BBC and ITV Announce UK ‘BritBox’ Streaming Service to Rival Netflix

British broadcasters ITV and the BBC have announced joint plans to create "BritBox," a subscription streaming service for UK audiences to rival the likes of Netflix (via Reuters).


The two companies already offer a similarly named streaming service for the U.S., but today's news was about a new video-on-demand service for British audiences, which will offer subscribers a place to watch both well-known television series and original programming, according to ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall.
"This will provide an unrivaled collection of British boxsets and original series in one place," she said.

"We anticipate that other partners will be added to BritBox and we will both speak to regulators and the wider industry about our proposals."
The service is set to launch in the second half of 2019 and will be priced competitively, according to both broadcasters, although no further details were given.

BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub already provide British viewers with free catch-up streaming services featuring a limited range of programs, but the broadcasters claim research shows viewers embrace streaming and would be willing to add another service to current subscriptions, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Sky.

The BritBox streaming service for U.S. audiences is said to be ahead of expectations, having already broken through targets with over half a million subscribers.


This article, "BBC and ITV Announce UK 'BritBox' Streaming Service to Rival Netflix" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple Begins Selling Refurbished 2018 MacBook Air and Mac Mini Starting in UK

Apple today began selling refurbished 2018 models of the MacBook Air and Mac mini for the first time, although availability is currently limited to the United Kingdom. Listings for refurbished 2018 MacBook Air models have also gone live in the United States, but the purchase button does not work yet.


The base model MacBook Air is priced at £1,019, which is £180 off Apple's regular price of £1,199 brand new. The base model Mac mini is priced at £679, reflecting savings of £120 off the brand new price of £799.

The refurbished MacBook Air models will start at $1,019 in the United States when they become available to order. That is a discount worth passing over, as authorized resellers such as Amazon and B&H are currently offering the 2018 MacBook Air brand new in box for $999, a savings of $200:Mac mini deals are less common, so refurbished models could be worth considering. Orders placed today are estimated for delivery by early next week in the United Kingdom. We recommend using Refurb Tracker to monitor inventory.

Apple says certified refurbished MacBook Air and Mac mini models are thoroughly inspected, tested, cleaned, and repackaged, with all manuals and cables included in the box. In our view, a refurbished Mac is virtually indistinguishable from a brand new one, and is also backed by Apple's standard one-year warranty.

A refurbished Mac's warranty can be extended to three years from the refurbished purchase date with AppleCare+.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon and B&H. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Related Roundups: Mac mini, MacBook Air

This article, "Apple Begins Selling Refurbished 2018 MacBook Air and Mac Mini Starting in UK" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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British Broadcaster Channel 4 Releases ‘All 4’ On-Demand App for Apple TV

After months of uncertainty over when it would finally drop, British broadcaster Channel 4 on Monday officially brought its All 4 on-demand service to Apple TV in the form of a dedicated tvOS app.


Channel 4 is the last of the major terrestrial British broadcasters – BBC, ITV, and Channel 5 – to release dedicated apps for Apple TV. Prior to Monday's release, the only way TV viewers in the U.K. could watch the channel on Apple TV was by using the All 4 app on iPhone or iPad and streaming the feed over AirPlay.

Thankfully, that's no longer the case, as the All 4 app for Apple TV includes all the free box sets and on-demand catch-up services viewers have come to expect of the iOS app.


To access the service, regular viewers can log in using their existing account details, while new users will need to sign up for a free account on the Channel 4 website.

After logging in, viewers can use the Home tab to discover content and continue watching shows they've started, find shows using the Search tab, and manage their account via the My4 tab.


All that's missing now is TV app and universal Siri search integration, both of which are expected to come next year. The All 4 app for Apple TV is available to U.K. users for free on the tvOS App Store.


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O2 and Ericsson Apologize After 4G Service Outage Affects Millions of Smartphones

Cellular network operator O2 on Friday said its data networks had been restored after millions of smartphones across the UK and Japan were taken offline yesterday (via BBC).

A statement on its website said the 4G network was finally working again, after having been affected from about 05:30 GMT on Thursday.


Earlier, mobile network equipment supplier Ericsson said that an expired certificate was the reason behind the outage, which also created problems in several other countries. Ericsson UK boss Marielle Lindgren said the "faulty software" that had caused the issues was being decommissioned.

