TV & Home Cinema

By July 18, 2014 Read More →

Could this be the coolest TV screen ever?

From HD resolutions to curved screens, the TV game is always changing. LG has recently announced the latest ground-breaking development in the market, which takes the form of rollable TVs, as the BBC reports.

Taking how we tune in to the next level, the paper-thin televisions are so slight they can be rolled into a 3cm-diameter tube. And the company is not stopping there: LG is hoping to produce a huge 60in rollable TV by 2017.

This new development means that the humble gogglebox can be used in ways like never before. In honour of this, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the coolest TVs to ever have graced our planet.

Projector screens

Watching sport simply wouldn’t be the same without the trusty projector screen that takes pride of place in your local bar. In fact, recent times have seen them creep into our homes too, as telly addicts swap the small screen for a significantly larger one.

Previously, projectors and screens were costly to buy. Nowadays, you can pick up a quality projector from brands like Epson for around £250. Throw in a £56 projector screen from Rapid, and this option becomes incredibly affordable.

Piccadilly Circus

It would be difficult to install the next screen on our list in your home, but it definitely deserves a place in our run down. Piccadilly Lights, found near London’s Piccadilly underground station, is one of the city’s most famous landmarks.

Back in 2013, the advertising platform was brought into the 21st century with the installation of a new 24.6m by 4.8m SMD LED screen. Boasting 774,144 pixels, the screen is certainly a sight to behold — often by some 71,760,000 pedestrians a year.          

By July 13, 2014 Read More →

Screen casting from Android to Chromecast

cast_screenThose lovely people at Google are currently packing in the ultimate feature for the Chromecast, screen casting. Now, anything on your Android device can appear on the TV. Google are pushing sharing features more so than gaming and apps by saying “You can share photos stored on your phone with a group of friends, or scope out the scenery for your next family vacation together on the big screen using Google Earth.”

This feature is currently in beta and will roll out on popular Android phones or tablets from Samsung, HTC, LG, and others over the next few days. Look out for the 1.7 update of the Chromecast app on Google Play store to use this new feature. 

By April 4, 2014 Read More →

Qualcomm powering Amazon’s Fire TV

AmazonFireTV-FireStandingIt feels like it came out of no where, Amazon have announced a new set top entertainment system called Fire TV. This will run a customized version of Android, just like the Kindle Fire tablet. Here are a few hardware specs of the device:

  • Quad-core processor (supposedly is three times more powerful than Apple TV and other rival devices)
  • 2GB of RAM
  • Dedicated graphics processor
  • Will ship with a tiny, plastic remote control that has only seven buttons and a directional pad
  • Voice command search queries
  • Support for Android gaming ( Amazon has launched a studio internally to develop in-house games)

This is a new device that plugs into your television and lets you stream video content from the Internet. Much like Apple TV, and Google TV before it Fire TV is more of a lounge/living room solution than the Chromecast however it essentially fulfills the same goals. The primary focus of Fire TV will be Amazon Prime Video however it will also support third-party content, like Netflix and Plex. As per usual this is geared towards the US market with Hulu and HBO being some of the touted apps. There is little news as to when we can expect to see it on UK shores and there will have to be negotiations with likes of BBC and Sky over their delivery services before it arrives. According to Amazon, more third-party apps will be coming to the Fire TV in May. This includes music apps like TuneIn, Pandora, & iHeartRadio.

amazon-fire-game-controller-image_1280

In addition to TV and movie content the little black box is boasted as a gaming platform also. We will see some rather tasty games, obviously the finest Android can provide. The Fire TV is being powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor. As the first product of its kind to go live with a Snapdragon 600 processor, the Fire TV will utilize the processor to enable new and improved user experiences, essentially redefining the living room experience. Multimedia performance with 1080p HD video, 7.1 Dolby surround sound, a graphics accelerated UI and console quality gaming. The Qualcomm processor also provides the Wi-Fi connectivity.

The device will be available to buy today for $99, and a gaming controller for it will cost $39.99, Stateside of course.

By March 16, 2014 Read More →

Chromecast here on Wednesday?

Chromecast-peeking-630x348Sundar Pichai recently mentioned the Chromecast would come to other markets within weeks. The Chromecast app was updated with new languages and we even had a nice leak of the Chromecast being prepared for launch here in the UK. We just needed one more detail – when?.

The latest leak comes from Android Police. It’s an internal document that states a “new Google product” will be released this Wednesday, March 19th. This document is said to come from Dixons. It’s also labeled as “one of the biggest products this year from Google.”

