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Apple TV, Disney+, and more to be available on the PlayStation 5 at launch
by João Carrasqueira
Sony is slowly revealing more information about the upcoming PlayStation 5 console. After introducing us to the console's internals in a teardown video and revealing the console's software experience, the company today announced the media apps that will be available on the PlayStation 5 when it launches next month.
As shown in the UI video last week, media apps will reside in a dedicated Media tab on the PlayStation 5's home screen, and you won't need to download them from the PlayStation Store, which will focus on games. At launch, the PlayStation 5 will already support quite a few major streaming services - Apple TV (including Apple TV+), Disney+, and Netflix, Spotify, Twitch, and YouTube. Post-launch, more apps will also make their way to the console, including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Peacock, and more.
In addition to the media apps, Sony also announced that a Media Remote will be launched alongside the PlayStation 5, aiming to make it easier to control playback on these services. You can also use the Control Center interface revealed last week to control music playback while you're doing something else.
Since the Xbox Series X and S are based on the same software experience already on the Xbox One family, all the services available there should also be available on those consoles at launch. While Apple TV isn't officially available yet, Microsoft and Apple are already testing the service with select users, so it could be set to launch soon.
Netflix 'StreamFest' event will let you stream content for free for 48 hours
by Rajesh Pandey
Netflix stopped offering free trials for new subscribers in the United States earlier this month. In a bid to get new users on board, the company is now planning to hold a 48-hour free streaming event. It first plans to test this free streaming option in India before deciding if it will bring it to other countries or not.
Mishaal Rahman first found references for a promotional event called StreamFest in the Netflix Android app that's scheduled for December 4. The event was then also confirmed by Netflix COO Greg Peters at the company's Q3 2020 earnings call. Peters said:
The text string related to the event points to Netflix allowing new users to stream content for free from any platform for 48 hours starting December 4 without having to enter their card details. After that time is up though, users will have to pay for a Netflix subscription to continue further.
The code string does point to Netflix restricting access to StreamFest to a limited audience as there are snippets saying "Netflix StreamFest is at capacity." The company, later on, confirmed the event to Protocol as well and said "We're always looking at different marketing promotions to attract new members and give them a great Netflix experience."
By Jay Bonggolto
Netflix drops free trials in the U.S. for new subscribers
by Jay Bonggolto
If you've just signed up for Netflix, you will no longer be able to watch its content for free in the U.S. within a trial period. The company announced today that it is pulling the plug on its free trial offer for U.S. customers.
Netflix told The Verge that it was seeking "different marketing promotions in the United States to attract new members and give them a great Netflix experience.” The latest change is part of the streaming service's efforts to experiment with subscription models, which also included free educational content on YouTube as part of a marketing push. In August, it also opened some of its original content to viewers worldwide for free. The free shows are available to watch via a portal on Netflix's website without having to sign up for the service.
Netflix's decision to drop free trials in the U.S. doesn't come entirely as a surprise since it previously removed that option in other countries as well. That said, the company reiterates that subscribing to its service requires "no contracts, no cancellation fees, and no commitments." It remains to be seen how this change will affect its growth moving forward.
Source: Netflix via The Verge
By Jay Bonggolto
Netflix raises prices for its standard and premium plans in Canada
by Jay Bonggolto
Netflix today announced changes to the prices of some of its subscription plans in Canada. The streaming service's standard and premium monthly plans will see price hikes both for new and existing subscribers.
For its standard monthly plan, subscribers will now have to pay CA$14.99 from CA$13.99. Netflix has also jacked up the price for its premium plan to CA$18.99 per month from CA$16.99. Its basic plan remains the same, nonetheless, at CA$9.99 per month.
The Canadian Press noted that the last time the streaming provider increased its prices for Canadian subscribers was way back in 2018. Then last year, Netflix also increased its prices across the board in the U.S. A few months later, it did the same to its standard and premium plans in the UK.
Netflix says the new price hikes are meant to fund more films and improve the user experience on its streaming app. For new subscribers in Canada, the changes take effect immediately. Those who have existing subscriptions will see the new rates in the coming weeks, depending on their billing cycles. They'll also receive notifications via email and in the Netflix app 30 days prior to the implementation of the new prices.
Source: The Canadian Press
By Jay Bonggolto
Facebook adds support for Netflix, Zoom, and more on Portal
by Jay Bonggolto
Facebook announced today that it is bringing Netflix, Zoom, and more new capabilities to its Portal family of devices. The social networking giant says the new additions are meant to help people stay connected with their family and friends amid travel restrictions in many places.
Starting today, Netflix shows are available on Portal TV, provided you have subscribed to the streaming service. However, it's live only in countries where Portal is available, including the U.S., UK, Australia, Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, and Spain. Netflix complements other streaming services already available on Portal such as Amazon Prime Video and Sling TV.
In addition, there's a new remote with built-in dedicated buttons to quickly launch Prime Video, Facebook Watch, and Netflix. It's set for shipping starting today with Portal TV and will be hitting store shelves in the next few weeks.
Facebook has also added support for Zoom on Portal, complete with high-fidelity sound and an artificial intelligence-powered Smart Camera to start a video call hands-free. It follows Zoom's announcement in August to bring the service to smart displays like Portal and more. With Zoom, you can call up to 25 people on Portal at the same time, though that number pales in comparison to the maximum limit of 50 users with Messenger Rooms, which arrived on Portal devices in June. The videoconferencing platform is rolling out to Portal, Portal Mini, and Portal+ in markets where Portal available.
The Story Time library is also set to add additional stories, and support for augmented reality is coming to four classic Dr. Seuss stories this fall, including Hop on Pop, Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, The Foot Book, and There’s a Wocket in my Pocket!
There's also a new capability to use your voice in order to control augmented reality effects in Portal's Photo Booth. That means users can use “Hey Portal” with AR effects to create and send cards with various themes. Finally, support for Spanish has been added to the "Hey Portal" wake word, with plans to add more languages in the future. You can also select French, Spanish, Italian, and English for on-screen text.