Electricpig » TVs & Home Cinema http://www.electricpig.co.uk The only tech you need Thu, 22 Nov 2012 12:13:35 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Apple eyes up live HD broadcasting tech: Apple TV 2.0 inbound? http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/18/apple-eyes-up-live-hd-broadcasting-tech-apple-tv-2-0-inbound/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/18/apple-eyes-up-live-hd-broadcasting-tech-apple-tv-2-0-inbound/#comments Thu, 18 Oct 2012 09:48:10 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=458996

That Apple TV box of yours… It’s very nice, but don’t you wish it did a bit more? Apple’s mucked about with live-streaming events in the past, but now it’s poised to buy a company with tech built to do just that. Is Apple TV finally about to cease being just a ‘hobby’?

Color, which is an iOS and Android app that lets users share video and images across various social networks, is more than just a one-trick pony. According to reports, it’s developed a new tech that allows for 1080p HD streaming without sucking up very much bandwidth. And Apple’s interested.

Word has it that the Cupertino company is in talks to buy Color and all the juicy tech therein. To us, this can only mean one thing: Apple wants to take Apple TV more seriously, and intends to bring live-streamed broadcasts to the box on a regular basis, delivered over WiFi.

Apple TV’s live 3am broadcast

There’ve been plenty of rumours in the past about Apple engaging in talks with content providers such as sports broadcasters, but if it does end up owning some top-flight HD broadcasting tech then chances are things are set to ramp up.

Keep an eye on that little black box – it could be about to impress.

Via Phone Arena

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Apple TV software update: Is the HD TV set dead in the water? http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/09/25/apple-tv-software-update-is-the-hd-tv-set-dead-in-the-water/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/09/25/apple-tv-software-update-is-the-hd-tv-set-dead-in-the-water/#comments Tue, 25 Sep 2012 09:26:09 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=422794

Apple’s TV box has, over the past few years, transformed itself from novelty side-project to amazingly useful living room essential. A new software update has just rolled out to show the diminutive puck some new tricks, but is it the death knell for the oft-rumoured Apple TV set?

The update brings a raft of new features, but there are a few headline additions. Firstly, the box now has support for shared Photo Streams, making picture sharing a more communal affair.

Is this the Apple TV set?

Then there’s AirPlay, which lets you fling your music to nearby AirPlay-enabled speakers. This is top news, as it strengthens the argument for Apple TV as a genuine media hub. Lastly, Apple’s brought in support for saving and switching between multiple iTunes accounts, which will be music to the ears of anyone in a house share or multiple iPod owning household.

All very nice, but the big question is: what’s happened to the Apple-branded HD TV set? The endless, incessant rumours have seemed to have all come to nought, and now they’ve all quietened down. There’s two possibilities here.

The first is that Apple did think about making such a set, but has decided against it. The second is that the company has indeed ‘doubled down on security’ as CEO Tim Cook mentioned, and that the Apple TV set is coming soon. Maybe even with the rumoured iPad Mini as a remote?

Either way, the continuing growth of the Apple TV box is a strong sign that it’s here to stay.

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Apple TV eyes up cable deals: Sky set to join the party? http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/08/16/apple-tv-eyes-up-cable-deals-sky-set-to-join-the-party/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/08/16/apple-tv-eyes-up-cable-deals-sky-set-to-join-the-party/#comments Thu, 16 Aug 2012 09:44:48 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=346604

Where’s this massive HDTV from Apple, then? We’ve been waiting for the company to lift the lid on its rumoured display for a while now, but has it just completely changed its plans? The word is that getting more partners on board is now the main focus. Will Sky be among them?

According to the WSJ, which is usually pretty reliable when it comes to Apple news, the company is looking to court US cable suppliers to bump up the number of services that the current Apple TV box can provide.

Is this the Apple TV set?

While these are unlikely to be full services, Apple could well be looking to reproduce some of the success that the Xbox 360 has enjoyed in the field. Microsoft’s console has Verizon and Comcast apps in the US and Sky Go access here in the UK.

If this pans out, it’s not unreasonable to say that the Apple TV box could end up playing host to some kind of Sky offering, whether that means the full Sky Go gamut or just the Now TV streaming app. Either way, if a full HD Apple TV set is in the works, it’ll need to launch with a market-matching level of content on offer right out of the box.

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Sky+ app update finally lets us use an iPad as a remote control http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/08/15/sky-app-update-finally-lets-us-use-an-ipad-as-a-remote-control/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/08/15/sky-app-update-finally-lets-us-use-an-ipad-as-a-remote-control/#comments Wed, 15 Aug 2012 08:45:57 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=344469

The Sky+ app has always been a real godsend for anyone who’s forgotten to schedule that unmissable episode to record, but it’s just had an update that – for iPad owners at least – will see it evolve into something properly amazing…

The free Sky+ app for iPad has just today been gifted the power to control your Sky+ HD box, which means that you’ll still be able to scour the listings from your sofa, should you lose the proper remote.

Sky’s TV Product Director Luke Bradley Jones says that the company is “taking the Sky+ experience one step further, handing our customers even more control over their planner – not to mention being able to use the app to change  channel and play, pause and rewind their favourite TV.”

Sky launches non-stop Bond channel

But, tantalisingly, Bradley Jones says that this is “just the start,” suggesting that the company will be “following it up with a series of further enhancements later this year.” We really hope that means that the iPhone and Android versions of the app will be gifted the same remote controlling powers.

The Sky+ iPad app update should roll out today.

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Sky Movies 007 HD: Non-stop Bondathon arrives in time for winter http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/08/07/sky-movies-007-hd-non-stop-bondathon-arrives-in-time-for-winter/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/08/07/sky-movies-007-hd-non-stop-bondathon-arrives-in-time-for-winter/#comments Tue, 07 Aug 2012 09:15:48 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=328447

Sky’s a wee bit excited about the fact that it’s managed to wrangle the James Bond license away from ITV. So excited, in fact, that it’s decided to launch a brand new channel and pack it to the rafters with the world’s favourite secret agent. Time to get your supplies in – we’re all in for a movie marathon.

To celebrate the 50th year of Bond’s cinematic outings (Dr No was released on 5th October 1962), alongside the impending release of Skyfall, Sky is prepping Sky Movies 007 HD, a channel that’ll exclusively show the titular agent’s escapades.

Throughout October, Sky customers will be able to watch the ever-changing face of Bond saunter through 22 official and 2 non-official missions on the channel itself, while Anytime Plus, Sky Go and Now TV users will be able to pick and choose on demand.

Now TV’s secret future revealed

Director of Sky Movies Ian Lewis says that the offering will show “the entire catalogue of films and loads of extra material.” Time to stock up on movie-watching supplies (popcorn, vodka martinis, etc). And perhaps some shades to shield you from Roger Moore’s leathery high definition face.

Sky Movies 007 HD will launch on 5 October. For Queen and country, James. To get you in the mood, here’s the latest Skyfall trailer:

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Win a Samsung TV from Argos worth £479.99! http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/08/06/win-a-samsung-tv-from-argos-worth-479-99/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/08/06/win-a-samsung-tv-from-argos-worth-479-99/#comments Mon, 06 Aug 2012 15:12:47 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=314264

Fair bit of sport on TV at the moment, isn’t there? Whether you’re enthralled by it or not, between that and the unpredictable British summer there’s never been a better time to upgrade your home viewing situation. Luckily, we’re offering you the chance to do just that.

Fancy winning a 32-inch Samsung Smart LED TV? Read on to find out how…

Electricpig has partnered with Argos to provide you with this exclusive prize, a Samsung EH5300 32-inch Full HD Freeview HD Smart LED TV.

This prize has been supplied by ArgosVisit Argos for a Panasonic TV, or click here for a Sony Smart TV.

All you need to do to enter is follow the steps below to wow us with your answer to the following question:

How to enter:

Step 1

Think up a brilliant answer to the following:

“I should win a Samsung 32-inch LED Smart TV from Argos because….”

We want to be impressed, so be creative folks! Make us laugh, make us cry, blow our minds – emote!

