Showing posts with label Hulu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hulu. Show all posts

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Xbox 360 Dashboard

I have played with the updated Xbox 360 dashboard for a few weeks, and really am enjoying several of the new features.  The new additions that I like are better support for using an Xbox Live account on multiple Xboxes and improved support for  new video content sources.

Multi-Xbox support


We have two Xboxes in our house.  The second Xbox is upstairs, and has been used mainly as a Windows Media Extender and as a way to watch Netflix and Hulu content.  We haven't used it to play games because it was too much of a pain to either recover our Gamertags or copy the profile and saved games to a USB thumb stick.

With the new Dashboard update, Microsoft added two features that help with users with multiple Xboxes.

Roaming Profile


Microsoft renamed "recovering" profiles to "downloading" profiles.  With this you can "download" a profile on multiple consoles, with specifying the live.com password.  This allows you to use the same Xbox Live account on multiple consoles (though not at the same time.)  With this functionality, I am able to play a game on the upstairs Xbox while my wife or kids are watching something else on the downstairs TV.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRrJ7pVInqI

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

E3 Xbox Announcements

Microsoft announced several things at the opening keynote for the 2011 E3 conference and in a release.  Personally, I am interested in some of the announcements:

  1. Xbox Live Cloud Storage

  2. Integrated search

  3. Live TV features


Xbox Live Cloud Storage


With Xbox Live Cloud Storage, you should be able to keep your profile, and some game saves on the Xbox Live servers.  This should allow you to go to any network connected Xbox, and log into your profile.  This is better than the Gamertag recovery that you have to go through now.  For users that choose to keep their profile online, I wonder what happens if the user tries to use the account when they aren't online.

Integrated Search


I have mentioned before that it is hard to find a particular piece of content that you are interested in, especially with the  various content provider.  For example, if my kids wants to watch a movie, I currently look on Netflix, then Hulu, then in the Zune Marketplace.  The new integrated search should make this easier.

Live TV


Microsoft is supposed to be providing access to live TV content. I don't know which content partner they will be working with, but I am more interested in how open they allow this to be.  For example, I want to be able to plug in the following sources into my Xbox



  • UPnP ATSC tuners

  • Windows Media Centers


Microsoft was promoting Kinect control of the Live TV experience.  I hope that they also improve the experience when using an Xbox media remote control.  This would reduce the barrier for switching to the Xbox in our house.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Roku XD|S

I have been interested in streaming content for a while. I have installed PlayOn and the tubeCore Windows Media Center plugin to view TV content. This is not an ideal experience.

With tubeCore, the user interface to browse the list of shows and episodes is pretty simple. For example, the meta data about the episodes is not shown. Also, I was never able to get reliable streaming though PlayOn and tubeCore.  Often, I would need to try to play a stream twice in order for it to play successfully.

The Roku XD|S looked like it would be a perfect way to watch content that is available on-line.  With the Roku, you have easy access to Netflix streaming, Amazon Video On Demand, Hulu and other content.  I like the hardware, as it is very quiet, and is small enough for me to use on any of our TVs.

The setup was pretty painless, and I was up and running with several of the content providers within 30 minutes of starting the setup process.  Where the content partners provided HD content, the picture quality was good.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

PlayOn on Roku

I have mentioned PlayOn before, as the way that we are getting a lot of our television content.  We use PlayOn to view content from Hulu and SyFy channel. Since PlayOn is a UPnP server , we are able to play this content on our Xbox or on our Media Center PC.

It looks like Roku is getting access to PlayOn content.  The addition of the content that Roku already had, the addition of  PlayOn, makes Roku a credible solution for cancelling cable or satellite service.

I am not sure if once you set the Roku up to access PlayOn content, if you need to leave the PC running to access the content.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Xbox 360 in bedroom

A while ago, I mentioned that my wife bought me the new slim Xbox 360. I was trying to decide where I wanted to set up the old Xbox.  We have been using Linksys Media Center Extenders on each of the other TVs around the house, to give them access to the content on the Media Center.  But the Linksys extenders do not support other content like Netflix streaming.

