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All the Good Netflix Movies Are in Canada and Brazil ( 92

Netflix's movie library has declined over the last two years when cross referenced with IMDB's 250 movies list. Earlier this month, we learned that if you were in the United States, Netflix only had 31 of the 250 movies listed on the holy-grail of all movie databases. Gizmodo today reports that if you were in Brazil or Canada, that same library looks a lot better. From the report: According to analysis by both The Streaming Observer and AddonHQ, Canada and Brazil have the best content ecosystems, when it comes to movies on Netflix. But when it comes to good movies, Brazil is tops. The Streaming Observer found that Brazil had 85 movies from IMDb's Top 250 in its library. The site also put together a ridiculously huge chart if you want to see exactly which movies are available on each service. It's worth checking out. Brazil has movies that those of us in America could only dream of streaming, like The Godfather Part II, Fight Club, and The Empire Strikes Back. Mexico and Sweden have solid showings too, with 73 and 70 movies from the IMDb's Top 250 in their respective libraries.

LeEco Who? Chinese Tech Giant Tries Its Luck In the US With 'More Products Than You've Ever Seen' ( 58

LeEco is often called the Netflix of China. Which is funny for two reasons: LeEco is bigger than Netflix, and it has been around for longer than the American on-demand movies and TV shows streaming service. Besides, LeEco runs a fleet of other businesses, including ecommerce portal, smartphones, TVs, and even an autonomous cars. A company executive said this month that this would be a better description of LeEco, "If you were to take Apple, Amazon, Paramount Pictures, Tesla, Uber and Netflix and combine all of those companies, you get what LeEco does in China" But you may not have heard much about LeEco, the company which was until earlier this year known as LeTv. But you will now, because the company today announced a range of products for the U.S. market. TechCrunch adds: Perhaps predictably, one of the first US-based offerings from the company often referred to as "the Netflix of China" will be a content platform. And, as with just about everything else at today's event, LeEco's coming out swinging. The list of partners for LeEco Live includes MGM, Lionsgate, Vice, Showtime, Sling and Magnolia Pictures, along with publication partners like Cosmopolitan and Esquire, to name but a few. From another CNET report, which lists the other things that LeEco announced today: UMax 85 TV is LeEco's flagship 4K smart television. It's 85 inches, comes with 4GB in RAM and 64GB in storage and supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision. It will cost $4,999. Super4 X65 TV is LeEco's second biggest 4K smart television at 65 inches and comes with most of the same features as the UMax 85. Super4 X55 TV is a 55-inch 4K smart television and comes with most of the same features as the UMax 85. Super4 X43 Pro TV is 43-inch 4K smart television and comes with most of the same features as the UMax 85. LeEco has an upcoming prototype VR headset; it will have a gyroscope, bluetooth headphones and USB Type-C. LeSee Pro is LeEco's self-driving concept car. It will be fully autonomous and will have a connected interior to let people stream movies, music and work documents. LeSee is LeEco's semi-autonomous vehicle (level 3). It is internet-connected and has streaming content in rear seats. LeEco first unveiled this car in April.

Netflix's Big Bet on Original Shows Finally Seen Paying Off ( 90

Netflix shares jumped as much as 20 percent on Tuesday, after the company added 50 percent more subscribers than expected in the third quarter. Reuters adds: At least 10 brokerages, including Goldman Sachs and RBC Capital Markets, raised their price targets on the stock, praising the company's focus on developing original content. The video streaming company also said it was getting ready to spend $6 billion on content next year, up $1 billion from 2016. "The benefits of Netflix-produced original content including attractive economics and greater control are clear and we believe returns on original spend are high," J.P. Morgan Securities analyst Doug Anmuth said in a research note. Strong subscriber additions after two quarters of disappointing growth helped Netflix post a 31.7 percent jump in third-quarter revenue. Anmuth said he believed Netflix was on track toward 60 million plus subscribers in the United States and about 100 million internationally by 2020.A study by IHS Markit this month noted that both Netflix and Amazon are challenging major networks by upping spending on original shows. The study noted that Amazon and Netflix both had doubled spending on new shows in the last two years. Amazon dropped $1.22 billion in 2013 and spent $2.67 billion in 2015. Netflix's spending on original content rose from $2.38 billion to $4.91 billion over the same period.

