The Morning After: 20 years of Engadget

This website first began on March 2, 2004. It’s older than YouTube, the iPhone, Uber, Tesla cars, Spotify and a whole lot more. It’s even roughly a month older than the word ‘podcast.’

To mark the 20th anniversary of Engadget, we’re taking a longer look at how the tech industry has changed over the past two decades. First up: streaming.

We were going to kick things off with a letter from the editor, but two weeks ago, Engadget’s parent company laid off many editors, writers and videographers from our small team, including our editor-in-chief, Dana Wollman.

As Aaron Souppouris puts in his introduction to the series, it’s not “business as usual,” but we are committed to pushing Engadget forward. What started as a grass-roots tech blog has now morphed into a media organization “aiming to break news, give no-BS buying advice and highlight the stories in tech that matter.”

Oh, and we have a podcast.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed

Dune 2 kicks butt (literally)

This is what it looks like to reenter Earth’s atmosphere from a space capsule’s POV

Streaming video changed the internet forever

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No, Mark Zuckerberg isn’t having a ‘PR moment’

Meta has rarely been in so much hot water.

TMA
Tom Williams via Getty Images

Axios, a site known for political analysis (and extensive use of bullet points), has joined the ranks of pundits fawning over Mark Zuckerberg’s PR strategy. The Meta CEO, they claim, is (as originally headlined) “having a PR moment.” Should anyone be praising the PR strategy of a gigantic company credibly accused of enabling a variety of mass-scale harm? Even if that PR strategy was working — which it isn’t.

Continue reading.

Apple might announce new iPads, M3 MacBook Airs very soon

No spring event?

In Bloomberg’s Power On newsletter, Mark Gurman says Apple plans to announce several new products in a series of “online videos and marketing campaigns” pretty much imminently. If so, that’d be two years in a row Apple has passed on a spring event. This year, it could be particularly busy: Along with an iPad Pro refresh and a new 12.9-inch iPad Air, Gurman reports that Apple is planning to announce new Apple Pencils and Magic Keyboards. (Likely with USB-C.) It’s also expected to release the M3 MacBook Air in 13- and 15-inch models.

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Waymo gets approval to deploy its robotaxi service in Los Angeles

Despite the company getting suspended in February.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has permitted Waymo to expand its robotaxi operations to Los Angeles and more locations in the San Francisco Peninsula despite opposition from local groups and government agencies. In the CPUC’s decision, it admitted receiving letters of protest from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and the San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance about Waymo’s expansion.

Following an incident where two of its robotaxis collided with a backward-facing pickup truck, the agency suspended Waymo’s expansion efforts in February for up to 120 days. Waymo spokesperson Julia Ilina said in a statement to Wired that the company will take an “incremental approach” when deploying the service in LA.

Continue reading.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-morning-after-20-years-of-engadget-121611170.html?src=rss

Apple may skip a spring event and announce new iPads, M3 MacBook Airs online instead

Apple is expected to have some big releases coming up soon — including new iPad Pro and iPad Air models, and the M3 MacBook Air — but it’s reportedly not going to host a big spring launch event for the announcements. In the Power On newsletter, Mark Gurman reports that Apple is “planning to announce the new products on its website with a series of online videos and marketing campaigns.” If so, that’d be two years in a row that Apple has passed on a spring event, with this year being particularly stacked with new products.

Whatever format the announcements come in, rumors suggest they’ll be happening imminently. Gurman, however, predicts more conservatively that the hardware drop will come either this month or next. Along with the iPad Pro refresh and a new 12.9-inch iPad Air, Gurman reports that Apple is planning to announce new Apple Pencils and Magic Keyboards. It’s also expected to release the M3 MacBook Air in 13-inch and 15-inch models.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/apple-may-skip-a-spring-event-and-announce-new-ipads-m3-macbook-airs-online-instead-211706684.html?src=rss

Apple may skip a spring event and announce new iPads, M3 MacBook Airs online instead

Apple is expected to have some big releases coming up soon — including new iPad Pro and iPad Air models, and the M3 MacBook Air — but it’s reportedly not going to host a big spring launch event for the announcements. In the Power On newsletter, Mark Gurman reports that Apple is “planning to announce the new products on its website with a series of online videos and marketing campaigns.” If so, that’d be two years in a row that Apple has passed on a spring event, with this year being particularly stacked with new products.

