Zapstreak Shows Early Results of Android to TV Media Streaming Behavior Through Shortbeam

Zapstreak Shows Early Results of Android to TV Media Streaming Behavior Through Shortbeam

Aug 9, 2012

While they didn’t exactly publicize this app when announcing the initial Zapstreak SDK, there has been one app using their technology on Android, called Shortbeam. This app allows users to stream video from services like YouTube and Reddit TV to a DLNA-compatible TV or media device, along with their photos and music.  Fusion Sheep, the developer of Zapstreak, has shared some data on how users are streaming media with the service to this point.

So far, video has overwhelmingly been the most streamed media, representing 65% of what is streamed to TVs. Photos are actually second above music, at 18% to 17%. A total of over 469 hours of media has been streamed, though the average stream has been for just over 2 minutes. Users may just be interested in finding a way to view short-form content on their TVs, not to use their phones as a media hub to be beamed when necessary.

Inteestingly, the Samsung Galaxy S II was the most popular streaming source. TVs represented 9 of the 10 media receivers, with only the DirecTV set top box being the non-smart-TV in the list. Coincidental or not, 6 out of the top 10 were streaming from and to the same manufacturer. While sample size issues are abound with this information, it could show that cross-hardware branding is a potential strength for manufacturers to focus on.

Shortbeam is free from Google Play. The Zapstreak SDK is still in beta.

KickStarter Spotlight: playGO AP1

KickStarter Spotlight: playGO AP1

May 23, 2012

Love them or hate them, it is hard to argue against Apple’s AirPlay; with the tap of a button any song is now playing, wirelessly, on the living room speakers. Making an entire house’s media work together is something that Apple really prides itself on, and for good reason. Having an Apple TV, iPod Touch, and a MacBook Pro I can attest to the ease of use and incredible convenience of sitting back and wirelessly listening to my music on the stereo while my laptop and I remain comfortably seated on the loveseat. Delivering an experience like AirPlay is something that Apple competitors have been trying to accomplish for years now, and while semi-viable solutions have emerged, it is still a frustrating and very flawed experience.

The solution for non-Apple subscribers remains tied to DLNA. Unfortunately for phone owners, there is not a lot of DLNA support in Android and it is up to a 3rd party app to get it to work. Assuming this is not too much to handle, playGO from Monroe, CT has developed a worthy replacement for any set-top wireless audio streamer dubbed the AP1 for it’s native AirPlay support. A major complaint of other routers is that they are tied into a questionable sets of speakers and can be horrifically expensive.

The playGO AP1 connects directly into any existing stereo system and includes multiple input and output types. This level of flexibility has yet to be seen from this market and playGO has made it a mission to ensure that this product is both future and backwards compatible. The sleek white with blue trim router is firmware-updatable and offers support for wired connections; including legacy iOS models.

I know that setting up home audio with an Android phone in mind is tough, but assuming that dealing with DLNA is not an issue then the playGO AP1 is something that should not be missed, and as like all KickStarter projects, these projects are not funded without support from the internet.

Zapstreak Hopes to Bring DLNA Media Streaming from Android to DLNA Devices

Zapstreak Hopes to Bring DLNA Media Streaming from Android to DLNA Devices

May 2, 2012

One of the features that Android is missing compared to iOS is AirPlay. While that uses proprietary Apple protocols and occasionally even hardware to get the job done, it does make it easy for users in the Apple ecosystem to beam their content wherever they want.

However, Android users don’t really have an equivalent service to call their own. Apps like DoubleTwist integrate with the AirPlay standard, but still basically require an AirPlay device at the other end.

Zapstreak is hoping to change this. They’re hoping to allow Android users to beam their content to their TVs and other connected media devices through the DLNA standard.

What their SDK aims to let developers do is to let them share photos, audio, and video from an Android device, and beam it to a DLNA client. DLNA is a much more open standard than AirPlay is, utilizing UPnP to help devices, even from different manufacturers and operating systems, communicate in order to share media.

So, by utilizing properly encoded information, an app integrated with Zapstreak will be able to display media on TVs very easily. For example, a music streaming app will be able to play music to a set of connected speakers if it’s integrated with Zapstreak. Photo apps can share users’ creations on a big screen with the Zapstreak. Video apps, when properly encoded, can be streamed to view on a TV, which may be the most exciting part of the Zapstreak proposition.

In speaking with Stefan Bielau of Fusion Sheep, he says that their goal is to reach connected TVs in particular, with the idea that their service will allow users to beam content without any hardware in between. Of course, any DLNA device is hypothetically usable with the service. This includes the Xbox 360 and PS3, and Stefan Bielau even mentioned an old wifi-enabled radio he was able to use to stream audio from a Zapstreak app.

While Zapstreak are not ready to reveal what will be using their SDK, especially as signups are still occurring. However, their plan, at least in the middle term, is to hopefully integrate some functionality in non-media apps, potentially utilizing Zapstreak to stream live audio to a TV. In its current incarnation, it may be difficult for an Android equivalent AirPlay Mirroring implementation to come through this.

As well, Android and DLNA appear to just be the start of thigns for Zapstreak: the plan is to launch on Windows Phone and iOS in the future, and to even get to a point where they could share to an Apple TV. Signups for the Zapstreak SDK are available from their website.