Hi, my name is Eric Ravenscraft and I'm an addict. I have a weakness for trying out new online media services. I've signed up and, where applicable, paid for Spotify, Rdio, MOG, Rhapsody, Pandora, Last.fm, Jamendo, Grooveshark, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Epix, Crackle, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, and virtually every other movie and music streaming service on the internet. So it bugs me that I haven't yet been invited to add Redbox Instant to my collection of collections.
We've been hearing rumblings for a while now about Redbox partnering with Verizon for a streaming service. Today, the company announced the details of that arrangement: for $8/month you can get access to unlimited streaming of a selection of movies (including the EPIX library which, for those who don't know, is pretty impressive), as well as four monthly credits to rent a physical movie for one night from any Redbox kiosk.
In times past, there have been concerns about Netflix' ability to continue acquiring rights for streaming video content. The more users the company gets, the more pressure there is to get high-profile content. After the loss of the Starz deal, there was some doubt, but today there is a renewed hope for fans of Netflix and Disney at least: the two just inked a deal that will bring first-run movies from Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel, and Disneynature to the streaming service in 2016.
Netflix has been gently updating and adding features ever since it debuted on Android, and while today's addition isn't earth-shattering, it'll be welcome to anyone with a shiny new Nexus device. The primary addition to the 2.1 update is full support for Android 4.2, but the player UI has also gotten a pretty big facelift. Bigger buttons and more transparent elements make it a lot easier to pinpoint tracking, and the whole thing seems at least superficially faster.
The Netflix for Android app received a minor update today, adding compatibility for four new countries: Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland. The update also adds improved subtitles for Android 4.0+ devices, which is cool, I guess.
Yeah, those subtitles are noticeably improved.
But most importantly, I've noticed on two of the three devices I've updated, the app doesn't run at the god-awful pace it has since it was released. Scrolling on a Galaxy S III, Optimus G, and Nexus 7 is vastly improved, and much smoother.
Yesterday, Netflix introduced a new UI for Android phones that brings it more in line with the tablet version. While most of the new features were detailed in a video, they apparently missed one major selling point: the app can now be used to control the Netflix app on a PS3 running on the same Wi-Fi network. See it in action:
It seems that not everyone has this feature yet - we've seen a few comments here and there form users who can't seem to replicate what happens in this video, even under the same circumstances.
Following the release of of its updated app earlier this month, Netflix has officially launched its new Android interface today for users running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or later on their smartphones.
The new interface manages to fit a lot of content on your screen at once, and users will notice that there is a new 'continue watching' row at the top of the screen. This feature has been available on tablets for a while, but this latest update shows the content that you've recently been watching, and lets you continue from the point where you left off.
It's a big day for Netflix: the Android app for both smartphones and tablets has been updated to version 2.0. So with this earth-shattering update to everyone's favorite streaming service, they've added... a WiFi switch. That's it. It makes sure you won't use your mobile data while streaming movies or TV shows. There doesn't seem to be much else to justify a full version bump from 1.8.1.
Alright, to be fair, there are a few user interface tweaks.
Chances are, most of you only ever hear about Epix in an article discussing streaming rights (like this one). Epix is an online streaming video service a la Netflix that you can only get access to if you have a cable bundle that includes the site. Or, you know, if you have Netflix. For now anyway. The real value of Epix is the stable of movie rights it brings to the table, and now the joint venture is sharing its media library with Amazon Instant Video for all of the online retail giant's Prime customers.
Internet video is the future. It's hard to argue that. The mobile landscape is chaotic, though, and figuring out which services have what shows or movies can be a complicated task. Viewdini, from Verizon, wants to be the digital age's TV Guide, aggregating show info, availability, reviews, and discovery into a single app. Search for the name of a show or movie and you'll get info about it, as well as where you can watch it.