YouTube TV: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (So Far)

demonstrated that there was a demand for cheap(ish) cable replacement services, delivered over the Internet.iterated on the design and delivered an even better service, andtried its hand at expanding the channel selection — and.

Now, ($35 per month) wants a piece of the pie, and it’s burst onto the scene with very little preamble from its parent company, Google.

While my full review of YouTube TV is still in the works, I wanted to give you my initial impressions of the service, having installed it this morning and used it intermittently until this afternoon. In a nutshell: It’s competent, but not impressive. The mobile app is pretty and snappy, and the PC interface works as advertised. On the other hand, the channel selection isn’t all it could be, and it suffers from some device limitations that will take time to work out.

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Over time, the app learns your preferences, and starts recommending content you’ll really like — the latest episode of a show you’ve been watching, or a movie in a series you follow, and so forth.

The Library section is similarly clean and easy-to-use. As you tell YouTube what you want to watch, it will record every instance of a show available, and keep the recordings almost indefinitely. Think of it as having a DVR with infinite space. PlayStation Vue is fairly generous with its DVR options, but YouTube TV sails right past it; Sling TV’s DVR-in-beta lags far behind, while DirecTV Now offers nothing.

If DVR is your thing and you feel that you left it behind with your cable or satellite subscription, YouTube TV can help fill the on-demand hole in your heart.

The Live TV section also shows live previews of channels when you run your finger or your mouse over them. It’s a relatively low-bandwidth way to give you an idea of what’s on without committing to a certain show.

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The Bad

have complained about YouTube TV’s channel selection, and I can’t blame them. With fewer than 40 channels at $35 per month, it’s not quite as robust as DirecTV Now, whose $35 plan offers more than 60 channels, nor as cost-effective as Sling TV, which offers more than 30 channels for $20 per month.

Some of the channels YouTube is missing are glaring omissions: there’s no Nickelodeon, no Discovery, no CNN, no AMC, and no TBS, among others. Sure, you get broadcast networks, but you can get those just as easily with an HD antenna.

Finding content is also not as easy as it should be due to a truly baffling design choice. I searched in vain for a way to browse by network, by genre or by on-demand availability and found nothing. At last, I clicked the search bar, and lo and behold, was redirected to a whole page of browsing options — plus a search tool, naturally. The issue is not a deal-breaker by any means, but a page that should have been front-and-center in YouTube TV’s interface is instead relegated to a function that usually does the exact opposite thing. (Users tend to browse to find general content, and search to find specific content.)

What I felt when I used YouTube TV more than anything else, though, was a general sense of “been there, done that.” Yes, the service’s DVR features are miles ahead of the competition, but in a world of on-demand content from individual channels and Netflix/Hulu/Amazon alike, DVR is not nearly as vital as it once was. Take that away, and you’re left with a decently navigable cable replacement service that has some channels you want, and some you don’t.

In other words: It’s a lot like Sling TV/PlayStation Vue/DirecTV Now. It’s not as obtuse as Sling TV, not as restrictive as PlayStation Vue, and not as buggy as DirecTV Now, but I can’t point to anything it does remarkably better or worse than its three big competitors.

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The Ugly

By far, the most unusual decision Google made for YouTube TV was allowing it to launch with onlycompatibility. (Android TV has Chromecast functionality as well, but there’s no dedicated app.) If you have an,,or just a, you (ironically) won’t be able to watch YouTube TV on your TV.

Apps for other streaming platforms are probably forthcoming, but Google hasn’t provided any solid information about them. YouTube TV could prove a very tough sell if you purchase it with only the vague hope that it will someday be compatible with the devices you already own.

First Impressions

So far, I’m not bowled over by YouTube TV, but I’m also not disappointed with it. If Google set out to launch a competent cable service at a reasonable price with a sensible interface, it succeeded. If, on the other hand, Google set out to do something unexpected and innovative in the cable replacement space, it missed the mark.

I’ll need to spend a few more days learning the service’s ins and outs before I give it a full review. In the meantime, YouTube TV offers a, so if you want to give it a spin for yourself, now is as good a time as any.

These devices are expected to be in the range of $460 and $600, according to Digitimes, and are intended to be direct competition for Asus’s EeePad Transformer Prime. However, it won’t be plain sailing for the these tablet manufacturers. Digitimes sources are concerned as to how successful the tablets can be in a market where Apple and Amazon are believed to account for the lion’s share. These sources said that non-Apple tablets may only account for 10 to 15 percent of the entire tablet market.

