YouTube TV is a live cable TV streaming service aimed at cord cutters who want to ditch their regular cable subscription. It is similar to other over-the-top (OTT) services that we have already covered such as DirecTV Now, Fubo TV, PlayStation Vue, and Hulu Live. YouTube TV started out in limited markets and took a slower approach in launching nationwide as it was working on deals in getting local channels in all markets first. Google recently rolled out YouTube TV to virtually all markets in the U.S. and is available to 98% of the country. Here is a look at some first impressions and what you can expect.
Getting Started with YouTube TV
To get started you need to sign up for YouTube TV. You need to enter your zip code and it will give you a list of the channels included in your package. You will get a one-size-fits-all service that includes a short 5-day trial and costs $40/month. It has about 60 channels – including supported local affiliates such as ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX (CW is available in some areas, too). The lineup also includes major cable networks like ESPN, FX, AMC, USA, CNN, and others. You can also add on premium channels like Showtime and Starz if you want, but that will cost extra.
One of the more positive features to note off the bat is YouTube TV has unlimited DVR. Other services like DirecTV Now took quite a few years to get its cloud DVR implemented. PlayStation Vue has a cloud DVR that has been highly developed and available for years. And other services like Fubo TV and Hulu Live offers around 50 hours of recordings for free but you have to pay extra for more storage room.
One important thing to note about the DVR, though. It will replace the recording with the on-demand version of the show if it’s available. And most on-demand versions of shows do not allow you to skip ads. As part of the deal to get local affiliates, Google succumbed to allow on-demand versions to be placed in the DVR according to a WSJ report. It’s worth noting that all shows won’t do this, and your results will vary. PlayStation Vue has also started replacing some of your DVR’d content with on-demand.
Recording a show is easy, just like it is with PlayStation Vue. Just find the show and select the “+ Add to Library” icon. Your shows, movies, sports and other programs you add will be kept on the DVR for up to nine months. It will all be accessible in your own personalize DVR library. Finding the icon varies depending on the device you’re watching it on. You add programs through the guide or also while you’re watching the show. Another icon to look out for is the bell. It allows you to receive notifications when your favorites are available to watch.
YouTube TV is available on virtually any device you want to view it on either via an app or through a browser. Now, when it comes to a YouTube TV subscription, its other services like YouTube Music and YouTube Premium is a bit confusing. With a YouTube TV subscription, you get commercial-free YouTube Originals like Cobra Kai and Origin. You also get select trending YouTube videos. But you don’t get a commercial-free regular YouTube experience – you need YouTube Premium for that. And YouTube Music is not included, just consider that a separate service — unless you subscribe to YouTube Premium, too. See, it’s a little confusing.
Overall, YouTube TV is a solid cord-cutting service that works well and the price is comparable to similar OTT services. From my initial testing, the streams are reliable. The picture quality is good with support for 1080p content at 30fps on supported channels. The interface is intuitive and responsive on all devices I’ve tested it on so far. And if I weren’t already so loyal to PlayStation Vue, I would probably go with it if I had to.
Brady is looking for his sixth Super Bowl title and fifth-career Super Bowl MVP. There were those who said the Patriots were done earlier this year, but they were very, very wrong. Like death and taxes, Belichick and Brady will come for us all. The Patriots beat the Chiefs on the road to get here, something that has proven extremely difficult to do all year, but experience wins out.
The Rams are trying to repeat what the Eagles did last season and upset the Pats as underdogs. With an immensely talented team that includes the likes of Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods on offense, not to mention Aaron Donald, Aqib Talib and John Johnson on defense, if nothing else the Rams are one of the NFL‘s most exciting teams on paper.
Before anything, you need to know how to watch the game. Here’s how you can watch on both CBS and connected apps.
How to Watch Super Bowl LIII
What: Los Angeles Rams vs. New England Patriots
When: Sunday Feb. 3, 2018
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta
Announcers: Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Tony Romo (color commentator), Tracy Wolfson/Evan Washburn (sideline reporters)
As of Friday morning, the Rams are 2.5-point dogs in Super Bowl LIII, but they’ve overcome worse odds. Given that this game is at a neutral site, they won’t have to deal with the cold of Foxborough. However, bettors are learning not to go against the Patriots, because time and time again they’ve made anyone who does pay (literally).
