Creatives Are Concerned by Netflix Variable Speed Feature

Netflix is testing variable playback speeds with a small group of Android users, much to the dismay of many Hollywood creatives. Judd Apatow, Brad Bird and Aaron Paul were among those who spoke against the feature, with Apatow noting that “distributors don’t get to change the way the content is presented.” There is evidence that some users prefer to consume media at faster speeds, to improve concentration and cover more material. Netflix vice president Keela Robison said subscribers had “frequently” requested the feature. Continue reading Creatives Are Concerned by Netflix Variable Speed Feature

Google Aims to Promote Diverse Voices With Podcasts App

Google hasn’t had its own podcast app since it discontinued Google Listen in 2012. Now, it is unveiling Google Podcasts, an Android app that includes a “For You” section that keeps track of podcasts the user is subscribed to, and includes recommendations of top and trending podcasts and categories such as comedy, society & culture, news & politics, sports, religion & spirituality and the arts. Clicking on any podcast, the app will recommend related podcasts. It also offers an option to add the podcast to the user’s home screen. Continue reading Google Aims to Promote Diverse Voices With Podcasts App

YouTube Takes Cue from Netflix, Blames ISPs for Slow Video

YouTube recently started pointing at Internet service providers when it comes to problems with video playback. When a YouTube video experiences buffer or playback issues, a message that reads “Experiencing interruptions?” now appears under the video. Clicking “Find out why” takes users to a new Google page that lists video playback quality for ISPs of different countries. Last month, Netflix posted alerts blaming a crowded Verizon network when customers experienced grainy video. Continue reading YouTube Takes Cue from Netflix, Blames ISPs for Slow Video

Fox Now Video App Offers Personalized Recommendations

The Fox Now video app allows users to watch recent episodes of Fox series the day after they air. In a new update to its version for Apple devices, Fox has added a feature that suggests shows to the user based on preferences and viewing history. The upgraded user interface, which is based on the iOS 7 design, intends to keep fans watching more video by providing useful recommendations. Fox Now also features expanded TV Everywhere access with more current and past programming. Continue reading Fox Now Video App Offers Personalized Recommendations

SXSW: Neil Young Launches Kickstarter Campaign for PonoMusic

Legendary musician Neil Young, the featured speaker on the eve of South by Southwest Music, introduced PonoMusic, his new high resolution audio ecosystem, to a capacity crowd in Austin, Texas. Only four hours earlier, he launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, which raised more than 50 percent of its fundraising goal before he appeared onstage. The mission of PonoMusic is to bring the highest-quality music to discerning consumers who want to experience music the way the artists intended. Continue reading SXSW: Neil Young Launches Kickstarter Campaign for PonoMusic

New Netflix Interface Improves Video Discovery and Playback

Netflix has launched a visually richer interface with rotating images for subscribers who access the streaming service via television. The new interface is designed to improve discovery and playback, in an effort to increase the amount of time subscribers watch Netflix content on their TVs. Three automatically rotating images will appear for each selected title, featuring a short synopsis for each TV show or movie, and easy access to recommendation tools. Continue reading New Netflix Interface Improves Video Discovery and Playback

Valve Releases Steam Game Machine Prototypes for Testing

There are only 300 of Valve’s Steam Machine gaming PCs, and they’re being shipped to beta testers. But Valve’s production of the device will end there — this is just a prototype. Third party-manufactured machines will be revealed in January at the next Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, during which consumers will get more information about Steam’s specs. What we know now is that the device will have high- and low-end models. Continue reading Valve Releases Steam Game Machine Prototypes for Testing

Samsung Galaxy Note 3: 4K Feature Too Much for a Phone?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 was recently released in the U.S., and one of its most notable features is 4K video. But this option has some wondering why such capabilities are necessary for a smartphone. Recording in H264 MP4s at about 48mbits per second is not very high for four times the resolution of HD, suggests Philip Bloom, who questions the compression, codec and stabilization. Overall, Bloom says the Ultra HD is a decent feature — but it will likely go under-utilized by users. Continue reading Samsung Galaxy Note 3: 4K Feature Too Much for a Phone?

Vimeo PRO: Same Cost, More Storage and Unlimited HD Plays

Vimeo reintroduced its Vimeo PRO service this week, with several major upgrades including up to 1TB of storage and unlimited HD plays. The service is targeting professional film and video makers, offering new options at the same subscription rate it unveiled when the service was first introduced two years ago. Vimeo also announced its VIP customer service plan, FTP support and Vimeo On Demand feature for monetizing video content. Continue reading Vimeo PRO: Same Cost, More Storage and Unlimited HD Plays