YouTube app updated with improved vertical video support
YouTube has made a number of changes to its mobile apps, making it easier to view videos filmed vertically. The iOS and Android apps will now show vertical videos fullscreen when the device is held in portrait mode. The update also introduces the option to receive notifications when certain channels update, such as if a new video is posted, and alterations to the way it displays account information to the user. More video updates were also touted for inclusion in the future, including 3D videos.
Gaming news summary for July 23, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, a thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, the next Hearthstone expansion is announced, Twitch finally starts the move away from Flash for video, and drug testing has finally reached the professional gaming scene.
Existing YouTube stars tapped for new shows, exclusive content
YouTube's upcoming subscription service for normal video clips, alongside the existing version for music videos, will not include content from any major TV networks, a report claims. Instead of offering a more typical video on-demand service, including popular programs available on other paid services, the paid subscription will apparently solely rely on existing YouTube stars and the removal of advertising from its videos in order to attract customers.
Potential service allegedly will cost more than Netflix, Hulu Plus
Hulu is looking into offering its users with an advertising-free service, the Wall Street Journal claims. The streaming service may offer an extra tier of service that removes advertisements from view, one that costs even more than the existing premium subscription option, as Hulu faces increased pressure from Amazon prime Instant Video and Netflix, two competing services that do away with advertising completely.
Documents allege that Apple Pay support in UK will kick off next Tuesday
A memo to supermarket chain Waitrose employees (and seemingly confirmed by Apple UK training documents) appears to reveal that Apple Pay in the UK will launch on July 14, albeit with varying restrictions on how much buyers can purchase without having to enter additional information. According to reports, most merchants will have a limit of £20 ($31.24 US) on any kind of contactless payment system, except some new POS terminals that are specifically designed to support Apple Pay.
Third-party app combo make home video playback drop-dead easy
Today's Pointers is going to be a bit short and sweet because, like everyone else in the US, we're itching to get out of the office and engage in dangerous, noisy, polluting activities of an excessive nature. So while you are waiting in the burn unit or drunk tank for either treatment or bail money, here's a great tip for making all that waiting time easier: a simple way to get your iOS devices to play any non-DRM'd audio, photo, or video file format without taking up any space. It's like iTunes Match, but for all kinds of media files.
Amazon Prime Instant Video starts streaming HDR content
Viewers of Amazon's Prime Instant Video in the United States can now watch some of the service's catalog in a high dynamic range (HDR) mode. The first shows in HDR, Mozart in the Jungle and the pilot of Red Oaks, can be watched on a number of Samsung Ultra HD televisions through the smart TV app, with more programs using HDR and ways to access them said to be on the way.
Desktops, notebooks able to view TiVo DVR, live TV streams
TiVo is making it easier for owners of the Roamio and Premiere models of DVR to access their recorded content and live TV on desktops and notebooks. Revealed as TiVo Online, the service effectively provides the same features as the set-top boxes already do, with the ability to not only set their TiVo boxes to record TV shows in the DVR function, but also to watch the recording through a web browser, without the aid of apps or other software.
An app that forces still and video images into a horizontal frame
We have captured video of many cool moments on our mobile devices over the year; unfortunately we were holding the device vertically at the time. This is very irritating when it happens; the video is tiny in the screen, and there are those annoying bars on either side. It makes for a disappointing viewing experience, and thus we don't want to share our footage. We don't tend to get very fancy when we take video, but we do want things to be framed nicely. Horizon Camera fixes that problem by forcing the view into a horizontal frame, no matter what position the device is being held at.
HBO Now, device price drop credited for vast increase in viewership
Apple TV has overtaken Roku and doubled its share of "premium" (paid) channel viewing the beginning of 2015 and the end of the first quarter, from five percent to 10 percent, according to Adobe's Digital Index report. A price cut on the Apple TV units and the announcement of the $15 per month HBO Now service, alongside a steady stream of new channel additions, may have contributed to the increase, which compares to a one percent growth rate from Roku. Apple's iOS platform also continues to dominate mobile video viewing.
Tests showing trailers before Netflix shows prompts advertising denial
Netflix will not be bringing third-party advertising to its video-streaming service, the company has advised. Recent reports suggested that Netflix was testing putting in trailers for Netflix programming before and after shows being watched on the service, though the company has since spoken out denying it is considering bringing any revenue-generating advertising anytime soon, and it is just promoting its self-generated shows.
Streaming video app from Twitter reaches Android one month after competitor Meerkat
Periscope, the live-streaming video app from Twitter, is now available to download on Android. Arriving two months after the iOS version, and almost a month after competitor Meerkat made its own Android app available to the public, Periscope's Android variant keeps the majority of the iOS app's functions and also introduces a number of other features that have yet to reach Apple's mobile devices.
