Mirror your Android Screen on Your TV Through Chromecast

One of the most requested features asked of Chromecast was the ability to broadcast our phone or tablet’s screen on our TV. Looks like that’ll be finally coming our way!

Announced on the Chrome Blog today, there will be a new menu setting in the Chromecast app allowing you to broadcast what’s on your screen. Through other apps we could send videos, photos, and music, but now we’ll be able to cast a game or even just a home screen if we want to show off on a larger TV screen.

The 1.7 update of the Chromecast app will be rolling out soon supporting popular handsets from LG, HTC, Samsung and more. Nexus devices will of course be able to jump in on the fun too.  Full PR below.

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UK Government Updates Copyright Regulations – Copying for Personal Use Now Legal

640px-Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svgGood news everybody! The UK is taking steps towards refining their copyright law, publishing new exceptions to their current set of regulations.

At play is new language which makes personal use copying way less illegal than it was before, and brings intellectual property law overseas into the 21st century. From the GOV.UK press release:

The changes make small but important reforms to UK copyright law and aim to end the current situation where minor and reasonable acts of copying which benefit consumers, society and the economy are unlawful. They also remove a range of unnecessary rules and regulations from the statute book in line with the government’s aim to reduce regulation.

The government has consulted extensively on these changes and on the draft legislation, and listened carefully to the views of a wide range of stakeholders. As a result of this process, the legislation published today strikes an important balance between enabling reasonable use of copyright material in the modern age with minimal impact on copyright owners.

Making personal use expressly clear could help clear up some of the legal grey area surround digital media duplication. Obviously this changes almost nothing in regards to distribution of copied files and file sharing.

Here in the USA, there’s often confusion as to whether personal copies are legal. Thanks to the DMCA, often the resulting copy is legal, but any methods used to circumvent copy protection are illegal. It would be nice if we could get similar clarification here as well, so hopefully this sets some kind of precedent for future negotiations with the RIAA and MPAA.

Changes to IP law should go into effect on June 1st. More info on the GOV.UK press release site.

The Post Where (so help me) I Defend the iPhone 5C…

iPhone5c_34L_AllColors_PRINTDamn it tech press! See what you’re making me do here…

It should be pretty clear by now that I’m not pre-disposed to liking Apple products. That’s not to say I don’t think they’re quality tech solutions. They’re just not my cup of tea, and lately I’ve been worried that Apple is missing critical opportunities with recent product releases. No NFC Passbook? Really? But I digress…

While spending some time with the iPhone 5S, I’m actually coming around on the iPhone 5C. I was initially one of those “know it alls” that panned it when it came out. An iPhone 5 in plastic? Meh…

What’s getting frustrating however is the media’s expectations of success. Every new phone or tablet which is released is now expected to be a “hit” instantly out of the gate. No one can really explain what sales metrics a device needs to hit to be considered a “hit”, but apparently no phone recently released is capable of meeting those expectations. After a point, one has to wonder if maybe these new phones aren’t the problem, and that maybe we’re giving too much consideration to analysts who are fantastically terrible at predicting the future.

Apple is launching a new product line.

Sometimes that works for them like the iPad Mini. Sometimes it’s a slow burn like Apple TV. Apple isn’t immune to this kind of market pressure. Customers know the iPhone. They know that a new number comes out, then an “S” model arrives the following year. They get it. They’ve been trained. They don’t know this “C” model. Just like any new company walking into the mobile space now, it should be expected that Apple will have to build credibility for this new line over time. Customers wont part with cash until they see it’s going to stick around for a while and get support and accessories. Anyone expecting the 5C to be a hot seller has no business calling themselves a tech pundit or analyst.

At best we can judge relative success by comparing 5C sales to 4S sales last year, but even then we’d be comparing a very well established phone (the iPhone 4 and 4S sharing a number of accessories) to a completely brand new phone. It doesn’t matter that the internals are similar to phones we’ve seen in the past, Apple customers are a fairly conservative demographic. Tech consumers in general tend to shy away from anything actually “new”.

So there it is. I get what Apple is doing with the 5C. I think they need to diversify the iPhone line up like they did with the iPad. I don’t know if the 5C is the right answer, but they needed to do something. However this fake shock, and the tech backlash towards cool sales is getting terrifically frustrating. From users and consumers, I completely understand the cynicism and skepticism, but so-called “journalists” need to cool it with the constant barrage of fanboi hate.

I mean DAMN IT! You just made me defend the iPhone 5C…

CBS & TWC mend fences in time for NFL season. CBS shows to air again tonight.

CBS Time Warner Cable agreement blackout somegadgetguy television distribution tvIn a move which I’m sure was shocking to no one, CBS and Time Warner found a way to set aside their insurmountable differences to work out an agreement JUST in time for the start of the NFL season. How fortuitous. I mean that’s just really good timing on their part.

CBS content should begin airing again for TWC subscribers starting tonight, around 6pm in fact. My DVR is very much looking forward to this reunification, and now I might finally find out how that Ted guy met the mother of his children.

In all seriousness however, details on the agreement are scarce, most likely to avoid any company overly losing face in the marketplace. This way both can turn to their customers and claim a victory.

This fight really has underscored a broader topic in telecommunications and media distribution. As networks pay more for content like airing NFL games, what rights and responsibilities do they have in broadcasting that content? To recoup their costs, where should they be allowed to display that content, and what influence should Cable and Satellite companies have over their ability to negotiate these deals? It’s a complicated dance.

We’ve seen a lot of consumer desire, especially among “cable cutters” to see offerings like HBO Go sold as a standalone web property like Netflix. Cable packages never brought us that dream of à la carte channel pricing, but a company like CBS might be able to make an end run around traditional distribution to serve customers directly. Though I’m sure Comcast, TWC, Verizon, etc loathe the idea of becoming “dumb pipes” to funnel competing content.

While I’m happy to have CBS back on my cable, this is just the beginning of a much larger conflict for viewers.

Is it weird to anyone else that both companies use an eye in their logo? Just me? Full CBS press release after the jump.

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