Tag Archives: Media Player

VLC for Android (Finally) Released for Select Devices

The popular open source media player, VLC for Android by the VideoLAN team after several months of waiting. For what it is most known for, it supports almost all types of audio and video files a and brings a decent user interface. Different ports of Android by individual developers had been floating for Android a while, but they all were too buggy to use. This port has been made by the official team and is very stable, at least on supported devices.

Download from Play Store: VLC Beta (NEON version) (Amusingly, the app is not available to residents of USA and Canada. No problem, I’ve uploaded its APK, which you can find at the end.)

vlc music vlc

Unlike most of the media players, VLC can play both videos as well as songs. The UI is fully made up of orange & black colors and has some decent audio/video control options. It features support for headphones control, like automatic resuming of songs, etc., and supports subtitles too.

vlc video playback (1) vlc video playback (2)

It literally plays almost any video format you throw at it like MKV, FLV, MP4, etc. Volume can be changed by swiping up or down on the screen while a video is playing, something, which we have been seeing in almost every video players. One drawback of VLC is that it sometimes lags while trying to render full HD (1080p) videos smoothly.

Apart from the normal functions, it can also stream videos from a URL. VLC is currently in its initial stage of development and doesn’t sport any advanced capabilities such as an equalizer, automatic fetching of album art or lyrics, sleep timer, etc.

Overall, VLC is just a decent media player at this stage. On the desktop, the biggest reasons for VLC  being a popular media (especially video) player are — Simple UI, small size and support for nearly any file format. But the case is different on Android and I’m very skeptical whether these features are going to prove advantageous for VLC as they have already been available on several media player. That said, I’m really looking forward to its future builds hoping for some cool new features when it sheds its ‘beta’ tag.

VLC is currently in beta, contains a few bugs and might lag on some devices. At present, it only supports a small bunch of smartphones that have ARMv7 processors with NEON architecture and won’t work on phones with ARMv6 or non-NEON processors. However, the team does plan to support more devices very soon. The VLC team currently recommends the following phones for smooth playback:

  • Galaxy Nexus
  • HTC One X
  • Samsung Galaxy S3
  • Motorola Defy
  • HTC Desire
  • Nexus one

If your phone is not officially supported by the app, you might still want to download its APK and test it on your phone. You can download the VLC APK here.

Samsung Announces The Galaxy Player 3.6 And Galaxy Player 4.2

Samsung recently announced two new multimedia devices in its popular Galaxy family, the Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 and Galaxy Player 4.2. Both the devices runs on the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Operating System. These media players has all the all the features of a smartphone, except the calling capabilities.

You might have already guessed that the Galaxy Player 3.6 comes with a 3.6 inch WVGA display, while the Galaxy Player 4.2 comes with a 4.2 inch WVGA display. These devices will be available for purchase from next month in the US. Check out the complete specs after the break.

samsung galaxy player

The Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 features a 3.2 inch WVGA display, sporting a resolution of 480 x 320 pixels, 1 GHz processor, Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS, TouchWiz 4.0 UI, 2 megapixel rear-facing camera, VGA front-facing camera, Music Player with SoundAlive, Front Stereo Speaker, 3.5 mm headset jack, Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 8 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, 512 MB RAM and a 1500 mAh battery.

The Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 features a 4.2 inch WVGA display, sporting a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, 1 GHz processor, Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS, TouchWiz 4.0 UI, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 2 megapixel rear-facing camera, VGA front-facing camera, Front Stereo Speaker, Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0, Samsung Apps, Social Hub, Readers Hub, Music Hub, Game Hub, Google Play Store, 8 GB/ 16 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, 512 MB RAM, Samsung ChatON, Samsung Kies and a 1500 mAh battery.

The Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 is exclusively available for purchase at Best Buy for $149.99. On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 will be available for purchase from May 13 for $199.99. It will also be available for pre-order, starting from May 4.