Step 2

This bit is important, as your entry will only be valid if you follow the rules. So pay close attention peeps.

1. Write the reason you should win in our comments section below, BUT DON’T POST IT JUST YET…

2. Before you post your reason make sure you sign in using your FACEBOOK or TWITTER login, THEN…

3. Once you’re logged in, tick the little icon in the bottom left that says Share on Facebook/Twitter – when a little green tick appears on the icon you know it’s worked. THEN…

4. Hit the POST button and you’re done!

5. We’ll be contacting the winner via Facebook message or Twitter direct message, so make sure you keep an eye on your inbox, and that you can receive messages from those you aren’t following (@electricpig will be the handle contacting you).

While you’re in the mood why not visit Electricpig on Facebook and hit the LIKE button.

Competition closing date: Sunday 2 September 2012
Any entries after the closing date are not valid.

Argos Ts & Cs:

  • Delivery will be within 28 days of Argos receiving the winner’s address, and the competition prize may vary at the discretion of Argos
  • The prize as described will be supplied direct from Argos, and there is no cash alternative
  • This competition is open to UK residents only.

 

 

Competition rules
Terms and conditions

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Now TV streaming boxes, HD and price changes: The secret future of Sky’s Netflix rival http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/07/16/now-tv-hd-streaming-boxes-and-price-changes-the-secret-future-of-skys-netflix-rival/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/07/16/now-tv-hd-streaming-boxes-and-price-changes-the-secret-future-of-skys-netflix-rival/#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2012 15:40:30 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=304056

This morning, Sky was very pleased to announce the arrival of Now TV, its online movie streaming service that aims to soak up some of the UK market that currently doesn’t want to lock into a Sky contract, but does want to watch a good movie.

But with some platforms not-yet supported, HD only available on the Xbox and TV and sports still to come, is this more of a soft launch? After a one-on-one with Simon Creasy, Director of Now TV, we’d say yes. Moreover, though, we can say what’s on the cards for the near future and beyond…

HD streaming

The talk of the launch was that Sky’s not yet managed to bring HD streaming to Now TV. When we spoke to Netflix earlier this year, the company’s cloud architect and streaming guru Adrian Cockroft said that Netflix’ adaptive bitrate tech (that allows HD at the top end) was the result of years of constant development. According to Creasy, Sky’s not quite there yet – but HD is coming:

“With the Xbox, we’re pushing to get 720p, and we’ll continue to evolve. A lot of it is either rights or technology, protection, etc. It’s something we’re working on, it’s something we’re developing. There are ongoing talks with both studios and the platforms themselves.”

How Netflix works

“What we’ve focussed on to start off with is that the experience is as uninterrupted as it can be. We’ve been working really hard on the adaptive bitrate to make sure that the streaming is as good as possible. That’s the first point. When we come to the main TV, we know it’s really important.”

A cheap, dedicated streaming box

Connecting through a console is all well and good if you’ve got one, but what about those untapped customers without? Sky’s breaking onto the inexpensive Roku box, but that got us wondering: are there plans for Sky to launch its own cheap, puck-like wireless streaming box? Quite possibly…

“We want to be on as many devices as we can and get onto that main TV as best we can,” says Creasy. “We’re working on getting onto the Roku box as a first pass.” But it doesn’t stop there.

“If that Roku or Apple TV approach is a low-cost way to getting people online then that’s great. At its heart it’s a service that can use devices you’ve already got – we don’t expect people to have to go out and buy new equipment.

“But,” – and it is a big ‘but’ as far as we’re concerned – “if we find that there’s a growing demand for these low cost ways to get [Now TV] onto your TV, then we’ll definitely look at that as well.”

An inexpensive Sky-branded Now TV box? Seems like a no-brainer for non-Sky customers without consoles.

A change in pricing

At launch, Now TV will set you back £15 per month for the full pass, which will offer you unlimited streaming. One thing that’s been sort of lost in the hyperbole, though, is the fact that when TV and Sports streaming arrives, it won’t be covered by that cost.

