time ever a major cable channel is offering a subscription to their video offerings that does not require you to purchase a cable TV package!

Hopefully now that HBO has put a crack in the walled in garden of TV Packaged the flowers of stand alone TV subscriptions will grow!

Here are links to two articles on this subject the first from The Wall Street Journal and the second from NPR:

http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2015/03/10/with-apple-tv-deal-hbo-frays-the-cord/

http://www.npr.org/2015/03/10/392041850/new-hbo-now-streaming-service-shows-consumers-will-is-king

And if you’d like to see how an Apple TV streaming box works — let us know! We do have one at the library we can show you!

Have a great day!

Linda, SSCL

The New Media Streaming Player — The Amazon Fire TV

Hi everyone, as anyone has read this blog over a long period of time knows I am a big fan of media streaming players.

And if you’re new to this blog and also new to the term media streaming player; let me briefly explain what that fancy personal tech speak means! It simply means a small device, about the size of a sandwich or smaller, that connects to your TV and the Internet service you have at home and allows you to easily send content from the Internet to your TV so you can watch Internet accessed videos on that big HDTV you have in your living room. The sending of video content from the Internet to a TV or a mobile device is called streaming hence the term media streaming player that collectively describes these small Internet connecting devices.

There have been three major types of media streaming players for a while and they are: The Apple TV (which despite the name isn’t a TV), Roku players and the relatively new Google Chromecast. In addition to these media streaming players you can also stream videos through many gaming consoles like the XBOX but as those are device more expensive and really are devices that are intended to be used by major league gaming fans I’m not going to go into detail about those right now!

So we’ve had three major streaming players for a while Apple TV which costs $99, Roku which offers several models that range in price from $49.99 to $99.99 and Google’s Chromecast which actually looks like a thumb drive and which you plug into an HDMI port on your TV.  The Chromecast costs $35 and now we’ve got a new entry – a fourth major streaming device has walked on stage – Amazon’s new Fire TV which like the Apple TV isn’t a TV at all but instead a small device about the size of a CD case.

And now I’m going to tell you why as an owner of three of these four media streaming players, The Apple TV, The Roku 3 (the high end Roku model that costs $99) and the new Amazon Fire TV – I’m really impressed by the Fire TV!

But first let’s just take a quick look at what all four media streaming players offer in the way of channels (aka apps) just so we can compare the similarities and occasionally differences between the media streamers.

And if you’d like to cut to the proverbial chase and skip all the detail about the Apple TV, Roku player and Chromecast please skip the next four paragraphs!

The Apple TV is a great device for those persons who dwell in the Apple/iTunes universe. With the Apple TV you can send iTunes purchased video and photos from your iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone to your TV, you can access any videos or songs/albums you’ve previously purchased from iTunes, you can buy more TV shows, movies and music from iTunes and you can access a number of apps/channels including: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Watch ABC, PBS, Bloomberg, YouTube, Crackle, HBO Go (HBO subscription required), The Weather Channel, Bloomberg, iTunes Radio and more.

The Roku streaming media players are also great devices for those who wish to stream TV shows, movies and music from the Internet to their TVs. Roku offers more channels than any of the three other media streaming players, over a thousand of them, including a number of niche channels and some major channels like Netflix, Hulu Plus, PBS, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora Internet Radio, TuneIn Radio, Acorn TV (for those who love British TV shows like the ones shown on PBS!), Crackle, HBO Go, Vudu, Blockbuster on Demand, ESPN Now and more.

And on a unique note, the Roku player is the only media streaming player that currently has a universal search function and what that means is that you can search for movies or TV shows and you will be searching across all Roku channels so if you do a search for the TV show Mad Men or a specific actor like Jimmy Stewart you’ll get results that tell you all the Roku channels you can find the TV series Mad Men on or Jimmy Stewart movies on – so if Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Vudu all have Jimmy Stewart movies you’ll see that in the search results which means if you have a Netflix subscription and the Jimmy Stewart movie you want to watch is available through Netflix then you will know that you don’t have to rent or buy access to it through Amazon Instant video or Vudu!

Google’s Chromecast’s streamer, which as you’ll have noted cost the least at $35, offers the fewest channels – 15 of them as of today and they include: Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, YouTube, Crackle Rdio, Google Play Movies & TV (that’s Google’s store for video content), Google Play Music (Google’s music store), Songza, Red Bull TV, Plex, Post TV and Viki.

