With Emmy nods, Netflix stands apart from other online TV makers

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 it’s an honor just to be nominated, streaming service Netflix can feel pretty honored after the 2014 Emmy nominations came out Thursday. Other online TV creators weren’t as fortunate.

Netflix original programming grabbed an impressive share of nominations for the television industry awards—31 nods in total. That’s more than twice what it got in 2013. Netflix this year garnered more nominations than traditional broadcasters such as cable channel AMC and the Fox TV network.

Netflix’s biggest 2014 Emmy draw was Kevin Spacey’s political potboiler House of Cards, which received 13 nominations, including Best Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama (Spacey) and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Robin Wright). This is the second consecutive year Spacey and Wright received acting nods. House of Cards won three Emmys last year, the first online TV show to win these coveted awards.

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Aereo wants to be a cable company after devastating Supreme Court loss

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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After the Supreme Court more or less shut down Aereo's business as-is, the company now wants to be treated just like Comcast and Time Warner. Aereo recently filed a letter with the U.S. District Court in New York asking to be considered a cable system.

Aereo originally argued that it was not, in fact, a cable provider, instead saying it was just supplying technology and equipment to its customers. That argument was hoping to capitalize on a potential loophole in the rules governing broadcasters. Now, however, Aereo says that the Supreme Court's decision effectively turns it into a cable provider.

"Under the Second Circuit's precedents, Aereo was a provider of technology and equipment...After the Supreme Courts, decision, Aereo is a cable system," the company said in the letter.

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'Netflix for torrents' app Popcorn Time adds Chromecast support

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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Apparently Chromecast viewers can eat their popcorn and watch it too: The “Netflix for pirates” app Popcorn Time can now stream pirated movies directly to Chromecast-enabled HDTVs.

As of now, a Windows version of Popcorn Time with Chromecast support is in alpha, and Mac and Android versions are on their way. Beta versions of the apps without Chromecast support are already available for Android, Mac OS X 10.7 and above, Windows XP and above, and Linux 32/64 bit.

popcorn time logo 300w
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Paid per view: Netflix hires people to watch, tag its content

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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Wanted: TV/movie fanatic UK/Ireland to watch Netflix and “tag” content, using pre-defined words to describe plot, genre, tone and other qualities of each program watched. Flexible hours; can work from home. Apply jobs.netflix.com.

It may sound like a practical joke—or at least a Make $$$ Doing Nothing online scam—but it isn’t. It’s a legitimate job posting with Netflix, which uses taggers to view its programming and then categorize it. The streaming video service has about 40 taggers worldwide, slapping any one of a thousand or so keywords onto movies and TV shows. Those are feed into Netflix’s recommendation system and used alongside advanced algorithms to create highly personalized content suggestions for Netflix’s 50 million viewers.

Right now Netflix is hiring a new tagger in the UK/Ireland. This appears to be part of the online video provider’s strategy to eliminate discreet channels on its service, replacing them instead with precise content recommendations.

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Totally rad films from the '80s and '90s on Netflix

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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Back in the 1980s and 1990s, people rented videos from video stores. There was the battle between Beta and VHS, as well as other weird formats, like Super-VHS and the Videodisc. Then there was the Laserdisc, which only caught on with die-hard collectors, but began featuring things like widescreen and director's commentary tracks. Perhaps only the most visionary souls could have possibly foreseen the days when these movies could be watched instantly, at the push of a button, from a computer or even a smartphone. Yet here they are. And guess what—some of the movies from those bygone decades are still pretty good.

The Karate Kid

karate kid crane kick
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With Songza buy, Google recognizes music needs a human touch

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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To understand why a music service like Songza is attractive to a company like Google—to the tune of $15 million to $39 million, depending on who’s doing the reporting—you first have to understand something about the evolution of radio.

Once upon a time, people tuned into local radio stations not just to hear their favorite songs, but also because they liked a local station’s specific music format. In particular, listeners liked the fact that a station’s specific music mix made sense to their ears—which was no accident. The playlist was personally and painstakingly crafted by the station’s program and music managers. They lived in the same area, knew local tastes and cultural influences, understood the daily economic stresses on their listeners’ lives, and programmed the station accordingly.

This local touch was extinguished in the last couple decades when mega-corporations like Clear Channel bought America’s radio stations. To save money, the Big Radio mega-corps fired individual program/music directors and their finely-tuned playlists. They replaced them with headquarter-manufactured cookie-cutter formats that paid no attention to individual market quirks and differences. After all, music is music: Who would notice?

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Samsung dumps Media Hub, sends users to M-Go

Jared Newman , TechHive Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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Samsung is calling a do-over on another chunk of its media business with the closure of Video Hub and Media Hub.

The two video services, which were meant to rival iTunes video, Amazon and Google Play, will shut down on August 1. Users will be able to transfer any videos they've purchased to M-Go, a third-party service, at no charge. They'll also get a $5 credit to use within 90 days, and using that credit will unlock a 50-percent-off coupon for two more movie rentals.

This isn't the first “Hub” that Samsung has discontinued as it tries to take a mulligan on media services. On July 1, Samsung shut down Music Hub, which had offered subscription-based streaming and individual songs for purchase. The company also dismantled its Samsung Books service on the same date.

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