Samsung Announces The Android Powered Galaxy S WiFi 4.2 Media Player

Samsung has already announced some amazing devices, including the Samsung Galaxy Beam, Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy Tab 2 at the MWC 2012. After unveiling the smartphone and tablets, Samsung went ahead and announced the Android powered Galaxy S WiFi 4.2 media player at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2012 in Barcelona. This device is the successor of the not-so-popular Galaxy S WiFi 4.0 media player. According to the company, the Samsung Galaxy S WiFi 4.2 is not just a media player, but it is also a powerful gaming device.

samsung galaxy s wifi 4.2

The Samsung Galaxy S WiFi 4.2 features a 4.2 inch WVGA display, sporting a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, 1 GHz C210 processor, Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Operating System, TouchWiz 4.0 user interface, 2 megapixel rear-facing camera, VGA front-facing camera, Music Player with SoundAlive, Front Stereo Speaker, and more.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Samsung Apps, Social Hub, Readers Hub, Music Hub, Game Hub, Android Market, 8 GB/ 16 GB internal memory, microSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, 512 MB RAM, Samsung ChatON, Samsung Kies, Samsung AllShare, Samsung SmartView, and a 1500 mAh battery.

The Samsung Galaxy S WiFi 4.2 comes pre-loaded with EA’s popular game, Need For Speed Hot Pursuit. This device features the SoundAlive audio system which offers great sound through a front stereo speaker or headphones. The price and release date of this device is still unknown.

Slingbox Comes to Online Stores in India

Sling Media has announced its association with eBay India, Rediff.com and Infibeam.com to   bring Slingbox to the Indian online marketplace. eBay India, Rediff.com and Infibeam.com will provide a platform where buyers can purchase the video place-shifting Sling media products.

Sling Media

Slingbox is the flagship product of Sling Media. It is a television streaming device that allows consumers to watch and control their living room television shows at any time, from any location, using internet-connected PCs, Macs, PDAs, tablets, and smartphones. Slingbox gives consumers the ability to control practically any audio/video device –  including a digital cable box, satellite receiver, digital video recorder (DVR), DVD player, gaming system, or even a still video camera.

Sling media has announced two products that will be available at these portals: Slingbox PRO-HD for INR 14,999 and Slingbox SB 120 for INR 7,999. An accessory, SlingLink Turbo, that connects a Slingbox to the router if they are in different rooms of your house, is available for INR 4,999.

The last time I went to Croma, a popular electronics store chain in India, I spotted a Slingbox. The sales staff pointed out the failure’ of the device. I’m assuming that  it has to be due to the low internet speeds available in India for most users. Also, technology enthusiasts who subscribe to broadband with high speeds are bummed with the Fair Usage Policy of service providers. The data cap for the FUP to kick in and lower speeds is too less for a video-streaming device.

Convert your iPhone/iPod Touch Or Any WiFi Enabled gadget to foobar2000 Remote

Background:

I have a WiFi network setup which covers my apartment. I’m a music buff as well, and music is almost always playing while I’m working/browsing.

Now more often than not, I would be generally working on my office laptop – testing/ coding/ documentation / something of that sort and my music collection is on my personal laptop. I’ve often wanted to control the music – skip it/ pause / jump to specific songs, and started about searching the best way to do so.

The most obvious solution was to use the Remote app for the iPhone/ iPod Touch. There was a slight problem with this. Remote app uses Bonjour, and that means I’d have to use iTunes as my media player. For the record – I hate iTunes. It’s a POS application which I’m forced to use for syncing my music and I try to use it sparingly. I love foobar2000. I started out searching for alternatives to Remote, and found this neat little plugin – foo_touchremote, but it was rather unpredictable and would crash foobar often. Another big problem was that I’d have to re authenticate foo_touchremote everytime I leave & rejoin my WiFi network – which is atleast 2-3 times a day. Very annoying.

That plus there would a dependency on the iPhone/ iPod Touch on the rare occasion that I’d have to give up my iPhone, so I started searching for more “open” (*snark*) solutions.

The thing which came to my mind when thinking about an “open” solution was use to an http server (plugin? ) so that any device with a semi-capable browser could handle this. After searching for a bit, I came across HTTP Control Plugin [foo_httpcontrol] which would be the foundation.

Going about doing this

So here’s how you set it up. Download the archive, and move foo_httpcontrol.dll file to your Program Files\\foobar2000\\components directory

Aqbmn.png

Copy the foo_httpcontrol_data directory to %appdata%\\foobar2000 directory ( %appdata% refers to Users\\AppData\\Roaming folder).

ufGqo.png

Grab any of the templates. Save the template folder under %appdata%\\foobar2000\\foo_httpcontrol_data folder.

3MKTX.png

Next, launch foobar2000. Goto File – > Preferences Menu.

HAThY.png

Click on HTTP Control to bring up the subpage.

