The TV Anywhere app is new to Android and already available on Apple devices, and Virgin have added another nine channels to their line-up, prompting Virgin Media to claim that they’ve got “more channels in total than Sky Go”.
“Virgin TV Anywhere offers more live channels than Sky Go, with 90 available online and 67 to watch on mobile and tablets. 39 of these channels are not available on Sky Go, including BT Sport, ITV, Channel 5, CBS Reality Premier Sport and many more,” said Virgin Media in a statement.
So what are these new channels? You get Alibi, Dave, Drama, Good Food, Home, Really, Watch, Yesterday and CBS Reality. Presumably, they all come under the ‘Meh’ package elsewhere.
The app is free for Virgin Media Tivo customers, which means you’ll be able to remotely control your Tivo set-top boxes, setting timers for shows and all that jazz. You can also rate programmes too, should that be of any interest at all. The app isn’t available to anyone who isn’t a Virgin customer.
The regulator has started a consultation on how to meet growing demands on networks for communications, saying that a number of spectrum bands “have been identified as potential candidates for future mobile broadband use”.
And it’ll be massive. The next generation networks represent “approximately seven times the amount of spectrum released as part of the 4G auction”.
Ofcom are looking at the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum, currently used by the Ministry of Defence, which probably sounds more exciting that it actually is. 5G won’t make spies of us all sadly. Basically, the goal is to move some of those bands from the public sector to commercial use. An auction could happen as soon as 2015 or 2016.
They’re also weighing up using the 700MHz band used by terrestrial TV the 2.7GHz band used for radar. It’s also considering opening up the 3.6GHz spectrum used for satellite links.
Ofcom said that there isn’t an “unlimited supply” of spectrum. “Ofcom has to balance the interests of all spectrum users and ensure that this scarce national resource is used as efficiently as possible. The public sector has access to just over half of the UK spectrum, and Ofcom is working with government to identify ways of increasing opportunities for commercial access in the future,” it added.
X Factor alumness, James Arthur, has been embroiled in an internet row all week, after he called someone “queer”. Arthur, with a face longer than Morrissey’s, has been trying to brush it all off like he’s too hard to care. However, after a scrap with fellow X Factorite, Lucy Spraggan, things have really got heated online.
For the low-down on the scrap, HolyMoly have the best round-up (treating the whole thing with the contempt it frankly deserves). However, one interesting thing has happened – it seems you can now get refunds on albums if you don’t like something the artist has said.
The screengrab below shows what Michelle from iTunes said to a customer.
So, with that, it seems that you can spend your money on albums, maybe films and TV shows and, should anyone involved in the project say something out of turn, you can ask for your money back.
That could be interesting, especially if you’re into hip hop or metal, where artists say all manner of stuff to get themselves heard or in a bid to pointedly shock. Same goes for horror directors or actors defending Roman Polanski and the like. If James Arthur has done little for the world, it seems his big mouth has ushered in a new type of refund.
Facebook apparently made a bid for SnapChat for billions of dollars – and they turned it down. This is a company that is run by a couple of twentysomethings who, until very recently, were running their business in a bungalow.
The app isn’t really making any money either. Instagram and Tumblr were in the same boat until they got a paycheck from a takeover. Are SnapChat’s owners crazy? It seems they think that there’s more money to be had elsewhere.
If you’ve been living up a tree for the past few years, SnapChat is the brainchild of Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy and they developed the social network which allows users to send photos which perish after they’ve been viewed. Thanks to people noticing that they could send mucky photos with a sell-by-date, it soon became a rousing success.
And now, with money being dangled before it, it seems Spiegel and Murphy want to try and go down the Facebook/Twitter route, and resist the temptation of quick, guaranteed money, to hold out for something more worthwhile. That said, they must be aware that Silicon Valley is filled with the penniless corpses of entrepreneurs who played hard ball and lost.
