Netflix just announced the most delightful holiday lineup

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On the twelfth night of bingeing, my Netflix gave to me… new movies and more TV!

Stoking your holiday spirit embers into a full-blown Christmas blaze, Netflix has just announced a cheery streaming lineup to get you through Thanksgiving and into the start of 2019. 

From a Great British Baking Show holiday special to Kurt Russell’s highly-anticipated jaunt as Santa in The Christmas Chronicles, most everything Netflix is teeing up looks delightful. The new arrivals join tons of already streaming holiday favorites like Love Actually and A Christmas Prince. 

One unexpectedly nightmarish addition? Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is getting a surprise holiday episode on Dec. 14, titled “A Midwinter’s Tale.” Here’s the episode’s full description: 

The Church of Night, like all covens, celebrates the Winter Solstice – the longest night of the year – when families gather around the Yule Fire to sing pagan carols and tell ghost stories. But the holidays are also a time for guests and visitors – both welcome and unwelcome – you never know what might come down the chimney…

Fingers crossed for a demonic Santa à la Batty Bat. Or at least Harvey and Sabrina under some mistletoe. 

Here’s everything new (and old) decking your Netflix queue this holiday season.

Netflix’s new holiday arrivals

The Holiday Calendar (streaming now)
Christmas Wedding Planner (11/15)
The Princess Switch (11/16)
The Christmas Chronicles (11/22)
A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding (11/30)
The Great British Baking Show: Holidays (11/30)
Chill with Bob Ross (12/1)
Nailed It! Holiday (12/7)
Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas (12/7)
Super Monsters and the Wish Star (12/7)
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Midwinter’s Tale (12/14)

Already streaming Christmas favorites

A Christmas Prince
A Christmas Star
A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale
A Holiday Engagement
A Russell Peters Christmas
A Very Murray Christmas
All American Christmas Carol
Angels in the Snow
Bad Santa
Bad Santa 2
BoJack Horseman: Christmas Special
Christmas Cracker
Christmas Crush
Christmas in the Smokies
Christmas Inheritance
Christmas Ranch
Christmas with a View
Coffee Shop
Dear Santa
Disney’s Beauty & The Beast
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
Get Santa
Holiday Baggage
Holiday Breakup
How Sarah Got Her Wings
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
Love Actually
Mariah Carey’s Merriest Christmas
Merry Kissmas
Miss Me This Christmas
Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special
Red Christmas
Semana Santa
The Christmas Candle
The Christmas Project
The Spirit of Christmas
Trailer Park Boys: Xmas Special
You Can’t Fight Christmas

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Netflix will test a cheaper pricing tier, possibly in Asia


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Netflix is exploring ways to bring more subscribers into the fold, and it’s set to test a cheaper version of its streaming service. CEO Reed Hastings confirmed the plans to Bloomberg, and while it’s not clear where or when such a trial would take place, Asia seems the most likely region.

The company is hoping to make further inroads into the continent, to which it expanded a few years ago, but it’s currently more expensive than many other streaming services in the region. Many of Netflix’s rivals in Asia have both free and paid versions, while the ad-supported YouTube is enormously popular across the continent.

To help it build interest among potential subscribers, Netflix is developing more than 100 projects in Asia, and it just announced a string of shows and movies from five countries across the region. Hastings has suggested his company could hit 100 million Indian subscribers — it currently has more than 130 million subscribers worldwide, though it reportedly has yet to break the two-million barrier in any Asian nation. However, he told Reuters that Netflix doesn’t have plans for cheaper pricing in India.

When the company rolls out the pricing test, it’s unlikely to lower the prices of its existing plans. Instead, it seems it will introduce a lower-cost tier, offering an alternative version of its service with different features than the other plans.

Meanwhile, some analysts suggested that Netflix is in a strong position to actually raise prices, citing a survey indicating most subscribers think the quality of Netflix’s shows and movies has improved. “Oscar nominations for upcoming Netflix films would, no doubt, have a favorable impact on existing and potential subscribers’ view of the content being made available to them,” Piper Jaffray also noted in its note to investors. Several movies in Netflix’s fall slate, including Roma and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, are pegged as awards contenders.