“We want to stick to a flexible, no contract access,” said Creasy, diplomatically. “We’re not ready to talk about the cost for the Sports and Entertainment packages yet, but the Sky Movies package will stay as the Sky Movies package. It won’t be affected by the Sports or Entertainment package. If you just want movies, you just come in and get movies.”

In other words, if expect Sky Sports and Entertainment packages to fetch a similar monthly price each.

Cross-platform bookmarking

On Netflix, when you stop watching a movie or show on a console and pick it up on your phone or tablet, it remembers where you were. Now TV? Not so smart. Or not yet, anyway.

“As of launch there isn’t bookmarking, but there will be very very soon,” Creasy confirmed to us. “What we’re launching is very much a core service, and we want to get feedback about what’s important. We think bookmarking is very important, so we’re working to roll that out in [a number of weeks]. We’ve got quite a few features that we’re thinking about adding.”

Now TV goes social

He’s not lying about having “quite a few features” in the pipeline. From reading between the lines, what’s launching tomorrow is the bare bones of what Now TV is going to become. For example, it’s on the brink of getting a whole lot more social:

“At the moment you can’t log in with Facebook Connect, but as we develop over time we may make [Now TV] more social. There’s no Zeebox interaction at the moment but we have that in our armory and, if that’s what we hear back from consumers that they want, to make it more social, then we’ll make it more social.”

A lot of what Creasy told us alluded to consumer feedback taking a starring roll in shaping Now TV. Want to see it bend to your will? Start using and start shouting about it. “Because we’re solely online,” Creasy concluded, “we can adapt and develop really quickly.”

From this morning: Now TV launches

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Win yourself 40-inch Samsung LED Smart TV! http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/07/12/win-yourself-40-inch-samsung-led-smart-tv/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/07/12/win-yourself-40-inch-samsung-led-smart-tv/#comments Thu, 12 Jul 2012 11:18:44 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=301166

This weather’s a bit off, isn’t it? One minute it’s about a billion degrees, and then along comes a month’s worth of rain inside of half an hour. And it’s just that on repeat. Our advice? You’re best off indoors. If only you had a massive telly to keep you occupied…

We’ve teamed up with Currys, who have every type of set going; from LCDs to Smart TVs. Fancy winning yourself a new top of the line internet TV from Samsung? All you have to do is tell us why you deserve this epic slice of nice in your living room.

Enter our competition and you could find yourself in ownership of a Samsung Series 5 UE40ES5500 LED TV, capable of beaming you sports, movies and anything in-between in up to glorious 1080p Full HD resolution, and serving up catch-up content on demand. It’s a prize worth a whopping £529.

To enter, just click the super-sized link below:

 

Enter now!

- Click here for a chance of winning

 

 

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YouView launching this month, box priced high at £300 http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/07/04/youview-launching-this-month-box-priced-high-at-300/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/07/04/youview-launching-this-month-box-priced-high-at-300/#comments Wed, 04 Jul 2012 10:17:07 +0000 Joe Svetlik http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=295502 Finally. YouView – the service that brings together on-demand shows from the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4, as well as regular Freeview – will launch later this month, two years later than expected.

The bad news? The set-top box will set you back a wallet-denting £300. That’s way too high in our opinion, read on to find out why.

Lord ‘Siralun’ Sugar unveiled the box at an event in London this morning. The service is a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel Five, BT, TalkTalk, and Arquiva. You won’t need a subscription to watch on-demand shows and movies, but the standard Humax set-top box will cost you a not at all cheap £300. Though subsidised versions will go on sale later in the year, if you choose to take out a broadband package with TalkTalk or BT.

The service was originally supposed to launch in 2010, but was beset by delays.

Considering it’s supposed to be a more affordable rival to Sky, I think £300 is taking the biscuit somewhat. Set-top boxes are ridiculously cheap nowadays, so for £300 I’d expect all the bells and whistles. Undoubtedly the price will come down, with Lord Sugar predicting the box will cost £99 in a couple of years, but that’s no good to us now. In fact, it just makes us even less likely to hand over 300 notes.

Lord Sugar also admitted the current offering is a “carcass of the real experience,” with a “minimum amount of features” at launch, according to TechRadar.

