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Today in Tech News Digest, Netflix and Comcast do a deal, Windows Phone 8.1 leaks, Sony launches the PlayStation 4 in Japan, Microsoft cuts the price of Windows 8.1, WhatsApp goes down, the new Google Maps emerges from beta, LinkedIn introduces member blocking, and Silicon Valley gets its own TV show.

Netflix & Comcast Teaming For Streaming

Netflix and Comcast have done a deal [subscription required] which means Comcast customers should be able to stream Netflix content without any issues related to throttling. Some have claimed this deal marks the end of net neutrality, which recently suffered a loss in court No Net Neutrality, Winamp Lives, Kanye Kills Coinye [Tech News Digest] No Net Neutrality, Winamp Lives, Kanye Kills Coinye [Tech News Digest] Net neutrality suffers loss, Winamp lives for another day, Beats Music launch due, Tumblr Mention alerts, Kanye West kills Coinye, a man dies trying to save his phone, and the Internet names a baby. Read More , but this isn’t entirely accurate.

The Netflix/Comcast deal effectively sees Netflix cutting out the middleman and paying Comcast directly for access to its pipes. Details of the deal haven’t been revealed, but Netflix should only be paying the market price and expecting a solid service in return.

Right now this deal isn’t bad for any party: Comcast gets paid, Netflix cuts out the middleman, consumers get a better service. However, this may have implications in the longterm by decreasing competition. Which is a worry.

Windows Phone 8.1 Leaks

An early version of Windows Phone 8.1 has leaked online. The leaks began a couple of weeks ago, with the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK being revealed by a developer granted early access. With more leaks following, Ars Technica has pulled together all we know about Windows Phone 8.1.

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The changes are plentiful enough for Peter Bright to suggest Windows Phone 8.1 be named Windows Phone 9 instead, but then that would ruin the convergence between Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 How To Safely Upgrade To Windows 8.1 How To Safely Upgrade To Windows 8.1 Are horror stories of how Windows 8.1 upgrades went horribly wrong keeping you from upgrading yourself? If you are longing to try Windows 8.1, you can now learn from other people's lessons and upgrade safely! Read More .

That is the big takeaway here: Microsoft’s operating systems are slowly but surely being merged into one OS to rule them all, and Windows Phone 8.1 looks set to be the first iteration of that ideal. Which is likely to frustrate as many people as it pleases.

PlayStation 4 Launches In Japan

Sony has finally launched the PlayStation 4 The PS4 Revealed: 10 PlayStation 4 Videos All Gamers Should Watch The PS4 Revealed: 10 PlayStation 4 Videos All Gamers Should Watch After months of speculation Sony recently entered the eighth generation of video games hardware, joining Nintendo, which kicked it all off by releasing the Wii U at the end of 2012. The not-very-imaginatively-titled PlayStation 4... Read More in Japan, with its home territory having to wait three months longer than North America and Europe. The advantage of this was a lack of shortages on day one, with Japanese gamers able to buy a PS4 in-store without pre-ordering.

The purposeful delay was, according to Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Worldwide Studios, due to “the readiness of the software industry,” with Japanese developers not ready to switch up to the next-gen consoles. New games in the Yakuza, Dynasty Warriors, and Ambition series did make it out in time for launch, however.

Microsoft Cuts Cost Of Windows 8.1

Microsoft has cut the cost of Windows 8.1, but only for OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) licensing the operating system for use on devices that retail for less than $250. An OEM would normally pay $50 for the “privilege” of pre-installing Windows 8.1 on a device, but that charge is dropping to $15 for devices under the $250 limit.

This is an obvious attempt to curtail the decline in PC sales Dead PCs, Gmail Stalking, Bitcoin Overstock, Kindle Kiosk [Tech News Digest] Dead PCs, Gmail Stalking, Bitcoin Overstock, Kindle Kiosk [Tech News Digest] Desktops are declared dead, Gmail stalkers love Google+, Overstock starts accepting Bitcoin, scanning irises for passwords, Snapchat apologizes, Amazon starts selling hardware from a vending machine, and two companies fight over the right to pin. Read More . This decline is being driven by the success of tablets and Chromebooks, both of which (non-coincidentally) usually cost less than $250 to purchase. Will OEMs really take this bait?

WhatsApp Was Down For Hours

WhatsApp suffered an outage lasting 210 minutes over the weekend. Outages happen, and this wouldn’t be news were it not for the fact that Facebook recently acquired WhatsApp Facebook WhatsApp, SkyDrive OneDrive, Yahoo Siri, Apple Tesla [Tech News Digest] Facebook WhatsApp, SkyDrive OneDrive, Yahoo Siri, Apple Tesla [Tech News Digest] Facebook buys WhatsApp, FCC responds to the loss of 'net neutrality', SkyDrive becomes OneDrive, Yahoo wants its own Siri, Apple is interested in Tesla, and Samsung mocks Apple in its latest set of television commercials. Read More for $19 billion. Cue much mocking and satirical sideswipes at both companies; the tweet above being a prime example.

New Google Maps Emerges From Beta

The new Google Maps is finally ready for use by the general public after emerging from its lengthy beta. The new Google Maps looks very different than the old, and has many shiny new features, some of which are discussed in our news article on the changes to Google Maps The New Google Maps Finally Comes Out Of Beta The New Google Maps Finally Comes Out Of Beta Back in May 2013, Google unveiled a new and improved beta version of Google Maps. Now everyone will be able to get the new Google Maps on their desktops in "the coming weeks". Read More .

Member Blocking Comes To LinkedIn

linkedin-member-blocking

You can now rid yourself of annoying contacts on LinkedIn using the business-oriented social network’s new ‘Member Blocking’ feature. Any decision to block someone on LinkedIn shouldn’t be taken lightly, as it’s a mutual disconnection, as discussed in our news story on new features in LinkedIn Block Annoying Contacts On LinkedIn With The New Member Blocking Feature Block Annoying Contacts On LinkedIn With The New Member Blocking Feature Ever wished for a quieter LinkedIn personal page? LinkedIn just answered your requests with a new blocking feature. The "Member Blocking" feature has now rolled out to all users for another layer of privacy. Read More .

Silicon Valley Mocks Silicon Valley

And finally, Silicon Valley, where many of the biggest American technology companies reside, is getting its own comedy. The series, simply titled Silicon Valley, is set to air on HBO from April 6.

Created by Mike Judge (Beavis and Butt-head, King of the Hill, Office Space, Idiocracy) Silicon Valley tells the tale of software engineers trying to make it big, aided and abetted by a couple of duelling billionaires.

So, another of those TV shows all geeks should watch 8 TV Shows All Geeks Should Have Watched 8 TV Shows All Geeks Should Have Watched Geeks are fairly well represented on television. Sure, some shows - even those listed below - are aimed at the mainstream and therefore represent geeks as being spotty, scruffy ne'er-do-wells that live in their parents'... Read More , probably. Unless it ends up being unfunny nonsense.

Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.

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