By Christian Zibreg on Jan 3, 2014
Google’s hasn’t enjoyed much success with VP8, a video codec it developed back in 2010 as a H.264 replacement for efficient video streaming. The Chrome browser supports VP8 codec out-of-the-box (so no plug-in required), but Google’s plans for VP8 domination were shattered by literally non-existent support from major industry players.
As a result, VP8 has never gained hardware-acceleration because chip makers opted to stand firmly behind H.264, an industry-standard video codec Apple’s devices support natively and on the silicon level.
At next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Internet giant will be showing off YouTube streaming in a 4K resolution of 3,840 pixels by 2,160 lines via its brand new royalty-free video codec, VP9.
This time around, Google has lined up an impressive list of industry players who will back the new format. Notably absent: a certain fruity company… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Dec 18, 2013
After countering Spotify’s recent service expansion and its brand new (and somewhat limited) free streaming feature by expanding into twenty new countries, the popular music subscription service Rdio today refreshed its free iPhone and iPad application with a handy sleep timer function to stop playback after a period of time.
The new Rdio 2.5.4 also includes redesigned profile views with your photo right at the center, various subtle interface improvements and minor bug fixes… Read More
By Cody Lee on Dec 6, 2013
Spotify is reportedly planning to launch a free mobile music service. According to a new report by The Wall Street Journal, the Sweden-based company has reached licensing deals with all three of the global music companies to use their recordings.
Spotify currently offers a free service for desktop and laptop computers, and offers a Pandora-like radio feature via its mobile app. But this new service would allow smartphone and tablet users to play a limited number of songs on-demand, with ads… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Dec 2, 2013
I’m loving my Apple TV and AirPlay, an Apple media technology which streams content from the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Mac devices to television sets through the company’s $99 set-top box.
Unfortunately, AirPlay is a proprietary technology that only works with Apple hardware. Don’t you just wish the industry finally settled on a single cross-platform streaming media standard?
That’s the issue a new application for Android devices is attempting to tackle. Created by CyanogenMod developer Koushik Dutta, the AllCast app lets you stream online (Dropbox, Google Drive and so forth) or locally-stored content to your Apple TV, Roku and a number of other set-top boxes and DLNA-compatible devices such as the PlayStation 3 console.
Currently in beta, the software works surprisingly well and I’ve included a video to show it to you right after the break… Read More
By Cody Lee on Nov 13, 2013
Netflix caused quite a bit of commotion last night when it unveiled its all-new user interface that it’s been testing for the past several months. The new design facilitates easier content discovery and unifies the user experience across platforms.
The updated UI will begin rolling out to smart TVs, Roku boxes, PlayStation consoles and Blu-Ray players today. But there are some devices that won’t be getting the makeover, which Netflix executives are calling the service’s largest to date… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Nov 5, 2013
Rdio, the popular Internet radio service, has just pushed a long-expected update that has finally enabled a music recommendation engine in its iPhone and iPad app. Fans will remember that the inaugural 1.0 build had that useful feature front and center.
Unfortunately, it was inexplicably pulled as the company started experimenting with stuff like Pandora-style personalized Stations and got busy implementing social features and other enhancements.
It was a little over a month ago that Rdio confirmed plans to bring back the popular music-recommendation capability and today they’ve made good on that promise… Read More
By Cody Lee on Nov 5, 2013
Since Apple launched iTunes Radio back in September, industry watchers have kept a close eye on competing streaming music services. After all, the Cupertino company has the resources and user base to put a huge dent in the business.
But apparently the opposite has happened for Pandora. The company’s CFO Michael Herring spoke yesterday at a Morgan Stanley conference in San Francisco, and he says listening has increased 9% since iTunes Radio made its debut…
By Cody Lee on Nov 4, 2013
During a recent quarterly earnings call, Netflix’s Reed Hastings spoke about his ambitious plans for the company’s future. The CEO hopes the streaming service will be “one of the big suppliers” of 4K (or Ultra HD) video by next year.
And this weekend it began testing the waters. GigaOM noticed that Netflix recently added a handful of 4K HD videos to its catalog. It’s mostly test footage—people riding bicycles, etc.—but it gives you a good idea of what to expect… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Oct 22, 2013
It looks like Apple will provide a live stream of today’s iPad event after all as Apple TV owners report that the Apple Events channel has been updated on their $99 set-top box to reflect Apple’s invitation graphics.
“Watch the special event held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco, CA,” the event listing reads.
Additionally, the company will be live-streaming the show to iOS devices and Macs through the new October 2013 event section on its Apple Events web page… Read More
By Cody Lee on Oct 7, 2013
Bloomberg is reporting this evening that it has learned Apple is working to rollout iTunes Radio to the UK, Canada and other countries by early 2014. The music service, which launched last month, is currently only available in the US.
Citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter, the outlet says that Apple has acquired the necessary licenses from labels to take its service international next year—likely beating Pandora and other competitors to several countries… Read More
By Cody Lee on Oct 4, 2013
Amazon is readying an Apple TV competitor, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The set-top box will offer access to the company’s Instant Video and other streaming services.
Reportedly codenamed “Cinnamon,” the device is said to be very similar in design and functionality to a Roku box. And Amazon is believed to be looking to launch it sometime before the holidays… Read More
By Cody Lee on Oct 3, 2013
Last summer, Spotify updated its mobile apps with a free Pandora-like radio service, and it has since seen its subscriber base grow by more than a third. Today, Rdio is betting on the same horse with its own mobile radio feature.
Rdio’s radio service—which it calls ‘Stations’—will be available via its mobile apps. Like Pandora or iTunes Radio, users won’t be able to choose a specific song or artist. But they will be able to listen to music based on their tastes… Read More
By Cody Lee on Sep 9, 2013
It appears that the PlayStation 4 isn’t the only new gaming hardware we’ll be seeing from Sony this year. The Tokyo-based company has just announced PlayStation Vita TV, a 6 x 10 cm console and set-top box that can connect to your TV.
The device is based on PS Vita hardware, and besides playing Vita, PSP and PS1 games, it also offers access to a range of entertainment services and PS4-specific features. And, priced at $100, it’s aimed squarely at Apple’s set-top box… Read More
By Cody Lee on Sep 9, 2013
Music fans can now add another streaming music service to their list of options on iOS. Microsoft quietly released an official app for its Xbox Music platform this weekend, which allows users to stream music to their iPhone or iPod.
The app features ad-free streaming from Microsoft’s stout catalog of over 10 million songs, with the ability to create custom stations and playlists. And of course, you can then sync those playlists with other Xbox Music-capable devices… Read More
By Cody Lee on Sep 3, 2013
Following a big announcement of its new AirPlay-like Connect feature, Spotify has rolled out an update for its iOS client. The update brings the app to version 0.7.4, and includes a handful of new features and improvements.
Easily the biggest change Spotify users will notice in the new app is the completely revamped Browse tab. Thanks to the simplified UI, you can now find your favorite artists and albums, or discover new ones with a few taps… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Sep 3, 2013
The popular Swedish streaming music service Spotify on Tuesday announced a compelling new feature for audiophiles which takes the best ideas from Apple’s media streaming technology called AirPlay, and then some more. Called Spotify Connect, the service is being billed as “the new way to play at home”.
It’s a lot like AirPlay, but with the key difference: there’s no overhead as the feature streams songs straight from Spotify’s server to supported wireless speakers. I’ve included more information and a nice promo clip after the break… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Aug 28, 2013
Yesterday, Apple gave would-be shoppers another reason to consider its $99 Apple TV set-top box by adding five new channels from the likes of Vevo, Weather Channel, Disney and Smithsonian. Piggy-backing on the development, a sketchy report by a Star Wars fan website is out saying Disney has been working with Apple on a dedicated Star Wars-themed Apple TV channel.
It should be unleashed time for the holiday season and permit users to stream the final episodes of the animated Clone Wars television series. More on that after the break… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Aug 22, 2013
Pandora’s 40-hour limit on mobile listening went into effect in February, quickly becoming the most hated “feature” of the otherwise stellar streaming music service. The firm argued it felt compelled to introduce the capping due to rising royalty costs, even if the 40-hour limit affected only four percent of its avid listeners. Backflipping now, Pandora said Thursday it will be removing the 40-hour free listening on mobile devices real soon.
The good news conveniently coincides with Apple’s impending launch of its ad-free iTunes Radio, a streaming music service set to arrive next month as part of the iOS 7 release… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Aug 21, 2013
Netflix today announced a new feature to make saving your favorite movies and televisions shows easier than ever. Aptly named My List, it lets you add any movie or TV show title to your own row or gallery on Netflix. You can easily rearrange the list, add or remove titles, with Netflix automatically sorting your entries.
It’s based on the existing Instant Queue feature which however lacks automated sorting and its own Netflix row.
My List is a staggered roll-out that’s launching worldwide in the next two weeks across multiple platforms, including iOS… Read More
By Cody Lee on Aug 20, 2013
Streaming music service Radical.FM launched a new iOS app today, which gives users access to its library of over 20 million songs. And believe it or not, there’s no subscription fee and no advertising. Instead, the company asks that its users “pay what you can” for the service… Read More