iOS devices like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch will be big holiday gifts this year, make no mistake about it. The Apple TV is actually a fantastic complement to Apple's handhelds, worthy of being featured in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide. A nice little device in its own right, the Apple TV gives you access to Apple's iTunes Store entertainment content right on your television. In addition, you get Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, sports networks, and plenty of other entertainment options. Connect it to your iTunes Home Share, and you can use your iOS devices as remote controls for the Apple TV. The best part, though, is AirPlay. You can beam audio and video content right to the Apple TV with ease from your iOS device, or your Mac. You can also mirror the display of these devices as well, all wireless over your home network.
Honorable Mention: Roku 2 XS Streaming Player
Read More | Apple TV
Well, the rumors were correct on the mysterious device that momentarily showed up on Google's support page. The Chromecast is a media dongle that allows you to sling web content the web and cloud-stored content, using a smartphone or Chrome browser as a remote control. It's a bummer that it still doesn't have the ability to stream or mirror content stored on the device like Apple's AirPlay, but hey, for $35, we can't complain.
Read More | Google
Just a quick PSA: Netflix has released the fourth season of Arrested Development earlier this morning. That means that you can spend the rest of your Memorial Day weekend enjoying the long-awaited final chapter in the story of the Bluth family. It's taken seven years to get here, so we won't blame you if you go on a bit of a binge, powering through all 15 episodes. Arrested Deelopment aired on Fox between 2003 and 2006, and was one of those shows plagued by low ratings, which later developed a massive following through DVD sales. Due to the increased popularity and demand from the fans, Netflix snapped up the rights, making it the newest Netflix Original.
Netflix is set to launch the new season of Arrested Development on May 26th, just three Sundays from now. Arrested Deelopment aired on Fox between 2003 and 2006, and was one of those shows plagued by low ratings, which later developed a massive following through DVD sales. Fans have been waiting for almost seven years for some sort of movie or series continuation (a la Family Guy and Futurama) since then, and now that time is upon us.
Netflix will release all 15 30-minute episodes of Arrested Development season 4 on May 26th, and they'll be a Netflix exclusive.
Read More | TV Envy
Netflix 4.0 has arrived on the App Store, bringing new features to the video streaming service for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Netflix 4.0 introduces redesigned controls for episodic television show selection, audio, and subtitles. On the iPad specifically, TV show episode selection and navigation has become much more intuitive, with the rest of the improvements hitting the iPhone and iPod touch. In addition to all that, the typical bug fixes and optimizations are also baked in.
What’s New in Version 4.0
- This new app release makes watching Netflix TV shows and movies an even better experience.
- Easy episode selection with a brand new episode selector on the iPad
- Redesigned audio and subtitle selector on iPad and iPhone
- Bug fixes
You can download Netflix 4.0 now, for free.
Following the success of House of Cards, Netflix has launched its next original series, Hemlock Grove. All thirteen episodes of Hemlock Grove were made available to Netflix subscribers early this morning albeit to lackluster critic reviews. Hemlock Grove is based on a 2012 novel penned by Brian McGreevy, a supernatural thriller that is set in a small town in Pennsylvania. The plot revolves around the murder of a teenage girl, and the odd and unorthodox residents who are potential suspects. The show stars Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgard, Landon Liboiron, and Penelope Mitchell.
The horror genre is more forgiving than many others, and as such, even with the series being panned for not having much of a storyline, it may find success with the Netflix audience. Netflix invested $45 million in the production of the first season, and so far over 1,400 Netflix members have rated the show an average of 3.9 out of 5 stars.
What's next for Netflix? The fourth season of Arrested Development. All 15 episodes of the cult hit will hit Netflix on May 26th.
Netflix's Neil Hunt wants to make 4K streaming a thing in your home. The Netflix exclusive House of Cards, headlined by Kevin Spacey, is the current target for 4K streaming, says Hunt. As it turns out, much of the series was shot in 4K.
"Our own original House of Cards was shot in 4K," Hunt said to The Verge. "It's being mastered in full HD, but the raw footage, or a good chunk of it, was shot in 4K, and we hope to have some House of Cards 4K encodes later this year." Hunt believes 4K "will likely be streamed first before it goes anywhere else," and he plans to deliver the ultra high definition format through Netflix within the next couple of years.
Read More | The Verge
The Internet video on demand streaming giant has been given the green light to share your Netflix activity among your Facebook friends. The added functionality is off by default, but users can turn it on and pretty much allow others to spy on what they're watching and liking. Thankfully, Netflix added another feature that will hide specific videos that you deem unworthy of sharing. The caveat is that you don't forget to click the "don't share this" button on a specific video.
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Amazon has announced that it's Instant Video service has secured exclusive rights to Downton Abbey, the same day that Netflix exclusive House of Cards went live. Season 3 of the popular show will debut on Amazon Prime Instant Video on June 18th. The first two seasons are available on Hulu and Netflix, but will be removed later this year. Season 4 (and 5, if produced) will maintain Amazon exclusivity.
It's fun to sit back and observe the battle between Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, but we have to wonder what this does for customers. If you want to be able to watch shows that are exclusive to different services, then you need to be a subscriber to all of them. Not super-expensive at about $25 per month, but it's still a substantial jump over just choosing one service for $8 per month and sticking with it.
Read More | Amazon
Nintendo's TVii service for the Wii U is finally out, so you can take advantage of Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video. TVii will act as a media hub, providing several streaming services as well as your cable and DVR boxes into a cross-searchable package. You may've noticed he absence of Netflix and TiVo, however, but they are coming early next year. Japan was lucky enough to receive the service when the Wii U launched on the 8th of December, while folks in the US had no such luck, for whatever reason.
Check out the press release in full below.
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