Amazon Prime Opts For Monthly Subs to Compete With Netflix

When it comes to video streaming service, there is currently a debate over which is best for you, Netflix or Amazon prime. With Netflix recently raising its prices, Amazon Prime looks to be a large contender thanks to some of the original content it now produces, but many are put off by the large upfront cost for the service. This could change as US users of the service could switch to a monthly service.

Previously Prime users had to pay a yearly subscription of $99, offering access to not only their fast delivery options but also Prime Video and Prime Music, the media providing aspects of the Prime service. The monthly subscription costs $10.99 a month if you wanted to keep all the benefits while if you only wanted Prime Video you could opt in for the $8.99 subscription.

With the yearly total costing you $131.88, a 25% increase overly the annual membership, users may want to take the monthly bundle around times like Christmas or large concentrations of birthdays, rather than using it as a go to package over the yearly service. It should also be noted that if you were to select the monthly subscription you won’t get the 25% prepayment discount that annual members of prime benefit from.

WhatsApp Now Absolutely Free

WhatsApp has announced that its messaging app will now be available for free, dropping its previous yearly subscription fee, and adds that it will not be introducing third-party ads in order to make up the deficit.

“[W]e’re happy to announce that WhatsApp will no longer charge subscription fees,” the blog announcement reads. “For many years, we’ve asked some people to pay a fee for using WhatsApp after their first year. As we’ve grown, we’ve found that this approach hasn’t worked well. Many WhatsApp users don’t have a debit or credit card number and they worried they’d lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we’ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service.”

The service denies that it will carry ads to compensate for the loss of subscription fees, saying instead that it will start supporting official communications between users and businesses.

“Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today’s announcement means we’re introducing third-party ads,” the blog post continues. “The answer is no. Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you wantto hear from. That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. We all get these messages elsewhere today – through text messages and phone calls – so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp, while still giving you an experience without third-party ads and spam.”

While the blog post does not state so, it is likely that WhatsApp will charge businesses for putting them in touch with its users, thereby retaining its revenue stream.

Amazon Prime Now Offers Same Day Delivery in Parts of UK

Amazons never been strangers to upgrading their services,  from the idea of delivering with drones, opening their own bookstore, offering offline video playback and even suing people who leave fake reviews about products. It should be no surprise then that Amazon prime users are to get yet another added bonus to their services with their new scheme Prime Same Day.

At the moment at the cost of £79 a  year you can get Amazon prime, giving you access to free next day delivery on a range of their products and their Amazon Prime Music and Video services, giving you access to a wide range of music and video streaming facilities at no extra cost. If that wasn’t enough the new scheme will see you getting the ability to place orders for delivery the same day.

There are a few restrictions on the deal’s though, currently only those within the M25 are eligible at the start of the scheme, and while there are no limitations on the value of the items ordered, there will be a set collection of items available. Don’t worry though, as the collection is set to range around a million items, with orders placed before noon delivered between 6 and 10 that evening.

If that wasn’t enough, Prime members ordering to London or Birmingham can have it delivered within the hour for £6.99 or for free within a two-hour window between 8am and midnight the same day.

Costing nothing extra and giving their users more choices and speedier returns on their purchases can only be a good thing for the customer and if it works, Amazon will soon see deliveries being placed every hour of the day ready for that adventure the next day.

YouTube To Hide Some New Videos Behind Subscription Serivce

YouTube has had a lot of news recently regarding its finance and more particular how people on it have asked for money or how it hopes to make some more money. Recently an indie games studio approached a YouTuber who requested around $22,000 to publicly review their game.

It has long been on the cards that YouTube may look at a subscription based model and most recently there were discussions about YouTube Red, an ad-free version of YouTube. Now it could see YouTube going up against the likes of Amazon Prime and Netflix with a new subscription service with its own programming. Expected to release more details at an event in Los Angeles next Wednesday (October 21st) the subscription service could see them bolstering the revenue they gain from their free to use but ad-supported site.

YouTube has suggested many things about the service, that it will support and contain shows from top creators while also encouraging anyone that makes an income from YouTube ads to join the service.

Are ads more trouble than they are worth? Could you see yourself playing your movies through YouTube? How much would it have to cost to interest you?

