After spending countless hours writing and recording your own music, you’re probably itching to send it out into the world for other people to listen to.
This used to involve burning CDs and selling them at your gigs. But if you want people to find your music in the 21st century, you need to get it on Spotify, Apple Music, and other music streaming services instead.
In this article, we explore the various ways to distribute your music on streaming services.
How to Distribute Your Music on Streaming Services
Most music streaming services don’t deal directly with artists. Which means you need to work with an established distributor to get your music online.
Of course, signed musicians can leave it to their label to sort out the music distribution. But if you’re an unsigned or independent musician, you need to find a music distributor to work with.
Fortunately, there’s a whole host of music distribution services available to use.
Most of these services charge a small fee and put your music on all of the major music streaming services. After doing so, anyone can listen to your music and you can claim payment from the royalties.
How Do Music Distribution Services Work?
Every music distribution service offers a different business model, and we’ll detail all of the options below. But generally speaking, you either pay an upfront fee or give up a percentage of your earnings to get your music on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, and every other major music streaming service or digital store.
You then make money from your music through royalties, sales, and streaming payouts.
You should still own all the copyright to your music after signing up for a music distribution service. But make sure you read the terms and conditions yourself to be certain.
Most distributors issue payments at regular periods or after your earnings reach a certain threshold. That said, don’t expect to make big bucks unless you get thousands of streams per month.
On average, a single stream earns you about half a cent, or less.
The best distribution services show you a breakdown of where your music is getting played, how often, and on which streaming services.
You only need to sign up with a single distribution service for each musical release. That service should make your music available everywhere, although it may only be for a limited time.
For future releases, feel free to use the same service again or jump ship and try someone else.
What Are the Best Music Distribution Services?
There is an overwhelming selection of digital distribution services to choose from when you’re trying to get your music on Apple Music, Spotify, and other streaming services. To simplify matters, we’ve summarized each of the best options below.
You might notice a couple of popular distribution services missing from this list, namely TuneCore and DittoMusic. While these are both legitimate businesses with plenty of happy customers, there are enough complaints about their services that we didn’t feel comfortable recommending them.
1. CD Baby
CD Baby is one of the original digital music distribution services for independent artists. It offers a simple model, in which you pay a one-time fee and give up nine percent of your distribution revenue to upload your music for life.
The fee is $9.95 for a single or $29 for an album. However, you can also choose to pay extra for a Pro release if you want CD Baby to collect extra royalties for you. If your music gets played in a lot of places, this could pay off in the long run.
There is one small catch in that you also need to provide a UPC barcode for each release. If you don’t have one—which will be the case for most people—you can buy a barcode from CD Baby for another small fee.
CD Baby makes your music available on over 150 platforms. You also get access to a professional marketing tool and can even sell physical CDs or vinyls through CD Baby’s website.
Short for A World Artists Love, AWAL is the most exclusive service on this list. Rather than offering to distribute anyone’s music, AWAL only caters to growing artists on the verge of success.
If you already have an engaged fanbase on social media, a string of gigs in the calendar, and a manager sketching out your future, then it’s worth sending an application to AWAL to get your music distribution sorted as well.
AWAL doesn’t charge any upfront fees but takes a 15 percent commission on all your digital distribution revenue.
It earns this commission through a range of excellent services: AWAL makes your music available to stream on every major platform; you can view real-time stats for Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube; and AWAL will go to bat for you to line up film or TV syncs and even project funding.
AWAL even pushes for streaming services to feature your music in promoted playlists. This means you might end up in the Discover playlist when people go looking for new music on Spotify.
It’s completely free to get your music on all the major streaming platforms using Amuse. There are no fees and Amuse doesn’t even take any commission from your digital distribution revenue.
This might sound too good to be true, but Amuse makes its money by analyzing streaming trends and using that data to offer premium services or to sign popular new artists to its label.
The premium services include quicker releases, more social media integration, and profile collaborations so that your entire team can access important data.
Access to these tools comes at a cost of $5/month.
Even on the free tier, you can release your music in four weeks by uploading the tracks using the Amuse app. You also get the option to automatically split your digital revenue with anyone else who worked on the songs with you.
If you want to get your music on Spotify or Apple Music without losing any money at all, Amuse is the only option.
Don’t feel put off by how basic the DistroKid website is, this is a professional music distribution service with a great reputation. It’s part-owned by Spotify, but you can use DistroKid to get your music on Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon, and every other major music streaming service or digital store as well.
To use DistroKid, you need to pay an annual fee of $19.99. This lets you upload unlimited releases throughout the year and DistroKid doesn’t take any of your distribution revenue.
However, if you ever stop paying this fee, DistroKid may remove your music from streaming services and stores in the future.