So what are SnapChat’s plans? Well, it seems they think they’ll be one of the first social media companies to build a business around money made from something beyond advertising. That inevitably means virtual goods, as seen in a number of games (The Simpsons – Tapped Out is a good example) and things like WeChat. The Japanese messaging app, Line, makes money by allowing users to buy virtual stickers.
One thing SnapChat has, which other social apps don’t, is privacy. That could be a lucrative angle. Facebook users have long complained about the lack of privacy and in a report, Facebook had to admit that fatigue is setting in with younger users who said that they were using the service less frequently. With SnapChat processing over 350 million messages a day, they’re definitely onto something.
The owners might be holding out for a better deal. Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg is clearly a huge fan too. He chased SnapChat and it has been reported that Spiegel didn’t want to work for Zuckerberg. Facebook, not one for taking a ‘no’ lying down, started the SnapChat-esque ‘Poke’, which no-one took a blind bit of notice of. FB’s ‘Messenger’ has also failed to win people over. There’s a good chance Zuckerberg will make an improved offer. There are a number of Chinese suitors floating around too.
Maybe SnapChat isn’t so dumb after all?
Virgin Atlantic are going to offer customers the chance to play catchup with a new service which will let you keep up to date with UK soaps. If you’ve been away, you can get up to speed with Coronation Street and Emmerdale during your flight, so you can keep up with the gossip.
Virgin Atlantic’s director of Brand and Customer Experience Reuben Arnold said: “Here at Virgin Atlantic we are always looking for new ways to add to our customers’ experience every time they fly with us. This latest venture with ITV is another great example of this.”
“We’re really excited to be able to offer our customers a chance to catch up on their favourite ITV soaps as part of our already outstanding in-flight entertainment package.”
Martin Goswami, who does some job at ITV, said: “Soaps are the cornerstone of ITV’s prime time schedule and a key driver of national conversation up and down the country. We are thrilled to have teamed up with Virgin Atlantic to offer this brand new and exciting service enabling their soap loving passengers to catch up on any episodes they have missed on board their flights.”
The service will launch in November, so now you can cry in front of a load of strangers when your favourite character gets slain on the cobbles.
We reported on HMV’s new app and how they were trying to revive themselves by selling downloads and the like. Well, Apple aren’t at all pleased and have removed HMV’s new iOS app from its App Store because, basically, no-one is allowed to sell music apart from Apple.
This dispute emerged on Twitter, where chairman of HMV Paul McGowan, had a rant, saying: ”After the first 5000 downloads of the #hmvapp overnight we get the first rumblings of discontent from Cupertino.”
“Apple have politely asked us to remove the #hmvapp from the AppStore. We have politely declined.”
McGowan later said that the app had been approved by Apple on 15th September and then slated the company for setting an “unrealistic 6pm deadline” for HMV to change the app.
“HMV’s developers are working around the clock to deliver an updated version of the iOS app for Apple’s approval which will retain the innovative Image Search and Sound Search functionality to discover music and listen to 30 second previews,” said HMV in a statement.
“It is disappointing that Apple has chosen to suspend an app that has proven to be very successful in only a few short days despite Apple having already approved the exact same version on 15th September. We are unable to explain the change in Apple’s position as we have been given no explanation by them as to any difference they view between the approved version and the one suspended.”
There’s an Amazon app on the AppStore, so what’s Apple problem? Are they eventually going to ban anyone from their marketplace for selling anything they don’t like or see as a market threat?
HMV have relaunched their digital service in a bid to stay relevant after the company was a dog’s whisker away from being put down at the vets. Now, with Nipper’s new service, we can browse HMV’s digital catalogue, buy and pre-order MP3s and generally obtain a service that’s available elsewhere.
There will be a HMV app, whic is the first non-iTunes-based service on Apple’s iOS platform which will allow music downloads through a native app, according to the company.
In the app, there’s a nifty thing called ‘image search’, where you can scan album covers with your phone and listen to a 30 second preview. There’s also ‘sound search’, which allows you to discover tunes they hear while you’re going about your business. So, Shazam then?