Videos sourced from major producers, integrated into Spotify playlists
Spotify is expanding its service from purely streaming music into other areas, the company revealed at a press launch. Among other updates, Spotify is going to be bringing its long-rumored video service to its users, and following Deezer's recent addition to its own service, it will give listeners the chance to catch up on podcasts, with Spotify slowly turning itself into a one-stop shop for streaming content.
Alleged discussions with video producers suggests Spotify video service on the way
Spotify may be considering a move into offering video as an extension to its service, according to a report. The streaming music service is allegedly in discussions with a number of digital media companies about adding video content to complement its existing track catalog, a subject Spotify may raise during its media event set to take place on May 20.
Researchers work with Apple on DNA testing app for evaluating genetic traits
A leading research and academic technology review publication has revealed that Apple is working with researchers on building DNA-testing apps using ResearchKit, the company's API for medical research software. The apps would require volunteers to submit DNA samples, helping scientists at institutions such as UC San Francisco examine the causes of premature birth by studying genetic factors, while another study will look at disease-connected genes gathered through the study.
Twitter now optional to Meerkat, extra features added
Meerkat, the video streaming startup, is adding Facebook integration following Twitter's actions to restrict the app's popularity. The latest update, rolling out on iOS now with an update to the Android beta likely to follow, effectively frees the live video broadcasting service from Twitter entirely, making the linking of a Twitter name to an account an extra social networking option rather than core to its operation.
Ex-YouTube employees allegedly acquired by Comcast for video service
More details for Comcast's rumored rival to the YouTube video streaming service have reportedly surfaced. Not content with its existing battle against the search company's fiber Internet project, Comcast is allegedly planning to launch a service which will provide "short-form programs" similar to some of the more popular channels and content available on YouTube today.
Video update to Facebook Messenger arrives one year after VOIP addition
Facebook is making its Messenger app more competitive against Skype and FaceTime, by adding video calling one year after it introduced free voice calls. The standalone Messenger app can now start a video call with other users from within any conversation, by tapping the camera icon, and allows for video calling sessions to work between different mobile platforms, including Android and iOS.
New filters style, enhance video like filters for photographs
For more than 70 years, Tiffen has been a leading manufacturer of professional filters for photography and film. Generally, their premium glass filters are the first thing that comes to mind for anyone who hears the name "Tiffen." These filters would need to be applied at the time the photos or videos were being shot, but now in the digital age they can be applied in the post-production world as well with Tiffen's Dfx filter packs. Earlier this year, an update to version 4.0 was released, and we got our hands on a set to see what changes have been made.
Short videos illustrate functionality and look in actual-size screen demos
After releasing the videos in drips, Apple now has completed its set of 10 "guided tour" videos covering the main functions of the Apple Watch. The last three, dealing with Apple Pay, the Activity tracker, and the Workout app were posted on Wednesday, joining videos covering the core user interface of the device and specific functions ranging from phone calls, to customizing the watch face, to sending "digital touch" messages.
Superb tool for recording anything on your Mac's screen
Seriously, how often are you ever going to need to record a video of what's on the screen of your Mac? Unless you are the sort who routinely demonstrates things, you know it's not a very big number of times -- but we're going to tell you that it is precisely the same number of times that you should be using ScreenFlow 5.01.
Not all users affected, but caused kernel panics, startup issues in some machines
On Thursday, Apple released a rare supplemental update to OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 that resolves a bug in a video driver that was causing some Mac owners to report startup issues or even full-blown kernel panics "when running certain apps that capture video," said the company. Users were reported longer-than-normal startup times or crashes. Not fixed by the new update are scattered reports of problems opening large JPEG files using Preview of QuickLook, but this is again not a universal issue.
Latest Red camera capable of 8K video capture at 75fps
Red Camera has revealed its latest cinematography camera at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show, with the potential for 8K video. The Weapon is the newest camera body to use the 6K-resolution Dragon sensor, though the company is giving customers the ability to upgrade the sensor to an even higher 8K-resolution version, when it ships at a later date.
New 3D title support, expanded camera formats, precision color grading, more
On Monday, Apple upgraded its professional video suite, Final Cut Pro, and two of its supporting programs, Motion and Compressor. Final Cut is now up to version 10.2, which features better 3D title support, more camera formats, the ability to view more scopes simultaneously, and improved masking. Motion, now at version 5.2, also includes more options for 3D titles, with more third-party options coming soon. Compressor 4.2 gets a general speed bump, and improves its ability to make a movie sale package for iTunes.
Changes to YouTube Partner Program terms include similar revenue split as normal advertising
Google has confirmed to content creators the rumored YouTube subscription service is coming soon. The video streaming service is also laying more of the groundwork for its ad-free offering by changing the terms uploaders must agree to before uploading, adding language that explains how revenues from subscriptions will be allocated to video producers.
