Netflix for Android updated w/ Social Recommendation feature, Android Wear support coming soon

SOMO ScreenshotsNetflix announced in a blog post this evening that it is pushing out an update to its Android app with a handful of new features. First off, the update introduces a new “Social Recommendation” capability, which has been available on iOS for some time now. This feature allows users to easily and privately recommend shows that they love to friends and family, right from an Android device.

Read more

Google shares this year’s most popular apps, games, music, movies, TV shows, books & news

GooglePlay_EOY-infographic_v7

Google has put together a hefty infographic showing 2014’s most popular apps, games, music, movies, TV shows, books & news.

Health and fitness was the fastest-growing app category, with MyFitnessPal topping the charts within the category. Candy Crush remained the most downloaded game. Other app category chart-toppers were Facebook, Netflix, Pandora, TripAdvisor, Duolingo, Flipagram and NFL Mobile …  Read more

Google offering new Chromecast buyers 2 free months of Hulu Plus

chromecast

When the Chromecast originally launched more than a year ago, early buyers were offered three free months of Netflix as a bonus. That offer quickly ran out, but various other deals have popped up since. Now, Google is giving anyone who buys a Chromecast from October 1st through the end of the year two free months of Hulu Plus.

Hulu Plus currently runs $7.99, meaning that you’re getting a $16 value with your Chromecast purchase. While Hulu may not have quite the selection of Netflix, that’s still a great offer when the Chromecast only costs $35 to begin with.

The offer will be redeemable through chromecast.com/offers during the set-up process for new Hulu Plus and Chromecast users beginning October 1st. Keep an eye on 9to5toys.com for the latest Chromecast deals, as well.

Read more

Chromecast boasts 400 million casts as it celebrates its 1 year mark w/ 3 months of free Google Play Music All Access

Chromecast 1st birthday

Happy birthday, Chromecast! That’s what Google is saying today as it announced the HDMI media streaming stick has been used to cast content 400 million times in the 12 months since it launched. The Chromecast, of course, allows you to stream content from services like Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora to your HDTV from your Android or iOS as well as your computer via the Chrome browser.

We’ve added hundreds of your favorite apps, including WatchESPN, Pandora, Hulu Plus, HBO GO and PBS Kids; announced new features like mirroring your Android device to the TV and expanded to 30,000 stores across 20 countries.

That’s certainly a lot of casting from the $35 accessory, and Google is giving all Chromecast users 90 days of its Google Play Music All Access service for free to celebrate. The offer to redeem 3 months of free access to the $9.99/month music subscription service will run from today, July 24th, through September 30th, for all existing Chromecast customers not already subscribed to All Access. Read more

Chromecast support coming soon to controversial movie streaming app Popcorn Time

popcorn

If you’re not familiar with Popcorn Time, it’s an app that allows you to stream movie and TV show torrents without any of the hassles usually associated with torrents – what you get is an interface which looks just like Netflix or Hulu. Thanks to a popular forked version, you’ll soon be able to watch that content on your TV when Chromecast support is added …  Read more

Oyster “Netflix of books” subscription service now available on Android

CFy1R1O

Oyster, a startup out of New York which lets you pay a subscription fee for access to books, has released an Android app after having been available on iOS since August of last year. It has appropriately gained a reputation of being the “Netflix of books,” allowing users to pay just $9.95 for unlimited access to over 500,000 ebooks, but also touts human curation as being one its most important features. Read more

Report: Google to announce Android TV platform at I/O conference next month

android-tv-theverge-1_1020

Google is about to launch a new Android TV platform at its upcoming Google I/O conference in June, according to a new report from GigaOM. The report claims the new platform will be a revamped vision of what Google already has with its Google TV platform and will focus mainly on online content and Android gaming rather than integrating with existing pay TV services:

Android TV won’t be another device, but rather a platform that manufacturers of TVs and set-top boxes can use to bring streaming services to the television. In that way, it is similar to Google TV, the platform the company unveiled at its 2010 Google I/O conference. But while Google TV was focused on marrying existing pay TV services with apps, Android TV will at least initially be all about online media services and Android-based video games.