 

Humble Announces Monthly Subscription Service

Humble Bundle originally offered DRM-Free indie titles and progressively worked towards adding mainstream Steam games and launching its own digital distribution store. This resulted in a huge amount of money being raised for charity and demonstrated how generous the gaming community is. Today marks the company’s boldest move so far and entry into the subscription service arena. Humble Monthly requires a payment of $12 per month in exchange for Steam codes.

The codes received are permanent and won’t stop working if you decide to cancel the subscription. However, there’s no information whatsoever regarding how many games are included, and the quality. It’s possible for Humble to include excess keys from previous bundles. This lack of information might appeal to some, but I feel consumers are taking a big risk when signing up to the service.

On another note, only 5% of your money goes towards charity which might be a shocking statistic to some. Even more ridiculously, gamers in Japan cannot access the service due to a region lock. This seems to contravene the open roots which Humble became so idolized for.

While there is the possibility of acquiring highly lauded games in a surprising package, I’m not convinced about the subscription’s business model and complete lack of transparency. I’ve commended Humble in the past for updating their list of supported charities, but this really does leave me feeling disappointed.

Do you believe the Humble Monthly service is a terrible idea?

Is YouTube Erecting a Paywall?

Reports suggest that, by the end of 2015, YouTube will be putting premium videos behind a paywall. Speculation regarding YouTube subscription services has been buzzing around since March, with talk that the video streaming site was aiming to position itself as a rival to Amazon Prime Instant Video, Netflix, and Hulu.

Since its inception 10 year ago, YouTube has been a free service supported by advertising revenue, but the decade-old site is about to become unrecognisable, if the rumours are true. It seems YouTube want to move away from being an all-encompassing video-on-demand service, instead mutating into something akin to the online equivalent of a cable or satellite provider, offering channel packages for a monthly subscription fee.

The subscription service is said to be launching in conjunction with Music Key, YouTube’s music subscription service. Music Key has been in beta since November, and is set for its full roll-out by the end of this year. The proposed VOD subscription appears to be the video version of Music Key.

Reaction to the news has been mixed, with music industry insiders – already sceptical over Music Key – saying “this feels very much [like] too little too late.”

YouTube has declined to comment on the news.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

uTorrent Considers Charging Users

uTorrent, the most popular BitTorrent client in the world with 150 million monthly users, is looking into monetising its services. The free torrent client, which already carries advertisements and bundled software upon installation, could soon become a relic of the past.

“As you know, uTorrent is a free piece of software. To support it, we use bundled software and offers to offset the cost that would otherwise be paid directly by the user,” uTorrent wrote on its forum. “We’ve never been satisfied with this revenue model. It requires compromises that detract from a premium user experience. We want to find a model that adds value to our product and our users. We want to find a better way.”

Though uTorrent doesn’t go into detail regarding what these alternatives could be, it does hint that charging users could be an option, saying it plans to “Provide our users with clear options for supporting uTorrent (with options for every budget).”

While a subscription model for uTorrent could prove to be lucrative for the company, it also risks driving away customers to other free BitTorrent clients, such as Vuze, BitComet, or BitLord.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of The Verge.

Kim Dotcom’s Music Streaming Service to Give 95% of Proceeds to Artists

As divisive as the German entrepreneur may be, few can accuse Kim Dotcom about not giving a damn. All of his endeavours – from two failed attempts at secure cloud storage and file sharing under the Mega banner, to his foray into politics with New Zealand’s Pirate Party – have been designed to serve the people, rather than himself, and his latest project is no exception. Dotcom has launched a new music streaming service, called Baboom, that gives 90% of all proceeds to the artists, through its “Fair Trade Streaming” agreement.

Baboom offers a free and a premium service. The free tier is supported by ads, allowing streaming for free while charging for individual downloads, while the $10 a month subscription removes ads, lets users download any track they like and unlocks additional content. Music can be streamed online or via Android and iOS apps.

Dotcom first announced plans to launch Baboom back in 2011 – then called Megakey – and was scheduled for release the year after. It was, however, delayed indefinitely following legal proceeding against Dotcom.

