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Media Players & Services News

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PS3 most popular platform for Netflix

8 comments Sean Ridgeley - 7:26am (PST) Like Share

The method of choice

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Movie and TV streaming service Netflix is available on damn near every device and platform you can think of these days, but the most popular one for it of all is now PlayStation 3, the company says.

"PS3 is our largest TV-connected platform in terms of Netflix viewing, and this year, at times, even surpassed the PC in hours of Netflix enjoyment to become our number one platform overall," states Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

The reasons for the popularity are suggested to be the lack of a filter (unlike on Xbox 360, which requires you to have Xbox LIVE Gold), and the option for daily updates. Of course, there's also the fact PS3 was the first to do a lot of things with Netflix, including 1080p, 5.1, second screen controls, and more.

 
 

Vita YouTube app V2 released, brings subs, better controls, more

5 comments Sean Ridgeley - 7:03am (PST) Like Share

Lots to enjoy

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The Vita YouTube app has been available since June, but with quite a lot of features missing compared to its PC counterpart. Today that's fixed with version 2 of the app, which brings in key features like subscriptions and channels, better controls (allowing you to utilize the Vita buttons, browse while you watch, and more), playlist settings, improved searching, and a load more.

The new version can be utilized now. Check below for the full details on what's new.

  • Subscriptions and channels: Now you can view and manage your subscriptions (including your subscription to the PlayStation YouTube channel), browse all videos on a specific channel and check out detailed information in the “About this channel” menu option.
  • Improved controls: We’ve added new functions on controls including Next/Previous buttons, a loop video option and the ability to browse videos while another is playing, making it easy to select preferred videos without interrupting playback.
  • Playlist settings: You can now create playlists and add videos to your playlists, including your Favorites or Watch Later lists.
  • Closed captions: Captions help deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers enjoy YouTube videos, and they’re also useful if you forgot your headphones and want to watch videos in a loud (or quiet) setting while on-the-go. Now you can display closed captions when playing videos. Look for the captions icon on the video thumbnail. You can even change the language of captions in the options menu.
  • Continuous playback: In the settings menu, you can now enable continuous playback, so your next video selection will start to play automatically.
  • PS Vita buttons: You now have the option to use the PS Vita buttons to control playback and menus, which can be enabled in the Settings > System menu.
  • Share: Show that you’re tuned in—Tweet, Email or group message your friends the name and URL to the latest video. You can also invite people to check out any channel on YouTube — like the the PlayStation YouTube channel — via group message, so they don’t miss a beat.
  • Improved search: You can now use search filters — sorting by upload date or duration, for example — making it easier than ever to find your favorite videos.
 
 

Netflix now available in UK, Ireland

2 comments Sean Ridgeley - 11:44am (PST) Like Share

Stream movies, TV to your heart's content

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For those of our readers residing across the pond (specifically: UK & Ireland), you can now catch up with the rest of the world and stream movies and TV through Netflix and your device of choice. As ever, a one-month free trial is available; after that, you've got to fork over a whopping £5.99 or €6.99 each month.

The benefit of this once seemingly eternal wait is you can take advantage of the progress the company has made over the years: advanced streaming technology means almost no waiting to watch almost ever, you'll be given recommendations based on viewing history and ratings and social networking, and there's a "Just For Kids" section for when you just can't take it anymore (we jest).

Hit the source to get started.

 
 

Netflix streaming-only pricing hits US

6 comments Sean Ridgeley - 9:45am (PST) Like Share

Just $7.99

While Canadians had to wait quite some time for Netflix, the advantage was cheaper, streaming-only pricing. Naturally, Americans became jealous, prompting the company to assure US citizens they would be seeing the same soon enough. The day is here: US customers can now opt for a streaming-only option at just $7.99 per month. Meanwhile, the DVD by mail service will see costs rise $1.

Netflix says the changes are a response to the growing number of users using only the streaming option, and also the increasing costs of signing new studios -- a partnership with Paramount, Lions Gate and MGM forged last year cost a dizzying $1 billion.

 
 

Netflix popularity exceeds BitTorrent

13 comments Sean Ridgeley - 6:37am (PST) Like Share

Cause if you're doing it properly, it's better than pirating

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Though some silly folks would tell you piracy is rampant online, research on the North American sector from Web analytics firm Sandvine shows P2P usage has been declining in recent years, dropping to 13.2 percent of all bandwidth, while video and music streaming account for a whopping 45.7 percent. Suprisingly enough, this comes in ahead of web browsing at 24.3 percent (presumably this refers to browsing that doesn't involve streaming). Basically, people really love to stream.

This is all great news for companies like Netflix who are surely raking in the dough, accounting for 20.6 percent of all "peak period bytes downloaded on fixed access networks in North America." And having launched recently in Canada, it has accounted for 95 percent of all traffic at its peak, and that's been with a limited selection (quite a few more titles have been added the past few weeks, though). You may have wondered why the service was experiencing brief outages recently -- yeah, we're pretty sure that's why.

