If you buy it, you’ll get a host of apps including Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, Vevo and Sky News. Others will be added before the year is out.
As for gaming, the launch titles include Minecraft, The Walking Dead and the Android versions of Grand Theft Auto games. You might need a controller for certain titles, which will set you back an extra £34.99.
Amazon reckon that Fire has three times the power of an Apple TV and it has a number of nifty things. The remote, for example, has a microphone built-in, which means you can bark instructions at it to find your favourite shows or whatever.
Another thing it used is the Amazon WhisperSync function, which means that, if you’ve been watching something on your tablet, Fire will pick up where you left off if you’d rather watch it on the big screen. It works in the other direction too. One great idea is the Amazon ASAP function which pre-loads content for you if you have trouble with buffering.
You can pick one up at Amazon here if it sounds like the kind of thing you’d like.
The engine will direct users away from sites where they can half-inch content, pushing them towards less dodgy sites.
Google have caved in to pressure from the entertainment industry, who have been campaigning for the search engine to do something, while they carried on rearranging deckchairs.
Google will now list these legal services in a box at the top of the search results, as well as in a box on the right-hand side of the page, but if legal sites want to appear in the slot, they will need to pay Google for placement, something music trade group BPI has a problem with.
BPI made 43.3 million requests for Google to remove search results in 2013 – the U.S equivalent group, the RIAA, made 31.6 million and Google removed 222 million results from search because of copyright issues
Google’s Content ID system, which detects copyrighted material, scans 400 years-worth of video every day, which they then offer the music labels the choice of having the content removed, or monetising by having advertising placed there.
The report said: “Piracy often arises when consumer demand goes unmet by legitimate supply,’ the report said.
As services ranging from Netflix to Spotify to iTunes have demonstrated, the best way to combat piracy is with better and more convenient legitimate services.”
It’s unlikely that this will have a massive turnaround in the entertainment industry’s favour, who are missing the days where everyone was on champagne and cocaine breakfasts, but people will find a way around it. They always do.
However, with Google directing people to Google Play, making money through advertising on YouTube adverts and other schemes to ‘combat privacy’, it looks like they might be having the breakfast of a ’70s record company executive, so not everyone is a loser in this. We never said they were unscrupulous.
Basically, if you’re a subscriber to the music streaming platform, you’ll be able to add up to four members of your family for £4.99 each. That means you don’t all have to have separate Spotify accounts at full price.
Spotify’s chief content officer Ken Parks said that a family plan was “one of the most asked for features from our audience”.
Of course, Spotify aren’t the first to do something like this in this field. Rival Rdio launched a similar thing in 2011, while in the States, Beats Music allowed you to add people to your account from January 2014 (they’ve since ditched the deal though, since they teamed up with Apple).
For Spotify, this could be a nice little earner as there are still a lot of people using the free, ad-supported version. According to the company, they have 40m active users, and 30m of those are using the free version.
This new family plan will launch in the UK within the next two weeks.
Thus providing fans of the slightly OTT dwarf-based romp with an alternative to subscribing to expensive cable packages.
The broadcaster’s CEO, Richard Plepler, on Wednesday said the move would remove all the barriers to those who want HBO, in a move which may cut down on piracy by providing consumers inexpensive access to the content.
That’s currently about the dimensions of the announcement at the moment, but it’s unlikely to win HBO many chums in the cable world.
James McQuivey, an analyst at tech-research firm Forrester, told The Drum that HBO’s announcement will put the fear into US satellite TV providers said: “Their worst fear has come true: HBO has announced it will give customers direct, over-the-top access to its hit TV shows without requiring a cable or satellite subscription.”
“This move was inevitable from the moment that people started streaming TV shows online as HBO has some of the most prized content on the TV screen and it appeals strongly to the young, affluent, educated demographic that is most likely to cut the cable cord in the next five to ten years.