It’s not yet clear how large Baboom’s music catalogue is – it might be advisable to try the free version first to assess its viability before committing to a subscription – but the hope is that the appealing terms that reward the artist first will encourage artists to sign up with Baboom.

Baboom is available now online and via Android and iOS apps.

Spotify Not Happy With Eternify Protest App

The ability to stream a vast array of music straight to a device has grown immensely in recent times, but in doing so has irritated artists who claim to receive a small percentage of royalties in return. To highlight this, an electronic pop band by the name of “Ohm & Sport”, whose name sounds as if a Cambridge University student has just won 44 points playing Scrabble, has invented an App which plays any song on repeat for 30 seconds.

The App is called Eternify and is a direct demonstration against the paying structure of royalties by music streaming site Spotify. The App artificially generates royalties by meeting Spotify’s minimum time with which a song has to be played for it to be classed as a listened to song, in this case 30 seconds. The App also makes handy use of Spotify’s public API – Application Programming Interface which assists App developers to incorporate the streaming site’s impressive archive.

As a protest this App worked very nicely, the band requested fans play Ohm & Sports new album on repeat while they snoozed, the results garnered around $20,000 (£12,700) in royalties. Spotify Spotted this and removed the album and stated this App may have violated the terms and conditions of the site.

The App has highlighted a growing resentment towards streaming sites from artists who believe Spotify is imposing to small royalty fee. I do think there needs to be cooperation between both parties if streaming is to flourish, otherwise we will be in groundhog day for many more times to come.

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of ImoveiLive

Halo 5: Guardians Will Come with Some Special Goodies

Halo fans are already looking forward to Halo 5: Guardians announcement at the Electronic Entertainment Expo where 343 Industries will most likely hype things up before the title gets released, but more juicy details about what fans should expect from it comes even before the event.

Up until now, a lot of details were focusing mostly on the title’s single-player feature. But I know you guys are equally interested in what Halo 5 has to offer in terms of multiplayer too. Well, here it is.

The title will come with more than 20 maps at launch, which is a great number compared to other multiplayer first person shooters. However, the developer is going to throw in another 15 maps as free downloadable content by July 2016.

Also, your friends will be able to pitch in and help you through the campaign in co-op mode even if they don’t have Xbox Live Gold membership subscriptions. This is really great news since most multiplayer titles for Microsoft’s Xbox console requires the latter subscription to play multiplayer games.

Unfortunately, if you want to play the standard versus mode, you will still require the Gold subscription. Even so, when looking at other big-name companies’ marketing strategies, I think 343 Industries still make a better deal. So are you ready for the big reveal next week at E3?

Thank you TechSpot for providing us with this information

PlayStation Now Soon to Cover More Consoles

Sony’s subscription game streaming service, PlayStation Now, is being introduced to the PlayStation 3 on May 12. The service went into open beta back in September, offering the option to rent individual games. With the new implementation, PS3 owners will soon be able to subscribe to the service for a monthly or quarterly fee. All of this information was announced by the PlayStation Now senior director Jack Buser via the PlayStation Blog earlier today.

With the new implementation, PS3 owners will soon be able to subscribe to the service for a monthly or quarterly fee. All of this information was announced by the PlayStation Now senior director Jack Buser via the PlayStation Blog earlier today. In this blog, it was also confirmed that 5 new games will be added to the library in May. These games will be: Fat Princess, F1 2014, Sanctum 2, Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce and Farming Simulator. With those additions, the library will now offer more than 120 titles to stream.

The service was officially launched earlier this year onto the PlayStation 4 and is now in open beta stages on PlayStation Vita, PlayStation TV, 2015 US Sony Blu-Ray players and selected 2014 Sony TV’s in US and Canada. The pricing is a little on the high side, $19.99 per month or $44.99 per quarter, but I’m sure if you like watchable and playable media; this will be a good service for you.

Do you already use this service? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Thank you to Polygon for providing us with this information

Sky to Drop 3D Channels

Sky, TV subscription giant in the UK, has announced that they will be dropping their dedicated 3D channels. This will take place during June and will be moved over onto their ‘On Demand’ service.

