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Is the new Roamio TiVo DVR for Cord Cutters?

TiVo has released a new DVR, the Roamio, that integrates traditional off-air programming guides as well as some popular services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus.

stack of cashDue to the fact that TiVo requires a 1 year commitment at 14.95/month or $179.40 plus 49.99 purchase price plus tax you’re at $250.00…and we’re about done here.  But wait, you can add the TiVo Stream service at $129.99 and be able to watch your programming anywhere for a total investment of ~$400. Kicking out Cable is supposed to be about saving money.

TiVo and Cord Cutters are somewhat incompatible in my opinion.  Channel Master, we’re nodding at you!  Now, we’re done here.




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Set Top Box Comparision: Which one is best and why

The search for the best STB has been an ongoing saga since my first foray into streaming content to TV 7 or 8 years ago when I was introduced to the XBMC (XBox Media Center) on XBox.  Time and experimentation with many different streaming servers and set-top-boxes, test subjects (my kids), and content formats has guided my media center to what it is today.  My current requirements for STB’s are;

•    Has a Netflix interface that doesn’t suck
•    Plays my content off a server in the house, either via SMB shares, or a standards based streaming service.
•    Also plays Amazon streaming content (this is a new requirement)

Over the years I have bought and used the following platforms:
•    XBMC on XBox (3x)
•    Roku 1
•    EGreat M34A (Popcorn hour knock-off)
•    Viewsonic MP71
•    Viewsonic MP75
•    Seagate FreeAgent HD Theater+
•    Roku 3 XS
•    Apple TV

•    Netflix interface that doesn’t suck is completely subjective, but of the devices listed above, the only platforms that meet this requirement are the ROKU devices, or the Apple TV. All the other devices listed above use the original lame linear GUI that was originally on the roku 1.0 shipping version, sucked, didn’t last long.
•    Standards based streaming service means standards based, such as UPnP or DNLA, not Plex or iTunes.
Below I will detail positive (if any) aspects of the device and (negative) why it is eliminated as a contender:

XBMC on XBox (three times)
Limitation was the XBox hardware itself, limited to MPEG2 format, meant stored files took up 3.5 to 4 times as much space as modern MP4 encoded files. I went through 3 of these, they both perished (hardware), probably acquiring them used from gamestop for $50 didn’t help. I do not know if the software platform evolved into something useful after I gave up the platform. At the time it had no Netflix APP.

Roku 1
Great Platform, I immediately replaced mine when it died a year or so ago with the roku 3 XS (see below). I do not know if this hardware got orphaned by software dev after I discarded it. At the time it had no usable way to view stream local content.

EGreat M34A (PopcornHour knock off)
This box was pretty good for what I wanted it for, replacing a dead xbox at one tenth the size, to sit beside a netflix only roku1. This device plays local content via SMB or UPnP streaming service. No netflix in the configuration I was using. Software updates were manual and confusing, considering that they were stolen from Popcorn hour. I never risked bricking my box so I don’t know if netflix streaming ever became a feature. Add’l note: when enabling “Stream to PS3″ in the cloud GUI of my Pogo plug appliance, this appliance showed up in this device as a LAN UPnP server, even though there are no details or configuration options available in the PogoPlug interface.
Has USB and SATA ports and easily plays locally attached storage without internet connectivity (This can be useful when taking modern children to the country for vacations to torture them with “nature” which they hate. at the end of the day you can pull out TV content and make it work anywhere you have a screen)

Viewsonic MP71
I actually ordered this by mistake, It does not have Netflix capabilities, but I ran it for a day or two to test it out. It had a good SMB client, and supposedly UPnP, though at the time I was doing the testing I had not yet adopted a streaming server, so I did not test that.

Viewsonic MP75
After RMA’ing the MP71, I received the MP75, and was sad to find out that the SMB client was flawed and did not work as well as the cheaper version the MP71, after several updates, the SMB client upgraded to flaky and unreliable from non-extistant. it was this box that got me into streaming servers (TVersity and Twonkey, but that is another blog post). This box played/still plays netflix via one of the lamer interfaces available, also when switching between the local content features of the box and netflix it essentially has to reboot into the other mode, not cool. Has USB port and easily plays locally attached storage without internet connectivity (see above on “nature holiday”).

Seagate Freeagent HD Theater+
This box can do Netflix, lame-ishly, UPnP/DNLA off of a content server and SMB, it does all of these things OK, but not great. Has USB port and easily plays locally attached storage without internet connectivity (see above on “nature holiday”).

