Comedy Central, MTV, and other Viacom channels coming to Sony Cloud TV

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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Cord cutters will finally be able to stream some cable networks without having to, uh, “borrow” a pay-TV subscriber’s login. Viacom is letting Sony’s upcoming cloud TV service to carry at least 22 of its most popular networks. The deal will let Sony OTT subscribers tune into “BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, MTV2, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, Spike, TV Land and VH1, BET Gospel, Centric, Logo, CMT Pure Country, MTV Hits, MTV James, mtvU, Palladia, TeenNick, Vh1 Classic and Vh1 Soul and all available in HD,” said a Viacom news release announcing the arrangement. “The deal marks Viacom’s first-ever agreement to provide its networks for an Internet-based live TV and video on demand service.”

Sony’s yet-to-be-named cloud TV service—for convenience’s sake, we’ll call it ‘Sony Cloud TV”—is supposed to provide OTT viewers with the “most popular live TV programs combined with a large library of VOD content,” said Sony Computer Entertainment Group CEO Andrew House at CES 2014 last January. At the time, Sony said that it would pilot the new service sometime in 2014. With the announcement of the deal with Viacom, Sony has not only taken a big step to realizing this goal, but also gained a sizable advantage on other OTT service providers who lack this content. Hulu has some Viacom shows, but getting entire networks is a big deal.

According to Viacom, this deal brings together two titans. It claims that there are more than 75 million Internet-enabled Sony devices in U.S. living rooms today, while “Viacom owns and operates the largest basic cable portfolio in the United States by audience share, including 25.9 percent share of basic cable viewership among young people aged 2 to 34.”

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Deezer's streaming music lands in the U.S., aimed at Sonos audiophiles

Jared Newman , TechHive Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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The streaming music service Deezer is about to land in the United States, but it's taking a much different approach than rivals such as Spotify and Rdio.

Instead of offering a free service and trying to convert users into paid subscribers, Deezer is targeting the premium market with high-definition audio service called Deezer Elite. A beta version will launch exclusively for Sonos home audio systems on September 15, streaming 16-bit FLAC lossless audio at 44.1 Khz.

At $20 per month, Deezer Elite is twice as expensive as premium services from Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio and others, but the home audio quality is significantly higher than what competitors offer. Billboard reports that users can lock in a promotional rate of $10 per month with a full year's subscription, or $15 per month when paying month-to-month. Sonos users are also eligible for a free 30 day trial.

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Netflix makes it easier to binge watch with Chromecast

Derek Walter , Greenbot Follow me on Google+

Derek Walter is a freelance technology writer based in Northern California. He is the author of Learning MIT App Inventor, a hands-on guide to building your own Android apps.
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Netflix is bringing its Post-Play feature to Chromecast, making it easier to skip ahead to the next episode when binge watching your favorite TV series.

When an episode ends, Netflix minimizes the credits and queues up the next one, which begins automatically in about 15 seconds. This avoids you needing to dig for your phone or tablet while sitting in awkward silence. 

With movies, Netflix now auto-suggests three similar selections in case you want to extend the cuddle-on-the-couch time.

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U2 releases new, full album 'Songs of Innocence' for free exclusively on Apple's iTunes

Brad Chacos Senior Writer, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Brad Chacos spends the days jamming to Spotify, digging through desktop PCs and covering everything from BYOD tablets to DIY tesla coils.
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Apple CEO Tim Cook teased that he had "one more thing" up his sleeve before introducing the Apple Watch at Apple's gargantuan event on Tuesday, but as it turns out, he had two. Legendary rock band U2 took the stage post-Watch to jam out "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)," a track from its new Songs of Innocence album—an album that Apple released to all iTunes users immediately after the performance for the low, low price of absolutely nothing.

Yes, the blockbuster new album from one of the biggest bands in the world is free on iTunes right now. The whole thing. All of it. Seriously, go check it out.

"It makes music history," Cook said after hitting a mock button that sent the album out over the Internet. "Largest album release of all time."

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Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video finally arrive on Android phones

Jared Newman , Greenbot Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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Android users finally have a way to watch Amazon Prime Instant Video on their phones, though it requires a small workaround.

To stream Amazon's selection of movies and TV shows, you first need to install the main Amazon app for Android. Although the app now includes an “Amazon Instant Video” section that lets you browse the catalog, it doesn't let you watch videos straight away.

When you actually try to play a video, you'll be prompted to install a standalone Prime Instant Video app from Amazon's own app store. That means you'll have to turn on app sideloading from unknown sources, though Amazon helps guide you through the process if you don't have this setting enabled already.

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Netflix to join Internet Slowdown protest Sept 10

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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Netflix has joined the “Internet Slowdown Day” protest against the FCC potentially allowing Internet “slow” and “fast” lanes. Scheduled for this Wednesday, September 10, Netflix and other participating sites will demonstrate what a two-tiered Web might look like, by running simulated page-loading icons on its pages. Other websites taking part include the ACLU, I Can Has Cheezburger, Digg, Etsy, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Reddit, Upworthy, Urban Dictionary, Vimeo, and WordPress. Porn sites Pornhub, Redtube and Youporn will also be involved. Note: The slowdown will only be simulated, not actual—the spinning “loading” icons you’ll see on those sites are entirely symbolic.

The idea behind the Internet Slowdown is to galvanize public support to save “net neutrality,” preventing carriers from making bandwidth distinctions between companies who pay for carriage (fast lane) and those who do not (slow lane). The FCC has been struggling to redefine net neutrality after its old rules were struck down earlier this year.

netflix corporate headquarters 06

Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, California.

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Netflix tests bite-sized video clips for brief mobile viewing

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 Netflix subscribers use the service on their smartphone or tablet, the vast majority of those viewing sessions last 10 minutes or less. That's why Netflix is currently testing out short-form clips that give mobile users quick hits of their favorite TV shows, movies, and stand-up comedy shows while on the go.

If the tests are successful enough, the short clips will become a permanent part of Netflix's offerings on mobile, according to GigaOm. The clips are broken down into segments of two to five minutes each.

The new pilot project isn't meant to be a YouTube killer. In other words, don't expect to see SoulPancake or Geek and Sundry jump to Netflix anytime soon.

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