Netflix updated for iOS 8, adds 1080p video playback for iPhone 6 Plus

Netflix for iPhone 6

Netflix updated its iPhone and iPad app to version 7.0 today adding optimization for the larger displays on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus introduced in September. The updated version of Netflix shows more content like titles and genres as well as previews of movies and TV shows when browsing for something to watch. In addition to optimizing the Netflix app for iPhone 6 users, Netflix says the new version of its app will now offer video playback in 1080p, full HD, for users with the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Read more

Netflix for iOS now lets you privately recommend content to select Facebook friends

Netflix today announced a new way to recommend movies and TV shows to your friends from your iPhone or iPad. The recommendation feature works using Facebook, but it’s selective and private so you don’t end up spamming everything with the embarrassing movie you just watched that you and two of your friends may like but others not so much. The feature allows you to connect your Facebook friends list to your Netflix account, then recommend videos you just watched to specific friends from Facebook.

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Amazon announces $99 Fire TV set-top box shipping today: automatic recommendations, voice search, games and more

Amazon has just announced its Apple TV competitor, dubbed ‘Fire TV’. You can buy it now from Amazon.com for $99. The product roughly resembles an Apple TV in size and shape, but is thinner by a few millimetres and has square (rather than rounded) edges. Spec-wise, Amazon claims it is three times as powerful as Apple TV or Roku. It runs on a quad-core processor with 2GB RAM. The fireTV can stream video at 1080p over HDMI, alongside Dolby Digital surround sound.

Input comes via a Bluetooth remote that features a five-way directional pad and some ancillary buttons. The remote has an inbuilt microphone, so you can speak show titles to have it automatically search for them.

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‘Jobs’ biopic starring Ashton Kutcher now available on Netflix

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Update: Not so fast. Despite Netflix promoting the movie on Twitter and it being available earlier, it’s currently no longer available. We’ve reached out to Netflix for more information.

Update 2: Netflix tells me that Jobs “will be back on soon.”

Update 3: Netflix tells me an issue with subtitles led to it being pulled and it should be resolved now.

If you haven’t seen Ashton Kutcher’s portrayal of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs yet or just want to catch the film again, Netflix now features ‘Jobs’ in its catalog of streaming movies and TV shows for subscribers. Netflix of course offers streaming to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users in addition to Apple and Mac users for $7.99 a month.

The biopic featuring Kutcher was released to mixed reviews, and our own Michael Steeber shared his thoughts on the film in 9to5Mac‘s review of Jobs.

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Opinion: Will the spring launch of Amazon/Nexus/Apple TV signal the beginning of the end of live, broadcast TV?

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Streaming TV is heating-up. We’re expecting a new Apple TV box to be announced in April, Amazon looks set to launch its own box in March and Google is reputed to be not far behind with a Nexus-branded box.

So-called cord-cutting – people who give up their cable TV subscriptions in favor of streaming content over the web – is growing in popularity. Mobile TV viewing on tablets is increasingly common.

All of which makes me wonder whether we’re witnessing the beginning of the end of live TV … ?  Read more

How-to: Setup and Use Chromecast to stream your content from a Mac and iOS device

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The Chromecast, Google’s streaming HDMI dongle came out last summer. It is compatible with any Android device running 2.3 or later, iOS device with iOS 6 or 7, and any Mac or PC. Initially, users were able to stream Netflix or Youtube from an iOS device and Android device, Google Play Movies and Music only on Android, or cast websites using the Chrome browser on a computer. The Chromecast works differently from Airplay in that you can multitask and do other tasks on the device or you can let it go to sleep while streaming.

Very quickly after its release, Chromecast has received support for Hulu +, Pandora, and HBO GO. Last month a major update added ten new apps including Plex, Vevo, Songza, Red Bull TV, Post TV from the Washington Post, Viki, RealPlayer Cloud, Avia, Revision3 Internet Television and BeyondPod. The most recent update the Chromecast received allowed users to stream Google Play Movies and Music directly from the Chrome browser on a computer.

In this How-to, we’ll discuss how to setup the Chromecast, use it with a Mac and iOS device and explore its gaming potential.

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Report: Apple negotiating w/ media companies for pay TV service, working on full-fledged TV set

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A new report from Quartz today offers some details on Apple’s content negotiations for a much rumored revamped Apple TV. Most of the report echoes what we’ve heard several times in the past– Apple is apparently talking with HBO, Disney, MTV and others about a new TV service. According to Quartz, it could include a pay TV service that would see Apple “essentially becoming a cable company itself,” as well as the release of a “full-fledged television set”:

One alternative being considered is that Apple could essentially become a cable company itself. Under that scenario, sources say, Apple would launch what is formally known as a virtual multichannel video programming distributor. Apple is still interested in striking deals with cable companies that would allow people to plug their cable lines into the back of the TV set, bypassing a cable box, sources say. But at least two years of negotiations haven’t progressed very far.

Sources say Apple has concluded that it doesn’t need all, even most, content providers on board before it can release a TV set that people would buy. It just needs enough good programming to distinguish the new product, which will try to simplify the experience of connecting internet video to the TV.

