Chromebooks gain Chromecast streaming for Google Drive-stored videos

Ian Paul, 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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Google Drive is getting more Chromecast integration thanks to a new feature under development for Chrome OS. Right now, anyone using the latest developer version of Chrome OS can stream videos stored in Google Drive cloud storage directly to their Chromecast device (and by extension, their televisions).

The functionality only works if you are using the dev channel version of Chrome OS and have Google's Chromecast extension installed. If that describes your set-up, all you have to do is start playing a video stashed in Google Drive and you'll see a Chromecast icon appear in the upper right corner of the video player. Click the icon and you'll be able to choose where to start casting your video, François Beaufort, a Chromium evangelist at Google, announced via Google+.

The new feature appears to be a Chrome OS-only feature as the functionality was not available on the dev version of Chrome for Windows at this writing.

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The Binge-Watch List: BoJack Horseman makes existential bleakness funny

Monty Ashley Writer, TechHive Follow me on Google+

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.
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It’s not hard to find TV shows to watch these days. But finding good ones to watch amid all the streaming video services fighting for your attention and your eyeballs? That’s more of a challenge. Every other week, we’ll help you separate a would-be House of Cards from the rest of the pack, as we look at which streaming TV shows are worth your time.

BoJack Horseman is Netflix’s new animated show—and animating it was a smart move, because it would probably require a lot of CGI to put animal heads on half the cast. The 12 episodes of the first season became available for binging in August, and it turns out there’s a really good reason for BoJack Horseman to be released in a block.

What it’s about

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SlingTV review: Convenient TV place-shifting, with an underwhelming new interface

Andrew Hayward Contributor, TechHive

Andrew Hayward is a Chicago-based games, apps, and gadgets writer whose work has been featured in more than 50 publications. He's also a work-at-home dad to a wild toddler.
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Released in July, the Slingbox M1 is new hardware for Sling, but it effectively maintains Sling’s place-shifting status quo. By contrast, the SlingTV is the same higher-end hardware from two years back—it’s a repackaged Slingbox 500, with little effort to hide that fact. Yet its brand-new interface represents a new step forward for Sling by adding value to the content you watch on your actual TV.

The pricier SlingTV does everything that the entry-level model can, letting you shift live TV and DVR recordings to a web browser, smartphone, tablet, or even a Roku or Apple TV via a handoff from a phone or tablet. Where it really differs is the new Gallery feature, which is an overlay on your actual TV, showing you what’s on in a more visual manner than the usual bland channel listings, with artwork and Internet-powered info like sports scores and movie ratings. It’s an interesting addition in theory, but the Gallery doesn’t actually make finding content much easier or more enjoyable than the usual way of doing things.

A bigger box

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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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