While these things are all well and good, people will surely still listen to leaks on YouTube or get stuck into torrents? HMV isn’t exactly offering a solution to a problem here.
“For the first time, music lovers have the ability to experience the traditional feel of HMV on the high street and have the option to discover and build a digital music collection, delivered and managed across devices, from HMV, the Home of Entertainment,” said James Coughlan, Managing Director of HMV Digital.
“An exciting vision is unfolding and I look forward to announcing further developments regarding our plans for 2014 in the coming weeks – this is just the beginning!”
The HMV app is available from today, free of charge, if you want to test drive it.
A survey has confirmed what everyone who has met a small child already knows – over half of toddlers aged between 2 and 3 years old are regularly using iPads, slavering over Cooking Mama and leaving slug trails on the screen.
OnePoll surveyed 1000 parents with young children and found that 4% of (spoilt) children had their own tablets, doubling to 8% at age 3. The majority of 2 year olds with access to a tablet spend one hour a day on it (yeah, RIGHT) and parents say they’re more technologically savvy than they are, despite not being able to control their bowels or count to ten.
Mostly, they’re playing ‘educational’ games, or watching YouTube, or adding to their mum’s Penis Beaker thread on Mumsnet. Older kids aged between 4 and 6 years old were even more attached to tablets, with 66% regularly using them.
The research was carried out by the creators of a new app starring Justin Fletcher, aka MR TUMBLE, aka The Anti-Christ.
Justin put down his special bag and said: ‘Through the apps, I have discovered a new way to entertain children.’
Be afraid, kids. Be very afraid.
The deal is this – if you buy a Lumia 1020 from Vodafone, you’ll get Netflix for free for a whole year. The offer only runs from 1 October to 31 December this year, so you’ll have to act sharpish.
You have to be over 16 to cash in on this Netflix offer and you have to be a resident in the United Kingdom too. The length of Netflix subscription depends on which Lumia you buy. So, if you don’t get the 1020 and opt for the Lumia 925 or 625, you’ll get six months of free streaming.
Use your receipt to claim your subscription, and you’ll be watching endless series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Breaking Bad before you know it.
They want to see the ISPs signing -up to a scheme which will see them handing over details of those who are downloading music illegally.
BT, Virgin Media, BSkyB and TalkTalk have been asked by the BPI and British Video Association to sign up to a voluntary code to create a database of file sharers, however, it doesn’t seem likely that the ISPs will want to annoy their customers, so this’ll probably fizzle away like all previous attempts.
Again, the ‘three strikes’ rule is being floated, where customers will be sent some letters advising them to legally download things, before a final warning of some kind of sanction and “ultimately prosecution.”
Virgin and Talk Talk are both resisting the collection of user data, with Talk Talk pointing out that this kind of activity is dubious under the Data Protection Act.
“We are involved in discussions about measures to address illegal file-sharing and ultimately would like to reach a voluntary agreement. However our customers’ rights always come first and we would never agree to anything that could compromise them,” said a spokesperson for Talk Talk.
Over at Virgin; “Music and film companies are speaking to broadband providers about how to address illegal file-sharing but what they’re currently proposing is unworkable.”
The 54.6-inch screen is curved to offer a more cinematic experience and the 1080p 3D TV also has digital TV tuners, smart TV capabilities, WiFi, advanced image processing and all that.
Samsung UK say: “It’s like bringing home an IMAX theatre that you can enjoy every day.”
Samsung haven’t announced a price yet, but as it had been going for $9,000 overseas, it won’t be cheap. That said, if you have a living room big enough to accommodate one of these, then you’re probably not a stickler for price.
It’ll be on sale from 5th September.
Google’s music streaming service – the clunkily titled ‘Google Play Music All Access’ – has arrived in the UK in a bid to kill-off Spotify. Bold move, seeing as Spotify is more popular than ever and Google’s attempts at challenging, say, Twitter with G+, didn’t exactly work.
