When we hear hype that something is the “easiest” thing in the world to set up, we usually put on our hip waders and prepare to slog through a waist-high pile of dung, because 19 times out of 20, it's usually a load of crap.
Well, believe us when we say that the Dropcam HD is the easiest Internet camera we’ve ever set up. We mean it. To set up the Dropcam HD, you just plug the camera into your PC via USB. The setup files are stored in flash, which kicks up a configuration utility. This lets you create an account with Dropcam and connect the device to a Wi-Fi network. Once you’ve done that, you unplug the Dropcam HD, move it to the area you want to monitor, and plug it in via the included 2-amp wall wart. That’s it; you’re done and streaming 720p video to the Internet in about two minutes flat. The lens is a wide 107 degrees, which is enough to let you see most of a room. The video quality is good, and while certainly far better than QVGA surveillance cams, the compression is heavy enough that you won’t be picking out license plates with it.
The Dropcam can be removed from the unique mount, if needed.
Forget about making room on your entertainment center for yet another set-top box, Roku's Streaming Stick packs the same functionality into a package that's no bigger than a typical USB flash drive. Roku first unveiled the device at the beginning of the year with a promise to ship it in the second half of 2012 for anywhere from $50 to $100. Making good on that promise, Roku today said its Streaming Stick will be available to purchase in October for $99.99.
With Google's recently launched Nexus 7 tablet encroaching on what had been Amazon's territory led by the Kindle Fire, the e-tailer is busy beefing up what it hopes will prove a trump card. You can't stream Amazon Prime Instant Video to the Nexus 7, but you can on the Kindle Fire (provided you didn't root the device and feed it Ice Cream Sandwich), which will now enjoy access to an even larger catalog courtesy of an expanded content licensing agreement with NBCUniversal and New Media Distribution.
CyberPower PC today introduced the Gamer Pro FTW, a new series of desktop PCs intended to seamlessly mesh gaming performance with live HD streaming capabilities, without breaking the bank. The Gamer Pro FTW starts at $1,085 and is available in half a dozen base configurations built around the user's choice of Intel's X79 Sandy Bridge-E platform, Z77 Ivy Bridge, or with an AMD FX Bulldozer foundation.
Several changes to the way Hulu operates could be in store for the streaming video service, according to a leaked internal memo deemed confidential. The three-page document indicates a desire by parent companies News Corp. and Disney to take control of how Hulu operates, and specifically in regards to freeing up current-season content from the shackles of exclusivity so that previously restricted programming could be licensed to third parties, such as YouTube.
As OnLive’s 200 some odd employees gathered in the conference room for an all hands meeting on Friday, few expected the company to completely and utterly implode, but that’s exactly what happened. We resisted the temptation to write this up immediately as the story was still developing, but as of noon hour on Sunday, Engadget is reporting that anywhere from 80 to 90 percent of the staff have been laid off. They also report that OnLive’s assets appear to have been bought up by an as-yet-unknown third party company, though we expect this will be clarified over the next few days.
Good news for Android users who are fans of Spotify. The spunky streaming music service just launched its free unlimited radio feature on the Android platform for users living in the U.S., bringing the service up to par with its iOS counterpart that received the same upgrade about a month ago. Previously the only way Android users were able to listen to free music on the go with Spotify was to sign up for a 48-hour trial.
Netflix is home to the first three seasons of Sons of Anarchy, as well as all eight seasons and 249 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, named after the main character who would go on to star in Matlock and, unfortunately, just recently passed away (R.I.P. Andy Griffith). The point being, there's a healthy selection of streaming content available on Netflix, and subscribers consumed 1 billion hours worth of it in the month of June.
As Netflix tells it, the company's streaming subscribers all around the globe are collectively watching a billion hours of movies and TV shows each month. Serving up that amount of content takes some serious bandwidth, and up to this point, Netflix has been relying on third party content delivery networks (CDNs) to pipe petabytes of data to ISPs like Comcast, Charter, and others, who in turn deliver the video to home PCs and living room HDTVs. Now Netflix has its own CDN to play with.
At this point in the game, Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings puts little effort into hiding his disdain for Comcast, the largest cable operator and Internet service provider in the U.S. He's complained about Comcast before and the favoritism the ISP gives its own Xfinity Streampix service over Netflix, and he decided to dole out a mini rant over the weekend using Facebook as his soapbox.