Will patent trolls put a stop to your favorite podcasts?

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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If you’ve got a mobile device, chances are you subscribe to a podcast or two. After all, there are hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there available to millions of listeners. And a company that holds a patent that it claims covers podcasting wants in on the action.

The patent dispute surrounding podcasting is unlikely to have an immediate affect your ability to enjoy on-demand audio programming from your favorite producers—certainly not after the patent holder failed to get what it wanted out of a high-profile court case. But the legal maneuvers involving podcasting offer a telling look at the impact patents are having on the technology world.

On patents and podcasts

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10 international Criterion Collection films to stream on Hulu Plus

Jeffrey M. Anderson , TechHive

Jeffrey has been a working film critic for more than 14 years. He first fell in love with the movies at age six while watching "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" and served as staff critic for the San Francisco Examiner from 2000 through 2003.
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Hulu Plus is not just for catching up on this week’s episodes of The Daily Show or binge-watching old seasons of The Real Housewives of Orange County. It’s also home to a huge number of films distributed by the Criterion Collection, a prestige company that since the Laserdisc days of the 1990s has been fulfilling its promise to release “a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films.” And since not every important film was made in the United States (shocking but true), here are 10 of the best international films in the Criterion Collection, all streaming on Hulu Plus.

The Passion of Joan of Arc

ns passtionofjoanofarc
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Appreciating the Apple TV

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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With one or more autumnal Apple events on the horizon we turn our thoughts not only to what Cupertino has in mind for the iPhone and iPad, but the direction the next generation Apple TV might take. We’ve already issued some ideas on what a future Apple TV might be in regard to a content delivery system as well as a HomeKit hub, but as much fun as it is to play guessing games with Apple’s engineers, it’s also worthwhile to stop and appreciate what advantages the Apple TV offers now over another set top box such as the Roku 3. While I have each device, I see areas where the Apple TV outpaces the other.

AirPlay

Although the Apple TV offers solid sound (sometimes solid 5.1 surround sound, depending on the source content) via its HDMI or Optical Audio ports, you’re not confined to playing sound through the system wired to it. With Apple’s AirPlay technology built in, you can stream its audio to any AirPlay-compatible device (though, regrettably, not to multiple devices).

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Amazon puts the power to greenlight pilots back in your hands

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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If you’ve ever been watching TV and thought that you could pick better shows than the ones that made it to the airwaves, Amazon is giving you another shot. The company has just debuted its third pilot season, when it rolls out new Amazon Originals and lets viewers vote on which ones become full-season series.

You can watch the five latest pilots online or through the Amazon Instant Video app on iOS and assorted Amazon mobile devices as well as Roku and gaming consoles such as the PlayStation, Xbox, or Wii. Amazon started asking viewers for their input in 2013, as it looks to caputre some of the mindshare around original programming currently enjoyed by Netflix and Hulu.

Using Amazon’s wonderfully pithy blurbs, here’s what you’ve got to choose from when you cast your vote:

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Samsung tips Amazon 4K video streaming for October

Jared Newman , TechHive Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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Amazon will start streaming its original shows in 4K resolution in October, at least according to Samsung.

Samsung revealed the timeframe in an announcement about expanded 4K content on the company's Ultra HD televisions. Amazon has been promsing 4K streaming for its original series since last year, but hadn't said when it would actually happen.

Netflix, meanwhile, has been streaming House of Cards and some nature documentaries in 4K since May. Breaking Bad joined the 4K roster in June, and Netflix plans to add more of its original productions later this year.

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Spotify's Chromecast-like Spotify Connect feature coming to smart TVs

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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When Spotify Connect debuted last September it was aimed at integrating the music streaming service with wireless speakers and home audio systems. Now, Spotify Connect's reach is moving beyond home audio to smart TVs.

Late Wednesday, Spotify announced the company's first television partnership with Philips, which will offer Connect on its Android-powered sets. Spotify says Philips is the first of many smart TV partnerships coming in the near future.

Spotify Connect is a feature for premium subscribers and is very similar to Chromecast. You start by choosing music on your smartphone and tablet. Then you send your musical selection to a Connect-compatible hardware, which starts streaming the music independent of your mobile device. You can then use your smartphone or tablet as a remote control. In the case of Philips, you'll also be able to control Spotify with your TV remote.

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Rhapsody unRadio is no Pandora One killer but it's free (for some)

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, TechHive Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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In June, Rhapsody and T-Mobile announced Rhapsody unRadio, a subscription streaming music service. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen such an arrangement. Mobile carriers and music streaming services are increasingly getting together in this one-hand-washes-the-other kind of way (as evidenced by the relationships between AT&T and Beats Music and Sprint and Spotify). Getting free or less-expensive music streaming is a perk that might attract customers to a particular carrier, and pre-packaging the services with specific data plans increases the services’ visibility.

Similar to Pandora One, unRadio lets you create and tune into stations rather than select specific tracks or albums that you’d like to listen to, as you can with Spotify, Beats Music, and Rhapsody’s own $10-a-month Rhapsody Premiere. You can skip an unlimited number of songs and the service is ad-free. And you can “tune” your music preferences by assigning a thumbs-up or thumbs-down rating to a track.

unradio browser

unRadio as seen through a web browser. (Click to enlarge.)

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