If you want your music to always remain available, you need to buy the Leave a Legacy add-on. In fact, the main downside to DistroKid is that there are several add-ons that other services already include.
For example, you also need to pay $0.99/year for each song that you want Shazam to recognize. And you need to pay $5/year for DistroKid to collect YouTube revenue for your releases.
If you plan to release a lot of music in a short space of time, this could still be a cost-effective service to use. Otherwise, you’re better off with one of the services above.
Don’t Forget to Claim Your Artist Account
Getting your music on Spotify and Apple Music is only the first step. You should also make sure you claim your artist account with these streaming services to see up-to-date streaming stats for your music.
After claiming an artist account, you can post status updates, upload a profile photo, and edit your artist bio.
Visit artists.spotify.com and artists.apple.com to claim your accounts. You’ll also want to claim your account for any other popular streaming services. Take a look at our list of the best music streaming services for audiophiles to find out where else to look.
Read the full article: How to Distribute Your Music on Streaming Services
Google Search is already incredibly powerful, but Google is making it even more useful. The company is adding some incredibly helpful features for anyone who regularly watches sports or entertainment on TV.
The new features are all about showing users where they can watch whatever they search for. It was always easy to find what time your favorite team was playing using Google, but you had to dig a little deeper to find out what channel was carrying the game. This update answers that.
What’s New in This Google Search Sports Update?
As announced on The Keyword, Google has made it so you can simply search for where to watch an upcoming game on your phone to find out what channel is carrying the game in your area. For example, you could type “where to watch the Clippers game” to find live TV options and how to tune in across a variety of cable services.
You could also search for something like “Yankees game” to see all of the usual features like live scores, top stories, and standings. However, with this new update, that same search query will also show you where to watch the game. All you need to do is click the Live on button to get that information.
Currently, Google is only adding this feature for MLB and NBA games, but the company intends to integrate it into other leagues as well. Additionally, Google says that it includes a variety of cable and network channels, but it will add streaming services soon.
What Do Entertainment Fans Get?
Google isn’t just limiting its Search enhancements to sports fans. If you enjoy watching TV shows, Google has something special for you.
Building upon its update that made it easier to find TV shows and movie recommendations in Search, Google is adding carousels of live content from cable and broadcast providers. You can simply type something like “what to watch” on your mobile device, and you’ll get results featuring both streaming and live TV content.
The update adds an On TV Now carousel and On TV Later carousel, which will help you find new content that’s currently airing or content coming up in the near future.
Both updates only work on mobile devices as of now.
How to Find What to Watch Next
Google is definitely offering some great new features that’ll help you find what to watch. Whether it’s live sports or television shows. However, Google Search is far from the only option. Check out the A-Z of Netflix to find the best content to watch on the streaming service.
Read the full article: Google Search Gets New Sports and Entertainment Features
The growth of movie downloading paired with the crippling consequences of 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic means fewer people than ever are watching movies with their friends. People just don’t go to theaters any more.
That’s had a knock-on effect on the social aspect of movie watching. Going to see a brand new movie in a packed cinema can be an exhilarating experience. You don’t get that experience sat on your sofa.
Thankfully, it’s possible to watch Plex together with your friends. The functionality is available from directly within the app using Watch Together, or from a third-party tool called SyncLounge.
Plex’s Watch Together Feature
First, let’s take a look at the native Plex tool for watching videos with friends. Called Watch Together, it’s officially still in the experimental stage. However, the feature appears to work flawlessly and the interface is easy to use. It definitely gets the MakeUseOf stamp of approval.
Who Can Use Plex’s Watch Together?
While Plex’s Watch Together feature remains in beta, it’s free to use for all Plex users. However, this may change when it’s launched officially. Plex’s own documentation appears to suggest that Watch Together will remain free if you only want to stream content from Plex’s free, in-house, ad-supported streaming service. However, if you want to stream content from your own library, it seems likely that you’ll need to subscribe to Plex Pass.
At the time of writing, you’ll need to have an Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, or Roku device to be able to use Watch Together. You cannot use Watch Together from the web app.
How Many People Can Tune In Using Watch Together?
Officially, Plex hasn’t named a limit of the number of users (although we’re sure one exists).
In practice, however, the amount who can sync content together will depend on the Plex Media Server’s hardware, your network connection, your disk speed, and the video quality.
Confused? Here’s how Plex describes the user limit:
“If your Plex Media Server and network could not handle that number of users streaming things individually all at the same time, then it would also not be able to support them for Watch Together.”
Beware, trying to add too many users will lead to playback issues and the video will be unwatchable.
How to Use Watch Together on Plex
Assuming you’re using one of the supported devices, you’ll need to hit the More button (three horizontal dots) on a video’s pre-play screen, then select Watch Together from the list of options.
