Are you one of the millions of Netflix subscribers like I am? If you are (or even not), I have something interesting to share about how Netflix makes their streaming service the best in the business.
For those who don’t know, Netflix is not what they were before. The company started off as a DVD-rental business — just like your favorite local rental stores back when they were popular. It was in 2007 when they launched their streaming service formerly branded as Watch Now. It was restricted to just PCs and you needed the right browser to be able to play their videos.
It was also in 2007 when the first iPhone from Apple was announced, so two pioneers were born that year and they have yet to properly meet each other.
Netflix formally launched their mobile app in 2010 and it changed how we consume content on our phones. Today, more than 60 percent of Netflix members use the mobile app every month. This is why the company is continuously working to make long-form videos more enjoyable on mobile.
When I say enjoyable, it’s not just about showing in HDR, because there’s more to it than just high resolutions.
First, there is personalization. Netflix considers this very important because of the limited screen space on mobile phones, so you have to see the titles you really like first. This feature is not just on mobile; it’s also available on any internet-enabled device you have Netflix on, whether it’s a TV, laptop, tablet, or even game console.
If you can recall, Netflix added mobile previews to their app earlier this year. This lets users get a sneak peek of the content without leaving the homepage and make choosing a show much faster. It works well on mobile since it’s presented in vertical format — no need to turn the orientation of the phone.
Then we have the new feature called Smart Downloads which is currently available on Android phones and tablets. What this does is it identifies the show being watched and automatically downloads the next episode over a Wi-Fi network. It then automatically deletes the downloaded episode after it’s completed. Basically, Netflix makes sure that you can continue watching the next episode while you’re on the road without using up your data plan.
Speaking of saving data, Netflix is also working round-the-clock to make encoding much better. Thankfully, they know how mobile data can be expensive or slow in certain places.
Back then, Netflix streamed their shows in a “one-size-fits-all” bitrate which is great for high-quality streaming but it consumed too much data. Good thing they learned that not all content requires the same encoding bitrate, so they based it on individual titles. 2D animation shows can be compressed at a low bitrate but still be streamed in high quality, while action-packed titles will be meticulously compressed to avoid any compression artifacts.
Netflix didn’t stop there. Their latest innovation called Dynamic Optimizer Encoding now selects the best encoding recipe per shot. Each shot is dynamically encoded to ensure best overall quality which results in, according to Netflix, 64 percent less bandwidth consumption.
Before all this, users could only watch seven hours of content on mobile using 4GB of data. Since the implementation in 2015, viewers can now enjoy 10 hours, and with the per-shot encoding, members can binge-watch for 26 hours with the same amount of data. Soon, this will reach up to 33 hours using the latest AV1 codec which is something Netflix is currently working on.
New Huawei phones are suspended from having Facebook out of the box
Another blow to Huawei, but this is minimal
Here’s more news about the US trade ban against Huawei. The latest American company to take action is Facebook. The popular social networking company is no longer allowing pre-installation of its apps on Huawei phones.
The latest blow to the Chinese tech giant doesn’t necessarily mean users won’t be able to access Facebook. According to a report by Reuters, customers who already bought Huawei phones will still be able to use Facebook apps and receive updates. Although, new Huawei phones will no longer have Facebook pre-installed. Other Facebook-owned apps are also affected including WhatsApp and Instagram.
If you purchased a Huawei phone lately, you might have noticed that your phone came with a few apps pre-installed — aside from the native apps, of course. Usually, smartphone vendors have deals with developers like Facebook to make their app widely available. Aside from Facebook, Huawei phones also come pre-installed with Twitter and Booking.com in many markets.
While Facebook’s move to stay away won’t badly hurt Huawei, it could affect the partnership sales outlook. Again, the Facebook ban only affects Huawei phones that have yet to come out of the factory. Also, Facebook can still be downloaded from the Google Play Store assuming Huawei will not lose access to it soon.
Google: Cutting off Huawei is an even bigger threat
Could lead to less secure apps
For three weeks, Huawei’s biggest concerns were the loss of Android and ARM architecture support. The recent Trump ban created pandemonium for the Chinese company. Since the ban’s announcement, Huawei has struggled with solutions and appeals. Unfortunately, the company’s troubles are not stopping.
In a Financial Times report, Google argues that Trump’s ban will ironically open Huawei to more cybersecurity issues. Likewise, an Android ban will cascade down to the operating system’s supported apps. Users will likely resort to less secure installation methods for their lost apps.
Google further explains that using an Android hybrid (since the platform is open-source by nature) could result in more holes in the system’s security. Huawei’s alternative — either their own custom OS or a forked Android variant — will not offer the same amount of protection.
In related news, Facebook has banned their app’s pre-installs on their future smartphones. Currently, Huawei’s phones come installed with Facebook’s slew of apps — Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp. Arguably, all three apps are essential pieces of a smartphone’s ecosystem. As such, smartphone makers often strike pre-installation deals with app developers, allowing devices to come with these essential apps.
Of course, Huawei users can still install them manually through the Google Play Store. However, this method is also in jeopardy. By August 19, Google is forced to sever support for Huawei, pending a permanent resolution. The ban can feasibly take the Play Store with it. If that happens, Huawei users can no longer install Facebook through the usual means. Users will start resorting to Huawei’s own store or APK installs.
Huawei’s continued dealing with bans rings an ominous death knell for the Chinese company. Without a conclusive resolution, the world’s number-two smartphone manufacturer is facing an uncertain, dangerous future for its phones, inside and out.
Final Fantasy’s music officially comes to Spotify
From every game in the series!
Square Enix has done something we’ve all been wishing for: Uploading a collection of official Final Fantasy soundtracks to Spotify and other music streaming platforms.
News began spreading around the web as Spotify users noticed that there are heaps more FF songs available. It’s also been reported that Apple Music and Amazon Music have them, as well.
The uploaded tracks span all main FF entries plus direct sequels and spin-offs. If you’ve ever been in the mood for a gaming nostalgia trip at home or on the road, this may be the best time.
While there has been FF-related music on Spotify in the past, this is the first time it’s been made official. And yes, it includes songs from Final Fantasy VIII.
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