Verizon

Verizon Tells Customer He Needs 75Mbps For Smoother Netflix Video 170

Posted by Soulskill
from the selling-your-grandma-upgrades dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Verizon recently told a customer that upgrading his 50Mbps service to 75Mbps would result in smoother streaming of Netflix video. Of course, that's not true — Netflix streams at a rate of about 3.5 Mbps on average for Verizon's fiber service, so there's more than enough headroom either way. But this customer was an analyst for the online video industry, so he did some testing and snapped some screenshots for evidence. He fired up 10 concurrent streams of a Game of Thrones episode and found only 29Mbps of connection being used. This guy was savvy enough to see through Verizon's BS, but I'm sure there are millions of customers who wouldn't bat an eye at the statements they were making. The analyst "believes that the sales pitch he received is not just an isolated incident, since he got the same pitch from three sales reps over the phone and one online."
Television

Netflix Is Betting On Exclusive Programming 216

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-did-say-you-wanted-a-la-carte dept.
An anonymous reader writes: You may have heard of the recent launch of the new Daredevil TV show, and possibly the hit shows House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. They're all original programming from Netflix — the company that used to just mail DVDs to your door. But Netflix is now running a lot more than just those three shows — it has 320 hours of original programming planned for this year. This article discusses how Netflix is betting big on original, exclusive content, and what that means for the future of television. "Traditionally, television networks needed to stand for something to carve out an audience, he said, whereas the Internet allows brands to mean different things to different people because the service can be personalized for individual viewers. That means that for a conservative Christian family, Netflix should stand for wholesome entertainment, and, for a 20-year-old New York college student, it should be much more on the edge, he said.... 'We've had 80 years of linear TV, and it's been amazing, and in its day the fax machine was amazing,' he said. "The next 20 years will be this transformation from linear TV to Internet TV.'"
Television

Daredevil TV Show Debuts; Early Reviews Positive 114

Posted by Soulskill
from the sight-for-sore-eyes dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Daredevil has been a staple of Marvel's superhero lineup since the 1960s. But Daredevil's most recent on-screen legacy was a terrible film in 2003 starring Ben Affleck. Since then, Marvel has gotten a lot better at adapting comics to the big and small screen. Yesterday saw the debut of a new Daredevil television series. It's a Netflix original, which means the whole first season went up at once. Early reviews of the show are quite complimentary. Slate praises the acting, and adds, "Daredevil is a bloody show that also bleeds: It has more interest in human bodies than much recent Marvel fare, and more interest in human beings as well. It's remarkably patient, resisting the urge to tell its viewers everything at once, a restraint largely enabled by the binge-y sprawl of the Netflix format." Ars Technica says the violence can be a bit over-the-top at times, but praises how the choreography and cinematography reflect the main character's blindness. The Verge simply says Daredevil raises the bar for superhero television, even though many new shows have found success recently.
Businesses

Netflix Algorithm Tells You When Your Best Employee Is About To Leave You 210

Posted by timothy
from the time-your-bonuses-accordingly dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Former Netflix data scientist Mohammad Sabah has used the basis of the video-streaming company's movie-recommendation engine to create a new system to predict when valuable employees are likely to leave your company for pastures new. The new application 'Workday Talent Insights' uses the basis of the engine to correlate diverse factors such as interval between promotions and current length of tenure with equivalent job opportunities at employment websites, in order to gauge 'corporate restlessness', and provide options for employers who identify potential leavers."
The Courts

9th Circuit Rules Netflix Isn't Subject To Disability Law 278

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-subject-to-your-laws dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news that the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled that Netflix doesn't have to caption their videos. "A federal appeals court ruled (PDF) yesterday that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) doesn't apply to Netflix, since the online video provider is 'not connected to any actual, physical place.' Donald Cullen sued Netflix in March 2011, attempting to kick off a class-action lawsuit on behalf of disabled people who didn't have full use of the videos because they aren't all captioned. A district court judge threw out his lawsuit in 2013, and yesterday's ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upholds that decision. The decision is 'unpublished,' meaning it isn't intended to be used as precedent in other cases. However, it certainly doesn't bode well for any plaintiff thinking about filing a similar case in the 9th Circuit, which covers most of the Western US."
Media