Next, you need to add people to your Watch Together session. You can only invite Plex users who you are “Friends” with. When you’re ready, click on the names of the friends you want to add and hit Done. To add a new friend, go to Settings > Users and Sharing > Share Libraries and enter the username or email address of the person you want to connect with.
(NB: If you just added a new friend and don’t see them in the list, you will need to restart your app to refresh the screen.)
If you’re being invited to someone else’s Plex Watch Together session, you’ll see a Watch Together row appear at the top of your app’s home screen, along with the video that’s been loaded by the host.
As users accept invitations, they’ll all appear together in a lobby. Once everyone has arrived, the host can begin playback. Only the host can control play/pause functionality once the video has started. Hosts also have sole control over different audio streams and subtitle tracks.
Formerly called Plex Together, SyncLounge is another great way to watch Plex together with friends.
Like Plex’s official Watch Together tool, SyncLounge will sync up your individual Plex apps so that you’re all watching the same footage at the same time.
SyncLounge has some features that are not yet available in the official tool. For example, you can hide your Plex username when you sign into a room, you can rejoin recent rooms, and you can automatically play the next episodes when you’re binge-watching TV with friends.
We also really like the app’s user status indicators. Each user has a colored ring around their profile picture to denote sync distance, and you can even see the type of Plex client they are using if you hover over their name.
How to Use SyncLounge for Plex
To begin, click the Get Started link on the Sync Lounge website and enter your Plex login details. If you don’t fancy handing over your credentials, you can download the app from GitHub and run it directly on your own server.
Hosts will need to create a room and invite other people to join them. Invitees just need to accept the invite when it arrives.
Like Watch Together, only hosts can play and pause the video, change the subtitles, and change the audio.
Signing Out of SyncLounge
Don’t worry, SyncLounge isn’t the type of app that requires you to revoke access if you ever stop using it; your Plex user details are not held on the developer’s servers.
Plex’s Watch Together vs. SyncLounge
SyncLounge has some benefits over Plex’s official Watch Together tool.
Firstly, you don’t need to be “Plex buddies” to sync your content. Secondly, the Plex servers of every person connected to the room are available, thus creating a super-repo of content.
The danger, of course, is that Plex might pull the plug on the backend API that makes a third-party app possible, especially once its own Watch Together feature comes out of beta.
Longterm, we’d assume Plex’s backing of its in-house tool will help to establish it as the better product, but for now, it’s easy to make the case for SyncLounge instead.
How to Watch Other Video Apps Together With Friends
Plex isn’t the only app that lets you watch content in sync with your friends far away. Netflix subscribers should check out how to use the Netflix Party Chrome extension, and there are also plenty of ways to watch YouTube with far-away friends.
Read the full article: How to Group Watch Plex Together With Friends Online
If your media collection is growing out of control, it may be time to organize your Plex library.
Content collections are a criminally underused part of the Plex app. Not only do they have massive organizational benefits, but you can also use them to customize the way your libraries look by using artwork and other metadata.
However, before you can use Plex collections, you need to understand how to enable them on your libraries, how to view them, and how to edit them. And some of the settings aren’t too easy to find.
Here’s how to organize your Plex library using collections…
How to Enable Plex Collections
Before you can organize your Plex library, you need to enable Plex collections for each individual library on your Plex server. Follow these steps to get started:
- Open the Plex Media Server app (you cannot enable collections from a Plex Media Player app).
- Locate the list of your Plex libraries on the left-hand side of the window.
- Find the library on which you want to enable collections.
- Hover over the library name and click the three vertical dots that appear on the right.
- Using the popup menu, navigate to Manage Library > Edit.
- Select Advanced in the left-hand panel.
- Scroll down to Collections.
- Set the option to either Hide items which are in collections or Show collections and their items.
- Hit Save Changes.
There’s an important difference between Hide items which are in collections and Show collections and their items.
The first option will prevent items that you’ve added to collections from showing in the main library; only the collection itself will show as a single item. The second option will show both the collection and each individual item within the collection in your library.
How to Create a New Collection
Once you’ve enabled collections in your library, it’s time to make a new collection and start adding content.
To make a new collection, navigate to the preplay screen of the first movie, TV series, or episode you want to add, then click on the Edit button.
On the Edit screen, click on Tags in the left-hand panel, then scroll down to Collections.
In the text-entry field, type the name you want to call your new collection and click Add [collection name] in the popup box below the field. When you’re ready, hit Save Changes.
(NB: Collections are locked to the library on which you created them. You cannot add content from two different libraries to the same collection.)
How to Add More Videos to a Collection
Once you’ve created a collection, it’s time to start adding more videos to it.