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Netflix for Wii will stop working after January 31st, 2019


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Do you have an old Wii hooked up in the bedroom solely to watch Netflix? You might want to look for an alternative in the near future. Netflix has emailed customers and posted a notice warning that Nintendo will “suspend” Netflix and other streaming video services on the Wii after January 31st, 2019. The shutdown will come alongside the closure of the Wii Shop channel and suggests that the 2006-era console won’t be useful for much more than playing offline games (but only the ones you already have copies of) as of next year.

Netflix unsurprisingly didn’t have alternatives besides pointing users to newer hardware. “We hope you’ll soon enjoy an even better Netflix experience with additional features on a supported device,” it said.

This isn’t exactly shocking. The Wii is 12 years old, and Nintendo started phasing out channels in 2013. Moreover, Netflix is much more ubiquitous than it was when the app reached the Wii. If your TV doesn’t have Netflix built-in, you can likely get a streaming device for a fraction of what the Wii cost even toward the end of its life. This leaves you one less choice if you’re using an older TV with limited input options, though. And let’s face it — it’ll be a little heart-wrenching if you have to retire your Wii for good, even if you haven’t played a game on it for years.

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Michelle Yeoh may lead 'Star Trek' spinoff on CBS All Access


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CBS All Access’ rapidly growing library of Star Trek shows might including one revolving around a familiar star. Deadline claims Star Trek: Discovery‘s Michelle Yeoh is talking about reprising her role as Captain Georgiou in a “stand-alone” All Access series. The project would reportedly be an extension of Georgiou’s story from Discovery season two. CBS has declined to comment on the apparent leak.

If it comes to fruition, the spinoff would be in line with CBS’ strategy. Between the Picard series, Short Treks, Below Decks and plans for other shows, the network clearly wants a continuous stream of new Star Trek material to draw people to its streaming service. As Deadline warns, though, Yeoh’s availability might complicate matters. Between the potential for a Crazy Rich Asians sequel and a production deal with SK Global Entertainment, the star might not have many opportunities to take on a regular series in the near future.

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T-Mobile's internet TV box revealed in an FCC filing


T-Mobile is apparently still planning on launching its streaming TV service by the end of this year, and now Variety has spotted this box in an FCC filing. Dubbed the T-Mobile Mini in the document, it can connect via WiFi, Bluetooth or Ethernet, along with a USB port and HDMI in/out.

T-Mobile Mini Back

While Microsoft has given up on its middle-man HDMI dreams for the Xbox One, T-Mobile will give it a try with this box based on tech it acquired along with Layer3 last year. There’s still no indication of what the service will actually be like, but there’s no 5G cell connection onboard. It won’t be alone either — Verizon has launched 5G service that comes with YouTube TV and an Apple TV or Chromecast, while AT&T’s box is scheduled to launch next year.

In a statement given to Variety, T-Mobile said that “We’re hard at work on our new home TV solution, and after launch, we’ll continue to innovate and expand T-Mobile’s entertainment solutions over time.” We’ll see what that expansion looks like, and if anyone is trying to add-on an HDMI passthrough to their home theater setup instead of a simpler dongle, app or standalone streaming video box.

Verizon owns Engadget’s parent company, Oath (formerly AOL). Rest assured, Verizon has no control over our coverage. Engadget remains editorially independent.

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Ninja's Fallout 76 Stream With Rick, Morty, And Logic Did Not Go Well

People say they want good gameplay from streams, but what they’re really looking for is acceptable gameplay paired with great chemistry. Top Twitch streamer Ninja, rapper Logic, and cartoon characters Rick and Morty unfortunately do not have that.

If nothing else, it was an ambitious experiment. Last night on Bethesda’s Twitch channel, Ninja and Logic streamed normally from their respective locations, while Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland voiced both Rick and Morty while playing. The animated pair appeared in their own on-screen window, depicted sitting on a couch and holding a game controller. The three (or four, depending on how you count these things) proceeded to romp around Fallout 76’s wasteland, attempting to crack jokes and enduring silences so awkward that they felt like tiny apocalypses of their own.