Good podcasts are a lot of work, but can bring fame, acclaim
Last Wednesday on Pointers, we talked about the many reasons one might want to do some voice-oriented recording of a more serious nature on one's Mac or iOS device, such as interviews or as part of creating a YouTube video. We also made some entry-level recommendations on decent mics (the built-in mic on most Macs is fine for FaceTime calls, but its limitations show up quickly when trying to do something professional-sounding) and capturing software. This time around, we'll talk about the mechanics of making a podcast.
Ukrainian couple gets production sample of 12-inch Retina MacBook, makes 15-minute video
Following on the heels of an unboxing video for the forthcoming 12-inch Retina MacBook that surfaced in Vietnam, a new 15-minute video has appeared featuring a woman from Ukraine touting the new device, featuring a "production sample" she obtained. It was functional prior to the video and some tests were completed on it, but an attempt to update it to current OS X releases rendered the test machine inoperative, a security measure from Apple.
Introductory, Digital Touch, Messages, Faces videos up now, more coming soon
On Friday, Apple added to the Apple Watch section of its website with a Guided Tours page that features short videos showing off some of the features of the new device, which will start appearing stores and become available for pre-order on April 10, followed by a full retail debut on April 24. A general introductory video is followed by tutorials on Faces, Digital Touch, and Messages.
Daring move offers entire Series Eight and extras for $1 per episode
In one of the most daring moves in recent memory, the BBC is experimenting with a BitTorrent "bundle" to offer a box set of the popular sf/fantasy series Doctor Who as a legal download. The "Decade of the Doctor" bundle includes some free content, including a welcome video featuring the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, and a 10-minute except of the first of the "modern era" episodes from 2005. For $12, buyers can unlock 12 full episodes and bonus content.
Performance comparable to 2011 MacBook Air, but longer battery life
Despite the unit not being available for another couple of weeks yet, an enthusiast in Vietnam has gotten his hands on a retail version of Apple's forthcoming 12-inch MacBook and posted an "unboxing" video. Separately, new benchmarks (now removed) for the machine show that while the new model can boast performance on par with an Intel Core i7, it would be an older i7 as found in a 2011 11-inch MacBook Air.
Videos recorded on Riff added to end of long clip chain, shared on Facebook
Facebook has launched an app for collaborative video creation with friends on the social network. Riff, a new app from Facebook's Creative Labs and initially created as an employee side-project, lets users film a video on a topic of their choice, and then allows friends to add their own contribution, with the video extending with each new participant's video clip.
Periscope for iOS available now, Android version on the way
Twitter has added another video service to its roster, alongside Vine, one which provides live video streaming to the microblogging platform. A rebranding of an app Twitter acquired in January, Periscope lets users instantly stream from their smartphone to their Twitter feed, with viewers able to provide feedback to the broadcaster in real time.
Twitter starts testing automatic playing of promoted videos in iOS apps
Twitter is starting to test automatically-playing videos in its apps. According to Ad Age, the service will autoplay promoted video ads to some Twitter users in the United States using the official iOS app. While the videos will play muted, some users will see a looping six-second preview while others will see the the full video in a loop, with both groups able to select the video to view it full screen and with sound turned on.
Chrome, Android app users can view 360-degree videos, iOS Android app support incoming
Google has added support for 360-degree videos to YouTube, allowing users of the video-streaming service to select their point of view. The new addition will give video producers and viewers a new way to watch videos, as well as giving content creators and developers more content which could be used by virtual reality headsets in the future.
Play videos and download online ones to your Mac
Since we were all living in caves, mankind has faced the same age-old problem: how to download and keep video we've watched online. Also, since the days of the first lawyers living in caves, we've faced the issue of copyright. Elmedia Player Go for OS X aims to get, and to show us, web videos easily and legally.
Small but meaningful changes enforce company's strong privacy, ethical outlook
On Thursday, Apple updated App Store Review guidelines to reinforce privacy, consent, and other ethical concerns regarding the implementation of apps that work with medical data (specifically ResearchKit), Apple Pay, and apps that download or stream music or video. The guidelines generally reinforce more transparency or set minimum standards, but also target apps that illegally "rip" copyrighted material from video and audio sites like Vimeo and Soundcloud.
Download and keep YouTube videos with this simple app
The newly-updated Airy - YouTube Downloader for Mac does what almost every word in its title says. It downloads YouTube videos, it runs on a Mac. Run this, grab a YouTube video, and save it to your Mac to watch later. It's so simple, you'll be surprised YouTube itself doesn't come with this functionality.
