Netflix customers now all have the option to stream their favorite television shows and movies in the highest quality bit rate that the company offers. HD? No, Super HD. It's 1080p, but with less compression. Netflix first rolled out this higher quality offering way back in January, but they only worked with ISPs with whom they have a direct connection. Now they're ready to stream Super HD to everyone. They're also hoping more ISPs will adopt Netflix Open Connect, their video content delivery network that tries to reduce internet congestion by storing content on servers as close to users as possible.
Somewhere amid the rest of Google's app updates today, Google updated its Search app. While the Play Store still shows an old change log, there are at least a couple of notable changes with the new update.
First among them, as part of Google's ongoing quest for better language processing, is the ability to have language packs automatically update themselves. This is something we uncovered in our last APK Teardown, though some of the more exciting features we saw evidence of (custom hotwords) haven't quite hit prime time yet.
Commercial breaks have never been enjoyable, but after growing accustomed to Netflix's commercial-free experience and the brief pauses between Hulu videos, sitting through five minutes worth of ads while watching cable is more jarring than ever. It's possible to channel surf long enough to find something else to watch during that time, but you know the drill - either every show that's interesting happens to go to a commercial break at the same time, or you get too engrossed in something new to remember to turn back.
If you've ordered (or picked up) your Chromecast dongle and you're raring to start sharing content from your devices to your television, you can take one more step to get ready by downloading the official Google Cast extension.
Community Manager Moritz Tolxdorff posted to Google+ earlier this evening encouraging users to download the extension, which will allow the sharing of media and tabs straight from Chrome to a Chromecast-connected TV.
Announced at CES this year, the ASUS Cube has managed to get a decent amount of attention for a Google TV Box. Formerly known as the Qube, this angular, textured device came to market toward the end of last month, and I've been living with it ever since, trying to get a feel for the product and decide whether ASUS has something special on their hands.
In reviewing the Cube I wanted to answer two main questions that I think underlie every GTV device: Is the user experience a good one, and does the product successfully make Google TV something I actually want to use on a daily basis?
Last week, we took a look at the nominees for Ouya's 10-day developer competition, Create. Today, we have the winners! These game devs will receive some undisclosed amount of money (out of a pot of $45,000) and almost certainly end up on the launch version of the Ouya console. So, what are they? Well, let's break them down by category.
"Pop Your Eyes Out" Award: Pipnis
We covered this one in our roundup last week, though we're at a loss to explain how it didn't win the "Best Couch with Friends" Award.
Activision has invited players to "say Hello to the BIG BALLS" (emphasis not added, we promise) with Wipeout, the Pitfall maker's latest entry into the Play Store.
The game is based on ABC's television show of the same name, in which contestants (typically in colorful dress) haphazardly schlep through various obstacles including big balls, swinging platforms, "topple towers," and various rubberized battering instruments. Activision's game looks to bring that experience to your mobile device, giving you the fun of trying to avoid wipeouts, while also retaining the option to view them in super slow motion and snap screenshots.
You're crazy for this one, ARCHOS! Today, the company most known for releasing the best cheap Android tablets before the Nexus 7 swooped in and drove a wedge between the concepts of "cheap" and "inexpensive" announced the TV Connect. This thing is designed to plug into your set and essentially turn it into a giant Android tablet. With a remote control. No, it's not Google TV. What.
The TV Connect will come with a 1.5GHz "Multi Core" processor of indeterminate origin, 1GB RAM, 8GB of storage, and Android 4.1.
You guys remember Google TV, right? LG does. While the platform hasn't exactly seen stellar adoption rates, the company is still pushing forward with it by integrating it into its new line of television sets. Previously, only two sized models including the software: 47" and 55". Next year, 42", 50", and 60" options will be added to the mix. The hardware will also feature a ridiculously thin bezel, just in case the RAZR M didn't satisfy your dreams of a world without borders.
More than a few senior citizens got their first tablet in the form of a Kindle Fire last Christmas, and I'm sure a few more will be getting HD versions this year. Maybe that's why the powers that be at Sony Pictures chose to make the official Wheel of Fortune mobile game exclusive to Amazon's Appstore, at least until January 13th, when it will hit the Play Store as well. Wordsmiths can purchase the game for $2.99.