The report doesn’t offer up any details that we didn’t hear around this same time last year (and the year before that), but it appears Apple could be closer to reaching the deals it needs to launch the next-generation of Apple TV. Earlier today we reported that former Hulu SVP Pete Distad has now officially started his new role at Apple as Product Marketing VP and is thought to be leading Apple executives through negotiations with cable and media companies.  Read more

Netflix user profiles feature starts rolling out to Apple TV users

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As first noted by MacRumors, Apple TV customers will be pleased to know that the $99 “hockey puck” will soon fully support Netflix’s newly announced user profiles. While Netflix says that a complete rollout to all supported devices will be complete by the end of August, it appears that the feature is partially available today for certain Apple TV and Netflix users.

Netflix’s user profiles allow subscribers to create personal viewing accounts that track individual ratings, recently viewed movies/showes, and recommendations. Each account can also set different parental controls to differentiate viewing capabilities between parent and child accounts.

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AppleTV news: 4K panels being bought, friendly studio deals being negotiated & Netflix picks up two Emmy nods

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There are a few snippets of AppleTV related news popping up today. The first we take with the usual grain of salt as it comes to us from the often unreliable DigiTimes. The publication has been reporting some more believable stories as of late, but today’s rumor of Apple purchasing 55 and 65-inch Ultra HD TV panels from LG seems to be more rumor than anything else.

Apple has of course been rumored several times to be building a full fledged HDTV to go along with the much expected revamped AppleTV service coming in the the near future. The latest from the usual lineup of analysts points to a launch as early as the end of this year or early 2014. LG and Sharp– two of Apple’s regular display suppliers– would be obvious choices to source panels, but there’s no proof at this point that Apple is beyond the experimenting stage and we’ve heard rumors from more reliable sources ranging from 40-inch to 60-inch in the past.

Next up for today’s AppleTV news is a bit more insight into the company’s current negotiations with cable and media companies. We heard previously that Apple is working with TimeWarner to bring AppleTV integration in the coming weeks, but, according to the NYTimes, its recent hire of Hulu SVP Pete Distad will also come in handy as it negotiates with others for similar apps: Read more

Redbox Instant by Verizon iOS app live on App Store as $8/month streaming service launches in private beta

Verizon and Redbox confirmed on the official Redbox Instant Twitter account that the new unlimited streaming service is rolling out gradually starting today. The $8-per-month Netflix competitor will provide unlimited streaming and four physical DVD or Blu-ray rentals ($9 a month for Blu-ray) and will be available through the browser as well as mobile apps. A Redbox Instant by Verizon iOS app for iPhone and iPad is already available on the App Store. There is also a free one-month trial included.

It is unclear what kind of content deals are in place for streaming, but we do know the service will offer content from Warner Bros., and EPIX.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of the service today, you’ll have to sign up for the private beta on the Redbox Instant website.

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Amazon Prime now available as a $7.99/month plan (Updated)

Update: An Amazon spokesperson says this is just a test (but you still can order this per month)“We are always looking at ways to improve the shopping experience for our customers. We are testing a monthly Prime subscription. Beyond that, we don’t have anything further to offer.”

It appears Amazon is joining Hulu and Netflix with a monthly subscription plan for its Prime video streaming service, according to a new pricing scheme found by Hacking Netflix. Some users are seeing the new pricing scheme come up, while others see only the $79/year options (compare right and above).

Amazon also offers a one-month free trial (Hulu free trial, Netflix free trial).

In addition to the free streaming video service, users of Amazon’s Prime get access to free two-day shipping on product orders (amazing to have for the holidays—especially on a month-to-month basis), as well as access to the Kindle lending library.

While Amazon’s streaming player isn’t yet available on Apple TV like Netflix/Hulu, its recent iPad app has impressed us. The $7.99/month price comes out to $95.88 per year. So, if you aren’t timid about joining Prime, it is probably better to jump on the $79/year plan.

9to5Toys.com deals: Get a new Toshiba Wifi-ready BluRay player with Netflix for $30, or a Toshiba 24″ 1080P slim HDTV for $150

With more and more first rate content, according to a recent Changwave/451 Group study, Amazon’s Prime streaming service is said to be gaining on industry heavyweight Netflix (graphed below): Read more

Atebits’ mystery iOS app, iTunes Connect Mobile, Modern Combat 4, Netflix, more

On top of our usual list of apps and updates hitting the App Store today, we also get word from Tweetie/Twitter for Mac developer Atebits that it has version 1.0 of a new app currently in review. We don’t know yet what it is, but we’ll certainly keep you updated when it hits the App Store. Atebits made the announcement on its Twitter account:

Modern Combat 4 Zero Hour: Gameloft’s much anticipated Modern Combat 4 Zero Hour is coming to iOS with full iPhone 5 support this fall, and today we get another look at the Havok engine-powered title in the above dev diary.

iTunes Connect Mobile version 2.0.2: 

-Minor bug fix for push notifications.
-Adds support for iPhone 5.

Netflix version 2.4.1:

- Added support for Swedish language.
– Bug fixes and General performance improvements.

Skype version 4.1.1:

-Fix for iPhone 5 and iOS 6 calling and video issues

Circa News for iPhone: Launching today as a free app for iPhone and iPod touch, Circa News is an interesting news reader for Circa’s political coverage that presents articles as a “collection of details about a story: the facts, stats, quotes, pictures, maps, and more.”

eBay Fashion version 1.8.0: 

-Redesigned navigation to make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for!
-The App now supports only iOS 5 and above
-Bug fixes

iOS App Sales:  Read more