Ask Slashdot: Building a Home Media Center/Small Server In a Crawlspace? 253

Posted by timothy
from the make-sure-you-can-retrieve-it-later dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I've decided it's time for me to build a separate machine specifically for use as a Media Center/Small Home Server. My wife and I haven't had cable TV in years, instead relying entirely on Netflix, other streaming sites, and hard copies we've bought over the years. Having just finished ripping our entire media collection (CDs, DVDs, and even our vinyls and VHS with the help of a capture card and some sweet digital voodoo) to a couple HDDs, I'm feeling froggy. Up until now we've been using WDTV Live, and it's been pretty snazzy, but I want to upgrade to a dedicated media machine instead of piggybacking off of my office computer. It'll be a Windows based machine utilizing Plex, and it's going in the crawlspace of the house. The crawlspace in question is unfinished, but I do have a dry concrete slab down there where I can put/mount/assemble something. Cooling won't be an issue obviously, and I am keeping a close eye on hardware specs with regards to moisture. It is still a crawlspace though. What would be a good setup to to house the hardware? Priorities being to safeguard against moisture, vermin, and dirt. Modified PC Tower? Rack? Build an enclosure? Something I haven't considered?

Please assume I'm stubborn and absolutely dead-set on putting it in the crawlspace to avoid the discussion devolving into the 'best' place to put a media machine."
Hardware Hacking

Watch an Original NES Run Netflix 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-and-play dept.
sarahnaomi writes with this story about a NES running Netflix. I don't know how you get Netflix to play on an original Nintendo, but it's been blowing my mind for the last 18 hours or so. Netflix posted the video with painfully little explanation. I have tried in many ways to get in touch with the Netflix developers who did what you see above, but no one is getting back to me, so here are some wild speculations."
Youtube

The Revolution Wasn't Televised: the Early Days of YouTube 81

Posted by Soulskill
from the when-web-videos-were-awful dept.
mrflash818 sends this report from Mashable: A decade ago, Netflix meant DVDs by mail, video referred to TV and the Internet meant simple text and pictures. All that changed in about 20 months. ... It was hard to get a handle on what YouTube was, exactly. The founders didn't know how to describe the project, so they called it a dating site. But since there weren't many videos on the site, Karim populated it with videos of 747s taking off and landing. Desperate to get people on the site, YouTube ran ads on Craigslist in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, offering women $20 for every video they uploaded. Not a single woman replied. Another vision for YouTube was a sort of video messaging service. “We thought it was going to be more of a closer circle relationship,” Chen said in a 2007 interview. “It was going to be me uploading a video and sharing it with eight people and I knew exactly who was going to be watching these videos — sharing with my family and my friends.” What actually happened was a “completely different use case” in which people uploaded videos and shared them with the world.
Businesses

LinkedIn Restricts API Usage 69

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-your-hands-off dept.
mpicpp points out LinkedIn's new API policy. "LinkedIn is restricting access to most of its application programming interfaces (APIs) to companies that have struck up partnerships with the social networking company. 'Over the past several years, we've seen some exciting applications from our developer community. While many delivered value back to our members and LinkedIn, not all have,' wrote Adam Trachtenberg, director of the LinkedIn developer network, explaining in a blog post the change in the company's API policy. Starting May 12, LinkedIn will only offer a handful of its APIs for general use, namely those that allow users and companies to post information about themselves on the service. After then, only companies that have enrolled in LinkedIn's partner program will have API access. Samsung, WeChat, and Evernote have already struck such partnerships. Currently, the social networking service offers a wide range of APIs, which allow third-party programs to draw content from, and place content into, LinkedIn. APIs have been seen as an additional channel for businesses to interact with their users and partners. A few companies, however, have recently scaled back access to APIs, which provide the programmatic ability to access a company's services and data. Netflix shut its public API channel in November, preferring to channel its user information through a small number of partners. ESPN also disabled public access to its APIs in December. LinkedIn's move is evidence of how the business use of APIs are evolving, said John Musser, founder and CEO at API Science, which offers an API performance testing service."
Businesses