Roku 3 XS
I have had the ROKU3 XS for a while, and it has a rocking good netflix interface, can play amazon content, but until recently could only do local content via PLEX, arguably the worst streaming server ever, as well as not being UPnP/DNLA standards based. Until recently it seemed that I would continue to need to have a ROKU next to a STB that could display local content on every TV.  Has USB port but can’t do beans if not online, do not take this box on “nature vacation”.

Apple TV
After overcoming my distaste for having to log the device into itunes just to turn it on, then log it into netflix for the only application I was going to use on it… Now why did I need to log into itunes?, I used the hell out of this platform, this has the best ever, hands down best, interface for Netflix. The suggestions about “if you liked this, you might like this” type of stuff, so expertly sucked me into series after series of awesome, but obscure watching. Unfortunately this platform has 2 major downfalls, to view local content, you have to be running a Virus on a LAN PC called iTunes, and there is no amazon app, possibly because that would allow a competitor to deliver content to this platform. I learned from my Brother in law that you can work around this by putting the amazon streaming app on an iPad/pod/phone and using airplay to redirect the output… Umm no thanks, not adding another device and convoluted data path to the content flow.

This appliance has no expansion ports, do not take this box on “nature vacation”. It also has the unfortunate habit of sitting contentedly by itself for days on end with no user input and a fast internet connection, only to decide it needs to do a massive upgrade after you have been out of town for several days and just want to sit down and watch some Dr Who episodes. To compound this issue, it doesn’t say/display that it is busy downloading/upgrading, it just performs very poorly, streams choppy video, problems persist through several reboots, with no indication that an upgrade is happening… until you go to the settings -> upgrades -> and try to initiate an upgrade manually, then it shows the status of the one already in progress. What in the world was doing for the last 96 hours with my high-speed connection I have no idea, but it wasn’t upgrading.   Even Bill Gates figured out to have PCs check for activity at 1:30am and if no activity, do upgrades.

Extra: FireTV
Although I have never hands-on tested this box, recently, I saw the announcements that Amazon was coming out with the Fire TV, but I haven’t bought one yet, mainly due to the early reviews indicating that all content would be cloud based, except that if you wanted to view local content, your option was Plex or Plex (see above for my opinion of Plex). Having read the reviews, this looked about equal to ROKU, and why change from the limited platform you know to the limited platform you don’t know?

So, due to my recent life change situation, moving from a 3000sf house with a basement and attic to a 1500sf apartment, I have made some changes. As I finished loading the truck last weekend, I shut down my media server for the last time (When I can accommodate I am replacing that platform with a virtual environment in better hardware) and pulled the primary data drive. Here in the tiny apartment I put that drive into a USB <–> SATA chassis and connected it to the ROKU. I then went to the roku channel store to install the ROKU USB Channel” app to allow playing of local content directly connected to a ROKU via USB. I discovered that the APP has been renamed “Roku Media Player”, dropping the USB designation, but not dropping the USB functionality, but gaining functionality that dwarfs the USB limitation in the APP name. According to the links below, they indicate that the streaming client portion of this app is supposed to be compatible with most streaming apps, Twonky (my home standard) is listed by name.

At this time, I haven’t rebuilt a test twonky, but plugged a drive into the pogoplug, booted the pogoplug in my core switch, and restarted the ROKU media Player app on the ROKU… there was the POGO plug media server listed as a source in the ROKU app. it is not the most efficient server, it lists off all files ignoring the existing file structure (1250 in this case), which slows down the processing, and after it is done indexing, slows down the browsing (If it is not clear, I don’t recommend a pogoplug as your streaming server). But after the indexing, scrolling to a filename and starting the content brought up the video stream promptly, expected quality, no blocking, stuttering, etc… This validates the ROKU hardware and app as a UPNP client.

(Note: The VMP75 in use elsewhere in this apartment, connected via a powerline networking module pair, is able to “see” the pogo plug under the UPnP tab, indexes the content (all 1250ish files) but is unable to start the content. This is inconclusive as powerline networking is known to have QoS issues with LAN video, and the Viewsonic appliance is dated and was weak at its best.)

Roku USB Channel becomes Roku Media Player:

Official info on the rokyu channel guide:!details/2213/roku-media-player

So, that is the end of this review. Roku is the galactic overlord winner of the Universal STB battle, there is no second place.

