Archive for June, 2014

Browsers are the primary tool most of us use to find what we want on the internet. Most of us use one or more of the big three, IE, Firefox or Chrome. I accidently discovered another one that I now use exclusively. It doesn’t have a lot of add-ons, but it does have the ability to provide built-in VPN services, sharing and downloading of video from web sites, for FREE.

I have included some of the features the (Hola version) browser has:

Drag & Drop (Searching and sharing have never been this fast!). Surf the web easily with Torch Browser’s new Drag & Drop feature. Whether you want to translate, search or share links and photos, all you have to do is just drag and drop the link, word or photo to the relevant tile. The options include web search, YouTube, Wikipedia, Image search, Facebook, Twitter and more. You can also add your own tiles to tailor your search options.

Built-in Torrent (Easy downloading with built-in torrent capabilities) Torch browser makes it easy to use and manage your torrent download tasks directly from the browser without having to download additional software. With Torch browser’s built-in torrent features downloading files becomes easy and simple to do.

Media Grabber (Save videos and music in a click with an embedded) Torch browser lets you not only find videos and audio, but also easily save web media from virtually any site you go to. Torch browser’s media grabber is integrated into the browser and supports a broad range of file types, so once you find a web video or a song you want to save; you can easily grab and save it without having to use external programs, converters or extensions. Saving web media onto your computer becomes simple with Torch browser.

Easy Sharing (Being social is easy with Torch’s Share button) Share the sites, videos, songs and search results with your friends on Facebook and your Twitter followers. Torch browser includes a built-in button to easily share on social networks the websites you like and the articles you find interesting.

Download Accelerator (Fire-up your media downloads with a built-in) Speed up the download rate of your media files with a powerful download accelerator that is integrated into Torch browser. Torch browser’s accelerator downloads your files in optimal speed and works directly from your browser so you don’t have to download external software. The Download Accelerator can easily be disabled by unchecking the “Use Torch Download Accelerator when downloading files” box, under the Download Accelerator section on the Torch Settings page.

Downloading this great tool from www.Hola.org also gives you my favorite feature, VPN capability with anonymity and ability to customize which country you are virtually residing for access to content. Like downloading the British broadcast of Downtown Abbey.

Hola also has PC an Android based clients that let you configure certain apps to run from specific countries. I set my Chrome browser on my tablet to run from France. This lets me watch all my French programming (which is normally geo-locked) from anywhere.

I also loaded Hola on my Ouya game console which I converted to an Android foreign focused apps platform. Now I can watch all my international programming on my 50” Samsung without paying my cable provider extra for the privilege.

homemediaguy

I have spent the last couple of weeks with an Ouya game console testing access to foreign (French) broadcast over the web and through Android apps and guess what? It works! Keep in mind the Ouya costs $100, so if you don’t watch a lot of foreign programming, stop here.

Over the last year my biggest challenge to dropping cable was access to French TV shows and movies my wife and I like to watch. There are apps out there that get you real time TV from France, but with the time difference we could not record shows with the apps we used.

We tried YouTube to watch French movies and found out it works really well. Just perform a search for “French comedy movies” or any similar term and you get tons of results that you can watch with your Roku and YouTube account.

The TV shows were a show stopper to dropping cable. I had to find an answer, and it had to be free or really cheap (ex. a $1.99 app) with no paid subscription. Wow, that’s tough.

I tried VPN and proxy solutions but found out all my devices at home were VPN’d to France and switching on the fly with a remote control was impossible. Plus even though VPN services are really cheap ($50 a year), that was over my budget. Yes I am cheap.

Then I heard about the Android based game console Ouya and its ability to act as an android tablet/laptop/whatever. I heard it was not very intuitive because it is after all it is a gaming console and not an Android computer. BUT, after a lot of frustration and time experimenting with the Ouya here is what I found.

It works.

When you start-up the Ouya with its console based menu system the first app I downloaded from Ouya was the Firefox (Ouya friendly) browser. Then I plugged in my mini wireless keyboard dongle so I could easily type in web addresses. I then took a USB storage device and used my laptop to go to http://app​s.evozi.co​m/apk-down​loader/. This site lets me cut and paste any URL like https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.hola and download the app to my PC. Ouya’s way of doing this is almost non-existant.

Once that was done, I was ready to download apps and change the way Ouya works. I logged into the Google Playstore and opened a tab for each app listed below in order:

  • ADW Launcher (new android like menu system)
  • Hola (free VPN client)
  • Root Explorer
  • France TV
  • Tele-Loisirs (any other foreign TV/movie apps)
  • Root My Ouya MOD collection (from the web)

Once you have a tab for each app, copy the URL, and paste it into the downloader site above and bingo the apps download to you PC. Copy them to the USB storage device and stick it in the Ouya game console. Now follow the Ouya instructions to find the USB device and install all the apps. Once you have done this, here is what you get.

An android based, network capable device with a nice browser that lets you use the apps you installed. Hola will give you free VPN to almost any country you want, and the ADK Launcher makes the Ouya look and act like an Android tablet.

Oh yeah. What about the foreign TV shows I wanted to record? Easy. All the shows we like to watch are readily available on the shows web page (ex. http://www.france3.fr/emissions/questions-pour-un-champion). Trying to view this show from the US, you get locked out because of regional blocking. But with Ouya, my web browser is geographically in France. So I bookmark the shows web page, click on the video, and BINGO, the show comes on.

No monthly fees, free VPN, foreign programming, what a life.

homemediaguy