Google introduces Google TV

May 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Android, Hot Devices, News, Video

On the second day of the I/O developer conference Google unveiled Google TV, internet-enabled platform that will be available as early as this fall on devices offered by Sony and Logitech.

While Sony will be selling HDTVs and Bluray players with GTV capabalities, Logitech will offer devices that will be connected to existing hardware. No pricing was revealed, but all three devices will be available at BestBuy. In addition Google TV will be integrated with Dish Network.

Along with all the cool features viewers will be able to use a special remote control and browse for upcoming TV shows, view more information online, schedule for future DVR recording or watch previous episodes on Hulu or Amazon. In addition a translation service will be available to translate LIVE TV captions in any language.

Another applouded feature is the ability to use your Android phone as a remote or speak to your device the search queries displayed on the screen.

The devices from Sony and Logitech will use a specialized version of the popular Atom processor which will be optimized for TV viewing. The integrated browser is Chrome and initialy the operating system will be powered by Android 2.1 later on to be updated to the newly introduced Android 2.2.

Most Android apps should work with the service and the source code and APIs will be released in early 2011.

iPhone as a Remote Control for XBMC (Xbox Media Center)

March 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Home Entertainment, iPhone, News, Video

While searching for the ultimate FREE home media center application, I came across XBMC (Xbox Media Center). XBMC was originally created for the first-generation Xbox game console, but it is now available for Linux, Mac OS X (Leopard, Tiger, and Apple TV), Windows (Vista, XP). There is even a live CD version called XBMC Live.

XBMC plays most video formats, and I find it the ultimate player for playing HD movies. For additional features and recommended hardware, please refer to the official XBMC site.

I currently have XBMC installed on my Windows Vista Ultimate (x64), and it is running absolutely flawlessly. My windows machine is connected to my Mitsubishi HC1600 HD DLP Projector, and oh boy…do I have a movie theater in my living room?

After appreciating this set-up for a few weeks, I decided to create a similar one for my bedroom (less the projector), and this time I wanted to use my Mac Book. Fortunately XBMC has a build for Mac OS X, but for a greater positive surprise, I found that there is a XBMC port specifically designed for OS X: Plex. Plex works absolutely amazing and it utilizes both cores of the Mac Book, which is crucial for watching HD Movies.

Now that I have a fully functioning home media center in my living room and bedroom, I couldn’t wish for anything else but a remote that will control them all.

Being an iPhone addict, I searched for XBMC on App Store and was pleasantly surprised. There is an application called XBMC Remote that allows you to control XBMC (or Plex) through your WiFi. That was exactly what I was hoping for and installed the software immediately. XBMC Remote costs $2.99, but is worth every penny. In addition, there is an application called xbmcontrol which is free, but XBMC Remote works better for me.

Setting up XBMC to work with your XBMC Remote is very easy and it takes about a minute:

1. Open XBMC (or Plex) and Navigate to Settings. Write down or remember the IP address.

XBMC Config

2. Enter settings and scroll down to Servers

XBMC Server

3. Highlight (arrow right) Enable Web Server and enable it (hit Enter). Port 80 is preselected and you may leave it as is unless you have a web server on the same subnet accepting connections on port 80. Adding a password is optional.

4. Go to App Store on your iPhone and search for xbmc remote. Install the application and open it.

5. You’ll have to first configure it, by adding a XBMC Host. Select Add Host

XBMC Remote - Settings

6. Enter a title of your choice. Enter the same port number you used on your XBMC or just leave it 80 if you didn’t change it. For Host/IP enter the IP address of your XBMC (the one you remembered from step 1).

XBMC Remote - Config

Select Done and you are all set. Tap on your newly created host, select more and tap on Remote. Now you have a fully functional remote control for your XBMC or Plex. The remote could be used with Buttons or Gestures.

XBMC Remote - Buttons