More Unblocking Companies Give Up Their Fight Against Netflix ( 212

Earlier this year, Netflix announced it was going to block the VPN services that were circumventing the streaming service's geoblocking technology, and it seems in the months since many of the top VPN players have given up on finding ways to workaround Netflix's block tech. From a report on TechSpot (condensed): Australian company uFlix discovered that some of its users could no longer access Netflix. It said that a fix was coming soon, but, uFlix announced recently in a recent blog post that it has given up the fight. "As of today we are going to stop supporting Netflix as an unblocked channel. Unfortunately every time we set up a new network or find a workaround it is getting blocked within hours." Uflix isn't the only service to throw in the towel -- most of the other unblockers have quietly decided to stop trying to evade Netflix's geoblocks, as more customers complain they can no longer watch the streaming site. Popular VPN TorGuard had assured customers that the crackdown wouldn't affect them. But there is no mention of Netflix on TorGuard's website, and its shared Netflix server was taken offline four months ago.
The Internet

Netflix Is 12x As Popular As Its Streaming Competitors Among Younger Viewers, Says Survey ( 44

Investment bank Piper Jaffray released a survey Friday that reveals just how much U.S. teens love Netflix. Out of the 10,000 U.S. teens surveyed, 37% of them watched Netflix every single day, while only 3% of them watched Amazon Prime Video and Hulu each day, respectively. That means Netflix is over 12 times as popular in terms of daily use. Business Insider reports: At the top of the pack for general video consumption, after Netflix, came YouTube (26%), which inched over cable TV (25%). This continued an upward trend for YouTube and a downward one for cable. Last month, analysts at UBS said Amazon and Hulu were closing the gap with Netflix in overall consumer satisfaction in the U.S. Amazon and Netflix were in a dead heat at 58% and 59% respectively. Hulu still lagged a bit, but was close to Netflix at 53% of people "very satisfied."

Verizon Is Now Selling Unlimited Data In 30-Minute Increments ( 56

Verizon has unveiled a new pay-as-you-go unlimited mobile data offering yesterday called PopData that has some significant strings attached. The option charges you $2 for 30 minutes or $3 for 60 minutes of unlimited internet data. The Verge reports: Think of it like a microtransaction or in-app purchase in a mobile game, where you can't enjoy the full benefits of a product you ostensibly already own or pay for without ponying up a few extra bucks. There does appear to be some legitimate reasons to want unfettered data access for a short amount of time. For instance, perhaps you know you'll be downloading large files to your phone like numerous Spotify playlists, or maybe you want to enjoy an uninterrupted stream of a sports game or Netflix movie without having to worry about your data cap. But there's no telling really whether this is a good or bad deal, as it complicates how we think of the value of data by blending a monthly bucket metaphor with that of a time-based subscription system. This wouldn't be such a big deal if customers could simply pay for unlimited data every month. Yet Verizon -- unlike ATT, T-Mobile, and Sprint -- does not offer customers a standard unlimited plan, and the company has made an effort to kick users off their grandfathered plans in the past.

