If you didn’t hear already there is a new video platform in town called Amazon Video Direct. I signed up for an account at https://videodirect.amazon.com. The process was relatively quick, but you need to enter payment and tax information in order to start since Amazon will pay for content you upload via advertising. I uploaded the video worldwide checking two options. Free with Prime or free to view with advertisement pre roll. All the info I entered was pretty standard, but I did get hung up on closed captioning. In order to distribute your video content on Amazon Video Direct you must upload a file with the audio transcribed. Amazon suggests companies that will do this for you, I went ahead and got one done at Fiverr. The video I uploaded is now ‘pending’ and has been for a couple days. The first video had the wrong transcription format so it was rejected. Hoping Amazon Video Direct takes off.
Here’s another interesting app we are featuring on CashSherpa.com. The app is located on the Amazon App Store and it’s called War-S-FX – soundboard of war. Wake up the neighborhood with the sounds of war. Turn up the volume, connect to your HIFI audio system and blast the spirits with sonic bang and shake your pad. Features sound effects that deserve to be cranked, so do it justice. Features an asynchronous weapons soundboard, as well as an “Auto” Random Noise Engine. If sound effects interest you will want to check out this sound effects app at the Amazon Store. There are a wide variety of sound effects in an easy to use interface.
Move over Jibo the worlds first family robot, Amazon Echo is here. Technology should just work. No flipping through menus to get what you want, no endless mouse clicks, swipes, or taps. The future is speaking to personal AI assistants to get what you want done. The technology does all the heavy lifting not you.
That’s why when I was offered to purchase the Echo with my Amazon Prime subscription I put in my request. Amazon sent a notification letting me know I could purchase it in a couple weeks for $99 if selected. I’m not sure how Amazon plans to pick its first customers, but I hope I get to try one. The reason why I want one is the Echo makes a lot of things simple, even easier then your cell phone. The Echo is always on, plugged in (No charging), always there, you just tell it what to do and it does it. Like play the news, check the weather, alarms, play music, put this item on my shopping list, how do you spell something, math conversions, reminders, etc.
Argument Against Amazon Echo
The argument against Echo is why not just use your smart phone? Think about it you first have to find where you left your phone last, check if it has a full charge, check your data limit if playing music, answering incoming calls, texts, FB messaged, Tweets and other distractions. A phone is not a dedicated personal assistant it’s more of a distraction creator. To use some virtual phone assistants you first turn on the phone, press the assistant button, and ask a question. That’s the problem with technology right there. The turning on, the endless menus, swiping, and tapping. The whole point of technology is to just work, if I have to endlessly program technology in order for it to function properly it has already failed.
Amazon Echo Commercial
Reasons why you shouldn’t buy into the Apple iPad Mini Hype.
– It’s $329, $130 more than the competition
– Uses the old A5 dual-core processor
– It only has a 1024 x 768-pixel display. That’s a lower resolution display than the Barnes and Noble Nook HD’s 7-inch 1440 x 900 display.
– Apple users are being taken for a ride on pure hype with the iPad Mini
– The Google’s Nexus 7 sets the bar at $199 Apple does not
Look at this graphic from: http://blog.laptopmag.com/ipad-mini-vs-the-competition-how-apples-smaller-tablet-compares
Watch the iPad Mini vs. Competition video:
Watch here at Business Insider
Streaming video is responsible for the death of cable TV in many American households. Who wants to pay for hundreds of channels that you don’t watch anyway when you can watch unlimited movies and TV shows for as little as $6.58 a month? Streaming video awesome, but there are trade-offs. For one, you need a fast broadband connection. You get average picture quality, sometimes poorer than a DVD (forget about Blu-Ray). There are also no fun DVD extras like actor interviews and director commentaries. If that’s fine and binge viewing is more important to you than anything else, there are two popular streaming video providers that you should look at: Netflix and Amazon Instant Video.
Amazon Instant Video
Amazon streams video through Instant Video and Prime Instant Video. Like iTunes, the first is a store that rents and sells films, videos and TV shows. There’s no subscription; you buy or rent titles that you can watch instantly, later or download for offline viewing. Prime Instant Video is a streaming service included in an Amazon Prime membership. Most people sign up for Prime for Amazon’s free two-day shipping rather than video streaming, but that’s included too. For $79 a year, you get unlimited video streaming plus a free Kindle ebook rental per month. The monthly subscription comes down to just $6.58, but note that you can’t pay monthly, only for the entire year.
Price: $0.99 to $1.99 per episode for standard definition and $2.99 per episode for high definition
Library: 120,000 titles
Clear HD video
Videos can be accessed on different devices (PCs, Macs, game consoles and media players)
Latest TV shows are available 24 hours after airing on TV
Latest releases and blockbusters are unavailable
Not all titles are available in high definition
Certain content can’t be downloaded due to licensing restrictions
Mac users can stream but not download videos
Prime Instant Video
Price: $79 per year
Library: 18,000 titles
Commercial-free unlimited video streaming
Video streaming on the Kindle Fire
Cheaper than Netflix at $6.58 per month
Limited library. Most new TV shows are not available for Prime subscribers.
Limited devices. You can’t download videos onto a PC, laptop or mobile device except for the Kindle Fire.