Initially, it was easy to chalk the lack of chemistry up to technical issues. Straight out the gate, audio and gameplay failed to sync up, with Rick and Morty going on at length about car shooting and mole-rat-exploding shenanigans upwards of ten seconds before they actually happened. Then Logic revealed that he didn’t really know how to play the game, so that slowed the early goings down, too.

As the stream went on, though, the squad just couldn’t seem to meet each other in the middle of their particular sensibilities. Everyone seemed nervous and out of their elements—even Roiland, who valiantly attempted to fill dead air with banter between his mismatched duo, but who was frequently met with non-responses that left little room for further improv.

At one point, Rick tried to convince Ninja and Logic to strip off their armor and run around “naked” punching everything. In response, they just kind of brushed him off.

It was such a weird moment! Ninja proceeded to talk about somebody who was following them, and Logic talked about his chair. But it was also kind of a perfect encapsulation of what each person was about and why the stream felt so strained. Say what you will about Ninja’s stance on streaming with women and linguistic gaffes, but he’s damn good at video games. So of course, that’s his focus here, too. Then you’ve got Roiland trying to perform his hyper-specific brand of improv humor, because that’s his whole thing. And lastly, you’ve got Logic wondering why he’s there.

“Does Logic even talk?” a viewer asked in chat at one point.

In general, chat was not kind. Some highlights/lowlights:

“NOBODY ASKED FOR THIS”

“this is horrid, thanks”

“wow, this is… really bad”

“just cancelled my preorder of this game”

That’s not to say there weren’t a few decent moments. For instance, at one point Morty told Ninja an extended story about Rick burping under his bed that was just bizarre enough to work.

There was also a bit about representation among Super Mutants that landed pretty well and got Ninja and Logic laughing. But when Roiland whiffed, he really whiffed. For instance, I’ve watched the following clip of Rick and Morty bantering about traps six separate times and still can’t figure out what Roiland was going for.

Things proceeded more or less in this fashion for nearly three hours, and all the while, technical issues continued to take a toll. Most of the good stuff came toward the end, but by that point, viewers had already pretty much made up their minds about the whole thing.

Ever since the breakout Drake stream that already feels like it happened a million years ago (note: it was in March), “Ninja plays a game with famous people” has become a stream genre unto itself. I’m sure, then, that Bethesda looked at Ninja, a famous rapper, and Rick and Morty, and saw demographic dollar signs. But having a bunch of good ingredients scattered across a table doesn’t mean you have a good cake. You’ve gotta make sure those ingredients work in concert first, and if you don’t, well, then all you’ve got is a mess.

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The Game Awards will stream on more than 40 platforms next month


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The end of the year is fast approaching, which means awards season is getting into full swing. The Game Awards takes place December 6th at 9PM ET at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, and this year, it will stream live on more than 40 video platforms.

Among the usual suspects such as Twitch, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube (where you can watch the ceremony in 4K UHD), you’ll be able to view it on PS4 and Xbox Live, Mixer, Caffeine and MLG among others. The Game Awards will also air live with translations on local platforms in China, Korea, Russia, Taiwan, South-East Asia, Germany, Japan and Brazil.

Meanwhile, the slate of nominees will be announced Tuesday. You’ll be able to cast your votes for your favorite games through The Game Awards website, Twitter Direct Message, Facebook Messenger, Alexa, Google Assistant and, for the first time, a Discord server.

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Disney to invest in more original content for Hulu, expand service internationally

In addition to plans to launch its own Netflix rival, Disney+, next year, the company says it also plans to increase investment in its other streaming service, Hulu. Thanks its buyout of 21st Century Fox, Disney now own 60 percent of the TV streaming service, which it gives it “considerable say” in how Hulu is run, noted Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger on this week’s earnings call with investors. He said the plan now is to invest in more original content for Hulu and expand the service internationally.

Disney would also be open to acquiring more of a stake in Hulu, the CEO later said.