Google has apparently been making deals with partners in the lead up to launching the new platform, some of which are said to include Netflix and Hulu Plus as well as hardware partners that will build and sell the Android TV devices. The report also shared some details on the Android TV UI: Read more

Google, Amazon, Netflix, and more join forces to voice support for net neutrality in letter to FCC

fcc

Following a proposal that many fear threatens net neutrality, a plethora of tech companies today have come together to support net neutrality in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission. The group is led by Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Netflix, and Twitter, as well as many others.

The letter voices disapproval of a recent proposal that would allow people to pay more in order to gain a higher priority from their internet service provider. The letter focuses on keeping the internet open, and perhaps treated as a utility. The companies make the case that with this new paid prioritization proposition, ISPs would be discriminating both technically and financially against internet companies

Read more

Video: Hands-on with Amazon’s Fire TV set-top box

Amazon recently surprised us with its Fire TV set-top box, offering a native solution for customers to stream movies, music, and even play games. Fire TV will only set you back $99, and in my opinion, it’s just what Amazon needed. Instead of relying on third-party streaming solutions, Amazon now has the power to take its media services in a new direction. Take a look at our overview video above to see Fire TV in action.

Read more

Android TV screenshots reportedly leak, show off simplified card-based interface

For years now companies have been claiming to that they make the perfect set-top box, with Amazon being the most recent to do so with its FireTV. Notably missing from this arm’s race, however, has been Google. The company was one of the first to offer a set-top box OS with Google TV, but the idea quickly failed and was never widely adopted. Over the past year, reports have started to emerge claiming that Google is plaining a reentrance into the set-top box market with an Android-powered set-top box. The Verge has now published an extensive report on Android TV, with screenshots of the actual interface and much more.

The report, which cites internal Google documents, claims that the idea is far along in development with major app providers already building for the platform as we speak. While Google TV was also based off of Android, this new revision is entirely rebuilt and is something very different. “Android TV is an entertainment interface, not a computing platform,” writes Google. “It’s all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction.” It will be “cinematic, fun, fluid, and fast.”

Read more

Opinion: Will the spring launch of Amazon/Nexus/Apple TV signal the beginning of the end of live, broadcast TV?

roku

Streaming TV is heating-up. Amazon looks set to launch its TV box in March, we’re expecting Apple to announce a new Apple TV box in April, and Google is reputed to be not far behind with a Nexus-branded box.

So-called cord-cutting – people who give up their cable TV subscriptions in favor of streaming content over the web – is growing in popularity. Mobile TV viewing on tablets is increasingly common.

All of which makes me wonder whether we’re witnessing the beginning of the end of live TV … ?  Read more

How-to: Setup and Use Chromecast to stream your content from a Mac and Android device

screenshot-2014-01-31-22-41-55

The Chromecast, Google’s streaming HDMI dongle came out last summer. It is compatible with any Android device running 2.3 or later, iOS devices with iOS 6 or 7, and any Mac or PC. Initially, users were able to stream Netflix or Youtube from an iOS device and Android device, Google Play on Android, or stream websites to a TV using the Chrome browser on a computer. The Chromecast works differently from Apple’s AirPlay system in that you can multitask and do other tasks on the device or you can let it go to sleep while streaming.

Very quickly after its release, Chromecast has received support for Hulu +, Pandora, and HBO GO. Last month a major update added ten new apps including Plex, Vevo, Songza, Red Bull TV, Post TV from the Washington Post, Viki, RealPlayer Cloud, Avia, Revision3 Internet Television, and BeyondPod. The most recent update the Chromecast received allowed users to stream Google Play movies and music directly from the Chrome browser on a computer.

In this How-to, we’ll discuss how to setup the Chromecast, use it with a Mac and Android device, and explore its gaming potentials.

Read more