Two methods are available. You can either repeat the steps above to add content on a case-by-case basis, or you can use multi-select to add videos to your collection in bulk. For most people, multi-select will be the way to go as it’s a lot faster.
To get started, highlight all of the videos in your collection that you want to add, then click on the Edit button in the upper-right corner of the Plex app.
In the Edit window, go to Tags > Collections and start to type the collection’s name. The field should auto-populate. You can add a video/series to more than one collection within the same library.
How to Browse Plex Collections
As long as you’ve enabled collections in the way we outlined at the beginning of the article, you’ll see them appear in-line in your library. However, even if you left that setting on Disabled, you can still see your collections for a given library by clicking on the drop-down tab at the top of the Plex window.
The tab has three viewing options—Recommended, Library, and Collections. Needless to say, you need to choose the latter.
When you click on a collection, you will be able to see all of the content that’s held within it.
How to Customize a Plex Collection
Now it’s time to customize your Plex collection. All of the same metadata fields are available that you’d find if you were editing the data of a standalone TV series or movie.
To start customizing, click on the collection’s name to open the pre-play screen, then hit the Edit icon. The four options in the left-hand panel that you need to pay attention to are General, Poster, Background, and Advanced.
- General: Change the sort title of your collection and add a text summary of its contents.
- Poster: With a bit of planning, you can make your collection posters look uber-slick. For example, why not use standardized fonts or iconography so that they all have the same style on your TV screen? If you don’t change the poster, it will default to the first item in your collection.
- Background: You can set a background image to appear on the pre-play and buffering screens.
- Advanced: This lets you override the default library settings for collection visibility and choose the order in which content appears within the collection.
Collections can also be shared with other users on a case-by-case basis, even if the library they are a part of is not shared.
Collections vs. Libraries
Finally, a quick note on when to use a collection versus when to use a library.
It’s perhaps easiest to think of collections as sub-libraries. For example, you wouldn’t want to group your TV shows and movies into a single library; there’s a clear delineation and it would play havoc with Plex’s automatic metadata import tool.
However, it wouldn’t make sense to spin out Brad Pitt movies into their own library; you’d want them to be part of your wider film library. In these cases, a collection makes sense.
The area that most often falls under the microscope in the library versus collections debate is kids’ content. There’s no right answer, but keep in mind that you can restrict access to videos based on content rating, as long as you’ve taken the time to set it up correctly on each video (Edit > General > Content Rating).
Learn More About Using Plex
And to learn more about customizing Plex, check out our list of hidden Plex settings you should be using.
Read the full article: How to Organize Your Plex Library Using Collections
Roku devices come in a variety of different models and specifications, but at their core, they all operate in the same way: you add channels and watch the content you want.
There are two sources of Roku channels. One is the Roku Channel Store; it offers more than enough free Roku channels to keep you entertained. However, the Roku really comes into its own when you start adding private or hidden channels.
Keep reading to learn how to add private Roku channels and discover the best hidden Roku channels you can install right now.
How Do You Add Private or Hidden Channels to Roku?
Before you can add a private channel to your Roku box, you’ll need two things:
- The channel’s code (we have included the codes in our list below)
- A Roku account (set one up for free on the Roku website)
Once you have created an account and know the channel code, it’s easy to start adding channels.
To begin, head to your account portal and click Add a channel with a code. Insert the code, accept the on-screen confirmation, and you’re done.
The channel should immediately appear at the bottom of the channel list on your Roku’s home screen. If it doesn’t, you can force a refresh by going to Settings > System > System Update > Check Now on the device.
(NB: Some private Roku channels are restricted to certain countries or regions.)
1. RokuCast (CL9D5D)
RokuCast lets you stream HTML5 content from the Chrome browser on your computer to your Roku device. You’ll need the Chrome extension and this private Roku channel to make it work.
2. El Cartel TV (chibchombiatv)
El Cartel TV offers dozens of live TV channels from South America, with a particular focus on Colombian channels.
Popular channels such as TeleSUR, Canal Capital, and Canal Uno are all available.
3. AOL On (aol)
AOL On offers content from 17 TV networks, including BBC News, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, ET Online, Food Network, and HGTV.
It used to be in the regular channel store, but is now only available as a private channel.
4. EuroRoku (296XJKP)
EuroRoku is a paid private Roku channel that provides access to 24/7 streams of European TV stations.
The service costs $15/month and offers more than 300 channels, including networks from France, Germany, Bulgaria, Moldova, Spain, Holland, and Belgium.
5. Armchair Tourist (ArmchairTourist)
Branded as “Free HD Wallpaper for your Television,” Armchair Tourist is a live stream of tourist hotspots around the world. Each stream has a four-digit code that you can enter of the Armchair Tourist website for more information about the location in question.