3D has been on the decline for a few years now, the novelty is nice for the odd movie in cinema, but to live with the glasses on a day-in-day-out style would be just annoying. The only good thing to come from 3D is the double refresh rate to 120hz on some monitors and TV’s. The motive behind this is currently unknown, but fingers are pointing towards a UHD (4K) series of channels. The full press release can be seen below:

“We were recently very pleased to announce that almost 7 million of our customers in Britain and Ireland have now connected Sky’s On Demand services – making us far and away the biggest connected TV platform. What’s more, we’ve seen on demand downloads hit over 300 million in the last three months alone. That’s up by more than 60% year on year. So as more and more of our customers choose to watch TV when it suits them, we’re making some changes to how customers can watch Sky 3D.

Since its launch in 2010, Sky 3D has led the industry, becoming the home of incredible 3D content – from Sir David Attenborough’s award-winning documentaries like Flying Monsters, to the biggest Hollywood blockbusters like Avatar.

So today we’re announcing the latest development in our plans for 3D. From June Sky 3D is going fully on demand. From the latest 3D movie premieres like Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men Days of Future Past and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, to the very best in natural history with documentaries like Natural History Museum Alive, it will all be ready and waiting for our customers to view whenever it suits them.

The changes to 3D are all part of making our on demand offering a fantastic destination for customers. Other recent enhancements that benefit millions of connected customers include putting on demand content front and centre on the Sky+ TV Guide, adding more of the very best Box Sets such as Prison Break and Game of Thrones, and securing rights to even more shows and sport.”

Do you currently use 3D channels on a daily basis? Will this move affect you? Let just know in the comments.

Tinder Adds Instagram Support so You Can Share Your Most Private Videos with Strangers

Tinder made quite a bit of progress lately, especially on its subscription side. However, the Facebook integration doesn’t seem to be enough for the company, which now aims to roll out a new update that adds Instagram support to its growing ‘swipy’ world.

The latest Tinder update is said to let you swipe through Instagram photos, with support of up to 34 photos and videos for each account. The company has even integrated so as to redirect you to the person’s Instagram profile upon tapping a picture, providing he or she has the profile public.

Instagram is said to provide Tinder users with a better overview of how socially connected you are to the person you are about to swipe. Up until now, the Facebook integration showed you the friends you have in common with the person you are viewing, but it wasn’t enough to get you a match. Tinder aims to bring a more detailed feature that lets you have a glimpse of who that person is and hopes to bring better matches in the future.

Tinder has also announced that the integration will be available for both free and pro subscribers, so if you either use the app just for a laugh or hope to find your other half, you can still fiddle with the company’s latest feature. But let’s be honest about it, who uses Tinder as a professional dating app? Do you?

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

Video courtesy of The Verge and image courtesy of Business Insider

YouTube Plans to Introduce a New Paid Subscription Service

There have been rumours of YouTube working on introducing a new paid subscription service for some time now, but there hasn’t been anything concrete until now. The streaming service looks to add a monthly subscription that would allow users to watch videos without ads, having the revenue split between YouTube and content creators.

The paid subscription service aims to boost revenue for both YouTube and content creators alike after CPM rates have dropped this year. Aside from the latter, a lot of people are using AdBlock nowadays and that significantly reduces the money income for those who are making a living from YouTube.

There have been no subscription fees detailed just yet, but notifications have been sent out to content creators regarding the upcoming changes. The move seems to come after it was revealed that while the streaming service has an enormous pool of users, it is not making any profit at all.

Thank you KitGuru for providing us with this information

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited Launched

Bethesda has launched an online MMO of its Elder Scrolls title last year, but it did not receive the attention it had hoped. While it took strong criticism for its derivative and boring nature, it also came with a monthly £8.99 subscription. This made the title go into a slow downspiral.

The poor sales made Bethesda rethink its strategy and came up with the only solution. The company dropped the monthly subscription and players now can buy a copy of The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited and play as much as they want, while users who already had a subscription can just log into the game and play as usual. The console port is said to have been delayed until June.

However, Bethesda still needs to make it work and pay for the MMO infrastructure. This is why the company is adding its own in-game shop that will allow players to pay real-world cash for virtual items. It is said that there is still an optional ESO Plus subscription, where users can pay monthly and receive in-game cash, downloadable content and character bonuses.

