Remember back in January when Netflix said it was going to start blocking people who were using VPNs, proxies, and other unblocking services so they could watch out-of-region Netflix content or get access in countries Netflix doesn’t serve? Well, that little war has started heating up.
Shortly after Netflix made its announcement, the battle began, and some users did report their VPNs no longer worked, but most of them just switched to more popular VPN services which mask user locations to trick streamers like Netflix into thinking they are located somewhere they actually aren’t. These more popular VPNs got pretty haughty, claiming they were smart enough to outfox Netflix, no matter what the streaming service did to sniff them out.
Well, apparently those VPNs and their users underestimated Netflix, because over the weekend they found themselves blocked right out. A number of European users took to Reddit and the thread quickly blew up with stories from folks in Belgium, Germany, Spain, and the Czech Republic saying they were locked out.
The list of countries and the number of viewers affected grew exponentially, and ultimately the conversation turned to people cancelling their subscriptions and just pirating what they wanted instead. The reason Netflix is taking this action is because it has to uphold its licensing deals with content providers or it will have trouble scoring content in the future. Plus, Netflix is massively expanding, and that includes service to many of those countries we just mentioned.
So, to be fair, Netflix is setting up legit ways to access its service in these areas; it’s just that folks want access to everything, not just what’s authorized for their country. Netflix probably isn’t worried about losing customers, though. The line of people who want legit access to Netflix is probably greater than the number of people savvy enough to use a VPN. And that puts Netflix right in the winner’s column. Again.
Microsoft HoloLens comes to developers
Microsoft is now offering a HoloLens developers kit for the chunky price of $3,000. The idea is to get coders writing apps for the augmented reality device, which lays holographic images over real life environments through transparent glasses. But, there’s a catch: Developers have to apply to get one. Yep, just because you’re a developer with $3,000 burning a hole in your pocket doesn’t mean you’ll get one.
If you do manage to get one, you’ll get around 5 apps to play around with. Windows hopes these apps will inspire developers to create more awesome apps so that when HoloLens does come to the public, it will have enough to offer to get people excited.
The point here is that HoloLens is getting closer and closer to becoming a consumer good, and that’s pretty exciting. Of all the killer tech we experience here at Digital Trends, HoloLens is easily one of the most exciting we’ve seen in some time.
Water pitcher orders its own filters online
And finally, in an effort to make your life just that much easier, Amazon has teamed up with Brita to create a water filtration pitcher that automatically orders you a new filter when its needed. The pitcher has Wi-Fi and a little device inside that monitors water flow through the filter.
When the sensor detects you’re getting toward the end of your filter’s life, the Pitcher places an order through Amazon for a replacement, and Abracazam, the filter shows up at your door. This is sort of an extension on Amazon’s Dash program, which consists of purpose-built buttons which, at a press, order a specific product for you automatically. Stuff like laundry detergent and toilet paper, for example.
Thing is, a water filter’s recommended use cycle has always been shorter than its actual life span, in our experience. So it’s hard not to see this as a money-grab. Still, I can tell you right now that if my fridge could order a filter automatically, I’d be stoked about it, and so would my family who is probably tired of having the water dribble out of the tap at like an ounce a minute. Sorry guys.