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148Apps 2013 wrAPP-Up - How My Grandmother Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Going Mobile

Posted by Mike Deneen on December 31st, 2013

I'm the kind of person who my entire family comes to with any tech or game related question. For my soon-to-be career in the IT world, I've probably already heard every silly computer related question I can think of; such as my parent's worrying I deleted all of their email in their Yahoo! email account when I reformatted their computer to my uncle calling me to tell me how this site he saw on an infomercial cleaned up his PC. Every facepalm, of course to those in the know, was from lack of knowledge of computers and technology.

So when it came to my grandmother - who is old, fragile, and not in the greatest of health - needing an upgrade from her ancient Mac Book this year, I candidly suggested she go to an iPad instead of a new computer. "Why?" my family asked, "How can a tablet replace a computer?" To which I gave them a brief summary of all the reasons I could come up with to justify the purchase of a $500 tablet versus a $1200 MacBook. The iPad's size, weight, cost, and usability were all crucial to my argument for the iPad versus another laptop.

Me with my grandmother at my wedding in 2010.

Eventually I won out in this discussion, thus beginning a sort of experiment to see if my dad's mother could adopt to a mobile touch screen device. To many in our age group, the idea that someone may have trouble with an iPad sounds almost absurd. But keep in mind this was part of a family that I had to verbally instruct over the phone as to how to launch Skype on their MacBook.

The first baby steps of this experiment were to introduce her to popular apps, such as the iPad email interface, Safari, and Facebook. Facebook took great strides in 2013 to make their mobile app to have nearly all the functionality of the browser based version. I was even able to help her figure out how to hide the posts from a distant relative who'd post quite frequently about Justin Bieber and how much she'd spent on clothes. My grandma is cool like that.

Next up was showing her various forms of entertainment on the device. Now again, this amazing lady still owns two SD TV's, so an iPad with it's Retina display is by far the best visually striking screen in her house. I showed her various video apps; such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and even lesser known ones such as VUDU. Because I also deal with iOS games on a consistent basis, I introduced some simple but really fun games I thought she might be interested in trying. Two of them, which appeared to catch on with her, were games I considered to be some of the best but most overlooked games of 2013: 4 Thrones and FlowDoku.

There have been a couple of challenges in this adventure however, as anyone going from the familiar to the unknown can be a little daunted. My grandmother had issues figuring out her email, having been used to browser based clients. However, I was able to introduce her to the wide array of Google apps available on iOS, merging the Google and Apple worlds into one. She found the Google Mail client pretty useful for her needs, as well as Google Drive, so I could send her stuff such as wedding photos from the event that occurred some 3 years ago. Additionally, I was able to set her up with Skype on iOS so she could watch my sister's wedding, as well as the TED Talks app so she could see the various topics discussed.

There was also a little trouble getting my elderly grandmother adept at using the on-screen keyboard. Luckily the keyboard on an iPad is relatively big with easy to read buttons, especially in comparison to any Android device. It also responds perfectly to touch, with little to no issues responding appropriately. Once she learned to adapt to using a touch screen to not only replace the mouse but the physical keyboard as well, things seemed to go much easier.

The farm I spent a lot of time on as a kid at my grand parents.

My grandmother means the world to me, and it's absolutely devastating knowing she is nearing her final days on this Earth. But the notion that I could help simplify her life a little bit makes me feel a tad better. From helping her get a device that her frail body will be able to manage to setting her up with and showing her how to use some apps that were similar to what she was using on a MacBook, I feel as though my grandma has a great computing device, an awesome means of communicating with the outside world, and something that will help improve her life overall; regardless of how long or short that may be. Technology has many uses beyond business, entertainment, or whatever else. Sometimes it's just as simple as using it to aid the ones you love.

Hulu Plus Update Makes Browsing For Shows Easier

Posted by Andrew Stevens on June 7th, 2013
+ Universal & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch

Hulu Plus now offers a completely new experience on the iPad, thanks to the latest update. Now, you will notice an app redesign that makes browsing much easier than before when it comes to discovering new content. Another new feature lets you minimize a video while it's playing, which allows you to browse and search for other material while the video continues to play at the bottom of the screen. There is also a new discovery panel for learning more about shows. So, make browsing easier on yourself and start discovering new things to watch with the latest update!

New App: Xfinity/Comcast Continues to Confuse Customers With a New App That Does The Same as the Last App

Posted by Jeff Scott on October 12th, 2012

Xfinity / Comcast has released a new TV Viewer app that does parts of what you would want it to do. That goes along with the other Xfinity TV app that also does parts of what you would want it to do. Sigh. Pardon me for the following only slightly applicable rant.

Comcast is in the middle of an identity crisis right now and we are forced to go along for the ride. They seem to do everything in twos now. Comcast and Xfinity cable services. Xfinity TV and Xfinity TV Player apps to watch different parts of the same catalog of streaming TV. Two different streaming services - On Demand and Streampix. And why do they own NBC?

My head is spinning. Which app do I use to watch which show? Of course then there's Hulu, and Netflix, and....

Did I perhaps, maybe mention how awesome Sling box is?

MobiTV Makes The Jump to iPad With MobiNow

Posted by Blake Grundman on January 13th, 2011

Ever since the invention of the internet, consumers have been dictating the way that they consume media.  Whether it be digital music or the recent boom digitally delivering television via services like Hulu or the more shifty BitTorrent, people have decided that they want to be able to enjoy their entertainment on their own terms.  The problem was, until recently anyway, the only way to consume this content on an iPad was either via breaking copyright laws or through Hulu's iOS app.