Brady vs. Goff is an interesting game in its own right. Brady has valuable experience, and Michel has given the Patriots a new back to lean on. Gurley may or may not be running at 100 percent right now, but Michel’s fellow Georgia alum has had an unbelievable season. C.J. Anderson is waiting in the wings if Gurley isn’t quite right, and he’s had a solid postseason thus far. The Rams will need to get out to a fast start against the Patriots, who have shown that if you don’t jump on them they’ll cause problems.
Jonathan Larson’s Tony-winning musical “Rent” is the latest to get the live-TV treatment — and the show’s bound to be big.
The “Rent: Live” cast includes big names such as Vanessa Hudgens, Tinashe and Kiersey Clemons, three stylish celebrities who never fail to impress with their off-duty looks. Jordan Fisher, who appeared alongside Hudgens in “Grease: Live,” also makes an appearance in the show, as well as “Let Me Love You” singer Mario and Broadway actor Brandon Victor Davis.
With such a star-studded cast, the acting and singing in “Rent: Live” is bound to be excellent. But the costumes — designed by Angela Wendt, who outfitted the cast of the original production — are also worth watching out for.
“The biggest change is that there are so many more characters, and now we can also follow timeline,” Wendt explained to Playbill. “There will be new surprises, and you will also see some old friends — that’s all I’m going to say.”
To tune in to the performance on TV, fans can flip to Fox, where the show will air 8-11 p.m. ET on Jan. 26. Those on the West Coast will have to be patient, as the performance will be delayed until 8 p.m. PT.
For fans hoping to watch online, one option is to tune in to Fox.com, where the broadcast will be live-streamed. Without a cable login, Fox allows viewers only 60 minutes of complementary viewing, so don’t bank on Fox.com if you’ve cut the cord.
Otherwise, the show can be watched in full on Hulu if you have a subscription, or on YouTube’s live-TV edition. Both Hulu and YouTube will give you a weeklong free trial of their live-TV offerings.
Apple and Samsung will continue to shape the technology market this year, but can newcomers Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi spring a surprise?
2019 will be a bumper year for tech, with established and emerging brands looking to evolve, shake up and revitalize the market like never before.
Foldable smartphones, lightning-fast data connections, and wearables on every wrist are just some of the things that we’re expecting, and with prices going through the roof over the last 12 months, affordability will play a key role in their chances of success.
Looking at the year ahead, we’ve picked out five products, brands, trends or technologies to keep an eye on, from the key players to new kids on the block.
Samsung’s New Phone Designs
Samsung Galaxy S10 series
Despite being the enduring behemoth in the tech market – Samsung isn’t averse to a safety-first approach to innovation. The last major shake-up we saw in its phone design was the ‘edge’ – curved displays that eliminated the bezel from the side of a phone entirely. It’s been searching for its next big thing ever since, but despite the fact that the new S10 series is seen as a major upgrade (unlike the iterative nature of the Galaxy S9), it’s been beaten to the punch on two major design changes we’re likely to see – the hole punch front camera (as seen on the Honor View 20) and the in-screen fingerprint sensor. This won’t stop Samsung going all out to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its flagship mobile on 20 February, with support for 5G another headline feature to complement the aesthetics. Rumors point towards three new models: the 6.1-inch Galaxy S10, 6.4-inch Galaxy S10+, and ‘lower-end’ 5.8-inch Galaxy ‘S10 Lite’ or ‘S10E’. ‘Leaked’ pictures (below) appear to confirm the S10 and S10+ will use an under-display fingerprint sensor, and thankfully, both models have a headphone jack.
Ultimately the success of Samsung’s new designs will determine whether they’re here to stay, or merely another small step on the ladder to mobile phone perfection.
Samsung Galaxy X
Perhaps the most exciting new arrival though is the foldable phone. First spotted at a Samsung developer conference back in November (see below), the Samsung Galaxy X will be able to transform from a standard phone into a wider, tablet-sized device. This shapeshifting hybrid will use Samsung’s new Infinity Flex Display, and it will be demoed at the same February event as the Galaxy S10. Google has confirmed that it’s working on an Android update that will be fully compatible with foldable phones, and with brands like Huawei, Xiaomi and even Apple showing interest, we expect to see more foldable designs in 2019.