Netflix Now Available In Cuba 125

Posted by samzenpus
from the binge-away dept.
aBaldrich writes Streaming video service Netflix will be available to Cuban customers starting today, at the $7.99 U.S. per month rate that it offers in the U.S., the company announced today. It'll still require an international payment method for now, as well as Internet access (which still isn't ubiquitous in [Cuba]), but it's an early start that Netflix says it wanted to offer in order to have it available as Cuban Internet access expands, and debit and credit cards become more available to Cuban citizens. Until now, Cubans have had little access to this kind of American entertainment. The U.S. government maintains a floating balloon tethered to an island in the Florida Keys that broadcasts the pro-democracy TV Marti network. The Cuban government constantly jams the signal. "Cuba has great filmmakers and a robust arts culture, and one day we hope to be able to bring their work to our global audience," Reed Hastings, the company's co-founder and chief executive officer, said in the statement.
Government

Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition 255

Posted by timothy
from the never-let-the-government-define-words dept.
WheezyJoe writes Responding to the FCC's proposal to raise the definition of broadband from 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream to 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up, the lobby group known as the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) wrote in an FCC filing Thursday that 25Mbps/3Mbps isn't necessary for ordinary people. The lobby alleges that hypothetical use cases offered for showing the need for 25Mbps/3Mbps "dramatically exaggerate the amount of bandwidth needed by the typical broadband user", referring to parties in favor of the increase like Netflix and Public Knowledge. Verizon, for its part, is also lobbying against a faster broadband definition. Much of its territory is still stuck on DSL which is far less capable of 25Mbps/3Mbps speeds than cable technology.

The FCC presently defines broadband as 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up, a definition that hasn't changed since 2010. By comparison, people in Sweden can pay about $40 a month for 100/100 mbps, choosing between more than a dozen competing providers. The FCC is under mandate to determine whether broadband is being deployed to Americans in a reasonable and timely way, and the commission must take action to accelerate deployment if the answer is negative. Raising the definition's speeds provides more impetus to take actions that promote competition and remove barriers to investment, such as a potential move to preempt state laws that restrict municipal broadband projects.
Blackberry

Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps 307

Posted by timothy
from the fantasy-world-of-atlas-shrugged dept.
DW100 writes In a bizarre public blog post the CEO of BlackBerry, John Chen, has claimed that net neutrality laws should include forcing app developers to make their services available on all operating systems. Chen even goes as far as citing Apple's iMessage tool as a service that should be made available for BlackBerry, because at present the lack of an iMessage BlackBerry app is holding the firm back. Some excerpts from Chen's plea: Netflix, which has forcefully advocated carrier neutrality, has discriminated against BlackBerry customers by refusing to make its streaming movie service available to them. Many other applications providers similarly offer service only to iPhone and Android users. ... Neutrality must be mandated at the application and content layer if we truly want a free, open and non-discriminatory internet. All wireless broadband customers must have the ability to access any lawful applications and content they choose, and applications/content providers must be prohibited from discriminating based on the customer’s mobile operating system. Since "content providers" are writing code they think makes sense for one reason or another (expected returns financial or psychic), a mandate to write more code seems like a good way to re-learn why contract law frowns on specific performance.
Programming

Interviews: Alexander Stepanov and Daniel E. Rose Answer Your Questions 42

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
samzenpus (5) writes "Alexander Stepanov is an award winning programmer who designed the C++ Standard Template Library. Daniel E. Rose is a programmer, research scientist, and is the Chief Scientist for Search at A9.com. In addition to working together, the duo have recently written a new book titled, From Mathematics to Generic Programming. Earlier this month you had a chance to ask the pair about their book, their work, or programming in general. Below you'll find the answers to those questions."
Movies

Amazon Plans To Release 12 Movies a Year In Theaters and On Prime 92

Posted by samzenpus
from the watching-more dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Amazon has announced that it will begin to produce and acquire original movies for theatrical release and early window distribution on Amazon Prime Instant Video. From the article: "This is a big move from Amazon, as it seeks to narrow the theatrical release window to between four and eight weeks. It can often take up to a year for films to land on subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, however they do typically land on DVD/Blu-ray within around four months. Production for the aptly titled 'Amazon Original Movies' program will kick off in 2015, and plans are afoot to create around a dozen original titles for release in cinemas each year."
Networking