Thank you Bitgamer for providing us with this information

YouTube Considering Subscription-Based On-Demand Video

YouTube may be expanding its business model into subscription-based video-on-demand (SVOD), according to Variety.

The entertainment trade magazine cites an anonymous content creation studio that revealed YouTube is “exploring the prospect of launching its own subscription VOD service,” in a similar vein to its YouTube Music Key, the ad-free music platform that gives users access to 30 million songs for $7.99 (£9.99) a month via Google Play Music. The studio says that it was approached last year to develop content for the SVOD platform.

The move could see the YouTube enter into direct competition with SVOD giants Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix, plus Vimeo, Vessel and Hulu, all of which have moved into offering exclusive content and paid ad-free viewing.

Source: The Next Web

Free Ad-Supported Subscription Will Not Be Available on Apple’s New Music Service

Apple will launch a new music service later this year, courtesy of its Beats acquisition. It is know that part of the service has been done by beats, namely its former Beats Music streaming service, and now Apple is going to add its final touch.

However, new reports suggest that the streaming service will not have a free subscription pack, such as the one on Spotify. For those unaware, Spotify offers its users the ability to listen to music for free, as long as they can put up with its ads and are willing to use just a few skips a day.

Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine and Apple’s Eddy Cue are said to have been telling music labels that they can put them “behind a paywall”. This will draw the attention of a lot of people, since it is known that labels are currently not happy with people having access to music freely through services such as YouTube and Spotify.

If this is the case, then Apple’s streaming service will turn into the best place for labels to push exclusive releases, delaying records’ arrival to other music streaming services and in turn giving Apple an advantage in the music industry and the upper hand against competition.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Unreal Engine 4 Is Now Free!

There have been a lot of beautiful and ultra-realistic projects made with Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 up until now. Take the amazing Parisian apartment project emphasising the power it has to display architecture in as much detail as possible. Even our last post regarding the engine, detailing how Quixel’s Megascans technology can create a realistic jungle, reveals just bits and pieces of its true power.

Up until now, the engine was available for a monthly subscription fee to developers worldwide. However, it turns out that Epic had made a radical change over the weekend.

Unreal Engine 4 is now available to everyone for free, and all future updates will be free!

Yes, Epic has indeed made Unreal Engine 4 available free to anyone willing to try it out, free of charge. The company states that they will only start taking money, namely 5% royalty fees, from people publishing their work done in the engine after the first $3,000 per product.

You can download the engine and use it for everything from game development, education, architecture, and visualization to VR, film and animation. When you ship a game or application, you pay a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter. It’s a simple arrangement in which we succeed only when you succeed.

More information about Epic’s big strategy shift can be found over at their website here.

Source: Unreal Engine

Tinder Plus Set to Launch This Monday

It looks like a new version of the Tinder app is set to launch on Monday. Bearing the name of Tinder Plus, the app is said to include some new features compared to the free version at a $9.99 price tag.

There is also mention of a subscription package within the app, leading to the conclusion that Tinder is yet again trying to set a new pricing structure. So far, the current version of the app is known to include subscription packages ranging from $0.99 to $19.99 per month.

A subscription to Tinder Plus is said to grant the user the Rewind feature, granting him or her the ability to reverse previous left swipes. The Passport feature seems to come in the new version as well, expanding a user’s searches beyond the current geographical location set by the smartphone.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information

Comcast Starts Using “Designed By Comcast in Philadelphia” on Remotes

Comcast has decided that the best way to improve people’s perceptions of itself is to copy one of the most famous slogans in tech. On every Apple product, big or small, from tiny headphone cables to whole computer systems, you’ll find the words “Designed by Apple in California.” Words that symbolise one of the greatest design heritages the world has seen.

So, it’s a little surprising to see Comcast, a company renowned for the amount of dislike it draws to itself, using such a slogan. If you think of the words Comcast and design, you picture not-so well designed set top boxes like this. But the thing is, that slogan in the headline is no joke. Comcast has started using it on their “premium” X1 remote.

Philadelphia just doesn’t have the same ring to it does it?

