When Google released the Chromecast, it was set at a very cheap price point in order to chew up as much market share as quickly as possible, similar to Google’s approach with Android. Looks like that tactic paid off for the little streaming dongle, as the Chromecast holds second place in the market share race after just over a year on the market.
In 2013, Roku and Apple TV made up over half of the market, with Roku leading the way by a considerable margin. In 2014, that shifted dramatically with Roku losing a large percentage of the market and Apple TV actually coming in third behind Google’s second place Chromecast. Since the Chromecast is significantly cheaper than what’s offered by Roku or Apple, that’s helped it rise in market share so quickly.
In September, the beta for Firefox for Android suggested that Mozilla was taking Roku and Chromecast mirroring seriously. The company took its nightly builds — with mirroring support — and added it to the beta cycle. Well fast forward about three months later and the feature has graduated to the stable build.
One of the best things about Google is that the company acknowledges that other platforms exist. Today, Google Play Movies & TV is available in the Channel Store for Roku devices. Owners of such devices get Google’s vast library of films and television shows in standard and high definition. Google integrated its Info Cards so viewers can quickly learn about actors and more just by pausing.
For now, the launch of Google Play Movies & TV is available in the Channel Store in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Ireland. Google is throwing in a gifts to celebrate and the first one is the original X-Men film.
Roku has announced today that they are starting to roll out a new beta feature that will enable screen mirroring from some Android devices to Roku 3 and Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version) devices. This new feature will be available for Android devices running at least Android 4.4.2 and with hardware that supports screen mirroring. Android users are not the only ones getting this new feature as Windows 8.1 powered devices will be able to do the same thing.
A new update for the Firefox Beta app for Android is now available in the Google Play Store. The big new feature is the addition of support for casting the browser’s contents to a Chromecast or Roku device. Firefox had added the Chromecast support to their nightly builds a few weeks ago. Adding it to the beta channel gets the feature that much closer to being available in the production app.
Fire up them Roku boxes, everyone. The ‘Little Streaming Box That Could’ has an update for its Android application that brings a breath of fresh air! The interface has been completely retooled and gives it a much more cleaner look. In fact, it is flatter and more crisp.
Aside from just revamping the interface, Roku has added a ton of depth to the search functionality. Searching a specific movie, actor, or director on your device will display some possible hits. But with these results, Roku will also display the viewing options (Channels) available. This enhanced search functionality will only be available on Roku boxes with firmware 5.4 and up (excluding the 2450x and 2500x models).
Hit the break for the gallery and download links.
With the holiday season just around the corner we’re bound to see an influx of rumors regarding the launch of random tech devices between now and then. Today’s rumor pegs Amazon as being set to release a Chromecast, ROKU, and Apple TV competitor. The Firetube, as it’s rumored to be called, will be similar to the ROKU in terms of size and shape. It would also be similar in that it would grant users access to various apps. One would expect to see that Amazon’s video service that’s apart of its Prime membership.
According to sources close to the Wallstreet Journal, Amazon has approached various media-centric companies and cable television providers to partner with. They would release their media on apps designed for the box. Currently, those with a Prime account are only able to stream media through the PC or certain set-top boxes such as the ROKU. Even as such Amazon will need to hurry to get this out before it’s too late and for the right price.
When Google introduced the Chromecast, it was indeed a game changer. Obviously for the functionality, but mostly because of the $35 price tag. Roku CEO Anthony Wood recently said the Chromecast only got attention because of this price point. Thanks for telling us the obvious, but you have to admit the simplicity of use had to be a key factor.
Still, Roku plans on joining the party by adding DIAL support to their set-top boxes. DIAL stands for “Discovery and Launch” and is the same protocol that Google implemented with the Chromecast and something that is already utilized in many televisions from companies like LG, Panasonic, and Vizio. Roku already included support to stream video from Android devices earlier in the week.
Still it remains to be seen if companies like Roku can implement their own standard and get support from developers such as Netflix. These features still need to be implemented in the apps, and it seems to me that one standard makes the most sense. Google probably has the best shot at that.
Wood also went on to say that separate set-top boxes and dongles will be a dinosaur because TVs will just implement all of these features. Although I agree with the convenience of that, I personally would rather buy separate units. I don’t need to buy a new TV every two years thank you very much.
Roku is one of the more popular media players and it just got a little better thanks to the latest update to the Android app. Now you can stream videos from select Android devices to your Roku, something you can’t currently do with the Chromecast.
Unfortunately it’s only compatible with a handful of devices: Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy S 4, Nexus 4, HTC One, and the 2012 Nexus 7. Although a small selection, at least they happen to represent the more popular models. Streaming will work on the Roku 3, Roku 2, Roku LT, Roku HD (2500 model), and Roku Streaming Stick.
Jump past the break to get your download.
Today Roku is rolling out an update to its popular Android companion app, which brings along several fresh enhancements and features. One of the most notable changes, however, is the new “Play on Roku” feature. With it, you can stream photos and music from your smartphone directly to any Roku player over your home’s Wi-Fi network.
“Photos streamed on TV using Play on Roku can be viewed individually using a swiping gesture on the mobile device, or in automatic slide show mode. When music is streamed using Play on Roku, a screen saver with the song title, artist, album name and cover art will appear on the TV while the song plays. Photo slide shows can also be viewed with music streaming at the same time. Play on Roku is compatible with MP3 and M4A audio files and JPG and PNG image files.”
The app will be available to download in the same countries that Rokus are sold, meaning nearly all users should be able to take advantage of the feature. There’s no word on whether or not the service will be expanded to support videos or third party applications in the future, but in the meantime be sure to check out the official application in the Google Play Store. Catch the full presser after the break.
Play Store Download Link