TIME Television

Offline Viewing Is ‘Never Going to Happen’ Netflix Executive Says

Netflix Illustrations Ahead Of Earnings
The Netflix website and logo are displayed on laptop computers arranged for a photograph in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2014 Bloomberg/Getty Images

#SorryNotSorry

You won’t be able to watch Netflix without an Internet connection. Ever.

“It’s never going to happen,” said Cliff Edwards, the video-streaming site’s director of corporate communications and technology, speaking to TechRadar about the possibility of offline viewing.

A few other streaming services do offer the ability to download shows and then view them without Internet access, but Edwards said Netflix is of the view that downloadable content is “a short-term fix for a bigger problem” of wi-fi access and quality.

The Netflix top brass fully expects both those things to improve significantly in the near future, and Edwards opined that the concept of offline viewing may be a thing of the past as early as five years from now.

[TechRadar]

TIME Media

Netflix Just Announced a Huge New Partnership

Netflix Dish
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

It's Netflix's first big partnership with a major TV provider in the U.S.

Netflix has found an unlikely partner to help it recruit more new subscribers—Dish Network.

The satellite operator announced Wednesday that it will be integrating Netflix directly into its Hopper set-top box. That means Dish subscribers will be able to seamlessly switch to Netflix content using the same device, remote control and video input that they use when they watch regular television.

The Dish deal, however, doesn’t mean Netflix will be free for Dish subscribers. It only makes it easier for people who use both Netflix and Dish to watch Netflix content.

“Pairing Netflix with Hopper represents the consolidation of two incredible video experiences,” Vivek Khemka, Dish senior vice president of product management, said in a press release. “It gives our customers easy access to their favorite shows and movies, on both Dish and Netflix, without ever having to leave their Hopper.”

Netflix has aggressively been pursuing partnerships with pay-TV providers in order to place its streaming service in front of more potential new customers. While the company has had some success cutting deals in Europe and with small cable operators in the U.S., the major American TV providers have been wary of giving Netflix easier access to its subscribers — until now.

It makes sense that Dish would be the first big pay-TV operator to hop in bed with Netflix. The satellite company has plans for an “over-the-top” TV service delivered via the Internet that will aim to attract exactly the kind of TV viewers who enjoy Netflix. In the future, Dish says, it may add tighter integration of Netflix content by making the streaming service’s shows and movies searchable via the Hopper interface.

TIME Media

HBO Go Is Coming to the Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV
The Amazon Fire TV - a new device that allows users to stream video, music, photos, games and more through a television - is displayed at a media event on April 2, 2014 in New York City. Andrew Burton—Getty Images

And it's coming to the Fire TV Stick soon

Amazon’s Fire TV is finally getting HBO Go.

The retailer’s set-top box will begin offering HBO’s streaming service Monday, the two companies announced. For now, this version of HBO Go still requires customers to authenticate their cable or satellite subscription in order to use it. HBO is planning to launch a standalone version of its streaming service that won’t require cable sometime in 2015, but the network hasn’t yet announced which platforms will offer the service.

To celebrate the arrival of HBO Go on Fire TV, Amazon’s offering the streaming box for just $79 until Dec. 28, whereas it’s normally $99. HBO Go will also be available on the Fire TV Stick, Amazon’s Chromecast-like streaming dongle, this spring.

One catch here: HBO Go won’t work on Amazon Fire TV if you’re a Comcast subscriber, the Wall Street Journal reports.

TIME Television

Friends Isn’t the Only Goodie Coming to Netflix This January

Cast of "Friends" on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno"
In this handout photo provided by NBC, the cast of "Friends", actors Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, Courteney Cox-Arquette, David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston sat down with Jay Leno for a special "Tonight Show," on the set of Central Perk Getty Images—Getty Images

Mean Girls also headed to a laptop screen near you

Netflix will begin streaming Friends in all of its 236 episode glory starting Jan. 1 — but that’s not the only new treat to be coming to the service in the new year.

Netflix released a list of its biggest films and TV shows that will be coming to a laptop screen near you:

Jan. 1
101 Dalmatians
Bad Boys 2
Bruce Almighty
Cast Away
Dallas
(season 3)
Election
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas
The French Connection
Friends

Fort Bliss
Mean Girls
Shall We Dance
To Be Takei
Wayne’s World 2

MORE: Netflix Wants New Original Content Every Three Weeks

Jan. 3
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
White Collar (season 5)

Jan. 8
Psych (season 8)
Frank

MORE: 26 Streaming Shows You Should Get Addicted to This Winter

Jan. 9
Z Nation (season 1)

Jan. 16
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Jan. 28
Chef

Read next: 8 Netflix Tricks You Just Can’t Live Without

TIME Media

We Hope YouTube Launches This Cool New Feature Worldwide

YouTube
A businessman browses Google Inc.?s YouTube website using an Apple iPhone, made by Apple Inc., in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Thursday, Aug.19, 2010. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some countries are getting offline viewing

Google is rolling out a neat new feature for YouTube users — but only in India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

People in those markets will now be able to download select YouTube videos for offline viewing for 48 hours, the company announced Thursday.

