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Rabbit TV promises a lot of TV for a little cash, but is it the real deal?

If you’re a bit confused about the basics of Rabbit TV, don’t feel bad. The “as seen on TV” service is a lot like magicJack — most of us have heard about it at one time or another, but we have no idea what it actually is or what it does. Rabbit TV started out as a bright red SB© USB dongle that promised “free access to 5,000 internet TV stations,” putting the word “internet” in very small type.

Eventually, the company cut the SB© USB stick and rebranded as Rabbit TV Plus, offering service to anyone with a web browser (assuming that web browser can run Flash). The word “free,” was slightly misleading, however, since the service initially charged £10 a year. More recently, the price has gone up to £24 per year, which is still cheap compared to services like Sling TV or DirecTV Now.

But what exactly are you getting for your money? To start, Rabbit TV Plus — also referred to on the company’s website as Rabbit TV, RabbitTV, or RabbitTV Plus, confusingly enough — doesn’t offer any content of its own, but is essentially little more than a content aggregator. And, in fact, in our final section we outline some similar alternatives that may well outdo Rabbit TV Plus at its own game.

But first, we’ll dive into the nitty gritty of this mystery service to see what it offers, and just as importantly, what it doesn’t.

What does Rabbit TV Plus offer?

As mentioned, Rabbit TV Plus subscription doesn’t give you access to anything you can’t already get for free online. Instead, the service prowls the web for online video and serves it up in a TV Guide-style buffet that lets people pick and choose what they want to watch. In addition to aggregating content from various free streaming sources online, Rabbit TV Plus folds in movies and TV shows from Netflix and Hulu, assuming you have subscriptions to those services.

It will even fold in movies and TV shows from Netflix and Hulu, assuming you have a subscription to those services. In recent years, the service has moved away from its claims of “thousands” of free TV channels, swapped for a similarly bold tagline: “all the world’s entertainment in one place.” Available live broadcasts include networks like The CW, PBS, Ion, Univision, Telemundo, This, and MeTV (all of which can be found over the air with an HD antenna), as well as news and shopping channels like Bloomberg, MSNBC, QVC, and HSN. The service has also added several international channels such as Eurosport, RT, and ZDF, among others.

It’s tough to put together a solid number on exactly how much content Rabbit TV Plus offers. The service’s website claims 2,000+ live channels, as well as 100,000+ movies, 400,000+ TV episodes, and 20,000+ streaming radio stations. But just a little bit lower on the page it says 500+ streaming channels are available to watch on an iPhone, iPad, or smartphone.

What makes this even tougher to gauge is that recently, Rabbit TV Plus has been moving increasingly toward on-demand content, and more specifically, on-demand content that you need to pay for on top of your subscription.

It’s possible (and recommended in most cases) to browse only free content by selecting “Free Only” in the top-left corner of the site. Otherwise, you’ll see a “Watch Free” button for some shows and movies, while others will show an “Order Now” button. Sometimes you’ll see both buttons, which means some episodes of a show are available for free, but others are pay-per-view, either individually or by the whole season.

To make things even more complex, an extra tier of channels requires an active cable subscription to watch, making the service’s claim on its website that it is a “great alternative to cable” seem a little more dubious. Channels that require a cable subscription include ESPN, TBS, TNT, TruTV, Cartoon Network, Fox, AMC, and Disney, similar to the TV Everywhere apps you would find on a smart phone or streaming device. It’s tough to put together a solid number on exactly how much content Rabbit TV Plus offers.

Millennials might not be impressed by Rabbit TV Plus, but the service isn’t really going after the tech savvy among us. The primary audience is made up of the 30-65+ age group, specifically those who don’t know where to look or don’t care to try looking for the most accessible online content. It was initially targeted at anyone on a PC or Mac — including those who barely know how to use them — to easily access streaming TV through simple selections.

And since there is nothing to actually install, the simple register-and-log-in process makes it pretty simple. And more recently, Rabbit TV Plus has added even more ways to watch.

Which streaming devices are supported?

Though Rabbit TV Plus originally started out by limiting compatibility to Windows PCs and Macs, its move to a browser-based platform means it can work on a Chromebook or Linux machine. It can also work on select phones and tablets, though access is limited on devices that don’t support Adobe Flash, the number of which is increasing.

