Jessica Alba has boarded “Planet of the Apps” as a mentor and executive producer

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 30, 2016

“Planet of the Apps”, an unscripted television show about apps and their creators co-produced by Apple and Propagate Content’s Ben Silverman and Howard Owens, has added actress/model Jessica Alba to the list of its mentors and advisers, The Variety reports. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Internet personality and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk also joined the project recently, in addition to musician Read More


Hulu transitions free content to Yahoo View, renews focus on subscriptions

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 8, 2016

Hulu said today it’s phased out its free, ad-suported tier as it refocuses efforts on subscription services. According to Variety, free TV episodes will no longer be available on Hulu, but the current $7.99/$11.99 per month paid tiers won’t change. All Hulu content that was available free with ads has moved to Yahoo View, a new service designed for hosting free, ad-supported TV shows from the likes of ABC, NBC, Fox and others. Read More


Gwyneth Paltrow and Gary Vaynerchuk join Apple-produced “Planet of the Apps” as mentors

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 4, 2016

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Internet personality and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk joined “Planet of the Apps”, an unscripted television show about apps and their creators co-produced by Apple and Propagate Content’s Ben Silverman and Howard Owens, Variety reported today. Read More


CBS All Access and Showtime streaming services have surpassed 2M subscribers

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 29, 2016

Cable providers can complain all they want about Apple’s “hard-nosed” negotiation tactics when it comes to digital entertainment, but some of them seem to be enjoying unexpected success after introducing over-the-top subscription packages specifically aimed at cord cutters.

Take as an example CBS and its All Access and Showtime Anytime video-streaming services, which have now surpassed two million subscribers, with user bases evenly split between the two, as revealed by CBS’s CEO on a quarterly results conference call with analysts and investors. Read More


Eddy Cue: Apple is a delivery platform, not a Netflix rival (plus, skinny bundle “is a misconception”)

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 14, 2016

Eddy Cue, 52, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, sat down for an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, answering a series of questions related to Apple’s alleged attempts to introduce a skinny bundle of television programming on iTunes, its relationship with content owners and swirling rumors that it may be invested in creating original programming to become the next Netflix or Comcast. Read More


ABC revamps its iPhone, iPad and Apple TV apps, adds throwback shows

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 13, 2016

The American Broadcasting Company (ABC), a broadcast television network owned by the Disney–ABC Television Group, announced today that its Watch ABC app for the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV shall be known going forward as just ABC. In addition to rebranding, the new ABC app now packs in an overhauled user interface and more content, including exclusive digital series for users who download the app as well as 38 full seasons of “throwback” TV shows. Read More


Bookmark apps and iTunes content and install them later with Lookmark for iPhone

By Christian Zibreg on May 27, 2016

Lookmark for iPhone by developer Claes Jacobsson received a major update yesterday, prompting me to take another look at this interesting piece of software.

With Lookmark, you can bookmark apps and other iTunes content very easily from Safari, other apps and your desktop, and install/download them later when the time is right. Yesterday’s update added a Share sheet extension which can save apps mentioned on any webpage. Read More


New Bravo, Syfy and E! apps available on fourth-gen Apple TV

By Cody Lee on May 26, 2016

Cable subscribers can now watch shows from NBCUniversal’s Bravo, Syfy and E! on the fourth-gen Apple TV. Variety reports that native apps for all 3 networks are now live in the App Store of Apple’s popular set-top box.

The apps offer access to tons of on-demand content, including current and past episodes of hit shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians. As usual, you’ll have to enter pay-TV credentials to unlock the bulk of the content. Read More


Confessions of a big iTunes spender

By Christian Zibreg on May 26, 2016

I have a confession to make…

It’s become painfully obvious to me, glancing at my purchase history, that I’ve reached a point in my computing life where I’m now a big iTunes spender. To my astonishment, in the past year or so I’ve been burning money on apps, media and services at a clip of a hundred bucks each month. That’s actually a conservative estimate. Realistically, my iTunes spending is somewhere in the ballpark of $150-$200 per month.

To look at it another way, that’s $1,200-$2,400 in annualized services revenue for Apple from this particular customer, excluding my hardware purchases. When this much cash is getting sucked out of my pocket by Apple, I can’t help but admit the company must be doing something right when it comes to digital media and services.

I realize $100 per month is a lot of money to burn on digital entertainment. I’m not going to preach on issues of morality here nor will I suggest that everyone should spend that much, or spend anything at all in the iTunes and App Stores.

What I’m getting at is this: despite dropping significant cash on apps, media and services, I’ve never felt buyer’s remorse. Why? Because I’m getting value for my money and, after all, Apple is just a middleman. To put it bluntly, I’d rather spend my hard earned cash to support those who create content for a living than blatantly steal their hard work.

Here’s what a $100 spent in Apple’s content stores buys me, why I don’t think I’m being ripped off and how the sense of satisfaction I get in return makes it all worthwhile for me. Read More


Limiting kids’ access to apps and media to only those with age-appropriate ratings

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 20, 2016

With the handy Restrictions feature on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Apple TV (and let’s not forget about Parental Controls on the Mac!), blocking or limiting certain capabilities and services on your Apple devices becomes a simple task.

Maybe you’re a parent to a kid who extensively uses your iOS hardware and other Apple gear?

