Virgin and Universal Launching Unlimited Music Download Service

dell takes a slice at apple with super thin latitude z dellz closed

The UK’s Virgin Media and the world’s biggest music label Universal Music have announced a partnership that will create a new music subscription service—however, unlike existing DRM-protected subscription services where music turns into useless bits once your subscription expires, subscribers to Universal and Virgin’s service will be able to download as many tracks and albums as they want in MP3 format…and keep them forever.

Both companies are billing the forthcoming service as a first for the industry.

“In terms of both convenience and value, our new music service will be superior to anything that’s available online today and provides a fair deal for both consumers and artists,” said Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett, in a statement. “There is no better example of Virgin Media’s commitment to harnessing digital technology to give customers what they want, when they want, and how they want.”

The service is slated to launch later this year, and will be priced at approximately £10–15 per month (roughly $16 to $25 a month USD). The companies also plan an “entry level” version of the service for folks who download some music regularly, but who aren’t interested in an all-you-can-eat service. Users will be able to both stream and download music from the service.

In another move that sees an ISP working as an agent of copyright enforcement for the music industry, Virgin has also pledged to work to prevent content piracy using the new service. It will do so, in part, by educating users, but also shutting off cable Internet service for persistent offenders. ISPs working as copyright enforcers is a controversial move, but one that the content industry has been urging for years. Earlier this year, Irish ISP Eircom agreed to shut down connections of users downloading music illegally, as part of a settlement with record companies.

The service is expected to appeal to parents concerned that children may be breaking the law or bringing spyware and malware onto their computers by illegally downloading music via P2P networking services or illegal sites. It’s a sure bet the entire music industry will be watching the experiment carefully: if content creators can get ISPs and service providers to do copyright enforcement work, they may be willing to publish more content in DRM-free formats that are more appealing to consumers.

Product Review

Philips Hue’s Color Ambience makes smart home lighting simple and stylish

It’s not the cheapest smart lighting available, but for those seeking style and sophistication, it’s certainly the best.
Home Theater

The best MP3 player you can buy (and four alternatives)

Want to go for a run, but your phone is weighing you down? No worries. Can't fit your whole music library on your smartphone? Don't sweat it. Check out our list of the best MP3 players, and find one that works for you.
Social Media

Spice up your Instagram videos by adding your top tunes to the soundtrack

Have you ever taken a beautiful video, only to have it ruined by some jerk in the background yelling curse words? Here's a list of apps you can use to add your own music to Instagram posts.
Music

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Music

Listen up! These are the best movie soundtracks of all time

Whether you're a lover of beautifully composed original scores or a fan of perfectly compiled background music, these are the best movie soundtracks of all time — from Star Wars to Garden State.
Smart Home

Cortana and Alexa can now call each other as new relationship begins

Microsoft and Amazon announced a public preview of Cortana and Alexa integration. U.S. customers can now open Cortana with Alexa and vice versa. Basic functions such as calendars and shopping lists are available with the preview.
Smart Home

Hands-on with the Glas, the most beautiful thermostat you’ve ever seen

Johnson Controls today opened the doors for consumers to buy Glas, the company's answer to Nest and Ecobee, the Honeywell Lyric, and basically every other company that thought it would turn that simple round dial on the wall on its ear.
Smart Home

The Glas thermostat is now available and works with Cortana, Alexa, and Google

Microsoft just debuted its very own smart thermostat (the first that it's created), and of course, it can be controlled via voice with Microsoft's virtual assistant Cortana. It also works with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Smart Home

How to set up your Lenovo Smart Display

Here's how to set up your Lenovo Smart Display, including what information you need to provide to the Home app and how to choose the right Google Assistant settings for your new smart screen.
Emerging Tech

Buying on a budget? Here’s all the best tech you can snag for $25 or less

We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 -- so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25.
Smart Home

Fraudulent sales of home alarm systems are on the rise nationwide

According to a new consumer survey from the Consumer Federation of America, there are increasing reports of bad actors using scare tactics and manipulation to sell fraudulent alarm systems.
Smart Home

A school district subsidizes a tiny home community for teachers

The lack of affordable housing in Arizona's Vail school district prompted the plan for a community of tiny homes reserved for educators. Other cities in the U.S. use the tiny abodes for homeless and economically disadvantaged people.
Smart Home

Kroger supermarket chain tests driverless grocery deliveries in Arizona

Kroger and autonomous delivery innovator Nuro began a pilot program in Scottdale, Arizona, for grocery home deliveries with Prius cars to test the self-driving concept. The first tests do not use the purpose-built Nuro vehicle.
Smart Home

Vitamix recalls 100,000 blender containers after multiple ‘lacerations’

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall of about 105,000 Vitamix blending containers after 11 customers reported accidents, including lacerations due to a design flaw in the product.