“There are a minimum amount of features on board at the moment but what will happen in the next few years [we] will see many more providers come on board,” the bearded one said.

Not the most auspicious of starts, especially considering how long we’ve been kept waiting. Here’s hoping the prices come down and more features see the light of day.

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Google Nexus Q: Erm… Did Google TV just die? http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/06/28/google-nexus-q-erm-did-google-tv-just-die/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/06/28/google-nexus-q-erm-did-google-tv-just-die/#comments Thu, 28 Jun 2012 14:43:20 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=291295

Darth Vader’s sperm. That’s the best description of Google’s Nexus Q media streamer that I’ve yet seen. It’s an odd, spherical black hole with a tail made of output cables, so the name seems to fit. But the Marmite looks aren’t what’s interesting here; what’s interesting is that it’s come directly out of Google’s HQ. And that it’s a means to throw your Android phone or tablet’s music, games and video onto your TV and through your speakers.

In other words, it’s Google TV. But where does that leave Google TV?

Another false start

This week Sony announced that it was bringing its brand new Google TV box to the UK. Google TV has been a long time coming, and this new hardware March seemed like it was going to signal a point where Google’s Smart TV service was actually going to make a dent in our living rooms.

But the hardware itself is hardly inspiring, and the remote that comes with it looks like someone bashed a Galaxy S3 into the back of a calculator at terminal velocity. All in all: it’s not the sexiest thing we’ve ever seen.

Nexus 7: Google just got it right

Add to that the fact that it costs vastly more than the comparable Apple TV, and there’s little there to suggest that Google TV is coming back with a vengeance. But still, we’ve been lead to believe that the service is about to make it big with the help of top-tier partners.

Only, now it doesn’t look like that’s the case at all.

Nexus Q-Ball

Last night, Google’s keynote presentation at its I/O Developer conference unveiled not only Android 4.1 and the Nexus 7 tablet, but the Nexus Q – the streamer-come-tadpole that wants to play nice with both Android and your home cinema kit.

Connect the Nexus Q to your speakers and/or TV, hook it up to your WiFi and you’ll be able to throw content from your Android devices to it – either from the cloud or from your own library.

If that video shows nothing else, it’s that Google’s very proud of the Nexus Q. And perhaps it should be – it is, after all, the company’s first ever piece of home-grown consumer hardware.

But the company seems noticeably more proud of the Q than it ever has been about Google TV. Again, it probably should be, because it occurs to me that the Nexus Q is the innovative home streaming solution that Google TV should always have been.

Android 4.1 official: And it’s oh-so sexy

Answer me this: Would you rather buy a Google TV set-top box, where you have to navigate through with a clunky, extra remote and hope for developers to build apps specifically for the TV platform, or would you rather just beam everything from your phone/tablet, and have the ability to control everything using that device’s touchscreen?

To me, that answer’s obvious.

The price is wrong

At the moment, the only stumbling block here is price. Whereas Google’s basically giving away the Nexus 7 tablet in packs of cereal, the Nexus Q is a far more wallet-destroying $299 (£192). Again, that puts it well out of the kind of range that would worry the Apple TV, but the premise is sound and prices for new shiny things always decreases.

If Google can iron out whatever it is that’s making the Nexus Q such a luxury item and get the price to a magic £99, though… Well, then not only will Apple TV be worried but, for anyone with an Android device, there’ll be sod all point in buying into Google TV.

Yes, there’s the slight issue that streaming a whole movie will suck the battery life out of your device, but given that we’re talking about home use, it doesn’t seem like much of an insurmountable problem.

The point is this: if Netflix, YouTube, games, social networks and all your music can make it into your TV wirelessly and elegantly, that’s by far the best implementation of what Google TV (which is arguably becoming an outdated model) is trying to achieve. It makes it redundant.

And I think Google knows that. It’s obvious where its time, money and development efforts now lie, and Google TV as a standalone brand doesn’t seem to be it.

The Nexus Q is a great way for Google to help people unleash extra benefits from owning Android products, but it’s more than that: it’s surely the death knell for Google TV.

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