Sopranos, Band of Brothers, and other HBO originals are coming to Amazon Prime Instant Video
Color us impressed with Amazon's negotiating skills. HBO has kept a tight grip on its content and doesn't care to have its shows streamed outside of its HBO Go application, which is only available to HBO subscribers, but for the first time, that's about to change. Amazon today announced it inked a content licensing agreement with HBO that will make Prime Instant Video the exclusive online-only subscription home for select HBO programming.
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.
Slowly but surely, Netflix is adding 4K streams to its catalog
It's probably still a bit early to pick up a 4K television, and due to the buggy nature of some 4K monitors, the same can be said of those panels, too. Nevertheless, if you're an early adopter who made the jump into 4K waters in your living room, there's some additional content you might now be able to swim with. Netflix has begun rolling out some of its content in 4K -- namely, the House of Cards original series and some nature documentaries.
This might be the streaming box you've been waiting for
The tech sector is terrible at keeping secrets, and as such, we've long suspected Amazon was working on a streaming device of its own. It turns out the rumors were true. At long last, Amazon today announced a 1080p streaming set-top box it's calling Fire TV, and though it's small, it packs a punch. Powering the device is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8064 quad-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz with Adreno 320 graphics and 2GB of RAM.
Looking for another reason to go back to school? Think of the discounts! We're seeing a growing trend in special student pricing for a variety of products and services, such as Razer's 20 percent promotion on 2013 model Blade laptops and Amazon's Prime service. Even Spotify is sharing the love with students -- if you're in school, you can subcribe to the company's ad-free premium service for $4.99 per month, which is half off the regular price.
Torrent site YTS takes over development of the controversial app
Started as a small experiment by “a bunch of geeks from Buenos Aires”, Popcorn Time emerged out of nowhere on the tech media’s radar earlier this month, earning itself such flattering appellations as the “Netflix for pirates” and attracting scores of collaborators from all over the globe on Github. Despite initially displaying remarkable equanimity in face of questions over the cross-platform, BitTorrent-based movie streaming app’s legality, Popcorn Time’s creators did something very unexpected on Friday by abruptly shutting it down.
The cost of an Amazon Prime membership is going up in 7 days
Amazon has been sending out emails to its Prime members to let them know that when it comes time to renew, they'll be charged a higher rate. Specifically, Amazon Prime will soon cost $99 for a year, a $20 jump over the previous price. Students will still receive a discount, though the price of a Prime membership will go up for them as well -- the new price is $49 per year, up $10 over the old price (the first 6 months is still free for new Student members).
Down but not out, OnLive returns to the cloud gaming scene
Remember OnLive, the cloud-based streaming game service from several years ago? After imploding and then laying low for quite some time, OnLive is back under new leadership and with a couple of new services in tow -- a new streaming subscription program called CloudLift and a new service it's calling OnLive Go. Why should you expect a different outcome this time around?
If you're on the fence about which subscription-based streaming music service to cozy up with, Microsoft has an offer it hopes you'll find too good to refuse. That offer is a free Nokia Lumia 520 or 521 handset when you purchase a 12-month pass to Xbox Music. That's not a bad deal on a couple of levels, the first being that you're essentially receiving two months free by paying for a year in advance -- Xbox Music typically runs $9.99 per month.
If you’ve ever wished you could just leave your USB key on your desk or in your pocket and still access the files on it wirelessly, SanDisk’s new media drives are sort of what you’re looking for. Unfortunately for power users, these wireless media drives don’t quite fit the bill when it comes to file sharing, but they are great for sharing media with portable devices, and they are dead simple to use, too. They also double as pocket-ready Wi-Fi access points.
Note: This review was originally featured in the November 2013 issue of the magazine.