Additionally, though the excitement surrounding quad-core tablets is palpable, it is unclear just how much value a quad-core processor has in the tablet market, where hardware horsepower isn’t as important as it is in a PC. Tablets have established a perception of ‘good-enough’ computing and consumers tend to care little about the RAM or the actual processor in such a device if it does not offer any useful application or advantages. Manufacturers such as Samsung, Asus, Acer and Lenovo will need to overcome this by establishing an experience perception and developing a marketing strategy that describes how the quad-core processor enables experience.

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Usually, we’re exactly the kind of people when it comes to R2-D2 anything,or, we’d probably be up for pretty much anything, if it’s done right. We just can’t make decide if this music player from Toys R Us has been done right.

Boasting 2GB of storage, this little guy also has a little color display around back along with some hardware buttons for all your skip, back, play, pause and volume needs. However, as Technabob points out, the image itself looks a little fishy. It’s got a distinct whiff of iPod to it and we’re not sure if it’s genuine. While there’s every chance the device does have a snazzy color display, it’s not mentioned in the product details (though the buttons are), so we don’t want you to get your hopes up only to discover it doesn’t look like the photo.

Pricewise, you’re looking at $45, and Toys R Us recommends this for kids aged 6 – 8 years. What do you think? Good choice for a kid’s first music player or a total waste of money?

Playingis generally a blast. Watching other people enjoy VR on the web? Not so much, as viewers are often stuck looking at disembodied hands and a shaky first-person headset feed. 

Fortunately, the folks at VReal are out to change that. A livestreaming platform for, VReal allows broadcasters to immerse their viewers in their VR livestreams, turning fans into active participants rather than bored bystanders.

While I was experiencing VReal natively on the company’s app with a virtual reality headset on, the service also promises to make VR streams more exciting for folks watching on places likeand. VReal users can set up virtual cameras within the game world, meaning you’ll be able to watch the action from angles chosen by the broadcaster, and won’t be stuck watching the first-person perspective coming out of their headset.

Because of this, the company noted, you can essentially have a multi-person camera crew setting up the perfect shots from within whatever VR game or app you want to show to the world. You can already get a taste of how this works on, a weekly Twitch show in which broadcasters compete for high scores in Surgeon Simulator. It’s much closer to a full TV production than the static VR streams you currently see on Twitch.

VReal will be available widely later this year, and will be free to use for both streamers and viewers. As someone who gets most of their entertainment from Twitch and YouTube, I’m very eager to see the kind of immersive broadcasts that come out of the service – from both inside of a VR headset and on my plain old monitor.

, a streaming media player that will bring FaceBook, YouTube, Netflix and over 130 channels and apps to any HDTV or analog TV. It has both 10/100 Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity, making it an ideal gadget for the den, living room or bedroom. It even transforms the TV into a digital photo album with Picasa.

‘Whether you are looking to stream the latest flicks from VUDU, catch up on your favorite TV shows available on Netflix, or just want to listen to some music from Pandora, our new MovieNite Plus offers a simple to use solution that delivers the biggest names in entertainment straight to your TV,’ said Ken Loyd, director, consumer products, D-Link. ‘D-Link continues to deliver user-friendly entertainment solutions offering an unlimited amount of content at the best HD resolution for a great value.’

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Come midnight, Kinect will be available in retail outlets across the country. Provided the system doesn’t sell out, you should be able to stroll down to your local electronics store and pick up Kinect whenever you have the time. Still, there’s something to be said for being among the first to get a newly released product and Microsoft is providing a little extra incentive for those close to NYC to get off their butts and head down to the official launch at Toys R Us in Times Square.

Toys R Us is opening its doors at midnight so it can sell Kinect as soon as calendars tick over to November 4, and Microsoft is giving the first 3,000 people to purchase Kinect a free copy of Kinect Sports, a copy of Kinect Joy Ride and a one year Xbox Live Gold subscription. That’s $150 of swag right there, but that’s not all; Microsoft is also giving the first 400 people (over the age of 18) an invitation to the launch after-party where it’s promising ‘surprise appearances.’

