Up until now, I have been frustrated by the lack of support for video streaming services on Ubuntu. For streaming audio, there’s a Spotify snap app conveniently in the Ubuntu Store but nothing for Netflix, Hulu or others.
Today I was poking around and discovered an application called “ElectronPlayer” in the Ubuntu Software store. It supports Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, Twitch and Floatplane. I installed it on my old 2007 iMac running Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS.
I’m always looking at ways to play video games on Ubuntu Linux. This one is a doozy. With Playstation Now, you can play over 700 real PS2, PS3 and PS4 games on your Ubuntu computer. The technology uses streaming from remote server where the gaming console exists. Sony typically will give you a couple weeks as a free trial though the deals vary. I was able to take advantage of a Black Friday sale with one full year of PS Now for only $70. Fantastic deal.
Here’s how to install PS Now on Ubuntu:
First install wine if it’s not already installed. Wine is a Linux program that helps us run Windows programs on the Linux platform.
sudo apt install wine-stable
Next, download winetricks into your downloads folder.
Now we are going to install Lutris, which is a program that helps you install games and other apps on your Wine Windows installation.
sudo apt-get install lutris
Once you find Lutris in your application menu and launch it.
Now visit the Lutris website and launch the PS Now installer.
After you select ‘install’ you will see a Playstation Now icon in the Lutris application.
Here’s where I ran into trouble with this installation Mind you, I figured all this out by using directions cobbled together from many broken install methods I found on the web! When I tried to launch PS Now from Lutris, I was met with a message that said, “Vulkan is not installed” even though I installed it with winetricks (above).
Here’s the fix:
Right-click on the Playstation Now icon in Lutris.
Select the “runner options” tab.
Turn “Enable DXVK” off.
Save and relaunch. After poking on a couple dialog boxes, you should be good to go!
Sometimes, you learn something new that changes everything. I have read about jitter and quantization with digital signals for some time but I didn’t know there were small, affordable devices that correct it. I have always read about really expensive devices that included a noise filtering technology. Well, I was poking around looking for a smaller, cheaper DAC for work – my Samsung Galaxy S7 doesn’t cut it by itself for high fidelity and my old Fiio E7 DAC won’t work with the newer OS updates for IOS and Android. I stumbled on something called a Dragonfly which had high praise. A little smaller than a thumbdrive, the AudioQuest Dragonfly acted almost like an inline DAC. Hmmm. Then I found something new. AudioQuest also makes a USB jitter filter called a Jitterbug. Reviews mentioned a better device – the iSilencer 3.0 by iFi Audio.
So I bought one and wasn’t able to try it out until I got to work. Here I am, just blown away that I’m listening to a phone and not a high-end stereo. I had my little setup (phone/laptop, audioengine D1 with Sony Headphones MDR-7506) at work and was so frustrated by the USB noise from the one portable working DAC that I have. For some reason the signal that comes out of my laptop and my phone sucks connecting to this thing. The iSilencer3 really does work and it’s amazing! Not snake oil as I feared. The signal is clear and lets the DAC do it’s job without any digital artifacts and most important from the phone – no intermittent disruptions. Bass is tighter and the headroom is wider. I am not sure exactly how this is accomplished but for $50, this little gadget is an incredible value and a needed accessory for any audiophile on the go.
According to The Guardian, an artist is paid $0.001128 per song stream after the label gets it’s share. A million streams of a song will pay $1,128. How many songs will get played a million times? Is this a sustainable business model for artists?
Spotify could be seen as a vehicle for promotion. If a trending song lead to higher CD/LP sales, I could see the angle. There will also be many who feel any media beyond streaming is antiquated. There will be others who simply refuse to pay for physical media as well as streaming. These are obvious points.
What’s the answer? Should Spotify pay artists more? We will find out how profitable the company is once it goes public and must disclose their sales revenue numbers. I believe at that time it will be easier to reassess the streaming business model. There should be a fair ratio of profits to artist payout. What do you think? Do you use Spotify or other music streaming services? Do you buy physical media and support your favorite artists?
Yet another industry-shaking paradigm shift is underway: a theater subscription service that lets users see as many theater movies as they wish for only $9.95. How does this work? The user pays MoviePass $9.95 a month and for each movie they attend, the company reimburses the theater. Unless there is some genius way to make the accounting of this work, MoviePass is doomed to fail. Each movie costs an average of $8.65. If a user sees more than one movie, MoviePass is losing money. Is this just an future IPO scam where investors pump cash in and the founder walks away rich? Do they plan on raising subscription costs? What do you think?