Netflix to add video previews to next update

Netflix has done very well considering they have not made any major improvement to its user interface since late 2013. Netflix announced today that they will make some updates starting with today. One such improvement is the ability for users to view video previews when navigating through the menu screens. Currently, when you navigate through the interface to search for a movie to watch you get a static screen capture. After the update, you will be able to see a video. Kind a like what www.paypal.com at its homepage.

Netflix feels this is to give a “more immersive and cinematic experience” giving users an easier way to select something to watch.

Personally, it helps as it will allow me to better recall where I last left off. Sometimes I simply forget and by viewing a video, it allows me to remember better.

Netflix-motion

Amazon makes Fling available to developers

amazonAmazon has recently launched a “Understanding the Amazon Fling Service” page to its developers. Amazon Fling enables users to ‘fling’ media, websites, from Android, Apple, and Fire OS devices to their TV. This is similar to what Google has for Chromecast for display and playback. Amazon has created an API which will interact with the developers app. The developer must create a controller (playback, stop, etc..) for the user to fling the content to its TV.

Fire TV and TV Stick has been relatively successful but we have heard from users that despite its great GUI (graphic user interface), it is limited. The only alternative from using the GUI built on Fire TV / Stick is to mirror your device. Mirroring your device doesn’t come without its issues as not all devices support mirroring. Also, mirroring is very bandwidth consuming as well as it putting a drain on your battery. Amazon’s Fling Service will resolve this. Instead of mirroring, you will be able to set the Fire TV / Stick device to call the content directly to the web via WiFi instead of placing the drain on your iOS, Android or Fire device.

amazonfling

 

Amazon makes Fling available to developers was first published at firetvblog.com.

Comcast Subscribers can now watch HBO Go, Showtime Anytime on Fire TV

Comcast recently announced that it has reached an agreement to enable its subscribers access to apps such as HBO Go and Showtime Anytime on Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. This is a great win for Comcast subscribers who was frustrated at not being able to watch content like Game of Thrones using their Fire TV.

comcast fire tv

 

 

Fire TV Stick Overheating and rebooting Problems

Some users have complained that the Fire TV Stick gets really hot and reboot on its own. This is unusual as I have not encountered this problem. The TV Stick does get warm but not uncomfortable to touch. Chromecast users reported similar issues early in production and Google never mentioned anything or admitted to any flaw. It is possible that it was due to some software code and an update fixed it. What can you do when the Fire TV sticks reboots due to overheating.

For the most part, the Fire TV Stick should work without any issues even if it is warm. If the Fire TV Stick freezes or its response is lagging or is slow, you will want to try to fit it. Here are some tips to resolve overheating issues.

First, you can completely unplug it for 2 min. then plug it back in. This will allow the Fire TV Stick to clear all cache and reload fresh. If that doesn’t fix it, try a factory reset. You will have to go through the hassle of setting up again but it shouldn’t take long. If that still doesn’t fix the overheating issues and your device continues to lag or freezes, I would return the device to Amazon and get a replacement. Amazon’s return service is very quick and simple and you shouldn’t have any issues.

Amazon Prime Releases for June 2015

Amazon released new movies, TV shows, and concerts for the month of June. You can find some old and some new show and even Katy Perry’s concert!

 

Amazon Prime

“The Shining”
“Roman Holiday”
“Apocalypse Now”
“Apocalypse Now Redux”
“Something Wild” (1986)
“Sid & Nancy”
“Sucker Punch”
“Troll”
“Troll 2”
“Repo: The Genetic Opera”
“The Island of Dr. Moreau”
“Seven Psychopaths”
“The Paper Chase”
“People Will Talk”
“Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog”
“Murder of a Cat”
“Nine Months”
“Word and Pictures”
“Life of Crime”
“Transformers: Age of Extinction”
“Leprechaun: Origins”
“A Most Wanted Man”
“Lucky Number Slevin”
“Covert Affairs” season 5
“Katy Perry: The Prismatic World Tour”
“The Mist”

How to mirror your Windows phone with Fire TV Stick

Many Windows phone users were jealous of their Android and iPhone counterparts for having numerous low-cost options to mirror their screen to their TV. Previously, the only option for Windows phone user was to purchase a Miracast dongle which isn’t a great option and can be hit or miss. Well Fire TV Stick just released an update which will allow you to mirror your Windows phone to your TV! All you need to do is set up your Fire TV Stick to mirror mode by pressing the home key on your remote. Next, go to your Windows phone settings and select ‘Project My Screen’. Below it, you should be able to see the name of your Fire TV Stick. Select it and you will be able to mirror your Windows phone.

https://www.thurrott.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/phone-connected.jpg

 