And now a fourth major entry in this category has arrived — Amazon’s brand new streaming player the Fire TV; the Fire TV like the Apple TV really isn’t a TV but instead a small streaming media player, this player is about the size of CD case and offers channels that will sound familiar to you if you’ve read this far because they are channels also offered by some of the other three media streamers. Fire TV channels currently include: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, HuffPost Live, Bloomberg TV, Crackle, TuneIn Radio, Pandora, Watch ESPN and more.

And you might well be thinking at this point why is it that since the media steaming players are so similar in the content they offer… just why I am I so impressed with the Fire TV?

And I have a three part answer to that question which basically boils down to three new things that the Fire TV does that the other three media streaming players don’t do!

  1. Voice Searching: And this is a biggie! There have been other widely available voice activated options on mainstream personal tech devices, most notably on smartphones and tablets – personal assistants like Apple’s Siri, but this is the first time a main stream media streaming player has come with the capability for you to talk to the device, via a small microphone built into the remote and say John Wayne, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Stephen Spielberg, Jon Hamm or Kathryn Hepburn and lo and behold all the movies and/or TV shows that are available to watch that feature those actors pop and you can then easily select the movie or TV show you want to watch that features the actor or actress you are searching for without having to enter a search via the streaming player remote; and without having the use the previously tedious hunt and peck on the TV screen with the remote to search for titles. You can also vocally search for specific titles like: The Hobbit, Gravity, Inspector Lewis or The Vikings and those programs too will display.

So…no more searching by the cumbersome process of typing via a key-the-letters-in-one-at-a-time on the remote! Very cool! Granted, right now this voice searching only works with the Amazon Instant Video channel, or app if you prefer that term, but it is still cool as no other media streaming player has this feature; and it is expected that Amazon will expand this voice activated feature to work with other channels and apps as time goes on.

  1. Apps: And this too is a biggie! We tend to use the term “apps” and “channels” almost interchangeably today when talking about media streaming players; however, until the Fire TV was released the other major media streaming players really only featured, with a few minor excpetions, what we can think of as video and music access channels like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Pandora and Blockbuster – because the channels or apps were all about allowing you to access video and music content and thus the channels really weren’t apps in the sense that you can get a wide variety of apps in many categories for your smartphone or tablet from the Apple app store or the Google Playstore. And with the Fire TV this is changing! There are actually Android apps that have been available in the Amazon & Android App stores that you can now access through your Fire TV and they truly are apps – apps like Minecraft, Sev Zero, Solitaire, Badland, The Bard’s Tale, Tetris, Atlantis Sky Patrol, Prince of Persia, Cannabolt, Snyder Arcade, Mystery Castle and more! And again granted there are only a few dozen of these apps at the moment but that number is sure to grow and the fact that you can really access apps on your TV through the Fire TV streamer is cool because it offers you even more bang for your entertainment buck!
  1. Game Apps: And yet another biggie! And this third point is obviously linked to the availability of appson the Fire TV; because, all of the apps I mentioned in the last paragraph are game apps! And the game apps are like the same titled editions that you can get from your app store and are available at the same or a similar price. And the pricing is a big deal too becausefor the first time main stream consumers can easily access and play games via apps on the big TV in their living rooms without having to buy a pricey gaming console like the Xbox or PlayStation and the pricey gaming cartridges for that gaming console! The game apps are priced in the same range as the titles you can access in your app store and download to your smartphone or tablet; most of the Fire TV game apps are $1.99 to $2.99 and some are free – so this is a big deal! The availability of game appsis also a big deal for a second reason; because it is a step further down the path that will eventually allow us to access all apps on all our devices and pick up where we left off in reading an e-book, watching a movie or TV show, listening to an album, playing a game or indeed doing any activity via an app on another device. For example, say you’re standing in line at the grocery store waiting you turn to pay for your groceries, you’ll be able to bring up your favorite game app and start playing your favorite game and then stop playing the game when you pay for your groceries, leave the store and go home and later pick up playing that same game in the same place you left off on the large screen TV in your living room! And that is cool!

Now just as an FYI For anyone who doesn’t know this – you can do some of that pick up where you left off thing via mobile devices right now. If you’re watching a video through Netflix or Amazon Instant Video on your smartphone or tablet you can stop the video and later pick up where you left watching the video via the Netflix or Amazon Instant Video app on your media streaming player. However, we can’t yet pick up where we left off on all apps and with all formats on all our Internet connecting devices – but we’re getting closer to that point and the Fire TV is another few steps down that exciting path if Internet connecting devices integration.

Have a great weekend!

Linda R.