Netflix Now Only Has 31 Movies From IMDB's Top 250 List ( 181

According to Streaming Observer News, the quality and quantity of Netflix's movie library has declined over the last two years when cross-referenced with IMDB's Top 250 movies list. From the report: Well, it's a pretty common fact at this point that Netflix's library is shrinking. Of course, what Netflix needs to do as it shrinks its licensed movie library is make sure that movies it does have are good ones. But according to our analysis, it's going backwards, unfortunately. A while back we noticed a post from this Reddit member who, two years ago, cross-referenced the IMDB (Internet Movie Database) top 250 movies list with Netflix's movie library to find out how many of the top movies Netflix carried. When u/clayton_frisbie posted his list on Reddit, Netflix had 49 of the Top 250 movies on the IMDB list. That's just under 20 percent, which isn't terrible. But we wondered how that number has held up over the last two years in the face of a quickly shrinking library. So we reran the analysis. How many of the top 250 movies does Netflix now have? As of September 2016, that number has dropped to 31, or about 12 percent. [You can view the list via Streaming Observer News.]

Netflix CEO: Movie Theaters Are 'Strangling the Movie Business'' ( 342

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings thinks the state of film is a "real tragedy" and that movie theaters are "strangling the movie business," he said at The New Yorker's Tech Fest on Friday. From a Business Insider report:On Friday, Hastings came down hard on these theater owners, saying there had been no innovation in the movie theater business in recent years, even as TV has been shaped by the rise of cable and internet networks. "Money" and "innovation" has flooded to the TV industry, Hastings said. Not so with film. The movie theater business has seen flatline revenue, Hastings said. Part of the problem is that small movies, such as many Netflix has snagged from places like Sundance, would be better distributed both at home and in theaters. That's a convenient position for Netflix to take, but Hastings said the movie studios feel the same way. Each movie studio would like to "break the oligopoly" of the theaters, but "they don't know how," he continued. If they collude to face the theaters, it's anti-trust, but if they are the ones to take the first step, their films will get killed. That means they just go along with the status quo.

Netflix Partners With iPic To Release Its Original Movies In Theaters, NATO Urges To 'Tread Lightly' ( 134

turkeydance quotes a report from Variety: The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) is sounding the alarm over a recent deal between Netflix and iPic, in which the luxury-theater chain will screen 10 movies simultaneously with their release on the streaming service. The lobbying organization represents the country's theater chains and has been a staunch defender of traditional release windows that keep films exclusively on screens for roughly 90 days before they debut on home entertainment platforms. In a statement, NATO chief John Fithian warned that while iPic was free to make its own decisions, "We all should tread lightly and be mindful that over the years, the film industry's success is a direct result of a highly successful collaboration between film makers, distributors and exhibitors." The deal with iPic should help Netflix' movies quality for awards. Variety reports: "iPic will release the war thriller 'The Siege of Jadotville,' starring Jamie Dornan ('Fifty Shades of Grey'), on Oct. 7. That will be followed by Christopher Guest's mockumentary 'Mascots' on Oct. 13. This summer, iPic first tested showings of Netflix's 'The Little Prince.'" "Simultaneous release, in practice, has reduced both theatrical and home revenues when it has been tried," Fithian said in a statement. "Just as Netflix and its customers put a value on exclusivity, theater owners and their customers do too."

Google Gets Serious About Home Automation: Unveils Google Home, Actions on Google and Google Wifi ( 91