Now, this document doesn’t specify it’s talking about the Chromecast, but we have been seeing many rumours and news about the HDMI dongle lately. We can’t imagine this being about any other product.

Price continues to be unspecified. The only details we know came from the last rumour, which suggests the price will be £30. Regardless, we will learn all this information very soon. Circle this coming Wednesday in your calendars, guys! March 19th is looking like the day we see the Chromecast arriving!

Posted in: News, TV & Home Cinema
By February 4, 2014 Read More →

Presenting the Chromecast SDK

Chromecast SDKAfter a long and gruelling 6 months the SDK for Google’s Chromecast officially became available for purchase, so we can now expect to see a wave of apps pouring through the floodgates for Google popular TV plugin. At this point in time there are only a handful of services available for the Chromecast out of the box and with several similar devices coming to market it makes total sense for Google to launch the SDK to increase the Chromecast’s standing in the home entertainment market.

Check it out here!

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By February 1, 2014 Read More →

Apple TV or Roku? 5 Considerations for Buying a Set-Top Streaming Box

Apple TV or RokuIn 2007, around two million American homes were without cable or satellite television. A 2013 Nielsen study found that today more than five million homes have embraced an existence without traditional TV. But that doesn’t mean they’re staring at their four walls. More than three-quarters of these homes rely on the internet for their entertainment. If you’re ready to join them, just one question remains: Apple TV or Roku?

Roku Offers More, Easy-to-Use Channels

In June 2013, Apple TV offered just 18 channels compared to more than 750 on the Roku box. In late 2013, Apple expanded its library with some more crowd-pleasing channels, including ABC, Crackle, and Bloomberg, but Roku users have been enjoying these for years. Roku now offers more than 1,200 channels on offer, but quantity doesn’t always equate to quality. Many users insist they only watch a small percentage of Roku’s offerings, so in actuality your viewing experience might not be too different.

Roku is the clear winner when comparing the bare bones systems, but canny Apple fans have found ways to expand their viewing options. For example, many compare the price of a standard internet service with a FiOS bundle, which allows them to stream or download movies. If you’re going to spend money on additional entertainment, this package may end up being more cost effective. 

Roku’s extensive channel list could get unwieldy without its universal search. Tech bloggers have suggested Apple would do well to incorporate this feature, which allows users to search for the title of the movie or television program they’ve been dying to see. The Roku interface displays the installed apps that can show the content, and how much streaming will cost on each.

Roku Has Headphones

It sounds like a small point, but if you’re one of the many people who enjoys binging on television while the rest of your household sleeps you’ll love the Roku’s headphone functionality. Its remote control has a headphone jack to make private viewing easy. Just pop in the included earbuds and you can watch your favorite shows without disturbing your loved ones. The quality of the earbuds isn’t outstanding, but audiophiles can easily use their own.

Apple TV Feels Familiar for Brand’s Fans

Apple’s familiarity will give it an edge for many consumers discovering internet television for the first time. Its interface resembles Apple’s popular iOS system, with rectangular channel icons which resemble apps. It also integrates with iTunes so users can use their existing account to purchase television series and movies.

It’s not that Roku is difficult to use, but it can’t capitalize on brand loyalty the way that Apple can. A 2013 study found 81 percent of Apple smartphone customers stuck with the iOS platform over a 12-month period, compared to 68 percent remaining loyal to Android. Another 2013 report by international brand consulting firm Interbrand ranked Apple as the world’s number one brand, ahead of Coca-Cola, Google, and IBM. When it comes to brand loyalty, Roku simply can’t compete.

Apple TV Offers AirPlay

Apple appeals to the loyalty of its faithful followers with AirPlay, a feature which lets you wirelessly stream photos, music, and videos from your iOS device or iTunes to your television set. This innovative device also integrates with key third-party apps including Pandora and Spotify. 

To be fair, Roku has attempted to mimic AirPlay’s success with the release of its new Roku 3. This latest streaming set-top box features Play on Roku, which allows users to stream the photos, music, and video files stored on their favorite Android or iOS device. However, unlike AirPlay, Play on Roku doesn’t allow device mirroring, so it’s still got some way to go.

Roku is Often More Affordable

Both units have comparable recommended retail prices, with Apple TV selling for $99 and Roku 3 costing $99.99. However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Apple knows it can count on customer loyalty, so it rarely discounts its streaming television. In contrast, the latest Roku set-top streaming box is regularly sold online for around $10 less than its nearest rival. If you’re still not certain which unit is best, then the price could sway you.

Apple TV and Roku both have their merits, so it’s worth thinking carefully before committing to your preferred device for streaming internet entertainment.

By January 9, 2014 Read More →

4K TV

4K TVTV lovers will be excited to hear that Amazon is filming all of its original drama in 4K UHD quality for LOVEFiLM. 4K UHD is a relatively new technology which provides viewers with exceptional clarity and definition, using four times as many pixels as FULL HD. The enhanced detail means that even with very large television screens the definition is not compromised.

Extremely high definition on a grand screen might sound like TV heaven, but up until now there hasn’t been much for 4K UHD televisions to watch. Some 4K televisions come loaded with material shot in 4K to showcase the technology, but more content filmed in 4K is needed. That’s why audio/visual enthusiasts and TV fans will welcome the news about Amazon and LOVEFiLM.

The director of Amazon Studios has said, “All of the pilots and series we produce next year will be shot in 4K. That includes our first ever drama series that we will green light next year. We think customers are going to love watching these series in the highest resolution ever available to consumers and we can’t wait to deliver it.”

Advances in encoding technology (which enables audio and visual material to be downloaded) means that 4K UHD television and movies can now be streamed quicker.

Next year Amazon will be producing five new television pilots which viewers will be asked to watch and give feedback on. Once piloted, they will get made into a series filmed in 4K UHD and be available to stream on LOVEFiLM. The pilots include Chris Carter, creator of the X-files, show ‘The After’, ‘Bosch’- a series based on the Harry Bosch book series- and ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ from critically acclaimed director Roman Coppola.

This development is great for online streaming customers, even if they are not yet on the 4K UHD bandwagon. 4K ultra high definition is set to be this year’s big audio/visual technology story and with not much content out there, Amazon have got a head start. 4K UHD will only become more popular and it’s good to know that when there is more content available.

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By January 3, 2014 Read More →

A battle for your HDMI socket?

belkin-miracast-3The surprise success of the Chromecast has added a whole new dimension to the tech industry. Instead of DVD players or using the Smart TV system built into the TV folks are opting for a little dongle that does lots of weird and wonderful things. In years gone past we have seen Roku, Apple, Google and Western Digital, to name a few, pushing out little boxes to bring services from the Internet and streaming solutions to your living room. Now, with the 8th incarnation of the game console both Microsoft and Sony are incorporating more than just gaming content into their living room hardware, at a price.

Google scored big recently with the cheap and cheerful Chromecast, a somewhat limited dongle that delivers an ever expanding list of services to your TV. From watching Youtube to playing back music and steaming movies from your computer (via Plex) Google managed to package together a beautiful little out-of-sight stick that costs peanuts and stretches the boundaries you normally expect from your TV, be it Smart or dumb.

Now, the folks at Belkin are launching a dongle that looks somewhat similar to the Chromecast but promises one thing, screen mirroring. Imagine wirelessly pushing the screen of your smartphone to the TV. You can? Well, yes Samsung, Airtight, Allcast and many others all offer this sort of service however they are more geared towards media and particular apps. Belkin boast you will be able to broadcast ANY app to the television.

Posted in: News, TV & Home Cinema
By December 21, 2013 Read More →

LG’s 105-inch curved TV

LG's 105-inch curved TVYesterday LG announced that they were to release the worlds first 105″ curved LCD TV at CES in 2014. Furthermore, the giant display will have a 21:9 aspect ratio, the likes of which we’ve not seen for some time.

The full press release from LG can be seen below:

Posted in: News, TV & Home Cinema
By December 13, 2013 Read More →

Will Google make a Nexus TV?

stvscreensGoogle is apparently to be working on a Nexus TV. Google TV fans have been hoping for a Nexus-branded TV or set-top box for a long time. It seems it may be finally happening, except this rumoured device would not be Google TV that we know and somewhat ignore. More than likely this will be the oft mentioned “Android TV.”

The rumour comes from The Information, who’s sources claim this Android-based set-top box would could be released as early as the first half of 2014. This device would be able to stream video from services like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube. In addition, the box would also allow you to play some video games.

This sounds a lot like Google TV, except for one factor – it will not support live broadcast TV. Which is the biggest known difference between Android TV and Google TV. What will become of the existing Google TV? I’ll this be a TV with a Chromecast built in?

So many questions and it will be a joy to find out the answers.

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