 

References:

Amazon Fire TV review: Impressive debut, but room to grow. CNET. Online. Accessed April 19, 2014, http://www.cnet.com/products/amazon-fire-tv/

Amazon Fire TV Apps & Games. Amazon. Online. Accessed April 17, 2014, http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=7031433011

Best media streamers. (2014, March 4). CNET. Online. Accessed April 18, 2014, http://www.cnet.com/topics/media-streamers/best-media-streamers/

Browse. Roku. Online. Accessed April 17, 2014, http://www.roku.com/channels/#!browse/movies-and-tv/by-popular

Mossberg, Walt. (2014, April 15). Amazon’s Fire TV Lets You Search for Videos by Voice. Re/code. Online. Accessed April 18, 2014,http://recode.net/2014/04/15/amazons-fire-tv-lets-you-search-for-videos-by-voice/

Now Casting. Google. Online. Accessed April 17, 2014, http://www.google.com/intl/en-US/chrome/devices/chromecast/apps.html

What’s On. Apple. Online. Accessed April 17, 2014, https://www.apple.com/appletv/whats-on/

 

Some Links To Cool Tech Stories You Might Have Missed

It is super busy in the Southern Tier region of Library Land and so I haven’t had time to type up a proper length posting to highlight just why I believe the following 5 articles are of note for the casual tech fan. However, briefly, article 1 is on the reported talks between Apple, that makes the Apple TV media streamer and Comcast and if those talks are successful than cable subscribers might be able to ditch their cable box for an Apple TV box and have some extra streaming options thrown into the mix as part of the Apple TV menu (like having access to Netflix right next to the channel apps for ABC, NBS, PBS & CBS! Article 2, despite the title, is a list of just announced gadgets that were awarded Engadget Editors’ Choice Awards – this gadgets include their best picks for some items  you might expect like the best smartphone and e-reader and some items you might not expect like the high tech Nest smoke detector; article 3 offers a report of Amazon’s upcoming, and not-yet-released, new smart phone that is reported to have many high end bells and whistles, article 4 offers a thoughtful CNET article on just which iPad is the right one for you (And I love iPads so I think everyone should have one!) and article 5 relays the fact that iTunes radio just got a NPR news station – and without further ado – here are the article titles and links for your tech reading pleasure! Have a great evening! Linda R.

 

  1.       Apple, Comcast nod to Net TV future (March 24, 2014)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/03/24/apple-comcast-deal-implications/6829929/

 

  1.       The winners of the 2013 Engadget Awards — Editors’ Choice (March 21, 2014)

http://www.engadget.com/2014/03/21/winners-2013-engadget-awards-editors-choice/

 

  1.       Amazon’s Answer To The iPhone Will Have Six Different Cameras [Report] (March 20, 2014)

http://www.cultofmac.com/270997/amazons-answer-iphone-will-six-different-cameras-report/

 

  1.       Which iPad should you buy? Apple has four iPads for sale. Which do you get? Let us help. (March 20, 2014)

http://www.cnet.com/news/which-ipad-should-you-buy/

 

  1.       iTunes Radio Gets News Radio, Via NPR (March 24, 2014)

http://recode.net/2014/03/24/itunes-radio-gets-news-radio-via-npr/

 

Roku & In Praise Media Streaming Players

Got Wi-Fi at home?

Do you like to watch TV shows and movies when you want to, listen to Pandora and possible international radio stations through TuneIn Radio?

If so then you might be interested in a streaming media player — You can plug one of these players into your TV and connect it to your Wi-Fi network and in about 5 minutes you can access videos and music from the Amazon Instant Video store, Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, Redbox, TuneIn Radio, Acorn TV and more!

The entry level Roku is a great streaming and can be found for sale for about $50. The Apple TV streamer costs $99 and just FYI the Google Chromecast, another streaming device that recently debuted and which currently offers accessed to fewer video services, costs about $35.

And I concur with Colin McGuire, the author of the article In Defense Of … A Roku Television Revolution — that the best option right now is a Roku Player because you get access to the best and widest selection of video and udio content.

I love listening to music streamed through my TV from Pandora, radio stations through TuneIn Radio, and the variety of TV shows offered through the PBS, Amazon Instant Video and Netflix apps!

Of course if you dwell in the Apple universe — the Apple TV box is a solid choice too! And for $35 the Google Chromecast would be a good choice for someone who is just a little bit curious about what this streaming video thing is all about!

Here’s the link to the McGuire’s article that praises the Roku player and offers some interesting insight into the evolution of streaming video services:

http://www.popmatters.com/column/178535-in-defense-of-a-roku-revolution/

Have a great weekend!
Linda R.