Apple Fighting Back
Apple has an interesting year ahead of it, to say the least. Analysts are reporting that the group’s phone sales are lower than expected, with Citi Group suggesting Apple’s original iPhone production forecast for Q4 2018 was reduced. A Forbes report adds that last year, Apple sold 14 million fewer phones than it did three years ago. There are plenty of words out there to describe Apple’s iPhone range, but ‘cheap’ isn’t one of them. As a growing number of Android rivals launch smartphones with similar specs and cheaper prices, Apple is feeling the pinch. It needs to find a way to fight back, and fast.
Falling iPhone sales could inspire iPhone SE2
The rumored iPhone SE 2 could be the device to save the day. The original SE launched in 2016 and recently went back on sale through Apple’s own website for a limited time. Since being relisted this month the phone has sold out once again, so there’s clearly a demand for an affordable small-screen iPhone. All eyes will be on Apple’s announcements this year, and in particular, it’s main launch event, typically held in September.
Apple AirPower charging pad (2019)
Though iPhones allegedly account for around two-thirds of Apple’s profit, it’s far from a one-trick pony. If there’s one thing Apple knows how to do well, it’s accessorized its own products.
One addition that could go straight on the must-have list is the Apple AirPower wireless charger that allows you to boost up to three devices at the same time – an iPhone, AirPods case and Apple Watch, for example.
We first caught a glimpse of Apple’s charging accessory back in 2017, and since then ‘manufacturing issues’ have seen the wireless charging pad delayed multiple times.
But it’s now looking increasingly likely that the AirPower will go on sale this year. Reports coming from a Hong Kong tech website cite sources ‘in the [AirPower] supply chain’ saying the accessory is now in production. For Apple users, that would mean no longer having to rely on third-party chargers from the likes of Anker and Belkin.
Apple AirPods 2 (2019)
Industry insiders expect the next-generation AirPods to drop in the next couple of months.
According to tech website DigiTimes, the new wireless earbuds will have added health monitoring functions, which potentially means we’ll see a slight price rise. The new AirPods are also tipped to feature a waterproof design.
We tested the original AirPods to see how they fared for overall sound quality, comfort, and durability. Take a peek at the review by CNET on the Apple AirPods 2 to see if these headphones are worthy of Best Buy status.
The Rise of Chinese Smart Phones
With high-end specs and low-end prices, a number of new smartphone brands are appearing in the UK – largely from China. The success of these brands could be key to breaking the dominance of Apple and Samsung – and they’re apparently ever increasing prices, in 2019.
Huawei has now cemented its position in the UK market as one of the go-to brands for premium mobiles on a budget. But with other Chinese smartphone brands looking to get in on the action, February’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) event could see some worthy competitors take the spotlight.
Honor recently announced its flagship Honor View 20 and showing a clear desire to offer plenty of bang for your buck. Its phones are typically modestly priced – more so than Huawei, but it has also shown that it isn’t scared of innovation. How it evolves in 2019, will be interesting to see.
Having officially landed in the UK at the end of 2018, Xiaomi will be looking to show off its existing range and its exciting work on folding phones at MWC 2019. There are already plenty of phones on offer through Xiaomi’s UK website, including the just-tested Xiaomi Mi 8, Mi 8 Pro and Mi MIX 3.
Xiaomi also released a video of its ‘fold-in-three’ smartphone this month to build some hype ahead of its appearance at MWC. See how the device works below:
China-based smartphone group Oppo has close ties to OnePlus, with both brands sharing the same parent company – BBK Electronics. Back in July 2018, Oppo registered trademarks for 40 handsets in the UK and Europe.
Overseas, Oppo has made a name for itself more recently with the Oppo Find X. The trend-setting Find X is the first smartphone to use a motorized hidden panel for the front-facing camera. That nifty design choice means the display on the Find X is entirely bezel-less.
Cheaper and More Stylish Wearables
March is shaping up to be a big month in the world of wearables, with BaselWorld and the Wearable Technology Show both scheduled in the calendar. We’re already starting to see wearables address some of the biggest issues that have prevented them from becoming more mainstream – style and price – and we expect to see big strides in 2019.
The Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro, which costs around $249.99, can read texts and emails. It has two displays – the transparent LCD display is used for battery-saving mode, but you’ll be tapping away on the OLED color touchscreen most of the time.
