Sep 17

Amazon Fire TV 4k, Is it time to get excited about 4k?

Amazon Fire TV 4k

Amazon Fire TV 4k

Amazon has announced a new FireTV to be released on October 5th.   Lets take a closer look at the features and look to see if on paper the gaming addition could be the perfect emulator.   Is  there enough 4k content and applications available to justify the purchase?  This article is going to make the assumption you already own a 4k TV product is just a way to receive the content.  This document will be documented as more info is discovered on the FireTV.   Leave questions, comments and lists of 4k content in the comments section.

How to Pre-Order/Buy

Amazon will be releasing these two models on October 5th:

The Feature List:

All of the following is taking right from amazon’s site.  Use the links about to see the original and pre-order the Amazon FireTv 4k.

  • All-new Amazon Fire TV now supports 4K Ultra HD for true-to-life picture quality. Watch high-definition 1080p streams on Amazon Video, Netflix, Hulu and more, even without a 4K TV.
  • Now with Alexa, use your Fire TV Voice Remote to check sports scores or the weather, play music, and more – instantly
  • The easiest way to enjoy over 250,000 TV episodes and movies on Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO GO, and Showtime Anytime, plus games, music, and apps
  • Cutting the cord? Watch the best of live TV on NBC News, NBA Gametime, and Sling TV, which includes ESPN, CNN, HDTV, AMC, A&E, Cartoon Network, and more.
  • Say it. Watch it. Simply say the name of what you want to watch and start enjoying in seconds.
  • Now with 75% more processing power, a dedicated graphics engine, better Wi-Fi support, 2 GB of memory, 8 GB of storage and expandable storage of up to 128 GB
  • With over 800 games – the most games of any other streaming media player – there is something for the entire family, including Minecraft, Lego Star Wars, and Pac-Man 256
  • Amazon Prime members get unlimited access to Prime Video, including original programming like Transparent, plus over 1 million songs with Prime Music

The Fire TV Gamaing edition has all the above and:

  • Fire TV game controller
  • 32GB of SD
  • 2 Free games

4k Content

I have purchased a 4k tv and I am stuck with the 4k apps,  the fire TV would allow me to have more control over the current 4k apps.   What are my real 4k options?

 

Netflixnetflix

 

Netflix requires the Premium subscription which is 11.99 a month. It also requires a 20 mbs connection to the internet. 4k TV Shows: Better Call Saul, Bloodline, House of Cards, Daredevil, Chef’s Table, Narcos and many more see link below.
4k Movies: Not many, will add a list when I find one.   If you know one respond in comments and will add
Content List Links:
Netflix PR List
Amazonamazon

 

 $99 a year gets you access to the Prime Videos.  4k TV Shows: Bosch,Mozart in the Jungle, Transparent, Alpha House, Gortimer Gibbons, Hand of God, Red Oaks,Orphan Black
4k Movies: Funny Girl,Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hitch, Philadelphia
 Content List Links:  respond with any list of links and I will add them.
YouTubeyoutube  YouTube is free.  Nothing additional is needed.  There appear to be 1000’s of videos.  Search for UHD or 4k

Use Case 1 – Replacement for TV apps

The TV apps that come on most modern Smart TVs are okay.   The main problem I have seen is they are slow and do not update very often.   I also hate that I run all my devices into an AV receiver then send just video to my TV.  I do not want to send audio back into that receiver.    I will also never get a good version of Kodi as a TV smart app.    Hopefully the Fire TV will update often with a wide varity of 4k content/content providers.

Use Case 2 – Emulator Box

The gaming edition of the FireTV comes with 32gb of additional storage and a xbox like controller.  Once I get this device I want to look at the possibility of making this an emulator box.   This has the perfect form factor, processor and controllers(up to 4) for a decent foundation.

I will test the following emulators:

  • epsxe – Playstation 1
  • GBA.emu – GBA 
  • NES.emu  – NES
  • SNES9x EX+ – SNES

If these work I will look into MAME, Sega and Atari.   Once that testing is done I will link the document here.

Use Case 3 – Plex and Kodi

These are my two favorite apps for content consumption on a TV.    I am hoping that we get to a point where both of these apps support 4k.  I feel like this is our best chance of getting there.

Use Case 4 – 4k Sports

After reading about the cable, Dish, and Directv 4k solutions I have lost faith in any traditional provider being able to deliver 4k sports anytime soon.    I am hoping that ESPN notices the same thing and releases 4k content through there app.   I am assuming if there is an app this device will make it available.

Other Reading

The following links are worth looking at.

Conclusion

After looking at the complete lack of content I cannot recommend chasing 4k at this point.   I think I am still going to buy the Amazon Fire TV Gaming edition for two reasons.  First I think we will see 4k sports on this device before any other device(I hope the people at ESPN are reading).  Second I think this box may be a better solution than any other emulator solution I have looked at.