New iPhones Go On Sale & Apple TV Has An Update

It has been another super, super busy day in library land so this will be brief tech blog posting to simply note that the new iPhones, the iPhone 5 S and the iPhone 5 C, have gone on sale today; and that if you own an Apple TV video streaming player there is a software update for it today that no doubt complements the new Apple iOS 7.

Here’s a link to a Verge article on the just-went-on-sale-today iPhones:

http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/20/4749888/iphone-5c-5s-begin-sale-in-stores-gold-numbers-limited

And a link to a Wired article regarding the new Apple TV update:

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/09/apple-tv-updated/

Have a great weekend everyone!

Linda R.

References

Baldwin, Robert. (2013, September 20). Apple TV 6.0 Update Brings iTunes Radio and AirPlay From iCloud to the Streaming Box. Online. Accessed September 20, 2013, http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/09/apple-tv-updated/

Kastrenakes, Jacob. (2013, September 20). iPhone 5C and 5S go on sale with gold in short supply (update). The Verge. Online. Accessed Septemger 20, 2013, http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/20/4749888/iphone-5c-5s-begin-sale-in-stores-gold-numbers-limited

Walt Mossberg Weighs In On The Ways To Access Internet Video & Roku – The Most Popular Media Streaming Player In The U.S.

Walt Mossberg Weighs In On The Ways To Access Internet Video: Walt Mossberg is the Senior Personal Technology Columnist for the Wall Street Journal’s All Things D blog. And this week Mossberg offers an in-depth combination article and reviewcast (aka article with optional video review) on the five main ways you can get Internet accessed video to play on that large HDTV in your living room. The five ways are:

  1. Via media streaming players like the Apple TV and Roku player that you connect to your television and which take the Internet video they receive and pass it along to your television so you can watch it.
  2. Via gaming consoles like the Xbox & Playstation which of course also allow you to play games – but you can increasingly access Internet video via channels like Netflix and Hulu through these devices.
  3. Via Smart TVs: These are TVs that have built in Internet connectivity and feature built in access to Netflix and other Internet TV sources. Of course the downside to using this option to watch Internet TV is that you have to buy a new TV if you don’t’ already own a Smart TV!
  4. Via what Mossberg calls “beaming” – meaning that you bring up the video you want to watch on your smartphone, tablet or laptop and send that video to your TV to watch it. You can do this I a number of ways but the two most popular are: if you have an Apple phone or tablet and an Apple TV (the feature is called AirPlay) or if you’ve been lucky enough to snag the new, and very popular, Google Chromecast which will allow you to send video from your smartphone, tablet or PC to your television (the Chromecast looks like a large flash drive and plugs into an HDMI input on a TV). Just imagine Scotty on a little engineering deck inside your TV overseeing that the video signal is correctly beamed from the tablet or smartphone to the TV! (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)
  5.  TiVO: This is an older device and usually used by people as a DVR in conjunction with a cable television subscription; however, you can use a TiVo to stream Internet TV to your television. The TiVo features Netflix, Hulu and Pandora channels (or perhaps we should start calling them TV apps because they appear on a TV as if they were large smartphone or tablet apps.)

Mossberg offers more details, including info on which devices have the most channels (or apps) and prices in the article– here’s the link:

http://allthingsd.com/20130813/the-many-internet-video-options-for-tvs/

Roku – The Most Popular Media Streaming Player In The U.S.: According to a PC Magazine article Roku is the most popular media streaming player sold in the U.S. The Roku player is deemed the most popular by the fact that according to a Parks Research report it is the most used media streaming player in the U.S. And I’m sharing this article & the report because I own both an Apple TV and a Roku player; and I too use the Roku player much more often that the Apple TV box because it has more channels and thus more options as to what I can watch or listen to!

Here is the link to the PC Magazine article:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2423089,00.asp

And a link to the Parks Report on the subject:

http://www.parksassociates.com/blog/article/pr-aug2013-connected-tv

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Chloe Albanesius. (2013, August 14). Roku Trumps Apple TV as Most-Used Streaming Media Player. PCMag. Online. Accessed August 14, 2013, http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2423089,00.asp

More U.S. Households Use Roku vs. Apple TV or Other Streaming Video Media Devices. (2013, August 14). Parks Associates. Online. Accessed August 14, 2013, http://www.parksassociates.com/blog/article/pr-aug2013-connected-tv

Mossberg, Walt. (2013, August 13). The Many Internet-Video Options for TVs. Allthingsd.com. Online. Accessed August 14, 2013, http://allthingsd.com/20130813/the-many-internet-video-options-for-tvs/

 

 

AT&T To Offer Wireless Service Sans Contract, The NY Times Gives A Simple Explanation of The DOJ v. Apple E-book Anti-Trust Case & New Apple TV Service Coming

AT&T To Offer Wireless Service Sans Contract:  AT&T has announced it will begin offering a new cell phone service later this month called AT&T Next. And the AT&T Next service will allow customers to purchase their cell phones without signing a contract and without putting money down on their phones. Instead customers will pay for their phones over time – a little bit each month; the price varying of course, depending upon which phone a customer buys and how much it costs. And the monthly charge for the phone will be added to the customer’s monthly bill for cell phone service.