So who’s in line already? A lot of people, that’s who. This is Peter (right) and K (left). Peter has been sitting outside the store since 7pm on Monday, while K arrived Tuesday morning at 9am. Peter says he wants to be among the first to get Kinect, while K said he’s there to be in that first 400 going to the after party. When asked if that was the only reason he was there so far in advance, he responded, ‘That’s it. I wanna go to the after-party.’ Peter said he was buying the peripheral for himself, while K said his wife would probably play it a lot.

Given how early these guys showed up (and their lack of gear), I’m assuming they’re from New York. However, one family made a trip from eastern Pennsylvania to make sure they get Kinect first and they were well prepared for the long wait with plenty of blankets and snacks to keep them going. Arriving at 7 a.m. this morning, they they seemed extremely excited about the prospect of Kinect and admitted they’d be taking it out of the box ‘as soon as they got home.’ That said, they also admitted that they arrived so early because they wanted to secure after-party tickets.

‘We got the train in the middle of the night to be here this morning at 7am,’ said mom, cheerfully. ‘We were going to come in last night but we checked the Facebook page and they said there were only about 20 people so far so we waited until today.

‘We were about 40th in line when we arrived but people have been showing up and joining their friends up ahead so I think we’re probably about 60th now. We’ll still be in the top 400, though, I think.’

We counted about 80 people in the queue, but there were also plenty of empty chairs where people had left their posts, we assume in search of refreshments or a bathroom.

Things don’t officially kick off until 6 p.m. but Microsoft reps were on hand all day to give passersby a chance to try out Kinect and folks in line were encouraging people to try out the system and then join the queue. We’ll head back to Times Square later on this evening to see what’s going down so be sure to check back for more!

As of tomorrow (May 22),, and it will also cost 20 percent more, moving to $11.99 per month from $9.99 per month. But you don’t have to pay that higher price to get the perks that Premium will offer, if you act fast.

  • Read our guide on how to

Existing subscribers, as well as those who subscribe today (May 21), before the change, will get to keep the current $9.99 per month pricing. Of course, that’s always subject to change, as month-to-month billing means that YouTube can change its mind at some point in the future.

, the price is more than worth it for me. Not only does the service give you an ad-free YouTube — getting rid of car insurance ads alone is incredible — but it also allows you to save videos for watching offline, which I take advantage of during my commute and on trips.

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Another major perk of YouTube Red is listening to clips in the background on mobile devices, so you can multitask and not lose the thread. You also get access to YouTube Originals, such as Cobra Kai (the Karate Kid reboot) and the upcoming animated series Dallas & Robo, which tells the story of a boozy space trucker and her robot partner, voiced, respectively, by Kat Dennings and John Cena.

Also, if you subscribe to YouTube Red before the switchover, you also get Google Play Music, a streaming music service.

The transition from YouTube Red to YouTube Premium is a part of the launch of YouTube Music, the service’s new competitor, which is is launching in both free and paid ($9.99 per month to get rid of ads) tiers. YouTube Premium will cost more, in part, because it includes YouTube Music Premium.

Not in the mood to hack the PSP?offers a $90 clone that serves as an emulator, playing old classics found on Sega’s MegaDrive, Nintendo’s Famicom, and other classic consoles.

Called the PXP-900, this Mp5 player isn’t merely a hardware emulator, but offers other features that should have come with Sony’s PSP in the first place. But don’t let its appearance be deceptive: the device doesn’t have the capability to play PSP games, and honestly, it’s a wonder that Sony doesn’t crack down on the manufacturer for mimicking the PSP look and control scheme so close to the original.

According to China Grabber, the PXP-900 has an internal memory capacity of 2 GB, but is also capable of accepting SD cards up to 4 GB. On the video side, the device sports a 4.3-inch QVGA TFT LCD screen (320×240 resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio), churns out 25 FPS  during emulation, and also offers a cool TV-out function. Additionally, the PXP-900 has a built-in camera, FM radio, a loudspeaker, and MP3/MP4 drag-n-drop capabilities; Sony’s PSP doesn’t feature any one of these items.

And unlike the PSP, the PXP-900’s specs reveal that a built-in Ebook reader supposedly will read aloud any TXT file in Chinese or English. A movie bookmark feature will allow the viewer to return to the specified place in the movie at any time. There also seems to be a built-in microphone as well, recording sounds in WAV format. However, the lack of network information in the specifications probably means that that the device doesn’t have Wi-Fi capabilities. This means that anything downloaded for the device–whether it’s a console rom or a converted movie–can’t be done across the network, but rather through a USB connection to the PC.

