Netflix has launched an updated app for its on-demand television and movie streaming service on the PlayStation 3 today, with a new design that makes it easier to access advanced audio and subtitle options.
The addition means that viewers can now manage these features from within the video player, without having to return to the top-menu interface. Simply hit “Audio & Subtitles” to see all of the options for that particular episode or film; this includes all available subtitle languages, surround sound options and dub audio tracks.
Likewise, PlayStation 3 owners that use the official Blu-ray remote control can access this functionality by pressing the dedicated “subtitles” button at any time.
Netflix has also improved “trickplay”, which offers a series of screenshots to help users jump forwards or backwards through a particular piece of content with greater ease and precision. Images load much faster now, making it simple to discover and select the right scene.
Users can also quickly jump back 10 seconds by hitting the left arrow button either on the controller or remote controller. We’d like to see this feature expanded to include instant fast-forwarding; perhaps that will arrive in a later update.
Users can download the updated Netflix app right now on the PlayStation Network. An updated experience for Smart TVs and Blu-ray players “will be coming soon,” the company says.
Amazon-owned LoveFilm, which operates a rival streaming service in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia, rolled out version 2.0 of its PlaysStation 3 app earlier this month. The update included a refreshed search function and recommendation engine, as well as a new Watchlist feature.
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Google’s I/O developer conference is happening next week in San Francisco, and one of the big questions around what we’ll see there includes hardware. Now KGI securities analyst Mingchi Kuo (via 9to5Google), who unlike other analysts actually has a good track record of predicting things accurately, has let slip that one big reveal will be an updated Nexus 7 tablet, with a 1920 x 1200 7-inch display, a 5 megapixel camera and a new sleek, light design for the same $199 price point as the current version.
The Asus-built tablet will boast a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, a “narrow bezel” screen with pixel density of 323 (pretty close to that of the iPhone 5) and physical dimensions that make it either very close to or even smaller than Apple’s iPad mini. If true, that’ll make it handheld, and with a Retina-quality display, at a price that absolutely undercuts Apple’s $329 entry point with the mini.
Other additions to this model include wireless charging according to Kuo, which would be in keeping with that feature being offered standard with the Nexus 4. Google is using Qi-based induction charging, which means that it’s compatible with a wide range of chargers, and the new Nexus 7 would likely adopt the same tech.
Kuo also looked beyond the I/O conference to what we might see from Google in the coming months, which include some fairly surprising developments. There’s a plan to get Samsung Android-powered notebooks to market, for instance, over the next 3 or 4 months. Intel telegraphed Android-based notebooks via one of its executives in a report last month, as 9to5Google notes, but Kuo says that we won’t see these at I/O since the next major point release of Android, version 5.0, won’t be ready for the show.
Android-based notebooks are a bit of a head-scratcher since Google has already invested a lot in pushing Chrome OS on the desktop, and recent reports suggest Chrome OS might end up powering tablets, too. It seems contrary for Google to continue working on that while also building a version of Android that can power notebooks, but this may just be a case of Google putting bets on multiple horses over the long-term, which makes sense given that the company has repeatedly shown it’s willing to invest in products that end up being failures for the sake of gleaning insights from what went wrong.
Beyond that, Kuo says Google is still working on an a Google TV device which will compete with the existing Apple TV, which sounds like it might be a second, more feature-rich kick at the ill-fated Nexus Q can. Finally, he also says a smart watch device is expected to debut alongside Glass in Google’s wearable computing category, but that this won’t hit mass production until at least next year.
If you’ve been using OpenTable to reserve tables at your favorite restaurants, the latest update for Android will help you discover new places to eat a little better and keep track of everything you have going on. It also got some of that Holo design lovin’.
The company announced the Android update today on its blog, noting a complete overhaul of its maps integration, fully leveraging Google Maps v2. The other major feature, that the company notes was a popular community request, is the ability to add a reservation directly to your Google Calendar. This feature is available for those using Android 4.0+. The plus here is that you can utilize Google Calendar to send out invites to your dinner, which is the best way to get those last reminders in. It’s pretty shocking that this hasn’t been available until now.
The new maps integration cuts down on clutter, OpenTable says, and you can now use the feature to explore areas away from where you are currently, which was a bit of an odd restraint in the previous version of the app.
Navigation is now much easier, allowing you to go back to the previous page or jump to your favorites, current reservations or a map view. The profile pages themselves got a facelift too, showing the overall rating for a restaurant immediately:
Some other quick tweaks include speedier menu and review loading and the ability to edit your reservation’s date, time and party size right on the restaurant page, rather than having to jump around. The company promises more Android-specific updates moving forward, after updating its iOS app last month to include a cool feature, Foodspotting dishes.
It’s been three weeks since LinkedIn agreed to pay $90 million to buy Pulse, and now the social news app has introduced features to allow content sharing to LinkedIn’s business-focused social network, which rolled out to its Android app today.
Users of Pulse for Android can now share articles to LinkedIn from inside the app once they connect their two accounts together. Pulse says that the sharing feature is the first of many, and it will come to the iOS app soon.
The company says it has been busy meeting people at its new parent company and is “working hard to prepare the next phase of exciting collaborations”.
This isn’t the first LinkedIn-related feature that Pulse has added, it introduced LinkedIn Influencers — which allows users to read the news stream of top LinkedIn influencers — to the app last month at the time that its much-speculated acquisition was confirmed. Pulse says that Influencers has “already been a hit” thanks to a range of content that includes life guru Deepak Chopra and journalist Maria Shriver.
The company is promising more “exciting” things will come to its app and, now that the obvious addition of cross-service sharing is in place, it will be interesting to see how LinkedIn will make use of Pulse.
LinkedIn SVP of Products & User Experience Deep Nishar said that Pulse — which he called “a perfect complement” to LinkedIn’s network — would be “working side by side…to create new and better ways to help professionals contribute to and leverage this collective body of business knowledge” — that leaves plenty of scope.
LinkedIn just added the option of profile pictures, videos and other rich media on user profile pages, and the potential to include details of what each person is reading (and sharing) is quite a compelling one that would enable users to bring more personalization to their presence on the service.
Headline image via mariosundar / Flickr