Also of note, this new plan will allow customers to upgrade to a new phone after a year so people won’t be locked into a contract and will be able to upgrade their phone to a new one yearly if they wish.

I imagine this new plan will probably be very popular among those people who love new gadgets; because as cell phone technology has evolved and cell phones have become more sophisticated not everyone wants to upgrade their cell phone each year. Some cell phone users will be perfectly happy to use the same HD screen smart phone they already have for the next three or four years. However, for those of us that like to have the newest technology in our hands ASAP – this is a nice new option!

Here’s a link to a Wall Street Journal article on the new AT&T Next service titled “AT&T to Offer Option to Forgo Wireless Contract;”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324348504578608663708960382.html

The NY Times Gives A Simple Explanation of The DOJ v. Apple E-book Anti-Trust Case: The New York Times offers a simple – and thus easy to understand – document that chronicles the recently concluded U.S. DOJ v. Apple Anti-Trust Suit over e-books – just FYI – here’s the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/07/10/technology/apple-ebook-opinion.html?ref=technology

New Apple TV Service Coming: Tech reporter Jessica Lessin broke an exclusive story yesterday – that Apple is negotiating with cable television companies to offers those who own Apple TV player access to live cable TV shows. In the near future Apple TV customers will be able to access live television content through a Premium service that will also allow them to skip ads. And Apple will actually pay the cable companies for the ads that consumers skip! And what you might wonder will Apple get out of this? I think the answer to that is to get more people using its Apple TV Player which is designed and the interface of the player created, maintained and updated by Apple. The more people get into the Apple ecosystem the more money Apple stands to make and cable companies which have been losing money on ads ever since DVRs came into vogue will profit by making money from the commercials including with live television programs whether Apple TV customers watch them or not.

It will be interesting to see what happens with this new and improved Apple TV service as I can see it taking off and becoming much more popular than an expensive large Apple HDTV might be as that would no doubt cost mega bucks. In contrast, an Apple TV player, which requires Wi-Fi, costs only $100.

Here’s the link to the Lessin article titled “Exclusive: Apple Pitches Ad-Skipping for New TV Service;”

http://jessicalessin.com/2013/07/15/exclusive-apple-pitches-ad-skipping-for-new-tv-service/

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Gryta, Thomas. (2013, July 16). AT&T to Offer Option to Forgo Wireless Contract: Customers Get More Upgrades If They Pay Full Price for Phones. The Wall Street Journal. Online. Accessed July 16, 2013.

Key Excerpts From the Apple E-Books Ruling. (2013, July 10). The New York Times. Online. Accessed July 16, 2013.

Lessin, Jessica. (2013, July 15). Exclusive: Apple Pitches Ad-Skipping for New TV Service. Jessica Lessin. Online. Accessed July 16, 2013. 

Apple TV Sales Increase, Tim Cook @ WSJ’s All Things D Conference & Amazon Picks Up Five Pilots & New Dimension Media Titles Available In Prime Library

Apple TV Sales Increase: The Verge printed a short article noting one of the things Apple CEO Tim Cook said the Wall Street Journal’s All Things D tech conference yesterday – they noted that according to Cook sales of the Apple TV streaming media player have grown dramatically surpassing 13 million with almost half of that tally of units being sold this year. I thought that was an interesting point to note because it illustrates the shift that is occurring in how people watch movies and television shows – we are moving away from the era where video fans predominantly watched videos offered by cable TV companies like Time Warner Cable & Comcast and moving into an era where more and more video content is offered to video fans on demand via the Internet.

Here’s a link to the short Verge piece titled simply “Apple TV Sales 13 Million to Date;”

http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/28/4374480/apple-tv-sales-13-million-to-date

Tim Cook @ WSJ’s All Things D Conference: And speaking of Apple CEO Tim Cook; Cook gave an interview yesterday to WSJ All Things D tech staff Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. Cook was as usual mum on details about specific Apple product that are currently in the works but has some interesting things to say about wearable technology, Apple TV (as already mentioned) and Google Glass glasses among other things.

