A variety of streaming video options are available on Android today (Youtube, TV.com, Qik, Ustream, and others), but by the end of this year some of the major contenders will join the fray offering a huge boost to the amount of available mainstream content.
Netflix was the first to be outed two weeks ago, by their job search for an “Android Video Playback Expert.” Their release timeline is unknown, but one would hope that with said expert in tow they could get an app out there in the next 5-7 months and ideally they could incorporate it with our next player in the streaming game.
Boxee’s CEO, Avner Ronen, confirmed last week that an Android app is in the works, but if they want to be first to market they need to get moving as Dell’s leaked device roadmap has brought to light that serious competition is on its way before years end.
AT&T’s U-verse TV will be bringing some kind of service to you through the Looking Glass by November. Details basically couldn’t get lighter at the moment, but the screenshots of the device display an episode browser with a “U-verse” button prominently displayed along the top with “Home,” “Movies,” and “Shows.”
Hulu also had their intentions outed by the Dell leak as as one of the slides on the strikingly good looking Dell Thunder displays the Hulu logo and specifically states that you can “grab the latest shows from the integrated web video Hulu app.” The persistent rumors regarding Hulu going paid have ramped up again with the news that they are eying a $9.95/month subscription which would grant access to some older content than what is presently available; whether this app would carry any kind of fees along with it remains a mystery at the moment.
I haven’t seen this speculation hit elsewhere yet, but I think the screenshot that is being displayed on the Looking Glass is the Hulu app. If you check out the shows that are listed on there they include several long since canceled perennial Hulu favorites including; Firefly, Dead Like Me, and Arrested Development. Yes, I know that The Colbert Report isn’t on Hulu anymore, but chances are this slide was created before that was a reality. So non-AT&T users soak that screenshot in as you will likely be looking at the same thing just subtracting out the little “U-verse” button on the end.
With larger screen Android phones and tablets dropping fast and furious in the second half of the year it only makes sense that video services will pick up their game to meet what will certainly be a rising demand to watch content on these gorgeous new screens. It could be argued that the upcoming addition of Flash 10.1 to many Android devices will render some of these apps unnecessary, but the reality is that an application is almost certainly going to deliver a far better experience.
Other than the sheer coolness of having so much content available on demand, I think what I look forward to most is being able to basically cut the cord between my phone and my computer completely. The need to sync video over to my phone is one of the few remaining reasons that I ever have to break out the USB cable.
So which of the forthcoming services are you looking forward to the most? If your favorite hasn’t outed their Android intentions yet or isn’t listed here go ahead and give them a shout-out in comments.