Google Play Music expands track storage to 50,000 songs
Google Play Music has received an upgrade to its music storage component, allowing customers to keep more songs on its servers for streaming to computers and mobile devices. The music locker has increased its upper limit of 20,000 tracks to 50,000, double that of the paid iTunes Match service. Despite vastly increasing its storage capacity, the digital locker is still a completely free service.
Video streaming service enters Cuba after US relaxes trade restrictions
Netflix is continuing its current strategy of fast expansion into new countries, by unexpectedly launching in Cuba. The video streaming service is being made available to residents of the country for the first time, following the recent easing of trade restrictions that have been imposed on Cuba by the United States since 1961, though potential users still have some obstacles in the way between them and watching House of Cards.
News from the gaming industry for the week of February 1
Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN compile some notable news items from the world of gaming in a bumper post. In this week's edition of Weekly Game Replay, Nintendo's YouTube policy woes, a TV show based on Zelda, and some notable offline game items are overshadowed by the loss of one of the games industry's major news sources.
CRTC rules data caps can't be used to give an unfair advantage to carriers' own services
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced a decision on Thursday, acting on a complaint regarding data caps and preferred traffic. Wireless carriers Bell Mobility and Videotron both have their own subscription mobile television services, neither of which count towards the data caps written into subscribers' contracts, while competitor's services -- such as Netflix -- do, providing the carriers with incentive to sell larger data plans or favor their own offerings. With today's ruling, that practice must end.
Forecast for Q1 2015 places Netflix subscribers at over 61M
Netflix has grown its total audience by 4.33 million subscribers globally, the streaming service revealed in its financial results. The faster increase in viewers compared to the last quarter is reflected in additional subscribers for both US and international markets, 1.9 million and 2.43 million respectively, with the total Netflix audience hitting 57.4 million members.
Drone used to transport drugs across US-Mexico border crashes
A drone used to smuggle drugs between the United States and Mexico has crashed. The drone, a six-propeller craft, was found in a supermarket parking lot near the San Ysidro crossing carrying over six pounds of methamphetamine, according to the Associated Press. While Tijuana police spokesman Jorge Morrua did not say whether they had suspects for the drug trafficking attempt, he did advise that drones have been used for transporting drugs before, along with light aircraft and catapults.
Test allows Marriott guests to use own Netflix accounts during stay
Travelers may be able to log into their own Netflix accounts from a hotel's television in the future, if tests performed by Marriott are successful. The hotel chain is trying out a new in-room entertainment service which would allow guests to view streaming content from Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora, as well as the usual on-demand TV services.
TalkTalk adds Netflix app to YouView set-top box
Netflix is being included on the YouView set-top box in the United Kingdom for the first time, giving viewers another way to watch shows from the streaming service. The TalkTalk-owned device will start rolling out to pre-registered customers initially, with Digital Spy reporting that the rollout is expected to continue to the end of the month, covering all 1.2 million TalkTalk TV homes.
Netflix, Haier, Insignia on board as partners; releases across the year
Entertainment streaming platform provider Roku made a number of announcements today at CES regarding Roku televisions and expanded HD content streaming. Roku will be partnering with television manufacturers Haier and Insignia to produce new HDTV models of Roku televisions, while NetFlix works on delivering 4K compatible content through Roku's platforms, and a previous Roku TV maker will focus on debuting a Roku 4K Ultra HD TV for the new year.
Google adds Colbert Report set to Street View using Business View
Google has recreated the set of The Colbert Report in Street View, in honor of the show's last episode. The virtual tour of the studio, including around the main desk and interview area, was created by Business View, a service which uses a Google-certified photographer or agency to take photographs at a location before generating the explorable 360-degree images.
Offline caching a short term fix, claims Netflix executive
Netflix will not be allowing its users to cache television shows and movies from the streaming service for later playback, an executive has advised. In an interview, Director of Corporate Communications and Technology Cliff Edwards denied Netflix would offer offline storage of content, categorically stating "It's never going to happen."
Netflix tests original show marketing with reminder Twitter messages
Netflix is testing a new way to remind subscribers to watch their original shows. A custom card for upcoming show Marco Polo is being used on Twitter to promote the show, complete with a "Tweet Me a Reminder" button. According to The Next Web, the @MarcoPoloMP Twitter account will be sending a message to anyone who opts in to the service at 12:01AM Pacific Time on December 12th, with participants also receiving a custom video message from the cast.
Average time spent watching TV in US lower, online viewing up 50 percent
The viewing of television shows in the United States via broadcasting has dropped in the face of streaming services gaining in popularity, according to Nielsen. The ratings company's third-quarter report claims the average American watches more than 141 hours of live television per month, or more than four hours a day, but the figure is a year-on-year four percent drop from last year's 147 average hours per month.
