Life & Technology - 2GB 17th May, 2015

Everyone’s been talking budget this week, but what does it mean for technology? One of the major changes is the so called “Netflix Tax”. Essentially, what it means is that Australians will need to start paying GST on digital products and services being sold locally by companies based overseas.

 

Companies such as Netflix, Uber, AirBnB and Google will all have to start collecting GST. Some companies may choose to absorb this cost, while others will simply bill their customers. Either way, we don’t have to worry too much, as the earliest we’ll see it is in July 2017

 

Panasonic this week announced its 2015 TV line-up for Australia, focusing on tight integration with Netflix and a new smart TV operating system. Netflix is actually so integrated to almost all of Panasonic's new TVs that there's a dedicated Netflix button on the remote! In addition, most of Panasonic's 2015 range run a smart TV operating based on Mozilla's Firefox OS. The revamped operating system is built on two pillars: ease of use and customisability.

 

The first consumer version of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset will be available in the first quarter of 2016. Oculus Rift has been in development since 2012, where the company, Oculus VR, started its life as a Kickstarter project.

 

Since, the company was acquired by Facebook, and has worked with Samsung on similar technology. While many consider the Oculus VR a gaming peripheral, Oculus is also heavily investing in film making, which could be pretty mindblowing based on what we've seen so far.

 

Following Optus and Vodafone’s lead, Telstra has revamped its family sharing offering. If you’re on a Telstra plan, you can add a second SIM card to your account for $40 per month. You’ll be able to make unlimited phone calls and send unlimited text messages from this SIM, but data will be shared from your main account. You’re also not eligible for a subsidised phone with one of these “companion” SIMs.

 

I had a bit of fun on the Today Show this week testing out tough smartphones and tough smartphone cases. If you missed it, click here for the segment, and here to see the aftermath.

 

You might not have heard of them, but Aspera make some seriously tough smartphones and tablets - they took a beating on the Today Show and kept working after a pretty big drop. This is the kind of device you need if you've got a problem with a constantly broken phone.

 

If you don't want an entirely new phone, and don't want a tremendously bulky case, its worth taking a look at Tech 21's "orange goo" cases. Dubbed Impactology, these slim cases have a shock resistant orange goo inside that helps protect your phone if you drop it. When combined with one of Tech 21's screen protectors, you'll be protected against drops as high as 1.8m!

 

You can now download the Stan app for your Apple TV if you’ve got one. I’ve been asked about this a lot, and it’s finally here. Until now, the only way to get Stan on your TV was with a Chromecast or using Airplay, so it’s great to see Stan expand. Hopefully we’ll be seeing some smart TV apps soon too!