Until relatively recently, Rabbit TV Plus was available on both iPhone and Android devices, though it required a third-party browser in order to function. Now the app has disappeared from the App Store, leaving only the Android version. Even with Android phones, there is a catch: The Rabbit TV Plus app isn’t available in the Google Play Store, so you’ll have to go to the company’s website in order to download and install the APK file, something that the ideal Rabbit TV Plus user probably isn’t equipped to do on their own.

Is it a scam?

The short answer is no, Rabbit TV Plus is not a scam, but as you’ll see in the section below, that doesn’t mean it’s the best of its kind.

Rabbit TV’s detractors were initially quick to judge it as illegitimate mainly because it doesn’t offer much — if anything — that isn’t already freely available on the web, but the company’s changes in its marketing definitely make it seem more legitimate. That said, the platform does seem to use the word “free” a lot for a service that costs £24 a year, affordable as that is. There are, of course, some notable caveats to consider.

Since Rabbit TV Plus can only show movie content which is already free, the selection is less-than-enticing. To get a feel for what you can expect, go visit Crackle and have a look at what it offers. Also, local TV station access from across the nation isn’t delivered as promised.

The last time we checked, there was precious little available from New York, and Oregon (where Digital Trends is headquartered) wasn’t represented at all. Local TV station access from across the nation isn’t delivered as promised. The online TV segment has also changed a lot since Rabbit TV launched, and even since it rebranded as Rabbit TV Plus.

More and more viewers, regardless of age, are watching their favorite shows and movies using streaming services, and many are actively looking to escape traditional TV’s old-school channel surfing method. Not to mention, competition from the likes of Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and Hulu with Live TV offers much of what users may find appealing about Rabbit TV Plus, but with more content that actually want to watch. The cost is considerably higher than Rabbit TV Plus, but all of those services have options much cheaper than most cable packages.

What are the best Rabbit TV Plus alternatives?

To keep things fair, we’ll leave the services mentioned above out of this since they do cost a good deal more than you pay for Rabbit TV Plus.

Besides, we’ve already got a comparison of those services if you’re interested in seeing how they stack up. That said, there are two options that offer something very similar to this service, and one of them even comes from Rabbit TV Plus’s parent company, FreeCast.

SelectTV

For all intents and purposes, SelectTV seems like FreeCast decided to take the lessons it had learned from Rabbit TV and start over from scratch with a product that isn’t exactly the same, but is very similar. How close are they?

Look at the Rabbit TV Plus website, then the SelectTV website. Notice any similarities? Like Rabbit TV Plus, SelectTV costs £24 per year, but it also offers a monthly subscription for £3 per month.

Yes, you’ll end up paying an extra £12 for a year if you choose this method, but it does allow you to try out the service for less money if you’re not sure you want to go all in. SelectTV is also available on a far greater range of platforms, with apps for Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox One, iOS, and Android devices, as well as your browser. Taking all that into consideration, it seems like if you’re considering Rabbit TV Plus, you’ll want to try SelectTV first.

At this point, it seems that Rabbit TV Plus remains a separate service for those who already subscribed, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see it folded into SelectTV at some point in the future.

Pluto TV

Pluto TV launched in 2014, and seems a lot like what Rabbit TV originally intended to offer: Various channels of content, most (if not all) of which can be found elsewhere on the internet, presented in a live TV format (though on-demand movies are also available). The major difference here is that Pluto TV is completely free, earning all its revenue from advertising instead of subscriptions. Channels are organized into sections like Movies, News, Sports, Comedy, Entertainment, and Life + Style.

It seems that Pluto is aiming for younger viewers than Rabbit TV Plus, however, with additional sections like Chill Out and Geek + Gaming featured prominently, as well as several radio stations provided by Dash Radio. You’re not going to find the latest movies or TV series here, but you’re not likely to find them on Rabbit TV Plus or SelectTV either — at least not without paying extra. Like SelecTV, Pluto TV is available on a far greater range of devices than Rabbit TV Plus, including Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, PlayStation 4, and a number of smart TVs.

In the end, it’s hard to say who exactly Rabbit TV Plus is for. Both of the above services provide the same or similar functionality, and are either available on more devices or offer more flexible pricing (or are free). Then you have options like an antenna and OTA DVR, or the ever-growing number of options for watching movies for free online.

If you or a relative are using Rabbit TV Plus and are happy with it, there’s probably no reason to switch for now, but it couldn’t hurt to look at what else is available.