Disney sees the value in both Hulu’s IP and talent, particularly on the television and movies side, Iger told investors. And it plans to use the television production capabilities of the now combined company to “fuel Hulu with a lot more original programming,” he added. This, Disney believes, will help make Hulu more competitive in the marketplace.

“Given the success of Hulu so far in terms of subscriber growth and the relative brand strength and other things too like demographics, we think there’s an opportunity to increase investment in Hulu notably on the programming side,” Iger said.

Currently, Hulu has had only a handful of breakout original hits – most notably, the timely dystopian spectacle that was  “The Handmaid’s Tale.” But its originals output has paled in comparison with Netflix, which projected it would spend $8 billion on content this year, with plans to increase that in 2019. Hulu has spent considerably less – around $2.5 billion, per analyst estimates.

With Fox, however, Disney gains access to the Fox studio and FX, and more, which will help it fuel Hulu with more original content. Iger declined to say if that content would be exclusive to Hulu in the future, but did confirm the studios are part of Disney’s plans for Hulu.

Iger also spoke of other changes ahead for Hulu, including possible adjustments to Hulu’s pricing, and its plan to bring Hulu to more international markets.

“After the deal closes and after we have the 60 percent ownership, we’ll meet with the Hulu management team and the board, and discuss what the opportunities are in terms of both global growth and investing more in content. But that’s something that we have to do after the deal closes,” Iger added.

The acquisition is expected to close in 2019.

In a follow-up interview with CNBC, Iger also said that Disney would be interested in acquiring more shares of Hulu, if the opportunity arose.

“It is premature really except to say that if Comcast is interested in divesting, or if Time Warner or AT&T Time Warner is interested in divesting, we certainly would be interested in buying their stake. But with 60%, which is what we will own, we’ll have enough control to manage Hulu in a way that is consistent with – the strategy of the company is deploying,” he said.

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iHeartRadio's app now supports direct control of Sonos speakers


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Streaming radio stations just became a bit more intuitive on Sonos speakers. In the wake of similar moves by Pandora, Spotify and Tidal, iHeartRadio’s app now offers direct control over your Sonos audio system. You no longer have to fire up the Sonos app to listen to live radio, on-demand tunes and everything in between. And since this is a radio app, you don’t need to sign in for freebies like radio, podcasts and playlist-based radio — you only need it if you’re a paying customer who wants access to everything.

As with earlier additions, the allure is simply having more intuitive control over your music. Much like AirPlay 2 support, you can go to the app you want to use rather than having to rely on Sonos’ generic (if flexible) interface. And iHeartRadio’s implementation is particularly handy — there haven’t been many options like this for conventional radio broadcasts.

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Roku expands its free streaming channel with entertainment and live sports

Roku’s ad-supported free streaming channel is expanding. No, not to more platforms — it already did that. But rather, it’s expanding its content lineup. While before the channel offered free-to-stream movies and news, it will now feature live and linear sports and entertainment content, the company says.

As of earlier this year, The Roku Channel added live news from ABC News, Cheddar, Newsmax, Newsy, People TV, Yahoo and, most recently, The Young Turks, from the TYT Network.

It will now add entertainment content from partners including TMZ, AFV, FailArmy, People Are Awesome, Pet Collective and more. As with the channel’s other offerings, none of these streams will require a subscription.

Meanwhile, the channel will also begin to stream live sporting events from the Adventure Sports Network, COMBT GO, EDGEsport, Stadium and Wham Network, among others.

The additions come on the heels of Roku’s Q3 earnings, which saw the company beat Wall Street expectations on hardware, but saw platform revenue falling short — causing the stock to drop.

The company has been trying to move beyond being only a hardware device maker selling TVs and streaming players, to grow its platform business and advertising revenues. A key part of that strategy is The Roku Channel, which opens up Roku’s platform to a wider audience, and allows the company to sell ads against content.

The plan may work in the long run, but it’s taking time to ramp up, it seems.

However, Roku did report a growing user base with 23.8 million active users, streaming 6.2 billion hours in the quarter. That was ahead of expectations of 23.1 million users and 5.8 billion hours.

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