Pai questions development of Open Connect, believes cache devices could lock others out
A commissioner from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is asking Netflix to answer allegations that it is touting net neutrality in one hand, while constructing Internet "fast lanes" with another, by December 16. Commissioner Ajit Pai issued a letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, asking that the company reply to allegations that its development of Open Connect and decision to forego membership in the Streaming Video Alliance is actually helping tip the scales in its favor.
Billboard introducing streaming plays, digital sales into album chart
The way the popularity of content is measured may be seeing some changes in the coming weeks, both for audio and video. Billboard will start to include streaming and digital track sales as part of the Billboard 200 albums chart, while Nielsen is said to be preparing to track content watched through streaming services starting from next month.
Netflix launching video streaming service in Australia, New Zealand from March
Netflix is planning to expand its service to Australia and New Zealand from early next year. Starting from March 2015, the streaming video service will be available in the two countries, complete with 4K video playback with compatible devices, though The Next Web notes the inclusion of "a curated selection" in the announcement points to a more limited TV show and movie collection at launch than in other territories.
'Limited time promotion' sees Verizon, Netflix coexisting
Surprisingly given the public animosity between the two companies, Verizon has begun offering a year of video streaming service Netflix to some of its new customers. Customers who sign up for FiOS Internet and television bundles in the immediate vicinity of New York City are being offered the deal. Packages including a year of Netflix start at $80 a month and include a free year of Netflix.
Support comes from Chrome 37, $12 a month plan required for new 4K video subscribers
Linux users of the Ubuntu variety can now watch Netflix without hacks or workarounds. The ability to stream Netflix comes with the latest build of the Chrome browser for the operating system, for up-to-date Ubuntu users. Netflix also confirmed that subscription fees for users wanting to stream 4K Ultra HD video are increasing.
Logitech releases wireless mouse with asymmetrical, curved form
Logitech has introduced a new wireless mouse, designed with a curved shape for a natural hand position. The M320 wireless mouse features an asymmetrical form, with a wide wheel for improved scrolling and an updated optical sensor for precise responsiveness. Though intended for wireless use, its Nano receiver allows users to elect using a cord; when used wirelessly, the mouse automatically enters a sleep mode when not in use to improve the duration of its battery charge. Available in blue, red, black and gray color options, the M320 wireless mouse is priced at $30.
Provider calls Dish Network, Discovery Communications, and Netflix out in FCC response
Comcast believes that a number of companies are trying to bully the cable and Internet provider in order to get favorable terms -- in exchange for their non-opposition of the merger with Time Warner Cable. In a response to the comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the proposed merger, Comcast claims that companies are engaging in a sort of blackmail to further their own business interests at the cost of the deal.
Pebble Firmware version 2.5 adds iOS 8 support, emoji
A firmware update for the Pebble smartwatch range adds iOS 8 support to the device, among other new additions. Version 2.5 of the firmware also activates its compass features using its magnetometer, allowing developers access to the component, as well as reintroducing the Domo watch face and adding the ability to display emoji within notifications and messages.
Includes Apple TV, Chromecast
Netflix has expanded into Germany, according to an announcement by the streaming video service. Plans start at €8 per month ($10.37 US) for basic SD streaming. Two simultaneous devices plus HD quality is €9 ($11.66), while four simultaneous devices with Ultra HD (when available) is €12 ($15.55). As elsewhere, each account can have up to four profiles, which can be age-restricted if need be.
Netflix announces availability of Post-Play feature for Google Chromecast
TV and movie streaming platform Netflix has announced that its Post-Play feature is now available for use with Google Chromecast devices. Netflix "casted" to Chromecast is now capable of playing the next episode in a TV series automatically after the end of an episode. Customers using Android or iOS devices sending content to a Chromecast dongle can utilize this function as they already have been able to when viewing Netflix on their device alone. PC support is expected to be made available in the future.
256 page FCC filing lays out case for rejection of merger
Video streamer Netflix has formally objected to the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger, with a complaint filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this week. The streamer believes that the merger hampers consumer access to data, and "would set up an ecosystem that calls into question what we have to date taken for granted: that a consumer who pays for connectivity to the Internet will be able to get the content she requests."
Deal marks fourth major deal with Internet service providers
Netflix has signed a new peering deal, this time with Time Warner Cable. The deal now gives the video streamer interconnection deals with Internet service providers that cover about 68 percent of all the broadband customers in the US. Notably, the 32 percent it doesn't have deals with are smaller providers - largely carriers that have pro-net neutrality views, and haven't been found to limit or slow down Netflix traffic for users.