Editors’ Recommendations

Everything you need to know about the Huawei MediaPad M5

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Huawei won’t bring the rumored Huawei P20 smartphone to MWC 2018, so what will the company reveal at the show? One possible new device is the MediaPad M5, a range of high-spec Android tablets that may supersede the MediaPad M3 released in 2016. We were big fans of the MediaPad M3, and although tablets really aren’t as popular as they once were, we have high hopes this will be a good one.

Here’s everything we think we know about the Huawei MediaPad M5.

Screen sizes

The MediaPad M5 may come in different sizes, much like Huawei has done with tables in the past. A leak mentions three different M5 models: An 8-inch model codename Schubert, a 10-inch model codename Cameron, and a 10-inch Pro model codename Cameron Pro.

Name, price, and release details

If the last major Huawei tablet release was the MediaPad M3, why isn’t the next going to be the MediaPad M4? It’s possible Huawei will skip the MediaPad M4 — the number four is often associated with bad luck in China — and go straight to the MediaPad M5. A Bluetooth filing certainly backs this up, linking the model numbers SHT-W09 and SHT-AL09 with the MediaPad M5, after the tablets passed through its qualification labs in December.

The MediaPad M3 was 350 euros upon release (about £437), but a price leak warns the price may go up for the MediaPad M5 range. An 8-inch model is listed at 330 euros/£410 or 380 euros/£473 with 4G LTE, a 10-inch version at 380 euros/£473 or 420 euros/£523 with 4G LTE, and finally a 10-inch Pro model with a stylus for 520 euros/£650. Huawei will hold a press conference at Mobile World Congress 2018, where it won’t show the P20 smartphone, making the MediaPad range a possible replacement.

Specification

To replace the MediaPad M3, at least one of the rumored MediaPad M5 tablets will need to have a strong specification.

The MediaPad M5 Pro is likely to be the top-of-the-range version, and is rumored to come with a stylus, 64GB of storage space, 4GB of RAM, and 4G LTE as standard. No processor is mentioned, but Bluetooth certification from 2017 indicated one of the tablets would use a Kirin 960 chip. When the tablet passed through the Bluetooth qualification process — where it was actually labeled as a smartphone — the screen size was listed as 8.4-inches, the same as the MediaPad M3, with a 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution.

This suggests it’s the 8-inch M5 code-named Schubert. Subsequently, data spotted on a website log a tablet with the model number SHT-AL09 — also attached to the Schubert version in a more recent leak — showed the presence of Android 8.0 Oreo. If Android 8.0 is installed, there is a good chance Huawei’s own EMUI 8.0 or EMUI 5.1 user interface will be in place over the top.

We’ve seen and enjoyed using the updated EMUI 8.0 on the Huawei Mate 10 Pro smartphone.

We’ll keep you updated regarding the MediaPad M5 right here, as more news arrives.

Updated on February 15: Added price leaks, screen sizes, and updated possible announcement dates.

Editors’ Recommendations

7 Exotic technologies that were once science fiction, but now exist in reality

It’s no big surprise that engineers and scientists working in cutting edge tech are often fans of science fiction. Nor is it a surprise that, when many of them get to a place in their career where they can choose which projects to work on, a whole lot of folks seek to bring to life the kind of amazing sci-fi technology they grew up reading about and watching in movies. Here are seven examples of tech that was once the domain of science fiction, now turned science fact.

Universal translator

The Hitchhiker’s’ Guide to the Galaxy, Star Trek

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Where it appeared in sci-fi: As a plot device that removes the problem of having to explain why aliens all speak English, Universal Translators have been a staple of science fiction for years.

An early appearance is in Murray Leinster’s 1945 novella First Contact, but notable examples can also be found in Star Trek, Doctor Who, and The Hitchhiker’s’ Guide to the Galaxy. In the latter, a so-called “babel fish” is inserted into a person’s auditory canal to feed off the mental frequencies of people speaking to its host. It then excretes a translation directly into the brain.

Tasty!

Babel Fish, Waverly Pilot

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In reality: The name Babel Fish was actually adopted by Yahoo! For its web-based multilingual translation app launched in 1997. Things have come a long way since then, however.