6. FOX Business (FOXBIZ)
Along with Bloomberg and CNBC, FOX Business is one of the three big American news networks about finance, business, and global markets.
7. RokuMovies (zb34ac)
Not to be confused with the official The Roku Channel, RokuMovies focuses on bringing you the world’s strangest and most outlandish low-budget films.
Give it a try if you like giant monsters and forgotten kung-fu flicks with ridiculous storylines.
8. Video Games (T6PH2V)
If you love video game walkthroughs, give this channel a try. It includes complete playthroughs of nine classic video games from 1988 to 2004.
The games available include The Legend of Zelda; A Link to the Past, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Metroid.
9. DISHWorld (DISHWorld)
Owned by Sling, DISHWorld is an international TV service that lets you watch live TV in more than 15 languages. In addition to the private Roku channel, the app is also available as an APK for Android.
10. Pro Guitar Lessons TV (ProGuitar)
Feeling creative? It might be time to learn a musical instrument. Of course, the web has no shortage of free resources for musical beginners, but Pro Guitar Lessons TV is worth adding to your list.
11. Food Matters TV (foodmatterstv)
Foodies need to install Food Matters TV. It has a selection of videos covering cooking shows, recipes, diets, healthy eating, and more.
12. Happy Kids (HappyKids)
Happy Kids TV offers a broad mix of kids programming, including music, rhymes, activity guides, and some popular kids’ TV shows and movies.
13. Relaxation Channel (Relax)
Soothing sounds paired with stunning imagery, the Relaxation Channel is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy a peaceful few hours to themselves.
14. Kinda Classics (GK9NH5Z)
Kinda Classics is one of the secret Roku channels that everyone needs to have on their device. It offers a wide range of classic shows and movies from around the world.
15. Emby (Emby)
Emby is an open-source alternative to media center apps such as Plex and Kodi.
If you’d like to learn more about how the app stacks up against its two rivals, check out our comparison of Emby, Plex, and Kodi.
16. Silent Night (SilentNight)
Silent Night is the first of two hidden Roku channels on our list that caters to silent movie fans. They both offer a different selection of films, so complement each other well.
17. Harvest Eating (harvest)
Another private channel for foodies, Harvest focuses on providing recipes using fruit and vegetables that are in-season during a particular time of year.
18. 5ik.TV (5ikTV)
5ik.TV lets you watch live TV channels from the Far East, including China, Japan, and South Korea. The channel’s interface isn’t in English, but if you can recognize the logos of TV networks in the region, it’s relatively easy to navigate to the content you want to watch.
19. Spanish Time (spanishtime)
If you speak Spanish and would like to keep abreast of the latest goings-on in Latin America, you could subscribe to Spanish Time for $9.99/month.
It offers more than 150 live streaming channels from across the region, including all of the biggest networks in Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia. There’s also a broad selection of miscellaneous Spanish-language sports and entertainment channels.
20. Silent Movies (RLQXKG)
French movie The Artist might have cleaned up at the 2012 Oscars, but the real heyday of silent film was back in the 1920s.
The Silent Movies channel lets you relive the glory days of Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, and Buster Keaton.
How to Install Even More Roku Channels
Private Roku channels have something for everyone. If you’re not using them, you’re going to restrict your enjoyment and limit the potential of your Roku device. But they are only one piece of the puzzle.
To learn more about how to get the most out of your Roku device, here’s how to watch local channels on Roku for free.
Read the full article: 20 Private and Hidden Roku Channels You Should Install Now
Google Assistant is an intelligent helper that’s available on pretty much every Android device. And while you can use it for basic tasks like setting an alarm or sending a text, there’s so much more hiding under the surface.
If you’re not familiar yet, check out our intro guide to Google Assistant first. Then dive into the below commands to learn advanced functionality.
1. Have Google Assistant Read the News to You
Did you know that Google Assistant can read news out loud? You can select topics of your liking from the sources you prefer. Plus, instead of bland text-to-speech conversion, you’ll hear actual people reading the stories.
To enable this, first open Settings > Google on your phone. Choose Account services, followed by Search, Assistant & Voice. Tap Google Assistant, then scroll down on the You tab. (Remember this page, as you’ll use it later for other settings). Select News to see the relevant options.
Here, you can see any news sources you’ve followed in the past and add new ones. These appear in several categories like US, World, and Business. Sources include CNN, ABC, Bloomberg, Billboard, and many more. Tap the star icon next to the ones you’re interested in, then hit Done when you’re satisfied.
Once you’ve set this up, just say “Play the news” to Google Assistant. Now, all those sources you chose will start playing one by one. You can also control playback by saying “Next” to jump to the next publication, or “Pause” or “Stop” to perform those actions.
