Google's announcement of Android TV made it clear that a final product wasn't ready for store shelves, but it was certainly getting close. While Google is finishing up the software and hardware for an official release later this year, developers have been invited to begin work on their own apps. For most, that means firing up an emulator to test on, but a few have also been granted access to a preview device called ADT-1.
Update 7/21/14: In its Q2 2014 letter to shareholders, Netflix narrowed down the launch month to September of this year. The list of countries remains the same as before: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
Original story from May 21, 2014 follows.
Some of our European friends might be ringing in the new year with movies and TV streamed via Netflix. The company has just announced its intention to begin rolling the service out in several European countries late in 2014.
NBC Universal has launched Sprout Now into the Play Store, giving parents all over the country the option to let their kids stream a full episode of their favorite series and get a couple moments' rest. The app comes with a full program guide, plenty of shows, and enough content to occupy children for up to four, five minutes tops.
Of course, there are caveats. Parents need to have a TV subscription of some kind in order to get access to the shows.
Well, it was fun while it lasted. In a conclusion to court cases that have been going around the country ever since the service started in 2012, the US Supreme Court ruled this morning that Aereo TV is in active violation of copyright law. The decision in favor of television and cable broadcasters and their corporate backers will effectively cripple the web and mobile streaming TV service, and may destroy the company altogether.
Update Wednesday held at least one more treat this week - a bump to Google Play Movies & TV, bringing the app up to version 3.2.25. Google hasn't published an official change log yet, but so far the only user-facing change we've found is the presence of applicable wishlist content (from your Play Store wishlist) inside the app, both on the "Watch Now" screen, and in the slide-out navigation bar.
One of my few complaints with the Netflix app for Android has always been that the app makes it more difficult than it should be to indulge in binge-watching behavior. Watching episode after episode of a TV show meant either going back into the episode list again, or hitting the show's tile from the home view again, and neither was ideal.
With a recent update, however, Netflix has added what it calls a "post-play" experience, which gives users the number and title of the next episode, along with a big red "play next episode" button.
In an effort to further diversify the content of status updates (which consist 115% of political arguments and babies being cute), Facebook is working on a way to help users share what they're listening to with others. No, the social network won't turn into a file-sharing site, but it should at least help friends give some attention to the same artists or performers you enjoy.
HBO shows aren't the easiest ones to get our hands on, but Amazon has snagged a deal that should make doing so easier for Prime subscribers. Starting today, customers in the US will have access to all seasons of several HBO series (such as The Sopranos, The Wire, and Flight of the Conchords) and select seasons of several others (True Blood and Boardwalk Empire, for example). HBO has also aired several mini-series over the years (Band of Brothers, John Adams, The Pacific, etc.), and Prime subscribers will now have access to them as well.
Hey, you! Insanely rich person with poor impulse control! Don't you wish the irresponsibly gigantic television in your palatial living room had a touchscreen, so you could walk half an acre across your designer carpet to play 2048? Well now you can, as long as you're willing to throw a few monetary scraps to Viewsonic. The CDE8451-TL is an 84" 4K TV with a touchscreen and Android. For $18,999. For some reason.
The rumors surfaced last week, and AT&T made it official yesterday evening. The telecom company has agreed to pay nearly $50 billion in cash and stock for satellite TV provider DirecTV. If approved by regulators, the new AT&T would have control of about 26 million TV subscribers.