Take that, Spotify! At its I/O developer's conference today, Google took the wraps off a new music subscription service, called Google Play Music All Access, that blends your own personal music collection—songs stored in your Google Music locker—with all the music available in Google's entire library.
"How do we make the most of this amazing device and do it in safe, sustainable manner going forward?" asked Sree Sreenivasan (Chief Digital Officer at Columbia University and faculty member of Columbia's School of Journalism), who moderated a panel discussion hosted by Consumer Reports at Columbia University last night: "Consumer Trade-offs in a Mobile Culture: Privacy, Payments and Social Media."
It pays to be careful about which apps you download to your smart phone. More than 5 million smart phone users experienced symptoms of malicious software on their phones in the past year, our latest survey projects. Even a nonmalicious app can be intrusive, asking for permissions to perform various actions, such as access your contact list or location, that may not be essential.
The digital phone services used by millions of consumers today are likely to quit when the lights go out, as homeowners found to their dismay in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy last fall. These services, which use a technology called VoIP (voice over Internet protocol), rely on a modem to send phone traffic over the Internet, and that modem needs power. A backup battery can keep the modem and a corded phone operational during a blackout, but don't assume your telecom provider has included one with the modem they provide.
Recent rumors suggest that Amazon will launch a streaming media player this fall to compete with the likes of Apple TV and Roku. An interesting question is whether it will offer access to Netflix, the company's fierce rival in the streaming video space.
Have you been letting extended family members and friends use your Netflix log-in? Netflix would rather you didn't. The company unveiled a new $12 Family Plan that lets you stream four movies to different devices at the same time. Under the standard $8-per-month subscription plan, you can watch only two video streams at a time.
Are you willing to give Google TV another go? If so, the latest option for adding the Google TV platform to your TV is the Asus Cube, which is now being offered for sale by NewEgg.com for $140.
Like Paul Hewson and Declan MacManus—Bono and Elvis Costello, respectively—Boxee is hoping there's some magic in a name change: The company is rebranding its Boxee TV media player as the Boxee Cloud DVR. The price will remain at $99.
Up until now, if you liked Panasonic's take on Internet content, you had to buy one of its online-ready TVs. But now there's another, less expensive option: the company's first standalone streaming media players.
Most of us enjoy getting extra content on our living room TVs, but not everyone has a set with that built-in capability. One popular way to add this feature is through a streaming media player, such as a Roku 3 or Apple TV. But there's another, less obtrusive option: a small flash-drive-sized stick that fits into a special HDMI input on the back or side of your TV.
For many of us—especially those with kids—programming the DVR to record shows and movies until it's crammed to capacity is a regular ritual. But how many of those shows do you actually ever watch? Probably not as many as you think. According to a recent study by Motorola Mobility, those of us in the U.S. never watch 41 percent of the programs we record on our DVRs.
If you're still kicking back on your sofa and passively watching TV, you may be missing out. Thanks to a growing assortment of "second-screen" apps that run on tablets and smart phones, you can now engage with other viewers, almost like they're sitting right next to you on the couch, while your favorite show is airing.
Cloud storage gives you 24/7 access to your documents, photos, music, and you can access them wherever you are and on whatever device you're using. It also makes sharing photos, videos, and documents easy. Even better, a number of services are free. Here's the scoop on four of the biggest cloud services:
When Intel's move into the TV service arena was first announced last year, there was a lot of speculation that it would be the first TV service to offer a la carte pricing, finally "unbundling" TV programming by letting viewers subscribe only to individual channels, or even individual shows, they actually watched. But if la carte programming was Intel's original intent, that idea has apparently been pushed to the sidelines after the company's discussions with many of the industry's largest content providers.
Have you been laying around your living room thinking that your smart TV isn't smart enough? Samsung's 2013 TV lineup includes an updated smart TV platform that features a redesigned Smart Hub interface, new ways to search and discover content, plus improvements to its gesture and voice control.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: