Cyanogen's Koushik Dutta has been teasing the prospect of mirroring your Android screen on Chromecast for a few weeks, and today you can finally try the feature -- if you have the right smartphone, that is. An updated version of the Mirror for Android beta includes early support for mirroring to either a Chrome browser or Chromecast, but only if you have a Nexus 5. Google's phone is the sole device with the hardware video decoder needed for this mirroring technique, Dutta says. You also have to get root-level access to the operating system with the current release, although that won't be necessary in the future. Provided you meet the app's exacting requirements, you can give mirroring a spin at the source link.
Source: Koushik Dutta (Google+)
05/03/2014 - CNN's Flipboard rival now belongs to... Flipboard
CNN bought the news aggregation service Zite to get a fast track in the mobile space, but it never gained much ground versus Zite's arch-rival, Flipboard. Accordingly, the TV broadcaster is throwing in the towel -- it just sold Zite to Flipboard for $60 million. The deal brings a raft of previously unavailable CNN content to Flipboard's news curation platform, ranging from articles to video feeds for shows like Anderson Cooper 360 and Inside Politics. The network has also agreed to produce custom magazines (shown here) that go beyond what you'd normally find online. CNN's content is available today, and it's launching alongside a big Android app update that lets readers sign in with Google, control article density, curb their data use and attach photos to custom magazines.
There isn't exactly an abundance of major movie services that will send video to a Chromecast; for the most part, Google Play Movies and Netflix still rule the roost. It's a good thing, then, that Vudu has announced plans to support the TV media adapter through both updated mobile apps and Chrome on the desktop. The provider won't say just when Chromecast support is coming other than "soon," but early adopters can register for a beta test. Either way, it's clear that Vudu still wants its video platform on every living room device you own.
Want to stream any web video from your smartphone to your Chromecast? Grab the beta release of Chrome 34 for Android. The browser includes experimental support for sending embedded clips to Google's media stick, saving you from launching a native app just to watch something on a TV. As you'd expect, there are some compatibility hiccups at this early stage. YouTube works well (surprise!), but other sites are hit and miss -- you're best off sticking to videos from major, HTML5-friendly hosts like Vimeo. If you're willing to live with some inconsistencies, though, you can try the streaming feature today.
[Image credit: WhyYouPaul, Reddit]
WWE promised that Americans would be watching body slams and piledrivers on a myriad of devices toward the end of this month, and that moment is finally at hand. WWE Network apps are now available in the US for almost every major platform under the sun, including Android, Apple TV, iOS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Roku players, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. In all cases, you'll pay $10 per month to stream live wrestling events as well as beyond-the-ring content like documentaries and classic matches. The app also serves as a second screen companion when you're watching live TV shows. International grappling fans will have to remain patient, however -- WWE Network won't reach other countries until late 2014 or early 2015.
With Google's latest update to Play Services, it shouldn't be long before the Chromecast section of its app store gets a little more lively. Now that the Android SDK has support for the HDMI dongle baked in, developers can add the functionality to virtually any app they want, at-will. Google opened access to the streaming stick's inner workings earlier this month, but, as Phandroid tells it, the search giant asked devs to hold onto their releases until the public's phones and tablets had the framework, too. Now that it's out, swaths of cast-capable apps could start hitting the Play store relatively quickly. It may have taken longer than some expected, but Google's plan to embed the casting tech across an array of devices has finally come to fruition -- and the users stand to reap the rewards.
Source: Android Developers (G+)
Android-toting TV viewers in the UK won't have to worry about what hardware they use to catch up on their favorite shows. Sky has just launched a new Now TV beta that runs on most devices using Android 4.0 or higher, including tablets like the Nexus 7. It also introduces support for the £5 Entertainment Month Pass, which offers 10 live channels that include Comedy Central and Sky1. You can still use the earlier Now TV app if you're running an older Android version, but don't count on the software hanging around -- it'll be phased out later this year.