“While Pay TV operators are certainly furious today, other cable programmers like Viacom and A&E are thrilled that HBO is shining a light down a path they may all have to contemplate in the future.”
McQuivey added: “None of them will have as easy a time as will HBO, but they all know they need an escape hatch for that moment when the current, bundled TV model begins to collapse.”
If all goes well, it’s likely that HBO will fancy doing something similar in the UK.
The whole landscape of TV and programming is morphing before our eyes. All we can do is watch. Man.
Anyone thinking that by binning the aliens, Argos had given up on that old advertising lark.
The company have thrown £10 million on its biggest campaign yet.
Quite good, yes?
Argos have been gradually transforming their in-store and online offering as part of a £300 million investment including the introduction of Fast Track collection, free reservation online, and a click and collect partnership with eBay.
Speaking to The Drum, marketing director Stephen Vowles said: “Now it’s time to time to get people to think about Argos differently and get customers and non-customers to sit up and take notice,”
“Argos is unique and we don’t want to just be a slightly different version of a high street retailer or a slightly different version of a pure play online retailer. We want to assert our own uniqueness and re-establish ourselves as a unique category of one player.”
The new ad shows a load of break-dancers, skateboarders and general active types freaking out to the toe-tappin’ ‘How You Like Me Now?’ by The Heavy.
Vowles explained: “There’s a lot of advertising out there that makes people go ‘Ahhh, isn’t that sweet. That’s not really who Argos is. We’re about excitement, action and that’s what we wanted to capture – a real sense of dynamism, drama, speed and action.”
The ad uses the strapline ‘Get Set Go Argos’ to reinforce the message, and will run out to its 730(!) stores.
Large stadium events are always a bit of a faff, be it the limited amount of beer thanks to some watery lager sponsor, or be it it something to do with only being able to pay for things on certain credit cards.
Everyone knows the drill by now.
However, with the NFL coming to the UK, they’ve pulled a fast one that is almost impressive in its pointlessness. Basically, you can’t take any bag at all into Wembley stadium. Look at this exhaustive list of prohibited bags, which of course, are banned ‘for your safety’, even if you’ve been to big stadium shindigs before and managed to avoid a backpack maiming.
If you have a bag for your medicine and whatever, that’s fine, but as the warning leaflet says: “entry will be permitted, however you may experience a delay in entering the stadium.”
So what is fine then? What is permitted? Why, NFL approved bags you can buy outside the ground, which of course, are considerably safer than your average bag.
Of course, a huge sporting franchise taking the Michael at a enormodome is along the lines of “is the Pope Catholic?”, but this is next level ridiculousness.
If you want to watch an informative video and, if you’re going to any of the games and want to know the exact dimensions of purses that women are allowed to take, click here for the NFL’s official take on the whole thing.
Handily, you can view difference programmes on different devices at the same time and the service comes free for those with an EE broadband and landline package. If you’re thinking of moving to EE just for their telly service, then prices start at £9.95 a month.
Olaf Swantee, EE’s CEO, reckons EE TV is ‘the most advanced TV service’ we’ve ever had in dear old Blighty.
“As the UK’s biggest and fastest network, with more than 25 million customers, we have unrivalled insight into people’s changing viewing habits,” explains Swantee. ”It’s helped us create a service that has mobile at its heart, and makes the TV experience more personal than ever before.”
Basically, you get a smart box that offers multiscreen, multirecord and a dedicated app for you devices which doubles up as a remote control. It’ll have 70 Freeview channels that come with it and a load of other videos and on-demand stuff bolted on.
EE say that this smart box is worth £300, but it is yours for free if you sign up to an EE package. If you want to know more, then watch this advert below.
Sadly, Kevin Bacon is involved.
While you’ve been going nutso in your favourite games, there’s a chance that you may not have delved into the useful features inside your PS4 yet. If you have, well done you. If not, don’t worry, we’ve cherry picked some of the best things for you to muck around with.
