Skifta Exchange

A blog from the Skifta team

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Flickr & Photobucket

Hey Skifta Fans!

We have some very exciting news to share that we know you’ll be happy to hear. Skifta™ is now out of beta and we’ve added some new features that you’ve requested.

Skifta 1.0 for Android is available today in the Android Market and now gives you access to your digital music, photos and videos anywhere you are via 3G access. Now when you leave your WiFi network at home you can keep listening to music on your favorite Skifta Channel (like Soma.fm) without missing a beat. And best of all, you can keep the music flowing at your friends house later by streaming to his DLNA or UPnP TV or stereo.

We’ve also added a “Share to” feature, which lets you pick a photo or song from the gallery or library on your Android device and select Skifta as your player of choice. It’s a snappy little shortcut to enjoying your media instantly.

Lastly, we’ve thrown a media server into the Skifta desktop client for Mac, Windows and Linux. Just install the app on your PC, choose the media folders you want to share through Skifta, and you’re all set. If you still want to use your preferred media server, that’s cool too, but this new addition is quick, easy and gets the job done.

Oh. Almost forgot the most important thing of all. Skifta 1.0 is still FREE, so update the app you currently have or download the new one from the Android Market. And don’t forget to tell your friends!

Thanks for all of your support the past several months. It’s because of you that Skifta continues to grow and delight fans of digital media in the connected home and on the go.

To learn more, visit www.skifta.com.

Cheers!

The Skifta Team

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Hey Skifta Shutterbugs!

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Flickr & Photobucket

We’ve added a few more content Channels to the Skifta library with think you’ll really enjoy.

Beginning today, Flickr and Photobucket are now available in Skifta. This means all of your photos on these services can now be accessed directly from within the Skifta app for Android and streamed to DLNA and UPnP TVs at home or with family and friends.

To install the Flickr or Photobucket Channels, open Skifta and select a media Source. Click the Channels tab and log in with your free Skifta account. Check the box next to one or both of the icons, sign in to your Flickr or Photobucket account to activate them. No you’re ready to browse your personal photo collections in the cloud and view your pics on a big screen TV.

And remember, Skifta makes it easy to access all of your digital music, photos and videos that live on their phone, your home computer or in the cloud, and stream them to millions of DLNA devices. In addition to the Flicker and Photobucket, Skifta offer other popular content Channels including: Facebook Photos, Picasa, SHOUTcast, Soma FM, Napster, Revision3, TED Talks, and more.

To learn more, visit www.skifta.com.

Cheers!
The Skifta Team

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Skifta Adds TED Channel

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TED Joins Skifta

Hey Skifta fans!

Skifta users can now select the TED Channel and stream lectures to a DLNA certified TV directly, or through a PlayStation 3, Blu Ray Player.

To install TED, open Skifta and select a source. Click the “Channels” tab and login with your free Skifta account. Scroll down and check the box next to TED. That’s it! Return to the “Here” tab and enjoy.

Skifta makes it possible for users to access music, photos and videos that live on their phone, home computer or the internet and streams it to millions of DLNA devices. In addition to the TED Channel, Skifta offers other premium content channels including: Facebook Photos, Soma FM, Napster, Revision3 TV and Picasa.

Check out our YouTube demo to see Skifta and TED in action.

Thanks for your support!

-Dylan

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Hey Skifta fans!

It’s not that often you get a chance to compete against the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Ellen DeGeneres and Fosters Lager, but that’s exactly what Skifta is doing at this very moment as a nominee in the 15th Annual Webby Awards.

Skifta has been nominated in the People’s Choice Webby Awards in the Experimental and Innovation category. And, we’ve also been chosen as an Official Honoree in the Entertainment, Handheld Devices category of the main Webby Awards program.

We need your help to get out the vote!

Click here to vote for Skifta in the People’s Choice Webby Awards

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and tell your friends to vote too!

Thanks as always for your support.

More good stuff to come. Stay tuned!

Gary

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Last week we launched a new version of the Skifta Android app – Beta 68 – that has some very interesting new enhancements for you.

First, we’ve now made it possible for you to select the media player of your choice on your Android phone when playing video. Many of you are painfully aware of the challenges presented by various video formats so we’re now giving you the ability to use your favorite media player to play the videos of your choosing. Our fearless leader and DLNA ninja Bruce posted an article about this on the Skifta blog last week about Skifta. Check it out if you missed it.

We’ve also added Napster to our Channel lineup. Napster, one of the leading music subscription services with a catalog of more than 12 million tracks. If you’ve got a Napster subscription, now you can enjoy your favorite playlists radio stations and on-demand tracks alongside your other digital media and stream you Napster music to networked audio devices in your home or on the go.

More good stuff to come. Stay tuned!

Gary

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Skifta on the BBC

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The Skifta team are over at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and yesterday we were interviewed for BBC TV. Check it out here!

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Skifta, video codecs and DLNA

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Since launching Skifta into the Android market a little over 2 months ago, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at the comments and feedback that you have all given us.

I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to do this: we really do appreciate it, and your comments genuinely inform what we do and how we do it.

Possibly the single largest number of comments are around video codec support within Skifta, so I though I’d take a few moments to give you a few technical details of what we do, our motivation for this and also what we’ll be bringing out in the next release of the app.