Jealous of your friends' phones packing NVIDIA chips and the access to TegraZone that they enjoy? You need not be any longer,
Via: Android Community
25/01/2014 - SoundHound's music search app turns its focus to the Grammys with real-time updates and more
Awards nights tend to give rise to slews of app tie-ins, and for this year's Grammys, SoundHound's tossing its hat in the ring. In addition to being able to recognize songs by "listening" to them, the refreshed app comes with a dedicated page for the event that currently lists performers and nominees. Anyone who clicks SoundHound's orange button during the live broadcast on Sunday night, though, will see real-time info, the list of winners and relevant Twitter posts instead. Chances are, music lovers don't exactly need SoundHound to identify "Just Give Me A Reason" and other nominated songs. Those who find these special features useful, however, can download the app from the source links below.
The Beats empire has officially expanded beyond its humble headphone roots. In just a few hours Beats Music will officially launch, the latest contestant for your streaming music dollar. Of course, the market for such services is already pretty crowded. Between Spotify, Google Play and Rdio (just to name a few) one might wonder "why bother?" Well, the company thinks there's plenty of fish in the sea who haven't jumped aboard the music subscription bandwagon just yet. While we're sure execs are hoping to convert a few listeners along the way, they're more concerned with broadening the pool of customers. After two years of plugging away, with a little help from Trent Reznor and its MOG acquisition, Beats feels it has something unique to offer; something built around curation, emotion and a personalized user experience. It all sounds good in theory, but the real question is whether or not the reality lives up to the promise. As usual, the answer is complicated and it awaits you after the break.?
After all the time we've spent with Oculus VR's latest Crystal Cove prototype this week -- our first Best of CES award winner! -- you might think we're all VR'd out. You'd be wrong, and when the folks at GameFace Labs offered us a chance to check out their Android-based, standalone VR headset, we jumped at the chance.
The Mark IV model of GFL's unnamed headset is a 3D-printed proof of concept, and it serves that goal fantastically. We put on the headset, were handed a paired Bluetooth gamepad (Sony's DualShock 3), and were instantly transported to a lower-res version of the Tuscany demo we've seen running previously on the Rift. Only there's one major difference here: no wires.%Gallery-slideshow160774%
Most of the equipment we get from our telecom providers is nothing to get excited about, but we might make an exception for Netgear's NeoMediacast. The Android-based HDMI dongle lets providers both offer their own services and support third-party apps without having to build their own set-top boxes or go the traditional TV route. Your cable company could let you stream your favorite shows on a bedroom TV, for instance, while making it easy to check social networks or play your local media library. The NeoMediacast is also relatively futureproof with 802.11ac WiFi, Miracast media sharing and support for both microSD and USB storage. Carriers and service operators can start using Netgear's device in the first half of this year, although they'll likely need to customize its software before it reaches your home.
Filed under: HD
28/12/2013 - GTA Online starts pushing user-created missions, mobile updates arrive for San Andreas and Chinatown Wars
Ready for a slew of Grand Theft Auto updates? We sure hope so. First up, developer Rockstar Games has put its stamp of approval on ten of the GTA Online community's million-plus custom-match submissions. Because these races and deathmatches -- including a NASCAR-style circuit atop a skyscraper and a melee-weapon prison-yard fight -- are now Rockstar Verified, they're available on both PS3 and Xbox 360, regardless of which platform they originated from. If your magnum opus didn't make the first cut, relax: The outfit says there's more verified missions coming ahead of the multiplayer heists and single player DLC due next year.
If you fancy mobile mayhem however, GTA: San Andreas' Grove Street Families arrived on Android late last week. Check the reviews before clicking that buy button though,
Android users don't have to look blankly at their iPad- and Xbox-using friends whenever they talk about Catfish anymore, now that the MTV app has arrived on Google Play. It offers on-demand streaming of recent episodes from select series, but only for subscribers of participating cable providers. The list of cable companies is quite lengthy (it includes AT&T U-Verse, Time Warner and Verizon FiOS, among others) but it's missing some notable ones like DISH, at least for now. Unlucky folks who can't access full episodes can always watch trailers and look at companion content for MTV Shows, including polls and behind-the-scene tidbits. Or, you know, they can look for their video fix elsewhere instead -- some of those other sources even come with actual music videos.
