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:


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:


And a link to the Parks Report on the subject:


Have a great day!

Linda R.


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/



Google Chromebooks Coming To A Store Near You & DreamWorks Animation Signs A Deal With Netflix

Google Chromebooks Coming To A Store Near You: Google has announced that is now selling its inexpensive cloud-based Chromebook laptops at Walmart and Staples. Walmart is carrying the Acer C7 Chromebook that costs $199 and Staples will sell the Acer Chromebook along with the slightly more expensive Chromebooks from Samsung and HP at its stores.

And just on an FYI note the library owns a Google Samsung Chromebook that patrons are welcome to come in and sit down and try out!

And Chromebooks – if you’re not familiar with them – are light weight, cloud based laptops running the Google Chrome operating system. These laptops are meant to be used with an Internet connection and you are pretty much locked into the Google ecosystem – meaning that you can use the online Google Docs service to create word processing documents, spreadsheets and presentations but you can’t install software on a Chromebook the way you can install Microsoft Office on a Windows PC. However, for the price – and the Chromebook that I’ve seen that has the best reviews is the Samsung Chromebook which costs $249 (and that the model the library owns) – the Chromebook is a reasonable choice for an inexpensive laptop for one to do light word processing, email and/or web related tasks upon. And if you simply need a second laptop for light weight tasks or even perhaps for your cottage at the lake (provided you have Internet service there) a Google Chromebook might just fit the proverbial bill.

Here’s a link to a CNET article that relays more information on the fact that the Chromebooks are coming to a store near you titled “”Google’s low-cost Chromebooks coming to 6,600 more stores:”


And a second link to a CNET review of the Samsung Chromebook:


DreamWorks Animation Signs A Deal With Netflix: DreamWorks Animation has signed a deal with Netflix to offer new programming. DreamWorks is known for its visually stunning videos and is working on expanding its offerings by sidestepping traditional cable companies and instead offering new shows for Netflix subscribers to stream. The new deal was announced on Monday and this new partnership will translate into 300 new hours of episodic television being created. The deal can also be seen as another battle in the Internet TV vs. Traditional Cable Television because the new shows will not able available to TV fans through traditional cable companies like Time Warner and Comcast but will be available for Netflix subscribers stream. The details regarding the new shows have yet to be released but DreamWorks did say that the new shows would be inspired by their back catalog which features a number of notable franchise videos including: Shrek, Mr. Magoo, Lassie and Casper the Friendly Ghost. The first of the new programs is tentatively slated to be aired in 2014.

Here’s a link to a New York Times article on the subject titled “DreamWorks and Netflix in Deal for New TV Shows:”


Have a great day!

Linda R.


Barnes, Brooks. (2013, June 17). DreamWorks and Netflix in Deal for New TV Shows. New York Times. Online. Accessed June 19, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/18/business/media/dreamworks-and-netflix-in-deal-for-new-tv-programs.html

Kerr, Dara. Google’s low-cost Chromebooks coming to 6, 600 more stores. CNET. Online. Accessed June 19, 2013. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57589721-93/googles-low-cost-chromebooks-coming-to-6600-more-stores/

Portnoy, Sean. (2013, June 19). Acer’s $199 C710-2865 Chromebook laptop includes SSD, will be sold at Walmart. ZDNET. Online. Accessed June 19, 2013. http://www.zdnet.com/acers-199-c710-2856-chromebook-laptop-includes-ssd-will-be-sold-at-walmart-7000017015/

Samsung Chromebook review: The one we’ve been waiting for (at least in price). Accessed June 19, 2013.



Internet Television Update & Supreme Court Says Human Genes Cannot Be Patented

Internet Television Update: I’ve seen numerous articles in the last week that discuss the changing landscape of television – and by that I mean the fact that movie and TV fans are increasingly watching television shows and movies on their computers, smartphones and tablets whenever and wherever they want to through online sources like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu and YouTube. And in response to this trend the major cable companies like Time Warner and Comcast are dragging their feet as far as embracing this new way consumers increasing want to watch videos. The traditional cable companies would much prefer to hang on to their traditional status quote that demands their subscribers pay a monthly fee for many channels when those same consumers would really rather only pay for the channels and/or programs they want to watch and of course they’d like to watch the content they pay for whenever they want to on whichever internet connecting device they have on hand.

The tech company Intel is trying to change the cable company status quote by introduction a high speed internet connecting media streaming box that would allow consumers to accesses online video content quickly and easily – and would take its place alongside the Roku, Apple TV and Google TV media streaming players. We’ll have to wait and see how successful Intel is but for my two cents worth for whatever it is worth – probably about two cents! I think the traditional cable companies need to jump on board the internet TV bandwagon or eventually they will get left behind. I think those companies can delay the explosion of Internet accessed television for a while but eventually consumer demand will shift the money flow and more and more people will pay for internet accessed television shows, movies and subscription internet services like Netflix that they can then use to access the video content they want to watch when they want and where they want and on whichever internet connecting device they want to whether that device is a smartphone, laptop, tablet or the large HDTV in their living rooms.

Here’s a link to a Bloomberg Business Week article on the subject titled “How Big Cable Companies Keep Internet TV At Bay:”


A second link to a New York Times opinion piece on the same subject titled “The Television Will Be Revolutionized” which has tech writer Tristan Louis offering his five cents worth on the subject (I gave him three cents more since he’s a professional tech write and I’m a librarian!):


And a link to a New York Times opinion section on internet video aka streaming video titled “Streaming for the Small Screen: An Introduction:”


Supreme Court Says Human Genes Cannot Be Patented: The Supreme Court ruled today that human isolated human genes cannot be patented. The case was brought before the court by the Utah Company Myriad Genetics a company that does testing that shows a relationship between certain genes and a hereditary risk of getting cancer. The patents that Myriad was trying to protect had been challenged by a number of scientists and doctors because the costs of the tests – due to the patents – was around $3,000 which was making the genetic tests cost-prohibited for many people. So the cost of the genetic test should now come down. And interestingly the Court actually offered a split decision ruling that “isolated” genes couldn’t receive a patent but that genetically engineered genes can.

I think the entire subject is fascinating because it illustrates, among other things that we are on the cusp of revolutionary advances in medicine that may indeed one day soon lead to a cure for cancer and the common cold among other maladies.

Here’s a link a Washington Post article on the Supreme Court ruling titled “Supreme Court rules human genes may not be patented:”


And a second link to an article on the same subject from the New York Times titled “Supreme Court Rules Human Genes May Not Be Patented:”


Have a great day!

Linda R.


Bachman, Justin. (2013, June 13). How Big Cable Keeps internet TV at Bay. Bloomberg Businessweek. Online. Accessed June 13, 2013.

Barnes, Robert. & Brady, Dennis. (2013, June 13). Supreme Court rules human genes may not be patented. The Washington Post. Online. Accessed June 13, 2013.

Louis, Tristan. (2013, June 13). The Television Will Be Revolutionized. New York Times. Online. Accessed June 13, 2013.