Even with built-in audience, rumored YouTube music service faces hurdles

James Careless , TechHive

James Careless has been covering the Internet since the days of 1200 baud modems. His credits include Business Week, KM World, Network World, PCWorld, and Streaming Media.
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What’s in a name? That’s the question streaming experts are debating, following this week’s revelations that Google was planning to launch a subscription music service on YouTube called Music Key.

Monday’s report from Android Police contends that the $10-a-month service will feature ad-free music, audio-only playback, and offline playback. Under the plan detailed by Android Police, Google Play Music All Access would also undergo a rebranding, re-emerging as Google Play Music Key.

Of course, it’s a long way from rumor to fact, and there’s no set launch date for YouTube Music Key—not surprising since Google would have to iron out arrangements with music rights holders. But what YouTube Music Key’s chances of making a splash in an area where the likes of Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, and the Apple-owned Beats Music are already competing for eardrums?

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The Binge-Watch List: Real Housewives get really parodied

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.

It seems like no matter where you go, you’re going to be overrun with Real Housewives. They started in Orange County, but they’ve since spread out to various places across the United States, both classy-sounding (Beverly Hills, Miami) and less so (New Jersey). And Hulu has a note-perfect parody of the whole franchise, entitled The Hotwives of Orlando. Why Orlando? Because it’s funny to hear people wonder if God could make a Heaven as beautiful as Orlando, that’s why.

What it’s about

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Small heads, safe ears: The best headphones for kids

Dan Frakes Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Dan writes about OS X, iOS, utilities, cool apps, and troubleshooting. He also covers hardware; mobile, audio, and AV gear; input devices; and accessories. He's been writing about tech since 1994, and he's also published software, worked in IT, and worked as a policy analyst.
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It’s back-to-school time, and one thing that’s struck me over the past few years is how our kids’ school-supply lists have changed. Sure, they still include pencils, crayons, and markers—though not as many as before—as well as requests for tissues, hand sanitizer, and other classroom sundries. But these days, our lists also include headphones. Every student is expected to bring his or her own headphones.

This isn’t too surprising, as more and more schools are using iPads and laptops as part of the curriculum, and teachers want students to be able to hear lessons and work on projects without disturbing each other. Still, it’s telling that headphones are in, and binder paper is largely out.

But after volunteering in my kids’ classrooms over the past three years, I can tell you that when it comes to children, not all headphones are created equal. The best headphones for adults are rarely the best models for kids, for a number of reasons:

MarBlue HeadFoams

MarBlue (formerly Marware) has taken rugged to the extreme with the $30 HeadFoams Foam Headphones for Kids. As the name implies, the entire headphone is made of a semi-rigid, BPA-free, EVA foam in blue, purple, orange, or pink—there are no visible metal or plastic bits, and no moving parts. You can literally bend the headband to form an inverted U without damaging it, and you can drop the headphone from a decent height with only some surface scuffs to show for it. I suspect that the main point of failure will be, as usual, where the four-foot cable connects to the right-hand earpiece.

marblue headfoams headphones
MarBlue’s HeadFoams
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Comcast hopes Wi-Fi streaming will win over college students

James Careless , TechHive

James Careless has been covering the Internet since the days of 1200 baud modems. His credits include Business Week, KM World, Network World, PCWorld, and Streaming Media.
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As college classes resume at the start of another school year, Comcast hopes to teach some students a lesson of its own—having access to cable TV is a hard habit to break. In a move designed to build loyalty among people in their late teens and early 20s, Comcast is launching Xfinity On Campus. The IP-delivered service lets college students living on campus watch live and on-demand TV on their laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Designed to be carried over a college’s existing IP network, Xfinity on Campus is being bundled with room and board for students at Bridgewater College, Drexel University, Emerson College, Lasell College, and the University of Delaware. Other colleges, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of New Hampshire, will test the program this fall.

“With this younger generation, more and more viewing is happening away from the traditional TV set and we have evolved our products and services to better engage them,” said Marcien Jenckes, Comcast Cable’s executive vice president of consumer services in a statement announcing the program. Translation: Millennials are increasingly watching  TV on platforms other than traditional cable-connected TV sets. Comcast doesn’t want to lose those eyeballs, so it’s trying to reach them where it can.

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Tweet and tune in: ABC previews upcoming show on Twitter

James Careless , TechHive

James Careless has been covering the Internet since the days of 1200 baud modems. His credits include Business Week, KM World, Network World, PCWorld, and Streaming Media.
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How do you get young eyeballs to watch your new TV series? By going to where those young eyeballs happen to be.

Next month, Selfie arrives on ABC, with the network hoping that the recycling of My Fair Lady strikes a cord with a social networking-savvy generation. ABC has already offered a sneak peek at the 26-minute pilot on Hulu and its own website. But lots of new series do that these days, using online streaming to help build buzz.

So ABC is taking a different tack to promote the series featuring Doctor Who star Karen Gillian as a modern-day Eliza Doolittle: It’s made the first episode of the show available on Twitter, embedding the pilot in a tweet.

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SoundCloud rolls out ads, will let you pay to remove them

Jared Newman , TechHive Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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After seven years as an ad-free service, SoundCloud will start using advertisements to help pay the bills—both for itself and for content creators.

SoundCloud, which lets anyone upload music and audio for public streaming, is inviting "a small group of creators" to participate in its On SoundCloud ad platform. Eventually, anyone who wants to advertise will be able to use the service.

"Every time you see or hear an ad, an artist gets paid," SoundCloud wrote in a blog post. "If you’re in the US, you’ll start to experience occasional ads from our brand partners."

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Netflix whips up 3D VR viewing room for Oculus Rift during company hack day

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, TechHive 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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Facebook says Oculus VR is focused on refining the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset for gaming right now. But the Rift holds potential to go far beyond gaming, into areas such as medicine, education, and journalism (to name just a few). When we got a look at the Rift during E3 2013, another non-gaming use case that engrossed us was a virtual reality movie theater.

netflixoculusvrtest Netflix

Netflix employees playing with the Oculus Rift during a recent company hack day.

Apparently some people at Netflix also see Oculus Rift's promise in the home entertainment. During the company's recent hack day a team of employees developed a cool looking 3D interface for the Rift to help you choose between the next episode of House of Cards or a Breaking Bad marathon.

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