Both O2 and Ericsson issued a joint apology to millions of customers hit by the disruption. "I want to let our customers know how sorry I am for the impact our network data issue has had on them, and reassure them that our teams, together with Ericsson, are doing everything we can," said O2 boss Mark Evans. "We fully appreciate it's been a poor experience and we are really sorry."

O2 is owned by Spain's Telefonica and has the UK's second-largest mobile network after British Telecom subsidiary EE.

The company said voice calls were not affected by the problem, but some O2 customers said they could not make calls or send texts, despite having cellular reception.

The outage also had knock-on effects for other services that use the O2 network, such as Transport for London's electronic timetable service at bus stops, which stopped working for most of Thursday.


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U.K. Court Blocks Mass Legal Action Over Google’s Alleged Tracking of Safari Users

London's High Court on Monday blocked attempts to bring a collective lawsuit against Google over alleged historical snooping of millions of iPhone users in the United Kingdom (via Reuters).

The lawsuit's claimants alleged that Google illegally gathered the personal data of over 4 million iPhone users in the U.K. between 2011 and 2012 by bypassing the default privacy settings on Apple's smartphones which allowed it to track the online behavior of users browsing in Safari.

Original explanation of the "Safari Workaround" in 2012 WSJ article

Veteran consumer rights campaigner Richard Lloyd, who led the collective 20,000-strong lawsuit, had claimed that Google's "Safari Workaround" breached the U.K. Data Protection Act by taking personal information without permission, and wanted the tech giant to pay out several hundred dollars in damages to each person affected. As a ballpark figure, a claim by 5.4 million people for £500 each would result in a £2.7 billion ($3.63 billion) payout for Google.

When the case was first brought in November 2017, it was the first time a collective action has been brought in the U.K. against a leading tech company over alleged misuse of data. "Collective action" is where one person represents a group with a shared grievance, similar to a class action lawsuit in the U.S.

However, Google said it was "not new" and vowed to defend itself, having defended similar cases before. "We don't believe it has any merit and we will contest it," said the tech giant at the time. On Monday, the court ruled in Google's favor.
"Today's judgment is extremely disappointing and effectively leaves millions of people without any practical way to seek redress and compensation when their personal data has been misused," Lloyd said in a statement.

"Google's business model is based on using personal data to target adverts to consumers and they must ask permission before using this data. The court accepted that people did not give permission in this case yet slammed the door shut on holding Google to account."
A similar case occurred in the U.S. in 2012, when Google and several other advertising agencies were discovered to be circumventing privacy protections in Safari for iOS in order to track users through ads on numerous popular websites.

At the time, Safari blocked several types of tracking, but made an exception for websites where a person interacted in some way — by filling out a form, for example. Google added coding to some of its ads that made Safari think that a person was submitting an invisible form to Google, and thus Safari let Google install a cookie on the user's phone.

Google halted the practice once it was reported by the Wall Street Journal, but argued that the tracking was unintentional and did not harm consumers. However, that didn't wash with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and the company was forced to pay a record $22.5 million fine over its use of the tactic.



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British Airways Website and Mobile App Suffer Huge Customer Data Breach

British Airways says it is investigating the theft of customer data from its website and mobile app over a two-week period, during which 380,000 payment cards were exposed (via The Guardian).

"From 22:58 BST August 21 2018 until 21:45 BST September 5 2018 inclusive, the personal and financial details of customers making bookings on our website and app were compromised," the airline revealed in a statement on its website.
According to BA, travel and passport information was not accessed during the data breach, but concerned customers are being advised to get in touch with their card issuers in the first instance. The company said all customers affected by the breach had been contacted on Thursday night.
"British Airways is communicating with affected customers and we advise any customers who believe they may have been affected by this incident to contact their banks or credit card providers and follow their recommended advice."
The airline said it was informed of the hacking by a third party, which is why it was able to continue undetected for two weeks, but the company insists that the breach has been resolved and its website and mobile app are now working normally.


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NHS Unveils Mobile App to Let Patients Book GP Visits Online

The British government has announced plans to launch a new NHS mobile app that will let patients in England make appointments with their doctor.

The app will also allow users to order repeat prescriptions, manage their long-term healthcare, see their medical records, and quickly access 111 for urgent queries.


In addition, users will have access to patient preferences related to data sharing, organ donation, and end-of-life care.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt described the app as a "birthday present from the NHS to the British people", 70 years after the service was founded.
The NHS app is a world-first which will put patients firmly in the driving seat and revolutionize the way we access health services.