Google is targeting these markets first because data connections there are less consistent than in other parts of the world. “Making these popular videos available for offline playback will help people move past the challenges of data connection, speed and cost to enjoy a smooth, buffer-free version of their favorite content,” the company wrote in a blog post.

While YouTube offline viewing is a feature people in other markets would probably enjoy as well, Google’s post makes no mention of a global rollout. Considering offline viewing is a paid-for feature in YouTube’s new subscription streaming service, we may never have such functionality offered for free in the U.S.

TIME Media

Netflix Wants New Original Content Every Three Weeks

House of Cards, season 2. Nathaniel E. Bell—Netflix

Next up is the historical epic Marco Polo

Expect to see a whole lot more “Netflix Originals” like House of Cards or Orange is the New Black in the near future.

The company’s long-term goal is to premiere a new original show or season every two and a half weeks, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said at a media conference Monday, Ad Age reports. That would equate to about 20 new shows or seasons per year.

Netflix’s pace of releasing new shows is steadily increasing as it invests more in original content. Next on the docket is Marco Polo, a big-budget historical epic premiering Dec. 12. It’s expected to be Netflix’s most expensive series to date. Other upcoming shows include a talk show hosted by Chelsea Handler and a series of superhero shows based on the Marvel universe.

Whether any of these upcoming shows will be a hit is an open question. According to research conducted by CBS, less than 10 percent of Netflix viewing is dedicated to its original shows. David Poltrack, CBS’s chief research officer, said the data shows that Netflix’s batting average for making hit shows is worse than traditional networks, the New York Times reports.

[Ad Age]

TIME Media

This New Streaming Service Is Netflix, But Just for Kids

Nabi pass features videos, games, e-books and educational content Fuhu

Children's tablet maker Fuhu is launching a streaming service

The streaming space is growing ever more-crowded as a new competitor is throwing its hat in the ring Thursday.

Fuhu, which makes the very successful nabi children’s tablets, is launching a monthly subscription service that will let kids binge on children’s movies, shows, music, e-books and interactive games for $4.99 per month. The service, called nabi Pass, is exclusive to Fuhu’s tablet line, which includes the nabi 2 and the new jumbo-sized Big Tab.

Fuhu’s up against plenty of competition, as there are already many streaming subscription services aimed squarely at kids. Netflix added a “For Kids” section back in 2011, and Amazon has a robust multimedia service called FreeTime Unlimited that’s pretty similar to what Fuhu is rolling out.

Fuhu founder Robb Fujioka, however, says nabi Pass’s educational offerings and its focus on curating quality content will help it stand out. Subscribers will get access to the Wings learning system, which offers kids lessons in math, reading and writing, as well as edutainment videos from the likes of National Geographic Kids. Fujioka says the focus on education helps Fuhu differentiate its service and keep costs down, since they’re not competing with the likes of Amazon to bid for expensive Nickelodeon content.

“My hunch is that people will buy it for the education and everything else on the video side is a plus,” Fujioka says.

In addition to National Geographic, nabi Pass will offer videos from DreamWorks Animation, games from app developer Cupcake Digital and music streaming from Walt Disney Records. Fuhu will have a sizable audience to whom it can pitch the service — The nabi tablet sold 1.5 million units in 2013 and is currently leading the children’s tablet market, according to research firm NPD.

TIME Music

See Which Songs You Listened to the Most This Year With Spotify’s New Tool

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

That's a lot of Beck, man

The end of the year is a time for reflection, reminiscing and acknowledging your past mistakes—like listening to “Rude” by Magic! more than once.

Spotify is here to lay those transgressions bare. Users can now get a personalized “Year in Music” report that outlines the songs, albums and playlists they listened to most. The graphic even includes the total number of minutes you spent listening to Spotify. And if you’re not deathly embarrassed by your guilty pleasures, you can share all the stats with your friends via social media.

Check out your stats by visiting Spotify’s “Year in Music 2014” page and clicking “Get Your Year in Music” in the top right corner.

TIME Media

Fewer People Than Ever Are Watching TV

People are watching more online video on their computers, smart TVs and multimedia devices

The long-prognosticated death of TV may be happening before our eyes—but at a glacial pace. A new in-depth report from tracking firm Nielsen shows that TV is still by far America’s favorite entertainment past-time, but individuals are spending more hours surfing web and viewing streaming services. A growing number of households are choosing to dump TV altogether.

About 2.6 million households are now “broadband only,” meaning they don’t subscribe to cable or pick up a broadcast signal, according to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report, released December 3. That figure comprises about 2.8% of total U.S. households and is more than double the 1.1% of households that were broadband only last year. At the same time, overall viewing of traditional TV is continuing its slow decline. The average person watched about 141 hours of live television per month in the third quarter of 2014, compared to 147 hours in the third quarter of 2013. On a daily basis, viewers are watching 12 minutes less TV than they were a year ago. Overall, 2014 has seen a significantly more precipitous decline in TV viewing than any previous year, Nielsen reports.

