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Spotify Connect speakers will soon work with its free tier

Spotify’s ad-supported tier has long been one of the service’s differentiators. Naturally, the model’s not nearly as feature-rich as its paid counterpart, though the company’s removing one of those key distinctions as of this morning.

In a press release, the company notes that free users will soon be able to stream music through Spotify Connect-sporting speakers. The newfound integration will work with hardware companies that switch to the new SDK.

Here’s your standard game-changer quote, this time from Senior Product Director Michael Ericsson: “The release of our new eSDK will change the game for Spotify’s Free users who want to enjoy music on their connected speakers. We look forward to supporting our partners over the coming months as they update existing speakers and bring new products to market.”

Most (around 104 million) of Spotify’s 191 million subscribers are free users. The tier has been a tremendous part of the service’s global growth, and it continues to be a difference as Apple Music gains a foothold, particularly here in the U.S.

Earlier this year, Spotify fleshed out its free offering, but Premium continues to offer some marked advantages. Along with getting rid of ads, it includes higher-quality streams and the ability to download offline tracks.


Source: TechCrunch

Sling TV’s growth further slows in Q3, but still leads rivals in terms of subscribers

It appears Dish’s live TV streaming service, Sling TV, has been impacted by the increased competition from rivals like YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now and others. Sling TV still leads the market with 2.37 million subscribers for its TV service aimed at cord cutters, Dish reported in its Q3 2018 earnings, but its momentum is slowing.

In the first quarter of the year, Sling TV added 91,000 subscribers, followed by 41,000 in Q2 and now just 26,000 additions in Q3, according to Dish’s earnings results out today.

That allows it to retain its first-place position, but that lead may not last much longer.

AT&T’s DirecTV Now had been catching up to Sling TV in recent months, leading some to believe it would surpass Sling TV by year-end.

Launched two years ago, DirecTV Now added 49,000 subscribers in its Q3, it reported in October — much worse than the 247,000 added last year, when the service was newer and promos were more plentiful. But its price hikes, technical issues and poor customer service have turned some customers off, leaving it still shy of 2 million subscribers by the end of the third quarter.

Meanwhile, newcomer Hulu with Live TV just topped a million subscribers in September — growth that may have come at the expense of Sling TV and others, it seems.

In addition, YouTube TV hit 800,000 around May, while Sony’s PlayStation Vue is trailing with somewhere over half a million.

Sling TV’s slowing growth may not be all chalked up to the competitive landscape, either. Its price increases introduced this June may have also impacted sign-ups. And there’s the fact that streaming TV services simply may not ever see the sort of demand that subscription VOD offerings, like Netflix, do.

Sling TV’s too-small gains were only one blip in an otherwise dismal quarter for Dish, which saw its worst net subscriber losses to date thanks to the loss of satellite TV customers. The company dropped 367,000 satellite customers to end the quarter with 10.29 Dish TV subscribers. It also recently saw HBO and Cinemax removed from Dish and Sling TV lineups, due to a programming fight. That was the first time HBO had ever gone dark, too.

One thing that is clear from Dish’s earnings, and AT&T’s prior to this, is that the market for traditional pay TV is still in decline thanks to cord cutting — and the “TV” landscape in the future will look very different, as a result.


Source: TechCrunch

Nvidia’s ‘binning’ practice could mean the best RTX 2070s are third-party cards

Nvidia’s RTX 2070s are being binned, giving third-party manufacturers access to the better chips for increased clocks and overclocking potential. The binned GPUs even have their own serial number designation.

The post Nvidia’s ‘binning’ practice could mean the best RTX 2070s are third-party cards appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Kindle Paperwhite Review (2018): Our Favorite E-Reader Gets Better

The new device has a sleeker design, more storage, an updated processor—and now it’s waterproof.
Source: Wired

New Satellites Will Use Radio Waves to Spy on Ships and Planes

This month, HawkEye 360 will send up satellites that monitor the radio transmissions of ships, planes and other things on Earth, allowing them to be tracked by their communications.
Source: Wired

iPhone XS vs. iPhone XR: How much better is the camera? video – CNET

Is that second lens worth the money? Portraits and night shots may be the deciding factor.
Source: CNET

Booming Model 3 Sales Are Taking Tesla Mainstream

Elon Musk’s Model 3 is the 19th best-selling vehicle in the country, as 15-year-old Tesla moves beyond its niche.
Source: Wired

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg under pressure to attend international hearing – CNET

He’s already declined to appear in London, but that’s “not good enough.”
Source: CNET

China can apparently now identify citizens based on the way they walk

China is home to the world’s largest network of CCTV cameras — over 170 million — and its police have adopted Google Glass-like ‘smart specs’ to seek out suspects in crowds, but now its surveillance efforts have hit a new level with technology that can apparently identify individuals based on their body shape and the way they walk.

The ‘gait recognition’ technology is already being used by police in Beijing and Shanghai where it can identify individuals even when their face is obscured or their back is turned, according to an AP report.

The technology is developed by Chinese AI startup Watrix, which recently picked up a $14.5 million funding round to further develop its systems. CEO Huang Yongzhen told the AP that it can ID individuals at up to 50 meters (165 feet) which, in conjunction with existing facial recognition technology, can help police and surveillance systems operate more efficiently in busy areas.

The positive impact is in finding criminals but there’s a less savory edge. Besides law enforcement, media reports have shown that China has deployed surveillance technology for more sinister purposes that include controlling its people.

In particular, the government has been criticized for the way it uses its databases and facial recognition tech to police China’s ethnic minorities. A system deployed in Xinjiang — a Western province with a population of some 10 million ‘Uighur’ Muslims — is reportedly designed to notify authorities when “target” individuals go beyond their home or place of work, according to Bloomberg.

China stands accused of detaining as many of one million Muslims in ‘re-education’ camps in Xinjiang. The province, which includes a number of cities that are located closer to Baghdad than to Beijing, has been the scene of unrest and ethnic tension in the past, and that’s one reason why the government has deployed these systems. It isn’t clear, however, whether the gait analysis tech has made its way to Xinjiang at this point. If not yet, you’d imagine it will soon.


Source: TechCrunch

Meet TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher at #WebSummit at 4PM today

One Minute TechCrunch!

Since it’s impossible, as a journalist, to crawl around all the stands at Web Summit in Lisbon, I thought it would be easier to stand in one place and meet people there!

Thus, you will get the chance to meet me (Mike Butcher) and pitch me your company for 1 MINUTE at Web Summit TODAY, at 4PM.

I will run the pitches and you can pitch the assembled crowd!

Meet at the BMW sports car pictured here:

PLEASE ENTER YOUR DETAILS HERE TO REGISTER

I would kindly ask that you literally pitch for 1 MINUTE maximum and give me your business card!

Official hashtag: #TCPitch

Meanwhile, don’t forget to grab tickets to Techcrunch Disrupt Berlin!

Thanks all!

Mike Butcher,
Editor-at-large, TechCrunch
@mikebutcher


Source: TechCrunch

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