Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati. More by Jared Newman
For a price, YouTube users may never have to sit though another pre-roll video or swat at pesky pop-up banners.
The Google-owned video site is considering a subscription service that would remove all advertisements. “We’re thinking about how to give users options,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said at Re/code's Code/Mobile conference this week. Still, Wojcicki didn't have any details on pricing or time frame. It's also unclear how revenue sharing with content creators might work.
Wojcicki also acknowledged that YouTube is “working on” a music subscription service, but wouldn't offer a timeline for that either. Rumors of a YouTube music service started popping up in early 2013, but the company is likely having trouble getting labels and artists on board. A report from this summer claimed that indie labels were outraged by YouTube's hardball tactics.
Like other dongles such as Google's Chromecast and Roku's Streaming Stick, the Fire TV Stick plugs directly into an HDMI slot for streaming videos and music. But Amazon isn't shying away from comparisons, and claims that its TV dongle is much more powerful than the competition.
For instance, Amazon says the Fire TV Stick's dual-core processor is 50 percent more powerful than Chromecast, and its 1 GB of RAM is twice as generous. It also includes a remote control so users don't need to have a smartphone or tablet handy. And compared to Roku's dongle, the Fire TV has 32 times the storage at 8 GB. That means users can download and play games from Amazon's app store.
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. More by Monty Ashley
As of today (October 24), the second season of Alpha House is available on Amazon Prime Instant Video for watching in big, several-episode gulps. Created by Doonesbury’s Garry Trudeau, Alpha House follows four senators who are roommates in Washington, DC. You might think that senators make enough money that they don’t have to quadruple up on housing, but you sometimes have to make some allowances for a show’s premise. You weren’t complaining when that nice monster family moved in at 1313 Mockingbird Lane, were you?
What’s it about?
Alpha House follows the adventures of four mismatched senators. You know John Goodman, right? He’s great. He plays Senator Gil John Biggs, the slob of the house. Gil John is the senator from North Carolina, who seems to have been elected mostly because he was once the basketball coach at the University of North Carolina. Next, there’s Senator Robert Bettencourt, played by Clark Johnson, who was Detective Meldrick Lewis on Homicide: Life on the Street and that implausibly saintly newspaper editor in the last season of The Wire. Senator Bettencourt is very nearly a normal person, although he spends a lot of time dealing with corruption charges. He sleeps in the same room as Gil John, because there’s no point in having roommates if you can’t work in some Odd Couple riffs.
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. More by Jeffrey M. Anderson
Halloween has changed over the years, but some things remain the
same: pumpkins, trick-or-treating, costumes, and scary movies. We just
love being creeped out, spooked, startled, and downright frightened,
perhaps because the body craves sensations that life doesn’t dish out on
a regular basis. Or maybe because it’s just fun. Here are 10 solid
chillers culled from the dozens of horror films currently streaming on
Netflix (and a bonus 10 at the end). Beware. Enter at your own risk. And Happy Halloween...
Michael manages PCWorld's hardware product reviews and contributes to TechHive's coverage of home-control systems and sound bars. More by Michael Brown
Amazon wants investors to forget all about yesterday’s disappointing earnings announcement and its lowered sales guidance for the 2014 holiday season. The company released two bits of more positive news this morning: The number of games and apps available for its $99 Fire TV media-streaming device has tripled since its launch in April, and all 10 episodes of its original series Alpha House (starring John Goodman) are now available on its Amazon Prime Instant Video service.
Amazon declined to reveal how many Fire TVs it has sold (the company doesn’t publish unit sales for any of its products, according to a company spokesperson), but it likely has a ways to go before it catches up with Roku (10 million units sold since 2008) or Apple (the company recently claimed an installed base of 20 million Apple TV devices).
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. More by Ian Paul
The free, ad-supported music streaming party is over, at least for Microsoft. The company recently announced that effective December 1, Xbox Music’s free tier will be retired. Anyone who wants to use Xbox Music after that date will have to pony up for Xbox Music Pass, the company’s $10 per month subscription offering.
The impact on you at home: For Xbox Music listeners, it means you won’t be able to stream music for free anymore via the built-in Music app in Windows 8.1. If you purchased music from Microsoft’s Xbox Music storefront those tracks will still be available across your devices, and since they’re DRM-free you can even take them with you to another service or app. Playlists, collections, and radio stations will cease to work without a Music Pass subscription. You can still view your created playlists inside Microsoft’s apps and the web version—you just can’t listen to them without paying for a monthly subscription.
Zach Miners covers social networking, search, and general technology news for the IDG News Service, and is based in San Francisco. More by Zach Miners
Showing all viewers the same commercial six minutes into, say, an episode of “Modern Family” might soon be over. If you’re watching it online.
A new partnership between TV measurement company Nielsen and analytics provider Adobe was announced early Tuesday, presenting detailed data about how people watch TV and other media on the Internet. The team-up adds smarts to existing forms of tracking, by letting broadcasters get a better picture of how Internet users consume media across devices and platforms.
With the service, partnered broadcasters could see, for instance, if viewers began watching a show on Netflix on their laptop, then switched to a Roku set-top box to finish it. And then read an article on ESPN.com.