Via: Android Community
Source: Google Play
If ever a product needed to work harder to justify its price tag, it'd be Samsung's new $299 HomeSync box. Fortunately, the manufacturer seems to be self-aware enough to make some changes: the Android-powered storage, streaming and mirroring hub will soon offer full support for Jelly Bean phones and tablets even if they're outside of the Galaxy stable. This should allow an average household with numerous, diversely-branded devices to store and share their photos, music and videos using the HomeSync's 1TB "personal cloud," while also using their handsets as remote controls and as sources for mirroring via the box's HDMI input. As things stand, however, only a handful of non-Samsung phones, like the Sony Xperia Z and HTC One, are listed as compatible over at the Google Play store, and it could be a while before the HomeSync becomes truly brand-agnostic. In the meantime, there are plenty of other mobile-friendly NAS solutions around that are worth a look.
15/12/2013 - Netflix for Android update brings support for individual profiles and queues, better search
Netflix rolled out support for multiple individual streaming profiles within a single account a few months ago, but until now its Android app has been among the platforms that still didn't recognize them. The new version 3.1.0 update rolling out tonight changes that, finally letting people filter out queues and suggestions from others using the same account like family members, significant others or annoying roommates. In our use it doesn't pop up the profile switcher by default, but it's accessible after selecting the current profile under the slide-out menu from the left (shown after the break). According to the changelog this new version also brings an enhanced search, with support for people and related titles. The latest version of the app should be available on Google Play now, but you'll still have to hit YouTube for the latest House of Cards trailer.
Source: Netflix (Google Play)
HBO Go, Songza and Pandora are about to get more company on Chromecast, according to a Gigaom interview with Google's VP of product management Mario Queiroz where he stated additional waves of apps are coming soon. A public release for the Chromecast SDK -- which should allow developers to build and release their own apps at will -- won't happen until next year,
Via: Android Police
Borderlands 2 is attempting the Herculean task of exciting people about QR codes. With its new LootTheWorld mobile app, Gearbox Software (Borderlands, Brothers in Arms and, er, Aliens: Colonial Marine) is turning any barcode or QR square into in-game gear like acid-burst armor or a flame-spewing sniper rifle with a 12x-zoom scope.
Whether you bought the game last year or just downloaded it for free from the PlayStation Store, this app could be one of the more useful mobile companions on your phone. Perhaps best of all, it's free and available right now from iTunes and Google Play. We've reached out to Gearbox for info on how the loot is determined and will update this post if we hear back. You should hurry along though, Mercenary Day is almost upon us.
So far, the ability to wirelessly stream the display of an Android phone or tablet to your TV has been limited to solutions like Miracast, but information spotted by Cyanogen Inc. cofounder Koushik Dutta suggests that will change soon. Dutta, who has been working on a similar feature (embedded after the break) for CyanogenMod 11 with AirPlay support, posted notes from the Android 4.4.1 patches showing APIs related to the capture of video output from the device. Currently mirroring from a Chrome browser tab on a PC to Google's HDMI dongle works, but so far on mobile devices it's been locked down to just supported apps. Unfortunately, what he's seeing also indicates this API will keep things locked down to approved devices, so setting up receivers for other hardware like an Apple TV or Roku might not work. Between this feature, the Cast SDK that we hope will open up access to more developers and services, Chromecast support for the platform formerly known as Google TV and rumors of a Nexus TV set-top box, our list of most-anticipated TV announcements from Google is starting to get full.
Source: Koushik Dutta (G+)
We haven't even seen the latest iteration of Google TV yet -- oops, sorry, that's "Android with Google services for TV" these days -- but a new rumor from The Information's Amir Efrati points to a Nexus-branded set-top box directly from Google in the first half of 2014. Previous rumors have noted TV-connected hardware focused on videoconferencing and gaming, and this new rumor also focuses on the latter, indicating that at this stage it runs Android game apps with a touchscreen controller, but doesn't carry live TV. The suggestion is that an "aggressively priced" gaming box (that also plays streaming internet video and is controlled by phone or tablet) would give Google the advertising foothold it's looking for on your family's TV screen. The $35 Chromecast dongle has been well received and achieves many of those goals, but we'd like to see what Google could do to separate itself from competitors like Apple TV and Roku, not to mention the next-gen consoles from Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony.