I currently have for sale the following devices to finance a current generation ROKU for all my remaining TVs:
•    EGreat M34A (Popcorn hour knock-off)
•    Viewsonic MP75
•    Seagate FreeAgent HD Theater+
•    Apple TV
I may keep one of the above (not the AppleTV) so I have something for that “nature vacation”, but they are all about average in that regard, so they are all available until there is only one left.

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Roku introduces the Streaming Stick

Roku announced a new product today called the Streaming Stick.  Priced at 49.99, the device is designed to complete head to head with the Chromecast by Google and the Apple TV.   The new Roku Stick is capable of 1080p and connects directly to an open HDMI port on your TV or AV Receiver as a new input.  Unfortunately, the Steaming Stick also requires additional power, either from your home 110V or a USB port if you have one available.  Power input is 5V at 1Amp.  Typical power consumption is 2Amp when streaming HD content.Roku Streaming Stick

The Roku Streaming Stick comes with a WiFi remote, and will also allows management thru the iOS or Android applications available for your mobile device if you prefer.  This allows use of the “send to TV” casting offered by Netflix and YouTube.

The WiFi connection utilizes the N standard, providing the bandwidth and range required for streaming video content across wireless, thru typical home environments.

We look forward to the opportunity to review one of these when we get hold of one.  Let us know your thoughts on the newest player on the market for Cord Cutters that have Kicked out Cable.

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Roku 3 Review

The Roku 3 was released in March of 2013.   The box offers modest hardware improvement over the Roku XD, and saw the debut of the a newly designed interface.  If you’re not familiar with the Roku line of product, they basically make Set Top Boxes that allow you to easily connect to your TV to Netflix, MLB, Hulu, Plex, home movies or one of some 700 plus channels identified in the device guide.  Sounds neat right!

Here’s a quick rundown of the Roku 3

Neat Features includeRoku 3
-Headphone jack in the remote
-Plex integration
-RF remote

Things we expected the Roku 3 to do, and it did
-Resolution supported are 480p, 720p and 1080p
-Audio Support is 7.1/5.1 Surround Sound
-HDMI output of course

Things we didn’t expect from the Roku 3
-The bluetooth remote of the Roku 2 is gone, replaced as noted above with a 5GHz ISM spectrum RF remote.  This is a plus for remote cabinet / AV console mounting
-Dropped 480i/NTSC support

ProcessorThe Processor
This is the first set top box that Roku has produced using a dual core processor.  The Broadcom ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor get’s it done on less than 250mw per core and runs 32-bit processors with the ARM v7 instruction set.  What that means to us in plain English is the box is adequately powered to provide a good user experience and interface operation.

The Remote
The remote on the Roku 3 is RF AND IR.  That’s really cool for those that use all-in-one remotes like the Harmony.  What’s even cooler is that the IR remote from our Roku 2 works on the 3 as well!  Dual spectrums remote make the Roku 3 easy to control with the remote of your choice!

Plugs and Slots
The USB port will support local drive mounting and allows the box to play files directly off the attached drive.  File formats supported include MP4 (H.264), MKV (H.264); Audio: AAC, MP3; JPG, PNG.  Additional storage is available thru the MicroSD slot. Roku 3 with HDMI This slot can be used for channel storage or additional games.  A nice feature for quick and easy viewing of camera pictures .

The User Interface
The new tiled interface allows for much more imagery during channel browsing.  This is nice for quick searching through your favorites.
The search functionality really works well.  Once you’ve entered your search term, the Roku 3 will search across all available mediums, Netfilix, Hulu Plus, Plex to find the title you’ve searched.

The Viewing Experience
It works.  Just like previous versions of the hardware, the actual viewing experience is largely dependent on your internet connection, and has little to do with the the actual set top box.  This box has adequate power to decode the video and present to your panel.

Things we wished the Roku 3 would do, but it doesn’t
-Provide broader file type support for local media playback, and trans-coding capabilities

While the Roku 3 is an obvious improvement over earlier models, unless you’re just needing another STB, waiting to see what else the market brings may be your best move.  On the other hand, if you don’t have a Roku at all, buying the Roku 3 at $99 is a safe purchase indeed.

We would love to hear about your experience with the Roku 3…good, bad, or otherwise…

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How to watch NFL without cable

Football season can be very demanding for sports fans, so preparedness is crucial.  A good game plan is required to ensure no action is missed.   For a “cord cutter”, the inevitable question arises, how can I watch NFL without cable?  No worries, I’ve listed out a few plays that will have you warmed up and ready for the bone crunching entertainment!     As  we’ve said before, no solution is perfect, but watching sports without cable is totally doable.

