The Spotify HiFi dream is still alive, as platform plans to do something “unique” someday

No one can blame you if you've given up on Spotify HiFi ever becoming a thing. It’s been two years since the initial announcement. However, all hope is not lost as the streaming service recently confirmed that it’s still working on the high-res audio tier.

This news comes from Spotify co-president Gustav Söderström who sat down for an interview on TheVerge’s podcast, Decoder. Confirming HiFi’s existence was pretty much the only straight answer he gave as the rest of the responses were vague at best. According to Söderström, the reason why the tier is taking so long is that the “industry changed and [Spotify] had to adapt”, but doesn’t elaborate any further. He does hint at the cost of HiFi and deals with music labels as being two major factors to the delay, and again, doesn't elaborate any further.

Söderström goes on to say Spotify wants to do something “unique” with HiFi and not “unnecessarily commoditize” itself by “[doing] what everyone else does”. When asked about an expected launch date and support for spatial audio, Söderström remained tight-lipped. There will be a “Spotify HiFi lossless-type experience at some point” in the future, however, that’s all the co-president was willing to divulge.

Söderström’s comment on needing to adapt to a changing industry is arguably the most telling in that whole exchange because it’s emblematic of the company’s recent moves. Pinning the delay of Spotify HiFi on not wanting to copy other platforms is rather ironic if you think about it. For starters, the streaming service is currently rolling out a redesign for its mobile app taking clear inspiration from TikTok. It now sports a vertical discovery feed as a way to encourage people to check out the latest songs or popular podcasts. You even have Spotify incorporating tech from OpenAI in its new DJ feature to simulate a real-life radio DJ. While these additions are great and everything, do users really want the TikTok experience and generative AI? From what we’ve seen, not really.

It appears the platform is more interested in growing its media library over providing HiFi. Spotify has grown its podcast content exponentially alongside real-time transcriptions. Also, the audiobook feed has a new preview feature where users can listen to a book for five minutes before purchasing. All this and still no high-res audio, at least any time soon. We asked Spotify if it could tell us more about its HiFi tier – anything at all. This story will be updated at a later time.

If you want to get high-res audio, there’s a way to do it with the right set of devices. Be sure to check out TechRadar’s guide on how to buy into high-res audio without the high prices

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YouTube sets out its plans for 2022 – but is it too late for content creators?

YouTube has set out its plans to try and help its creators more, such as being able to shop within a YouTube Shorts video, better monetization options for channels, and better insights into how their videos are performing.

The content-creation company has had its fair share of controversy over the years, most recently in its decision to change how dislikes on videos are displayed. But with TikTok fast becoming a social media network focused on video, Google-owned YouTube is trying to bring out some features that can better help its creators, not only to earn a living, but also to prevent them from leaving for TikTok, Vimeo or another rival video platform.

Back in 2003, you would find it a challenge to discover a site that would only show free content, and the thought of being able to make money from your videos would be a dream.

But YouTube has grown into a place where you can freely upload a video and, if the views are there, build up a following and make some money. But its past mistakes have made its users wonder if these features are simply covering up the cracks of a larger issue.

Analysis: Reversing the polarity

In its blog, the company reveals that it is aware that it needs to offer features to rival TikTok via its YouTube Shorts feature. Going live with another content creator for joint videos is on the horizon, alongside gifted memberships, and guidelines for the live chat are on the way.

However, the point comes back to how creators have been treated across the years. A recent example was a YouTuber called TotallyNotMark, who delves into the history of Japanese Anime, manly Dragon Ball. He had most of his videos removed in December 2021 with no explanation, which wiped out his income overnight.

This was due to TOEI Animation, the owners of Dragon Ball, claiming copyright infringements on most of Mark's videos, with no opportunity for the YouTuber to challenge these before they were taken down.

However, Mark was able to resolve this after five weeks, and his videos are back up.

While he was able to get the copyright claims resolved, he spoke in detail about how the appeals process by YouTube was unhelpful, slow, and non-transparent, especially in regards to why the videos were removed in the first place. And this has been a problem for years, where some content creators have left the platform.