Whatever format the announcements come in, rumors suggest they’ll be happening imminently. Gurman, however, predicts more conservatively that the hardware drop will come either this month or next. Along with the iPad Pro refresh and a new 12.9-inch iPad Air, Gurman reports that Apple is planning to announce new Apple Pencils and Magic Keyboards. It’s also expected to release the M3 MacBook Air in 13-inch and 15-inch models.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/apple-may-skip-a-spring-event-and-announce-new-ipads-m3-macbook-airs-online-instead-211706684.html?src=rss

Proposed class action lawsuit accuses Apple of monopolizing cloud storage for its devices

A class action complaint filed against Apple on Friday in the northern California court has accused the company of creating unfair conditions to ensure iCloud remains the dominant cloud storage choice for its devices, according to Bloomberg Law. By placing “surgical technological restraints” on the types of files other cloud providers can host, Apple has made it so only iCloud can offer Apple device users full-service storage, the complaint argues. According to the complaint, this has also allowed Apple to charge higher fees in the absence of “any real threat to iCloud’s dominance.”

The proposed class, represented by Hagens Berman, would cover tens of millions of customers in the US, Bloomberg Law notes. While iPhone and iPad users do have the option to store certain types of files with non-Apple cloud storage providers, there are some things — including app data and device settings — that only iCloud has permission to host. This leaves users to choose either the “unattractive” option of juggling multiple cloud storage accounts to fully cover their backup needs, or iCloud’s full-service convenience. The complaint argues that Apple’s restrictions are arbitrary and work to stifle competition.

Apple “does not dominate because it built a superior cloud-storage product,” the complaint states. “From a security and functionality standpoint, iCloud is no better (and often inferior) to other cloud storage platforms. Instead, Apple has achieved market dominance by rigging the competitive playing field so that only iCloud can win.” The case was only just filed and hasn’t yet been granted class action status, but anyone who thinks they may be eligible to get in on it can fill out a form on the Hagens Berman website to find out more information.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/proposed-class-action-lawsuit-accuses-apple-of-monopolizing-cloud-storage-for-its-devices-190822242.html?src=rss

Proposed class action lawsuit accuses Apple of monopolizing cloud storage for its devices

A class action complaint filed against Apple on Friday in the northern California court has accused the company of creating unfair conditions to ensure iCloud remains the dominant cloud storage choice for its devices, according to Bloomberg Law. By placing “surgical technological restraints” on the types of files other cloud providers can host, Apple has made it so only iCloud can offer Apple device users full-service storage, the complaint argues. According to the complaint, this has also allowed Apple to charge higher fees in the absence of “any real threat to iCloud’s dominance.”

The proposed class, represented by Hagens Berman, would cover tens of millions of customers in the US, Bloomberg Law notes. While iPhone and iPad users do have the option to store certain types of files with non-Apple cloud storage providers, there are some things — including app data and device settings — that only iCloud has permission to host. This leaves users to choose either the “unattractive” option of juggling multiple cloud storage accounts to fully cover their backup needs, or iCloud’s full-service convenience. The complaint argues that Apple’s restrictions are arbitrary and work to stifle competition.

Apple “does not dominate because it built a superior cloud-storage product,” the complaint states. “From a security and functionality standpoint, iCloud is no better (and often inferior) to other cloud storage platforms. Instead, Apple has achieved market dominance by rigging the competitive playing field so that only iCloud can win.” The case was only just filed and hasn’t yet been granted class action status, but anyone who thinks they may be eligible to get in on it can fill out a form on the Hagens Berman website to find out more information.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/proposed-class-action-lawsuit-accuses-apple-of-monopolizing-cloud-storage-for-its-devices-190822242.html?src=rss

Apple backtracks on plans to get rid of web apps on iPhones in the EU

Apple has walked back its decision to remove home screen web apps in the European Union (EU). After initially blaming its decision to ditch them on the Digital Markets Act’s (DMA) requirement to support non-WebKit browsers, Apple now says European users will return to enjoying the same web app experience from before when iOS 17.4 arrives early this month.

“We have received requests to continue to offer support for Home Screen web apps in iOS, therefore we will continue to offer the existing Home Screen web apps capability in the EU,” Apple wrote Friday in an updated developer support document. “This support means Home Screen web apps continue to be built directly on WebKit and its security architecture, and align with the security and privacy model for native apps on iOS.”

Progressive web apps (PWAs) act much like native apps with features like dedicated windows, notifications and local storage. Apple removed them for European customers in the second iOS 17.4 beta, instead asking if users want to open the website in Safari.

