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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Spotify video ads inbound: Watch a 30-sec mobile ad, get 30 minutes of nonstop music

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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Spotify is getting into video, but Netflix has nothing to fear. The streaming music service plans to bring full-screen video ads to its free listening tier. 

The new video ads will show up on the desktop and mobile, but smartphone and tablet users will have the opportunity to swap up to 30 seconds of their attention for 30 minutes of ad-free music.

The new ad formats are slated to debut between October and December, according to AdAge. The first round of video ads will be with a limited number of advertisers such as Coca-Cola, Ford, and McDonald's.

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TiVo goes ginormous, with 24TB of storage and a $5K price tag

Yardena Arar , TechHive

Contributing Editor Yardena (Denny) Arar is a San Francisco-based freelance writer, avid online shopper, media junkie, consummate foodie, and proud possessor of a private pilot's license.
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TiVo, arguably the Cadillac of DVRs with support for streaming media services, is getting ready to roll out a big rig. The TiVo Mega, slated to ship early next year, will pack 24TB of hard disk space—eight times the storage on the TiVo Roamio Pro, the current top-of-the-line model. Put another way, that’s enough to stash more than three year’s worth of standard-definition television on one DVR.

That’s a little too late for recording that just-completed Simpsons marathon of every episode ever, but what can you do?

The cost of all this storage? The Mega’s exact price hasn’t been announced, but TiVo officials put the price tag around $5000. The super-sized DVR is expected to ship in the first half of 2015.

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IFA's gimmick of the year: Bendable TVs

Martyn Williams , IDG News Service Follow me on Google+

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service.
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When you’re competing for the attention of almost a quarter of a million visitors, it helps to have a gimmick or two. The big names of the consumer electronics industry know this and each year at Germany’s IFA electronics show, they try to outdo each other with the latest and greatest technology they have.

Five years ago, it was all about 3D TV, then OLED TVs with their brilliant images and vibrant colors took the limelight a year later. In 2012 the big thing was 4K television, with screens boasting four times the resolution of today’s high-def sets, and last year was all about curved televisions.

At IFA 2014, taking place this week in Berlin, the future has arrived again and this time it’s bendable.

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Now Streaming: 10 'Greatish Performances' just added to 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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Movieline magazine used to run a back-page column called "Greatish Performances" that celebrated those terrific actors in roles that had been either overlooked or forgotten, or perhaps even Oscar-nominated but not victorious. These 10 movies, newly streaming on Netflix, feature at least that many greatish performances, some lead, some supporting, but all memorable.

The Elephant Man

ns elephantman
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Playing Favorites: Hands-on with Rdio's redesign

Susie Ochs Senior Editor, TechHive Follow me on Google+

Susie is a proud Mac geek, as well as a writer, editor, snowboarder, and mom.
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When you have millions of songs at your disposal, the trick is figuring out what to listen to. I’ve always appreciated the way Rdio makes it easy to see what’s popular among your friends and alerts you to new releases by artists you already like. On Thursday the streaming music service launched a redesign across its website, desktop players, and mobile apps, rebranding your collection as your Favorites, all the better to include playlists, stations, and your favorite artists’ entire catalogs.

The redesign really simplifies the menu options, which is especially good in the mobile app. In the left-hand menu drawer, suddenly I can tap the link for my Playlists without having to scroll down. Trending takes the place of Heavy Rotation, which lets it be more inclusive: While Heavy Rotation focused on albums, Trending can include anything. Tabs let you select Everyone (pro tip: “Everyone” has questionable taste), and People You Follow. The ellipses button in the top-right lets you filter the Trending list to albums, songs, artists, playlists, and stations. So if you liked the Heavy Rotation view (and I did, since I only follow people who like awesome music), you can re-create it in Trending by filtering by albums and tabbing over to the people you follow.

rdio mobile sidebar before after

Rdio’s mobile app has a slimmed down sidebar, as you can see in this before-and-after.

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Mass Fidelity says it can do better than stereo with its new wireless speaker, 'The Core'

Michael Brown Senior Editor, TechHive 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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If I had a nickel for every manufacturer that pitched a new Bluetooth speaker, a dime for every company that told me they had a multi-room system that was superior to Sonos, and a quarter for every inventor pleading for coverage of their crowd-funding campaign, I could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool with change. So it was with some reluctance that I booked a demo with Mass Fidelity to hear its wireless speaker, dubbed “The Core.”

I’m glad I took the meeting, despite the pitch fitting all three of the above stereotypes. Prototype demos are to be consumed with a grain of salt, but Mass Fidelity’s the Core got this jaded heart pumping.

Mass Fidelity

The Core has a S/PDIF optical input, an analog stereo input (and an onboard analog-to-digital converter), a subwoofer output, and a USB port for charging a smartphone or tablet. 

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