Source: The Verge

Comcast Changed a Customer’s Name to “Asshole Brown”

Comcast, America’s most hated company, has done yet another thing to draw hate towards itself. It appears that the company has a new policy of changing customer’s names on their bills. These names aren’t nice though, they really are quite derogatory.

Like many Comcast customers, Ricardo Brown was having some trouble paying his bill – the services he was paying out for became too expensive for him to keep up with, so he wanted to remove some of those services and reduce his bill. Now we all know how hard that can be. Even if you’re not a Comcast customer, you’ve most likely encountered the stories from those who have found themselves on the phone for hours in an attempt to cut down their bills or leave the service altogether.

Ricardo’s wife, Lisa, was the one who made the call to Comcast, and when they said that to remove their cable subscription would cost $60, she decided not to take the offer. She was then passed to one of Comcast’s ‘Retention Specialists’ instead. This is what Lisa believes caused the name change.

“I was never rude,” she says. “It could have been that person was upset because I didn’t take the offer.” Lisa Brown talking to Chris Elliot.

So it seems that a disgruntled employee who had a hard time trying to keep Mr and Mrs Brown from cutting down their services could very well have decided ‘Asshole Brown’ was a more fitting name. Comcast have since apologised and in the process given Ricardo Brown quite a nice goodwill gesture – a refund for the last two years of service and the next two years free. Wow.

Thing is, while you’d think this story would end there, it doesn’t. This wasn’t the only time this has happened to a Comcast customer, because it has happened again. Mary Bauer called the company a number of times trying to solve issues with her cable reception. After 39 total engineers came out to her over a period of several months, her problems were eventually resolved. But then she was faced with another problem – she stopped receiving her bills. So she called again and eventually she did receive a bill through the post, except this time her name had been changed to ‘Super Bitch’.

Oh dear.

Source: Gizmodo, The Verge

15 Million of Spotify’s 60 Million Userbase Now Pay

Spotify announced on Monday that it now boasts 15 million paying subscriptions, with a grand total of 60 million users. That marks a 10 million growth in its userbase since November, when it was revealed that 50 million people used the music streaming service. For comparison, the previous 10 million user growth took six months.

Daniel Ek, co-founder of Spotify, said back in November: “Not all free music is created equal – on Spotify, free music is supported by ads, and we pay for every play. Until we launched Spotify, there were two economic models for streaming services: all free or all paid, never together, and both models had a fatal flaw. The paid-only services never took off (despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing), because users were being asked to pay for something that they were already getting for free on piracy sites.”

Spotify has demonstrated remarkable growth in the latter half of 2014, with 25% of its userbase now paying to stream music, and the company is rumoured to be in line for an initial public offering (IPO) soon, making shares available to the general public.

Source: Music Business Worldwide

Someone Spent 4 Hours Cancelling Their Comcast Subscription

We all know how difficult and frustrating it can be cancelling your TV and internet subscription. They do literally everything they can to stop you from leaving. Despite all that, it probably doesn’t always take 4 hours. For one person however, it did.

Someone who goes by the name of Mike has uploaded an excerpt of his 4 hour hell to YouTube as well as describing his experience with this post on reddit.

 “tl/dr (sort of) upon request. Basically, I called to cancel my service after already making preliminary arrangements for an install with ATT. A Comcast retention specialist then offered me what I thought was a deal too good to be true – 50mbps internet (for which I was already paying $59.99/mo) for $39.99 for 12 months. They were also going to cancel my bundled TV service since I didn’t really use it anyway.I grudgingly accepted the offer, called ATT to cancel their install, and waited for the Comcast confirmation e-mail I was told would arrive within the hour. It did not arrive.I called back. The 2nd rep had no record whatsoever of the deal that was made on my first call. I informed them that I had recorded the call, so on to another retention specialist, who claimed to be able to match the original deal. I, again, grudgingly agreed. At this point, I was 2 hours in & just wanted it to be over with.After this, still no confirmation e-mail, and after doing a speed test, I saw that my internet speeds were now maxing out at less than 30mbps.

I called back.