I decided to set up the Xbox in our bedroom.  (And got the OK from my wife too.)  I have configured it to automatically start up in Media Center Extender mode when the Xbox starts up.  Since I want to access our Netflix streaming account from the Xbox, I created a Xbox Live Gold account for the Xbox, and associated my Netflix account to this Xbox account.

With this setup, I can access:

  • Live and Recorded TV from the Media Center

  • Netflix streaming content

  • DVD content

  • Content from the Zune Video marketplace

  • Hulu, Youtube, and other internet streaming content through the PlayOn server running on the Media Center


Also, we will be able to play games on this Xbox.  (Most likely only when my wife has her woman's group over)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Comedy Central shows with PlayOn

I have been very happy with our setup now that we have cancelled our Comcast cable TV service.  For the shows that are not available on terrestrial television, the selection of content available on Hulu has been great.  Unfortunately, Comedy Central decided to pull their content from Hulu.

Today, I got an email from the PlayOn team, mentioning they they have added support for playing Comedy Central content, in addition to content from NCAA March Madness, MLB and Pandora.  I installed the update, and it works great.

Friday, February 26, 2010

tubeCore

A few weeks ago, I installed our networked ATSC tuner, and I disconnected our Comcast cable feed.  This has been working great, as we are able to get our network shows over the ATSC tuner, and movies and older shows over Netflix streaming.  The one thing that was missing is recent shows on cable channels.

I mentioned before several solutions on getting access to Hulu content in Media Center.  vmcPlayIt allowed you to play content from a PlayOn media server, but the UI didn't look good at all.  Then there are solutions that let you launch Hulu Desktop, like HuluDesktopWMC and Hulu Desktop Integration, but those have problem when switching back and forth between the applications.

tubeCore appears to be the best solution.  It is similar to vmcPlayIt, where it connects to a DNLA server like PlayOn, but the UI is a lot better.  The other good thing about tubeCore is that it is compatible with Media Center Extenders

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Media Center Extenders?

Now that it seems that support for Media Center Extenders is wanning, I need to figure out what I want to do about our setup.  I have been pretty happy with Media Center Extenders for thing that are recorded on the Media Center.  But, for other things the Extenders don't do that well.

I have not had good luck getting movies to play on our Extenders with MyMovies.  Also, I haven't gotten vmcPlayIt to work, in order to play Hulu and Netflix content on the extenders.

I was thinking ing that what I want is a simple DNLA audio and video player.  This would support playing content recorded via the TV tuners.  Also, since PlayOn is a DNLA server, these players could play Hulu and Netflix content. Also, with Windows 7, other content would be transcoded.

The only problems that I see with this solution are:

  • I don't think that it will be possible to play live TV, or control the tuners.

  • Hopefully it would be easy to configure the heirarchy of the content.  For example, I would want recorded content to grouped by series.  Also, I would want to see the meta data for the content.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hulu on Windows Media Center

As I have mentioned before, one of the things that I have been working on is to get access to Hulu content on my Windows Media Center computer.  Now with Hulu Desktop being released, there are several potential solutions for getting this to work.

A few weeks ago, there was a special price for the PlayOn media server software.  I had tried this before and decided to jump on this special price.  I installed it and the vmcPlayIt Media Center plugin.  Once I installed the PlayOn software, I was able to play Hulu content on my Xbox perfectly.

I still haven't been able to get the vmcPlayIt plugin to work.  I am able to see the categories, but I am not able to see the thumbnails or play videos from any of the providers.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hulu Desktop

Hulu has released Hulu Desktop in beta.  This application, for Mac OS X and Windows, allows you to watch Hulu content with only using a remote for control.

I think that this is an interesting move on their part, and you can see why they wanted to stop Boxee from showing Hulu content.  If they will also create a Windows Media Center plugin, that would allow this content to be viewed within the Media Center UI, I will be that much closer to canceling Comcast cable service.

[via Mashable]

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