YouTube TV adds new networks

YouTube TV adds new networks

Feb 14, 2018

Surely Google hopes the world is split into two closely related camps: folks who subscribe to its cord cutters beloved service YouTube TV, and those that are on the cusp of signing up for it.

Here’s great news for the former, as well as maybe even more of a value-added invective for the latter.

YouTube TV is adding more channels. Now, in addition to the existing lineup, you also get access to live TV content from TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, HLN, truTV, and TCM. That’s eight (8) new channels for your viewing pleasure.

This adds to the existing lineup, which includes staples like ESPN, ESPN 2, FX, Disney Channel, SyFy, Bravo and a host more: a shade under 60 included channels, plus access to premium add-ons for extra.

The service costs $35 per month; there is still a free trial for those looking to give it a no-risk look. Check out why we found YouTube TV more compelling over time, even more the addition of channels HERE.

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Hulu improves Chromecast usage support and more via update

Hulu improves Chromecast usage support and more via update

Jun 28, 2017

Hulu is on a roll of late, what with the expansion of its services with regards to live TV and what not. For folks who look to stream the service with Chromecast, the app has improved the way it handles casting.

Now, users can use the app in landscape with Chromecast, which allows for an arguably more natural feel; previosly, the app casted in only portrait orientation.

The changelog also notes improved error messaging during playback, play progress now available on smart start tiles in Details, usability improvements and bug fixes.

The app remains free on Google Play.

Cartoon Network app adds Chromecast compatibility

Cartoon Network app adds Chromecast compatibility

May 20, 2017

Cartoon Network for Android is adding some key functionality — the ability to be used via Google’s Chromecast.

Now, folks can easily stream Cartoon Network shows wirelessly from a Chromecast-compatible app to a big screen.

Easy peasy.

The new update also brings 40 new stickers; the stickers are based on familiar CN characters and related content.

The Cartoon Network app is free (with a qualifying cable subscription).


Ludo Cast Review: a Chromecast Experience

Ludo Cast Review: a Chromecast Experience

Oct 1, 2015

Back when I was a kid, we didn’t have these type of toys we got today. I grew up with the “normal” batch of toys: Legos, soccer balls… the occasional catapult. I also had a soft spot for board games; a soft spot that remains to this day. I have fond memories of playing games with family and friends on the dining table.

Good times.

A special place in my heart is reserved for Ludo — the circle and cross game of international renown. It gets the ludo3Chromecast treatment in Ludo Cast .

The game layout will be familiar to folks who’ve played the traditional form: a general cross layout, with four player yards in different colors (red, blue, yellow and green) and matching hinge bases. Each yard has 4 playing tokens that match the yard color. In this version of the game, the paths from yard to home base are splashed with color and such… more on that later.

The game allows for action between player and AI in combination, from 1-4 players. Movement is determined by virtual dice roll. The main idea is to navigate all four of one’s pieces from home to endzone BEFORE any opponents.

It translates well, with a bunch of variations that make it quite interesting, like color-coded advancements. Staples like sending an opponent’s piece hinge and rolling a 6 to get out are present. The color-coding does make for a very, very busy board. A multiplayer functionality (across devices) would be great, but I wonder how feasible that would be within the Chromecast framework.

The audio is lighthearted (rolling said 6 elicits a cheery “Hallelujah” for instance), but feels a bit repetitive in places. The virtual dice roll feels realistic enough.

Overall, it is fun in that it allows itself to think outside the box, but not so much as to end up being strange.

Amazon Fire TV Review: A Gamer’s Perspective

Amazon Fire TV Review: A Gamer’s Perspective

Jan 5, 2015

The past couple of years have definitely been the years of the streaming media unit. All the big players have a hat in the Big C, and with good reason: we like content. Lots of it.

Enter Fire TV, the still-relatively-new offering from Amazon.

Amazon provided us a gaming bundle package to check out, containing the black unit, black remote, power cables, batteries, and the optional bluetooth gamepad (one should ensure one has HDMI cable). It’s fairly svelte, a bit smaller than one would guess, coming in at 4.5 x 4.5 x 0.7 inches and just under 10 oz. It has a quad core processor and 8 GB of storage, and supports output of 720 x 1080p up to 60fps.

Specs aside, there is little to dislike about Amazon Fire TV. It looks good, and is a veritable source of content. It has a lot of the go-to programs that can be downloaded to it: Netflix, WatchESPN, Pandora, Crackle, Showtime Anytime (based on provider) and, of course, Amazon Instant and Amazon Music, among other offerings. Setup is easy, and the included control is definitely a huge positive. On its own, as a streaming accessory, it holds its own against the competition.


What piqued our interest (duh) is the gaming aspect. The Amazon Appstore has grown into a veritable source of Android apps. Buoyed by great publicity, Amazon Coin program and the renown Free App of the Day offerings, it is possible for users to amass quite a trove of apps which can be used on Fire devices and compatible Android hardware in general.