At the time, the company claimed web app support could compromise security, given the DMA’s requirement to support non-WebKit browser engines. “Addressing the complex security and privacy concerns associated with web apps using alternative browser engines would require building an entirely new integration architecture that does not currently exist in iOS and was not practical to undertake given the other demands of the DMA and the very low user adoption of Home Screen web apps,” the company wrote in February.

The Open Web Advocacy organization chimed in quickly to criticize Apple’s now-reversed move. “Apple has had 15 years to facilitate true browser competition worldwide, and nearly two years since the DMA’s final text,” the organization wrote in February. “It could have used that time to share functionality it historically self-preferenced to Safari with other browsers. Inaction and silence speaks volumes.”

The EU didn’t sound much happier about the web app removal. European Commission officials said in late February they were probing Apple’s decision in what sounded like the build-up to a formal investigation. The Financial Times reported that regulators sent developers questions about the impact of Apple’s PWA removal.

Whatever may have happened between then and now to change Apple’s mind, it’s remaining tight-lipped. Instead, the company is framing its reversal as a simple response to “requests” it received to continue offering home screen web apps. Perhaps EU officials assured the iPhone maker the company wouldn’t need to support PWAs from other browser engines, or maybe the company merely wanted to head off a formal probe (and the bad PR it could generate). Regardless, only European iOS 17.4 beta users are without web apps, and they’ll have them back once the software’s final version arrives.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/apple-backtracks-on-plans-to-get-rid-of-web-apps-on-iphones-in-the-eu-195232177.html?src=rss

Apple backtracks on plans to get rid of web apps on iPhones in the EU

Apple has walked back its decision to remove home screen web apps in the European Union (EU). After initially blaming its decision to ditch them on the Digital Markets Act’s (DMA) requirement to support non-WebKit browsers, Apple now says European users will return to enjoying the same web app experience from before when iOS 17.4 arrives early this month.

“We have received requests to continue to offer support for Home Screen web apps in iOS, therefore we will continue to offer the existing Home Screen web apps capability in the EU,” Apple wrote Friday in an updated developer support document. “This support means Home Screen web apps continue to be built directly on WebKit and its security architecture, and align with the security and privacy model for native apps on iOS.”

Progressive web apps (PWAs) act much like native apps with features like dedicated windows, notifications and local storage. Apple removed them for European customers in the second iOS 17.4 beta, instead asking if users want to open the website in Safari.

At the time, the company claimed web app support could compromise security, given the DMA’s requirement to support non-WebKit browser engines. “Addressing the complex security and privacy concerns associated with web apps using alternative browser engines would require building an entirely new integration architecture that does not currently exist in iOS and was not practical to undertake given the other demands of the DMA and the very low user adoption of Home Screen web apps,” the company wrote in February.

The Open Web Advocacy organization chimed in quickly to criticize Apple’s now-reversed move. “Apple has had 15 years to facilitate true browser competition worldwide, and nearly two years since the DMA’s final text,” the organization wrote in February. “It could have used that time to share functionality it historically self-preferenced to Safari with other browsers. Inaction and silence speaks volumes.”

The EU didn’t sound much happier about the web app removal. European Commission officials said in late February they were probing Apple’s decision in what sounded like the build-up to a formal investigation. The Financial Times reported that regulators sent developers questions about the impact of Apple’s PWA removal.

Whatever may have happened between then and now to change Apple’s mind, it’s remaining tight-lipped. Instead, the company is framing its reversal as a simple response to “requests” it received to continue offering home screen web apps. Perhaps EU officials assured the iPhone maker the company wouldn’t need to support PWAs from other browser engines, or maybe the company merely wanted to head off a formal probe (and the bad PR it could generate). Regardless, only European iOS 17.4 beta users are without web apps, and they’ll have them back once the software’s final version arrives.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/apple-backtracks-on-plans-to-get-rid-of-web-apps-on-iphones-in-the-eu-195232177.html?src=rss

Adobe’s latest AI experiment generates music from text

This week, Adobe revealed an experimental audio AI tool to join its image-based ones in Photoshop. Described by the company as “an early-stage generative AI music generation and editing tool,” Adobe’s Project Music GenAI Control can create music (and other audio) from text prompts, which it can then fine-tune in the same interface.

Adobe frames the Firefly-based technology as a creative ally that — unlike generative audio experiments like Google’s MusicLM — goes a step further and skips the hassle of moving the output to external apps like Pro Tools, Logic Pro or GarageBand for editing. “Instead of manually cutting existing music to make intros, outros, and background audio, Project Music GenAI Control could help users to create exactly the pieces they need—solving workflow pain points end-to-end,” Adobe wrote in an announcement blog post.

