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.
Here's something a little bit different -- Intel is planning to give away a whole bunch of prizes as it seeks to discover the very best streamers on Twitch. It's part of a collaboration with GoodGame Agency (of Team Evil Genius fame) to offer the gaming community a reality web series dubbed "Intel's Next Top Live-Streamer." Contestants will compete to become an official member of the Intel Stream Team.
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.
Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre are now Apple guys
After remaining eerily quiet for weeks following rumors and speculation of a $3.2 billion takeover, Apple this week finally announced that it has agreed to acquire Beats Music and Beats Electronics for $3 billion, $200 million shy of the originally reported figure. That includes a $2.6 billion purchase price and around $400 million that will vest over time. In addition, Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will join Apple as part of the deal.
Spotify is the latest company to fall prey to a hacker attack and has launched an investigation into the data breach. Based on initial findings, only one person's data has been accessed, and that information didn't include any password, financial, or payment information. Nevertheless, Spotify says it's erring on the side of caution and plans to roll out an updated Android app, which should show up in Google Play and Amazon Appstore over the next several days.
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.
Streaming music service grows its paid membership amid increasing competition
Today is a day of celebration for Spotify, the spunky streaming music service that just crossed the 10 million paid subscriber milestone. Including freeloaders, Spotify is home to more than 40 million active users across 56 markets. That's not too shabby for a service that first launched in 2008, and has only been available in the U.S. since late 2011 (first as an invite-only and then to everyone by the end of September).
Twitch may have turned down a Microsoft offer to join forces with Google's YouTube service
To borrow a line from "The Social Network," a million dollars isn't cool. Do you know what's cool? A billion dollars. There are a lot of cool offers being made in the tech industry, and the latest involves Google reportedly offering to acquire Twitch for $1 billion. Twitch, which is a video game streaming service, is said to be more interested in partnering with Google than Microsoft (which is also interested in Twitch) because of the potential Google's YouTube division brings to the table.
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.