When Google released its Chromecast streaming stick, one of the most impressive aspects of it was its low price tag. Now, retailer Walmart has even undercut Google with its Vudu Spark. The streaming device is limited because it will only work with Walmart’s movie rental service, but the device also costs just $24.95. As of today, the streaming stick is available across the United States and via the Walmart website.
SoundCloud is trying to improve its experience for registered users by launching a new home page called Collection. The normal home base for SoundCloud is not very attractive or useful, especially when compared to other music or video streaming services. With Collection, users will have a place to follow artists, create their own playlists, and see personalized content. Collection is already rolling out for iOS and web, but Android users will have to wait for it until 2015.
“Mobile audio streaming” could be thought of as this century’s “sliced bread.” So the next time you hear someone spouting off that old idiom, you can correct them. Say, “no, you mean that it’s the best thing since mobile audio streaming. Now get that one foot out of a grave. You’re welcome.”
A new app called Antix has launched, and it lets people easily edit their GoPro videos. When someone is using an action camera like the GoPro, hours of raw footage is normally captured, but few people are great at editing that sort of footage. Antix automatically determines what to take out of the raw footage and what to toss out.
Showtime may step into the online video industry in 2015. A standalone online offering is expected to launch next year, according to CBS CEO Les Moonves. While talking with CNBC, Moonves revealed plans for an online service, and the CEO has made it clear that the service will target those with internet access but no cable subscription.
Gottfrid Svartholm, the notorious founder of Pirate Bay, has been convicted on hacking charges in Denmark. The charges are not related to the file-sharing website, though law enforcement agencies have gone after Svartholm and the rest of the Pirate Bay team because of the site in the past.
Music streaming service Spotify has launched a family plan that will let multiple people use the service without spending more for individual subscriptions. Spotify Family begins at $14.99 per month for two members, and that already amounts to a $5 per month savings since individual plans cost $10. Other family members can be added to a plan for just $5 per month, thereby increasing the savings.
Microsoft was left red-faced this week after its DCMA sweep of YouTube knocked several well-respected Windows bloggers down. The bloggers, including such well-known names as Bruce Naylor and Chris Pirillo were left shaken and angry by the take downs. Pirillo took to Twitter to air his frustration, creating the hashtag #MicroStopped to reach out to other Windows bloggers who may have been affected.
The BBC’s iPlayer applications have been updated to include 30-day viewing periods for content. iPlayer had previously offered a one-week catch-up period for most content, but now users will be able to catch up on TV and radio shows over the span of a month.
YouTube is beginning to roll out a channel donation feature that was first mentioned by the company a few months ago. If a channel decides that it would like to receive donations from viewers, a tip jar feature can be enabled. Videos from channels that have enabled the tip jar will include a small icon that lets viewers know they can donate. The icon is located in the top left corner of a video, and it will open to the donation page when clicked.
As SoundClound tries to find new ways to monetize its music service, the company has introduced advertisements and service tiers. Certain users will now be able to monetize their content and share part of the ad revenue with SoundCloud. Even for users who are not interested in making money, SoundCloud has announced different tiers of service that open up a variety of features.
YouTube has announced that it will be launching a paid music service, and in doing so, will remove indie artists from YouTube if their labels don’t sign-on. Music videos from independent labels will simply be blocked on YouTube because certain artists have not agreed to license their content for the music service. A large portion of the music industry is reportedly on-board with YouTube’s plans, but without the indie artists and labels, the music service won’t include everything that it needs to.