You can also play news from a single source by saying the name of it directly. For instance, try saying “Play news from ABC News” to Google Assistant to hear what’s new.
2. Manage Reminders and a Shopping List
You probably know that you can ask digital assistants to remind you of something at a particular time. But did you know that you can use location reminders see reminders when you arrive at a particular place?
Try saying a command like “Remind me to call John when I get home” to Google Assistant. As long as you’ve set your home location, it will send the reminder whenever you get there. Check this by visiting the same Settings page as above, but instead of tapping News, choose Your places. Here you can set your Home and Work locations.
Going further, you can also make Google Assistant remember items that have no time or location triggers. For example, try “Remember that my house keys are in my shoe” or “Remember that the kitchen breaker is fourth from the top on the left side”.
Later, you can ask “What did I say about the kitchen breaker?” or “Where are my keys?” and Assistant will show you the relevant answers.
Lastly, when you need to add something to your shopping list, just say “Add X to my shopping list”. You can ask Assistant to show your shopping list too.
3. Check Flight Schedules, Birthdays, and Other Information
On Google, you’ve almost certainly come across a Knowledge Graph at some point. These are little cards that contain answers to your search query, along with extra information.
For example, if you ask “When was Edward Norton born?” you’ll see a card with his birthday. Thanks to conversational support, you can then ask “What was his first movie?” and it will knows you’re talking about Norton.
Plus, Google Assistant reads these cards out to you for a hands-free experience. So you can ask about the status of a flight, such as “Where is UA 48 right now?” to know the flight status of that plane. Of course, you can also ask about anything you’d enter into Google and hear relevant information.
4. Perform All Kinds of Conversions
Don’t waste time with mental calculations; Assistant makes it easy to convert one unit to another. Ask something like “How many kilometers is 20 miles?” or “What is 10 US dollars in euros?” and you’ll hear the converted values said spoken aloud.
You can also convert times; try “What time will it be in Los Angeles if it’s noon in Tokyo?” and it will tell you.
5. Translate Sentences
With the help of Google Translate, Assistant can speak entire sentences after translating from one language to another. For example, try “How do I say thank you in German?” or “How do you say ‘I need help’ in Spanish?”. You’ll see the translated sentences appear on the screen, as well as hearing it through the speaker.
If you need to translate a lot at once, use Google Translate and check out our essential Google Translate tips.
6. Get Traffic Information
Google Assistant can literally get you out of a jam. Other than navigating to a destination by voice, you can also check traffic information from your location.
Ask “How’s traffic?” to see the general traffic congestion in your area. Or try “How long will it take to get to Chicago?” before starting a drive to somewhere else.
7. Play Music and Video
You can play music via streaming services like Spotify and YouTube Music by voice. Try saying “Play The Story So Far” to play music by a certain artist. You can also use “Play Grayscale on YouTube” to find videos for your music.
To set your default music service, go to Settings > Google > Account services > Search, Assistant & Voice > Google Assistant > Services > Music. There, you can pick which service you want to use for music commands. Add “on YouTube Music” or similar to the end of a command to play with a different service.
Assistant can also control music playback for you. Use commands like “Turn the volume up” or “Play the previous track.”
8. Toggle Android Settings
Apart from controlling music, there are other toggles that you can control by asking Assistant. Use “Turn the flashlight on” or “Turn Bluetooth off” for easy access without digging through a bunch of menus.
You can also ask about specific features of app, such as “Take a selfie”. Depending on your device, this may just open the camera. But on the Pixel 4, this launched the front-facing camera and counted down for a selfie.
9. Control Internet of Things Devices
Google Assistant works with all kinds of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. If you have Philips Hue bulbs, Nest thermostats, Belkin WeMo smart plugs, or other smart products, you can configure Google Assistant to work with them.
The exact commands here will depend on what devices you have, but general commands like “Turn off the den light” should work with nearly any compatible bulbs. To pair smart devices with Google Assistant, head back to the Google Assistant settings page mentioned earlier, switch to the Assistant tab,and choose Home control.
This works well for adding single devices, but we recommend using the Google Home app for more advanced smart homes. This makes it easier to add devices, plus you can access more options for your them.
For instance, you can organize devices into rooms, which makes it easy to toggle them all at once. Saying “Turn off all the lights in the bedroom” shuts them all off in one go instead of naming them individually.
10. Find Content in Apps
Finally, if you use other Google services like Google Photos, Assistant can help you find what you’re looking for. However, you sometimes have to word your query carefully.
For example, saying “Show me pictures of my dogs” will show pictures of dogs stored in your Google Photos. You can even fine-tune the query by saying “Show me pictures of my dogs from 2014.” Similarly, “Show me pictures of my cars” will put up your photos containing vehicles.