Here’s a link to a text version the Cook All Things D interview:

http://allthingsd.com/20130528/liveblog-apple-ceo-tim-cook-kicks-off-d11/

And a link to a video version of the same interview:

http://allthingsd.com/20130529/apples-tim-cook-the-full-d11-interview-video/

Amazon Picks Up Five Pilots: Amazon has picked up five of its recently created pilots to turn into fully fledge TV series thus dipping its whole foot in the creation-of-TV-shows business! The TV series that it has picked up were voted on by viewers and include “Alpha House” with John Goodman, “Betas” which is a sitcom set in Silicon Valley and three kid’s series “Annebots,” “Tumbleaf” and “Creative Galaxy.

Amazon passed on putting the other nine pilots it created into production as television series based again upon viewer feedback.

Here’s a link to an All Things D article on the subject titled “Amazon’s Pilot Season Ends With Five Pickups:”

http://allthingsd.com/20130529/amazons-pilot-season-ends-with-five-pickups/

New Dimension Media Titles Available In Prime Library: If you like documentaries and you have an Amazon Prime membership you may want to search the Amazon catalog for “New Dimension Media” titles. I noticed this morning that that are many, many short documentary pieces produced by the educational media company in the Amazon Instant Video catalog. Most of the documentaries offer an introduction to a subject and run only thirty minutes so they’re idea of students looking for an introduction to a subject and worth a watch for those of us that simply like documentaries. These short documentaries seem to focus on science, history and bios and include the following titles:

Digestion & Nutrition

Ancient Israel & Jerusalem

The Solar System: Outer Gas Planets

Harrison, Tyler, Polk, & Taylor

Rome: Village To Republic

True Whispers: The Story Of The Navajo Code Talkers

Here’s a link to the Amazon Video page where you can type in “Dimension Media” and see the titles for yourself:

http://www.amazon.com/movies-tv-dvd-bluray/b/ref=topnav_storetab_mov?ie=UTF8&node=2625373011

And if you’d like to check it out here’s a link to the website of the educational production company itself:

http://www.ndmquestar.com/

Have a great day!

Linda R.

P.S. And don’t forget if you just bought, or received as a gift a new tablet, e-reader, PC or other tech item and would like to know more about how to use it — you can make an appointment at the library for a free On-On-One tech session and a member of our tech team will show you the digital ropes! Call the Reference Desk at: 607-936-3713 to make an appointment! Did I mention it is a free service the library offers? It is!

References

Fried, Ina. (2013, May 28). Apple Has More Game-Changing Tech in the Works, Says CEO Tim Cook. All Things D. Online.

Fried, Ina. (2013, May 28). Apple’s Tim Cook: The Full D11 Interview (Video). All Things D. Online. Accessed May 29, 2013.

Kafka. Peter. (2013, May 29). Amazon’s Pilot Season Ends With Five Pickups. All Things D. Online.

Welch, Chris. (2013, May 28). Apple TV sales surpass 13 million, ‘about half’ sold this year. The Verge. Online. Accessed May 29, 2013. 

Aereo Streaming Television Service Wins Appeal & Expands Service

I’ve mentioned Aereo in blog postings before but just to refresh all our memories; Aereo is a New York City based company that offers broadcast television shows that go out over the airwaves and into Aereo’s office and then are sent to subscribers via the Internet. The idea is that you don’t have to be home in front of your television set to watch content that you could get for free via aerial antennae if you were at home.

And to give you an example, it used to be, and sometimes still is, that people lived far enough out of town that they couldn’t subscribe to a cable TV service via a cable service provider like Comcast or Time Warner Cable because the cable wires were not set up that far out of town – so no service was offered in their out-of-town region. So instead they hooked antennas to their roofs and/or television sets to receive a basic number of broadcast television channels for free. Now granted you couldn’t get all television channels that way – premium paid channels like HBO and Showtime weren’t available; however your local network stations and PBS were – so you could tune in to ABC, NBC, CBS or PBS if you were at home and watch whatever programs were being shown. And Aereo offers those free over-the-air (aerial) broadcast channels to customers in their service areas by actually having a small antenna for each customer in their service centers that receives the free broadcast programming and then sends it to customer’s accounts over the Internet.

And thus Aereo offers the free over-the-air broadcast television stations to their customers to access via an app on their smartphones and tablets. And Aereo further offers a certain amount of DVR storage for each customer so if you live in one of their service areas you can record that episode of Law & Order or Seinfeld that you missed the first time around and watch it later via your smartphone or tablet whenever you want to.