I want this innovation to mark the death-knell of the 8am scramble for GP appointments that infuriates so many patients.

Technology has transformed everyday life when it comes to banking, travel and shopping. Health matters much more to all of us, and the prize of that same digital revolution in healthcare isn't just convenience but lives improved, extended and saved.

As the NHS turns 70 and we draw up a long-term plan for the NHS on the back of our £394 million a week funding boost, it's time to catch up and unleash the power of technology to transform everyday life for patients.
"The new app will put the NHS into the pocket of everyone in England but it is just one step on the journey," said Matthew Swindells, NHS England National Director of Operations and Information. "We are also developing an NHS Apps Library and putting free NHS Wi-Fi in GP surgeries and hospitals."


Developed by NHS Digital and NHS England, the app will enter its testing phase in September and then roll out officially in December. It will be available on iOS devices through the App Store, as well as on Android phones via Google Play.


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Amazon Prime Secures Rights to Show 20 Premier League Football Matches a Season in the U.K. From 2019-2022

Amazon Prime Video has secured the rights to stream live Premier League football matches for three years from 2019, at no extra cost to Prime members who live in the U.K.

The exclusive deal, announced on Thursday, means that from next year Amazon Prime will show every game from the first round of midweek matches in December and all 10 games on Boxing Day, with weekly highlights of all Premier League matches throughout the season.


The Premier League is the most-watched sports league in the world, and from the 2019/20 season UK Prime members will have exclusive access to watch 20 matches per season, comprising two full fixture rounds – the first December midweek round and the festive Bank Holiday round - featuring live coverage of every Premier League team.
The deal marks the first time a full round of matches will be shown live in the U.K., and while it leaves out the more lucrative weekend games, it shows a big statement from the company, which already broadcasts tennis events like the U.S. Open and ATP World Tour, and NFL games on Amazon Prime Video.

Previously, Sky and BT Sport have shared the rights to the EPL, following an auction in 2015 that saw the broadcasters splash £5.1 billion ($6.9 billion) between them for three seasons. Earlier this year, the Premier League announced that it had sold five out of seven of its U.K. TV packages. BT Sport bought one bundle amounting to 32 games and Sky acquired four bundles, securing 128 matches. BT Sport also secured the last other 20-game TV package, the Premier League confirmed today.

The Premier League remains Europe's most prized live sports broadcast asset and with a growing audience in the U.S., fits in perfectly with Amazon's broader strategy to bring more sports content to its global customers, draw more people to its U.K. Prime membership service, and convert occasional customers into more loyal shoppers. An Amazon Prime membership in the U.K. costs £79 a year or £7.99 a month.


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Apple Reintroduces Financing Options in the United Kingdom

Apple has resumed offering financing options in the United Kingdom after eliminating the option earlier this year. Apple has a new financing page on its UK website, outlining its Barclays financing plan.


While the financing page specifically focuses on the Barclays financing options, when checking out, customers can choose installment payments through Barclays or PayPal Credit.


To use the Barclays financing option, customers in the UK must make a purchase over £399. There is no interest for the first 12 months, with purchases split into reasonable monthly payments. PayPal Credit is available for purchases over £99, but there is no interest free option.

It is not clear why Apple temporarily stopped offering financing in the United Kingdom, but full financing is now available once again. The company made the same change to financing in Canada in June of 2017, but has not yet reimplemented the financing options in that country.


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Apple Discontinues Financing Options in the United Kingdom

Apple has stopped offering financing options to customers in the United Kingdom, as indicated by the elimination of its UK financing page, which was removed from the UK Apple site this afternoon.

Apple previously allowed customers in the UK to sign up for financing on Apple products through PayPal Credit or Barclays when checking out from the online Apple Store. PayPal Credit could be used on purchases with a £99 minimum, while Barclays was available for purchases over £399.


When making a purchase through the Apple site in the UK, there are now no financing options to select at checkout, and the finance pages that were previously available now redirect to the main UK site.

Apple previously eliminated financing options in Canada back in June of 2017, but in the United States, Apple still offers financing through the Barclaycard Visa that includes Apple Rewards points.

Apple also continues to offer financing options for educational institutions in the UK, and financing on iPhones continues to be available through the UK iPhone Upgrade Program in partnership with Barclays.


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