More Beats than Spotify: Microsoft to kill free Xbox Music streaming

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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The free, ad-supported music streaming party is over, at least for Microsoft. The company recently announced that effective December 1, Xbox Music’s free tier will be retired. Anyone who wants to use Xbox Music after that date will have to pony up for Xbox Music Pass, the company’s $10 per month subscription offering.

The impact on you at home: For Xbox Music listeners, it means you won’t be able to stream music for free anymore via the built-in Music app in Windows 8.1. If you purchased music from Microsoft’s Xbox Music storefront those tracks will still be available across your devices, and since they’re DRM-free you can even take them with you to another service or app. Playlists, collections, and radio stations will cease to work without a Music Pass subscription. You can still view your created playlists inside Microsoft’s apps and the web version—you just can’t listen to them without paying for a monthly subscription.

xboxnotice

A notice on the Xbox Music Web app notifying users of the end of the free, ad-supported streaming tier.

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Your online TV watching is now being tracked across devices

Zach Miners U.S. Correspondent, IDG News Service

Zach Miners covers social networking, search, and general technology news for the IDG News Service, and is based in San Francisco.
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Showing all viewers the same commercial six minutes into, say, an episode of “Modern Family” might soon be over. If you’re watching it online.

A new partnership between TV measurement company Nielsen and analytics provider Adobe was announced early Tuesday, presenting detailed data about how people watch TV and other media on the Internet. The team-up adds smarts to existing forms of tracking, by letting broadcasters get a better picture of how Internet users consume media across devices and platforms.

With the service, partnered broadcasters could see, for instance, if viewers began watching a show on Netflix on their laptop, then switched to a Roku set-top box to finish it. And then read an article on ESPN.com.

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Qualcomm pushes 4K video streaming with prototype TV dongle

Jared Newman , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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Michael Brown Senior Editor, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Michael manages PCWorld's hardware product reviews and contributes to TechHive's coverage of home-control systems and sound bars.
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Qualcomm has a plan to liberate 4K video from high-end smartphones, and it involves a Chromecast-like prototype TV dongle.

The prototype was revealed at a Qualcomm industry event, where it was spotted by analyst Patrick Moorhead. In an e-mail, Moorhead said he expects Qualcomm to offer the design to manufacturers, in hopes of having them build their own 4K streaming devices.

Qualcomm primarily sees the device as a way for users to beam homemade 4K video to their televisions, but it could eventually be used to stream 4K content from online sources such as Netflix. The dongle could also double as a wireless dock for phones and tablets, mirroring the display onto the big screen.

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The Binge-Watch List: Gilmore Girls are three generations of charming

Monty Ashley Writer, TechHive Follow me on Google+

Monty Ashley lives in Seattle, where he watches movies and television, reads books, and plays games. He's trying to learn Latin, for reasons known only to him. He has written for Wizards of the Coast, Television Without Pity, and Previously.TV, and podcasts with The Incomparable.
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It’s not hard to find TV shows to watch these days. But finding good ones to watch amid all the streaming video services fighting for your attention and your eyeballs? That’s more of a challenge. Every other week, we’ll help you separate a would-be House of Cards from the rest of the pack, as we look at which streaming TV shows are worth your time.

The entire seven-season run of Gilmore Girls became available on Netflix earlier this month. And that’s great news, because the ability to watch Gilmore Girls whenever you want to is one of the best reasons to have an Internet in the first place. Another good reason is to talk about shows like Gilmore Girls, which became increasingly convenient over the show’s 2000–2007 lifetime.

What it’s about

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Univision joins HBO and CBS in hugging cord cutters

Jared Newman , TechHive Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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Univision is looking to make every day Sabado Gigante with plans for a standalone streaming video service, following HBO and CBS into the a la carte fray.

The Spanish-language network giant revealed its plans to the Wall Street Journal, but hasn’t announced pricing or a timeframe. While Univision currently offers a streaming service called UVideos, it’s only available to cable subscribers, and the network believes it can reach many more viewers with a standalone service.

Univision is in a unique position because 76 percent of its viewers aged 18 to 49 watch only the network’s flagship channel, and nothing else. But as a broadcast channel, it’s available free to anyone with a TV antenna. The paid streaming service needs to offer enough value to viewers who otherwise don’t have to pay anything.

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New CBS All Access joins streaming-service trend, but many strings are attached

Brad Chacos Senior Editor, TechHive Follow me on Google+

Brad Chacos spends the days jamming to Spotify and digging through desktop PCs. He covers the gaming, graphics cards, and how-to beats for PCWorld, and spends his mornings running the news desk for PCWorld, Macworld, Greenbot, and TechHive.
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When it rains, it pours. Just yesterday, HBO announced plans to offer a standalone, cable-free streaming video service in 2015, and on Thursday, CBS followed in it footsteps by revealing CBS All Access, a $6 per month streaming video service revolving around the broadcaster’s shows.

CBS All Access offers a smattering of different content types. The full current season of 15 different (unnamed) prime time shows will be available, though only eight current series will have past seasons available for viewing. “More than 5,000” episodes of “CBS classics” like Cheers, Star Trek, and MacGyver will also be available.

CBS specifically mentions the classics will be ad-free. Yes, streams of the newer shows will include ads, even though you’re paying $6 per month for the All Access service. Laaaaaaaame.

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What a cable-free HBO subscription could mean for Apple TV

Michael Simon Contributor, Macworld

Michael Simon has been obsessed with Apple since before there was an "I" in fanboy.
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Apple TV has never followed a predictable update path. Officially unveiled alongside the iPhone in January 2007, it has had just two revisions to speak of during its lifespan, and aside from a quiet silicon swap last year, there hasn’t been any movement on the Apple TV front since March of 2012.

But the industry around it hasn’t been nearly as stagnant. In the two and a half years since the third generation of Apple TV landed, we’ve seen a veritable explosion of streaming devices and services, with various sticks and boxes all promising to deliver high-definition content to our televisions. Apple TV has kept pace by adding channels and occasionally refreshing its software, but there’s one main problem: All of these boxes, up to and including Google’s new Nexus Player, pretty much do the same thing. Sure, some have a slightly better selection of channels and others play games or offer tighter integration with the particular ecosystem they serve, but when it comes to actual television, none of the digital media players have managed to break the stranglehold cable companies have on our consumption of broadcast content, leaving so-called cord-cutters to pick through the scraps.

But now there’s a major crack in the blockade. You might remember a rumor earlier this year that Apple was in talks with Time Warner and Comcast–currently in the final regulatory steps of a blockbuster merger–about expanding the capabilities of Apple TV. At the time it seemed like a pointless endeavor, but now it appears as though those talks have begun to bear fruit. Time Warner-owned HBO announced Thursday that it will launch a standalone, broadband-only subscription for its HBO GO streaming service, giving people access to the holy grail of premium content without needing a cable subscription (or a friend willing to share their password).

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