Saturday , August 19 2017

Australian broadcasters aren’t ready for the launch of the Nexus Player

Nexus Player + Controller
Google will launch the Android TV platform into Australia next week with the arrival of the Asus-built Nexus Player through Dick Smith as well as JB Hi-Fi, and possibly even through the new online Google Store. As a TV platform though, the biggest question is will there be anything to watch on the platform?

Android TV

The make or break for any new hardware platform these days is the app eco-system. With Android currently dominating the smartphone platform with around 80% market share, it’s not something Android users, or Google have had to worry about for a while. But with the launch of the Android TV platform in Australia, Google is yet again facing a new challenge, getting developers on-board, and more importantly local content providers.

Google faced this exact same issue last year when they launched the Chromecast into Australia. Although, all the five major TV stations now provide an Android app for their TV catch-up services, only one supports users ‘casting’ content to their Chromecast – the ABC.

Android TV Launcher

Android TV is another beast again, though Android TV is simply Android, there are other considerations to take into account. Android TV is a ‘leanback’ experience and uses different control methods such as remote controls and game controllers as opposed to touch targets. So there is some work needed to get an app ‘ready to go’, Google too needs to whitelist apps for use on Android TV before they’re accessible. So the question is: Which Australian content providers will be ready for the launch of Android TV in Australia?

Ausdroid spoke to all the major players in traditional broadcast television, as well as the newer streaming video providers to find out if they will be ready for the launch, or if not, when or if they will support the new platform.

TV Stations

Yahoo7

Yahoo7 provides the Plus7 Android TV Catch up app, it’s been on Android the longest, though it did enjoy a fairly long ‘exclusive’ period with Samsung. It’s now more widely available, so though it will install on a fairly wide range of tablets and phones, the app won’t install on Android TV devices. We asked Yahoo7 about availability on the Android TV platform and they advised:

At this stage there are no plans to make PLUS7 available on Google Player but the app is available on Android Smartphones and tablets.

PLUS7
PLUS7
Developer: Yahoo
Price: Free

9Jumpin

Channel 9 was the last of the Australian TV stations to bring their TV catch-up app to Android. It’s a polished app, but still lacks Chromecast support. We’ve tried to install the 9Jumpin app but it’s not compatible. We asked Channel 9 about their plans for the service and they advised that they are evaluating the platform and the hardware as they do with all major platforms. At this stage though, they don’t have a definitive timeline for when 9Jumpin will be available as yet.

9Now
9Now
Price: Free

TenPlay

TenPlay was a big catch for Android, releasing their app in March last year. We asked Channel Ten about their plans for Android TV and the Nexus Player and they advised :

We’re always looking to expand tenplay’s reach across as many digital platforms as possible.

They further advised we will hear more when they have something to announce about releasing TenPlay for Android TV, though they have no timeline to share.

tenplay
tenplay
Developer: Network TEN
Price: Free

SBS

SBS was a big launch on Android, the SBS On Demand app was massively popular and still continues to enjoy intense interest with any updates they release. SBS has confirmed previously that they are working on Chromecast support, and have shown a willingness to adapt to the changing landscape of content delivery, so we spoke to them about their plans for Android TV and the Nexus Player.

SBS advised that they are looking in to launching SBS On Demand for Android TV and will share more as their plans develop.

ABC

As Australia’s state-owned and funded broadcast station, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has delivered an excellent platform with their ABC iview app. The content is excellent and they remain to this day the only terrestrial broadcast TV provider to have delivered Chromecast support in their app. With regards to Android TV and the Nexus Player, the ABC advised:

At present there are no plans to speak of to adapt our new big screen experience to Android TVs and the Google Nexus Player but we are watching this space with interest. ABC was the first free-to-air broadcaster to provide support for Google Chromecast devices, having launched beta support for Chromecast last year, and we have plans to enhance the casting experience with iview later in the year.