Amazon Prime introduces Ad-Free Radio Stations

This couldn’t come at a better time. I was listening to Pandora when I was starting to get annoyed at the ads that have noticeably increased recently. Not only this, they can also stop the music and have you interact with ads in order to continue. I don’t listen to Pandora enough to justify the subscription fee and their selection is subpar compared with other options. Google Play has also offered free 3 months of trial on their music service but again, it will eventually require payment. Today, I received an email from Amazon regarding its new Ad-free prime stations. I have used Prime services for some time now and this is great news particularly if you want to use stream songs over your Fire TV and fire TV Stick. Navigation is simple. Through a PC browser, you can watch the song, title, and progress through the song. You also have the option to add it to your Prime music playlist to listen or buy later. You can also use a thumb up / thumb down for Amazon to learn your taste. You also have the option to share what you are listening to your Facebook wall.

prime

Compare Fire TV Stick with Chromecast

chromecast-backdrop-chrome-os-android-ios-appWith the Fire TV Stick, Amazon went head on against Google’s successful Chroemcast. It took a whole year for Amazon to launch the Fire TV Stick. Amazon already had the Amazon Fire TV but the price point and the lack of mobility did not attract the casual TV viewer as $99 was steep for your average consumer. Chromecast pretty much did everyone people expected it to do such as streaming from apps such as Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, and screen mirroring. However, there was one thing Chromecast could not do which was stream Amazon Prime videos directly. Amazon wanted to keep Prime videos to themselves and their devices. That didn’t stop people with Chromecast to find their own methods to cast and stream Amazon Prime to their TV’s.

 Chromecast Advantages:

Screen mirroring to all Android devices.
Much more support with apps particularly on Android Play store.
Functions with Google Drive
Additional features such as Guest mode and Google Cast Audio.
Amazon Fire TV Stick Advantages:

Includes remote control.
Support for Amazon Prime.
Custom GUI and app store. Some may feel this is a disadvantage.
Fire TV App which will give you voice search
More memory and storage
Faster processor
More games
Stream pictures and videos from Amazon Cloud Drive. UNLIMITED photo storage and 5GB for other files.

Sling TV Free Fire TV or Roku

Sling TV is offering a free Fire TV Stick or Roku Streaming stick in return for 3 months of prepaid subscription. They are also offering 50% off for either Fire TV or Roku 3. This is a great deal considering a lot of people pay $60 for one month of their cable bill. Now, for $60 you get a streaming device which you can use for your Sling TV service and you get a Fire TV Stick or Roku streaming stick. If you are on the fence, this may be the deal which may push you over. However, this may also be a concern for some people as this may be an indicator that the service is not catching on and they are in need of a market injection to ramp up subscribers.

sling tv free fire tv

Amazon Prime Netflix releases for Feb. 2015

CNN released a list of new releases scheduled for Feb. 2015 on Amazon Prime and Netflix. Amongst the list? House of Cards Season 3!

netflix-logo

Netflix Feb releases:

“Bleach the Movie: Hell Verse” (2010)
“The Brothers Bloom” (2008)
“Dark Ride” (2006)
“Departures” Seasons 1 and 2 Gimme Shelter (2013)
“Gucci: The Director”
“Hot Pursuit”
“Houseboat”
“Into the Blue 2: The Reef”
“Joe”
“King Arthur”
“Magic City” Seasons 1 and 2
“M*A*S*H” Seasons 1 through 5
“Naruto Shippuden: The Movie”
“Now: In the Wings on a World Stage”
“Proof”
“Spartacus: Complete Series”
“We Could Be King”
“We’re No Angels”
“Zapped”
“The Little Rascals Save the Day” (2014)
“Ever After High: Spring Unsprung”
“Danger 5”
“Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead”
“Elsa & Fred”
“Blood Ties”
“Catch Hell”
“Dwight Howard: In the Moment”
“Mr. Peabody & Sherman”
“Young Ones”
“The Two Faces of January”
“Scary Movie 5”
“Mako Mermaids” Season 2
“Save the Date”
“The Overnighters”
“Earth to Echo”
“In Secret”
“The Fluffy Movie”
“White Bird in a Blizzard”
“Richie Rich” Season 1 (2015 Netflix original)
“RoboCop” (2014)
“Hawaii Five-0” Seasons 1 to 4
“1,000 Times Good Night”
“Open Windows”
“Russell Brand: Messiah Complex”
“Ralphie May: Unruly”
“House of Cards” Season 3

Amazon Prime Feb releases:

“Batman” (1989)
“Batman Returns”
“Into the Blue 2: The Reef”
“Airplane II: The Sequel”
“Hitch”
“Lars and the Real Girl”
“Joe”
“Gimme Shelter”
“Ulee’s Gold”
“Love Story”
“Music From Another Room”
“The Brothers Bloom”
“The Object of Beauty”
“The Other End of the Line”
“The Way We Were”
“Mulberry Street”
“Air Force One”
“Tootsie”
“Steel Magnolias”
“Mood Indigo”
“Sense & Sensibility”
“Soul of a Banquet”
“20,000 Days on Earth”
“Robocop” (2014)
“Finding Neverland”
“Orphan Black” Season 2
“Alpha & Omega”
“Believe Me (Prime Member Exclusive)
“Clerks II”
“Jamie Marks is Dead”
“Hannibal” Season 2