Netflix adds a Smart Downloads Feature to Auto-Delete Watched Content

Netflix Smart Downloads Settings

The Netflix app for Android has a great new feature that is rolling out today:  Smart Downloads.  The feature, which is enabled by default, will delete an episode that you have downloaded and completed watching and will replace it with the next episode in the series that you have not watched.  It means that you will automatically get the next episode in the series without having to manually go download it yourself.

Here is the scenario:  Let’s say you watching Season 1 of The Crown and have downloaded the first four episodes in the series.  When you complete episode one, it is deleted and episode five of the series is downloaded automatically to your phone.  It means that you will always have four episodes downloaded and ready to watch.

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Netflix UI Update Brings Bigger Controls for Chrome OS Users

Netflix UI Update - May 2018

The latest update to the Netflix app for Android brings a lot of improvements that should make it easier to use on touchscreen Chrome OS devices as well as your Android phone or tablet.  The update, which is now in the Play Store, brings bigger controls for those using a Chromebook while everyone gets a Next Episode button and 10-second rewind and fast forward buttons too.

The update to the Netflix app is version 6.3.0 for those keeping score at home and when you start the app and play a television show or movie, the changes are immediately apparent.  For those who use a Chromebook with a touchscreen, like the Google Pixelbook, you will see much larger touch controls for starting and pausing the show, as well as the 10-second rewind or fast forward buttons on the main display.  This makes it much easier to use these controls if you are using our Chromebook, or an Android tablet, as previously these were pretty small and difficult to tap accurately.

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Huawei Mate 10 Pro, P20, and Sony Xperia XZ2 Pick Up Netflix HDR Support

Netflix on Android

Netflix has expanded the list of phones that support their HDR streaming today, bringing the total number of phones supported it up to ten.  The Huawei Mate 10 Pro and the P20 have been added today along with the Sony Xperia XZ2.  All three of these phones have HDR compatible displays.

Given that more manufactures are enabling HDR displays on their devices, the list supported devices will likely grow over the course of this year.

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Razer Phone Set to be First Phone to Deliver Netflix in HDR and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1

Razer Phone

If there is any doubt that Razer has intended their first smartphone, the Razer Phone, to be a premium gaming and entertainment experience for their customers, you can put them to rest.  Today’s announcement around Netflix will end all doubt of the company’s intention.

Today at CES, the company announced that the Razer Phone will be the first smartphone to deliver Netflix content in both HDR video as well as Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio.

“We engineered the Razer Phone to handle HDR video and sound like no other phone on the market,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. “We are incredibly excited to deliver Netflix entertainment on a smartphone like never before, enabling us to take full measure of the Razer Phone’s HDR10-enabled display and dual-firing, front-facing Dolby-optimized speakers and THX-certified headphone connectivity.”

The phone joins several other devices in the market that already provide Netflix in HDR video including the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Google Pixel 2 series.  But Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio is a different and more difficult matter.

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PSA: Stranger Things Season 2 Now Available on Netflix

Stranger Things Season 2 on Netflix

For those of you who have been waiting for Netflix to drop Season 2 of Stranger Things, your wait is over.  The 9 episode second season is now listed in the Netflix app and online so you can start binge watching while at the office today.

Stranger Things, for those who haven’t watched, revolves around a young boy disappearing, his friends, a strange girl, and the unraveling of the mystery behind it and secret experiments.  By their own admission, Netflix did not expect much from the series but it won five Emmy awards last year for its first season.

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Netflix Price Increases Coming October 19th

Netflix on Android

Hold on to your wallets folks, a price increase is coming to Netflix.  The company has indicated that the price increase will be announced on October 19th with notifications going out to customers.  The new pricing will go into effect on your next billing cycle after the 19th.

The price increase is not impacting all of the tiers of service with the entry level subscription remaining at its current price of $7.99.  The Standard Plan, Netflix’s most popular and the entry level for HD streaming, will be going up by $1 to $10.99 per month.  For the Premium tier, which gives you 4K HDR streaming, it is going up by $2 to $13.99.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Update Brings Netflix HDR Support

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

For those of you who have a Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, there is a new software update rolling out to you this morning.  The 256.6MB update is mostly a maintenance release, fixing some items but also bringing support for HDR on Netflix.

Before you get all excited, no, this is not the Oreo update for the device.  Samsung is expected at some point to release that update but this is not it.

The update is version T820XXU1AQ12/T820XAR1AQ12 for those keeping score at home.

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Netflix No Longer Installs on Rooted or Unlocked Devices

Netflix for Android

For those of you who have a rooted or bootloader unlocked phone, the Netflix app just got a bit more difficult to installed.  If your device rooted or unlocked, you will no longer be able to install it directly from the Google Play Store.  Netflix has confirmed to the team over at Android Police that they are fully reliant on the Widevine DRM provided by Google and thus, devices that are unlocked or rooted will no longer be able to install the latest app.  Widevine, for those that do not know, is a Google created DRM technology that works across multiple platforms.

The good news is that, for now, the app will still work if you have it installed already or you side load it.

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