We reached out to YouTube about this and TotallyNotMark's issues, and Jack Malon, a YouTube spokesperson, told us that “YouTube doesn't mediate copyright disputes—it is between the parties involved. We give copyright holders tools to make Content ID claims covering their copyrighted content and uploaders tools to dispute claims they believe are made in error,” Malon explained. “We also take the abuse of our tools seriously, and when we find instances of misuse, we take appropriate action in accordance with our policies.”

While it's encouraging to see the company announce more features to better support its creators, there was no mention of any improvements to the appeals process in the blog post. Perhaps eventually, YouTube will be able to look at how the content creators can appeal against copyright strikes, and save them the anxiety that it could cause them, as it did to Mark.

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Norton antivirus features comparison: what you get with Norton plans

Norton has a range of products from basic antivirus to full-featured internet security suites, offering plenty of options for buyers to ensure they can get the right package for their needs.

But with so many plans available, you'll want to make sure that the Norton subscription you sign up for has the exact features you require.

Below we’ve laid out the features available across Norton’s different subscription plans. Unsurprisingly, as you go up the range, you get more features – but the other bonus is that the amount (and type) of devices supported increases with them.

Norton AntiVirus Plus only covers 1 PC (Windows or Mac), and Norton 360 Standard covers 1 device, too (but it can be a PC, mobile phone or tablet). When you step up to Norton 360 Deluxe, support for up to 5 devices (PCs or phones) is provided, and finally Norton 360 Premium extends that coverage to 10 devices.

So bear this in mind as you peruse the following breakdown of Norton’s various features that informs you exactly which suites have what, with a neat summary to cap things off at the end.

Antivirus and ransomware protection

Available on Norton AntiVirus Plus, 360 Standard, 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

These are the core defenses for your devices. Norton’s antivirus engine prevents malware from infecting the system (with real-time protection, and on-demand scanning when needed), plus there are additional ransomware countermeasures to help fend off any of these particularly nasty attacks. Every single Norton product offers these fundamental pillars of protection, as you’d expect.

Norton Firewall Settings

(Image credit: Norton)


Available on Norton AntiVirus Plus, 360 Standard, 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

Norton’s firewall is also a core protective element present throughout all the firm’s products, which gives you beefier defenses than the built-in Windows firewall (and Macs are also covered).

It’s a cleverly implemented smart firewall that gives you plenty of detail about what it’s doing, and how it works. For example, it won’t just pop-up a message saying that such and such an app is trying to connect to the internet, do you want to let it? Rather, Norton’s firewall will explain nuances like whether the app has many downloads or is very new (and therefore possibly fake and just concocted to deliver malware), and security aspects like if the app is digitally signed. Basically, you’re armed with a lot more info to guide any decision-making.

Password Manager

Available on Norton AntiVirus Plus, 360 Standard, 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

You’re likely familiar with the humble password manager, but for the uninitiated, it’s a tidy little tool that takes care of all password duties, generating and automatically remembering secure passwords for all your various online accounts. If you have trouble trying to make up passwords which are secure enough, yet still memorable – or you write them down, which obviously isn’t a good idea security-wise – then this can take all that hassle off your hands.

Norton stores passwords in the cloud in encrypted form, and the password manager also assists with other time-saving features like an auto-form fill which allows you to fill in online forms with just a click of the mouse.

Norton Cloud Backup

(Image credit: Norton)

PC Cloud Backup

Available on Norton AntiVirus Plus, 360 Standard, 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

Norton’s Cloud Backup is an online cloud storage locker which holds copies of the crucial files on your PC. Like any backup solution, this provides a way of recovering files if you suffer some kind of disaster like a ransomware attack that locks away all your data (which you shouldn’t, not with Norton on guard anyway, but you could also run into something like a drive failure).

