TIME Gadgets

You Can Now Watch South Park on Your Chromecast

South Park
Characters from the cartoon TV show "South Park", including Elton John (rear) with (from L to R) Kenny, Stan, Kyle and Cartman are featured in a 1998 episode. Getty Images—Getty Images

Also Epix, Encore and Seasame Street Go

Google’s streaming stick Chromecast is getting some popular new content for the Thanksgiving holiday. The device will now support apps for Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street Go and TuneIn. Chromecast will also add more movies with the addition of Epix and Encore and more international content with the addition of the Indian television service YuppTV.

Chromecast seems to have been the most successful of Google’s many attempts to invade the living room. The device’s simple design and low price have been imitated by competitors like Roku and Amazon, which have either launched new streaming sticks or redesigned older models since the Chromecast’s release.

TIME Media

Here’s What’s New on Netflix This December

Netflix Illustrations Ahead Of Earnings
The Netflix Inc. application is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone arranged for a photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Wolf of Wall Street will soon be up for streaming

As you’re enjoying your upcoming holidays, there’s a good chance some Netflix streaming could be in your vacation plans. Not to worry: the folks at Decider have published a handy list of the movies and TV shows that are on slate to debut on Netflix in December.

The biggest get is probably the Oscar-nominated The Wolf of Wall Street, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the unscrupulous banker Jordan Belfort. Anchorman 2 is also arriving with a special director’s cut. And we still have a soft spot for Heath Ledger’s A Knight’s Tale, which you’ll be able to stream starting Dec. 1.

Here’s the entire list, via Decider:

Available December 1st:

A Knight’s Tale (2001)
Almost Famous (2000)
American Beauty (1999)
Bewitched (2005)
Camp Takota (2014)
Crossroads (2002)
Jewtopia (2012)
Knights of Badassdom (2014)
Madison (2005)
Out of the Clear Blue Sky (2012)
Out of Time (2003)
The Out-of-Towners (1999)
Troop Beverly Hills (1989)
Turbo FAST: New Episodes (2014)

Available December 3rd-6th:

American Horror Story: Coven (2013)
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: Super Sized Version (2013)
Ava & Lala (2014)
Bill Burr: I’m Sorry You Feel That Way (2014)
Oculus (2014)
Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014)
Son of God (2014)

Available December 8th-11th:

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown: Season Three (2013)
A Haunted House 2 (2014)
Drive Hard (2014)
I Am Ali (2014)
The Village (2004)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Available December 12th-15th:

Broadchurch: Season One (2013)
Don’t Blink (2014)
Jake Squared (2014)
Marco Polo (2014)
Nick Offerman: American Ham (2014)

Available December 18th-23rd:

All Hail King Julien (2014)
Dark Skies (2013)
The Honourable Woman: Season One (2013)
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014)
Ragnarok (2014)
Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997)
The Trip to Italy (2014)

Available December 24th-30th:

Behaving Badly (2014)
Child of God (2014)
Comedy Bang! Bang!: Season Three (2013)
Good People (2014)
I, Frankenstein (2014)
Jessie: Season Three (2013)
Labor Day (2013)
Last Weekend (2014)
Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return (2014)
Maron: Season 2 (2013)

TIME Media

Spotify Still Doesn’t Make Any Money

SWEDEN-MUSIC-COMPANY-SPOTIFY
This photo illustration shows the Swedish music streaming service Spotify on March 7, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden. Jonathan Nackstrand—AFP/Getty Images

Music streaming service lost $80 million in 2013

Music streaming service Spotify likes to crow about how it hands 70% of the revenue it generates right back to artists in the form of royalty payments. Such a massive expense has led the company to be wildly unprofitable in recent years — but Spotify may be slowly crawling its way out of the red.

A new regulatory filing released in Luxembourg shows Spotify had revenues of 747 million euros (around $1 billion) in 2013, up 74% from 2012, according to The New York Times. The startup posted a loss of $80 million, but that was smaller than its $115 million loss in 2012.

Spotify has long claimed that as it gains more users, it will be able to both pay artists more handsomely and begin earning some profits itself. The company’s financial trends indicate that the plan may actually work, assuming they can keep adding new users at a steady clip.

