It's not your typical streaming service , but it's one you should definitely consider.
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Amazon Channels is a service available to Amazon Prime subscribers that gives you the kind of access to content you want, on the streaming devices or smart TVs that you want. And since it's been generally well-received among content creators, it's getting new content all the time. As time goes on, Amazon Channels should get more appealing to cord-cutters. Still, there are some who might question what Amazon Channels is and why they should check it out.
So, in this FAQ, we'll explain Amazon Channels' key features, how much you'll pay, and how it compares up to the competition.
Amazon Channels is a collection of streaming services you can subscribe to via Amazon. You need only to go to the Amazon Channels page, find out which content providers are offering their content through the service, and you're off. Many of the channels offer free trials so you don't need to worry about doling out cash right away to try it out. Think of Amazon Channels as the e-retail giant's answer to those who want to stream content anywhere and everywhere but don't want to rely on just one service to do it.
The ability to subscribe to Amazon Channels is exclusive to Prime members, but you'll need to pay individual subscription fees for individual channels. Basically, the cost will vary depending on which Channels you want to subscribe to and how many you're interested in. When you work your way through Amazon Channels, you'll find that there are some wildly popular streaming services, like Netflix and Hulu , that aren't available.
While Amazon hasn't closed the door on supporting those services in the future, it's unlikely we'll see them join Channels anytime soon. Where to find it? Get started with Google Sheets here. Scrivener is the premier book writing software. Project targets let you create word count goals and then track your progress daily.
Its composition mode can help you stay focused by removing all the clutter. Plus, it allows you to format for publishing e. There are some problems with Scrivener.
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But it more than makes up for that by being so helpful in the early stages of the writing process. The next edition comes out on Tuesday! Where to find it: Get started with Scrivener here. You can get a copy of Scrivener here , or learn more about how to use the software with one of these resources:. I have too many thoughts on this for this article, but as far as writing software to encourage focus, I recommend Freedom. Freedom allows you to block your biggest distractions online, including both websites and mobile apps, for a set period of time.
You can also schedule recurring sessions, so that at a scheduled time e. You can learn more about how writers can get the most out of Freedom on our review here.
While Scrivener is the best book writing software, once you get to editing and getting feedback, it begins to fall short. Best of all are its collaboration abilities, which allow you to invite your editor to the document and then watch as he or she makes changes, tracked in suggestion mode, and leave comments on your story see screenshot below.
Where to find it : Get started with Google Docs here.
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Scrivener, Word, Pages, they all can make eBooks. In fact, it takes a lot of skill and effort to make an eBook look good on any of those word processors.
And the Bad
Vellum picks up where Scrivener, Word, and Pages leave off, giving you a tool to make great looking eBooks every time. The most important part of this is the previewer see the image below , which lets you see how each formatting change or book edit you make will appear on Kindle, Fire, iPhone, Nook, and other eReaders.
Where to find it : Get started with Vellum here. Again: no piece of book writing software is going to write your book for you. Most of us learned how to use computers by using Microsoft Word, or a program like it.
Word gets the job done. It is not going to help.
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Where to find it : You can get Microsoft Word here. However, there are a few apps that we'd like to see, including Dropbox and YouTube.
Even more handy is Whispersync, which automatically syncs not only your content, but where you were in a particular book or movie, across devices. For example, as we were reading "Wherever I Wind Up" on the Fire HD, we opened up the book using the Kindle app on our iPhone, and it asked if we wanted to pick up where we left off. Even better, if you've downloaded a book that has an Audible audiobook, you can switch between reading and listening seamlessly.
We can see this feature being most useful for someone in the middle of a good read, but who wants to finish it while driving.
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While reading a book, you can tap on a name, place or passage to get more detailed information about that item from Wikipedia and Shelfari, Amazon's own user-supported encyclopedia. It's like having Cliffs Notes built into everything you read. When you're watching a movie that has X-Ray content as indicated by a small icon , a little window appears at the upper left corner that shows the names of the actors currently on screen. Click on a name, and that person's IMDB profile fills the whole of the display.
No more wondering "who's that guy? Amazon says "thousands" of books and movies are X-Ray-enabled; though it couldn't give us a more accurate number, the company says it started with the most popular titles, and is working its way down. The 8. The 7-inch Fire HD scored 7, on the test. For the most part, the Fire HD 8.
We quickly cycled through icons on the home screen, and our Mustang smoothly raced through the streets in "Need For Speed: Most Wanted" without a hiccup. However, the display would at times get stuck in landscape or portrait mode; we had to turn the screen off, then on, to get it moving again. While watching "The Avengers," the tablet froze -- during the final battle scene, no less -- and rebooted itself.
This also happened when trying to launch the Facebook app, trying to scroll through pages of "The Atlantic," and once when trying to enter a URL as the YouTube Web page was loading. Another time, when we tried attaching about 10 photos to an email, the Photos app would freeze up for a moment. We're hoping Amazon can work out these glitches over time. The 16GB version has Controls for Forward, Back and Settings are now on the right in portrait mode instead of the bottom, making them easier to access with your thumb.
In general, the browser opened Web pages quickly, but we noticed that, while a page was loading, the tablet was slow to bring up the keyboard. In our testing, the 8. Over our home Internet connection's 2. Using a 5-GHz band on the same network, that same file downloaded in 17 minutes.
Using loadtimer. Amazon Prime members also receive free two-day shipping on any item. When we called a friend over Skype, he could make out our visage clearly, although details weren't the most crisp.