Netflix – Free Trial Offer
Netflix is the original cable TV killer, with currently 27 million streaming video subscribers. It still has a DVD-by-mail service, but with fewer subscribers. Netflix Instant costs $8 a month for unlimited streaming of videos, TV shows and films. There’s a lower priced version ($4.99 a month), but it’s strictly limited: it only streams on computers, the library is sparse and you can only watch two hours of video per month. Netflix Instant lets you watch videos on a PC, Mac, Roku Box, tablets, game console or a mobile device after installing the right media player. It also supports more devices than Amazon Instant Video; it’s available on Apple TV, Nintendo Wii, TiVo, Android phones, iPhone, Windows phones, the Nook, TV sets and Blu-Ray players.
Price: $8 per month (Netflix Instant), $4.99 per month for limited subscription
Library: Twice that of Amazon’s (Netflix refuses to divulge the actual number)
More than 80 percent of videos have subtitles (not just the foreign language ones)
Scene thumbnails to mark your spot
Suggestions and recommendations for additional movies
Netflix-produced exclusive TV shows in the works
Only available in certain countries due to licensing restrictions
Most movies are old
Limited selection on recent releases
Shifted focus to TV shows after ending partnership with Starz
In terms of playback, selection and site usefulness, Netflix Instant beats Amazon Prime. Netflix also has a bigger library. Amazon Prime wins in terms of price, but you pay $79 up-front and are tied to a one-year subscription. Both Amazon and Netflix are partnering with third parties to expand their video collection, so it will get better with time. But right now it’s more of finding something you like than say, finding that particular art-house movie. If the selection doesn’t bother you, go for cheaper Amazon Prime. If you hate being tied down to anything, go for Netflix. An alternative is to try the free one-month trial for each service and then make a decision.
GigOM reports that giant retailer Amazon.com has purchased UpNext, a 3D mapping company, for an undisclosed sum. The deal highlights tightening competition among tech rivals Amazon, Apple and Google, and follows Apple’s announcement of its new mapping application that will replace Google Maps. Like UpNext, Apple’s mapping service features 3D images of urban locations and detailed turn-by-turn directions. UpNext has mapping applications for the iPhone, iPad, Android phones and the Kindle Fire. Amazon currently has no in-house mapping or GPS service, and the news signals UpNext’s key role in future Kindle Fire versions and possibly a smartphone. Before Amazon’s purchase, the UpNext’s team had been financing on its own until it raised half a million dollars from investments early this year. Now GigOM says that UpNext backers will get a five-fold return on their investment. The UpNext founders will move from their New York base to Seattle’s Amazon office.
The UpNext Company
The story of UpNext began in 2007 when Raj Advani, Vik Advani, Robin Har and Danny Moon decided to make better maps for mobile devices. The company was the brainchild of Raj Advani, an electrical engineer and computer scientist whose mission is to “make maps more awesome.” Vik Advani is the software developer and CTO, Har is the Chief Creative Director and Moon is the CEO. Some members of the team said that living in a big and complex city like New York made them see the need for better maps to explore their surroundings. Others wanted to create immersive maps that reflect the real world. UpNext develops several versions of its mapping application for iOS and Android devices as well as for Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
The UpNext application features interactive three dimensional maps of 50 cities across the United States, with enhanced details for 23 cities. You can zoom in and out on seamless maps with the touch surface for easy navigation. Tap buildings to see what businesses and venues are inside. Maps also feature local search and discovery that lets you search for dining, shopping, activities and other venues. The Yelp reviews feature makes it easier to choose the perfect restaurant or bar.
UpNext for iPhone
The original UpNext app lets you explore cities with dynamic maps. Choose from 3 modes of navigation: immerse, explore or navigate. Immerse features 3D urban spaces in high detail that you can explore using the touch function. Explore highlights relevant places around you, while Navigate provides point-to-point driving, walking and public transport directions. Cost: Free
UpNext HD Maps Tablet (iPad and Android)
UpNext HD Maps is similar to the iPhone app, but the maps are even more detailed on the bigger tablet screens. The app covers more than 50 U.S. cities, with 23 cities rendered in enhanced 3D (full textures). All maps are interactive and navigated using the touch screen feature. UpNext has partnered with Verizon Wireless to give users fast-loading maps even at high resolutions. Along with local search, discovery and Yelp reviews, the tablet version comes with a deal finder feature for discovering discounts on products and services near you. UpNext HD also features FourSquare integration, so you can check in to places and see where your friends have been lately. Recently loaded maps (cached) can be viewed online without internet. Cost: Free
Super Bowl XLV and XLVI Apps (iOS and Android)
UpNext previously teamed up with the NFL to develop the NFL Super Bowl XLV mobile guide, featuring detailed 3D maps of the Cowboys Stadium and Downtown Dallas. It returned this year as the NFL Super Bowl XLVI app, with 3D maps of Indianapolis, Super Bowl Village and the Lucas Oil Stadium. Cost: Free
UpNext 3D Cities (iOS)
UpNext 3D Cities is an app that focuses on cities rendered in 3D. Users can tap buildings to see their inner workings, read venue reviews and personalize options. Cost: Free
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