Aereo debut its service to consumers living in the New York City region last March. And as you can imagine this system is not one that the cable and media companies are pleased with! Comcast, CBS & Walt Disney have so far brought two law suits against Aereo claiming that Aereo is illegally broadcasting their content by essentially cutting cable service providers out of the picture altogether. They claim that Aereo is infringing on their copyright for the channel programming they sell to their customers even though it is perfectly legal for consumers to put a TV antenna on their own roofs and to access over-the-air television channels for free when they are at home; and Aereo is only broadcasting over-the-air channels to people who could obtain those channels for free, via rooftop antenna, in their area. So last March, just before the Aereo service debuted, Comcast, CBS & Walt Disney filed an initial law suit against Aereo claiming that their service was illegal – the court ruled against them and for Aereo stating that the Aereo service was in fact legal. And not surprisingly the plantiffs appealed the ruling. This morning a second court decision was also handed down upholding the first decision and yet again ruling that the Aero service is legal.

And so far this year Aereo has expanded its service to include 29 additional near-by counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut so the ability to access broadcast television networks and their shows via the Internet may become the new norm.  I’m sure most people, including myself, would be willing to pay the $8.00 per month subscription fee (or the $80 yearly fee) to watch broadcast television programs via our smartphones, tablets or streaming media players whenever we want to.

And in relation, I think that they cable companies, by tight fistedly trying to hang on to their outdated bundled channel business model, are missing the proverbial boat and the opportunity it presents to make money in this new high tech Internet streaming age of ours. I can’t of course speak for anyone but myself but I did that cord-cutting thing three years ago and I much prefer it! I stream video content at home via my Roku and Apple TV players via my Wi-Fi network, and on the go via my smartphone and iPad. And I pay Netflix $7.99 a month for their all-you-can-eat (okay all-you-can-view) subscription to their catalog of titles and $79 per year to Amazon for unlimited access to their Prime Library of video titles and I can then watch them anywhere I can access the Internet. I can also purchase or rent videos from Amazon and buy videos from Apple so if I want to watch the latest episode of Grimm or Mad Men I can buy it the day after it airs on television. TV episodes come in standard definition for $1.99 and HD for $2.99 and I don’t mind paying that for episodes of a series I really like but I did mind an ever increasing cable bill that had me subscribing to many channels I never watched just so I could watch the handful of channels that I did want to watch. And did I mention the price? Amazon Prime & a yearly subscription to Netflix totals $175.77 – and I was paying almost that for my monthly cable bill before I cut the cord.

So I am excited by the second court ruling in favor of Aereo because I see this as not just a win for Aereo but also a win for consumers who today increasingly like to be able to watch whatever video content they want to watch when and where they want to watch it and not be tied to a cable TV cord.

Here’s a link to a New York Times article on Aereo and the new court ruling in its favor:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/business/media/aereo-wins-in-appeals-court-setting-stage-for-trial-on-streaming-broadcast-tv.html?ref=technology&_r=0

A second link to a Tech Crunch article on the same subject:

http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/01/aereo-looks-to-tv-providers-isps-to-accelerate-growth/

A third link to a short USA Today article that sums up the basics of the subject:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/04/01/aereo-wins-appeals-court-ruling/2042527/

And a link to the Aereo website that offers you a look at the pricing of their service plans:

https://aereo.com/plans

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Compare Plans. Aereo. Online. Accessed April 1, 2013.

Crook, Jordan. (2013, April 1). Aereo Looks To TV Providers, ISPs To Accelerate Growth. Tech Crunch. Online.

Stelter, Brian. (2013, April 1). Aereo Wins Appeal: Trail Likely for Streaming TV.

Yu, Roger. (2013, April 1). Good news for cable cord-cutters in Aereo win. USA Today. Online.

 

Assorted Tech News: Grillbot, Outlook.com, Rechargeable LED Reading Glasses, The Rumored iWatch, Why Apple TV Apps Might End Game Console Use & E-Book Only Fantasy Novels To Partake of This Week!

Wow, there are many tech news stories out there in the online news space today! So I’m highlighting more of them than usual. The articles offer basic info about notable tech news items including the new Grillbot, the reasons why a new Apple TV box might revolutionize the way we interact with our TVs and the news that Microsoft’s Outlook.com is now officially in business and will absorb all Microsoft Hotmail email accounts by the end of the summer.

Grillbot: The new Grillbot is similar in scope to one of those Rumba floor cleaners – you know those little round robotic cleaners that you charge and then let loose in your house to clean all your floors…The Grillbot doesn’t clean floors but as you might expect it is a self cleaning grill robot – so in theory you need never clean the family grill again! Just buy a Grillbot and let it do the dirty work for you!