While there are numerous translation services out there, the most sci-fi sounding one is the Waverly Pilot, a set of wireless earbuds that connect to your phone and promise to translate several languages in real time. Microsoft has also carried out a pretty astonishing demo using deep learning tech, which even incorporates the voice of the speaker when it carries out its translations.

A.I. assistants

2001: A Space Odyssey‘s HAL 9000, Alien‘s “Mother”

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Where it appeared in sci-fi: While lots of science fiction included computers whose principle functions could be operated via voice, the idea of a voice-activated artificial intelligence is slightly less widespread. It was used to memorable effect with 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s HAL 9000, the sentient A.I. which controls the systems of the Discovery One spacecraft and interacts with (not entirely in the best interests of) the ship’s astronaut crew.

Another prominent example is “Mother,” the ship’s computer in Alien. Both made an indelible mark on sci-fi fans, although HAL is by far the more iconic.

Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant

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In reality: Minus HAL’s more murderous side, A.I. assistants are everywhere today. The technology was introduced to a mainstream audience for the first time with the iPhone 4s in 2011 (although there had been research projects before then), and it’s only grown from there.

Here in 2018, the smart speaker product category is hotly contested by Google, Amazon and Apple, and can be used to do everything from searching for information to controlling the various features in your smart home. Many, like Siri, even include “in joke” nods and references to their great uncle HAL.

Rayguns

Star Trek, James Bond movies

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Where it appeared in sci-fi: Who needs bullets when you can fire far more futuristic beams of destructive energy? The form factor and scale of these weapons has varied depending on the story. Rayguns first fleetingly appear as a reference in Victor Rousseau’s 1917 The Messiah of the Cylinder. Star Trek, meanwhile, introduced an entire generation to the “phaser,” while Star Wars‘ Stormtroopers carried (somewhat useless) “blasters.” Heck, even James Bond used one in Moonraker, the most sci-fi of the 007 movies.

200W DIY laser canon, Lockheed Martin’s ATHENA

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In reality: Okay, so most of us still think guns over lasers when we hear about the right to keep and bear arms.

But as Bob Dylan once sang, the times they are a-changin’. Examples of real life laser guns range from DIY efforts like a terrifying 200W laser cannon, 400x more powerful than the most dangerous laboratory lasers, to Lockheed Martin’s modular ATHENA laser cannon. In the future, the defense giant claims its laser cannons will help protect soldiers from threats such as “swarms of drones.”

Tablet computers

2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek‘s PADD

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Where it appeared in sci-fi: A decidedly iPad-style device appears in Stanley Kubrick’s classic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

An even more sci-fi appearance for tablet computers, however, comes in Star Trek. Yes, there were examples of “electronic clipboards” in the original Star Trek, but they were far more prevalent in the follow-up, Star Trek: The Next Generation and in subsequent series. They were even called PADD, an acronym for Personal Access Display Device.

Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, etc

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In reality: We very nearly didn’t include tablets on this list.

The reason? Because once a gadget is so mainstream that your grandparents own and use one, it loses a bit of its cutting edge, science fiction cool. But isn’t that exactly the point of this list?

No-one in Star Trek wasted time gushing about how cool it was to have a pencil-thin computer touch screen to look things up on; they just used it like the intuitive form of computing it is. That’s exactly what’s happened in real life. While tablets haven’t totally replaced PCs, over the last decade they have proven themselves to have a crucial role to play in our lives.

You can check out our list of the best tablets available to buy here.

Holograms

Star Wars: A New Hope

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Where it appeared in sci-fi: For any kid who grew up in a slightly boring place, dreaming of the day we’d get dragged into some grand adventure, there are few sci-fi movies scenes more iconic than the one from Star Wars, in which Luke Skywalker gets a call to action from a holographic Princess Leia.

Brigham Young University

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In reality: Holographic projection still isn’t mainstream by any means, but there’s some fascinating work being done in this space. At Brigham Young University, researchers have demonstrated technology involving clear, realistic 3D holograms being projected into thin air. “Our technology uses a tractor beam to capture a tiny particle of paper,” Daniel Smalley, assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, told Digital Trends. “That particle is then dragged around and illuminated by red, green and blue lasers to make points.

The primary difference is that when you look at an image point in our display you’re looking at a material object.” What did the team choose as an early demo for their tech? Projecting a miniature Princess Leia, of course.

