Welcome to the htpcBeginner HTPC News Roundup, April 7, 2017 edition! This week saw Netflix debute offline downloads on Windows 10 PCs, FCC regulations allow ISP tracking, and the popular torrent site BitSnoop shut down. Read on for the latest in HTPC news and updates!
In case you missed them, here is a recap of all our interesting articles published last week:
- Amazon bans Kodi box sales and suspends anyone selling them
- Setup USB Drive for Storage on Diet Pi for Raspberry Pi and Odroid C2
- New FCC Regulations Allow ISP Tracking: How to Protect Yourself?
- Setup Plex Server with Raspberry Pi 3 – Low Power Media Server
- Setup Emby Server with Odroid C2 – Alternative to Plex and Kodi
- Monitor Plex Usage with PlexPy – See What Your Plex Users are Watching
HTPC News Around the Web
Netflix debuted a major update with offline downloading. While this functionality first hit mobile devices such as Androids and iPhones, offline Netflix now arrives on Windows 10 PCs. It’s a feature that’s proves use demand for offline content, not just streaming. While offline Netflix is now on Windows 10 PCs, it’s relegated to the Netflix app for Windows. Offline downloads via the in-browser Netflix aren’t available. Additionally, only certain titles are compatible with offline downloading. Still, there’s a pleasant mix of both Netflix originals including Stranger Things as well as non-Netflix originals like Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Whereas Netflix for Windows 10 now boasts offline downloads, there’s still no offline Netflix for the Xbox One.
The Raspberry Pi is an amazing little Internet of Things (IoT) device. Using this system on a chip (SoC), it’s pretty simple to create numerous projects. Operating systems like RetroPie and RecalBox allow for retro gaming on the Raspberry Pi, and it’s even possible to use the Raspberry Pi as a Plex server or Plex client. The Orange Pi is a Raspberry Pi rival which in its latest iteration packs on a 2G antenna. The Orange Pi 2G-IoT aims to challenge the Raspberry Pi Zero W. This versatile yet inexpensive board clocks in at $10. It’s outfitted with a 1GHZ ARM Cortex-A5 32-bit processor and Vivante GC860 GPU. Additionally, the Orange Pi 2G-IoT features 802.11b/g/n wi-fi and Bluetooth 2.1. But whereas the Pi Zero W sports 512MB of RAM, the Orange Pi only has 256MB. Still, the Orange Pi is compatible with Debian, Ubuntu, and Raspberry Pi distros and remains an excellent, affordable Pi Zero W alternative. [Read: 5 Best Kodi skins for Raspberry Pi 3 2017 – Performance and Looks]
Data privacy persists as a major concern. In the United States, legislature now allows Internet service providers (ISPs) to sell your Web history. The US Senate voted on March 23, 2017 to nix privacy rules which aimed to force ISPs to obtain user consent before selling browsing history and app use to advertisers. This arrives after challenges to net neutrality, all of which shape a changing Internet landscape. There’s less privacy and less transparency. Even Roku has made the foray into lobbying as reported by Recode. Endusers may however opt for the likes of Tor and VPNs to further protect their privacy from ISPs. [Read: New FCC Regulations Allow ISP Tracking: How to Protect Yourself?]
Torrent sites are increasingly under fire. BitSnoop is no more. The torrent website went offline, but sent their date to the Zooqle search engine. After being blocked by loads of ISPs, BitSnoop saw a dip in web traffic. Its tenure lasted nine years, from 2008 to 2017. Despite an increasing crackdown on torrents, and popularity of Usenet, torrents remain popular in Europe as reported by TorrentFreak. While BitSnoop will be missed, there lots of alternatives continue and thanks to torrent automation software like CouchPotato, SickRage, Headphones, and htpcBeginner’s own AtoMiC Toolkit, torrenters may keep on downloading. [Read: CouchPotato vs SickBeard, SickRage, or Sonarr for beginners]
Cord cutting is a major trend. However without cable, satellite, or a premium streaming subscription to the likes of AT&T Now or Sling it’s still difficult to stream sports. Amazon announced a new partnership with the NFL to stream Thursday night NFL games. In 2016 the NFL collaborated with Twitter to livestream all 10 Thursday night football games. For 2017, Amazon Prime gets that honor. Cord cutters may also benefit from Kodi sports addons, though the likes of sports leagues including the Premiere League have begun cracking down on Kodi addons illicitly offering streaming content. [Read: 20 Best Kodi Sports Addons 2017 list for your HTPC]
Did you find any interesting news stories or projects from around the HTPC space? Share them with us in the comments section below!