Nvidia Introduces Shield Set Top Box

SHIELD_AndroidTV_Remote_Controller SmallLast Thursday, Nvidia has offered up their entry into the increasingly crowded by announcing their Nvidia Shield set top box. Starting at about $200, the Shield supports streaming video including 4k video,

My quick take: it’s riding the fence between consoles and streamer boxes. It’s not going to be an XBox or a Playstation and it’s a more pricey than a Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire. The Android games and 4k video are differentiating, but I don’t think it will drive adoption.

Tech Times had a good round-up of Shield reviews for further reading and IGN had a lot of in-depth details.

Update: this Motly Fool article makes the best argument I’ve seen for the existence of the Nvidia Shield.


FCC Docs Reveal Roku 3500R Streaming Stick Teardown Pics

Back in January, Roku refreshed the streaming stick. This looks to be a running change of internals that doesn’t register to the end consumer. It flagged on the FCC certification website. According to the filing, the flash size was changed. More enjoyably, Roku kindly provided internal photos of the Roku 3500R streaming stick as part of the filings. Thanks Roku!

The 1st photo shows the bottom side of the main board next to the housing pieces.

Roku 3500R Bottom

The 2nd photo shows the top side of the board and notes antenna locations.

Roku 3500R Top Shielded

The 3rd photo was the winner shot, so to speak. It two major chips are identifiable that look to be :

Roku 3500R Top No Shield
The rumored BCM2835 processor is not observable in the photos.


Streaming Video Linkfest for 5/27/2015

Items from the news and rumor circuit:

Great Time For Streaming Video

It’s been almost four and a half years since my last post. In that time, a lot has happened in the streaming video ecosystem and the resources for someone to cut the cable cord is better than ever. Just this month, news reports highlighted that Comcast is crossing the point where internet subscriptions are passing cable subscriptions, following a trend that had started five years ago.

Comcast has released its quarterly earnings report [PDF] and once again the pay-TV customer numbers have slipped while the company’s broadband growth continues.

Of course, not everyone agrees (yet), but things are very different over five years ago.

It hit a home for me recently when I was talking with a friend and they were bemoaning their cable bill. When I started discussing all the options out there with him, it blew his mind. He was ready to kick Time Warner to the curb. This tells me that we’re at the crossing point and there’s money to be saved and an industry to change, which is why I’ve started writing again.

PlayOn Discount Time

In a previous post, I had looked at the merits of buying annual and lifetime PlayOn memberships. My wife and I continue to love the service, but we never purchased the annual. Well, now’s the time to do it. The PlayOn folks are running a discount that’s about 50% off. Annual memberships are now $19.99 (instead of $40) and lifetime memberships are $49.99 instead of $80. You can get to the sale prices from the PlayOn webpage. The sale runs until Jan 1, 2012.

I’m a PlayOn lover – it got around the annoying aspects of Hulu and allows me to get a Daily Show fix – and want to pass on a great chance for readers to get it on the cheap.

Spotlight On Apple iTunes Video

Apple iTunes video is Apple’s video offering that’s tied to their iOS ecosystem. Although there are always rumors of something much more grand, Apple says it is dabbling in this marketplace. They currently offer downloadable TV shows (buy only) and movies (buy and rent) in both standard definition and HD.

Offering Price
TV Shows $1.99+ / Buy
Movies $3.99+ / Rent
$9.99+ / Buy

Places To Watch Apple iTunes Videos

There are few people as proprietary as Sony, and Apple is one of them. Just like Henry Ford’s famous quote about black cars, you can watch iTunes videos on anywhere you want, as long as it is on an Apple device. Apple does allow Windows-based PCs to also view their content as a nod to not yet taking over the PC market yet.

PlayBack Device Apple iTunes
PC / Mac YES
Android Devices no
iOS Devices YES
Roku (TV) no
Playstation 3 (TV) no
XBox 360 (TV) no
Wii (TV) no
Blue-ray Players no
HDTVs no

Apple iTunes Video Bitrates

iLounge has posted a great summary of iTunes video encoding practices. Continuing the keep-it-simple theme, Apple supports one standard def encoding and one high def encoding.

High Def Audio Quality Bitrate 1 HR TV Show Size
720p Stereo 4.1 Mbps 1.80 GB
Standard Def Audio Quality Bitrate 1 HR TV Show Size
480p Stereo 1.6 Mbps 0.70 GB

Before watching iTunes videos, check that your internet provider gives enough bandwidth to get the video quality you’re expecting.

Apple iTunes Video Conclusions

The Good: When Apple does something, it does it well. Their setup just works. If you want a video, you click, get it, and then can stream it to the supported devices.

The Bad: Apple is one of the most restrictive companies for their videos. It’s computer, iPhone, or Apple TV. Purchasing requires an iTunes account.