The PS4 has a load of cool features and here are some of our favourites. If you have your own that we’ve missed, leave a comment and we’ll add them to the list!
Quick Switch Between Apps
If you need to switch between apps quickly – so, say you’re playing a game and you want to go look up some cheats for it – instead of messing around with your phone, you can swap between apps by double tapping the PS Home button. That means you can get from a game to the browser without any faff.
A lot of people find the Xbox One’s voice control thing a bit creepy, but if you’ve been wanting it for your PS4, you can! You’ll need a PlayStation 4 Camera and, with it installed, go to Settings, then Login Settings and select Enable Face Recognition. Then, you’ll go to Face Recognition Management and complete the set-up. You can also use the camera’s microphones to issue voice commands so you can speak your way through the menus and the like. For that, hit Settings, System and select the Operate PS4 With Voice option. For voice commands you can do that without the camera – you’d just need any microphone connected to your console.
Save Money And Power
Want to save how much power your PS4 is using? Go into the console’s settings menu and find ‘Power Save Settings’ where you can set your PS4 to shut down after periods of inactivity. Great if you’re the kind of person who would fall asleep while playing games, meaning that the thing isn’t left on all night.
Standby Mode Tips
This is well known, but worth mentioning for you console newbies. In standby mode, you can enable auto downloads and uploads which means you don’t have to put up with tedious timebars. Go to Settings, System, Automatic Downloads and Uploads and then access Settings, Power Save Settings and Set Functions Available in Standby Mode. Now, when you turn your PS4 on to play games, you won’t have to wait for a load of updates or whatever, as it will have already done them.
You can also charge your controller in standby mode, which is great seeing as the new Dualshock 4 has a pretty crappy battery life. To switch this on, go to Settings, Power Save Settings, Set Functions Available in Standby Mode and tick the box for Supply Power from USB Ports.
Are you the kind of person who likes to make walkthrough videos or what have you? Well, as well as the fact that the PS4 continually records your previous 15 minutes of gaming automatically (which is great), you can also enable microphone audio recording through the Share menu. Go into the options, hit ‘Share Settings’ and ‘Video Clip Settings’ and you’ll see the option for ‘Include Microphone Audio in Video Clip’.
Save Hard Drive Space
You can upload system data to online storage or a USB drive, which is nifty. Go to Settings then Application Saved Data Management and you’ll find a straightforward menu for uploading and downloading data.
Want to take a screenshot of your game? Well, you have to press and hold the share button for a few seconds normally, but there’s a tweak you can do to streamline the whole process. You can change your setting so that a brief tap of the share button creates a screengrab and holding it down loads up the share app. To do this, open the share menu, hit ‘Options’ and go to ‘Share Settings’. From here, choose the ‘SHARE Button Control Type’ and go through your options. If you like showing off your gameplay, this will save you loads of time.
If you plug a pair of regular headphones into your DualShock controller and adjust the settings on your PS4 after holding down the PS button, you can listen to the game without having to mess around plugging your ‘phones into the telly or having to much about with wireless audio.
Apple’s CarPlay system now come supported by Spotify and Pioneer.
Grooving drivers can now use the iOS edition with the in car entertainment solutions system. While Spotify were mentioned as being part of it when the CarPlay was launched, it is just now that everyone’s finally ironed their crap out.
CarPlay allows drivers to make calls, consult Maps, listen to music and access messages and it probably massages your buttocks if you ask it nicely. They can do all this with using the voice control button on the steering wheel to activate Siri or using the car’s native interface.
CarPlay is going to be part of Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo motors, with more to come, as it seems like all of them will give in eventually.
The future, eh?
Copyright law in the UK decided to get around to it, and allow what people have been doing for yonks! You can now back up your media for personal use and The Man won’t send you to the chair!
This action, which hasn’t dragged its feet AT ALL, happily coincides with nobody doing it anymore and your average shop cutting down on selling blank CDRs.