Videophone calling

2001: A Space Odyssey, Thunderbirds

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Where it appeared in sci-fi: As with several items on this list, video calling was introduced to a mass audience in 1968 through the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

As someone living in the U.K., however, for me it’s more synonymous with the TV series Thunderbirds, in which Jeff Tracy uses video calling to communicate with his sons.

Skype, Amazon’s Echo Show, FaceTime

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In reality: Skype appeared in 2003, followed by rival services like Apple’s FaceTime a few years later. Devices like Amazon’s Echo Show are even built around the concept of video calling. Science fact has even further than science fiction through research into areas like 3D video calling.

Communicator watches

Dick Tracy

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Where it appeared in sci-fi: Okay, so Dick Tracy isn’t really science fiction, but his watch sure was.

For years, anyone writing about wrist-worn communications tech pretty much had to, by some obscure law of journalism, reference Dick Tracy. The plainclothes cop got his famous two-way wrist radio in 1946 and upgraded it to a two-way video calling (see above) device in 1964.

The Apple Watch

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In reality: The Apple Watch made this technology a real thing, and later improved it with the Apple Watch Series 3 by adding greater iPhone independence. The exact moment when sci-fi dream merged with actually-happening reality was captured on video in late 2016 when Jeb Bush received a call on his Apple Watch during a meeting. “My watch can’t be talking?” he said. “That’s the coolest thing in the world.”

It sure is, Jeb.

It sure is.

Well, with the exception of the other items on this list.

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How to right-click on a Chromebook

There a number of things different about using a Chromebook than on a MacBook or Windows PC. If you’re used to a mouse where you have a right-click, you might be wondering how to accomplish that task without any mouse buttons. If you’re having trouble finding the right way to right-click on the touchpad, you’re not alone.

Here’s how it’s done! We have provided several different methods of right-clicking based on what you want to do. Take a look at the options, and dive into the method that you think will be of the most use.

Method 1: Quick right-click

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

This is pretty easy if you’ve used an Apple touchpad or modern Windows PC in the past.

Instead of tapping with one finger, tap on the pad with two fingers while hovering over the object you want to right-click. The touchpad will interpret your two fingers as a right-click and show the dropdown menu — or whatever else your right-click is supposed to unveil. The key here is timing and position, because your fingers need to tap down and rise back at the same time, or things can go a little screwy.

If you’ve never tried to right-click like this before, it may take a little practice to get down (always make sure the touchpad is clean and dry, that makes a lot of difference).

Method 2: Right-click with the keyboard

If you really don’t like tapping on the touchpad, or are still in the learning stage and need a more reliable way to right-click while you master the pad, then try the keyboard method. Press down and hold the Alt key, and then tap the pad with one finger. This acts just like a two-finger tap for right-clicking, but it may be more accurate and easier if you don’t have a finger to spare.

This method can work well if you are already busy typing and your fingers are right there, so to speak — or if you are on the go and awkward positioning makes it easier to just Alt+Click rather than try two-finger tapping.

Method 3: Right-clicking to move objects

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

This is a little more complicated. To move objects using the Chromebook touchpad, you can’t just hold down. You have to combine right and left clicks instead.

First, tap the pad while hovering over the object, but keep your finger held lightly down on the pad. Then, with your second finger, tap down and move that second finger across the pad to move the object. Here, your first finger is enabling the movement, your second finger is actually moving the object.

The key is keeping one finger relatively still while moving the other, which does become intuitive in time. As with our first method, this may take a little practice, especially if you are still getting used to the sensitivity of the touchpad. The better Chromebooks have smoother touchpads that make this easier, but it may feel a bit off on cheaper models.

Method 4: Just switch it off

Chromebooks allow you to change the touchpad settings, or shut the whole thing down.

First, go to the Settings screen, which you can typically find in the same place as your network connections and battery life (the actual icons can vary a little depending on what brand manufactured the Chromebook, but it’s usually a cog or a wrench). Once there, pause for a moment and note the slider that allows you to change touchpad speed. If you find the touchpad a little too twitchy, try turning the speed down and experimenting a little — this will also make clicking a bit easier.

When finished, look for a button that says Touchpad settings, and choose it. Here you will see several options for changing clicks and scrolling. You can turn tap-to-click off entirely, which people usually do if their hands keep touching the touchpad when they are typing.

If you’re getting angry at the touchpad in general, shut it down for a while — this may also make using a mouse easier.

Editors’ Recommendations

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