It’s important to use “Show me my pictures of…” or “Show me pictures of my…” because if you omit the word my, you might end up with Google Image search results instead of ones from your photo library.
You can use similar queries to open specific Settings pages and more. Additionally, you can search within your messages with phrases like “Show me emails from Sam” or “Do I have any unread texts from Jill?” Don’t forget that Google Assistant comes in handy with Android Auto, too.
How Do You Use Google Assistant?
Now you know some of the less-obvious tasks that Google Assistant can help you complete. The Assistant gets starter all the time, so don’t be afraid to ask something different and see what happens!
Read the full article: 10 Things You Didn’t Know Google Assistant Could Do
It should come as no surprise that Netflix features an enormous number of documentaries in its catalog. Sadly, a lot of them simply aren’t worth watching. Hidden among the endless options, however, are some must-see documentaries.
So, whether you’re looking for war documentaries, space documentaries, sports documentaries, or something else entirely, keep reading. These are the best documentaries on Netflix that you can watch right now. All of which will enlighten and entertain you.
The Best War Documentaries on Netflix
Unfortunately, documentary makers have no shortage of material when it comes to wars. Many of the most important conflicts of recent centuries have a show about them on Netflix.
This 10-part documentary tells the story of the United States’ controversial 19-year conflict in Vietnam.
It features testimonies from more than 80 witnesses from both sides, never-seen-before video footage, and runs for more than 17 hours in total.
World War II in Colour is a British documentary that includes a vast amount of real video footage from the battlefields, cities, and oceans that saw action during World War II.
It has 13 episodes in total, covering everything from the North African campaign to the Japanese invasion of China.
November 13: Attack on Paris is a Netflix original about the terror attacks in the French capital during November 2015. The three-part series documents the timeline of that traumatic day.
For more options, have a look at our full list of war documentaries on Netflix.
The Best Space Documentaries on Netflix
If you’d prefer to be dazzled by scientific ingenuity rather than human suffering, check out some of the top Netflix documentaries about space and the universe instead.
A Year in Space is a 12-part Netflix docuseries that follows American Scott Kelly and Russian Mikhail Kornienko during their year-long stay on the International Space Station.
It follows their mission from takeoff to touchdown, providing a fascinating insight into zero-gravity life and the scientific work that goes on while in orbit.
The Search for Life in Space is a short 32-minute documentary about how humans are searching for signs of life beyond our planet. It’s doesn’t go into complex details, so it’s perfect for anyone who may not have the same level of background knowledge as a seasoned universe fanatic.
For more content about the universe, make sure to also check out the best space documentaries on Amazon.
The Best Nature Documentaries on Netflix
If you’d prefer to learn about Earth-based lifeforms, you’ll be pleased to know that some of the best documentaries on Netflix cover the natural world.
Narrated by the ever-lovable Stephen Fry, Dancing With The Birds follows majestic birds as they try to find a mate.
Fry’s commentary adds an element of humor to what is already a fascinating subject matter, making this one of the most enjoyable nature documentaries ever made.
Coral reefs are one of the most important ecosystems on the planet. They’ve been around for 485 million years and support more than one-quarter of all marine species; the NOAA National Ocean Service calls them “the rainforests of the sea.”
The climate emergency means coral is now dying at a faster rate than ever. This documentary investigates the devastating impact that coral death is having on our planet and our lives.
We’ve written about the best nature documentaries on Netflix if these couple of suggestions aren’t enough to satisfy you.
The Best BBC Documentaries on Netflix
The British television network is one of the foremost documentary makers in the world.
Aardman Animations—creators of the Oscar-winning Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, and Chicken Run—started life as a tiny animation studio in Bristol, England. A Grand Night In: The Story of Aardman tracks the studio from its humble beginnings to its status as a company with more than $1 billion in revenue.
In addition to A Grand Night In, many more of the best BBC documentaries are available on Netflix. Check out our list to learn more.
The Best Travel Documentaries on Netflix
The “new normal” means it could be a while before many people feel comfortable getting on a plane again. After all, why bother when you can travel anywhere in the world from your own sofa thanks to Netflix?!
9. Dark Tourist
Tourism isn’t only about beaches and all-inclusive buffets. If you’d like to learn about the grittier side of the world, check out Dark Tourist.
New Zealand filmmaker David Farrier investigates some of the weirder travel spots you’ll find, including Pablo Escobar-themed trips in Colombia and nuclear disaster tourism in Japan.
Narrated by Robert Redford, National Parks Adventure takes viewers on a tour of remarkable spots in the National Parks of the United States. The documentary covers Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Yosemite, and Arches. The entire documentary uses IMAX 3D cinematography.
To learn more, have a look at our complete list of the best travel documentaries on Netflix.
