Tag Archives: Android TV

Why Roku Still Matters..

In an age where Apple TV, Android TV and Amazon Fire TVs are highlighted more than others, one pioneer of the smart tv falls to the background, Roku. Admit it, have you even heard of the Roku? I have and it was my very first foray into making a smarter living room in 2010, with it’s easy and beautiful interface — buying and transitioning into the smart TV world was a breeze.

Sample Roku interface.
Why does this happen? We are living in an age where the ecosystem of Apple and Google have grown significantly and they both are at phenomenal levels. One note is that on the TV side, these do mostly the same things, mostly. For example, you will not be able to enjoy your iTunes library or Airplay on any Android TV, just like you will not be able to Cast to an Apple TV or access the Play Store. This is why the Roku lineup is great — it is platform agnostic. Agnostic means that it is not going to place one certain platform over another or show favoritism to it’s own services (because Roku doesn’t have it’s own), so services like Google Play Movies, Netflix, Sling and more all work great.  
Roku is available in a variety of options. There is the Roku Express, Roku Streaming Stick, Roku Premiere/Premiere + and lastly the Roku Ultra, with both Premiere options and Ultra having being able to stream 4K content. Roku opens the user up to a variety of apps called “channels” that are easy to add from the built-in store.

Current Roku lineup as of October, 2016.

Bottom line: Try the Roku Player! With many different options to choose from, there is a Roku flavor to meet your needs, tastes and budget. Roku excels because of it’s ease of use and simple interface making it easy for new users and advanced users alike to come aboard.  Convinced?  Go here to see Roku for yourself.

ASUS Nexus Player First Impressions

The Nexus Player by Asus and Google….is it a good device?  Or is it a great device?  First impressions are everything and one thing to note is that the UX is unbelievable.  Simply navigating through menus and available content is a breeze and very refreshing.  One thing notable about navigation is that it just makes sense.  There is absolutely little to no learning curve when it comes to using and operating the device – pick up the remote and go.

Content is something that will come.  Android TV is a new platform for developers to take advantage of; however, one notable addition out of the box is Hulu Plus, which Google TV never got.  The new Android Developer Studio makes it easy for developers to create applications for all screen sizes with ease – so let’s not freak out about this.  In addition, the selection of apps upon release is not bad at all, with a plethora of games and the media apps that are most popular, you will be fine.

The remote is another story.  Upon my first hands-on feel, this thing feels like it was made by a child.  Looking at the remote is one thing, pleasing; however, manipulating the screen with the remote works; yet, sometimes it is creaky and honestly feels cheap (this may be the break in period as I didn’t notice it too much after extended use).  Pairing the remote control is a breeze and happens almost instantaneously and you are ready to use your Nexus Player.

Full review to follow after more time.

Bottom line:  This is a great device that is a wonder to use.  With Google at the forefront the Nexus Player shines.  Overall rating of 8/10

Google Services “front and center” on Google devices

More and more lately while digging through reviews, there are instances of people jabbing Google (such as CNet) for making their services the highlighted ones on a device that IT is selling.  No one has ever complained that Apple forces you to use iTunes or that Amazon forces you to use their proprietary ecosystem — so why is Google being singled out here? Absolutely nothing new.

Singlehandedly, Google has taken the mobile industry by storm quickly catapulting Android to the forefront.  The company has had many “stabs” at the living room: Google TV, Nexus Q, Chromecast (which is great) and the newly introduced Android TV (this platform builds in the ability to cast in addition to full game support that can really bring a rich experience to the end user).


Nexus Player interface shown.
Nexus Player interface shown.

It seems more and more in reviews that Google just cannot get it right in the eyes of the reviewers at some tech centered websites and it needs to change.  Many often complain that it only has 8GB of storage, which is exactly the same amount as Apple TV and Amazon’s Fire TV.  Learn to see the promise of the vast ecosystem that google brings to the table and how it can potentially reshape the pathetic living room experience that is dominated by Comcast and Time Warner.

Wake up.