Free streaming services, not to mention teaser shows or trials, continue to persist.
Amazon’s latest entry is another free video streaming offering, this time in India, which differs to its existing ad-supported IMDb TV already available the US.
MiniTV mostly focuses on older — and presumably cheaper — content, including a mix of material designed for other platforms, like YouTube, but you can expect “new and exclusive” videos in the future.
It’s available through Amazon’s Android app for now, with plans to hit iOS and the web soon. For now, however, the service is sticking to India. Amazon isn’t the only one cautiously testing services. PlayStation is testing its own video streaming offering in Poland. Depending on how it fares, maybe we’ll see elsewhere. Or maybe we won’t.
Tesla’s Model S Plaid should be fast, but the company may even tweak the design to handle that added performance. YouTube channel The Kilowatts spotted a Model S prototype (most likely the Plaid or Plaid+) with a retractable spoiler built into the trunk.
There’s no certainty the finished Plaid models will reach drivers with retractable spoilers built-in, however. The base Plaid is set for a late-summer launch, while the Plaid+ is expected to arrive in mid-2022. Continue reading.
Imagine you’re in the middle of something very important and your phone rings in the distance, completely killing your concentration.
You now have to get up, pick up your phone, and see who’s calling. Well, the Google Phone app is finally giving you an out with a new caller ID feature.
Should you choose to activate it, the new Google Phone feature will announce the name and number for all incoming calls. Yes, it’s a pretty basic feature that was lacking from the app before, but the current stable version adds it in the form of a new setting called “Caller ID Announcement.” You can find the feature on the main settings page of the app. Tapping it opens up an “Announce caller ID” option. From here, you can set it on for all calls, only when using a headset, or turn it off completely. You can see the screenshots above for reference.
Microsoft is launching the personal version of Microsoft Teams today. After previewing the service nearly a year ago, Microsoft Teams is now available for free personal use amongst friends and families.
The service itself is almost identical to the Microsoft Teams that businesses use, and it will allow people to chat, video call, and share calendars, locations, and files easily.
Microsoft is also continuing to offer everyone free 24-hour video calls that it introduced in the preview version in November. You’ll be able to meet up with up to 300 people in video calls that can last for 24 hours. Microsoft will eventually enforce limits of 60 minutes for group calls of up to 100 people after the pandemic, but keep 24 hours for 1:1 calls.
While the preview initially launched on iOS and Android, Microsoft Teams for personal use now works across the web, mobile, and desktop apps. Microsoft is also allowing Teams personal users to enable its Together mode — a feature that uses AI to segment your face and shoulders and place you together with other people in a virtual space. Skype got this same feature back in December.
Speaking of Skype, Microsoft hasn’t announced any plans to replace Skype with Microsoft Teams on the consumer side yet. Microsoft said it was “fully committed to Skype” last year when it launched the preview of this personal version of Microsoft Teams, but the rise of Zoom during the pandemic certainly highlighted Skype’s irrelevance amongst consumers.
As we noted last year, the personal version of Microsoft Teams is part of a broader effort by Microsoft to remain relevant with consumers after a series of exits from consumer-friendly services. Microsoft isn’t looking to compete with iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or other chat apps, but it’s clear Zoom is in the company’s sights after its huge rise with consumers during the pandemic.
If you’re interested in trying out Microsoft Teams for personal use, you can download the iOS, Android, or desktop apps, or simply head to Teams on the web and avoid downloading anything at all.
Apple today announced Apple Music is bringing industry-leading sound quality to subscribers with the addition of Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos.
