Google's Nexus Player thrusts new Android TV platform into the war for your living room

Brad Chacos Senior Editor, Greenbot Follow me on Google+

Brad Chacos spends the days jamming to Spotify and digging through desktop PCs. He covers the gaming, graphics cards, and how-to beats for PCWorld, and spends his mornings running the news desk for PCWorld, Macworld, Greenbot, and TechHive.
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HTC and Motorola may have been tapped to make Google’s new mobile Nexus devices, but Nexus 7 veteran Asus wasn’t given the cold shoulder: It’s making the Nexus Player, a puck-like set-top box that signals Google’s renewed assault on the living room with Android TV

And good news: At first glance, the Nexus Player certainly looks less quirky and far more functional than Google’s disastrous Nexus Q project or that handful of dead Google TV devices—though its announcement comes just a day before Apple is expected to possibly announce a revamped Apple TV of its own. The battle for your boob tube is warming up.

Android all up in your living room

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HBO shoots back at Netflix with plans for standalone streaming video service

Jared Newman , TechHive Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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Good news for Game of Thrones fanatics who don't have a cable subscription: HBO says it will offer a standalone streaming video service some time next year.

HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler announced the plans for a standalone service during an investor meeting on Wednesday. “That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped,” Plepler said. “It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO.”

Plepler didn't reveal any details about the actual service, such as how much it will cost and what it will include. He merely said that HBO will work with current partners and explore models with new partners. “All in, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them,” he said.

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Nearly 1 in 4 millennials have cut the cord or never had cable

Jared Newman , TechHive Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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Instead of paying for cable TV, a significant chunk of millennials are getting by just fine on Netflix and Amazon streaming.

A new survey from ComScore, cited by Re/code, found that 24 percent of TV viewers ages 18 to 34 don't subscribe to a traditional pay TV service. Nearly 46 percent of those viewers never had cable to begin with, while the rest simply cut the cord.

Overall, people in this age group were 77 percent more likely than average to be “cord-nevers,” and 67 percent more likely to be “cord-cutters.”

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YouTube served users malicious advertisements, Trend Micro says

Jeremy Kirk Australia Correspondent, IDG News Service

Jeremy reports on security and regional news for the IDG News Service.
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Malicious advertisements, some of which were displayed on YouTube, redirected more than 113,000 people in the U.S. to harmful websites in just a month, Trend Micro said Tuesday.

Although online advertising companies try to detect and block such ads from being circulated on their networks, bad ones sometimes get through. Such ads can be very productive for hackers. It can mean a large pool of victims if shown on a high-traffic website.

“This was a worrying development: Not only were malicious ads showing up on YouTube, they were on videos with more than 11 million views—in particular, a music video uploaded by a high-profile record label,” wrote Joseph Chen, a fraud researcher, on Trend Micro’s blog.

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It’s all about that bass for Mass Fidelity: Speaker manufacturer adds a subwoofer to its Core wireless speaker line

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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My first question after hearing a demo of Mass Fidelity’s Core wireless speaker in September was, “have you thought about building a subwoofer?” At the time, CEO Ben Webster said he was focused on kicking off a modest $48,000 crowd-funding campaign and getting the Core speaker into production (he’d already secured independent funding to pay for the initial tooling).

After blowing past that goal—the Indiegogo campaign has raised more than $718,000 to date—Mass Fidelity decided to go ahead and build that subwoofer.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the success of this campaign, and are overwhelmed at the support from the Indiegogo community,” said Ben Webster, CEO and Co-Founder of Mass Fidelity, in a press release. “It is for that reason that we are extending the campaign and introducing the Core Wireless Sub as a new perk for our backers.”

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Internet TV from Dish and Sony isn't looking so cheap anymore

Jared Newman , TechHive Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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Sony and Dish may have trouble appealing to cord cutters with their upcoming Internet TV plans, which will reportedly be more expensive than expected.

Sony's Web TV plan could cost $60 to $80 per month, unnamed sources told the New York Post, making it no cheaper than a traditional cable plan.

Dish, meanwhile, wants to offer a small bundle of channels for $20 to $30 per month. But as Variety reports, that price tier probably won't include broadcast networks such as NBC, CBS, and FOX. Dish wants to offer those channels as an additional service, but it's unclear if the networks are willing to be part of a premium subscription tier. Subscribers may have to use an antenna to get the channels instead.

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Google Play Music for Android passes 500 million downloads

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, Greenbot 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's Play Music app is a big deal in the Android world and it is getting bigger by the day. The folks over at Android Police recently noticed that Play Music shot past the 500 million download mark in Google Play, putting the app in very select company.

Only Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and a selection of other Google apps have crossed the 500 million threshold. While impressive, that 500 million download number doesn't necessarily mean there are 500 million active users, as the statistic counts total downloads and not current users.

Google Music is something of a hybrid service that's one part music storage locker—storing your music collection in the cloud for anywhere, everywhere streaming—and one part subscription streaming service. In addition, Play Music can access any files stored locally on your device's Music folder.

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