Welcome to the htpcBeginner HTPC News Roundup, Mar. 4, 2017 edition! Check out the latest in HTPC news. OSMC announced a new 4K version of its Vero streaming box, Netflix continued to hone its streaming capabilities, and YouTube made the foray into cord cutting. Read on for the latest in HTPC news and updates!
Table of Contents
In case you missed them, here is a recap of all our interesting articles published last week:
- Android TV DVR support is coming to your device thanks to Google
- How to install Cardigann on Docker using Kitematic GUI?
- Best HTPC for Kodi with 4K on a Medium Budget 2017 (~$400)
- 5 Best Kodi Skins for Fire TV 2017 – Speed, Looks, Performance
- How to Install Muximux on Docker using Kitematic GUI?
- Setup Diet Pi on Raspberry Pi 3 – Lightweight Server OS
- Setup Diet Pi on Odroid C2 – Lightweight Server OS EDIT
HTPC News From Around the Web
OSMC, or Open Source Media Center, is an open-source media center made for embedded devices. However OSMC doesn’t merely produce an excellent Linux-based HTPC distro. Instead, OSMC delved into the streaming box space with the Vero. On Feb. 24, 2017 OSMC revealed its Vero 4K. As the name suggest, the next iteration of the Vero boasts 4K support. YOu’ll find H265, 10-bit, and VP9 playback. There’s a SPDIF optical audio output and HD audio support. For connectivity, the Vero includes Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. It’s powered by 2 GB of RAM and features 16GB of flash memory. You can snag a Vero 4K from OSMC here. With its combination of excellent hardware and fantastic open-source media center software, the Vero 4K holds promise. [Read: OpenELEC vs OSMC for Raspberry Pi 2 Media Center]
Google Summer of Code is a program dedicated do ushering student developers into the open-source software space. The Google initiative pairs students with open-source organizations for three month internships. Open-source media center Kodi has been accepted as a 2017 Google Summer of Code project. Kodi remains one of the most popular media centers available. Its inclusion in the Google Summer of Code 2017 program further reinforces its legitimacy in the face of false piracy accusations. Check out the ideas page and Google Summer of Code 2017 forum if you’re interested in applying.
Netflix continues its dominance in the streaming realm. Throughout the history of Netflix, there’s been a clear trend of innovation. What began as a DVD by mail service tacked on streaming video. Then Netflix original series debuted. Late in 2016 Netflix launched a feature allowing video downloads on mobile devices. While many Netflix subscribers use high speed internet, that’s not a universal luxury. As such, Netflix continues to focus on improving streaming quality. Netflix devised a means to encode videos with Google’s VP9 codec with static scenes requiring less data than complex scenes. “You don’t need that many bits to get high definition from ‘BoJack’ when it’s simple animation,” explains Todd Yellin, Netflix VP of product. Your Netflix videos should appear better while mobile data use smaller.
Because cord cutting persists it shouldn’t be a surprise that long-time video provider YouTube is entering the fray. There’s no shortage of choices including DirecTVNow, Sling TV, and PlayStation Vue. YouTube is poised to launch YouTube TV, a streaming service for cord cutters. As YouTube Product Management Director elucidates, “It’s live TV designed for the YouTube generation. Those who want to watch what they want, when they want, how they want, without commitments.” Initially YouTube TV will feature content from over 40 providers. Notably, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, ESPN, FX, MSNBC, and USA are included in YouTube TV. However The Wall Street Journal reports that YouTube is negotiating with the likes of Discovery, Viacom, and AMC. The forthcoming YouTube TV promises another outlet for cord cutters.
The Raspberry Pi hit in Feb. 2013. Since its inception the Pi evolved into several flavors. In 2015 the Raspberry Pi Zero debuted. The small board targeted makers with its even further condensed form factor. The third Raspberry Pi Zero iteration arrives in the Raspberry Pi Zero W. While it retails for $1o, twice as much as the vanilla Zero, it features Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Hence the added W in the title. Aside from wireless capabilities, the Raspberry Pi Zero W remains essentially the same board. The Zero W sports 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. Onboard the Pi Zero W retains the Pi Zero’s single-core 1 GHz CPU, I/O ports, and 512MB of RAM.
Did you find any interesting news stories or projects from around the HTPC space? Share them with us in the comments section below!