OlSjx.png

Now, the screen maybe confusing but we really need to focus on “Listen on:” area, more than anything

OT5jm.png

Listen on allows you to define the IP address on which the server should run ( read: your computer). Now, before you rush off to enter your system IP address, remember couple of things:

  • The WiFi network is bound to be DHCP based, meaning the IP address is assigned automatically by the router
  • If you have multiple devices, the IP address is likely to changed. Meaning, that everytime the IP changes, you might have to stop and start the service.

You have 2 possible solutions to overcome this:

  • Let your router remain DHCP configured, but put up a static IP for your system. This way, your IP will never be assigned to any other devices
  • Some routers can reserve IP address and bind them to the MAC id. This way, when the system connects to the WiFi network, the router checks the MAC id and if a reservation is available, then assigns the IP. This is what I had done.

tBWlE.png

I’d recommend that you use the router’s DHCP reservation feature, else fallback to static IP assignment.

Right, back to foobar, enter the IP of your system and a random port. Put a check mark against “Start server” and click on Apply. Your server is ready.

aBpg9.png

Click on the open link to open your browser

XaBzG.png

So the basics are set. Use any device and point to your IP address. If you don;t want to type in the full IP address:port combination, copy that, and use a URL shortener like j.mp or bit.ly and set your custom name, and use that URL to control foobar2000.

As a bonus, if you have an iPhone/ iPod Touch, open the URL in Safari and use the “Add to Home screen” feature and make it act as an app as well.

4Eeks.png dWQGq.png Jq4qd.png

This is how it looks with the kevo template on my iPhone

qcsDb.png

If you’re paranoid about security, foo_httpcontrol allows you to restrict access to only specific IPs or even the standard username / password scheme

qLodF.png

At the bottom, of the screen you will see some advanced settings. – it’s recommended that you leave them as how it was configured.

cMyY6.png

The concept is pretty simple, and with this approach, you can convert any Wifi enabled device into your own music remote control.

VLC Player For iPad Now Available

VLC, the open source and cross-platform media player has now been ported to work on the . The best part about VLC player is that it has almost every codec required to play videos built-in, allowing you to play almost any video file.

VLC Player for iPad

VLC Player is currently available for downloads for iPad, sadly and users will not be able to download and use this popular video player on their devices.

If you are using an iPad, head over to this iTunes link to download the app.

(h/t @tanmays)

Boxee Box Home Entertainment System – Available for Pre-Order

boxee-logoBoxee is a social media service that started out as freeware for creating HTPCs (Home Theater PCs) that can run on Windows, Mac and Linux. They’ve partnered up with the famous D-Link company, which is better known for manufacturing routers, to create the Boxee Box.

The Boxee Box is a basically a small computer (set top box) that joins your TV to your internet connection. It allows you to play media files from your home network or tons of content off the internet. You’ll find thousands of popular TV shows, movies and music in addition to many of the popular sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Pandora.

Here’s what the Boxee site says about this new product.

    • Play what you normally watch on your computer   (whether it is on the Internet or your home network) on your TV
    • Tailor the Internet experience to a huge flat screen
    • Do it in full HD, 1080p with 5.1 surround whenever possible
    • Share the stuff you watch with your friends and see what they are watching
    • Use a simple remote rather than a keyboard and mouse

What’s it look like? What’s in it?

It looks odd to me. Here’s a peek at it.

boxee-box-by-dlink

It comes with a unique RF remote controller that has navigation buttons on one side, and a qwerty keypad on the other side.

boxee-box-remote

They promise that the Boxee Box is easy to set up. In general, you plug it into the outlet, connect it to your TV, then Boxee pops in to tell you how to connect to the internet via your home network. If you have a previous Boxee account, it will import all of your settings and services.

Here’s what the some of the screens look like.

boxee-screen1

boxee-screen2

I was not able to find out what operating system that they use in the box, but it runs on the the Intel CE4100 system-on-a-chip, which is a new Atom style processor. Here are the system specs quoted at Amazon.