But Spotify’s biggest threat is growing dissatisfaction in the music industry with the service’s free tier, which allows users to listen to Spotify’s entire song library while hearing a few ads in between tunes. It was this free offering that compelled Taylor Swift to remove her catalogue from the streaming service, while a Sony Music executive recently expressed concern that the free version of Spotify might deter people from signing up for paid subscriptions. The new financial figures show why Swift and others are wary of the ad-supported model: Spotify made just $90 million in revenue from its ad business in 2013, less than 10% of its overall revenue. That’s despite the fact that free users outnumber paid users on Spotify by about four to one.

Spotify maintains that many free users are eventually converted into paying customers, so the free offering serves as a valuable gateway. But it’s likely that industry players are going to become increasingly fixated on the growth in paid subscribers instead. That’s where the money is.

TIME Crime

National Guard Presence to ‘Significantly’ Ramp Up Around Ferguson

Police officers in riot gear stand guard in Ferguson, Mo. on Nov. 24, 2014 Barrett Emke for TIME

Gov. Jay Nixon said deployment in and around Ferguson to rise from 700 to more than 2,200

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon pledged Tuesday to “significantly” ramp up the National Guard’s presence in and around Ferguson after a night of violent riots, fires and looting followed the announcement that a white police officer would not be indicted in the August shooting death of an unarmed black teen.

“No one should have to live like this, no one deserves this. We must do better and we will,” he said. “The violence we saw last night cannot be repeated.”

More than 2,200 Guardsmen would be deployed in the region, up from 700 in 100 locations on Monday night, in an effort to avoid repeating the events that played out in the area. Looters damaged or destroyed at least a dozen buildings, while others set several cars aflame, as law enforcement officers fired smoke bombs in a bid to restrain crowds of angry protesters.

Television networks, photographers and ordinary citizens wielding smartphones latched onto scenes of unrest, disseminating them widely as the night went on. In the morning, some showed scenes of the smoldering buildings and cars while others focused on immediate clean-up efforts.

Nixon was joined by several state officials who used similarly grim language. “Last night was a disaster,” said Col. Ronald Replogle, head of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. And Daniel Isom, director of Missouri’s Department of Public Safety, called Monday night “a disappointment in so many ways.”

“Our community not only needs to be safe,” added St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar. “They need to feel safe.”

The announcement of the security boost came soon after Ferguson Mayor James Knowles criticized the lack of National Guard presence amid the tumult, saying he was “deeply concerned” that Nixon chose not to deploy additional Guardsmen as violence increased in the area. “It was my understanding that they would be deployed, if needed, to maintain order and protect businesses,” Knowles said. “They were not.”

VOTE: Should the Ferguson protestors be TIME’s Person of the Year?

Knowles also revealed that Wilson remains on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an internal investigation. Prior to the grand jury announcement Monday, Ferguson’s police chief had said the officer may be able to return to his job should he not be indicted.

TIME Video Games

Some PlayStation Vita Owners Will Get Refunds After FTC Settlement

Either a $50 voucher for select merchandise or a $25 cash or credit refund

Sony Computer Entertainment America will issue refunds to customers who bought its PlayStation Vita handheld video game system before June 2012 to settle false advertising claims brought by the Federal Trade Commission, the agency said Tuesday.

The FTC claims that Sony misled consumers about “game changing” features of the Vita, including the ability to seamlessly begin playing any PlayStation 3 game immediately on the handheld Vita. That feature only worked as advertised for certain games, the FTC acknowledged.

Customers who bought the Vita before June 1, 2012, are entitled to either a $50 voucher for select video game merchandise or $25 cash or credit refund. Given sales of the PS Vita in the U.S. at the time, total refunds paid out could reach $14 million. Sony will notify customers who qualify for the refunds via email.

The FTC also claimed that Sony’s advertising agency, Deutsch LA, deceived consumers by having its employees try to generate hype for the gaming system on Twitter without disclosing their association with the product. The agency is banned from such practices in the future.

