It may have started as a media center for the original Xbox, but XBMChas since evolved into a full-fledged application with a huge library of add-ons generated by diehard fans and users. Available on pretty much every platform you’d want to install it on—Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, iOS, and more—it’s a stellar way to get all of your content onto a big screen without having to deal with a mouse and keyboard, unless you want to.
Taking into account viewing habits of cord cutters
A growing number of consumers are moving away from cable and satellite TV subscriptions in favor of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus. It makes sense in a lot of ways -- why pay a premium for a bloated TV package just so you can access the handful of channels you really want to watch? That's a topic/rant for another day, but in the meantime, Nielsen will start taking into account the viewing habits of streaming subscribers by measuring viewership data for online video services.
Netflix on Thursday announced a deal that will see the release of four full-length feature films starring comedian and actor Adam Sandler exclusively through the streaming service. Sandler's Happy Madison Productions will work with Netflix to develop each of the four films, so you can probably expect a similar style of humor as past Sandler movies, and perhaps a continuation of the usual cameos.
Netflix sheds light on circumstances that lead to 'interconnection' deal with Comcast
Currently undergoing regulatory review, the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable isn’t something Netflix is excited about. The Los Gatos, California-based company views the deal as a potential threat to online video distributors (OVDs), according to the “Petition to Deny” it recently filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
New York-based Verizon user finds Netflix to be nearly 10x faster with a VPN than without it
Netflix and Verizon are now locked in a blame game over the sluggish performance of the former’s video streaming service on the latter’s network. This despite Netflix (grudgingly) agreeing to pay Verizon to ensure the smooth delivery of its streaming video content to the ISP’s subscribers. Regardless of who’s to blame, it’s paying customers of both companies who are being made to suffer for no fault of theirs. One such end user caught in the crossfire, New York-based entrepreneur Colin Nederkoorn, posted a video exposing the severity of the issue. The video has since gone viral, having amassed over 400,000 views on YouTube.
Netflix received a cease and desist order from Verizon's legal team last week due to a message the streaming service was posting to customers during times when network congestion resulted in lower quality videos. The message read, " The Verizon network is crowded right now. Adjust video for smoother playback." Fast forward a few days and Netflix is backing off its shaming campaign, though it hasn't ruled out using the same or similar messages in the future.
After reluctantly inking a multi-year agreement with Comcast to ensure that its video streams reach customers without a degradation in quality, Netflix probably isn't all that gung-ho to pay what it feels would be another extortion fee, this time to Verizon. Instead, Netflix has been showing Verizon customers a somewhat snarky message blaming the ISP for low-quality video streams, and Verizon is none-too-happy about it.
Google Fiber's approach is the exact opposite of Comcast's
Net neutrality is one of the biggest topics on the web right now, and lest anyone thing it's being overstated, see the spat between Netflix and Comcast. In short, Netflix inked a multi-year agreement with Comcast to ensure that its traffic is pumped into homes at the fastest speed possible to avoid buffering, low quality video, dropouts, and other undesirable effects of slowed connections. Not long after, Netlfix announced it was increasing its subscription by $1 for new subscribers. In other words, it's the customers that ultimately foot the bill when big companies fight, which is why it's refreshing to see Google take a different approach.
Netflix now charges new members $8.99 per month instead of $7.99
You snooze, you lose. Netflix last month said it was planning to raise the price of its subscription-based streaming service by up to $2 for new members, and sure enough, it made good on that promise today, though it settled on a $1 price increase instead of $2. A typical Netflix subscription now runs $8.99 per month, though if you're willing to limit yourself to standard definition (SD) content on one screen at a time, you can still subscribe at the old $7.99 per month rate.
Netflix is planning to bump up its subscription price by up to $2 for new subscribers
On hindsight, going nearly all-in with streaming was definitely the right choice for Netflix. While the company's DVD-by-mail generated $98 million during the first quarter of 2014, Netflix's streaming revenue topped $1 billion. That's a pretty big disparity and Netflix expects the gap to widen even more each quarter. At the same time, the cost of doing business isn't getting cheaper these days, and if you're thinking about joining Netflix, do it before the price goes up.