The tech site Geeky Gadgets offers a short article today on The Grillbot, titled The Grillbot is a Roomba for your Grill, here’s the link:

http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/the-grillbot-is-a-roomba-for-your-grill-19-02-2013/

Outlook.com: Outlook.com is Microsoft’s new web email service. The web based email service has been out in trial (beta) form for several months and was named after the traditional desktop Microsoft Outlook. It is notable that this service has now officially gone live and is out of its beta trial period because this web based email service will eventually absorb Microsoft’s Hotmail email service.  So Hotmail users be advised! Hotmail users can switch to Outlook mail right now or wait; however Microsoft has said it will be phasing out Hotmail by the end of the summer so you can wait to switch over but you can’t wait for too long!

CNN offers an article on the now official Outlook.com today titled Goodbye Hotmail, hello Outlook – here’s the link:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/19/tech/web/microsoft-outlook-hotmail/

Rechargeable LED Reading Glasses: I’m sure most of you have heard about the e-readers with backlit screens that allow you to read e-books in the dark like the Nook Glowlight and Kindle Paperwhite? And I’m sure too that most of you know that you can read e-books in the dark on a tablet or smartphone as they too offer illuminated text. And now here’s a third option for those that like to read in the dark! You can now buy rechargeable LED reading glasses! So if you prefer reading traditional (print) books – you can now read them in the dark without turning on a light!

Here’s a link to a Coolest Gadgets article titled Rechargeable LED Reading Glasses that offers a brief article on the subject of LED Reading Glasses and a photo showing a pair of said glasses:

http://www.coolest-gadgets.com/20130219/rechargeable-led-reading-glasses/

The Rumored iWatch: The tech rumor mill is a buzz with word that Apple is working on an iWatch. The as yet unconfirmed iWatch is thought to feature a bendable screen courtesy of some type of bendable glass like Corning Inc.’s Willow Glass.

The Guardian offers an interesting story on the both the subject of the rumored iWatch and the ways in which technology will become ever more interactive in our lives in the near future.

The article is titled Apple iWatch Wearable Tech – here’s the link:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/feb/17/apple-iwatch-wearable-tech

Why Apple TV Apps Might End Game Console Use: In all the postings I’ve done on streaming video boxes and streaming technology I haven’t really mentioned one of the reasons I think an Apple TV upgrade might really revolutionize the way we interact with our TVs. However, I can describe that reason why in one word – apps! If own a smartphone or tablet, and in particular if you own an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, then you’ll assuredly have noticed that the app store for your device offers many apps in a great variety of subjects. There are apps that allow you to read e-books, watch television shows or movies and apps relating to news, cooking, sewing, technology, sports, actors, musicians, , drawing, photo editing,  guitar playing and games and also apps in great variety of other categories. And if you own or have used a smartphone or tablet you’ve probably also noticed that most apps are reasonably priced. You can buy many, many apps for $1.99 – $2.99 and even get many light versions of apps for free.

Now if you keep in mind the inexpensive price of the apps available in the Apple app store and the great variety of them and add to that the potential ability to access all the apps in the Apple app store – particularly gaming apps – on your television through an Apple TV player; and I think you begin to see how the Xbox and Wii ‘s days may indeed be numbered if Apple comes out with a new version of its Apple TV that allows consumers to use their TVs to interact with apps and play app games on their TVs.

And here’s a link to a Tech Crunch article titled The Fall TV Lineup May Include Apple Dominating Gaming that offers more information on the subject:

http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/14/death-by-apps/

E-Book Only Fantasy Novels To Partake of This Week! The USA Today has an article today which is just for you – if you like fantasy and science fiction e-books that is! The article offers suggestions as to which new e-book only Fantasy & Sci-Fi genre e-books you might like to read this week.

Here’s the link:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/happyeverafter/2013/02/17/ebook-only-paranormal-scifi-recent-releases/1926235/

Have a great Tuesday!

Linda R.

References

Flynn, Conor. (2013, February 19). The Grillbot is a Roomba for your Grill. Geeky Gadgets. Online.

Kee, Edwin. (2013, February 19). Rechargeable LED Reading Glasses. Coolest Gadgets. Online.

McKracken, Harry. (2013, February 19). Goodbye Hotmail, hello Outlook. CNN.com. Online.

Potts, Jessie. (2013, February 18). E-book-only paranormal and sci-fi to jump-start your week. USA Today. Online.

Rushe, Dominic. (2013, February 16). Will Apple’s plans for an iWatch herald a new era of wearable tech? Apple and Google are just two of the giants working on gadgets that were once the realm of sci-fi – but that also push the frontiers of the privacy debate. The Guardian. Online.