The company suggests starting with text inputs like “powerful rock,” “happy dance” or “sad jazz” as a foundation. From there, you can enter more prompts to adjust its tempo, structure and repetition, increase its intensity, extend its length, remix entire sections or create loops. The company says it can even transform audio based on a reference melody.

Adobe says the resulting music is safe for commercial use. It’s also integrating its Content Credentials (“nutrition labels” for generated content), an attempt to be transparent about your masterpiece’s AI-assisted nature.

“One of the exciting things about these new tools is that they aren’t just about generating audio—they’re taking it to the level of Photoshop by giving creatives the same kind of deep control to shape, tweak, and edit their audio. It’s a kind of pixel-level control for music,” Adobe Research scientist Nicholas Bryan wrote.

The project is a collaboration with the University of California, San Diego and the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University. Adobe’s announcement emphasized Project Music GenAI Control’s experimental nature. (It didn’t reveal much of its interface in the video above, suggesting it may not have a consumer-facing UI yet.) So you may have to wait a while before the feature (presumably) makes its way into Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/adobes-latest-ai-experiment-generates-music-from-text-184019169.html?src=rss

Adobe’s latest AI experiment generates music from text

This week, Adobe revealed an experimental audio AI tool to join its image-based ones in Photoshop. Described by the company as “an early-stage generative AI music generation and editing tool,” Adobe’s Project Music GenAI Control can create music (and other audio) from text prompts, which it can then fine-tune in the same interface.

Adobe frames the Firefly-based technology as a creative ally that — unlike generative audio experiments like Google’s MusicLM — goes a step further and skips the hassle of moving the output to external apps like Pro Tools, Logic Pro or GarageBand for editing. “Instead of manually cutting existing music to make intros, outros, and background audio, Project Music GenAI Control could help users to create exactly the pieces they need—solving workflow pain points end-to-end,” Adobe wrote in an announcement blog post.

The company suggests starting with text inputs like “powerful rock,” “happy dance” or “sad jazz” as a foundation. From there, you can enter more prompts to adjust its tempo, structure and repetition, increase its intensity, extend its length, remix entire sections or create loops. The company says it can even transform audio based on a reference melody.

Adobe says the resulting music is safe for commercial use. It’s also integrating its Content Credentials (“nutrition labels” for generated content), an attempt to be transparent about your masterpiece’s AI-assisted nature.

“One of the exciting things about these new tools is that they aren’t just about generating audio—they’re taking it to the level of Photoshop by giving creatives the same kind of deep control to shape, tweak, and edit their audio. It’s a kind of pixel-level control for music,” Adobe Research scientist Nicholas Bryan wrote.

The project is a collaboration with the University of California, San Diego and the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University. Adobe’s announcement emphasized Project Music GenAI Control’s experimental nature. (It didn’t reveal much of its interface in the video above, suggesting it may not have a consumer-facing UI yet.) So you may have to wait a while before the feature (presumably) makes its way into Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/adobes-latest-ai-experiment-generates-music-from-text-184019169.html?src=rss

Streaming video changed the internet forever

It’s 1995, and I’m trying to watch a video on the internet. I entered the longest, most complex URL I’d ever seen into AOL’s web browser to view a trailer for Paul W.S. Anderson’s long-awaited film adaptation of Mortal Kombat. I found it in an issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, tucked away in the bottom of a full-page ad for the film. Online marketing at the time was such an afterthought, studios didn’t even bother grabbing short and memorable web addresses for their major releases, let alone dedicated websites. (Star Trek Generations and Stargate were among the few early exceptions.)

After the interminable process of transcribing the URL from print, I gathered my family around our Packard Bell PC (powered by an Intel 486 DX and, let’s say, 8MB of RAM), hit return and waited as the video slowly came down our 33.6kbps dial-up connection. And waited. It took 25 minutes for it to fully load. After corralling my family once again, I hit play and was treated to an horrendously compressed, low-resolution version of the trailer I’d been dreaming about for months. It was unwatchable. The audio was shit. But that was the moment I became obsessed with online video.

I imagined a futuristic world beyond my boxy CRT set and limited cable TV subscription. A time after VHS tapes when I could just type in a URL and enjoy a show or movie while eating one of those rehydrated Pizza Hut pies from Back to the Future 2. The internet would make it so.

