Review: Magzter Gold, the iPad app that’s a (kind of) Netflix for magazines

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I love Netflix. I haven’t even owned a TV for many years, relying on either a MacBook Pro – with or without Apple Thunderbolt Display – and iPad for the limited amount of TV and movie viewing I tend to do.

Magzter Gold essentially aims to be a Netflix for magazines, a single monthly subscription giving you all-you-can-eat access to digital magazines on your iPad. The reality is a little messier, and whether it makes sense for you will depend on how many magazines you read and which ones …  Read more

Opinion: Roku’s new media players use voice search and apps to make Apple TV feel old

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Just so there’s no ambiguity on this point, I’m definitely an Apple TV fan. The first-generation model was a (literally) hot mess, but Apple did a much better job with the streamlined second- and third-generation versions, which I use every day and have strongly recommended for years. If you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, the Apple TV is one of the top three accessories you can buy for under $100, and nearly a no-brainer at Apple’s recently announced $69 price point.

Even as a fan, though, I give Apple TV’s chief competitor Roku great credit for developing compelling alternatives. According to reports, Roku is the number one seller of media streamers, and has been outselling the Apple TV for some time now. While it’s true that sales don’t necessarily reflect quality, Roku has earned its numbers by frequently iterating on its products — ironically unlike Apple, which has spent years letting an old Apple TV design chug along as a “hobby.” The difference in Roku’s and Apple’s approaches became starker yesterday when Roku released the new Roku 3 with Voice Search ($100) and new Roku 2 ($70), updates to two of its already-successful devices. These media streamers include several of the key features Apple should be adding to the Apple TV, including voice search, downloadable apps, games, and more…

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HBO NOW standalone streaming service debuts on Apple TV, iPhone & iPad with 1-month free trial

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HBO’s new standalone streaming service called HBO NOW has officially launched on Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad. HBO NOW allows subscribers to watch the premium network’s movies and TV shows online. The service is similar to Netflix as it’s delivered over a high-speed Internet connection rather than cable or satellite and doesn’t require long-term committments through contracts. Here’s how to get HBO NOW works: Read more

Apple adds TED Talks, Tastemade, and Young Hollywood apps to Apple TV

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Shortly after dropping the price from $99 to $69, Apple has updated the Apple TV channel lineup with a few additions in the United States. New apps for viewing content from TED, Tastemade, and Young Hollywood are now available. The channels should appear automatically or after a restart on the latest Apple TV set-top box, and all three offerings are available without a cable or satellite subscription. Read more

NBC plans cable-dependent Apple TV app for second half of 2015

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Despite reports that NBC Universal is not involved in negotiations for Apple’s upcoming subscription TV replacement service, NBC still hopes to arrive on the Apple TV as soon as the second half of 2015, according to a source with knowledge of NBC’s digital roadmap. A recent presentation slide provided by the source shows that NBC wants to launch Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Xbox apps during the second half of this year, following its existing apps for iOS and Android devices. NBC also would like to add new affiliate stations, Nielsen Rating integration, and support for Google’s Chromecast

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Holiday gift guide: apps and products for students and teens

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Technology has totally changed the lives of teenagers and students in this generation, both for the good and the bad. There are apps and products that dramatically make our lives easier and more efficient, but also things that kill our productivity. I’m generally more favorable to the latter of those two, but I’ll breakdown the best of both worlds and exactly what gift the teens and students in your life today might be interested in this holiday season.

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

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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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