Fire TV gives folks the opportunity to play select games on the TV via the box. The supplied remote can be used with games, but the optional Fire Game Controller can be purchased to really get into wireless gaming. The Controller looks and feels just like a conventional console controller and nothing beats playing Minion Rush on big hi-def screen. I didn’t catch serious lag, and the entire experience was quite enjoyable and shockingly cohesive. there’s also a software app available on the Play Store and Amazon Appstore.


No, not all games are compatible, but more are added everyday. Games that work with Fire TV are marked as such, and for now, there are several dozen available, including Riptide GP2, Prince of Persia, Sonic the Hedgehog, Asphalt 8 and more.

I do find the latent strategy intriguing. On paper, if the catalog of compatible apps continues to increase, it might help the Fire TV overcome any perceived weaknesses when compared to competing streaming hardware; the gaming aspect does take it to a a whole new level. In many ways, because of the things it brings to the table, Fire TV might be able to replicate what the original Nintendo Wii did: create an army of “casual” gamers that are already familiar with Android-based time-wasters.

Ultimately, Fire TV wins because it doesn’t take on too much, and does what it does relatively well. If Amazon keeps its promise to keep up with development, outer space is the limit.

Sony Music Unlimited Review

Sony Music Unlimited Review

Oct 8, 2014



“What is that ‘CD’ thingie they are talking about on that show?”

We’ve come a long way. Not that long ago, having one’s music on the go meant investing in a CD case or one of those hideous auto visor holders. Now, our smartphones are our streaming hubs.

And mighty Sony is on it it — in the manifestation of the subscription-based Sony Music Unlimited streaming service.

After setting up the service (which involved redeeming the review code Sony provided), the next thing was to download the accompanying from the Play Store. using the app, one is easily able to navigate the service. it’s possible to browse the catalog by genre. For premium subscribers, there is the channel feature, which parses thesum1 music into common-ground groups; channels range from “Bollywood” to “Assassin’s Creed” and beyond. There is even a “Comedy Nightclub” channel, which rocks stuff from Cheech and Chong all the way to Chris Rock, I liked the ability to create one’s own channels. There is also a Library section in the main menu which allows users to collate favorite music.

The service allows for streaming (obviously), but also gives users the ability to pin music offline; this is great for when might be lacking internet connectivity.

One of the biggest question a music service has to answer is the one that pertains to content. On this front, Sony Music Unlimited packs a major punch; not shocking, considering we’re talking about, well, Sony here. It boasts more than 30 million songs, which is far from shabby. In reality, it picked up almost every artist I threw at it across genres. I was happy to find entire albums from even obscure artists; it didn’t have ALL, but I think I could be satisfied with the selection. The audio is quite clear (320 kbps High Quality Audio), and no ads to contend with.

The ability to access the premium service on the web, multiple mobile platforms, Playstation consoles/handhelds and compatible Sony electronics adds to its allure.

I think the search engine can be tweaked a good deal; in some of my searches, it seemed to be quite reliant on exactness, which can be a tough with regards to zany spellings of artist names and songs, and even then, finding songs can be infuriating. There are some instances that I think the UI could be a bit more logical off the search too; there were times a song/artist search came up blank when the song was indeed in the catalog.

Yes, the streaming music space is pretty packed for Android, but Sony knows a thing or two about this entertainment, and it brings that knowledge to bear in this product.

Good for us.

Netflix Gets Update

Netflix Gets Update

Oct 7, 2014

The Android Netflix app is getting an update.

Per the Google Play app page, the new update brings:

• In-app profile management
• Enhanced visual search results
• Backgrounded playback with notification for quick resume (on select devices only)

The profile feature is a relatively new feature that allows a Netflix account holder to create content-specific sub-accounts via the web; this is useful for households with, say, kids to create a portion dedicated to the children. It’ll be a welcome addition to the mobile app.

Netflix mobile content for Android users remains free on the Play Store for folks with active subscriptions.

Amazon Instant Video Comes To Android Devices

Amazon Instant Video Comes To Android Devices

Sep 9, 2014

In a move that has been expected for at least a few weeks, Amazon has just made its Amazon Instant Video service available to compatible Android devices, via an update to the Amazon app.

For Amazon Prime customers with non-Amazon devices, this is big news, as the services was formerly restricted to devices in Amazon’s ecosystem and iOS devices. Now, folks with compatible devices with access to the Amazon AppStore can get the necessary add-on to make the video content available on their Android-powered devices.

This move has been hinted at earlier. In July, reports noted an Amazon executive stating an Android release was “imminent.” The move seemingly indicates a tiny shift in Amazon’s mobile strategy.

To get the app, one has to download/update (and be signed into) the Amazon app; accessing a video will prompt the download of the Prime Instant Video app (which seems to be only available in the Amazon AppStore). Now, with internet connectivity, streaming is possible on phones and tablets.

As with a lot of things Amazon, the service is restricted by geography; it is available in USA, and some parts of Europe.


Rocki Wi-fi Music System Hardware Review

Rocki Wi-fi Music System Hardware Review

Aug 6, 2014

First, I am a Kickstarter feen. There’s something infinitely sexy about crowd-sourced projects; the whole concept of sharing a dream with investors who believe enough in said dream to back it financially is one of the best aspects of new age entrepreneurship one can find today. I admit to spending more time than I should browsing through projects.

