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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Netflix Quietly Replaces Star Ratings for Thumbs Up or Down

Netflix New Rating System

In the latest update to the Netflix app for Android, there is a new and simpler rating system for content.  Gone are the up to 5 star ratings that users could give a television show, movie or Netflix original content.  Instead, it has been replaced with a thumbs up or thumbs down rating.  That’s it.  No middle ground.  It has become a binary “Did you like it or not?”  rating.

As you can guess, I’m not a fan.

I understand what the streaming content provider wants to do.  They want to make it less complicated for you to potentially try a TV show or movie.  Think about it: How many 3-star shows have you skipped over only to go back and watch it because it was recommended to you by a friend?  I know I’ve done it probably dozens of times over the years as a Netflix customer.  Which is exactly why they are getting rid of it.

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Netflix Update Allows Content Downloads to SD Cards

Netflix for Android

Netflix has made a few big changes to their Android app these last few months.  First came the ability to download movies and TV shows to your phone or tablet for viewing offline.  Now, and equally as important for some, today’s update brings the ability to store that offline content on an SD card.  The update is version 4.13.0 Build 14540 for those keeping score at home and it is rolling out now in the Play Store.  Once you have the update, when you want to download a movie or show, you will be asked where you want to store that content.  Select your SD card if your phone has one and off you go.  The content is downloaded to your card instead of your device’s main storage.

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