PC Cloud Backup automatically can run backups periodically so you don’t have to remember, and it’s dead easy to use. This is a very valuable extra available with all Norton products, although there are a couple of caveats. Firstly, it’s only for Windows PCs, and secondly, with Norton AntiVirus Plus you don’t get much space (2GB). Norton 360 Standard provides 10GB, but it’s only with the top two tiers that you get a good chunk of storage, namely 50GB with Deluxe and 75GB with Premium.

Secure VPN

Available on Norton 360 Standard, 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

A VPN provides extra security beyond antivirus and firewall protection, encrypting your internet traffic and ensuring that no one (including your ISP) can snoop on it (see our full explainer for a thorough explanation of how a VPN works). A VPN can be particularly useful to provide additional protection when you’re on potentially unsecure public Wi-Fi hotspots (such as when in a café, for example).

Norton includes the Secure VPN service with its security suites (but not AntiVirus Plus), with unlimited data so it can cover you the whole time you’re online, improving your anonymity as well as security, as well as potentially allowing you to access streaming services in countries abroad that you wouldn’t otherwise get.


Available on Norton 360 Standard, 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

This is Norton’s webcam protection which defends against malware that can try to take control of the camera to take sneaky pictures – or even video – of you.

This feature basically watches for untrusted programs trying to access the webcam, and flags them up so you can block them (or not). And don’t worry, it intelligently deals with obvious cases such as apps like Zoom, automatically granting them access to the camera instead of bothering you with any prompts.

Parental Control

Available on Norton 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

The Parental Control module present in Norton’s higher-end suites provides a raft of functions to help ensure that your kids stay safe online. It boasts an in-depth system of controls with not just web content filtering, but the ability to monitor where they browse, or what videos they watch. Norton even goes as far as GPS tracking for phones, so you can see where your kids are in the real world, not just online.

This is a powerful feature, but like the Cloud Backup facility, it only works with Windows PCs and not Macs (though of course the mobile device monitoring works with phones, both Android and iOS).

Children gathered around a tablet while parents are distracted in background

(Image credit: Norton)

School Time

Available on Norton 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

This is a relatively new addition which was bolted on to the Parental Control module in October 2020, after the education of kids was disrupted by the pandemic and lockdowns, and remote learning came into play. When School Time is switched on, your child is allowed to access certain websites – those needed for their education and classes – while other sites that could distract them from schoolwork are blocked.

This feature can be turned on or off as needed, or scheduled to run during school hours.

Dark Web Monitoring

Available on Norton 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

As you’re doubtless aware, when data breaches happen (all too often, sadly), huge slabs of information on users can be stolen, including personal details, passwords and so forth. This kind of data can often be dumped or sold on the dark web, where criminals may find all sorts of nefarious uses for it, such as breaking into your account, or identity theft.

With this monitoring feature, Norton keeps a close eye on the dark web for any signs of your email address appearing – and if it finds anything, you’ll be immediately alerted, allowing you to take any necessary remedial action. Note that this feature is only supported in certain regions, namely: Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, plus the UK and US.

Norton running on a PC, laptop and phone

(Image credit: Future)

Norton features at a glance

Available on Norton AntiVirus Plus: Antivirus and ransomware protection, Firewall, Password Manager, PC Cloud Backup. Supports 1 PC.

Available on Norton 360 Standard: All of the above plus Norton Secure VPN, SafeCam. Supports 1 PC or phone/tablet.

Available on Norton 360 Deluxe: All of the above plus Parental Control, School Time, Dark Web Monitoring. Additional support for up to 5 devices.

Available on Norton 360 Premium: All of the above plus extended support for up to 10 devices.

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AMD plans next-gen GPU launch alongside refreshes of current Navi cards in 2020

AMD has revealed some fresh details about its incoming graphics cards for this year, and it seems that the plan is to unleash a high-end next-gen GPU, alongside refreshes of current Navi products.

These revelations come from the very top, namely AMD’s chief executive, who was quizzed about a number of things in an earnings call following the company’s latest financial results for Q4 (which were very healthy indeed, with revenue up 50% year-on-year, one of the big drivers being Ryzen CPUs, unsurprisingly).