Google Play Music All Access has managed to launch before Apple’s iRadio service got rolled out, which they’ll no doubt be pleased about.
The thing that Google are hoping will woo users is the price. The service undercuts its rivals for those signing up before 15th September, who will get access for £7.99 a month. There’s also a 30-day free trial.
The Google Play Music All Access has a 18 million track catalogue and, with the radio feature, there’s a ‘peek’ feature which allows you to see what’s being cued up next, so you can skip it if you don’t like what’s being offered.
BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor says: “Streaming is the fastest growing part of the £330m digital music sector in Britain, with over than a million paying subscribers already and millions more enjoying free and ad-supported music.”
“The entry of a player with the reach of Google will persuade many more consumers to experience having millions of songs to play instantly on their phone, tablet or PC.”
You can give it a whirl as of tomorrow.
No-one is really bothered about the new Wolverine film (face it – he’s the Status Quo of superheroes), but, thanks to a cock-up by the people who put the adverts on buses, the next installment is inevitably about to get more press that it would’ve.
Starring ‘Human Ghjac‘ too!
Channel 4 have announced the launch of a new mobile offline viewing service for 4oD, and it is free. Basically, you’ll now be able to download shows on your phone or tablet and the service is available on Android and iOS.
All you have to do is sign-up, and then you’ll be able to catch-up with shows while on the move. Or sat on the pan. Whatever. And you won’t need an internet connection to view them as you will have downloaded them!
Shows will be available for 30 days after broadcast once you’ve downloaded them, you’ll have seven days to watch before it auto expires.
What’s paying for all this? Obviously, Channel 4 aren’t doing this out of the goodness of their hearts and have signed-up with Nissan, who will have their logo on all download pages.
Sarah Rose, Director of Commercial & Business Development said: “We’re thrilled to unveil our eagerly-awaited free download service on 4oD, giving our viewers even more flexibility to watch our programmes wherever they are, and helping them organise their TV viewing around their busy lives.”
“This is the latest development in our Viewer Engagement strategy to reward our now over 8 million and rising registered viewers with exclusive benefits to ensure they get the most out of their Channel 4 experience. Our fast growing database also enables us to deliver more innovative and engaging advertising solutions to our commercial partners including enhanced targeted ad packages – and our valuable young, engaged audience.”
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Musicians, as you know, are never, ever hypocrites. Take for example, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, who recently lambasted Spotify for how little it pays in royalties. He even went as far as taking some of his music off the service.
That’s because Thom Yorke isn’t wealthy enough and his band aren’t thunderingly huge and Spotify is clearly hindering his process.
Despite the fact that, per person, Spotify is better value for the artist than the radio (which he has no problem with), he’s still terribly unhappy about it all. Forbes wrote something much smarter than we could manage on the whole thing, and you can read it here.
With Thom unhappy about Spotify, it’s funny that he’s part of a group called Atoms For Peace and they just happen to be giving their public backing to an online music portal called ‘soundhalo’.
Soundhalo is a new thing that enables us penny-coughing plebs to watch high quality video of live performances on your various gadgets. He could moan about these things robbing people of the real live experience, one of the few places artists still make a bit of dough (if they’re already successful you understand). He could complain that people don’t buy physical albums anymore, and that the last thing we need is someone muscling in on the live arena too.
He could, but he won’t.
Of course, soundhalo aren’t too forthcoming about the royalties that will be paid to artists that feature on their service. As it is smaller and newer, we can assume that they won’t get near Spotify’s generous payments. And can we assume that soundhalo are already in bed with all the major record labels, a group of people Thom Yorke has been quick to chastise in the past when giving out his albums for ‘free’?
Could it be that Thom Yorke is being an arch tit again? Just like the time Radiohead fooled everyone with a comma – “we won’t be doing interviews, to promote our album” – it seems their dreary frontman is at it again.
Everyone give him a slow handclap.