When we set out to build Skifta, we never intended it to be the world’s best media player. What we wanted to do was something different, something that made your mobile phone the conduit and remote control for all your media. We started out by wanting to allow you get your stuff from home or your phone and play it on a cool connected stereo or TV anywhere you went. Then we thought: wouldn’t it be great if it wasn’t just the media you had at home on your PC or NAS, but also the services we all use on the Internet, like Facebook & Picassa. I think we do a great job of this, and I use Skifta every day myself for just this.

So, that was the basic motivation for the choices we’ve made so far, and like I say, we never set out to make Skifta the best media player in the world. Technically, we hand off playing media to the Android subsystem to take care of. That means that the formats we support are actually the default formats that your phone supports. For those of you who’d like to know what every Android phone can handle, you can find a list here.

As many of you have observed, this is almost always fine for audio, but video is a different matter, which brings me to another point, this time about DLNA. DLNA is central to what Skifta is all about. It’s an industry standard that’s supported by a huge number of consumer electronics manufacturers and devices, from Windows 7 to PS3 with a swathe of TVs and Blu Ray players in there for good measure.

One of the problems faced by any manufacturer of this kind of device, is what codecs to support. This is particularly true for video because there are just so many out there, and quite a few of them have significant costs in terms of the resources needed to support them or the cost to license them. Hardware-wise, many of these products are nowhere near the PC class, and also because the development time for this type of embedded hardware is much longer than perhaps it would be to develop software, they often won’t support codecs that are perhaps common in the PC world, like DIVX or XVID.

In the DLNA world, for right or wrong, its typically the “big guns” of the codec world that find their way into TVs and stereos: MP3, MP4, LPCM and MPEG2. They’re maybe not the best quality/smallest size/fastest compression out there, but they are pretty well supported and so for my stuff, I always try to make sure I get it into MP4 for video, or MP3/4 for audio. Not the best in many ways perhaps, but the best for all round compatibility when I just want to watch or listen to something (particularly when I’m not at home and don’t know what equipment I’m going to be using).

Back then, to Skifta and what we’re going to do to answer all of you who have asked about better video codec support. Starting with the next release of the app in the market, we’re going to use a mechanism in Android that allows other apps that are installed on the handset to take over the rendering of video on our behalf. That means you’ll be able to use your favorite player app to extend the codec support depending on how you’ve encoded your stuff. When you click on a video to play it, you’ll get a dialog asking you to select the player you want to use, or just use the default built-in media player instead: its your choice.

I’ve been using vPlayer and Rock Player this week and it’s great. I’ve got a Panasonic DMR-XW380 which records DVB-T programs to the hard disk, and has a built-in DLNA media server. Great product, except the files are served as MPEG2 so I was never able to view them using Skifta on my Galaxy Tab. With this new feature I can use the DLNA capability of Skifta to browse the media server, but hand off to one of the other player apps to render those MPEG2s.

I think its really very cool, and I hope you do too. We’re in testing now, and hope to have this in the market in the next few days. Let me know what you think.

Bruce

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Hey Skifta fans!

We’re headed to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress 2011 for a week of all-day and all-night fun giving folks some first hand Skifta action. If you’re planning to attend the show, drop by and say hi to Gary, Bruce, Allan, Ed and Chris from the team. We’ll all be bouncing between the GSMA Embedded Mobile House and the Google Android booth in Hall 8 where Skifta will be on display as a featured Android app. We may have some new things to show you, so please drop by if you can.

Hope you see you there!

Gary

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The past two months have been incredible here at Skifta. We’ve had a great reception since launching our Android app in December and debuting to the world at CES last month. And, just when we found a minute to catch our collective breath we got word from the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) that Skifta for Android is first ever software app to become DLNA Certified under the new DLNA Software Certification program. This is an incredible achievement for both Skifta and the DLNA standard overall, and we’re really proud to have created the first software app to achieve this distinction. Digital media fans who want to move their content around the connected home or from place to place anywhere around the globe with their Android phones can now do this with even more confidence and ease.

If you’re interested in reading more details, check out our announcement. You can also dive into the coverage we’ve received over the past few days including Engadget, Phandroid, Hot Hardware, Android Community, eHome Upgrade and about-electronics.eu to name a few.

We’re extremely grateful for the positive attention our little app has received and we really owe it all to you, our fans. We would not have this momentum if it wasn’t for you guys spreading the word and telling your friends about the great experience you’re having with Skifta on your Android phones. You are awesome!

BTW – if you’re not following us on Facebook or Twitter, please join us. We’d love to connect with you to exchange thoughts and ideas. We’re building Skifta for you and your input will make the service even better.

Have a great weekend!

Gary

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SomaFM lands on Skifta

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Are you as bored as I am with the limited amount of music on your phone? Well, I’ve got some great news then! SomaFM is now available as a Skifta channel. So switch it up a bit and tune into one of 20 SomaFM stations, each composed of hand picked music from SomaFM’s award-winning DJ’s and music directors. Soma.fm is listener-supported, commercial-free, internet-only radio so if you like what you hear, which I know you will, drop by soma.fm and show your support.

We listen to the Secret Agent station all day long in our office.

To get started, install the SomaFM channel in your Skifta app. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, watch the video below. Enjoy!

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