Google knows using YouTube on a TV could be better, so the company has started to push out an updated version that fits in more with the company's latest sense of style (Android TV, anyone?) and, more importantly, makes content easier to access.
YouTube looks great on a TV, but it's not as easy to browse as other media services such as Netflix and Hulu, where users can just shift through movie titles and the latest shows without having to go through all that much effort.
A number of new and interesting features are headed towards the Xbox One, but I'm going to ignore most of them. What has caught out attention is the ability to stream TV to Android devices using the SmartGlass app. The feature will join the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner in coming to various European countries in the months ahead. It will allow users to stream TV to other smartphones and tablets while continuing to play games on the Xbox One.
The Sense TV app comes pre-installed exclusively on a number of HTC handsets, such as the One M7 and, more recently, the M8. It serves as an image-heavy, contextual remote that tries to take the hassle out of keeping up with what's playing on which channels. There's also a sports component that places emphasis on athletic shows and current scores. Today's update takes that last element and mixes it with good ol' American football and a shot of rugby.
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.