Google Celebrates Chromecasts First Birthday With Free Google Play Music

The little Chromecast stick that has caused such a big stir has reached it’s first birthday. And Google are celebrating this monumental milestone by offering Google current and new owners a 90 day free trial to its Play Music All Access streaming service

Chromecast-BirthdayYou do have to be US based to get the offer, and the price of $10 per month will kick in after the trial, but hey it’s kind of a freebie. Interested parties can head over to the Chromecast offers page page.

The HDMI streaming stick was launched by Google one year ago for $35, and Google say that the stick has powered over 400 million Casts so far. Users with the stick can operate and cast to it by using an app on their android or iOS powered device, or from a Chrome browser on a PC. The gadget lets users stream content straight to any TV from services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora.

Google say of the stick, “We’ve added hundreds of your favorite apps, including WatchESPN, Pandora, Hulu Plus, HBO GO and PBS Kids; announced new features like mirroring your Android device to the TV and expanded to 30,000 stores across 20 countries.”

The chromecast has succeeded where the Google TV product failed, due to both its cheap price at $35, and the fact an idiot can use it as it has no real setting up needed. The device quickly expanded onto the international market in its first year, becoming available in over 20 countries, and has sold millions of units.

The Chromecast is an amazing gadget considering what it does and how much easier it makes the lives of streaming TV and video viewers just like us. Heres to the next year, and lets see what the little stick is doing by the time its two.


Watching TV After Work Can Make You Feel Like A Guilty Failure

I have always thought that a nice sit downin front of a TV after a hard day on the job is a good thing, but it seems im wrong according to new research. It appears that it will in fact, make you feel both guilty and an utter failure.

watching tv can make you stressedThe research carried out by the Journal of Communication, surveyed 471 respondents and talked to them about their previous day, how work was and what they did afterwards. The results showed that slouching on the couch and watching television can make you feel guilty and a failure.
The study found that people who had had a highly stressful day were particularly prone to having these feelings of abject failure. The reason for these feelings was that the respondents felt they were avoiding more important tasks by watching TV. They felt as if they were ‘giving in’to the gogglebox, or online media.

And because of this, respondents couldnt enjoy that relaxing time, binge watching a whole season of a TV show. Speaking about the findings, author of the study for the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, Leonard Reinecke said in a statement, “We are starting to look at media use as a cause of depletion. In times of smartphones and mobile Internet, the ubiquitous availability of content and communication often seems to be a burden and a stressor rather than a recovery resource,”

You can keep a tight grip on that TV remote though, as it seems that many people do not have such feelings and can enjoy a good old session watching the box, and plenty of other research says that watching the television can be a benefit to a persons well-being.

Netflix Post-Play Brings Continuous Watching To Apple TV

Netflix has updated the Apple TV app to now include the Post-Play feature, letting online viewers binge on shows without having to move.

post-play-netflixNetflix slipped out the handy update quietly on the Apple TV device, and brings the app into line with other versions of the streaming app that have already been given the feature.

The Post-Play feature which is enabled by default,simply plays the next episode in the season you happen to be watching. It will give a slight delay, and let you know as the credits roll that the next episode is about to play.

Like most things on Netflix,it is a simple and cool feature. As the episode finishes, thhe currently being played episode shrinks and moves to one side, whilst the next episode is shown ready to launch on the right.

Viewers have a small window of opportunity to Users have the option to wait a few seconds for the next show to begin, can play the next episode straight away, or quit out of the watching session and go back to the season listing.

If you feel that you shouldn’t be tempted to spend even more of your life watching Netflix, then the Post-Play can be disabled from your account dashboard.

Connected Devices Will Soon Be Everywhere Says Report

Everyone is getting connected, and more and more devices you can buy have that capability. And a new report says that by 2017, connected devices such as TV’s, streaming boxes, consoles and more will more than double.

connect-pc-tvNDP researched the market for their Connected Home Forecast predicts that by 2017 there will be 204 million devices that can connect to a TV and be able to deliver apps to viewers in US homes. This is more than double the number predicted.

Pushing the market will be Smart TVs and streaming media players, which NPD predict will account for the majority of growth during the next three years. The report says that the adoption rate will rise from 60% this year to 76% by 2017 of installed units.

The rise in connected devices will be driven by consumers upgrading hardware, along with the increase in streaming and app services from TV networks.

Speaking about the report, executive director for NPD Connected Intelligence, John Buffone said, “The evolution of hardware and digital content distribution is constantly changing the TV viewing experience. Over the coming years, the consumer’s preferred device for apps on TV will be shaped by the next generation of video game consoles, smart TVs, and a new wave of streaming media players.”

Netflix Hit 50 Million Subscribers As They Plan Global Domination

Netflix have revealed that they now have 50 million global subscribers for Q2 of the year. This means they have added 1.69 million new subscribers in the last 3 months.

Orange-is-the-new-Black-season2Most of that expansion is happening outside US borders though, with 1.12 million being new international subscribers. Netflix have in total 36.2 million subscribers in the US and 13.8 million International customers in around 40 different countries.

The company say they expect that number to rise and it expects for the next quarter to add a further 3.7 million global subscribers including 1.3 million in the US. Netflix are expanding into a further six European countries by September including Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Speaking about that launch, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said, “This launch into markets with over 60 million broadband households will significantly increase our European presence and raise our current international addressable market to over 180 million broadband households, or 2x the number of current U.S. broadband households.”

He continued, “Our international contribution loss of ($15.3) million has been rapidly approaching contribution profitability as we see improvements across all existing markets. Our broad success from Argentina to Finland has convinced us to further invest aggressively in global expansion.”

The streaming on-demand company have a long-term goal to reach 90 million subscribers in the US, and over 100 million globally.

The subscriber figures were helped by the launch of further seasons of Netflix hit TV shows such as Orange Is The New Black, which came back for a second season in June, and the second season of House of Cards launched in February.

Although Netflix are famous for not revealing viewing figures, Hastings said that, “Orange Is The New Black” became Netflix’s most-watched series during the first month after release of the second season”, and that it was, “every bit the global media event we had hoped for.”

Tivos Qplay Service Killed Off 6 Months After Launch

There is quick, and then there is damned quick. The Qplay service created by the founders of TiVo comes under the former as it’s closing down a mere 6 months after launching. The service has failed to take off with internet streamers who are offered a host of cheaper and free options.

Qplay-chromecastThe service which launched in February, required users to buy a $49 connected device (or more recently use an ipad app), which then streamed a curated content of video collected from the web.

The company announced on their website that they would be ceasing to stream on July 25, saying, “It is with heavy hearts that we announce Qplay will be closing. Our last day of service is next Friday, July 25,” the company stated in an email it sent to customers. “We truly enjoyed bringing you the best videos from around the Internet. We had fun building and using Qplay and hope that you did too. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to keep developing and running the service.”

The company was created by co-founders of the TiVo DVR, Michael Ramsay and Jim Barton, who brought us TiVo 10 years ago. The service let viewers watch an uninterrupted stream of videos from sources like YouTube and Vimeo. But they essentially offered a product you could find without the hardware or expense, and the service lacked any premium content.

However, the shutdown is still a shock as they only just announced support for the Google Chromecast (ironically a product that probably helped shut them down).

The company are offering to pay back customers who shelled out for the $49 Qplay TV adapter.