Looking back now, almost 30 years later, and 20 years after Engadget sprung to life, I realize my 11-year-old self was spot on. The rise of online video transformed the internet from a place where we’d browse the web, update our LiveJournals, steal music and chat with friends on AIM to a place where we could also just sit back and relax. For Millennials, it quickly made our computer screens more important than our TVs. What I didn’t expect, though, was that streaming video would also completely upend Hollywood and the entire entertainment industry.

If my experience with the Mortal Kombat trailer didn’t make it clear enough, video was a disaster on the internet in the ’90s. Most web surfers (as we were known as the time) were stuck with terribly slow modems and similarly unimpressive desktop systems. But really, the problem goes back to dealing with video on computers.

Apple’s Quicktime format made Macs the ideal platform for multimedia creators, and, together with its Hypercard software for creating interactive multimedia databases, it spawned the rise of Myst and the obsession with mixed-media educational software. PCs relied on MPEG-1, which debuted in 1993 and was mainly for VCDs and some digital TV providers. The problem with both formats was space: Hard drives were notoriously small and expensive at the time, which made CDs the main option for accessing any sort of video on your computer. If your computer only had a 500MB hard drive, a slim disc that could store 650MB seemed like magic.

But that also meant video had no place in the early internet. RealPlayer was the first true stab at delivering streaming video and audio online — and while it was better than waiting 20 minutes for a huge file to download, it was still hard to actually stream media when you were constrained by a dial-up modem. I remember seeing buffering alerts more than I did any actual RealPlayer content. It took the proliferation of broadband internet access and one special app from Adobe to make web video truly viable.

While we may curse its name today, it’s worth remembering how vital Macromedia Flash was to the web in the early 2000s. (We’ve been around long enough to cover Adobe’s acquisition of Macromedia in 2005!) Its support for vector graphics, stylized text and simple games injected new life into the internet, and it allowed just about anyone to create that content. HTML just wasn’t enough. Ask any teen or 20-something who was online at the time, and they could probably still recite most of The End of the World by heart.

With 2002’s Flash MX 6, Macromedia added support for Sorenson’s Spark video codec, which opened the floodgates for online video. (It was eventually replaced in 2005 by the VP6 codec from On2, a company Google acquired in 2009.) Macromedia’s video offering looked decent, loaded quickly and was supported on every browser that had the Flash plugin, making it the ideal player choice for video websites.

The adult entertainment industry latched onto Flash video first, as you’d expect. Porn sites also relied on the technology to lock down purchased videos and entice viewers to other sites with interactive ads. But it was YouTube (and, to a lesser extent, Vimeo) that truly showed mainstream users what was possible with video on the internet. After launching in February 2005, YouTube grew so quickly it was serving 100 million videos a day by July 2006, making up 60 percent of all online videos at the time. It’s no wonder Google rushed to acquire the company for $1.65 billion later that year (arguably the search giant’s smartest purchase ever).

After YouTube’s shockingly fast rise, it wasn’t too surprising to see Netflix announce its own Watch Now streaming service in 2007, which also relied on Flash for video. At $17.99 a month for 18 hours of video, with a library of only 1,000 titles, Netflix’s streaming offering didn’t seem like much of a threat to Blockbuster, premium cable channels or cinemas at first. But the company wisely expanded Watch Now to all Netflix subscribers in 2008 and removed any viewing cap: The Netflix binge was born.


It’s 2007, and I’m trying to watch a video on the internet. In my post-college apartment, I hooked up my desktop computer to an early-era (720p) Philips HDTV, and all of a sudden, I had access to thousands of movies, instantly viewable over a semi-decent cable connection. I didn’t need to worry about seeding torrents or compiling Usenet files (things I’d only heard about from dirty pirates, you see). I didn’t have to stress about any Blockbuster late fees. The movies were just sitting on my TV, waiting for me to watch them. It was the dream for digital media fanatics: Legal content available at the touch of a button. What a concept!

Little did I know then that the Watch Now concept would basically take over the world. Netflix initially wanted to create hardware to make the service more easily accessible, but it ended up spinning off that idea, and Roku was born. The company’s streaming push also spurred on the creation of Hulu, announced in late 2007 as a joint offering between NBCUniversal and News Corp. to bring their television shows online. Disney later joined, giving Hulu the full power of all the major broadcast TV networks. Instead of a stale library of older films, Hulu allowed you to watch new shows on the internet the day after they aired. Again, what a concept!