Sony is the latest in a growing list of tech companies that have been accused of misleading customers by the FTC. Apple, Amazon, Google, AT&T and T-Mobile have all had to contend with FTC settlements or lawsuits this year. A Sony spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

TIME China

China Proposes Ban on Smoking in Public Places

Beer Enthusiasts Gather For China's Largest Beer Festival
Chinese men take a smoke break during the 24th Annual Qingdao International Beer Festival on August 20, 2014 in Qingdao, China. Kevin Frayer—Getty Images

Ban would affect the country's 300 million smokers

Soon it could be illegal to smoke in public places in China, as the government considers tightening restrictions on the addictive habit.

The new rules, which are being presented to the public for the first time this week, would also ban smoking at certain outdoor areas like sports venues, restrict selling of tobacco to minors and force tobacco companies to include warnings about the dangers of smoking prominently on their package labels, the New York Times reports.

Smoking is incredibly popular in China: 300 million people partake regularly. It’s also cheap because, unlike in the U.S., the Chinese government doesn’t levy heavy taxes on tobacco products. Pro-smoking advertisements are even a common sight at schools. The World Health Organization had been pushing China to do more to curb smoking in the country for several years.

The reaction to the proposed rules has been largely positive so far, according to the Times. A local Beijing publication claims that 90% of the city’s residents support banning smoking at indoor public places.

[New York Times]

TIME Media

HBO Deal to Bring ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘True Detective’ to China

Game of Thrones
HBO

New partnership involves a Chinese online video service run by the tech giant Tencent

Westeros is about to bring another kingdom under its reign. HBO has inked a deal to bring hits like Game of Thrones and True Detective to a Chinese online video service run by the tech giant Tencent, giving Chinese viewers the ability to stream HBO shows legally for the first time.

HBO content is already popular in the country thanks to rampant piracy. Introducing a legal option could help the Netflix-like Tencent Video as it competes with other Chinese web giants like Alibaba, which owns a large stake in the online video site Youku Toudu.

However, like much foreign content, HBO’s shows will be subject to approval by the government before they air or stream. When Game of Thrones was broadcast on Chinese television earlier this year, it was so heavily edited that fans griped that it had been neutered into a “European castle documentary.”

[WSJ]

TIME Ferguson

Watch How People Reacted to the Ferguson Decision on Twitter

3.5 million tweets about Ferguson decision were sent Monday night

Conversation about Ferguson, Missouri dominated social media Monday night. Above, you can see how Twitter erupted right after 8 p.m. Central, when St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch made his lengthy announcement of the grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

Social media users continued to tweet about events in Ferguson well into the night, as protests, clashes with police and chaos raged on.

Twitter said there were more than 3.5 million tweets total about the Ferguson decision Monday night. “#FergusonDecision” remained the top trending topic in the United States Tuesday morning.

TIME Web

Internet Users Surge to Almost 3 Billion Worldwide

Man using computer
Getty Images

40% of the world is now online

The number of Internet users in the world is approaching 3 billion, according to a United Nations agency.

The International Telecommunications Union revealed in its annual report that the number of Internet users grew 6.6% in 2014, from 2.7 billion to almost 3 billion. Five years ago, just 2 billion people were online. Today, 40% of the world is plugged in.

The quickest growth has occurred in developing countries, where the number of Internet users has doubled in the last five years. But there are still more than 4 billion people on Earth without Internet access. Africa is the region with the lowest penetration rate, with only 19% of people on the continent currently using the Internet.

ITU has committed to bringing 1.5 billion more people online by the end of the decade through an initiative called Code 2020, which is focused on expanding access to mobile broadband around the world. A bevy of big tech companies, including Google and Facebook, have also launched projects to deliver Internet access to remote areas.

TIME movies

Steve Jobs Movie Scooped Up by Universal

Apple Unveils iPad 2
Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks during an Apple Special event to unveil the new iPad 2 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 2, 2011 in San Francisco. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Michael Fassbender will play Apple's founder and Danny Boyle will direct

The long-brewing Steve Jobs biopic has been picked up by Universal Pictures, less than a week after Sony Pictures reportedly dropped the project. The upcoming film will star Michael Fassbender and be directed by Danny Boyle. Aaron Sorkin is penning the script.

The Jobs movie has already gone through a revolving door of stars and directors. Original director David Fincher was replaced by Boyle earlier in the year and Christian Bale backed out of playing the Apple founder this month.

[THR]

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