TV Viewing Trends

Not surprisingly, streaming services like Netflix have benefitted from the decline in TV viewing. Forty percent of households now subscribe to a subscription video on demand service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video, up from 35% in 2013. Thirteen percent of households now have a multimedia device like an Apple TV to stream such content. The same percentage of households have smart TVs, which natively stream apps like Netflix. On computers, viewing of online video increased by about 4 hours per month year-over-year to 10 hours and 42 minutes.

More viewers are also using DVRs or video on-demand services offered by their cable provider to watch TV after its live airing. Viewers spent 14 hours and 20 minutes per month watching so-called time-shifted TV during the most recent quarter, up from 13 hours and 12 minutes a year ago.

It helps to keep these shifts in perspective and recognize that TV isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Overall viewers spend about 14 and a half hours watching video on their phones, computers and multimedia devices, or about a tenth of tenth of the time they spend watching TV. But with CBS having just launched an online version of its channel and HBO prepping a cable-free version of HBO Go for sometime next year, these trends will likely continue to accelerate.

 

TIME How-To

8 Netflix Tricks You Just Can’t Live Without

US Online Streaming Giant Netflix : Illustration
In this photo illustration the Netflix logo is seen on September 19, 2014 in Paris, France. Pascal Le Segretain—Getty Images

Find out how to hide the embarrassing stuff you've been streaming

One of the main reasons Netflix is so popular is because of its simplicity. It’s painfully easy to queue up a movie on your laptop, video game console or mobile device and start watching in mere seconds. But that simplicity means there are a lot of features to Netflix that the average customer may not be using.

Here, we’ve rounded up some useful tips to help you get the most out of Netflix:

See What Movies Are Coming and Going

Netflix’s lineup of movies and TV shows is constantly changing as the company gains and loses licensing rights for different content. It’s difficult to get a full picture of the Netflix library from within the app itself, but a variety of third-party websites can help. Sites like Instant Watcher and What’s New On Netflix offer a daily rundown of new releases on the streaming service. Finding out when movies are going to be removed is a little trickier, because Netflix has purposefully obscured that information. However, the site Now Streaming updates regularly with lists of movies that will soon be going offline.

Get Better Search Options

Search options on Netflix are fairly limited, which can make it hard to ferret out quality movies from the service’s vast amount of content. Sites like Instant Watcher let you filter options by parameters such as year released as well as rating on Netflix and Rotten Tomatoes. And if your favorite movie isn’t on Netflix right now, you can use Can I Stream It or WhereToWatch to find out where else a film might be available to stream legally online.

Use Your Phone As a Remote

On the PlayStation 3, customers can use their phone or tablet to control Netflix instead of a video game controller. First, make sure your mobile device and your PS3 are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Then boot up the Netflix app on both devices, and your phone or tablet can be used to control the movie playing on the big screen — this also works if you’re watching Netflix via a Google Chromecast.

Get Smarter Recommendations

Netflix prides itself on its algorithms that are supposed to serve up content you’ll love that you didn’t even know you wanted. But the process only works if you feed the company a lot of info about what you enjoy. Rate movies regularly to get more precise recommendations, and don’t forget to fill out your taste preferences in your account settings. You can access the taste preferences list by selecting the “Your Account” option on the Web-based version of Netflix.

Change Subtitles

Tired of Netflix’s signature yellow subtitles? You can choose among eight different text colors as well as a background color to place behind the text. The font and text size can also be adjusted. The options are available in the “Your Account” settings on the Web version of Netflix.

Eliminate Buffering

There’s no bigger buzzkill during a riveting movie than being hit with a buffering screen. Netflix has a hidden menu to help you banish buffering. Press Shift + Alt + Left Click (or Shift + Option + Click on a Mac) while streaming a show to bring up a diagnostic screen. Click “Screen Manager,” then select the “Manual” checkbox to alter the stream’s bit rate. A lower number will lower the image quality of the program but will also allow you to watch on a slower connection without constant hiccups. When the buffering screen hits video game consoles and other living room streaming devices, try inputing the code Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Up, Up, Up, Up on the controller or remote to deactivate Netflix, then reboot it.

Make Profiles for Multiple Users

When you’re sharing your Netflix account with multiple friends and family members, the service’s recommendation algorithm can get pretty muddled. Separate the Law and Order fans from the documentary junkies by setting up separate profiles. You can have five in total and each will get its own viewing history and tailored recommendations. Create new profiles using the “Manage Profiles” option in the settings menu on Netflix.com.

Erase Your Viewing History

You gave into your base desires and binged on Bridezillas for five hours one rainy Sunday afternoon. It’s OK—no one ever has to know. Netflix will let you see a log of your vieiwng history and wipe specific items from the record books across all devices. Simply go to the “Your Account” option in the settings menu, click “Viewing Activity” and click the X on any shows you want to erase. Then you can go on watching trashy reality TV with impunity.

Read next: How to Stop Accidentally Closing Your Browser All the Time

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