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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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Kickstarting the Music-Streaming Router

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Kickstarting the Music-Streaming Router

Crowd-sourced wifi network operator Fon what it describes as an the modern jukebox-- the Gramofon, a device bringing together wifi connectivity, smartphones and online music streaming services.

Essentially the Gramofon is a small router with built-in online music service support. It connects to audio systems via 3.5mm jack (it carries no speaker) and to home networks via either wifi or ethernet, and uses wifi to pair with mobile devices.

Once initial setup is complete, users log into the Gramofon's own wifi network (not Bluetooth) via Facebook account to act as streaming service playlist DJ. In addition connected devices get regular internet access.

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Google's Next Stab at TV: Android TV

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Google's Next Stab at TV: Android TV

Google TV might be dead, but Google has not given up on taking over the world's living room-- The Verge reports the search giant is working on Android TV, an STB interface providing users access to content and apps.

It sounds all too similar to Google TV, but it apparently is not the case. "Android TV is an entertainment interface, not a computing platform," a leaked Google document reads. "It’s all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction."

In other words it is similar to other app-enabled STBs on the market, such as the Apple TV, Roku, the recently announced Amazon Fire TV and Google's own Chromecast dongle.

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Amazon Reveals STB, Calls it Fire TV

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Amazon Reveals STB, Calls it Fire TV

So Amazon was truly working on a console-slash-STB after all-- the online retailer turned hardware maker reveals a spearhead in the invasion of the world's living rooms with the Fire TV.

Rumours on the Amazon STB have been going on since April 2013, with Bloomberg first reporting of a Roku/Boxee-style device in development at the company's Lab126 hardware division.

The finished products looks like a small matte black box adorned with a simple Amazon logo. It runs on the latest version of Amazon's forked Android build (aka "Mojito") and carries a quad-core processor, Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB RAM and dual-band dual-antenna wifi. Pushing output are HDMI and optical audio ports.

Media content comes via Amazon's own Instant Video and Prime services, as well as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Pandora and iHeartRadio, among others. An interesting-sounding "ASAP" feature predicts the shows users are most likely to watch, pre-caching them for instant viewing.

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WSJ: Amazon STB to Ship in April

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WSJ: Amazon STB to Ship in April

Rumours on the supposed Amazon STB continues to trickle in-- "people familiar with the company's plans" tell the Wall Street Journal the long-awaited device ships on "early" April 2014 to retailers such as Best Buy and Staples.

According to the WSJ the STB carries a "forked" Android version allowing it to run not only Amazon streaming services but also the likes of Netflix, Hulu and even games.

TechCrunch also joins the Amazon STB rumour game, saying the device features a Chromecast-style dongle/stick design and OnLive-style PC game streaming capability. Reportedly "top-tier games" are to be streamed at 30fps-- a lofty goal, but one has to keep in mind Amazon is (probably) equipped to power such intensive cloud-based offerings.

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