The writing isn't quite on the wall for traditional cable and satellite television - not so long as companies like Comcast can manipulate the market with artificial monopolies and data caps, anyway - but things are definitely looking up for cord-cutters. The latest fruit of the union between American telecom AT&T and satellite TV giant DirecTV is a series of TV packages that don't require, well, TV packages. These data-only streaming options will become available some time in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to an AT&T press release.
Said packages will come in three flavors. First, DirecTV Now, an all-digital streaming TV service that will offer "much of what is available from DirecTV today," including on-demand programming and premium networks. Read More
The adoption of Chromecast as a de facto streaming standard was rapid, helped in no small part by the fact that it was the cheapest streaming gadget on the market which was immediately compatible with both major mobile phone systems. But not everyone leaps to support new tech, and old media giants like the National Broadcasting Company have never been accused of being nimble. So it took NBC the better part of three years to support Google's streaming standard, so what - it's not like they're a multi-million dollar entertainment company backed by an international supercorp.
Oh wait, they are.
The Chromecast support in NBC's official network app doesn't come with any other notable changes, though video streaming appears to work with all of the live and pre-recorded video within. Read More
We usually refer to Spotify as a streaming music provider, but the terminology will have to change this week. According to the Wall Street Journal, Spotify is set to add video content to the Android app in a few days, followed by iOS late next week. This was first announced in May of 2015, but the launch was pushed back as the company tested and gathered feedback. Read More
If you're a good little brow-beaten NFL fan like me, then watching all of the playoff games is a penance. Each of the major networks gets its own game every weekend, and they're all desperately trying to avoid the moment when they're contractually obligated to tell you about the games on the other channels. And in the case of CBS, they mention the fact that they have both the Super Bowl and the Grammy's every twenty seconds, because apparently they think the same people who will watch a bloated, drawn-out spectacle full of egos and corporate sponsorship will also watch a music awards show. Read More
Netflix is one of those American services that people in other countries are intensely jealous of if they can't get it. And with such a wide variety of TV shows (and at least a few dozen movies, too) for a few bucks a month, who could blame them? But now that Netlfix has expanded to literally hundreds of new countries and territories, there's no need to look longingly at the US anymore... or to use any of the elaborate web proxy workarounds to get access to the service outside of supported areas.
Now that Netflix has made its big international push, they're working on cutting down on that proxy use. Read More
Have you ever been so excited to watch Netflix's collection of movies, shows, and original content that you simply couldn't wait to get into the app itself before you start to browse? Apparently someone on the development team thinks so, because the latest version of the Android app (posted to APK Mirror earlier this evening) includes a homescreen widget. It's similar to the Play Store widgets, in that its only real purpose is to highlight some of the content on the service.
The widget is 5x5 in its unmodified state, though it reformats its triple-pane display with surprising grace as you enlarge or shrink it with your launcher's resizing tools. Read More
While Android TV doesn't enjoy the wide support that Chromecast gets, and its current app catalog can't hold a candle to competitors that have been in the market for much longer like Roku, it's slowly and surely getting better. The latest major network to offer an official Android TV app is PBS, the United States' government-funded Public Broadcasting Service. The free app is available to download on Android TV units now.
PBS Video uses the same Google Play Store listing as the phone and tablet version of the app, it's just been expanded to Android TV with additional API support. The app allows users free access to streaming some, but not all, of the channel's currently-running shows, plus segmented versions of NewsHour and Austin City Limits and at least some shows from local markets. Read More
Right now there are three Android phones and four Android tablets within arm's reach of my desk, and another half dozen or so in my closet. (It's OK, I don't have a problem. This is my job.) If you're in a similar situation, you can put some of those gadgets to use: they work great as remotes for set-top boxes like Android TV or Roku, or you can cobble them together into a sort of poor man's Sonos multi-room speaker system. Here's one more option: turn it into a home security camera. Read More
HBO Now is the premium cable service's olive branch to cable-cutters, an attempt to reach out to the IPTV crowd before competition from Netflix an the like starts to seriously impact their bottom line. So why they chose to limit HBO Now to Apple devices in the first place is a bit of a puzzle - surely you'd want to make a paid service available to as wide an audience as possible? Read More