At its hardware launch event earlier today, Google launched Google Home, a voice-activated speaker that aims to give Amazon's Echo a run for its money. The speaker is always-listening and uses Google's Assistant to deliver sports scores, weather information, commute times, and much more. Tech Crunch reports: So like the Echo, Google Home combines a wireless speaker with a set of microphones that listen for your voice commands. There is a mute button on the Home and four LEDs on top of the device so you can know when it's listening to you; otherwise, you won't find any other physical buttons on it. As for music, Google Home will feature built-in support for Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora and others. You can set up a default music service, too, so you don't always have to tell Google that you want to play a song "on Spotify." Google also noted that Home's music search is powered by Google, so it can understand relatively complex queries. Music on Google Home will also support podcast listening and because it's a Cast device, you can stream music to it from any other Cast-enabled device. Home integrates with Google's Chromecasts and Cast-enabled TVs. For now, that mostly means watching YouTube videos, but Google says it will also support Netflix, too. Google Home will cost $129 (with a free six-month trial of YouTube Red) and go on sale on Google's online store today. It will ship on November 4. What's more is that developers will be able to integrate their third-party apps with Google Assistant via "Actions on Google." With Actions on Google, developers will be able to create two kinds of actions: Direct and Conversation. Direct is made for relatively simple requests like home automation, while Conversation is made for a back and forth interaction utilizing Actions on Google will also allow third-party hardware to take advantage of Google Assistant. Those interested can sign-up for the service today. But Google didn't stop there. The company went on to reveal all-new, multi-point Wifi routers called Google Wifi. The Verge reports: The Wifi router can be purchased two ways: as a single unit or in a multipack, just like Eero. A single unit is $129, while the three-pack will cost $299. Google says Wifi will be available for preorder in the U.S. in November and will ship to customers in December. There was no mention of international availability. Google says it has developed a number of technologies to make the Wifi system work, including intelligent routing of traffic from your phone or device to the nearest Wifi unit in your home. It supports AC 1200 wireless speeds, as well as simultaneous dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks. It also has beamforming technology and support for Bluetooth Smart. Google says the system will handle channel management and other traffic routing automatically.

Netflix Goes Down, People Freak Out and Discover Real Life 88

Facing issues with Netflix? You're not alone. Beginning at 3pm ET, users worldwide started to report connectivity issues with the on-demand movie and TV shows streaming service. Downdetector, a website which monitors outage also confirmed the outage with more than 7,000 user complaints. Netflix confirmed the outage in a tweet a few minutes ago, saying it was "aware of streaming issues and we are working quickly to solve them. We will update you when they are solved." Though the company hasn't offered an explanation for this outage, its servers could be seeing an unusual spike in traffic from people trying to binge watch Luke Cage, which was made available this weekend.

Anyone here uses Netflix and facing the issue too?

Cable TV Companies Could Lose Nearly $1 Billion in the Next Year From People Ditching Their Subscriptions ( 250

Nathan McAlone, writing for BusinessInsider: Cable TV companies could lose nearly $1 billion to people cutting the cord over the next year, according to a new study by management consulting firm cg42. The firm estimates that 800,000 cable customers will ditch their subscriptions in the next 12 months. Cg42 expects each customer to be an average loss of $1,248 annually, and losses to approach $1 billion over the year. Cg42 also found that the average cord-cutter saves $104 per month by canceling. Some in the industry have argued that cutting the cord doesn't actually save you money if you subscribe to a bunch of streaming services like Netflix, HBO, and so on. But that point of view neglects the reality that many cable subscribers pay for those streaming services already.

ISP To FCC: Using The Internet Is Like Eating Oreos ( 229

New submitter Rick Schumann shares with us a report highlighting an analogy presented by an ISP that relates Double Stuf Oreos to the internet. Specifically, that Double Stuf Oreos cost more than regular Oreos, and therefore you should pay more for internet: The Consumerist reports: "Ars Technica first spotted the crumbly filing, from small (and much-loathed) provider Mediacom. Mediacom's comment is in response to the same proceeding that Netflix commented on earlier this month. However, while Netflix actually addressed data and the ways in which their customers use it, Mediacom went for the more metaphor-driven approach. The letter literally starts out under the header, 'You Have to Pay Extra For Double-Stuffed,' and posits that you, the consumer, are out for a walk with $2 in your pocket when you suddenly develop a ferocious craving for Oreo cookies." Of course their analogy is highly questionable, since transmitting data over a network doesn't actually consume anything, now does it? You eat the cookie, the cookie is gone, but you transmit data over a network, the network is still there and can transmit data endlessly. Mediacom's assertion that the Internet is like a cookie you eat, is like saying copying a file on your computer somehow diminishes or degrades the original file, which of course is ridiculous.