ABC iview
ABC iview

Streaming – On-demand video providers

QuickFlix

Quickflix has been on Android a long time. It was as an exclusive on Kogan devices, but when Chromecast came to Australia they more broadly embraced Android as well as Chromecast as a whole, becoming the first Australian provider to support the new technology. We asked QuickFlix about the availability of the QuickFlix app on the Nexus Player and the Android TV platform as a whole and they advised:

We have a pipeline of enhancements and improvements that we’ll be making to our Android Apps over the next 3-4 months. Its our intent to support the Nexus Player and Android TV.

Quickflix
Quickflix
Developer: Quickflix Ltd
Price: Free

Foxtel

Foxtel, though fairly late to the party with Foxtel Go and Presto, has been pretty accepting of Chromecast, and has recently been expanding the compatibility for Android devices. We asked Foxtel about whether Foxtel would be available on Android TV and the Nexus Player and they advised that they likely to support Android TV, but they haven’t got a definitive timeline to share. We do expect to hear more from Foxtel and which apps they will support on the platform in the future.

Stan

Stan is a relative newcomer to the market, as is video streaming really. Streamco has been slow off the mark with support for Android, but supported Chromecast right out of the gates. We asked Stan about support for Nexus Player and the Android TV platform and they advised they are continuously looking to expand availability of their service to new devices.

Stan
Stan
Price: Free

Netflix

Well, there’s no surprise here, Netflix as the incumbent in the video streaming wars, and US based where the Nexus Player has been available since November, is of course ready for Android TV and the Nexus Player, with the app one of the launch partners for the device.

Netflix
Netflix
Developer: Netflix, Inc.
Price: Free+

Wrap-up

There’s a lot of content available for the Nexus Player. In terms of games, Gameloft, one of the bigger names in gaming on Android, has ensured a large portion of their games are compatible with the Android TV. With video, Netflix is obviously available, as is the TED talks and Red Bull TV apps, you can also still Chromecast ABC iview content to the Google Cast reciver on the Nexus Player and there’s always good old Plex for local content playback.

If you’re really looking for apps for your Nexus Player, Google has rounded up the best Android TV Apps and Android TV Games in an a couple of App Focus sections on Google Play.

Screenshot 2015-04-22 at 4.48.18 PM

It’s easy to jump down the throat of the local providers, but let’s face it – software development is a costly process and it takes time to ‘get it right’. So far, for the most part, the apps from local providers which have been delivered for Android work wonderfully for the tablets and phones they were made for.

The local providers are aware of Android TV and we’ll most likely see more on this from each of them in the future – and Ausdroid will be there to let you know when they do update.

 

Daniel Tyson   Editor

Dan is a die-hard Android fan. Some might even call him a lunatic. He's been an Android user since Android was a thing, and if there's a phone that's run Android, chances are he owns it (his Nexus collection is second-to-none) or has used it.

Dan's dedication to Ausdroid is without question, and he has represented us at some of the biggest international events in our industry including Google I/O, Mobile World Congress, CES and IFA.

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26 Comments on "Australian broadcasters aren’t ready for the launch of the Nexus Player"

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Max, el Slowpoke
Valued Guest
Max, el Slowpoke

Broadcasters from non-English-speaking countries aren’t ready for anything.

Greg
Valued Guest
Greg

Is it possible to install ‘supported’ apps via third-party ‘appstores’. I have many of those top games, but from humble bundle…

chris
Valued Guest
chris

Is there anything on 7,9 and 10 anyone wants to watch ? SBS and ABC for me yes but otherwise I have no desire to watch anything on the free to air networks. No housewives or renovation disasters for me.

Member
Luke Vesty

Exactly. Channels 7,9 and 10 are becoming less relevant by the day with their low rent productions and imported junk. Netflix will eat them for breakfast. I’ll be surprised if the free to air networks even exist in ten years time. They can choose not to embrace these new forms of consumption at their peril.

Swim or die.

Member

Those tossing up between Kodi and Plex for media libraries, have you tried side loading Mizuu? It has a great UI and handles media from a NAS perfectly. I use it on my soon-to-be-retired Android mini PC. The next version is going to be a proper Android TV app too.
It doesn’t have a player though, it’s just a content organiser.

Nick Coad
Valued Guest

If you have Plex, which organises AND plays your media, what would Mizuu offer over that? It sounds like Mizuu only does half the job (and not necessarily the important half).