Items like Rocki Wi-fi Music System allow for us to see Kickstarter at its best.

Some background: Rocki is a small, pocketable gadget that allows music users to stream music from smartphone-borne apps via common wi-fi. The project went up with a goal of $50,000 to fund; by the time the backing period ended, it had racked up more than four times that amount in pledges. Now, in Kickstarter terms, that’s mighty impressive, especially when one considers that even a few of the higher pledge tiers received plenty of support. As such, we were more than a little eager to check out the finished product, and the company obliged us with an opportunity to formally look at this item.

Yes. There are way more horrible ways to spend a weekend. Or two.


The small review box packed a good deal of goodies that hint at just how effective the gadget intends to be: audio to speaker (red and white) cable, male-to-male coaxial cable, flat micro-USB cable, AC adapter, paraphernalia and, of course, the Rocki itself. The green unit is curiously shaped, being faintly polyhedric with antiprismatic stylings and quite palmable. The light green piece is mostly green rubbery plastic, with a hard black base. The on-button is set with the micro-USB and audio ports, and there is a small reset hole on the black underside. On the topside, the device logo is proudly stamped. It packs a rechargeable 900mAh battery and officially stands at 3.9 x 2 x 0.7 inches and 2.1 ounces.


What Rocki looks to do is provide a wireless alternative to bluetooth streaming; its tool of choice is common wi-fi. Thus, the unit can be paired to a wi-fi enabled source via Android app, and, when physically connected to a pair of speakers with the one of the included audio cables, the audio is transmitted to the speakers… much like a bluetooth puck. Setting it up is easy enough in theory, but after downloading, it did take me a couple of tries to get stuff working, after which it all came together. The fidelity is nice overall, with no noticeable delay.

Now, one benefit of using this over bluetooth is that since it uses wi-fi, there is less of a theoretical concern with regards to range and/or obstacles; as long as the source phone or tablet and the Rocki are connected to wi-fi and the app is installed, a user is set. It allows the music source to remain with the user, and even allows different units to be alternated from within the same app, and music from multiple sources can be added to a playlist. Additionally, I like that the companion app also works as a self-contained music player, with built-in compatibility with and SoundCloud.


I like the concept behind the app; I think the multiple use ability is a great feature, as is the ability to use with computers. It doesn’t handle every type of music, and the use of wi-fi is a sword that cuts both ways. Still, it’s a piece that is good to have.

The Rocki Wi-Fi Music System can be had in a host of colors (pink, purple, red, black, yellow and green) via Amazon for $49.00.

EndlessTV Releases Series of Apps to Provide TV-Like Experience for Mobile

EndlessTV Releases Series of Apps to Provide TV-Like Experience for Mobile

May 8, 2014

EndlessTV 3

EndlessTV has released a series of apps that seamlessly translate various video channels to a mobile device, as comfortably as possible, providing a TV-like experience. The apps are grouped by the genre and consist of a variety of videos that string together to make a great TV-watching experience. The apps are available from here: EndlessTV apps on Google Play

Kinoma Connect Allows Streaming Content To DLNA Devices

Kinoma Connect Allows Streaming Content To DLNA Devices

Feb 26, 2014

Kinoma Connect 3

This free app can connect a tablet or phone with various smart devices like SmartTVs and connected speakers. You can listen to your music, look through photos, or watch movies on the big screen with just a few taps. The app is available for free from here: Kinoma Connect on Google Play.

Multishare USB Jak Hardware Review

Multishare USB Jak Hardware Review

May 20, 2013

As I have become more dependent on my Android smartphone I have started working more with streamed content. Reviewing the bCoda Jak gave me an opportunity to look at another way to use my device to be a multimedia dynamo. Better yet, in a house like mine with several Android devices (and consequently several different streams), the Jak promises to allows the user to wirelessly stream pictures, music and video clips from Android devices to stuff like TVs, projectors, car stereos and other smart devices with USB input.

I am still surprised at how small and lightweight the review piece is. It is about about the size of an ordinary portable jump drive, but lighter. It came in gentle green and, in my eyes, quite humble looking.jak4

The biggest part was pairing it. With the companion app from the Play Store, it was surprisingly easy. It handled the pairing and even updating the devices firmware. In my opinion, seamless pairing like this should be the norm with regards to this type of matchups.

As noted, the Jak works as a plug-in media receiver for just about anything that has a USB port. I found the output to be far from shabby; it handled music and onboard clips well as long as I playlisted them with the companion app. In my testings with several devices, the Jak’s performance was close to flawless. On my laptop, it invoked the media player and piped it through just about as nicely as I would expect on-board music to play. I was able to stream from different devices seamlessly.

The biggest drawback was the file set-up. I had to have pre-created playlists. While that could be optimistically looked at as some needed rigidity in the needed world of Android, I do believe that I would have preferred a more organic way of accessing media. Also, it is universal, but as far as I could tell, the app is Android-only for now, so for multi-platform households, it might be a bit restricted.

I think the Jak can still be a relevant piece of the arsenal for folks who have multiple devices and/or several output peripherals. It’s handy size belies it’s overall functionality, and it is an excellent way to go BIG with media.