Of course, the built-in emulator is probably the device’s biggest selling point. While the company didn’t offer any specifics, the software is capable of running games from classic consoles including the NES, Famicom, GameBoy, GameBoy Color, and Sega’s MegaDrive; the emulator supports the 32-bit Super Famicom and MegaDrive CD-ROM (aka Sega CD in the States) games as well. While it’s not apparent if the portable emulator will come packed with pre-loaded ROMs, the company did say that gamers can download additional titles. Are these games legal? We assume that’s a ‘yes,’ however China Grabber did not provide additional details on availability, pricing, or method of acquiring the games.

Still, for roughly $90, consumers will get the portable emulator, a user manual, earphones, an AV-Out cable, a USB cable, and a power adaptor. The unit comes in four standard colors–black, white, blue, and red–and is powered by built-in rechargeable lithium batteries (notice the plural). Additionally, the PXP-900 works with Windows 98, 98 SE, ME, 200, XP, Mac OS 10, and Linux 2.4.2 operating systems; the company did not specify Windows Vista or the upcoming Windows 7 OS in the product details.

While we haven’t checked out the device in-house, the specs certainly sound better than Sony’s PSP in certain aspects, especially with the built-in camera, Ebook reader, and console emulator. ON a graphical level, the PXP-900 doesn’t stand up to the PSP–at least not in a gaming aspect. In all actuality, the PXP-900’s cheap price tag means that consumers could have the best of both worlds, especially if they already own Sony’s portable gaming device.

Amazon.com today introduced the company’s second generation electronic reader, the Kindle 2. The follow up from the company’s successful Kindle ebook reader offers customers a slim new design with longer battery life, faster page turns, over seven times more storage, sharper images, and a new read-to-me feature.

Rumors that Amazon was about to unveil the next Kindle did the rounds at the very end of January. The company announced it would be holding a press conference at the Morgan Library in New York City on February 9; and while there was no mention as to whether or not we’d see the revamped Kindle, the notice on the Kindle site that says orders placed for the device will ship in 4-6 weeks didn’t go unnoticed, especially when you consider the Kindle drought a result of the device’s Oprah debut. 

Despite the fact that the newest Kindle sports a 600 x 800 6-inch electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, most will be a little disappointed to find out there’s still no touch screen on Amazon’s reader. With 2 GB of memory, Kindle 2 can hold more than 1,500 books, compared with 200 with the original Kindle. More memory is always welcome and Amazon has kept the price for this version the same as the old: $349

A few hours before the event, word went around that Stephen King would be launching the Kindle and true enough, the novelist was there. King said he would be writing a story for the Kindle and he read an excerpt of ‘Ur’ to the crowd, which is actually about a Kindle and sounds completely dire, but there you go.

‘Author Stephen King announced today that he is releasing a novella, “Ur,” which will only be available on Kindle. At the center of Ur is lovelorn college English instructor Wesley Smith, who can’t seem to get his ex-girlfriend’s parting shot out of his head: ‘Why can’t you just read off the computer like the rest of us?’ Egged on by her question and piqued by a student’s suggestion, Wesley places an order for a Kindle. Smith’s Kindle arrives in a box stamped with the smile logo and unlocks a literary world that even the most avid of book lovers could never imagine. But once the door is open, there are those things that one hopes we’ll never read or live through.

Customers can preorder now and units are set to ship February 24.

Nokia may have just announced an ambition to make Windows Phone 7 its primary smartphone OS but prior to that, the company had all kinds of plans involving Symbian and MeeGo, the Linux-based OS it developed in conjunction with Intel. Here’s a device that the company filed a patent for last year. 

and just recently published by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office, the patent sketches portray an N8-like tablet but reveal little about the specs or even the OS of the device. We can see a smattering of ports along one side of the device, but other than that, there’s not much else to see. Since this patent was discovered by Boy Genius Report, Electronista managed to. Also filed in May of 2010, the design of the second tablet is a little different to the first, but again, the filing offers nothing else in the way of information about specifications or operating systems.

It’s very likely these are tablets that have been shelved since Nokia’s decision to move away from MeeGo and towards Windows Phone 7, but you never know.

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