HBO Max waited until the year was almost up, but now an agreement has been reached with Roku that will bring HBO back to the streaming platform starting today (it’s also available on Sony’s PS5, assuming you can actually buy one). The timing works out for everyone, with streaming boxes and TVs going out as gifts, and HBO Max kicking off a year of big-name movie premieres with Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day.
I don’t know what took so long, but at least it’s done now, so I don’t have to include a caveat every time I mention which streaming service or HDMI dongle you should choose going forward. Better yet, HBO Max has Atmos, 4K and Dolby Vision support on the way, so things are looking up — unless you’re in the movie theater business.
— Richard Lawler
The nightmare has ended.
Ahead of the election, Twitter experimented by changing the way its retweet button worked. Instead of defaulting to a standard reshare of the original message without additional context, it prompted users to add thoughts of their own in the quote tweet format. That made it slower to use, and clunky, especially if you like to operate the app left-handed.
Now the experiment is over, and Twitter has restored the button’s previous functionality, saying “The increase in Quote Tweets was also offset by an overall 20 percent decrease in sharing through both Retweets and Quote Tweets.” Of the posts made using quote tweet, 45 percent amounted to a single-word affirmation.
Just like it did on Thanksgiving.
Trying to connect with family and friends at a distance? For several days through the end of December and into the New Year, Zoom will turn off the 40-minute clock on free calls and let users video chat for as long as they want without paying. That includes this weekend, as well as the 23rd through the 26th, and December 30th through January 2nd.
Take that, Spotify.
The feature has appeared as a server-side update, and if you have it, you’ll see a new Video Off button at the top of the full-screen player. Tapping that makes the screen go black, leaving you with audio-only playback. This should be great for documentaries, standup and other audio-focused material, but probably won’t work as well for dramas that tell stories primarily through visuals. It’s another way to get entertained or informed while doing other things, in case you don’t have enough podcasts to listen to.
Sponsored by StackCommerce
Google followed Amazon’s Luna with a web app for its cloud gaming service.
As of Wednesday, you can play any Google Stadia game on an iPhone or iPad. The service is accessible through Chrome, Safari or a progressive web app (PWA). If you want to use the latter, simply open Stadia in Safari (https://stadia.google.com), hit the Share shortcut and select Add to Home Screen. Nick Summers gave it a try and found things worked basically the same as they do on Android, with the exception of the iOS status bar occasionally popping up.