The $295 Skagen Falster 2 (above) is aimed squarely at the fashion-conscious, available with a range of different 20mm straps in leather, silicone and steel mesh. Google Assistant is built in, along with a tracker tool that helps you locate your smartphone if it’s out of sight.
It’s a big deal in the smart home space so get yourself clued up
Syncing up all the top smart home devices isn’t easy, and it requires a common language to bind together a wealth of tech from different manufacturers. That’s where Zigbee comes in – it is one of the leading protocols in helping tech talk to each other.
But how does Zigbee work, is it any good and, most importantly, should you even care? We attempt to answer those crucial questions below.
What is Zigbee?
Right, let’s start by trying to cover smart home protocols without dying of boredom. They’re how your sensors, bulbs, hubs, and cameras all talk to each other – and to you – quickly and securely. They’re necessary because the protocols you’re more familiar with, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, are rubbish for meshing together a lot of low power devices spread all around your home.
A better solution was required, and Zigbee – along with Z-Wave – is the answer.
What’s so good about Zigbee?
Zigbee uses the IEEE’s 802.15.4 personal-area network standard to communicate with other Zigbee devices between 32–65 feet depending on a few factors – and that’s why protocols like this are so important.
It creates a mesh, where each interoperable device becomes a sort of outpost, able to communicate with the next device. Because we’re going to end up having a lot of devices and sensors in our home, Zigbee needs to be able to support a lot of devices on the network, and luckily, it will cope with 65,000 at any given time. That should just about cover it.
Without the need for a centralized hub, it’s theoretically possible for devices to work over a huge area, passing on information around the mesh.
FUN FACT When bees are returning to their hive, they do a ‘waggle dance’ to communicate important information to other bees, such as where to find that high-grade pollen or where the new nest is located. This zigzag dance is how Zigbee got its name.
Now let’s get a bit more technical.
The current version, Zigbee 3.0, also benefits from 128-bit symmetric encryption – so data being shot around the mesh is pretty secure. However, if you’re really focused on top-notch security, there have been claims that there are Zigbee vulnerabilities around the way it handles encryption keys.
Zigbee works at 2.4GHz more often than not. This boosts transfer rates and Zigbee can fire round data at around 250kbps, which is pretty good – more than enough for simple signals like “hey the door just opened” or “lightbulb to 50% brightness”. However, 2.4GHz might sound familiar to you, and that’s because pretty much everything works on that spectrum – most notably your Wi-Fi enabled devices – and that means interference is a possibility.
Zigbee Alliance and Zigbee devices
So what kind of devices use Zigbee?
Well, the makers of Zigbee have started an alliance – this is how these things tend to work – of companies who essentially sign up to use Zigbee. There are over 400 members of the Zigbee Alliance, and they’ve racked up 2,500 devices between them.
The Zigbee Alliance recently announced that half a billion Zigbee chipsets have been sold to date and that Zigbee Alliance technologies will account for 3.8 billion IEEE 802.15.4 units expected to have shipped by 2023.
If you’re bringing together a load of Zigbee devices, it’s not enough just to plug them in and start controlling. You’ll need some kind of hub to bring them together. Amazon Echo Plus works have a Zigbee hardware hub, which can scan your network for Zigbee devices, without you having to set up each one individually. There are also options like SmartThings and Wink, which are also hubs that can add and control Zigbee devices, all from within one single app.
But Zigbee isn’t the only standard out there, and there’s also Z-Wave, which has nuanced differences and has more companies signed up.
Z-Wave has a better range and the signal has a maximum theoretical distance of about 100m, making it suitable even for a home the size of Buckingham Palace. It also runs on a different spectrum, and won’t be interfered with by Wi-Fi.
Zigbee: Should you care?
The rise of agnostic hubs and devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home mean that, thankfully, you shouldn’t need to care too much about whether your devices are running Zigbee or a different protocol. It would make your life easier if all your devices run on the same protocol, but the reality is that it’s extremely difficult to manage.
The question did raise its ugly head around the launch of the Amazon Echo Plus with its built-in smart home hub, which uses Zigbee but not Z-Wave. That was a black mark against the Echo Plus as a hardware hub, but the reality is that thanks to the Works with Alexa program, workarounds are already in place, and a lot of third-party hubs boast both standards anyway.