Netflix is a great resource for parents wanting to occasionally entertain their kids with some educational shows without all the crappy Skylander commercials. There is just one issue – the content is only available when you have an active internet connection.
Which, in the days of broad LTE and WiFi coverage, is an easy thing to take for granted. That is, until you board a five-hour flight with a toddler in your lap, seated between two people who are looking at your child with a mixture of disdain and loathing. You can see in their eyes that they are just waiting to criticize your parenting as soon as your kid starts to cry. Read More
It's only been one day since the new and oh-so-shiny Chromecast was announced, but it looks like app developers are jumping at the chance to take advantage of its new capabilities. Read More
After launching in Japan earlier this month, Netflix is set to expand its Asian presence in early 2016 by adding 4 countries to its availability map. If you live in South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, or Taiwan, you'll be happy to know that the video streaming service is coming to your neck of the woods (or rainforest) next year. At least you'll no longer be forced to VPN your way to the US to get Netflix working.
This expansion is part of the company's plan to reach more countries and more potential customers worldwide as quickly as possible. Italy, Portugal, and Spain are getting the service next month, and you can guess that more countries will be joining in later on. Read More
Amidst news that Google has adopted a new logo (and everything that comes along with that), Sundar Pichai let slip that Google is joining the likes of Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, and others to form the Alliance for Open Media (AOM). The organization's goal is to collaborate on open and royalty-free digital formats for "next-generation ultra high definition media." In other words, it will develop new image, audio, and video codecs and container formats that are totally free for non-commercial and commercial use.
The Alliance’s initial focus is to deliver a next-generation video format that is:
- Interoperable and open;
- Optimized for the web;
- Scalable to any modern device at any bandwidth;
- Designed with a low computational footprint and optimized for hardware;
- Capable of consistent, highest-quality, real-time video delivery; and
- Flexible for both commercial and non-commercial content, including user-generated content.
Opera Max has been out for a while, and it's been helpful to those who find themselves running low on data each billing cycle. This app uses Opera's servers to compress web content and save bandwidth, but it can only do so much. The big consumer of data is video served over https, and Opera Max couldn't do anything about that until now. The latest version, however, adds support for automatic YouTube and Netflix compression. Read More
After paying a lot of attention to the mobile and connected TV experience, Netflix has announced a major overhaul of their browser interface. Before you sign in and get confused, today is just the beginning of the rollout, which they say will complete in a couple of weeks. Netflix bills this as the first major update in four years, though its look has certainly gone through several iterations over that time span. For a refresher, here's a side-by-side comparison of old and new (click to embiggen):
Left: current/old Right: new
Orange is the new black? Maybe, but black is the new white. Read More
NVIDIA's SHIELD Android TV box has only been available for a few weeks, and it's already getting its over-the-air update. This one improves a handful of the SHIELD's app functions and its accessories. Notably, software build 1.2 enables 4K output in Google's Photos & Videos app, provided of course that you have a 4K TV to view them on. According to the changelog it also improves streaming performance for both Netflix and Google Play Movies. Read More
Google Smart Lock is one of the most practically useful features that have come out of the slew of announcements at I/O this year — allowing your device to associate your usernames and passwords for various apps and Chrome sites with your Google account so that you don't need to even bother with logging in when you want to use them.
Among Smart Lock's launch partners is Netflix, and the app's listing on the Play Store has been updated to include this functionality. Now when you install Netflix on a device with Smart Lock enabled (currently that's the M preview release and Lollipop devices where Google Play Services has enabled the feature), you will be asked if you want to save this password. Read More