Amazon launched its Fire TV video streaming box in the U.K and Germany Wednesday, making the device available for pre-order through its website in both countries. Amazon has struck a number of partnerships to offer local content in both markets, with apps for the U.K.’s Sky News as well as Germany’s Spiegel TV as well as shows from broadcasters like ARD and ZDF. Notably absent in the U.K. is the BBC’s iPlayer. Netflix support hasn’t officially announced for Germany either, but will likely follow as soon as the service launches in the country later this month.

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Don’t change a thing? Stick with what’s already working??? That’s a remarkable comment from a company that feels free to force major system changes on unsuspecting users, changes that destroy long-relied-upon functionality. And despite howls of protest from the user base, SONOS refuses to either back…

Apple has hired Anand Lal Shimpi, the founder of hardcore nuts-and-bolts tech website AnandTech. Shimpi announced his retirement from tech publishing on the weekend, 18 years after he began blogging at age 14 – Ryan Smith is the new editor in chief at AnandTech, a publication that’s something of a bible for those who like to delve into the specifics of computer components. Recode reported on Sunday that Apple had hired Shimpi, but the company didn’t explain what role he would be fulfilling.

Plenty of apps are adding Chromecast support these days, but two of them are worth singling out: NPR added the ability to cast audio to the iOS and Android versions of its new NPR One app, which the broadcaster launched just a month ago as a new way to consume public radio content. ABC added casting to the iOS and Android versions of its Watch ABC app, which offers pay TV subscribers access to full episodes of TV shows like Scandal and Modern Family. And there’s good news for Apple TV owners as well, as the Watch ABC iOS app now also supports AirPlay.

San Francisco-based IoT startup Aether Things is now ready to ship its connected loudspeaker after initially delaying shipments in July. The Cone, as the speaker is called, is for now only available to paying subscribers of Rdio’s music service, but there’s a twist: Rdio subscribers will get $5 off their Cone for every month they’ve paid for the music service, up to a total of $180 of discounts off the $400 sticker price of a Cone. There’s still no word yet on when Aether’s Cone will support additional services, or ship to folks not subscribing to Rdio.

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