playback

Stop Netflix from automatically playing the next episode

Back in August 2012, Netflix announced a new feature called Post-Play. The thought behind the feature was to make it easier for those of us who binge on a steady stream of episodes from the same TV series.

With Post-Play, Netflix will automatically begin playing the next episode, without requiring any interaction from the user. Every two episodes you're asked to confirm you're still watching and haven't nodded off to sleep.

As with any feature, Post-Play isn't for everyone; but until recently, it was enabled by default with no way for Netflix users to turn it … Read more

VLC for iOS is almost on par with desktop versions of the software

VLC for iOS brings the popular open-source media player to your iOS device, letting you watch videos from almost any format directly, and connect with streaming and cloud services to access your video library. This latest update gives the app a facelift to better fit with the iOS 7 aesthetic, and also adds several features for easier video watching.

Don't be alarmed, but when you first launch VLC for iOS, there is nothing to watch or listen to, nor is there any way to explore video content. VLC is a player, not a browser, so you'll need to … Read more

How to mute videos, prevent preloading with the latest Instagram update

On Thursday, Instagram released a what appeared to be a rather mundane update to its Android and iOS apps. Reading the release notes you'd think the update only addressed various bugs. The company later announced by a tweet from the Instagram account, it was revealed the update also included new controls for video playback in your timeline. While the update was announced for both Android and iOS at the same time, the Android update has yet to hit the Google Play Store.

When Instagram first launched it's video feature a switch was included in the settings to prevent videos from automatically playingRead more

Review: Play, mix, record, and jam with Disco XT

Disco XT is an audio playback application for Windows. It's not a media player, though it can play, mix, and manage your music collection. It's not a recording tool, though it can record and export high-quality audio; nor is it a DJ console, though with five decks, mixing, effects, sampling, and more, it's ready for both the dance floor and studio. Disco XT is a bit of each, but unlike tools that try to be too many things at once, it succeeds. Disco XT is free to try, though the Demo stops audio playback every 30 minutes … Read more

Return to YouTube's old way of buffering full videos

You may have noticed that when you are playing a YouTube video, it buffers only so much ahead of your current position. And should you pause the video, buffering stops altogether. The reason behind this lackluster form of buffering? YouTube's embrace of Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (Dash), which breaks a video into segments, buffering each segment as you make your way through the video. In theory, Dash allows YouTube to adapt to changing network conditions without stalling out at times.

In the real world, Dash means you can't pause a video and come back to it later … Read more

How to fix corrupt DVD playback in OS X

If you watch commercial DVDs on your Mac, you may encounter a rare bug that causes the video to appear corrupted, with a blocklike pattern covering its output. This can occur regardless of whether you're using Apple's provided DVD Player application or a third-party player such as the popular cross-platform VLC media player.

When this bug occurs, even though you may hear audio and see movement, the garbled output makes the video for all intents and purposes unwatchable. Generally when such corruption occurs it indicates a problem with processing the data stream, which can indicate an issue with … Read more

Animated cat repeats what you say. And that's pretty much it.

You've always wanted to see an animated cat say things in a squeaky voice, haven't you? If so, then Talking Tom Cat is for you! Talking Tom Cat is a free app that shows a cartoon cat onscreen that repeats whatever you say into the device in a funny voice. Talking Tom Cat also responds to pokes and strokes of the screen.

Talking Tom Cat lets you say anything into your microphone, which it then repeats with sound modifications, as well as onscreen animation. You can pet the cat and hear him purr. You can pour him a … Read more

Skip BS.Player's nag screen for one of the really free players out there

BS.Player is a free video and media player that's been around in several versions for some time. It's a capable tool with lots of options and some useful specializations, such as automatically scanning your system for missing codecs and downloading and installing them. It's got some clunkiness, though, and it displays a nag message overlay when you play videos. It's only on the screen for a few seconds (though it seems longer) but all it does is tell you that BS.Player is free for noncommercial use.

BS.Player's installer has several options, including … Read more

Six tips for managing your iTunes library

About the time my iTunes music library reached 5,000 tracks I knew it was time for a cleanup. While I was at it, I adjusted the volume on some tracks that I had converted from audio cassettes, made sure joined tracks play in sequence, set iTunes to fill my iPod automatically, and learned some handy playback-control keyboard shortcuts.

Now I'm spending more time listening to the tracks in my iTunes library and less time skipping, scrolling, and searching.

The semi-automatic way to remove duplicate media files iTunes provides two options for identifying duplicate files: one based on the … Read more

YouTube Remote controls playback from afar

In an obvious effort to turn YouTube into more of a TV-like experience, Google has created the YouTube Remote app for Android devices. With this free download, you can pair your mobile device with a desktop computer or YouTube-ready television, and use Android to share control of your YouTube playlist.

As great as the concept is for YouTube Remote, in practice, I see some things that need to be ironed out. My biggest gripe is that the device pairing process is not as simple as it should be. You must first navigate to YouTube.com/leanback on your computer or … Read more