Spatial Audio gives artists the opportunity to create immersive audio experiences for their fans with true multidimensional sound and clarity. Apple Music subscribers will also be able to listen to more than 75 million songs in Lossless Audio — the way the artists created them in the studio. These new features will be available for Apple Music subscribers starting next month at no additional cost. “Apple Music is making its biggest advancement ever in sound quality,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats. “Listening to a song in Dolby Atmos is like magic. The music comes from all around you and sounds incredible. Now we are bringing this truly innovative and immersive experience to our listeners with music from their favorite artists like J Balvin, Gustavo Dudamel, Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, Kacey Musgraves, The Weeknd, and so many more. Subscribers will also be able to listen to their music in the highest audio quality with Lossless Audio. Apple Music as we know it is about to change forever.” Spatial Audio with Support for Dolby Atmos Apple is bringing Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos to Apple Music. Dolby Atmos is a revolutionary, immersive audio experience that enables artists to mix music so the sound comes from all around and from above. By default, Apple Music will automatically play Dolby Atmos tracks on all AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, as well as the built-in speakers in the latest versions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple Music will be adding new Dolby Atmos tracks constantly and will be curating a special set of Dolby Atmos playlists to help listeners find the music they love. In addition, albums that are available in Dolby Atmos will have a badge on the detail page for easy discovery. At launch, subscribers can enjoy thousands of songs in Spatial Audio from some of the world’s biggest artists and music across all genres, including hip-hop, country, Latin, pop, and classical. Apple Music is working with artists and labels to add new releases and the best catalog tracks, as more artists begin to create music specifically for the Spatial Audio experience. Together, Apple Music and Dolby are making it easy for musicians, producers, and mix engineers to create songs in Dolby Atmos. Initiatives include doubling the number of Dolby-enabled studios in major markets, offering educational programs, and providing resources to independent artists. “Today marks the introduction of Dolby Atmos on Apple Music — a new music experience that is transforming how music is created by artists and enjoyed by their fans,” said Kevin Yeaman, Dolby Laboratories’ president and CEO. “We are working with Apple Music to make Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos widely available to all musicians and anyone who loves music.” J Balvin said: “I’m really excited to be part of this project with Apple Music because I always want to be a step ahead and I think this is one of those steps. With Lossless, everything in the music is going to sound bigger and stronger but more importantly, it will be better quality. Hearing myself and my music in Dolby Atmos for the first time, it was just crazy, it blew my mind, it’s indescribable. I think fans will really love this new experience.” Gustavo Dudamel said: “There are no words to describe the immersive, overpowering experience of being a conductor, leading a performance of Mahler’s towering ‘Symphony of a Thousand.’ But now, technology is advancing to bring that experience closer to our ears, our minds, and our souls. Share with me this monumental, live performance with my beloved Los Angeles Philharmonic, remastered in Dolby Atmos audio technology for the first time on Apple Music alongside my collection of Deutsche Grammophon recordings with the LA Phil, in rich, remarkable 3D sound.” Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter, and composer Giles Martin said: “Since recording began, artists, producers, and engineers have tried to paint pictures with sound, transporting listeners to worlds they never knew existed, even when the sound came from a single speaker. Now with the dawn of immersive audio, we can take the music lover inside the music. From the feeling of hearing your favorite artist in the same room as you, to the experience of sitting directly in the middle of a symphony orchestra, the listening experience is transformative and the possibilities for the creator are endless. This is a quantum leap in technology – I have so far had the pleasure of mixing some of the greatest artists in history in Dolby Atmos. With this work I have found myself falling into albums I love. There is a unique experience of being able to fully immerse myself in music that, although is familiar, suddenly sounds new, fresh, and immediate. As a creator, it is beyond exciting that we can now share this incredible experience through Apple Music.” Mixing engineer Manny Marroquin said: “Spatial Audio gives music a new identity. Every time I mix in Atmos it gives me goosebumps. The future has arrived.” Lossless Audio Apple Music will also make its catalog of more than 75 million songs available in Lossless Audio. Apple uses ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) to preserve every single bit of the original audio file. This means Apple Music subscribers will be able to hear the exact same thing that the artists created in the studio. To start listening to Lossless Audio, subscribers using the latest version of Apple Music can turn it on in Settings > Music > Audio Quality. Here, they can choose different resolutions for different connections such as cellular, Wi-Fi, or for download. Apple Music’s Lossless tier starts at CD quality, which is 16 bit at 44.1 kHz (kilohertz), and goes up to 24 bit at 48 kHz and is playable natively on Apple devices. For the true audiophile, Apple Music also offers Hi-Resolution Lossless all the way up to 24 bit at 192 kHz.1 Producer Piper Payne said: “The soul and life of the mix is sitting in the extra bits of data that are stored in the lossless file. As a mastering engineer, having the ability to convey the music to the listener at its highest quality is the end goal of what I work for every day.”