Typical antenna installed at chimney

Typical antenna installed at chimney

The Antenna Play

Your first play for watching the NFL without cable starts with a basic HD antenna.  Choosing the best HDTV antenna to start with helps ensure this effort provides good results.   These antenna are not terribly expensive, and once properly installed, will provide you some of the best quality images you’ll see anywhere.  Typically much better than Comcast or DirecTV can provide.  You’ll be pleaseantly surprised how good the picture quality is, and the price is hard to beat!  I’ve installed entire systems for less than 50$, your mileage may vary.

The NFL Sunday Ticket Play

Your second play for NFL without cable works on games that aren’t on your local broadcast stations, like those on Sunday. Currently, DirecTV offers the NFL Sunday Ticket as an ad-hoc service, meaning you don’t to be a subscriber to get this package.  The Sunday Ticket gives you live access to every out-of-market game, every Sunday!   Here’s the catch!  DirecTV states “It’s available to anyone that cannot get DIRECTV at their residence due to line-of-sight issues.”   Hint: This is easily overcome for most folks, especially those that live in apartments or condominiums that don’t allow balcony or roof attachments for dish mounting (in spite of FCC regulations deflating this position).   DirecTV is not interrogating subscribers on their reception capability when signing up for the Sunday Ticket App, they just take your money and give you access.

While the price is a little steep at $250.00, I appreciate the fact that they’ve reduced the package by $100.00 from last year. As an aside, I’ve heard multiple reports that the price is negotiable ($200), so don’t hesitate to ask for a discount.  The same subscription also allows you to view the games on your PS3, so at least the money has dual purpose, if you have a PS3 at the house.

What about picture quality?

Picture quality is outstanding on the iPad!  On occasion, I experienced a slight degradation in quality, but it seemed to only be intermittent, and not very frequent.  Overall, I’d say the stream is very watchable and provides a good user experience.  The user interface is easy to navigate and obviously customized for the online viewing experience.  I imagine at some point they will rework the app to include more stat’s and hopefully some fantasy football league data.

Airplay button

The AirPlay button

That little square with an arrow pointed up is the AirPlay button.  And if it worked all the time, it would be great!  Unfortunately, streaming these games to your TV using AirPlay is getting very mixed results from folks. Apparently the NFL has blocked AirPlay streaming from within the App, but some users are reporting AirPlay Mirroring to work. Mirroring requires the use of a special cable that connects your iPad directly to the TV using an HDMI signal. While the quality should be good, I don’t think the screen resolutions will match up properly, so you may have only a small portion of your TV screen showing the game. I’ll be picking up a cable to try this out for myself.

Also worth noting is that the iPhone 5, and it’s counterpart, iOS 6, are in no way compatible with the NFL Sunday Ticket version 1.8.1.   Actually, any device running the new iOS 6 breaks the app.  If you have an iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, or iPad, DO NOT upgrade your device to iOS 6, or you will be left in the cold waiting on a new release of the Sunday NFL Sunday Ticket App.

If you have comments or suggestions on using the NFL Sunday Ticket App, we would love to hear from you. I’m especially interested to hear about successful use of AirPlay to view Sunday Ticket on a TV.  Drop us a note in the comment section below.

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AirPlay to Xbox

What is AirPlay?

The Apple iOS/OS feature AirPlay allows users to stream video, audio and pictures from one device to another wirelessly, anywhere on the same network.    Apple tweaked the existing AirTunes protocol in 2010 to include video  and pictures in addition to audio, coinciding with the renaming of AirTunes to AirPlay.  Apple has since begun licensing AirPlay  to 3rd party manufacturers, increasing the number of AirPlay options in the marketplace.  This development is in addition to unlicensed development by folks like the XBMC Dev Team and others.  All of this means AirPlay is a must have in your media distribution tool-kit.

AirPlay ScreenShot

AirPlay screen

How does it work?

The Apple protocol, AirPlay, consist of two components.  A Media Pitcher and a Media Catcher.  The Media Pitcher prepares the media for transmission and sets up the stream.  The Media Catcher receives and presents the media to the connected device.    The two devices work together to stream and present media across a network, wired or wirelessly.  So, that football game your streaming on your iPad can be beamed to your TV using AirPlay.

