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Netflix to add data saving feature to Apps

Industry News

Netflix makes constant changes to its movie and TV streaming platform. Some of those are small, and some are major; most don’t make a huge difference to the way you watch videos though.

One major floor of the popular streaming service is that it uses gargantuan amounts of data, especially if you’re streaming in high definition.

Yes, that’s great when you’re connected to a WiFi network with the capabilities, but what about when you’re on a data plan?

Sadly, we’re not all blessed with unlimited data plans, so Netflix is going to be incorporating a data saver option that doesn’t go all-out on video quality, in order to save your precious mobile data. This will be in the form of an opt-in option in its mobile apps for iOS and Android.

It is understood that Apple devices will get the feature first, but it’ll roll out completely soon after. Unfortunately, the company isn’t specifying just how much data you’ll save, but it will be based on Netflix’s own algorithms that they can adjust in the future rather than a specific bitrate or resolution cap, which the company thinks might be confusing for users.

One last thing to note is that this feature will also be separate to the existing per-profile playback quality settings, which are global across the web and smart TV and mobile devices.

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Could a new joint BBC and ITV streaming service be on the cards?

Industry News

The BBC has reportedly held talks with ITV over the launch of a new Netflix-style streaming service.

The talks, which are understood to also involve NBC Universal, the owner of the producer of shows including Downton Abbey, centre on the potential to develop a subscription TV service.

The service is likely to mostly focus on providing older, archive TV content, not the first-run of shows, although it is understood there would be a certain amount of original commissions.

While Britons pay £145.50 per year for free access to BBC content, the corporation has noted that streaming services such as Netflix have successfully extended the shelf life of a number of series.

Unlike BBC iPlayer and ITV player, which remove content after 30 days, this new service would retain programmes for a much longer period of time.

In contrast, Netflix has more than 75 million subscribers globally. Since launching in the UK in 2012, it has attracted more than 5 million users paying £5.99 a month.

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Netflix cracks down on Proxies

Industry News

Netflix might be cool with you sharing your password, due to complex licensing issues with content providers and now it’s spreading its reach around the world, the streaming service is cracking down on proxy users.

Netflix Vice President of Content Delivery Architecture David Fullagar explained in a blog post that the company will frown upon any users spoofing a fake US IP address through proxies and “unblockers.” Essentially telling users to be patient, Netflix is in the process of working out the content licenses to make all of the same movies and TV series available in 190 countries.

“Over time, we anticipate being able to do so,” Fullagar said. “For now, given the historic practice of licensing content by geographic territories, the TV shows and movies we offer differ, to varying degrees, by territory.”

“In the meantime, we will continue to respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location,” he added.

Don’t think this isn’t just a polite request, either. In the coming weeks, the service will also begin penalizing those using proxies and unblockers. When this goes into effect, Netflix subscribers outside of the US will only be able to access content normally available to the country in which they reside.

So get in your last few days of your sweet, sweet US Netflix access if you’re a proxy user. It won’t be here for much longer.

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DisneyLife for all things Disney

Industry News

There’s another big player joining the online streaming service game, and it’s one the kids might be quite excited about. Designed for tablets and mobile, DisneyLife will give you access to its biggest collections of films.

The movie-making giant is launching its DisneyLife service in the UK in November, with the monthly fee of £9.99. Subscribers will have access to Disney and Disney-Pixar movies, as well as TV shows, albums, and books. Short term offline downloads will also be available via the new mobile service. However, films from its Star Wars and Marvel franchises will be absent at launch.

The new service will take on the form of an app that works on iOS and Android devices, with each person able to create a personal profile to suit them, using iconic Disney characters to do so. Disney says up to six users per account will be able to theme their profile based on the likes of Frozen’s Elsa, Woody from Toy Story and Mickey Mouse.

The announcement comes in the wake of YouTube announcing YouTube Red, their subscription model in the US at the end of this month that will enable subscribers to view content ad-free. Apple has entered the streaming market with Apple Music this year too while the likes of Spotify has added new features, and movie and TV streaming services Netflix and Amazon Prime have both continued to grow, whilst branching into original programming.

Disney CEO Robert Iger said of the new service: “Families are accessing entertainment in completely new ways, but their love for Disney and our unique characters and stories remains the same. DisneyLife is a great example of our strategy to utilize technology to connect with consumers in more direct and compelling ways, something that only Disney can do.”

The service will also come complete with parental controls; with parents able to set time limits on how long their children watch during the week and at the weekend.