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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

T-Mobile plans to offer à la carte media subscriptions, but no TV ‘skinny bundle’

T-Mobile doesn’t want to compete with other carriers or teleco’s by developing its own “skinny bundle” of streaming TV channels, the company said today on its earnings call with investors, noting the market was already oversaturated on that front. Instead, the mobile operator’s strategy will focus on helping customers pick and choose which paid TV subscriptions they want to access — a move that very much sounds like T-Mobile is going the “Amazon Channels” route with its mobile streaming plans.

According to T-Mobile President Mike Sievert, today’s customers have a number of choices for streaming TV thanks to the massive expansion of OTT (over-the-top) services that are now available.

“It’s subscription-palooza out there. Every single media brand either has or is developing an OTT solution, and most of these companies don’t have a way to bring these products to market,” he said. “They’re learning about that. They don’t have distribution networks like us; they don’t have access to the phone like we have.”

Instead, the exec explained that T-Mobile wants to help customers access paid subscriptions that already exist, by simplifying aspects of that process such as search, discovery and billing.

“We don’t have plans to develop an nth undifferentiated skinny bundle,” Sievert continued. “There are plenty of those. We think there’s a more nuanced role for us to play in helping you get access to the great media brands out there that you love, and to be able to put together your own media subscription — and smaller pieces five, six, seven or eight dollars at a time,” he said, adding that T-Mobile would begin this work in 2019.

The cord cutting-focused news site The Streamable was first to report T-Mobile’s news.

T-Mobile’s announcement comes at a time when the carrier’s mobile TV plans have been more of a focus, as everyone is trying to figure out what the carrier is up to.

Recently, a Cheddar report said T-Mobile would be launching a free mobile TV service in the weeks ahead. But that turned out to be just a “snackable content app” for T-Mobile’s Metro brand, MetroPCS, and only on two phones to start.

T-Mobile’s decision to go with an Amazon Channels-like offering, where consumers build their own “skinny bundles” by mixing and matching paid subscriptions, is not an uncommon choice. This is the same direction that many in the industry are heading, as of late.

This week, for example, Viacom said it would add paid subscriptions to its newly acquired free TV service, Pluto TV. Roku recently rolled out paid subscriptions to its free TV and movies hub, The Roku Channel. And Dish’s Sling TV last year launched à la carte paid subscriptions to premium networks, without requiring the core package subscription.

However, the mobile operators aren’t necessarily going that route. AT&T, for instance, has been leveraging its Time Warner acquisition to launch multiple streaming services. Meanwhile, Verizon (disclosure: TechCrunch parent) saw its some of its streaming TV ambitions dashed with go90’s failure last year.

As the over-the-top streaming TV market is still a sliver of the larger pay TV space, it still remains to be seen which strategies and services will ultimately win over consumers. But companies are placing their bets now, experimenting, and sometimes failing then starting again.

Separately, T-Mobile today discussed its Layer3 home TV service, which was expected to launch nationwide in late 2018. That service is now planned for the first half of 2019, the company said.


Source: TechCrunch

Netflix launches ‘smart downloads’ feature on iOS to automate offline viewing

Netflix today is launching a new feature on iOS devices that will help make it easier to watch its shows when you’re offline. The “smart downloads” feature, as it’s called, will automatically delete a downloaded episode after you’ve finished watching, then download the next one – but only when you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

The idea is that users will no longer have to go through the tedious work of managing their downloads – deleting those they’ve watched or downloading new titles, for example. Instead, the app can manage the downloads for you, so people can spend more time watching Netflix shows.

Smart downloads makes sense for those who plan for intermittent connectivity – like commuters who take underground trains, for instance, or those who travel through dead spots where wireless coverage drops. It also makes sense for those on limited data plans, who are carefully about not using streaming video apps unless they’re on Wi-Fi.

Offline features like this are key to attracting and retaining users in emerging markets where connectivity concerns are the norm. That’s likely why Netflix prioritized Android over iOS, for the initial launch of smart downloads.

The feature had first arrived on Android last summer. It’s now offered across platforms, including iOS and in the Windows 10 Netflix app, the company says.

Offline access is only one area where Netflix is focusing on the needs of those in developing markets. The company late last year also began testing a more affordable, mobile-only subscription.

Non-U.S. users accounted for 7.31 million of the 8.8 million new subscribers Netflix added in the last quarter, as the U.S. market has become more saturated.

To use smart downloads on iOS, you can toggle the option in the Netflix app settings. It then turns itself on when you’re connected to Wi-Fi, to ensure your data plan won’t be used and your device storage won’t fill up as you watch offline. The feature will alert you when the episode in question has been downloaded.

“The faster our members can get to the next episode of their favorite stories, the better. Now, fans on the Netflix iOS app can get in on the fun and convenience of Smart Downloads, spending less time managing their downloads and more time watching,” said a Netflix spokesperson, in a statement about the launch. “The feature is one more way we’re making it easier for Netflix fans to take the stories they love wherever they go,” they added.


Source: TechCrunch

This Jagged Little Pill Could Make Diabetes Easier to Treat

A tortoise-inspired, needle-carrying pill promises to let people swallow drugs that currently have to be injected.
Source: Wired

Star Wars Project Porg teased by Magic Leap better not be a Jedi mind trick – CNET

The experiment hatched by ILMxLab is said to be “hatching soon.”
Source: CNET

A flaw in e-ticket systems could mean a hacker can print your boarding pass

The vulnerability was discovered in December and involves unsecured check-in emails that can put the personal information of passengers at risk or even allow a hacker to print boarding passes.

The post A flaw in e-ticket systems could mean a hacker can print your boarding pass appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Apple releases iPhone update to fix Group FaceTime eavesdropping bug – CNET

iOS 12.1.4 is now available.
Source: CNET

iPhone 11 rumors: Price, specs, features and everything else we know – CNET

Apple’s competition in 2019 will have 5G, foldable screens and powerful cameras. Can the iPhone keep up?
Source: CNET

Amazon joins call to legislate facial recognition tech – CNET

The poster child for the technology offers its own ideas to improve facial recognition’s usage.
Source: CNET

2019 Chicago Auto Show: Chevy, Mazda and Subaru headline the Windy City debuts – Roadshow

Chicago might not be the biggest event on this year’s auto show calendar, but several automakers are nevertheless bringing a number of important debuts.
Source: CNET

Apple to compensate teenager who found Group FaceTime eavesdrop bug

Apple has said it will compensate the teenager who first found a security bug in Group FaceTime that allowed users to eavesdrop before a call was picked up.

The bug was initially reported to Apple by 14-year-old Grant Thompson and his mother, but the family struggled getting in contact the company before the bug was discovered elsewhere and went viral on social media.

The payout will fall under Apple’s bug bounty, which incentivizes security researchers to claim a reward for privately submitting security bugs and vulnerabilities to the company. Apple will also offer an unspecified additional gift to Thompson’s education.

“In addition to addressing the bug that was reported, our team conducted a thorough security audit of the FaceTime service and made additional updates to both the FaceTime app and server to improve security, an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch. “This includes a previously unidentified vulnerability in the Live Photos feature of FaceTime.”

“To protect customers who have not yet upgraded to the latest software, we have updated our servers to block the Live Photos feature of FaceTime for older versions of iOS and macOS,” said Apple.

Apple rolled out iOS 12.4.1 on Thursday, which Apple says “provides important security updates and is recommended for all users.” The company’s separate security advisory also credited Thompson with finding the bug.


Source: TechCrunch

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