Sep 10

tvOS, gen4 AppleTV and the Shaft

appletvYears ago I went out and purchased a Gen 3 AppleTV.    I had such high hopes.   This is going to be the device of the future!  Time  went by and I continued to wait for the AppleTV to be the next big thing.     As I waited, the Roku and FireTV got better and better.    I finally gave up and purchased multiple FireTVs for my house.    It has been a great product and I have been happy with it ever since.

I was not really paying attention when I noticed the press conference.   AppleTV update!     tvOS! A new appstore for TV stuff, gaming and Siri!    I am finally being rewarded for keeping  my generation 3 AppleTV.     But wait there’s more…….

Apple will not be releasing the new software features to the generation 3 AppleTV.   In fact if you purchased a gen 3 AppleTV just a couple weeks ago all you get is a giant middle finger.      If you want the new features you will have to purchase the 4th generation for $150.   I wonder if Apple is going to start dropping support for all their products that are just 1 generation old.

I will put the gen 3 Apple TV back in the drawer and go back to my FireTv.   At least I will  have an appstore,  voice search, games and it already supports all my two favorite apps plex and kodi.

Amazon FireTV
Plex
Kodi

Dec 04

Media Connected House Part 5 – WD TV Live

I think I have finally found the solution to the media connected house. The AppleTV has been made almost useless by apple. The costar was released unfinished.

The WD TV live by Western Digital may be the answer. Let’s start with the price, this thing retails for 100 but it is marked down on many sites to 79.

The box is small and silent. Not as stylish as the apple tv but close to it. It supports RCA and HDMI out. Network jack on the back along with wireless. This thing was up and running in minutes.

Out of the box support for all relevant media types. This box can do MKV and extract the subtitles. It has no issues fast forwarding or rewinding any media types. The music app will play mp3s and sounds pretty damn good. For those that like apps it has Hulu Plus, Netflix and Spotify. There are a ton of other apps check their site for a list I them all( http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=330 ). This box will connect to windows shares, Linux shares and NAS devices.

There is an IOS and Andriod remote available for free.  You can view RSS TV and input in a nice web interface.  Did I mention it was fast and very quiet?   The interface is theme-able with a comunity creating theses for the box.   I will dive more into this in my second post about WDTV.

So if we go back to my original quest there were certain things I was looking for. Let’s see how this does:

Must haves:

  • Be able to access all music from any TV or portable device in the house – Success on  house TV
  • Be able to watch all video content(all formats) from any TV or portable device in the house – Success on  house TV
  • Interface must be easy – Success
  • Playback devices must be quick and quiet – Success

Nice to haves:

  • Ability to rip a DVD/Bluray I own and play back with extra content and menu system  – NEED to test
  • Ability to access music outside of house
  • Ability to access video outside of house
  • MediaBrowser like menu – Need to test
  • Video App support through same interface(netflix.hbotogo and maybe Hulu) – Success
  • Low-power, auto on and sleep modes on portable devices – Success
  • Easy for the kids to use but locks so the kids can’t watch movies like Saw, Hostel and Barney – Need to tewst
  • Access to Internet Radio – Success
  • Access to Pandora,Last.FM and Spotify – Success

I will have one more post where I try some of the more advanced features but so far this device seems to do it all.

If you want to purchase one you can use this referal link on Amazon and get my piles of cash!

WDTV live @ Amazon

Aug 05

Dear Apple – About this AppleTV I purchased

Dear Apple,

I am trying to jump on board,  I am trying to love this product(appleTV).   I let the HBO to Go not streaming from My iPad to the apple TV go.   You blamed HBO saying they were not comfortable with how you magically send you data through the air. I am a Amazon Prime Member and I have been very patient waiting for the Amazon Prime Video App for iOS which we finally got last week.  Why do you only give me sound on my Apple TV,  are they also not comfortable with your magic?  The problem is I can turn on my Xbox or PS3 and use both of these services.   If you are trying to force me to buy movies and TV shows from you App store,  it is not going to happen.    At this point I can no longer recommend this product to anyone.   I will check back in a couple weeks to see if I can stream video or someone has Jail Broken it.

Aug 01

Amazon Prime Instant Video Now available on iOS

From amazon:

Dear Customers,

Today, we’re excited to announce that Prime Instant Video is available on iPad—just install the Amazon Instant Video app. Amazon Prime members can now get unlimited streaming of thousands of instant videos on iPad, Kindle Fire, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Roku, and hundreds more TVs and Blu-ray players.

 

I was shocked a couple months ago when I purchased prime and noticed there was no iOS app.  I will try this out and post sometime this week.  The main thing I want to see is if I can send from iphone/ipad to the Apple TV with no issues.