Depending on where you're at in the world, you may have some holidays coming up that demand long drives and a lot of time watching a screen as Google Maps directs the way back to family. There's a new update out that might make your trip planning and navigation just a little better. Version 9.41 has a new option to always start up in satellite mode, adds links to articles about top-listed businesses, and polishes the look for adding stops along a route. There are also hints that it will show when a hotel is running a good deal. Read More
AMC, the American cable channel that's home to shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead, has more apps than you might think. There's AMC Extras, a bunch of DVD-style content to promote various shows, AMC Tablet, which is basically a companion app for said shows, specialized apps for half a dozen other shows, and even a Christmas movie app. Now they've launched one that's just for watching new episodes... which makes sense, considering that's what most people want to do with their content in the first place.
Episodes that are currently available to stream go in and out on a rolling basis, but the important ones (new episodes of currently-airing shows) appear a day or so after the episode has aired on cable television. Read More
A few years ago getting Internet access while on an airline flight seemed like magic. Now in the not-too-distant future, the connection in your plane might be faster than the one in your home. According to a press release issued by Virgin America, new technology from corporate partner ViaSat will improve its satellite Internet connection by a factor of five to ten times thanks to a next-generation satellite. The new technology offers speeds of up to 140 gigabits per second spread across the entire network, which should mean "8 to 10 times faster" speeds for individual users, enough for reliable music streaming and (maybe) some video. Read More
Communication companies are hooking up around us as we speak. Mobile carrier AT&T is buying satellite provider DirecTV. Cable distributor Charter is acquiring rivals Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. Now T-Mobile is looking to merge with Dish Network, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The two sides apparently agree on how the combined company would look. T-Mobile CEO John Legere would serve as CEO, while Dish Chief Executive Charlie Ergen would be the chairman. But they haven't yet come to an agreement on how much money would exchange hands.
This merger draws obvious parallels with AT&T's acquisition. A DirecTV-enhanced AT&T and a combined T-Mobile/Dish would both provide cellular service, satellite TV, and Internet access through either satellite or mobile networks. Read More
Far be it from me to tell gigantic companies like Turner Broadcasting or Time Warner what to do with their Android apps. But when the last version of your official streaming app has what look like Froyo screenshots on the Play Store (from back when it wasn't even the Play Store), it might be time for an update. Adult Swim, the allegedly grown-up portion of Cartoon Network's programming block, now has a much more modern app for fans to watch new shows and back episodes.
As before, the new version of the Adult Swim app lets you watch full episodes of all the current programs, including the usually funny cartoons and usually terrible live-action shows. Read More
DISH Network has updated their official app with a variety of improvements and new features, making it better both as a streaming video player and as an account management console. Probably the best addition in this update is the ability to support multiple profiles for a single subscriber account, a la Netflix. Each profile will have its own favorites list and recommendations, making family sharing a lot smoother.
Also on the streaming side of things, DISH has tried to make following the NCAA men's basketball tournament simpler. While it already has its own sports section to help you separate that content from general TV, this update brings with it the ability to look through the tourney bracket to check on scores. Read More
I don't think anyone has ever accused cable companies of having the best aesthetic sensibilities, but DISH Network's former Android streaming app was a particularly good example of how not to do it. It was a lazy port of the iPhone version, and it showed, covering the basic streaming and scheduling with the bare minimum of effort. The new version... well, I'd be lying if I said it was great, but at least it gets a facelift and a proper tablet interface.
Old on top, new down below.
Other additional features in the updated app include various new content discovery tools like a Netflix-style recommendation engine, a list of the most popular shows (for better or worse), and a personal watch list. Read More
There have been rumblings recently that, adding to its other (perhaps more far-flung) efforts to improve Internet access around the world, Google would eventually deploy its own fleet of satellites. Today, those rumblings got a little bit closer to reality as Google announced its agreement to acquire satellite imaging company Skybox for $500 million in cash.
Skybox's journey so far, according to the announcement on its own blog, has been about revolutionizing "access to information about the changes happening across the surface of the Earth." Having already deployed the world's smallest high-resolution imaging satellite, the company says it's already made "great strides." Read More
We have a second screen problem. The TV may have the largest display in the house, but it fails to consistently hold our attention even during engaging content, let alone commercial breaks. Cable and satellite companies have tried to respond to this phenomenon by releasing companion apps that place their content on both screens at once. Unfortunately, these apps typically aren't that good. The DIRECTV Android app was completely revamped not too long ago, but already a new update is available that changes things around a bit. Is it more engaging? Is it even an improvement? Judge for yourself.
The new version has a more stylized menu button that provides quicker access to live TV streaming. Read More
Voice Search is everywhere these days. Google's expanding its Search app to pull contact information, Glass is controlled via voice commands, and iOS's Siri is now integrated with the Chevrolet Sonic. With the latest update to the DIRECTV app, customers can now use voice search to find out what's on television.
What's new in this version:
- Just talk as you would to a person and the app finds what you’re looking for.
- Search for programs by mentioning title, channel, keyword, actor, time frame, genre and more.
- Switch to TV mode to see your dialogue and search results on your TV screen.