As Anandtech reports, when questioned on GPU plans for 2020, CEO Lisa Su stated that: “In 2019, we launched our new architecture in GPUs, it’s the RDNA architecture, and that was the Navi based products. You should expect that those will be refreshed in 2020 – and we’ll have a next generation RDNA architecture that will be part of our 2020 line-up.

“So we’re pretty excited about that, and we’ll talk more about that at our financial analyst day.”

The above information is, however, somewhat open to interpretation. It’s clear enough in stating that current Navi graphics cards will be refreshed this year, and that a next-gen RDNA GPU will be part of the release schedule for 2020.

Monster GPU inbound?

The guessing begins in terms of latter presumably referring to Big Navi, the high-end graphics card which has been much-rumored of late, and is designed to take on Nvidia’s top RTX offerings.

This GPU will purportedly be built on RDNA 2 (although note that RDNA 2 isn’t mentioned by name, it’s just called next-gen – so it could potentially be RDNA+), and that will come with hardware ray tracing acceleration to go up against the RTX cards.

We definitely know that a high-end graphics card is going to arrive at some stage in 2020, as Lisa Su already made this known in no uncertain terms. From what we’ve heard on the graphics grapevine, it could be a truly monster GPU, and might be in line for a Computex 2020 launch (in June – a mid-year release has previously been rumored).

The other comment concerning current Navi-based GPUs presumably means that these will be refreshed alongside the new launch, so we will get beefed up versions of RDNA cards, as well as the fresh high-end RDNA 2 offering(s) later this year. Although we obviously have to be careful here, as that’s not exactly what Lisa Su said – just what we’re reading into it.

Given the amount of spillage going on right now about AMD’s upcoming graphics cards for 2020, with a number of comments coming from the GPU maker itself, we probably won’t have long to wait to find out – and we can guess (or perhaps hope) that a high-end launch is coming sooner rather than later this year.

AMD’s most recent shot from the hype cannon is that it intends to push out a high-end GPU to disrupt 4K gaming in a similar manner to what Ryzen did in the processor world. Although whether the firm has the financial muscle to push its GPUs as hard as its CPUs – while maintaining that momentum with processors, in order to keep that lead over Intel – is another question, of course.

Let’s hope the eventual next-gen Navi product lives up to the hype, although if it doesn’t launch sooner rather than later, it may run into much tougher competition from Nvidia’s own next-gen GPUs (which the rumor mill also expects to debut in 2020).

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NBN deal: iiNet’s chucking in free Fetch subs with selected broadband plans

It’s no simple task choosing an ISP, but if you’re looking to bundle an entertainment package with your provider then iiNet has a deal that’s worth considering.

The leading Aussie ISP is offering a Fetch entertainment bundle free for your first six months when you switch to its NBN25 Liimitless, NBN50 Liimitless or NBN100 Liimitless data plans.

The Fetch entertainment package includes a Fetch Mini set-top box to plug into your TV, which gets you easy access to free-to-air catch-up TV and 30 pre-selected movies each month, and can also stream Netflix and Stan (you’ll need to BYO subscription) and YouTube.

It usually costs AU$ 5 a month, but it’s free for the length of your six-month contract – note that there’s an initial set up fee of AU$ 59.99 however.

Fetch also offers additional channel packs with kids, knowledge, variety and ‘vibe’ content (yeah, we’re not sure about that name either) for an extra AU$ 6 each per month, or include them all in the ultimate channel pack for AU$ 20 per month.

The NBN50 connection is arguably the best value at AU$ 74.99 per month, and iiNet says it’ll get you evening speeds of 43.7Mbps during the peak busy period. This Fetch bundle’s also available on the NBN25 and NBN100 Liimitless plans, priced at AU$ 69.95 and AU$ 99.95 respectively.

If you need a modem, there’s a modest upfront cost of AU$ 59.95 plus a AU$ 10 delivery fee, but you can BYO modem if you already have one.

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