They say that competition breeds a superior product, so lets hope MobiTV's newest entry to the iPad helps to kick the entire market into gear.  MobiNow, as their new app is called, looks to improve on their existing iPhone app named after its parent company, by adding in a library of new content and channels as well as support for pushing the iPad to its visual limits.

Here is what the developer has to say about the introduction of their new product:

"MobiNOW allows iPad and iPhone users to watch the best in family entertainment, reality TV, breaking news and more. Take PBS Kids, Discovery Channel, FOX News, A&E, History, TLC, Animal Planet and many more with you wherever you go. It's a free download and it brings tablet- and device-based entertainment to a whole new level." -- VIA MobiTV Product Blog

MobiTV's push to syndicate on-demand content seems to actually fly in the face of the live sporting events that have been previously touted by their legacy iPhone app.  Does this mean they are shifting their focus, or is this just another method to advertise the re-packaging of an existing product?  It is hard to say at this point, but with an initial free download, they seem to be begging you to find out.  Your assignment is to give it a download and report back here with your findings. I know I would appreciate learning what is going on!


Hulu Plus Makes Official iOS Debut

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on November 18th, 2010
+ Universal & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch

Those who love watching TV on the go will be pleased to hear that Hulu Plus is now available on iOS devices. The preview phase is over and the service will now be available to all iPhone and iPad users for $7.99 a month. Those who have been paying the higher rate during the preview need not worry, as your subscription will be adjusted in the next billing cycle and you'll be given a $2 credit for every month you've been a member of the preview program.

While Hulu has always been a great resource for watching current seasons of to television shows, Hulu Plus takes things to the next level by offering the full catalog of hundreds of shows to watch whenever you want. Sure, you can keep up with House or Modern Family, but you can also go back into the vault and watch the full run of 21 Jump Street or The A Team. The service already supports over 200 shows from CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox, and the lineup continues to grow at a staggering rate.

Considering the fact that the holidays are fast approaching this app seems like the ideal gift for the constantly moving business traveler or friends who insist on living off the grid and not subscribing to cable. Unfortunately, Hulu Plus doesn't yet have deals in place with networks like TBS or AMC, so while you can get current episodes or clips of shows like Mad Men or The Walking Dead, most of the content is still off-limits.

Disregarding this rather small hang-up, there's still plenty to love about Hulu Plus making its iOS debut. If you love having your entertainment on the go then this is an absolutely must-own app.

[via AppModo]

Hulu Streaming TV Finally Arrives On iOS Devices, Introduces Hulu Plus Subscription Service

Posted by Ben Harvell on June 29th, 2010

The Hulu Blog today confirmed what many have been murmuring about online for some time. Hulu is bringing its streaming TV service to the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The aforementioned murmurs also questioned how this delivery of most of America’s top TV shows would be paid for, they too were given an answer with the introduction of the Hulu Plus subscription.

Formerly only available via a PC or Mac, the Hulu Plus app and subscription service will combine to deliver episodes from current and classic TV shows on iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 as well as the iPad and third gen iPod touch.

At present the service is working on an invite-only basis (apply for one here) and will cost users $9.99 per month but, for this fee you do get a good deal of benefits. Full seasons of TV shows will be available including big hitters such as Family Guy, 30 Rock and The Office with up to 720p HD resolution available. Through the Hulu Plus app, users will be able to browse, search and resume playback at the same point on different devices. For iPhone and iPad users, you will even be able to stream over 3G!

While we’ve not had the chance to fully test Hulu Plus yet, this sounds like the service Apple’s portable devices have been crying out for and one that will likely bring about a few discussions inside Apple HQ. With the recent acquisition of media streaming startup Lala, it is rumored the company is gearing up to introduce a cloud-based iTunes service that could include streaming TV shows to iPhones and iPads.

The Hulu Plus app is available for free on the App Store and includes a bunch of freebies that don’t need a subscription in order to try out. The movie Super Size Me is included as well as clips and episodes from a number of TV shows as well, so it’s worth sampling the app for these bonuses alone.

Check it out on the App Store here

Fox Mobile Releases Hulu-like App, Won't Be Totally Free

Posted by Chris Hall on May 27th, 2010

Having Hulu on the iPhone would be a dream and a half, but without Flash support, the service is a no go. Instead, Fox Mobile is releasing an app called BitBop, which quietly came out as a beta yesterday. It's only compatible on four Blackberry phones at this point, but will eventually be available for the iPhone and Android operating systems.

Like Hulu, BitBob is coming loaded with content from 25 content partners including NBC, CBS, The Food Network, A&E, and MTV, and will include all of their most popular shows and series. In an earlier interview with mocoNews, Joe Bilman, Fox Mobile’s EVP of Global Products said that the application would be free but access to the entire catalogue would probably cost $10 a month. I think it's safe to say that the many content partners are quite a bit more excited about BitBop's monthly access plan than Hulu's ad based model.

Aside from a few snafus, such as the horrible BitBop name and the monthly subscription pan, the service seems like it will be a big in the mobile market. As much as I love iTunes, the ability to stream content directly to my phone seems a bit more exciting. Hopefully BitBop will follow Hulu in the movie department too, because there's nothing like having a movie on the go.

[ Source: mocoNews ]