YouTube Accuses T-Mobile of Downgrading All Video With Binge On Program

YouTube this morning provided a statement to The Wall Street Journal criticizing T-Mobile’s recently introduced Binge On program and accusing T-Mobile of throttling all video and not just the video of its Binge On partners.

Launched in November, Binge On is a T-Mobile video service that allows T-Mobile subscribers to watch video from content partners without it counting against customer data plans. The catch is that it uses a proprietary data compression algorithm to stream the video in 480p. While Binge On can be disabled, using the feature requires partner video to be watched in 480p, which T-Mobile calls „DVD quality.“

T-Mobile has 24 partners for Binge On, including Netflix, HBO, Sling TV, and more, but YouTube has not signed up to participate. Despite the fact that YouTube is not partnering with T-Mobile, the company says its video streams are still being downgraded to 480p quality, a problem YouTube would like fixed.

YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., said T-Mobile is effectively throttling, or degrading, its traffic. „Reducing data charges can be good for users, but it doesn’t justify throttling all video services, especially without explicit user consent,“ a YouTube spokesman said.

The Internet Association also backed up YouTube’s claim, stating that T-Mobile’s Binge On service „appears to involve the throttling of all video traffic, across all data plans, regardless of network congestion.“

T-Mobile did not address YouTube’s complaints when questioned by The Wall Street Journal, instead giving a blanket statement about Binge On. Customers love „free streaming video that never hits their data bucket“ and „the quality of their video experience and the complete control they have.“

The United States Federal Communications Commission is looking into Binge On along with free data services from AT&T and Comcast. While there is no formal inquiry at this time, the FCC has asked the three companies to answer some questions about their free data practices. YouTube’s accusations could further spark the FCC’s interest, especially as some consumer advocates believe that programs like Binge On violate net neutrality rules.

Tags: T-Mobile, YouTube
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Authors Believe Apple’s Entry Into E-Book Market Wasn’t Anti-Competitive

A coalition of authors and well-known booksellers have come forth to back Apple in a petition to overturn a recent ruling that stated the company was liable in conspiring to fix the prices of electronic books when its iBooks store launched on the iPad in 2010 (via Cult of Mac).

Together, the Authors Guild, Authors United, the American Booksellers Association, and Barnes & Noble have filed a 37-page amicus brief that states Apple was in fact enhancing competition and benefiting its customers.

“We are pleased to lend our support in this matter, critical to anyone interested in a competitive and diverse literary marketplace,” said Mary Rasenberger, executive director of the Authors Guild, in a statement. “We fundamentally question the wisdom of the Second Circuit’s use of antitrust law to punish a business arrangement that demonstrably increased competition in the e-book marketplace.”

The brief falls in line with Apple’s petition of the Supreme Court to review the case this past October, after first being found guilty of conspiring to artificially inflate the prices of e-books back in 2013, when the case started. The amicus brief filed by the authors and booksellers backs up Apple’s attempts at overturning the ruling, stating that a positive outcome for the case is „critical to maintaining a healthy marketplace for the ideas and First Amendment-protected expression that authors and bookstores facilitate.“

The groups even mention Amazon as more of a „disruptive“ force in the e-books market, with a „loss leader“ strategy that led to domination over the digital bookselling marketplace. The groups use Amazon’s recent public battles with publishers like Hachette, where it essentially ceased selling any of their novels due to a price point disagreement, as a primary example. They also look at the market monopoly Amazon held before Apple entered with iBooks in 2010.

“With a 90% market share, nearly every customer who wanted to purchase an e-book had to do so through Amazon,” the brief states. “Amazon could exercise this power to suppress specific publishers, authors, or messages with which it disagreed, with impunity. It also could steer the culture toward the ideas it valued. Amazon controlled what e-books were promoted on its home page, what e-books were recommended to consumers, and what books appeared at the top of a consumer’s search results when she searched for e-books on the Amazon.com website.“

With no response yet from the Department of Justice regarding Apple’s filing for a review, the company still has an uncertain future in the two year-long case. All respondents have until January 4 to file a response in opposition to Apple’s petitioning of the Supreme Court, so the next leg of the case is just over a month away.

Tags: lawsuit, antitrust, e-books
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Authors ask Supreme Court to overturn e-book ruling against Apple

A group of authors and booksellers are standing by Apple in its decision to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling stating that Apple conspired to fix eBook prices when it launched its iBook store way back in January 2010. The Authors Guild, Authors United, the American Booksellers Association, and Barnes & Noble have all […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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New Apple Music Ad Goes Behind-the-Scenes of Kenny Chesney’s Tour

Country music singer Kenny Chesney is the focus of the latest Apple Music advertisement, which aired last night during the Country Music Association awards on ABC. Taking a glimpse behind the scenes of Chesney’s „No Shoes Nation“ tour, the ad shows the singer going through a day of preparing for his next concert by creating a „Show Day List“ playlist on Apple Music and touting the service’s „human element.“

Chesney can also be seen working out with an Apple Watch early on in the ad, checking on his progress with the help of the device’s activity rings. The one-minute ad ends with a promotion for Apple Music’s three month free trial, which still runs for any new users signing up for the music streaming service.