This actually puts Netflix ahead of BitTorrent services, which goes to show the solution to piracy is to compete with it -- any sensible person will tell you the experience on Netflix is just easier and better than pirating.

 
 

Netflix launches in Canada

4 comments Sean Ridgeley - 8:17am (PST) Like Share

Available on pretty much everything

At long last, Canadians can get a slice of the Netflix pie -- the service has just launched today for the "neighbours to the north", available on a heap of devices: Wii, PS3, PC, iPad, and iPhone.

Later this fall, you'll be able to check it out on Xbox 360 and models from Sharp, VIZIO, Haier and Best Buy’s Insignia brand.

Netflix offers unlimited streaming TV and movies and is priced at a very reasonable $7.99/mo.; head to the source to sign up for a free one-month trial and/or future months. Credit cards and PayPal are accepted methods. Okay, we're done selling now.

Update: users have noticed the limited selection on offer; Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings has stated they'll be working on expanding the library.

 
 

Netflix streaming to Canada this fall

4 comments Sean Ridgeley - 8:50am (PST) Like Share

Movie service finally expanding

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Popular movie streaming service Netflix is finally extending its reaches beyond the US in a pivotal move, bringing blockbuster film properties to Canada this fall.

Customers will pay a monthly fee for unlimited streaming movies on their computer and/or TV; a specific figure is not yet known, but we can assume it will be around the $8.99 figure US customers are acquainted with.

Unlike in the US where films are also available by mail, Canada's service will be streaming only. Currently services like Zip offer delivery, and last we heard, were slowly working on a streaming option.

Netflix will be first offered in English, with a French option added "over time."

Similar options are in the works by Quebecor Media's Videotron and also Rogers.

Canada typically gets the short end of the stick when it comes to streaming TV and film, and its citizens are very familiar with images like this, so it's important to see a 13 million customer strong service is able to overcome the legal hurdles at last -- this could bode well for Hulu.

Interested Canadians can sign up via the official site below to get a notice when the service launches.

On the downside, Internet giant Bell is rumored to soon be putting caps on many connections, which would prove troublesome for film lovers. With multiple streaming services launching soon, though, this could force them to cancel their plans.

 
 

Hulu Plus coming to Xbox 360 early 2011, PS3 "soon"

9 comments Sean Ridgeley - 11:56am (PST) Like Share

Subscription-based TV headed your way

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Like Netflix, television streaming service Hulu is very interested in expanding, and has revealed its plans today to travel to other mediums outside the PC like Sony / Vizio TVs and Blu-ray players (autumn of this year), and for gamers: the PS3 and Xbox 360.

The latter is confirmed to hit early next year, while the PS3 has no defined date, just "soon."

The service is named "Hulu Plus" and offers everything the regular service does but with more of everything, meaning full seasons of shows instead of just a few, plus back catalogues. Microsoft's Major Nelson assures Plus will "not be a port" and will be optimized for the 360.

Now for the bad news: you'll need a LIVE subscription to use it, US citizenship, and you have to fork up $10/mo., on top of the ads.

Hulu Plus is available as of today on PC and mobile devices; interested parties can request an invite here.

 
 

James Joyce's Ulysses banned again, this time from App Store

2 comments Sean Ridgeley - 2:48am (PST) Like (1) Share

Webcomic version of classic novel gets the chopper

Though James Joyce's famous -- perhaps infamous -- novel Ulysses was banned from publication in the US years ago, and later revoked (the offending scene, which features Leopold Bloom masturbating on a beach while fireworks go off nearby, was found by the courts to not promote lust), Apple seems to have a different idea.

The latest App Store fiasco (with its long riddled history of contradictions and double standards), has found a webcomic adaptation of the work unsuitable for its service, due to the depiction of cartoon nudity (one of the offending sections is pictured below).

It's easy enough to understand Apple's position, but consider first they're not required to ban the work, and second that it's availably freely to view via the iPhone's web browser.

This all reminds of Nine Inch Nails' frontman Trent Reznor, whereafter his app was banned from the App Store, he noted to the company, "Hey Apple, I just got some SPAM about f*cking hot asian teens THROUGH YOUR MAIL PROGRAM. I just saw two guys having explicit anal sex right there in Safari! On my iPhone!" In another portion of his address, he recalls Wal-Mart's censorship of music, yet if one turned around in the same store, they'd find an uncensored version of Scarface.

Co-creator of the comic adaptation Rob Berry says they expected they may have had to censor some bits with "fig leaves" and the like, but Apple's policies do not allow it.

 
 

Silverlight 4.0 released

1 comments Sean Ridgeley - 3:46pm (PST) Like Share

Microsoft's media plugin gets major upgrade

Coinciding with the release of .NET Framework 4.0, Microsoft has today released a major update to Silverlight, their media plugin aimed at providing a richer experience with your OS, browser and other devices. Some may recall its use in the Dead Space 2 3D screenshot late last year.

4.0 introduces many new features like webcam and mic support, multicast streeaming, multi-monitor streaming and more, besides the expected performance improvements.

Grab it at the source.

 
 
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