YouTube unveiled their upcoming $35 a month TV service

Google’s video site has unveiled YouTube TV, an upcoming streaming TV service to compete with Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, and others. YouTube TV will launch this Spring “in the largest U.S. markets” with a base package of 44 channels for $35 per month. Read more ›

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YouTube takes big step to becoming a social network with new Community Tab

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YouTube just rolled out a new feature that pushes the platform even further into the realm of being a full blown social network. Called simply the “Community Tab,” the new feature allows YouTube channels to post not only videos, but also images, gifs, links, and text. Posts will appear in a subscriber’s stream of content alongside new videos, which essentially turns the subscription feed into a news feed like you find on social networks. Users can thumbs up/down and comment on posts, again, much like you do on Facebook. Right now the community tab is only available to specific channels that have been invited to have early access. Updated YouTube apps will be rolling out that let you select whether you want to see just videos in your subscription stream or videos and posts.

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YouTube Red takes on Amazon and Netflix, while BitTorrent takes on YouTube

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The landscape of streaming video is constantly shifting, with the major players constantly going after each others established markets. Amazon Video, which primarily offers big-budget content, has started dipping its toes into YouTube’s pool of self-submitted content, so it was inivetiable that YouTube would return the gesture. When YouTube Red first launched, it’s primary value proposition was ad-free YouTube, coupled with a streaming music service. Now the New York Times is reporting that YouTube Red has picked up it’s first big-budget television series. The show will be based on the movie Step Up and share the same name. Lionsgate will produce a 10-episode season, to be made available exclusively to YouTube Red subscribers. This marks YouTube’s first foray into original programming, an area dominated by the likes of Netflix and Amazon.

On the other side of the streaming landscape, BitTorrent has launched a new streaming service called BitTorrent Now, aimed at taking a piece of YouTube’s pie of ad-supported streaming content. BitTorrent Now will arrive in the form of phone, tablet, and TV apps that stream music and video using BitTorrent’s file sharing technology. Artists and content creators will be able to make their work available on the platform for free with ads or by requiring a payment. An Android app is already available, with an iOS and Apple TV app coming soon. BitTorrent says apps for other platforms will follow, so hopefully we’ll see a Fire TV app released shortly.

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Apps on Fire TV 2 can now output 4K Ultra HD all the time — YouTube first to do so

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Ever since the Fire TV 2 first launched, its 4K capabilities have been limited to video playback. Apps like Netflix display their interface at 1080p to take advantage of the 60fps framerate, which results in a smoother navigation experience, while switching to 4K only when a video is played. This is because 4K output on the Fire TV 2 is limited to 30fps, which could result in a stuttery feeling interface if it were used all the time for an app with many moving elements. It appears that, with the new 5.2.1.0 software update, developers can now choose to display their apps in 4K all the time if they wish. The newly updated YouTube app, which now supports 4K content, is the first Fire TV app to opt for an always-4K approach. Read more ›

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YouTube app for the Fire TV to gain 4K Ultra HD support

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Slipped in among the announcement for the new Alexa features coming to the Fire TV, Amazon has revealed that the YouTube app for the Fire TV will finally gain support for 4K UHD video playback. Owners of the Fire TV 2 with a 4K capable television will be able to stream YouTube’s full 4K library in all of its glory. With YouTube being among the largest providers of streaming 4K content, not being able to take advantage of that content has been a sore spot for Fire TV 2 owners ever since the device launched, but not for much longer.

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YouTube looking to add Movies and TV Shows to subscription service

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YouTube’s subscription service dosen’t currently offer much for it’s $9.99 per month fee, but that may soon change. According to a new report by The Wall Street Journal, YouTube is reportedly trying to secure the rights to movies and TV shows to stream to their YouTube Red subscribers. The move would rival Netflix and Amazon’s on-demand video services. YouTube executives Susanne Daniels, former head of MTV’s programming, and Kelly Merryman, former Netflix executive, have been meeting with movie studios and production companies in recent months, says The WSJ. Sources say YouTube is focusing on rights to newer content, as opposed to older movies and TV shows which make up the bulk of subscription streaming video service catalogues. Even though the Fire TV’s YouTube app isn’t as full featured as the ones you find on phones and tablets, it does work with YouTube Red, so it will likely grant subscribers access to these movies and TV shows if YouTube’s negotiations pan out.

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YouTube Red works on the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick

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For those curious, YouTube Red, the ad-free subscription service from YouTube, does work with the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. You’re not going to get any of the added perks, like video downloads for offline viewing or background playback, like you’ll find on mobile phones and tablets, but YouTube Red subscribers who login on the Fire TV’s YouTube app will enjoy ad-free viewing as well as access to exclusive original content. After logging in you’ll find that the YouTube logo in the upper right will change to a YouTube Red logo, indicating you will no longer see any pre-roll advertisements when watching YouTube videos on Fire TV devices.

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YouTube Red subscription service will let you watch ad-free for $9.99 per month

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YouTube unveiled its long rumored subscription service called YouTube Red. The new service will cost $9.99 per month and let subscribers watch all YouTube videos ad-free, save videos to watch offline on supported devices, and keep videos running in the background, again on supported devices. Subscribers will also have exclusive access to original series, featuring popular YouTubers, which YouTube is creating.

Ad-free viewing via a YouTube Red subscription will likely be supported on the Amazon Fire TV’s YouTube app, but it’s unlikely other features, like offline and background viewing, will work on Fire TV devices. The Fire TV’s YouTube app is not a native app, but rather, is simply an HTML5 wrapper for youtube.com/tv. Logging into the Fire TV’s YouTube app with a YouTube Red subscribed account should result in ad-free viewing, but more advanced features will require a new native app to be released. YouTube Red will be available starting October 28th.

Update

I missed the fact that included with a YouTube Red subscription is full access to Google Play Music, which gives on-demand access to over 30 million songs. That explains the otherwise high seeming $9.99 price. Thanks to comments from Masterblaster8987 and Ottis for pointing this out!

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Fullscreen YouTube network adds another 300+ Fire TV apps

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The most popular YouTube network, Fullscreen Inc., is at it again. Last week they released over 300 Fire TV apps overnight. Each one dedicated to a YouTube channel within their network. Last night, another 300+ apps from Fullscreen were approved by Amazon, bringing their total to 675 individual apps. Just as before, each app is procedurally generated using the images and playlists that exist on the respective YouTube channel. With over 50,000 YouTube channels under Fullscreen’s belt, this may only be the beginning of these app releases.

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Top YouTube network releases over 300 Fire TV apps overnight

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The largest YouTube network, Fullscreen Inc., just flooded the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick appstore with over 300 apps, increasing the number of available Fire TV apps by 15% overnight. Each app is dedicated to one of Fullscreen’s over 50,000 partnered YouTube channels. The apps appear to be procedurally generated using the videos, playlists, and content from the associated YouTube channel.

Little thought has gone into making these apps. They use each channel’s YouTube header image as the app’s background image and the YouTube channel description as the app’s description, even when the content references YouTube specific features like “subscribing” and “like buttons,” which don’t make sense within a Fire TV app.

Based on the response of one YouTuber I asked, it appears the individual YouTubers whose content has been turned into a Fire TV app were not involved in the creation of these apps, and worse, were unaware these apps were even being released. This isn’t the first time YouTube channels have been appified and made available on the Fire TV platform. However, with past YouTube channel-turned-app instances, it was clear the content creators were directly involved in the app’s creation.

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