Nokia Says It Can Deliver Internet 1,000x Faster Than Google Fiber ( 75

An anonymous reader writes: Verizon Fios has topped Netflix's speed index for quite some time now with its 500 Mbps up and down internet speeds. When compared to dial-up speeds of about 56 Kbps, Fios is roughly 1000 times faster (since 500 Mbps is equivalent to 500,000 Kbps). Google Fiber on the other hand offers 1 Gbps speeds, but it's not as widely available as Fios as of yet. In a statement made to ZDNet last week, Nokia said it has figured out how to deliver internet that is 2,000 times faster than Verizon Fios, or 1,000 times faster than Google Fiber. Their technique is called Probabilistic Constellation Shaping (PCS), which can deliver 1 Tbps speeds over a fiber connection. "The trial of the novel modulation approach, known as Probabilistic Constellation Shaping (PCS), uses quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) formats to achieve higher transmission capacity over a given channel to significantly improve the spectral efficiency of optical communications," Nokia explains. "PCS modifies the probability with which constellation points, the alphabet of the transmission, are used. Traditionally, all constellation points are used with the same frequency. PCS cleverly uses constellation points with high amplitude less frequently than those with lesser amplitude to transmit signals that, on average, are more resilient to noise and other impairments. This allows the transmission rate to be tailored to ideally fit the transmission channel, delivering up to 30 percent greater reach." Nokia's demonstration is described as being achieved in "real-world conditions," though there is no timeframe as to when the technology will be deployed in real networks.

Netflix Wants 50% Of Its Library To Be Original Content ( 187

An anonymous reader writes: Netflix is looking to shift its content mix even further towards original TV and movies, with a goal of achieving a 50 percent mix between its own programming and stuff licensed for its use by outside studios. The 50-50 target was revealed by Netflix CFO David Wells at the Goldman Sach's Communacopia conference on Tuesday, and Wells added that they'd like to hit that mix sometime over the course of the next few years. As for its progress so far, Wells said Netflix is already about "one-third to halfway" to that ratio, having launched 2015 hours of original programming in 2015, and with the intend of achieving a further 600 hours by the end of 2016. The benefit for Netflix with a shift to self-generated content is that the licensing situation is much simpler, and the investment made represents a cost that continues to deliver value long after the initial spend. Licensing arrangements with outside TV and film distributors have a fixed term, and thus represent a recurring cost if you want to continue offering their content in your library.
Open Source

Netflix Releases 'Meridian' Test Footage To All Including Competitors, Open Sources Some Tools ( 40

Netflix has released 'Meridian' to not just all its 83 million subscribers, but to everyone. The company produced the title as test footage to evaluate anything from the performance of video codecs to the way Netflix streams look like on 4K TVs. But the company decided to make it to open to all -- be it hardware manufacturers, codec developers, or even competitors like Amazon and Hulu. From a report on Variety:Netflix is using a Creative Commons license for the release of "Meridian," which is new for an industry that isn't used to sharing a lot of resources. "They are in the business of exploiting content, not of giving it away," Chris Fetner, the company's director for content partner operations said. But for Netflix, it's just par of the course. Thanks to its Silicon Valley DNA, Netflix has long collaborated with other companies on cloud computing-focused open source projects. Now, it wants to nudge Hollywood to do the same -- and "Meridian" is only the beginning. This week, Netflix is also open-sourcing a set of tools tackling a common problem for studios and video services.

