Posts from the “Multimedia” Category

Google TV Review

At this point there are more cord-cutters than ever and there are now more options of retrieving media via the web.  With options such as Roku, Boxee, Apple TV and others what makes a device with Google TV installed so special? There are two basic avenues to getting Google TV, either you can purchase a TV with it installed or you can get a set top box with it installed and hook it up to a non-internet enabled TV.

Typically the Google TV experience that I have seen and witnessed is pretty vanilla and straight-forward.  The latest devices are running Android 3.2 and hopefully will be seeing an update soon.

Setup.  Setup of Google TV is simple, just as easy as you would setup a new Android device with signing in to your Google account and restoring apps — this is no different.  In addition, Google TV not only works alone, it works with your existing cable connection and HDTV.  That is right.  Not only can you benefit from just having this set top box alone, which is a viable option, adding cable just makes your experience better by actually being able to search content from your service provider, searching and still watching your favorite shows using PIP and more.

Day-to-Day Usage.  Using this player is just like using a Roku or Boxee Box device; however, the caveat is that these devices lack a customizable operating system beneath or “flow” from one to another; plus there is no full-featured Google Chrome.  Google TV devices come with the Google Play Store, which allows you to download any app compatible to your device.  That is includes Netflix, Flixster, YouTube (more on that later) and more.  Android on a TV is unlike anything that you’ve ever experienced — simply amazing.  Not only is the transition from app to app fluid and simple, the controls on the remote mimic Android on mobile devices, as they should. google-tv-remote

Apps.  To start, there are over 700K apps available on the Google Play Store for your devices; however, for this device, there are only a few thousand available.  Now, it is arguable how many apps do you really need for a TV?  Mainly, you need media consumption apps — not Cut the Rope or Angry Birds.  The apps that are available make this an extremely functional device and once you have it in your living room it’ll be there to stay.  YouTube on the Google TV is simply put, the richest YouTube experience on a TV – period. YT_GoogleTVFrom the ability to stream every video in your subscription box, the user has full control to give ratings and also view video information; all in excellent HD resoltion.  Netflix is no slacker here either — the UI is far greater than the experience on the Roku player.  It is not like the content increases, but the manner in which Netflix for Google TV delivers it is the key.  Also, Google Play Music and Movies are available, which just makes this box even more “Googley” so all of that music that you have uploaded and those movies that you have purchased are at your fingertips for the first time on your TV.

Just the above four apps alone make this device worth the $175 that you can purchase it for; Target even had it for $129.

Bottom line:  If you are a Google-centric person a Google TV is a no-brainer, especially the model I chose — Sony NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV — buy [HERE]


No iCloud support for Photoshop CS6? Who cares?

Adobe, the pinnacle company of media creation and editing, has done it again with CS6.  This company has done a fantastic job with new versions of Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator and more.  CS6 excels in many areas such as:

  • Speed
  • UI Design
  • New advanced tools such as video editing

PC Mag did an excellent review of Adobe Photoshop CS6 [HERE], which is a remarkable piece of software, but winced at the fact that it did not support iCloud.  With all of the great things that Photoshop does so well, to think they would pick out this nit-picky “con” about the software.  iCloud is a service for users who are completely encompassed in the Apple ecosystem and to be honest there are far more users that aren’t that are.  Not having iCloud integration is the least of Adobe’s worries and if I were over the development team I would be in no rush to bring such a proprietary feature to the list.

Watch an introduction to Photoshop CS6:

Bottom line:  CS6 is the best in the collection of programs yet; definitely worth the upgrade.

Cutting Cable? 1 Million did in 2011

Are you considering cutting cable?  If so, there are plenty of resources to make the process as painless as possible; I did it and do just fine.  With options like Netflix, HuluPlus, Amazon Instant, YouTube and more cutting the expensive cord and gaining a little more control of how you watch television can be a simple process.  Cable prices are on the rise, along with everything else in this country.  So, why continue to pay for premium channels when 9 times out of 10 your favorite programming is either getting interrupted by commercials or you are being forced to watch a certain program at an odd hour?

Using these media streaming services gives you complete control of your entertainment.  Honestly, that is the way that it should be, especially if you are paying for it.  For example, if you miss House at the regular scheduled time on Fox, so what?  Turn on your media connected tv to HuluPlus one day later and watch it at your convenience.  That is the power that an internet connected tv could give you.  On the other hand, if your HD tv does not come with any services built in try a set top box such as Roku, Boxee, or even the AppleTV (limited, but works well if you have an Apple-centric household) .  These set top boxes can connect you to the following:

  • Netflix (Roku, Boxee, AppleTV)
  • HuluPlus (Roku)
  • Amazon Instant (Roku)
  • YouTube (Roku, Boxee, AppleTV)
  • Pandora and more

The prices of these devices and based upon what suits your needs you could pay as little as $59.99 for the Roku, which is the best bang for your buck.

Bottom line:  When it comes to media content; you’ve got options.  Do not feel the need to stay tied down to your cable company.

Torrents do NOT hurt box office

According to a study by the University of Minnesota, piracy in the form of BitTorrent does NOT hurt the box office here in the US.  However, the same cannot be said for overseas releases; partially because of the dates and cycles in which they are released.

So, with all of the SOPA and PIPA bills floating around, for there to be no significant drop in revenue for U.S. box offices destroys the MPAA argument.  On the other hand, releases abroad saw a decline of 7% in revenue due to piracy because titles were not available as fast.

Bottom line:  The industry is all about money; it seems that they will do whatever it takes to rake in as much money as possible.  However, with so many wealthy “big-wigs” in Hollywood is destroying the internet really worth it?

Set top boxes…worth it?

There are several set top boxes that an enthusiast can choose from.  Some may want to completely cut the cord, as I did, or some might want to simply enhance their entertainment experience.  Below are just a few:

  • Roku (what I currently own)
  • Apple TV
  • Google TV
  • Boxee Box

I am a firm believer that a set top box can help you significantly lower or even eliminate a pesky cable bill.  Why?  The answer was simple to me, the only thing I need from my already expensive cable company is the internet.  I will use a quote I once heard, “If I can’t stream it, I don’t watch it.”  This definitely holds true to me as my daily television consists of YouTube vidoes, Netflix, and HuluPlus.  When living a typical work lifestyle it is difficult to put down everything and watch a network show when your cable company tells you to.  So, why not have access to tv shows and movies when you are ready?  The cost of a set top box is a one time fee that will lead you to media freedom later; you really pay for exactly what you want.  All I want is Netflix and Hulu, so $15 per month is nothing compared to $100 plus for  dozens of channels I wouldn’t waste a second on.

Bottom line:  Cable is done and providers know it; don’t get locked in.  This investment will prepare you for the future and with all of the options to choose from; there is a box right for everyone.  Happy picking!