Netflix Denies There Was a Policy Change With VPNs 67

Posted by samzenpus
from the wasn't-us dept.
Dangerous_Minds writes "The other day, Slashdot linked to a TorrentFreak story saying that Netflix was cracking down on VPN users. But PCMag has a story that quotes a Netflix spokesperson saying that there was no change in their policy on VPNs. Freezenet also did some digging around and found very few reports saying there were VPN access issues and even more reports from users say that their VPN solution is working for the time being."
Movies

Netflix Begins Blocking Users Who Bypass Region Locks 121

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-show-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes with reports that Netflix may be shutting out international VPN users. "Netflix can only stream the videos that studios make available in a given country, which has led to a booming business in workarounds (such as proxies and virtual private networks) that let you see the company's catalogs in other nations. Heck, one New Zealand internet provider practically built a service around it. However, you might not get to count on that unofficial solution for much longer. VPN operators claim to TorrentFreak that Netflix recently started blocking some users who use these technological loopholes to watch videos that would normally be verboten. The effort isn't widespread and mostly appears to focus on connections with many simultaneous Netflix sign-ins (that is, they're obviously being used for circumvention), but it's a surprise to viewers who were used to having unfettered access."
DRM

Netflix Cracks Down On VPN and Proxy "Pirates" 437

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-people-hate-the-content-industry dept.
An anonymous reader sends this unfortunate report from TorrentFreak: Due to complicated licensing agreements Netflix is only available in a few dozen countries, all of which have a different content library. Some people bypass these content and access restrictions by using VPNs or other circumvention tools that change their geographical location. This makes it easy for people all around the world to pay for access to the U.S. version of Netflix, for example. The movie studios are not happy with these deviant subscribers as it hurts their licensing agreements. ... Over the past weeks Netflix has started to take action against people who use certain circumvention tools. The Android application started to force Google DNS which now makes it harder to use DNS based location unblockers, and several VPN IP-ranges were targeted as well.
Displays

The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait 567

Posted by timothy
from the makes-it-hard-to-type dept.
Molly McHugh writes The vast majority of computer-related tasks see no benefit from a screen that is longer than it is tall. Sure, video playback and gaming are some key exceptions, but if you watch Netflix on your TV instead of your computer monitor and you're not into PC gaming, that long, wide display is doing nothing but hampering your experience. Let's flip it. No, seriously. Let's flip it sideways.
The Internet

IoT Is the Third Big Technology 'Wave' In the Last 50 Years, Says Harvard 196

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-got-your-internet-in-my-things dept.
dcblogs writes: The Internet of Things (IoT) may be more significant in reshaping the competitive landscape than the arrival of the Internet. Its productivity potential is so powerful it will deliver a new era of prosperity. That's the argument put forth by Michael Porter, an economist at the Harvard Business School and James Heppelmann, president and CEO of PTC, in a recent Harvard Business Review essay. PTC is a product design software firm that recently acquired machine-to-machine firm Axeda Corp. In the past 50 years, IT has delivered two major transformations or "waves," as the authors describe it. The first came in the 1960s and 1970s, with IT-enabled process automation, computer-aided design and manufacturing resource planning. The second was the Internet and everything it delivered. The third is IoT. That's a strikingly sweeping claim and there will no doubt be contrarians to Porter and Heppelmann's view. But what analysts are clear about is that IoT development today is at an early stage, perhaps at a point similar to 1995, the same year Amazon and eBay went online, followed by Netflix in 1997 and Google in 1998. People understood the trend at the time, but the big picture was still out of focus.
Television

Nielsen Will Start Tracking Netflix and Amazon Video 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the tracking-the-numbers dept.
An anonymous reader writes Nielsen is going to start studying the streaming behavior of online viewers for the first time. Netflix has never released detailed viewership data, but Nielsen says they have developed a way for its rating meters to track shows by identifying their audio. From the article: "Soon Nielsen, the standard-bearer for TV ratings, may change that. The TV ratings company revealed to the Wall Street Journal that it's planning to begin tracking viewership of online video services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video in December by analyzing the audio of shows that are being streamed. The new ratings will come with a lot of caveats—they won't track mobile devices and won't take into account Netflix's large global reach—but they will provide a sense for the first time which Netflix shows are the most popular. And if the rest of the media world latches onto these new ratings as a standard, Netflix won't be able to ignore them."