• Dimensions (LxWxH): 4.5″ x 4.5″ x 4.6″

• Language Support: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish

• Network Protocol Support: IPV4, ARP, TCP, UDP, ICMP, DHCP Client, DNS Client, DDNS Client, HTTP Server, Samba Client, RTP/RTMP, VPN: PPTP, DLNA 1.5 (DMP)

• Wireless: 802.11n/g/b

• Ports: HDMI 1.3, 10/100 Fast Ethernet, 2x USB 2.0, Optical Audio (S/PDIF), Analog Audio (RCA L/R)

• Memory Card Support: SD, SDHC up to 32GB, MMC

• Audio Formats: MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AIF/AIFF, AC3/AAC, OGG, FLAC, DTS, Dolby Digital/Dolby True HD

• Video Formats: Adobe Flash 10.1, FLV/On2 VP6 (FLV/FV4/M4V), H.264 AVC (TS/AVI/MKV/MOV/M2TS/MP4), VC-1 (TS/AVI/MKV/WMV), MPEG-1 (DAT/MPG/MPEG), MPEG-2 (MPG/MPEG/VOB/TS/TP/ISO/IFO), MPEG-4 (MP4/AVI/MOV), DivX 3/4/5/6 (AVI/MKV), Xvid (AVI/MKV), WMV9 (WMV/ASF/DVR-MS)

• Image Formats: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, TIFF

• Playlist Formats: M3U, PLS, WPL

• Subtitle Formats: SRT, SUB, SSA, SMI, ASS

• Supported Resolutions: H.264: 1080p at 30 fps, 1080i at 60 fps; WMV9/VC-1: 1080p at 30 fps, 1080i at 60 fps; MPEG4: 1080p at 30 fps, 1080i at 60 fps; MPEG2: 1080p at 30 fps, 1080i at 60 fps

• Two-Sided RF Remote: with 4-way navigation and full QWERTY keypad

Where to get it?

The Boxee Box is available as a pre-order for $199.00, exclusively at Amazon (in the US) and Best Buy / Future Shop (in Canada). The units are scheduled to start shipping in November and the cost will increase to around $230.

You can download the Windows, Mac and Linux software here.

Conclusion

I have a feeling that the Boxee Box will do well, but they have some stiff competition coming from Google TV, Apple TV and even Microsoft. I think they’d do much better at a price point closer to $100.

Western Digital Launches The WD TV Live Plus HD Media Player With Netflix Integration

Western Digital the leader in providing storage solutions today announced the WD TV Live Plus HD media player. The WD TV Live Plus has Netflix support integrated into it. Netflix users can watch thousands of movies and TV episodes on their TV, thanks to the WD TV Live Plus.

WD

“Netflix has become a ‘must have’ for consumer electronics devices,” said Netflix vice president of business development Bill Holmes. “We’re proud to align with WD to include Netflix on WD’s groundbreaking WD TV Live Plus HD media player.”

The WD TV Live Plus media player features full-HD 1080p video playback. The device also packs in an Ethernet port, and two USB ports. The device can also be connected to your wireless network, with the USB wireless adapter sold separately. Thanks to the USB ports, the WD TV can playback videos from external storage devices plugged into them. It can also store videos in an external hard disk or USB drive.

The device also has an HDMI 1.3 port, and a SPDIF digital output port. The WD TV Live Plus HD media player is available effective immediately at selected retailers having a MSRP of $149.99.

Amarok 1.4 Gets Ported Over to Qt4, Named “Clementine”

Amarok

Amarok 1.4 was probably one of the best media players for Linux, and arguably one of the best media players around. Amarok 2.0 was a radical departure from its previous versions and was not well received by quite a lot of Amarok users. If you’re one of the folks who feel that Amarok 1.4 should not have been touched upon, well this new ongoing project might interest you.

David Sansome and John McGuire have been working on a project, which aims to port Amarok 1.4 to Qt4 and rewrite it to make full use of Qt4 features. The project has been christened as “clementine-player”.

Features:

  • Ability to search and play your local music library
  • Listen to internet radio from Last.fm and SomaFM
  • Edit tags on MP3 and OGG files.
  • Works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux
  • Native desktop notifications using libnotify on Linux   and Growl on Mac OS X

The player is still in very much early stages, and the pending features include

  • Automatic addition of files from disk to music library
  • iPod and MP3 player support
  • Global shortcut keys on Windows and Mac OS X
  • Loading and saving of playlists

Clementine for Linux
Clementine for Linux
Clementine for Mac OS X
Clementine for Mac OS X
Clementine for Windows
Clementine for Windows

The project certainly seems interesting and Techie-Buzz will cover it as it progresses. If you wish it try it out, do check out the download page.

(Image credit).