Perhaps your colleagues at work, or potentially other people, have access to your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad? If that’s the case, you might want to consider restricting apps and media on your devices to only those with appropriate age-based ratings.

As always, iDownloadBlog comes to the rescue: step-by-step instructions in this tutorial will guide you through the process of restricting access to music, movies, television shows, digital books and apps on iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS platforms. Read More


Apple meeting with top talent to develop original programming

By Cody Lee on Apr 18, 2016

Apple has been secretly meeting with top entertainment talent, reports Fast Company. In a lengthy article detailing the streaming ambitions of various tech giants, the outlet says the iPhone-maker has its sights set on building a lineup of original programming.

According to sources, the company quietly set up shop at the Imperial Hotel in Utah during this year’s Sundance Film Festival. There, it hosted a series of private events, known as the “iTunes Lounge,” where it discussed content deals with actors and filmmakers. Read More


“Hey Siri, is Jon Snow dead?”

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 13, 2016

Ahead of the upcoming April 24 premiere of the sixth season of HBO’s popular “Game of Thrones” television show, Siri engineers seem to have updated her database to answer some of the most burning questions asked by fans, the most lingering one being “Is Jon Snow dead?”

Conveniently, Apple’s made sure that the personal digital assistant is spoiler-free so you won’t get anything out of her pertaining to whether or not the show’s most popular character has perished at the hands of the Night’s Watch. Read More


Tip: adjusting how movies and TV shows are sorted in your Apple TV Wish Lists

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 25, 2016

Aside from major new features in Apple’s new tvOS 9.2 firmware for the fourth-generation Apple TV, which released to the public on Monday, March 21, there’re plenty of under-the-hood improvements to be excited about.

Among them are handy sorting options for the movies in your Wish List and TV shows in your Favorites. In this tutorial, we’ll demonstrate how you can tell your Apple TV to show recent TV episodes first and change sorting options for movies in your Wish List. Read More


Apple recruits cable TV PR veteran for Apple TV and iTunes content marketing role

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 22, 2016

Bernadette Simpao, previously working at AMC and Viacom in public relations capacity, is joining Apple to handle the company’s PR efforts for content and apps related to the new Apple TV, as well as TV shows, movies, apps, books and podcasts that Apple carries on the iTunes Store’s virtual shelves.

According to Variety, Simpao spent ten years at Viacom in various communication roles, including Senior Director of Communications for Viacom International Media Networks, before joining AMC. Read More


Report: Dr. Dre’s Apple-backed TV show ‘Vital Signs’ will be a vehicle for Apple Music promotion

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 16, 2016

The rumored Apple-backed television show “Vital Signs” will feature some notable Apple Music product placement, as per sources who spoke to Re/code’s Peter Kafka.

Rather than being Apple’s surprise foray into full-scale production of TV shows, Apple will simply co-finance the production of “Vital Signs.”

“That’s much less exciting than ‘Apple Is Getting Into TV,’ but it’s more accurate,” Kafka said. The show will apparently star Beats co-founder and Apple executive Dr. Dre. Read More


Apple reportedly making its first scripted TV show starring Dr. Dre

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 12, 2016

Apple has decided to back its first ever scripted television series that will star one of its own executives, Beats co-founder and rapper Dr. Dre (real name Andre Young). According to The Hollywood Reporter, the top-secret project is dubbed “Vital Signs”. The production is reportedly “being bankrolled by Apple”.

The series will be likely distributed via Apple Music although the report doesn’t make it clear if the iTunes Store will also carry the show so that Apple TV owners could stream it.

“The first season will roll out all at once, regardless of venue, a la Netflix,” sources told the publication, adding that Apple is said to be “very bullish on the project.” Read More


Apple TV universal search expands to FOX NOW, FXNOW and Nat Geo TV

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 5, 2016

According to an Apple support document which was updated yesterday, the universal search feature on the fourth-generation Apple TV will now surface video content provided by FOX NOW, FXNOW and Nat Geo TV channels.

Users who install these apps on their set-top box can press the Siri Remote’s microphone button and say things such as “Watch Life Below Zero” and land on the page that now includes that show by the National Geographic channel, in addition to other content sources. Read More


Apple said to consider developing original TV shows as talks over skinny iTunes bundle collapse

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 29, 2016

As part of a new strategy following failed talks with major networks regarding licensing their programming for a rumored over-the-top iTunes video service, Apple is reportedly considering developing own TV shows to offer exclusively to its iTunes customers, The Street reported Friday. The publication’s track record in predicting Apple’s moves isn’t great so take the story with a pinch of salt.

Citing two unnamed people with knowledge of the overtures, the report alleges that Apple is internally planning to announce exclusive content as part of a cable-like offering in September, as part of the iPhone 7 introduction. Read More


U.S. Netflix customers on grandfathered plans will get slapped with a price increase

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 20, 2016

Did you sign up for Netflix’s $7.99 per month plan with high-definition streaming before new pricing tiers were unveiled?

If so, the company will reward your loyalty by slapping you with a price increase later this year, according to Netflix’s letter to shareholders issued yesterday as part of the company’s quarterly earnings release.

Grandfathered Netflix customers in the United States will have two choices: continue using their $7.99 per month plan, but only in standard definition, or choose to pay $9.99 per month to continue watching in high definition. Read More

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