The 3rd rep had no record at all of any of the previous calls. In fact, they showed me as being enrolled in a plan that was more expensive than the one I had originally. So…over to another retention specialist. This one offered me the 50mbps internet for the aforementioned $39.99…BUT I had to bundle it with a TV package including basic + HBO.

I finally get off the phone after almost 4 hours, my speed tests are good, a confirmation e-mail finally arrives all seems well. I go to turn on my TV…no service.

I did not include this part in the video (though I do have the recording), but I called again and was told that my original cable TV box had been de-authorized when the plan was upgraded/changed/whatever, and that I need a whole new box. They offered to either ship me one, or send a technician to my house to install a new one. I declined both of these offers, as I simply do not trust that I will not be billed for these services.

So, in short, several phone calls, several lies, several hours. Finally got working internet at the right price but the TV service is still not working, and I am so wary of rocking the boat and having them screw up my account again that I haven’t authorized them to correct the TV issue…I simply don’t trust them to not screw it up further.”

Source: TechCrunch

Sky Now Offering £10 Fibre Broadband – With 25GB Cap

What looks like a groundbreaking deal – £10 per month for fibre broadband – is easily shattered by its abysmal 25GB usage cap.

Yes, Sky have announced they are to offer fibre broadband for what is probably the lowest price in the UK.  Subscribers should receive speeds of up to 38 Mbps, alongside Sky’s promise to “never slow you down at peak times”. In reality though the whole thing should come in at £26.40 per month when you factor in line rental.

That’s still cheap, but can’t remove from the utterly stupid 25GB cap. In the product description, Sky say “you can stream movies” and “play online games” – two things that would most easily burn through that lousy cap.

How can they expect anyone to get by with such a paltry limit in the online world we live in today?

Source: The Next Web

Google Contributor Allows You to Pay Sites to Remove Ads

In another example of the increasing number of subscription over ads services, Google has announced ‘Google Contributor’, a new system that allows you to pay your favourite websites in return for the removal of ads.

By participating in the service, you can choose to pay between $1 and $3 a month to see sites part of the Contributor programme without advertising.

Sites that have partnered with Google include: Imgur, The Onion, Mashable, Science Daily, Urban Dictionary and WikiHow. Those sites involved with Contributor will remove ads completely whenever you visit, so long as you’re paying the monthly fee.

Google hasn’t yet made it clear whether you need to pay for individual sites or whether the money you pay covers all sites part of the programme. They also say that there are more sites involved, but haven’t revealed any others apart from those listed here.

To take part, you can apply for an invitation at contributor.google.com.

Source: The Verge

Sony Announces PlayStation Vue Cloud TV Service

Sony has finally unveiled details of it’s TV service it announced at CES this year. PlayStation Vue is Sony’s plan to take over cable and satellite subscriptions by offering a range of channels across a variety of “Sony and non-Sony devices”.

The service will launch this month as an invite-only beta and will only be available on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 at first, before being available for a range of smartphones and tablets. The beta will be launched in New York before moving on to Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. Each region will be able to receive around 75 channels from companies like Fox, NBC and CBS.

There are notable omissions from the list of channels, such as any channels from The Walt Disney Company like as ABC and ESPN. You’ll be able to watch channels live and keep programs for on-demand viewing for 28 days. Pricing is intersting, as Sony says that there will be no monthly contracts or installation fees. The service will see a much wider launch later next year.

Source: The Verge

Microsoft Announces $199 Work & Play Bundle

In a bundle surely to top all bundles, Microsoft is throwing together four of its subscription-based products and services into one $199 package. The “Work and Play” bundle includes Office 365 Home, Skype Unlimited World and WiFi, Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Music Pass.

The sale of this bundle is rather odd, as it seems that Microsoft is only making it available from November 10th 2014 to January 4th 2015 “or while supplies last.” It will also only be available through “select Microsoft full line retail stores in the United States only.” The bundle is only another sign of Microsoft’s big push towards subscription services, something that a lot of software developers are doing, including Adobe with its ‘Creative Cloud’ package.

Some consumers like the idea of spreading the cost with a subscription, while others prefer to buy and then own a copy of that software for life. What do you think? Do you prefer spreading the cost or do you want to own that copy of Microsoft Office?

Source: ZDNet