VLC returns to iOS App Store after long hiatus with new version
Video playing and translation app VLC has received a major new update today, including a return to an iOS version of the app. The latter has actually been available for a while now, but was only offered to those who had originally "purchased" the official iOS app. The new version today is a minor bump from the "buyers only" v2.4.0, now at 2.4.1 for iOS and available to all. The desktop version for various platforms is 2.2.0, with a v1.1.0 final for Android and a beta of the same version for Android TV also being released.
Google Play Music expands track storage to 50,000 songs
Google Play Music has received an upgrade to its music storage component, allowing customers to keep more songs on its servers for streaming to computers and mobile devices. The music locker has increased its upper limit of 20,000 tracks to 50,000, double that of the paid iTunes Match service. Despite vastly increasing its storage capacity, the digital locker is still a completely free service.
YouTube Kids app will provide child-friendly curated videos
Google will be launching a version of its YouTube app specifically for younger users tomorrow, as part of a wider initiative to offer services to children. The YouTube Kids app on Android will present children with a curated collection of age-appropriate video clips to stream to a device, with the search company using an interface that is designed to shield the potential users away from content better suited for more mature audiences.
Company will compensate owners who have already paid to repair issues
While many sufferers would call the move years overdue, Apple has now officially launched a repair program to fix MacBook Pro models sold between February 2011 and February 2013 that exhibited issues with distorted video, loss of video, or unexpected restarts. The program will start tomorrow, February 20 in the US and Canada, and on February 27 in other countries, and will repair the machines at no charge. Additionally, owners who have already paid for repairs may be eligible for compensation.
Updated version 2.4.1 currently available to previous buyers only
Multi-format video player VLC for iOS has reappeared in the App Store following its pulling from the store (by its developer) last September. At present, the listing is only available for those who previously owned the software, which allows users on iOS devices to play videos in nearly any format without first converting it to the standard iTunes-supported formats. It was removed from sale due to licensing disagreements among the developers.
Streaming video service Target Ticket shuttering next month
Target is shutting down its video streaming service next month. Target Ticket has already stopped providing rentals, though existing rentals will be viewable until the service shuts down completely on March 7, according to its support pages. The retailer has already made arrangements for its customers to watch movies through CinemaNow from the same account when Ticket closes, with any UltraViolet purchases viewable through other supported video services automatically.
Stream any video, from nearly any original source, to your Apple TV
One of the very handiest things about Apple TV is that with it, you can use your television to watch any video on your Macs -- except you really can't, if you operate outside Apple's garden at all. If that video is in iTunes by hook or by crook, you're all set. If it isn't -- and we know you have some that isn't -- then you need to buy Silver Screen: it will stream any video, of just about any format, to your TV.
Video streaming service enters Cuba after US relaxes trade restrictions
Netflix is continuing its current strategy of fast expansion into new countries, by unexpectedly launching in Cuba. The video streaming service is being made available to residents of the country for the first time, following the recent easing of trade restrictions that have been imposed on Cuba by the United States since 1961, though potential users still have some obstacles in the way between them and watching House of Cards.
RunKeeper adds Spotify integration to iOS app
RunKeeper has added Spotify integration to its iOS app. The fitness app will now offer access to Spotify playlists, created both by the user and by Spotify, and stream music while a workout is underway. Both Spotify and Runkeeper have to be installed on the same device with RunKeeper connected to the Spotify account in order to function, and though it is only on iOS for the moment, a similar update to the Android app may also happen in the future.
CRTC rules data caps can't be used to give an unfair advantage to carriers' own services
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced a decision on Thursday, acting on a complaint regarding data caps and preferred traffic. Wireless carriers Bell Mobility and Videotron both have their own subscription mobile television services, neither of which count towards the data caps written into subscribers' contracts, while competitor's services -- such as Netflix -- do, providing the carriers with incentive to sell larger data plans or favor their own offerings. With today's ruling, that practice must end.
Updated model for 2015 includes 4K Ultra HD, developer edition
The updated model of Dell's Precision M3800 mobile workstation was unveiled at the Sundance Film Festival today. The 15-inch M3800 is designed with ISV-certifications for video editors, graphic designers, and other high-demand users in mind, and is available now from Dell's online store. The new M3800 includes much-requested options, such as a 4K Ultra HD touch display and a new Ubuntu-based developer edition.
Adaptive Bitrate support in HTML5 cited as factor in the switch from Flash
YouTube began testing simultaneous support for both Flash and HTML5 video delivery back in 2010, but Flash has continued to be the default in most cases unless users opted into an HTML5 only beta -- until now. YouTube announced today on their developer blog it will now default to utilizing the HTML5 video tag on certain web browsers.
Video on Twitter allows for clips to be shared without using Vine
Twitter has started to add some features it hinted at last November to its mobile apps. Rolling out slowly, users will be able to send Direct Messages to groups of people for the first time, while those who typically post videos to the micro-blogging service will benefit from being able to upload video clips directly to Twitter from within the app, without using a secondary service.