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VidaBox Intros LiivStreamer Media Players

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VidaBox Intros LiivStreamer Media Players

VidaBox launches its latest media player generation-- the LiivStreamer, designed to pull content from LiivNAS on the same network before handling IP-based distribution of content over a single CAT5 network connection.

Available in 2 form factors (the ultra-compact "Mini" and the 2U rackmount-ready "Plus"), the LiivStreamer runs open-source XBMC/Kodi software with Linux as OS, and distributes Blu-ray, DVD, music, photos, videos and select free online content. Customers can easily create multi-zone or whole house setups through the addition of multiple LiivStreamer units.

The units support 1080p video, 7.1 lossless HD audio bit-streaming and pass-through for DTS-HD, DTS-MA, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Atmos audio format.

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Nvidia Shield Becomes STB

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Nvidia Shield Becomes STB

Nvidia reveals the next generation of Shield device at Game Developer Conference 2015, and it's neither a handheld console nor a tablet-- not when it combines "revolutionary TV", "gaming console" and "supercomputer."

Marketing hype aside, the latest Shield device is actually a gaming-focused STB reminiscent of the Amazon Fire TV. It carries an Nvidia X1 chip (with a 256-core Maxwell architecture GPU and 64-bit CPU) and runs games both locally and from the cloud via the GRID streaming service.

Nvidia also describes the device as the "first 4K Android TV," since Android TV is the OS of choice and it handles 4K video streams from both local and online sources, with HDMI handling connectivity to TVs. Game resolution reaches 1080p if customers have a 30Mbps connection, while those stuck at 10Mbps get 720p streams.

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Providers Form Streaming Video Alliance

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Providers Form Streaming Video Alliance

A group of 17 streaming video providers, content companies and vendors form the Streaming Video Alliance, an organisation set to create architecture, standards and best practices for high-scale online video services.

Members includes Alcatel-Lucent, Charter Communications, Cisco Systems, Comcast, Epix, Fox Networks Group, Korea Telecom, Level 3 Communications, Liberty Global, Limelight Networks, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Qwilt, Telecom Italia, Telstra, Ustream, Wowza Media Systems and Yahoo-- but the two biggest names in online video, Netflix and YouTube, are notably absent. This should not come as a surprise, as such giants would probably not want to change their technology to something created by an external consortium.

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IHS: High Hopes for European Netflix Expansion

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IHS: High Hopes for European Netflix Expansion

IHS predicts international customers will make 20% of overall Netflix subscribers as the video streaming service is set to be available in Belgium France, Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland and Germany by end 2014.

According to the analyst the move will see the addition of 5-6 million new subscribers.

"Between the expansion of Netflix and its growing popularity in markets such as the UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Scandinavia, we anticipate that the company will add a total of 8m new subscribers to its European tally by the end of 2018,” IHS says.

Further on the analyst says the Netflix rollout should propel the W. European online subscription market to a 35% CAGR over the next 5 years.

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BBC: Nvidia Preps PC Game Streamer

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BBC: Nvidia Preps PC Game Streamer

The BBC reports Nvidia is set to challenge Valve's upcoming Steam Machines with a "a new gaming device" able to stream games from high-end Nvidia-powered PCs to TVs using GameStream technology.

Reportedly the unnamed device also runs Android games natively via Tegra K1 chipset. Recently shown off at the Google I/O 2014 with an Unreal Engine 4 demo, the Tegra K1 features an ARM-based CPU and a 192-core GPU.

Also mentioned is a "budget-priced separate controller," making one wonder if the device is either a regular STB-style console or a tablet.

The first Nvidia take on game consoles, the Project Shield, already features GameStream allowing gamers to stream games from PCs carrying compatible Nvidia GPUs. However the bulky handheld device failed to set the world on fire like its makers' hoped it would.

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The Firefox-Powered Chromecast Rival

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The Firefox-Powered Chromecast Rival

A tweet from Mozilla developer evangelist Christian Heilmann leaks what might be the company's next project-- a Google Chromecast-style streaming stick running on Firefox OS.

As way of reminder the Chromecast is a low-cost HDMI dongle able to push online content (such as YouTube or Netflix videos) from mobile devices to TVs. The Firefox OS-powered take on the concept, reportedly codennamed "Netcast", is similar if "more open and hackable" than the Chromecast at least according to Gigaom.

The news site got to try out a prototype version of the device, and has a video showing a Nexus 7 tablet beaming content to a TV. Reportedly it is compatible with some Chromecast apps, including Google Play Music YouTube and Plex.

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PS Vita TV Makes it to Europe

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PS Vita TV Makes it to Europe

Remember the Playstation Vita TV, the Sony Japan-only micro console? Only scratch that last bit-- at E3 2014 the company announces the devices is making to European markets as the Playstation TV.

In way of refresher, the Playstation TV is basically a PS Vita handheld console reworked into a small (6.4 x 10.5cm) STB. It connects to TVs via HDMI and plays select downloadable PS Vita, PSP and PS One games using up to two Dualshock wireless controllers.

In addition it also supports PS4 Remote play (ie game streaming from PS4 consoles) and PS3 games through the forthcoming Playstation Now service.

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Further European Expansion for Netflix

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Further European Expansion for Netflix

Netflix announces "significant" expansion into 6 European countries-- Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Luxembourg will get access to the video-on-demand service sometime later this year.

The above mentioned countries will join the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands in access to subscription-based on-demand programming on multiple devices. Little else is known, since the company says it will provide "further details, including pricing, programming and supported devices at a later date."

Currently Netflix has 48 million subscribers in over 40 countries, and says it serves over 1 billion hours of programming per month. In Europe it will get to compete against the likes of Sky Deutschland's Snap, Vivendi's Watchever, ProSiebenSat.1's MaxDome and Amazon Instant Video.

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A Media Player for 4K TV Owners

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A Media Player for 4K TV Owners

Customers in want of content for their 4K/UHD TVs get a Sony option in the shape of the FMP-X5, a 4K media player allowing one to stream video content using the HEVC (H.265) standard.

The device is designed for use with the Bravia KDL-84X9005, KD-65XD9005A and 44X9005A TVs. On launch it enables access to the Netflix 4K streaming service, and the company hopes for compatibility with similar future services.

However Sony gives no word whether its own 4K Video Unlimited movie services will make it to our side of the world.

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