The Best Crime Documentaries on Netflix
True crime documentaries on Netflix have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years.
Making a Murderer is arguably the Netflix documentary that kicked off the renewed interest in the genre.
It tells the story of Steven Avery. Avery was wrongly convicted of murder and spent 18 years in jail, only to be found guilty of a different murder upon his exoneration and release. Despite doubts around the second conviction, he remains in jail to this day.
12. Amanda Knox
One of the most famous convictions of the 21st century occurred in Italy in 2007.
American exchange student, Amanda Knox, was found guilty of killing a fellow student, Meredith Kercher, in a trial littered with controversies. Rumors of police incompetence, evidence tampering, and false testimonies circulated for years after Knox’s conviction. The Italian supreme court eventually overturned the decision in 2015.
This documentary tells the story of the night of the murder and the subsequent media frenzy surrounding the court proceedings.
The Best Sports Documentaries on Netflix
Some of the best documentaries on Netflix fall into the sports category.
Ayrton Senna is widely believed to be the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time. He won three world titles before being killed in a crash at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola. He was 34 years old.
This docufilm charts his life and death.
14. The Last Dance
An obvious inclusion, the Netflix docuseries tells the story of NBA legend, Michael Jordan. Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, and Phil Jackson all feature.
The Best Music Documentaries on Netflix
And finally, a couple of brilliant music documentaries for you to watch.
15. Chasing Trane
Chasing Trane is about the life of the jazz icon, John Coltrane. Coltrane was one of the world’s foremost saxophonists before he succumbed to liver cancer in 1967 at the age of 40.
His legend lives on to this day.
Spread over four seasons, the Canadian docuseries explores the rise of hip-hop.
The series starts in the 1970s with Grandmaster Flash, then goes on to cover all of the major stars and storylines through to the early 2000s and the rise of 50 Cent.
More Netflix Shows Worth Watching
Documentaries form a large chunk of the Netflix library. And if you dig down into a specific genre, you’ll be able to find some niche content to suit your tastes.
And once you have watched all of the best documentaries on Netflix and want to watch something a little different, we recommend checking out the best interactive Netflix shows instead.
Read the full article: The 16 Best Documentaries on Netflix in 2020
If you’re a keen gamer, the wait for Microsoft’s next-gen console is almost over. On the official Xbox Wire, the company has finally confirmed that the Xbox Series X release date is set for November 2020.
The Details of the Xbox Series X Release
Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t revealed on which day the console will be released. However, the company has gone into more detail as to what you can expect from the Xbox Series X release.
Firstly, there are plans to optimize some upcoming Xbox One releases for the new console. The list of games includes Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and Yakuza: Like a Dragon, to name a couple. If you buy them for the Xbox One, the games will “carry over” to the Xbox Series X without you needing to repurchase them.
Xbox Series X Launches this November with Thousands of Games Spanning Four Generations https://t.co/mVkdz7HaQV
— Aaron Greenberg ?????? (@aarongreenberg) August 11, 2020
Secondly, previously-released games are getting a makeover for the new console. Fan favorites such as Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Destiny 2 will make a return, optimized to better take advantage of the Xbox Series X’s better hardware.
Thirdly, the Xbox Series X maintains the backward-compatibility mantra that its predecessors have enjoyed. The new console is compatible with games stretching all the way back to the original Xbox, so you don’t need to throw out those old gems currently resting in your attic.
Finally, Microsoft takes the opportunity to talk about the Xbox Game Pass. This subscription has never looked better, especially since the Project xCloud beta is now available on Android. Microsoft promises that all the progress, friends, and achievements you make on the Xbox Series X will travel with you in the cloud.
It Isn’t All Good News for the Xbox Series X
Unfortunately, the update did come with some bad news. Microsoft has confirmed that Halo Infinite has slid from its original holiday 2020 release date, and will now “come in 2021.” This is a major blow for Microsoft’s plans to combat the PlayStation 5; so much so that, as reported by MarketWatch, Microsoft’s stock has slipped in value.
Halo Infinite Development Update pic.twitter.com/TFZvXhRN9f
— Halo (@Halo) August 11, 2020
However, as the Microsoft blog post points out, it’s not all bad news. Plenty of games, both new and old, are going to be available on the Xbox Series X come release day. It just means that fans of Master Chief will have to wait a little longer to see their helmeted hero once again.
The Light At the End of the Tunnel
While we don’t have a confirmed date for when the Xbox Series X is being released, we do now know the month. So be sure to underline November on your calendars and watch this space for more news on the specific date, pricing, and details on how to pre-order the next-gen console.
If you want to get the most out of your Series X upon release, be sure to learn what Xbox Game Pass is before November.
Read the full article: The Xbox Series X Is Being Released in November