Agency asks for interconnection agreements for understanding, regulation depends on discovery
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is looking into six additional Internet service providers (ISP) and content providers over interconnecting and peering agreements, according to reports. An official spoke to Ars Technica after it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking information on the Netflix peering deals with Verizon and Comcast. The news comes after FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced in June that the agency would be investigating such agreements.
Agreement dates back to May, but wasn't planned to be announced to the public
In the quest to give its users a better streaming experience, Netflix has reached an agreement with AT&T to gain a direct network connection. The two companies revealed that they entered into a peering deal after news broke from anonymous sources that the movie service reached another streaming arrangement. Previously, Netflix had worked out similar deals with Verizon and Comcast.
Company planning mass European expansion in September
Netflix is the latest company to release its quarterly financial results. Touting expansion to 50 million subscribers in the US, the company reports $1.15 billion in revenue from streaming, adding 1.7 million subscribers in a quarter. Profit came in at $212 million, nearly triple that of the second quarter of 2013.
Netflix updates Apple TV channel, adds 'Post-Play' feature
Television and movie streaming service Netflix is updating its integrated app for Apple TV. Its popular web and iPad feature "Post-Play" has been brought to the Apple TV, allowing users a brief countdown once a show's credits begin rolling, followed by automatic playing of the next episode in a series - unless otherwise interrupted. AppleInsider has speculated that though the Post-Play feature was found on multiple Apple TV units during testing, it is likely that the update has yet to be fully released to all customers.
Google Now reminders can be created via Google Search
Google is now allowing for the creation of reminders in Google Search. Similar to the vocal method using Google Voice Search and Google Now on smartphones, Google Operating System reports users can set a reminder by typing "Add reminder" or "Create Reminder" in the search box. A reminder card with extra settings will then appear, with a "Remind me on Google Now" link finalizing the notification.
Verizon congestion fix claimed to be cheap, simple, completed in five minutes
The ongoing feud between Netflix and Verizon has stepped up, with a transit provider weighing in over Verizon's connection congestion claims. Level 3 claims the high utilization of the connection between Verizon and itself is Verizon's fault, as the Internet service provider is actively refusing to upgrade its connections at the point of the apparent congestion.
Claims majority of Verizon network is stable, Netflix connections as weak point
The battle between Verizon and Netflix over connectivity continues, with Verizon completely refusing to accept any of the blame for slow streams. The latest feud installment involves a Verizon blog post claiming its network operations team found no congestion on the Verizon network in a recent review, laying the blame squarely at Netflix's connection decisions instead of with itself.
Steaming service ending API to focus on other efforts, eight applications partner directly
Netflix announced last week that it would be ending its public API program in an effort to better focus their efforts internally. The company stated that any requests through the public API after November 14 will be unable to access any content. Netflix announced a year ago that it would no longer be issuing new API keys to developers, or accept new affiliates.
Peering deals seem to have little lasting effect on Netflix user speeds
After a bevy of consumer complaints were filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against Verizon and Comcast regarding Netflix "throttling," the regulatory agency has begun looking into the problem. The FCC demanded, and has received, the terms of peering deals that Netflix made with both Internet giants, and will examine the issue to see if there is anything that can be done on behalf of consumers.
General counsel for Netflix sets congestion blame squarely with Verizon
The war of words between Netflix and Verizon over Internet service provider (ISP) performance issues is continuing, a new leaked letter reveals. A response from Netflix General Counsel David Hyman to his counterpart at Verizon firmly pins the connection blame on the ISP, after receiving a cease and desist letter over Netflix's congestion warning messages.
Verizon drops places in latest Netflix speed rankings
Netflix will soon stop its customized error message warning of issues with specific Internet service providers (ISP), the video streaming company has advised. At the same time as releasing ISP speed results for May, Netflix states it will stop the customized notifications when its "small scale test" concludes on June 16th, before deciding whether or not it will extend the practice to other markets and ISPs.
NVIDIA's Tegra Note 7 tablet OTA update includes streaming of Netflix in up to 1080p
Nvidia's Tegra Note 7 tablet has received an OTA update, allowing for streaming of Netflix HD content up to 1080p on the device. The Tegra Note 7 tablet features a seven-inch HD display, with enough battery capacity for up to 10 hours of video streaming. The tablet is one of the first Android devices available that can stream Netflix in high-definition. Available with a 16GB storage capacity, the Tegra Note 7 is priced at $200.
Provider wants a list of users sent claim, in addition to halting further messages
After Verizon's statement regarding congestion accusations levied by Netflix, the provider has apparently taken a more serious approach to the issue. A report from Reuters indicates that Verizon has sent Netflix a cease-and-desist letter, asking that the company put an end the messages posted on users' screens. As part of the notice, Verizon has also asked for a list of customers on Verizon's network the notices were sent to.
