Streaming video

Samsung, Fox announce expanded 4K content deal

Building on a content deal first announced at CES 2014, Samsung and 20th Century Fox today revealed what the companies are calling a "New UHD Content Ecosystem."

Said to deliver a variety of 4K (aka UHD) content using the Smart Hub platform built into Samsung's 2014 4K TVs, the partnership "will also explore additional collaboration opportunities in multiple areas of innovation."

Specifics beyond those vague buzzwords, for example timing, delivery mechanism, bandwidth requirements and cost, were scarce. We'll try to pry more details about the announcement from Samsung at its press event today in … Read more

Samsung prices 2014 TVs at the high end, adds curved offerings

Today Samsung announced official pricing on its vast array of new 2014 TVs, including numerous curved and 4K/UHD sets first introduced at CES 2014 last January.

They ain't cheap.

Samsung's 4K models start at $2,499 for a 50-inch size. Compare that to Vizio, for example, which is charging $999 for its cheapest 4K 50-incher. On paper, the Vizio even has a picture quality advantage over the Samsung, offering full-array local dimming compared to Samsung's edge-lit variety.

Then there's the company's newfangled curved TVs. The entry price there is $1,999 for a 48-inch … Read more

Roku Streaming Stick vs. Google Chromecast: How do they stack up?

Roku's new Streaming Stick bears more than just a passing resemblance to Google's Chromecast.

They're both tiny sticks that connect to the back of your TV, use a nearby USB port (or power outlet) for power, and stream media from a variety of sources like Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go and Pandora. So which one should you get?

I haven't had the chance to fully review the new Roku Streaming Stick (which comes out in April), but from my brief hands-on time, it looks to deliver the same Roku experience that's available on the company's … Read more

Roku adds Showtime Anytime

Roku has announced that it has added streaming service Showtime Anytime to its current generation of boxes for use by Showtime subscribers.

The service is a competitor to HBO Go and includes current and past seasons of Showtime original series including "Homeland," "Masters of Sex," "House of Lies," "Nurse Jackie," "Dexter," and "Ray Donovan," as well as on-demand movies that are currently available on Showtime's cable channel (which, like CNET, is a subsidiary of CBS). The app is already available on iOS and Android, as well as … Read more

Chromecast vs. Apple TV vs. Roku 3: Which media streamer should you buy?

If you're looking to buy a streaming box, it's likely you'll end up choosing between three products: Chromecast, Roku, and Apple TV.

Those aren't the only streaming boxes on the market, but they're by far the most popular and for good reason -- they all come in models under $100 and offer a lot of value for your money. While the Roku 3 remains my favorite streamer and a CNET Editors' Choice, it's not necessarily the best choice for every buyer and the Google Chromecast and Apple TV are compelling alternatives.

So which media … Read more

Making sense of the latest Apple TV rumors

The Apple TV rumor mill is firing up again.

This week, Apple's living room box has been the subject to a host of new rumors (largely from 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman), including updated hardware, gaming, an app store, and even cable box integration. There's even new talk of the mythical Apple Television.

It's not surprising that the Apple TV -- that is to say, the streaming video box you can buy right now for $99 -- may be in for a significant overhaul. By tech standards, it's an aging device, released back in March 2012 -- … Read more

CES 2014's home theater gear is the same, but better, and that's a good thing (wrap-up)

Living room tech always has a big presence at CES, but progress can often seem frustratingly slow, especially while other product categories make big leaps forward year after year.

CES 2014 was a refreshing change of pace, as I was surprised to find quite a few interesting home audio and video products on the show floor. While nothing was truly groundbreaking, there's lots of solid, incremental progress that should be showing up in home theater gear in 2014. And that's a lot more exciting than "concept" products that never make it to store shelves.

Over-the-air DVRs … Read more

Hisense's Pulse Pro Android TV box looks like the next generation of Google TV

LAS VEGAS -- Google TV may not officially be dead, but it sure looks like it's evolving into something else.

Hisense is showing a nifty little set-top box at CES 2014 called the Pulse Pro, running software called "Android TV v4." It's not exactly Google TV, but it's clearly built on the same foundation, with the same PrimeTime Guide and the ability to run Google TV apps.

I haven't exactly been a Google TV fan in the past, but the Hisense Pulse Pro was impressive in the few minutes I spent playing with it. … Read more

Nuvyyo's Tablo DVR streams free over-the-air TV to all your devices (hands-on)

LAS VEGAS -- When Nuvyyo launched the Indiegogo campaign for the Tablo, the company's new over-the-air DVR, the project sounded promising, but there was little to judge it on other than some impressive specs and a slick video.

Here at CES 2014, I finally got my first chance to spend some hands-on time with the Tablo, which is scheduled to start shipping in February. To recap, the Tablo works a lot like Simple.TV, recording free over-the-air TV to an external hard drive, then streaming those shows over your home network to other devices, like an iPad or a … Read more

Kaz Hirai on Sony's big 2014 plans: CEO talks online TV service, 4K TV, and wearables

LAS VEGAS -- "We're trying to bring a new experience to TV viewing, trying to combine live TV and access streamed content as well."

Read between the lines if you can, because Sony President and CEO Kaz Hirai wasn't dishing a lot of details on the just-announced streaming TV service he revealed during a CES keynote earlier today. But in a short roundtable discussion with a small group of journalists (including CNET) a few hours later, Hirai was clearly excited about the service that Sony promises will come to the US by the end of the … Read more