21st Century Fox Sues Netflix Over Executive Poaching ( 83

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Los Angeles Times: 21st Century Fox on Friday filed a lawsuit against Netflix, accusing the streaming video giant of illegally recruiting two of its executives who were under contract. The suit, which was filed Friday in California Superior Court in Los Angeles, says Netflix engaged in a "brazen campaign to unlawfully target, recruit, and poach valuable Fox executives by illegally inducing them to break their employment contracts with Fox to work at Netflix." The lawsuit was sparked following the exits of two Fox executives: Marcos Waltenberg, who made the jump to Netflix earlier this year, previously worked as a marketing executive at Twentieth Century Fox Film; Tara Flynn, who made the move to Netflix just last week, had been the vice president of creative affairs at Fox 21 TV Studios. Fox alleges that Netflix pursued and hired the executives even though it knew they each had employment contracts that were still in effect, according to the complaint. The Century City-based studio is seeking an injunction to prevent Netflix from interfering with its employment contracts, as well as compensatory and punitive damages. A Netflix spokesperson said in a statement: "We intend to defend this lawsuit vigorously. We do not believe Fox's use of fixed term employment contracts in this manner are enforceable. We believe in employee mobility and will fight for the right to hire great colleagues no matter where they work."

26% of Netflix Users May Cancel Cable TV This Year, Says Survey ( 92

The future looks grim for cable TV providers like Comcast and Time Warner Cable. A new survey says that as many as 26 percent of Netflix users may cancel their cable TV service by next year. Huffington Post reports: Where are they going? If you say "Netflix," you're not exactly correct. The fact is that, according to a recent survey by CutCableToday, 67 percent of Netflix subscribers still have cable. That's pretty much right in line with last year's numbers, insinuating that Netflix isn't necessarily synonymous with cord cutting. However, perhaps a more interesting statistic from the study shows that 26 percent of Netflix users may not have cable by next year. More specifically, 11 percent of Netflix users say they're going to cancel their cable contracts. 15 percent say they are unsure if they'll keep cable or cut the cord. What about the other 74 percent? The survey goes on to say that the most common reason people aren't canceling is due to Big Cable's greatest weapon. The bundle. The survey states that 80% of Netflix subscribers have their internet bundled with TV or phone service.

Netflix Pushes FCC To Crack Down On Data Caps ( 160

Netflix hates data caps. The on-demand movies and TV shows service has asked the US Federal Communications Commission to declare that home internet data caps are unreasonable and that they limit customers' ability to watch online video. From an article on DSLReports:Netflix has long has an adversarial relationship with ISPs, and often for good reason. Usage caps on fixed-line networks are specifically designed to protect ISP TV revenues from Netflix competition, allowing an ISP to both complicate and generate additional profit off of the shift away from legacy TV. "Data caps (especially low data caps) and usage based pricing ("UBP") discourage a consumer's consumption of broadband, and may impede the ability of some households to watch Internet television in a manner and amount that they would like," said Netflix in a new filing with the FCC. "For this reason, the Commission should hold that data caps on fixed Âline networks ÂÂand low data caps on mobile networksÂÂ may unreasonably limit Internet television viewing and are inconsistent with Section 706." Netflix's filing comes as ISP's increasingly turn to broadband usage caps to take advantage of the lack of broadband competition in many markets. Fearing FCC crackdown both Comcast and AT&T raised their caps to one terabyte, though many ISPs still cap usage at much-lower allotments. High, low, or somewhere in between, Netflix highlights that there is no good reason to implement caps on well-managed fixed-line networks, despite a decade of ISPs trying to justify the price gouging.
Open Source

Netflix Finds x265 20% More Efficient Than VP9 ( 178

Reader StreamingEagle writes (edited): Netflix conducted a large-scale study comparing x264, x265 and libvpx (Google-owned VP9), under real-world conditions, and found that x265 encodes used 35.4% to 53.3% fewer bits than x264, and between 21.8% fewer bits than libvpx, when measured with Netflix's advanced VMAF assessment tool. This was the first large-scale study to use real-world encoder implementations, and a large sample size of high quality, professional content.A Netflix spokesperson explained why they did the test in the first place; "We wanted to understand the current state of the x265 and libvpx codec implementations when used to generate non-realtime encodes optimized for OTT use case. It was important to see how the codecs performed when testing on a diverse set of premium content from our catalog. This test can help us find areas of improvement for the different codecs."

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