Claims warning is attempt to shift connectivity blame from Netflix to Verizon
Verizon has fought back against reports of a Netflix error message informing users "The Verizon network is crowded right now." The error message, which directly blames the Internet service provider (ISP) for the slow connection has been described by Verizon as a PR stunt and an attempt to shift blame away from itself, claiming the error message "is not only inaccurate, it is deliberately misleading."
Warning message blaming Verizon for slow connection being tested by Netflix
Netflix is testing out messages warning users of Internet service providers with poor network connectivity, with the first target being Verizon. The video service has started to offer up an error page advising Verizon subscribers of high levels of congestion on the network, in what appears to be the latest in the net neturality-related spat between Internet services and telecommunications providers.
Possible thanks to updated Safari
People watching Netflix in OS X Yosemite will now be able to stream video via HTML5 instead of Silverlight, according to an official blog post. The service says it has been "working closely with Apple" to implement HTML5 Premium Video Extensions in Yosemite's edition of Safari. This allows viewers to start watching videos instantly, instead of having to install the Silverlight plugin first, as in OS X Mavericks.
Google takes stance against Comcast, Verizon charging for 'last mile' access
Google will not charge Internet services to host their content at Google Fiber locations, it has revealed. A Google Fiber blog post states the Internet service provider will provide free colocation at its Fiber facilities for services like Netflix, rather than following the lead of Comcast and Verizon in charging for direct access to the last mile connection to the customer.
Google rolls out hands-free Voice Search to all desktop Chrome versions
Google has started to roll out its hands-free Voice Search to all desktop Chrome users. Initially released in the beta version of Chrome in February, the option allows Chrome users to start a voice search from a new tab or from Google.com by stating "OK Google" followed by the search query. Engadget reports the feature is currently available in the United States with browsers set to US English, but it could add support for other languages in the near future.
Wheeler says commission will examine peering deals, believes in open Internet
During a House of Representatives hearing on Tuesday, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler said that the commission would be looking into peering deals between content providers and ISPs that have recently been made. The arrangements, such as some high-profile ones between Netflix and providers such as Comcast and Verizon, have been a part of the net neutrality debate since Wheeler's proposal was first speculated on, and are seen by some as legal blackmail even as proponents argue that players such as Netflix abuse existing infrastructure.
Netflix reveals plans to expand into six more European countries
Netflix is expanding its presence in Europe to include six more countries, the company has revealed. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Luxembourg will receive access to the streaming video service later this year, with content and pricing for each region to be announced in the future. The new additions will likely increase Netflix's international subscriber count upward from the 12.7 million it already has in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia. By contrast, the US has 35.7 million subscribers.
E-mails sent to existing Netflix subscribers advising of price freeze
Netflix has started to raise its subscription rates, just as it previously hinted during its recent financial results. After an initial test increase in Ireland, the video streaming service has started to send out e-mails to customers about the increase, which will be affecting new subscribers only, while existing users will continue to receive the service at its current price for the immediate future.
Meetings intended to try and hammer out differences between FCC, ISPs, Netflix
Netflix was reportedly in discussions with US Federal Communications Commission personnel this week, expressing deep concern to Chairman Tom Wheeler's poorly-received "net neutrality" proposal. Sources familiar with the matter allegedly met with the FCC to discuss the proposal several times over the course of the week, attempting to steer discourse on the matter to something closer to Netflix's idea of an open Internet, with equal treatment for everybody's traffic.
Deal mentioned by Verizon CEO, confirmed by Netflix
Following Netflix's controversial data peering deal with Comcast, the media streamer has apparently signed a similar deal with Verizon. Netflix comfirmed the rumored deal with a brief statement, saying that the company has "reached an interconnect arrangement with Verizon that we hope will improve performance for our joint customers over the coming months."
Atlantic, Grande, RCN customers gaining Netflix on TiVo cable boxes
Customers of Atlantic Broadband, Grande Communications, and RCN will be seeing the Netflix app on their cable set-top boxes in the near future. The Washington Post reports the three cable companies will add the Netflix app to TiVo boxes they have supplied to approximately 500,000 customers from April 28th, and will allow them to watch the streaming video service without switching away from the cable box to another device.
New users will need to pay more, existing Netflix subscribers keep current rates
Netflix is planning to raise the price of its service to new members in the near future, among other changes, the company has revealed as part of its quarterly financial results. Following a limited increase in Ireland, the streaming video service is now looking to increase the subscription fee by one to two dollars, depending on the country.