Amazon, it turns out, was actually earlier to the streaming party than Netflix. It launched the Amazon Unbox service in 2006, which was notable for letting you watch videos as they were being downloaded onto your computer. It was rebadged to Amazon Video On Demand in 2008 (a better name, which actually described what it did), and then it became Amazon Instant Video in 2011, when it was tied together with premium Prime memberships.

As the world of streaming video exploded, Flash’s reputation kept getting worse. By the mid-2000s, it was widely recognized as a notoriously buggy program, one so insecure it could lead to malware infecting your PC. (I worked in IT at the time, and the vast majority of issues I encountered on Windows PCs stemmed entirely from Flash.) When the iPhone launched without support for Flash in 2007, it was clear the end was near. YouTube and other video sites moved over to HTML5 video players at that point, and it became the standard by 2015.

By the early 2010s, YouTube and Amazon weren’t happy just licensing content from Hollywood, they wanted some of the action themselves. So the original programming boom began, which kicked off with mostly forgettable shows (anyone remember Netflix’s Lillyhammer or Amazon’s Alpha House? Hemlock Grove? They existed, I swear!).

But then came House of Cards in 2013, Netflix’s original series created by playwright Beau Willimon, executive produced (and partially directed) by renowned filmmaker David Fincher and starring Oscar winner Kevin Spacey (before he was revealed to be a monster). It had all of the ingredients of a premium TV show, and, thanks to Fincher’s deft direction, it looked like something that would be right at home on HBO. Most importantly for Netflix, it got some serious awards love, earning nine Emmy nominations in 2013 and walking away with three statues.

By that point, we could watch streaming video in many more places than our computer’s web browser. You could pull up just about anything on your phone and stream it over 4G LTE, or use your smart TV’s built-in apps to catch up on SNL over Hulu. Your Xbox could also serve as the centerpiece of your home entertainment system. And if you wanted the best possible streaming experience, you could pick up an Apple TV or Roku box. You could start a show on your phone while sitting on the can, then seamlessly continue it when you made your way back to your TV. This was certainly some sort of milestone for humanity, though I’m torn on it actually being a net win for our species.

Instant streaming video. Original TV shows and movies. This was the basic formula that pushed far too many companies to offer their own streaming solutions over the past decade. In the blink of an eye, we got HBO Max, Disney+, Apple TV+, Peacock, and Paramount+. There’s AMC+, powered almost entirely by the promise of unlimited Walking Dead shows. A Starz streaming service. And there are countless other companies trying to be a Netflix for specific niches, like Shudder for horror, Criterion Channel for cinephiles and Britbox for the tea-soaked murder-mystery crowd.

And let’s not forget the wildest, most boneheaded streaming swing: Quibi. That was Dreamworks mastermind Jeffrey Katzenberg’s nearly $2 billion mobile video play. Somehow he and his compatriots thought people would pay $5 a month for the privilege of watching videos on their phones, even though YouTube was freely available.

Every entertainment company thinks it can be as successful as Disney, which has a vast and beloved catalog of content as well as full control of Lucasfilm and Marvel’s properties. But, realistically, there aren’t enough eyeballs and willing consumers for every streaming service to succeed. Some will die off entirely, while others will bring their content to Netflix and more popular services (like Paramount is doing with Star Trek Prodigy). There are already early rumors of Comcast (NBCUniversal’s parent company) and Paramount considering some sort of union between Peacock and Paramount+.

Online video was supposed to save us from the tyranny of expensive and chaotic cable bills, and despite the messiness of the arena today, that’s still mostly true. Sure, if you actually wanted to subscribe to most of the major streaming services, you’d still end up paying a hefty chunk of change. But hey, at least you can cancel at will, and you can still choose precisely what you’re paying for. Cable would never.


It’s 2024, and I’m trying to watch a video on the internet. I slip on the Apple Vision Pro, a device that looks like it could have been a prop for The Matrix. I launch Safari in a 150-inch window floating above my living room and watch the Mortal Kombat trailer on YouTube. That whole process takes 10 seconds. I never had the chance to see the trailer or the original film in the theater. But thanks to the internet (and Apple’s crazy expensive headset), I can replicate that experience.

Perhaps that’s why, no matter how convoluted and expensive streaming video services become, I’ll always think: At least it’s better than watching this thing over dial-up.


To celebrate Engadget's 20th anniversary, we're taking a look back at the products and services that have changed the industry since March 2, 2004.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/streaming-video-changed-the-internet-forever-170014082.html?src=rss