The list of partners Apple has formal integration with is healthy, including top brands like Denon, Marantz, B&W and JBL to name a few.  While others work is less formal arrangements to  research and reverse engineer the inner workings of the AirPlay protocol.   All of this developer and manufacturer attention means the market is recognized and the technology is here to stay.  This is good news for those of us that enjoy beaming our content all over the house using a mis-match of hardware.


AirPlay and Xbox

Xbox’s running XBox Media Center (XBMC) have long been an integral tool in the “cord cutter’s” arsenal.  XBMC is a cross platform entertainment media hub, similar to Plex Media Server.  This media hub  dynamically indexes and presents a rich visual interface that allows users to browse all of their media using a remote control for interaction.  XBMC makes streaming our content across networks simple and beautiful.   Now with version 11 of XBMC, AirPlay is integrated and takes “in home media distribution” to a new level!   This current release allows your Xbox running XBMC to act as a Video Catcher, playing streams it receives wirelessly from your AirPlay device!   While the support is not complete, and a work in progress, the current implementation is stable and supports video, music and images on most all platforms, including Android!

The Future of XBMC and AirPlay

Who know’s what the future holds for AirPlay and Xbox.  What I know is that wireless transfer of media in-home is here to stay.  Apple recently included AirPlay in their OS and iOS updates.  The XBMC Dev team is actively meeting to strategize future releases.  Given the activity on both sides, Apple and XBMC, I’m expecting solid progress and additional integration.

Tell us about your experience with Xbox, XBMC and AirPlay in the comment section below.

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How to use a Mac Mini as a Media Server

What is a Media Server?

A Media Server is a computer whose purpose in life is to stream your video, audio and pictures to you, on demand.  Let’s say you’re on the road traveling, and you want to watch a football game you recorded two days ago.   No problem with a Media Server.  Just launch the iPhone app, browse to the  Sports directory on your media center, and click play!  Kind of like cable, except different and better!

Plex Main Screen

Views of Plex

Is the Mac Mini Media Server Material?

The Mac Mini has always been an enticing piece of hardware that demanded unique applications like serving media. The Mini footprint is compact, and it’s operating system is solid, making it a perfect fit for this type  of “set it and forget it” application. While the hardware itself is a perfect fit for the “Media Server” job, software is needed to round out this kit and convert the Mac Mini into Media Server.  Before we get into that, let’s talk processor cycles (horsepower).

What kind of horsepower does this Media Server thing require?

The newer Mac Mini models have more than enough power to transcode several streams concurrently, in addition to serving several additional streams to clients at the same time.   In other words, a new Mac Mini will have media streaming to all 3 TV’s in the house, and your iPhone, with no trouble.  But what if your Mini isn’t brand new?  If you have a older (2-3 yr. ago) Mac Mini, you should be fine as well, just know that the Mini may not handle as many concurrent video streaming sessions, but will still certainly get the job done for 1-3 TV viewing.  The biggest advantage of a newer model Mini aside from horsepower is the HDMI outputs, allowing for streaming of full HD resolution to your TV.

Why Plex?

There are lot’s of media servers out there, but the ease of use and functionality makes Plex an excellent choice for newbies and techies alike.  This should be no surprise as the software builds on the XBMC code that’s been serving media for years.   Aside from the obvious features including streaming video and media players, the notables of Plex are are;

  • Access you content anytime from anywhere with virtually no configuration
  • On the fly transcoding for mobile or lightweight mediaplayer
  • Playback of archived HD content to basically any device on your network capable of receiving video streams like the Roku and XBox media players including soft clients
  • Ease of Operation using a Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
  • Playback of audio and images from media server
  • Centralize Library Management System puts all of your media at your fingertips
  • Automatically retrieves meta data from the internet for your content
  • Automatically updates when you add new content to your media files
  • Dynamic device recognition and transcoding by defined bit-rate
  • HDHomeRun Integration for OTA streaming of your favorite football game.

The Plex interface displays your content in an easy to view graphical interface  allowing you to search by name, author, cover and more.  Browsing your home movies, iTunes content Hulu or the latest videos on YouTube has never been easier, and the visual organization of the Plex interface makes sorting thru your media collection a snap.

Plex Menu

What is Plex?

