YouTube Now on T-Mobile’s ‘Binge On’ After Earlier Spat

YouTube Now on T-Mobile's 'Binge On' After Earlier Spat

T-Mobile and YouTube have come to terms after a public spat over the phone company’s “Binge On” video streaming service.

As a result, most T-Mobile customers can, starting Thursday, watch YouTube videos without using up their cellphone data.

T-Mobile in November had started letting customers stream video from a couple dozen providers, including Netflix, Hulu and HBO, without using up their phone data.

YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet, didn’t like that T-Mobile then delivered all video in DVD-level quality, which is worse than HD – even video from companies that hadn’t joined Binge On.

YouTube, as well as others including digital-rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, criticized this as throttling, which the government’s net neutrality rules don’t permit. T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a video posted online that that charge was “a game of semantics” because customers could opt out and stream higher quality video if they wanted. Customers would use up more data if they did that.

Proponents of net neutrality, the concept that Internet service providers should treat all traffic equally, are concerned about efforts by T-Mobile and other ISPs, including Verizon, AT&T and Comcast, to exempt some video or other online activities from data caps. They worry that could lead to some Internet companies paying cable and phone businesses for better access to consumers, hurting other Internet companies that can’t afford to pay. (T-Mobile doesn’t charge video companies to participate in Binge On, however.)

T-Mobile has changed its service to appease YouTube. Now T-Mobile allows video providers to manage video streams themselves, which YouTube is doing. That helps YouTube make sure that video doesn’t take a long time to load for viewers.

Video providers can also choose whether they want to be able to stream their video at a higher quality. If they do that, T-Mobile customers will have to use more data to watch it.

YouTube also said in a blog post that T-Mobile has made it easier for customers to turn off Binge On so that they can watch HD video.

T-Mobile said on Thursday that it has added some other, smaller video providers to Binge On as well. The program now has several dozen in all, but does not include Facebook or Snapchat, a photo and video app that’s become popular with teens and young adults in the last few years.

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Tags: Alphabet, Apps, AT And T, Comcast, HBO, Hulu, Internet, Netflix, T Mobile, Telecom, Verizon, YouTube
[“source-Gadgets”]

YouTube Gaming for Android Gets New Features

YouTube Gaming for Android Gets New Features

YouTube Gaming is getting a host of new features. The gaming-focused video streaming service has gotten rid of the sidebars on its homepage to make navigation easier – with new pages to manage games and channels – as well as to boost discovery of new content. There’s a new “Live” tab on the homepage that brings top streams, games, and videos from subscribed channels. In addition to this, there’s an Android live stream player – a feature that was limited to iOS and browsers (via HTML5). It will support quality switching, 60fps viewing, and DVR mode.

Also new is a pop-out player on Android. This will allow users to pop out the YouTube Gaming player, allowing it to be visible above other apps on your device.

(Also see: Twitch Partners Cannot Stream on YouTube Gaming: Report)

There’s more to it – the YouTube Gaming mobile app for Android and iOS will be made available to a few more countries.

“Now we’re inviting more players to the game. Starting today, the YouTube Gaming mobile app will be available on iOS and Android in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland, homes to top gaming creators like jacksepticeye, Vanoss, and TypicalGamer,” wrote YouTube Gaming Product Manager Alan Joyce. After which he hinted that “many more countries are coming soon”.

It’ll be interesting to see if India makes the cut anytime soon. Reason being, the company just took interest in gaming content out of India, hosting the country’s first workshop on gaming. With video streaming consumption being decidedly mainstream, we wonder if there are enough gaming content creators (and the requisite volume of gaming viewers) to justify a local release.

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YouTube Music App First Impressions

YouTube Music App First Impressions

If you were going to reinvent MTV for a mobile generation, you’d probably come up with something like YouTube Music. It’s a video-first music service that also plays in the background like you’d expect a music app to do. That sets it apart from other music apps out there, many of which give you a choice of videos or songs, but not interchangeably.

But while YouTube Music offers a lot of interesting features, most of them require a subscription to the new YouTube Red service, which will set you back $10 a month – $13 if you sign up through YouTube’s iPhone app. Without Red, YouTube Music will play ads similar to what you see on YouTube proper, and several other functions won’t work at all. YouTube is offering new users a 14-day free trial to Red, but to continue commercial free, you’ll need to pony up.