Member

Mizuu will read directly off a NAS and handover the file to a media player app (MX, BS, etc). It just means you don’t need a PC acting as the middle man for serving up content.
Plus it looks really good.

Nick Coad
Valued Guest

Thanks, that explains it really well. Cheers!

frente69
Valued Guest
frente69

hoping to be able to make the afl live app work with this via side load. Their lack of chromecast support is terrible.

nodormat
Valued Guest
nodormat

Anyone got any advice/reasons why i’d buy a nexus player when i have a chromecast on my dumb plasma and a sony smarttv (not android) as my second tv?

Jamie
Valued Guest
Jamie

Since getting my Nexus Player I hardly ever use my chromecasts as I had lots of trouble (buggy) with them dropping connection (control). The Nexus Player connection on the 5Ghz wifi is much better and as it connects directly via HDMI its much easier to use. One of my chromecasts is actually just sitting in the drawer. The remote is quite good too and even kids (and spouses) can use it.

Level380
Valued Guest
Level380

“Connects directly via HDMI” ummm compared to your chromecast connecting HOW!?

But yes chromecast is picky on its 2.4ghz wireless, so its weak you’ll have issues 🙁

Member
I imported one late last year – love it to bits.. my advice, push es-file explorer to the device from google play store browser (once u have the nexus player installed you can remote install from your web browser to it) from there install Sideload Launcher (chainfire) and chome. From the chrome brower install kodi for android (make sure you get the x86 one for android, its optimized for this beast) I much prefer kodi to plex after using both extensively. You do not need to unload bootloader or root the device to do any of this. Look forward to… Read more »
pondy
Valued Guest
pondy

Thanks for the info Daniel. Looking forward to doing all of that. Kodi is fully featured yeah? I plan on mounting NFS shares etc from my nas – currently not using plex. I am also curious if I can get AFL live working.

My initial use will be netflix, kodi and (hopefully) side loaded AFL Live

Member
yeah i have my 12tb nas on kodi, its full featured version yes. Im using v15 alpha2, its been rock solid for me. Have not tried afl live yet, should give that a go! I side loaded spotify on it and quite often use the (premium) connect feature to control the tv via phone or tablet. Sounds great through the receiver. Every app ive tried to sideload has launched so far, but some i have needed a wireless keyboard and mouse to control because the leanback interface just didnt work via the supplied remote. Your milage may vary, also worth… Read more »
Member

Have you tried an air-mouse instead of a traditional mouse/keyboard combo?

pondy
Valued Guest
pondy

Thanks Daniel. I’m also a google music subscriber, looking forward to using that too! Sold my raspberry pi 2 to partly fund this as it’s replacement 🙂

Member

have a k400 logitech left from a previous mpc setup so the usb plugs in via a usb-otg cable, works really well when i wanna set stuff up / use chrome. Sure you can use the app or a number of other solutions but mine is just tucked behind the couch for when i wanna do something a bit more involved to the box (yes I have gotten into the boot loaded and mucked around with a few things for shiggles)

Member

I’m surprised Google haven’t added Play Music to the list of apps in your screen shot Dan. Or does it come pre installed?

JeniSkunk
Valued Guest
JeniSkunk

It’s the third app icon, immediately to the left of the Netflix icon.

pondy
Valued Guest
pondy

From what I have read its pre-installed, you can see it in the first screen shot.

Member

thanks – missed that screenshot completely.

Paul Walker
Valued Guest
Paul Walker

Having Plex and Netflix is all I need. I’m happy.

virduk
Valued Guest
virduk

Hopefully Crunchyroll and Animelab will appear soon. If I’m honest, those two along with Plex, Netflix, and Youtube are really the only video apps I use a lot. iView would be nice but really I’ve become more and more disenchanted with the stream quality and so have stopped mostly.

Though I’d also like AndroidTV support for Pocket Casts.

pondy
Valued Guest
pondy

Any idea of when next week, the players are going to be on sale here?

Member

I’m pretty sure it’s the 28th April, so next tuesday

wpDiscuz

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