Earlier this year, UK Intellectual Property Office published a consumer guide on exceptions to copyright, indicating that by the summer, private back-ups would be allowed.
“The changes will mean that you will be able to copy a book or ﬁlm you have purchased for one device onto another without infringing copyright.”
Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, the UK’s IP Minister, said: ”These changes are going to bring our IP laws into the 21st century. They will mean that the UK IP regime will now be responsive to the modern business environment and more flexible for consumers.”
And also, you can store your copied material in the cloud too.
The guidance reads: “You are permitted to make personal copies to any device that you own, or a personal online storage medium, such as a private cloud. However, it is unlawful to give other people access to the copies you have made, including, for example, by allowing a friend to access your personal cloud storage.”
So that will be interesting.
But anyway, those CDs you burnt over the last 15 years are now not bad or naughty, but, really, the creative industries should have done something about this years ago.
The entertainment solutions retailer originally filed for administration in January 2013.
But now, they’ve recorded operating profits of almost £17 million in the 11 months after it was rescued by restructuring firm Hilco in 2013.
According to reports set to be filed at Companies House, HMV posted operating profit of £16.7m on sales of £311.2m between January 29 and December 28 2013.
All of the chain – or those that are left – are back in profit, thanks to some wheeler-dealing as regards their debts and overheads, and negotiations with suppliers.
HMV paid out £10m in intercompany charges and £4m in on-off restructuring costs. It also paid £2.3m in interest on loans and working capital provided by Hilco.
After one-off costs, the retailer posted a pre-tax loss of £4.8m.
So that’s good news then.
Smirnoff are having a bit of a revamp.
The vodka brand that was famously boycotted by some gays for a bit, have unveiled a new £15 million advertising campaign, and are now close to finalising a deal with Spotify in Europe.
The deal with the online streamer is to ‘deepen the brand’s connection to dance music’. Which is one way of saying ‘loads of clubbers like to cane vodka’.
The company originally piloted the tie-up with Spotify in the US, when it introduced its ‘Exclusively for Everybody’ brand messaging.
The new advert follows the theme of filtering, with the dismissal of ‘pretentious nights out’ with the line “Filter the unnecessary. Keep the good stuff”.
The Spotify/ Smirnoff tie-up will see the vodka curating an ad-free playlist of bangers, based on the artists they listen to, and it is hoped that it will be a rewarding engagement all round.
The vodka also worked with DJ duo Psychemagik on the track which features in the new advert and is now planning to release it as a single via Spotify, SoundCloud and their own platforms.
Yep, the shop that reimagines bumbags and anything else that was wretched from the past, and even more wretched now, has become the leader in flogging records.
Vinyl sales have continued with a total of 6.1 million albums sold in the United States in 2013 – the highest number since 1991 – and the figures for this year are set to be even higher.
“Music is very, very important to the Urban customer… in fact, we are the world’s number one vinyl seller” said Calvin Hollinger, the company’s chief administrative officer.
Now, let’s approach this sensibly and explain why this is so.
Urban Outfitters have over 400 branches worldwide, and even if the range is very hipster-based – like most fashion stores, their new vinyl selection is more curated than that of an HMV – they know their market. The average shopper isn’t going in there to source a Moody Blues long player, they’re all up for more now sounds from the likes of voguish hitmaker FKA Twigs (who we have used as an illustration).
Also, they have an innovative inventory model wherein they essentially rent out their record shelves to over 100 different vendors. The retailer provides stores with an online list of inventory which they can then stock on consignment.
Urban Outfitters is the most 00ze shopping experience imaginable, navigating through the Napster, MySpace, Facebook and Spotify eras and managing to keep its head above the water throughout.
There’s also the fact that 90% of its customers probably never experienced vinyl growing up, and are now probably thinking it’s quite the thing. Mind you, you could probably flog them 8-track cartridges if you go down that route of thinking, the goons.