Plex is really a two products designed to work together to stream your video, audio or pictures to you using a rich graphical interface.   The two products work together to provide an end-to-end solution for media consumption.  The first product, Media Server, creates the streams of media for consumption.  The Server also indexes your media, creates the menu system for your local content (movies, pictures, etc) and integrates with a plethora of online content providers, the likes of Hulu Plus, iTunes, Amazon Prime, PBS, CNN, Fox News, HGTV, Food Network, BBC, Netflix and more.  The second product, Media Center, or desktop Plex client “catch’s” the video streams and displays them on the screen.  Mobile Plex clients catch streams from the Plex Servers for mobile devices.

Plex also ties your online viewing experience to your home “media room” viewing experience by offering a synchronized bookmarking service of sorts.  Setting up a My Plex Account will allow browser queue management and sharing of your content. In other words, you’ll be able to save videos for viewing later on another device like your television at home while you’re sitting on the couch.  Sounds great right! It is.  And it’s easy!  Keep reading.

Installing Plex – Media Server Software

The installation and download for Plex, the Media Server Software couldn’t be easier.    Once the download is complete, fire off the install and let it do it’s thing.  When you are asked to locate your media, simply click to the directories where your video, audio and pictures are stored and the setup wizard will ingest the media and prepare vivid and informative menus indexing all of your content on the fly.   Adding your myPlex credentials in the Preferences menu allows you to publish your Plex server on the internet for remote viewing using a Plex client.  This publishing uses UPnP to connect thru your home router, so be sure UPnP is turned on in your router’s configuration.   Once the setup is complete, the next step is to load a Plex client.

Installing Plex – Media Clients

mobile plex client

iPhone Plex Client

Having completed the Media Server install,  jump back to the Plex site and download a Plex mobile client or a Plex desktop client.  These clients are the virtual set top boxes used to catch and play the streams being sent from the Media Server.  With the heavy lifting done, this part of the setup is simple business.  After installing the client of your choice, simply add your myPlex credentials in the application preferences and you should be able to connect to your Plex Server straight away.  Streaming video from a mobile device could take some tweaking to get it just right, but the default bandwidth settings worked for us, even with less than 5 bars signal.  Catching up on Dexter episodes just got a lot easier! And, the On Deck and On Shelf features allow you to start watching a program on your phone, and finish watching it on your computer or home television. Reminds me of that DirecTV commercial where the guy pauses the robot war to resume watching it in the other room.  The On Deck and On Shelf features really are cool!

Have you Plex’d your Mini?

We’d love to hear about your Mac Mini used as a Media Server or Media Player.  Comments or suggestions are welcome in the area below.

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Roku sticks it to cable…again!

Roku is playing in the big leagues with todays announcement from major panel manufactures stating they will comply with MHL implementation standards and provide support for the forthcoming Roku Streaming Stick. Due to be released later this year, the Streaming Stick takes advantage of the MHL port, not the HDMI port, on newish TV’s. Check out the MHL Compatibility Site for a full listing of compatible televisions. This list is updated regularly, so check back if you don’t see the set your looking for at the time. Expect several more “B” and “C” panel dealers to show up on the list soon.

This new device, first debuted at the CES, will allow your MHL equipped television to play with services like Hulu Plus, HBO and the like without relying on the internals of the TV to keep up with streaming set top box technology. Chas Smith of Roku, said “The Roku Streaming Stick adds instant access to the leading streaming platform with virtually no overhead from manufacturers, while giving consumers the best streaming experience available” This is a big plus with the rate of change we are seeing in televisions and set top boxes.

Roku Stick

The Roku Streaming Stick (credit:Roku)

For the techno hungry folks, here’s a few tidbits from wiki on the MHL specifications as they relate to HDMI.
-Power is transmitted thru the cable, unlike HDMI. Typically used for charging a mobile device or powering a MHL to HDMI dongle
- Resolution limited to 1080P
-Typical MHL connector is a micro USB, same as found on many mobile devices (hurry up Apple I now you’re working on it)
-Interoperability of devices guaranteed thru use of the HDTV remote control thru the CEC feature

So what does all of this mean to you? Basically, if you are in the market for a TV, make sure it’s on the list of compatible devices. This ensures you will be able to partake of the MHL/Roku goodness that’s to come with the Roku Streaming Stick release later this year and stream your favorite premium content shows to your new TV.

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New Apple TV: What you need to know

The third-generation Apple TV unveiled Wednesday shows Apple is taking its hobby just a little bit more seriously, thanks to improved video support and an overhauled interface. But there are still plenty of questions about the latest edition.

A quick rundown of everything you need to know about the latest version of the Apple TV from the fine folks at Macworld. Click here for the full story.

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