Netflix gives Premium members more download devices and spatial audio on 700+ titles • TechCrunch
Today, Netflix announced that Premium members can now download content on more devices and use spatial audio for over 700 titles. Both upgraded features are available at no extra cost.
Premium subscribers are able to download Netflix titles to watch offline on six devices at a time. Previously, the plan would only allow downloads on four supported devices at once. For large families looking to travel this year, this upgraded feature will probably be very convenient.
“With people more connected than ever through multiple devices, we’ve learned through research that members would like the option to download Netflix series and films to watch offline on more devices, particularly as they travel and switch between devices,” Rishu Arora, Director of Product Management at Netflix wrote in the official blog post.
Regardless of what plan a user has, they can have up to 100 active downloads per device. This means Premium subscribers can have a total of 600 active downloads across all their devices. Note that not all titles are available for download. Also, some downloaded titles disappear after a certain amount of time.
As announced back in July, Netflix launched spatial audio to all devices for members of all plans, including Basic and Standard. However, users on Netflix’s cheaper plans only have access to a limited number of titles.
Now, Netflix Premium members can get cinematic quality sound on more than 700 of Netflix’s most-watched titles, such as “Stranger Things,” “Wednesday” and “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.” Netflix will continue adding spatial audio to new titles as they get released, the company added. This includes “You,” “Your Place or Mine,” “Luther: The Fallen Sun,” and “Tour de France.”
It’s important to note that no special equipment is required to use spatial audio. To see which movies and series support the capability, users can type “Spatial Audio” into Netflix’s search bar. The company also added a new spatial audio badge to the title cards on movies and shows, making the search easier for users.
Other streaming services that support spatial audio include HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu and more.
As Netflix tries new revenue streams, like its forthcoming password-sharing feature, the company likely launched these two upgrades to convince more users to switch over to its most expensive subscription option. Netflix earned $7.85 billion during Q4 2022, as it continues experiencing slow revenue growth. The company gained $7.93 billion in revenue in the previous quarter.
The Premium plan costs $19.99 per month, which is $4.50 more than the Standard plan and $10 more than Basic. The pricier plan offers 4K HDR video resolution, Dolby Atmos as well as the ability to watch on four supported devices at a time.
Netflix’s “Basic with Ads” plan only costs $6.99/month, yet has reportedly experienced slow adoption since it launched in November. According to Kantar, the ad-supported tier accounts for 12% of its subscriber base.
Microsoft fixes reversible screenshot vulnerability on Windows
Microsoft has pushed an update to fix a screenshot editing vulnerability in Windows 10 and 11, as spotted earlier by Bleeping Computer. The security flaw, dubbed the “aCropalypse,” could let bad actors recover the edited portions of screenshots, potentially revealing personal information that had been cropped out or concealed.
According to Microsoft, the issue (CVE-2023-28303) affects both the Snip & Sketch app on Windows 10 and the Snipping Tool on Windows 11. However, it only applies to images created in a very specific set of steps. That includes those that have been taken, saved, edited, and then saved over the original file, as well as the ones opened in the Snipping Tool, edited, and then saved to the same location. It doesn’t have any effect on the screenshots modified before saving them and also doesn’t impact screenshots that had been copied and pasted to, say, the body of an email or document.
Microsoft first learned of the issue earlier this week. That’s when Chris Blume, the chair of the working group for the PNG image format, brought it to the attention of David Buchanan and Simon Aarons — the same security researchers who discovered the aCropalypse vulnerability affecting the Google Pixel’s Markup tool. This, similarly, lets hackers reverse the changes made to screenshots, making it possible to reveal the personal information in an image that someone thought they were hiding, whether by cropping it out or scribbling over it.
You can download the latest updates for the affected apps on Windows by heading to the Microsoft Store, clicking Library, and then choosing Get updates. If you have automatic updates enabled, you should notice that the Snipping Tool should be set to version 10.2008.3001.0, while the Snip & Sketch tool will be version 11.2302.20.0. Just like the patch Google issued, Microsoft’s change won’t update the edited screenshots that had already been posted online, though, which could potentially leave thousands of screenshots on the web that bad actors can exploit.
Microsoft reportedly orders AI chatbot rivals to stop using Bing’s search data
Microsoft doesn’t want its rivals to use Bing’s search index to power their AI chatbots, according to a report from Bloomberg. The company reportedly told two unnamed Bing-powered search engines that it will restrict them from accessing Microsoft’s search data altogether if they continue using it with their AI tools.
As noted by Bloomberg, Microsoft licenses out Bing’s search data to several search engines, including DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, and the AI search engine You.com. While DuckDuckGo, for example, uses a combination of Bing and its own web crawler to provide search results, You.com and Neeva also pull some of their results from Bing, helping to conserve some of the time and resources that come along with crawling the entire web.
Microsoft apparently draws the line at using Bing’s search index as fodder for AI chatbots, however. Sources close to the situation tell Bloomberg that Microsoft believes using Bing’s data in this way is a violation of its contract, and that it may choose to terminate its agreements with the search engines accused of misusing this information.
“We’ve been in touch with partners who are out of compliance as we continue to consistently enforce our terms across the board,” Microsoft tells Bloomberg. “We’ll continue to work with them directly and provide any information needed to find a path forward.” It’s unclear whether Microsoft took action against any search engines, and the company didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment.
With more companies like Google introducing their takes on OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot, Microsoft likely wants to make its own search data exclusive to Bing’s chatbot. The tool is already powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4, the latest and most powerful version of the company’s language model, and is capable of answering various questions, creating summaries, generating code, writing social media posts, and more.
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