Apple has been debuting a wave of commercials as the holiday season grows nearer, not only for Apple Music but for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2
Tags: Apple ads, Apple Music
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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How to set personal fitness goals with Apple Watch

Apple Watch gives you three goals: standing, moving and exercise. But these aren’t really goals. They are actually more like targets. A real goal is something you want to achieve — an outcome you have in mind that is so important, it motivates you into action. Starting a fitness program without this kind of goal […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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DisplayPort Standard with 8K Support for Notebooks and All-in-Ones Heading for Mid-2016 Launch

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) yesterday announced that it has officially published the Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) Standard version 1.4b, which brings the previous 1.4a iteration into the final stages of production-ready status for future notebook and all-in-one desktop displays. This final revision of the eDP 1.4 standard includes a few „key protocol refinements and clarifications“ to ensure ease-of-integration for partners supporting it and an overall lower bill of materials costs to its implementation.

The eDP 1.4 standard was announced two years ago, with an improved eDP 1.4a standard arriving earlier this year setting the stage for future 8K support on notebooks and all-in-one desktop computers.

The association promises that GPUs and CPUs that run the DisplayPort 1.3 standard for external display connectivity with 5K support will also be able to eDP 1.4b for internal uses. DisplayPort 1.3 support is, however, still only in the early stages, with Intel’s latest Skylake chips not including it.

According to Bill Lempesis, executive director at VESA, “Since its introduction in 2008, eDP has become a central system element within the mobile computing market space. The standard has continued to retain its lead in display performance, supporting embedded panels with resolutions as high as 8K. We look forward to seeing systems incorporating the finalized standard come to fruition next year, broadening the number of consumers receiving clear, crisp visual information delivered by eDP 1.4 on their laptops, tablets, all-in-one PCs and possibly even smart phones.”

Apple’s current 27-inch Retina iMac line-up uses its 5K Retina display to come in at 5120 x 2880 pixels, while the new eDP 1.4b standard could introduce an 8K monitor with a 7680 x 4320 display. The catch with the possibility of 8K is that it’s still far from being widely supported, with only a select few high-end television sets backing the ultra high-def standard. Apple itself just launched a new line of 4K 21-inch and 5K 27-inch iMacs, so 8K support from the Cupertino company is still a ways off as well.

VESA notes that while it positions eDP 1.4b as the standard for the future, current machines are just beginning to integrate with eDP 1.3 and even earlier. Still, the association predicts a mid-2016 incorporation for the first system displays with 8K support, „and the final standard should continue to increase in adoption and be used in production for several years.“

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Controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act Passes in Senate

The U.S. Senate today passed the controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, also known as CISA, in a 74 to 21 vote. A similar bill has already passed in the House, and the two cybersecurity bills will likely be combined before heading to the White House for a final decision from President Obama. The vote comes a week after Apple spoke out against the bill.

CISA is designed to allow companies to share information on cybersecurity threats with one another and the government. However, as noted by Wired, privacy advocates have asked Congress to kill the bill, saying that it hides „new government surveillance mechanisms in the guise of security protections.“

Apple spoke out against the bill last week after other technology companies, like Twitter, Yelp, Wikipedia, reddit also opposed the bill. The Computer and Communications Industry Association, which represents Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft had urged the Senate to make improvements to the bill, saying that they do not support the bill as it’s currently written.

The Cupertino company once again reiterated its commitment to user privacy in its opposition to the legislation, saying that it doesn’t support CISA and that the trust of its customers „means everything to us and we don’t believe security should come at the expense of privacy.“ Apple has taken a strong privacy stance in recent years, continually noting that the government doesn’t have access to its servers. In iOS 8, Apple ended its storage of encryption keys for iOS devices, making it impossible for the company to unlock iPads an iPhones under police request.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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iPad tops Best Buy survey of most desired tech gifts

Want the new iPad or MacBook for Christmas? You’re not alone. Big box store Best Buy found the iPad the most desired tech gift this holiday season, according to a survey of 2,000 people. The MacBook came in third behind the Bose QuietComfort noise cancelling headphones. Of the 15 tech items listed, the Apple Watch […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Apple Pay transaction limit rises in the U.K.

There’s no logical reason why Apple Pay transaction costs should be limited, but in the U.K. users have been stuck with a limit of £20 ($30) since the service first debuted in July. Thanks to the rise of people using both Apple Pay and contactless cards in general, however, that number has now been increased […]

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