YouTube Music is first and foremost a music-video app, albeit one that doesn’t forget that most people will be using it on their phones. For those times you’d rather just listen instead of watching, you can hit a toggle that switches the app to audio-only mode, which turns off the video playback and swaps in a still image. You can even turn off the screen and keep listening while you do something else.

youtube_music_app_screenshot_google_play_1.jpgBut here’s the first gotcha: Audio-only mode only works for paid subscribers. I also found the audio-only toggle worked far better on a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 than on an iPhone 5, where it introduced a jarring pause.

You can similarly shrink the video to a little strip at the bottom of the app, which keeps it playing in a cropped format while you look for the next video. The app will even keep playing if you switch to other tasks, like checking email – although again only if you’ve paid up for Red.

There are some curious omissions. For instance, there’s no easy way to create a playlist to queue up a bunch of videos in a row. The app does offer “song stations,” which queue up videos from artists related to the one you’re on. You can toggle the range of the resulting mix with options like “less variety,” ”more variety” or “balanced.” I started a station starting with Passenger’s “Let Her Go” and so far I’m pretty happy with the “balanced” playlist it created, which included “Counting Stars” from OneRepublic and “Burn” by Ellie Goulding.

You can also play all of the videos you’ve thumbs-upped, which turns that grouping into a crude sort of playlist.

youtube_music_app_screenshot_google_play_2.jpgYouTube Music is far less cluttered than competing services like Apple Music, which has more lists and tabs than you’ll know what to do with. YouTube Music keeps the tabs to three – home, hot (trending videos), and thumbs up (your favorites).

Home offers recommended videos, and it’s easy to find something playable. Your mileage may vary with the “hot” tab; it didn’t do much for me, although I’m usually a bit out of sync with the mainstream.

Finally, there’s one more fun feature, which is called “offline mixtape.” It automatically saves 20 audio-only songs for you based on your tastes, for when you know you’re going to get spotty reception. I wish it saved the videos instead of just the audio, but this will keep the tunes turning in a pinch. Alas, offline mixtapes are disabled in the ad-supported version of YouTube Music.

The app makes Google’s $10-a-month music subscription a lot more attractive. Paying up not only unlocks features in YouTube Music itself, it also gets you ad-free playback on the main YouTube app, access to Google Play Music, and, down the road, some original material from YouTube stars.

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YouTube Launches Pakistani Version, Paving Way for Ban to Be Lifted

YouTube Launches Pakistani Version, Paving Way for Ban to Be Lifted

The Supreme Court’s ban in place since September 2012 applied to YouTube’s global and localised sites.

The new site, youtube.com.pk, is currently live but inaccessible inside Pakistan, and the government and Google hope its creation will mean the Supreme Court will lift the ban, even if only partially.

Content on the local site can still be regulated, and a senior government official told AFP Wednesday Pakistan’s telecommunication authority could ask Google to remove content it deems objectionable.

If Google complies, it could meet a condition set by the Supreme Court for lifting the ban.

“The understanding is that on the localised version offensive and blasphemous content could be blocked by Google on the government’s request,” the official said.

A Google spokesman confirmed that governments are allowed to request the removal of YouTubevideos that violate local laws.

“We have clear community guidelines, and when videos violate those rules, we remove them,” the spokesman said.

But the Internet giant said it would review requests before taking videos down.

“Government requests to remove content will continue to be tracked and included in our Transparency Report.”

Islamabad has been in intermittent talks with Google for several years over the issue, another source close to the matter said, without providing a specific timeframe for the unveiling of YouTube Pakistan.

“We are in a very near-term sort of thing. The roadblocks have been removed,” the source said.

A Supreme Court official meanwhile said the next court hearing about the ban is in two weeks.

Users in Pakistan continue to access YouTube using proxy servers and Virtual Private Networks.

Blasphemy is a contentious issue in Pakistan and the country has seen violent riots sparked by content considered offensive to Islam.

In 2010 Pakistan shut down Facebook for nearly two weeks over its hosting of allegedly blasphemous pages. It continues to restrict thousands of online links.