Source: The Information (subscription)
HiSense continues its dedication to Google as an operating system with a slew of new hardware powered by Android 4.2.2 that features Google services for TV (the product formerly known as Google TV). The first is its new line of H6 Smart TVs powered by Marvell's latest ARMADA 1500 PLUS HD Media processor, an upgraded over last year's chip that powered many of the first ARM Google TV devices. Available in 40-inch, 50-inch and 55-inch sizes, the televisions come equipped with the company's Social TV and Cloud Services app, a 120Hz refresh rate, Energy Star 6.0 qualifications, 1GB RAM and 8GB ROM. The remote has 30 keys, a built-in air mouse with IQQI Smart Input and voice search functionality. For those who already have a TV but want the same services, HiSense also revealed the Pulse PRO set-top box, which has many of the same features as the H6 but, like the first generation Pulse, can be hooked up to any television set. Other features of the Pulse PRO include Netflix, Vudu HD movies, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Google Play, HDMI, IR, DLNA, WiFi, Bluetooth, USB and Ethernet. We're not sure of pricing and availability just yet, and there are no pictures of the new hardware either.
When we reviewed the GameStick Android console, one of our main concerns was how the library of titles on offer would pan out over time. Today, it's just been announced that Ubisoft will be bringing its Prince of Persia franchise to the platform. Specifically The Shadow and the Flame. This is good news for GameStick owners, and represents the first major developer to embrace the platform, though there's no official release date just yet. PlayJam (the company behind GameStick) advises that there are even more big name game houses set to get onboard too. Of course, there's still plenty of love for the indie side of things, but for those that like to ride both sides of the gaming tracks, things are looking up.
Now that British Android users finally have access to TV shows on the Play Store, Google's finally starting to make good on its promise to deliver award-winning content. Following its deal in the US, the search giant has today made Game of Thrones and other popular HBO shows like Boardwalk Empire, True Blood and Girls, available on the UK store. While Sky and Tesco's VOD service Blinkbox beat all other UK players to the punch by offering Game of Thrones TV broadcasts and streams respectively, Google will enjoy the fact it has access to the first three seasons of the show ahead of Apple. For Game of Thrones, you'll pay £18.49 (around $30) for each season or £1.89 (around $3) for individual episodes, with other shows coming in slightly cheaper. Google says classic HBO series like The Wire and The Sopranos will soon be available, letting Android smartphone, tablet and set-top box owners access episodes from early next year.
Via: The Guardian
Source: Google Play Store
It took a while, but Virgin Media has finally brought its TV Anywhere service to Android. Already available on the iPhone and iPad for more than a year, the free app comes to Android smartphones and tablets with nine new UK TV channels including Alibi, Dave, Drama, Good Food, Home, Really, Watch, Yesterday and CBS Reality. That takes the total number of mobile channels up to 67, with up to 90 available online. Virgin Media boasts it now offers more choice than rival service Sky Go, but like it's competitor, some might be frustrated by the patchy support for Android devices. Although you'll find support for Samsung's Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note, HTC One, Sony Xperia Tablet Z and Google's Nexus tablets, you might experience issues if your device is running Android 4.4 KitKat. However, that shouldn't stop you connecting the app to your TiVo box to manage your recordings and plan your future viewing. While you won't be able to install it on your Nexus 5 just yet, Virgin says more Android devices will join the line-up "in the very near future."
Source: TV Anywhere (Google Play)
Google has lately taken to highlighting tablet-native Android apps; it only makes sense that the company would devote the same kind of love to Chromecast owners. Accordingly, the search firm has just posted a Chromecast section in Google Play for those browsing from their Android devices. The selection is thin at the moment -- you'll find only Google's media apps, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Netflix and Pandora. Still, the section should be a handy one-stop shop for anyone eager to stream video on their TV.
Source: 9to5 Google