DirecTV Now: AT&T Streaming TV Service to Undercut Cable

Shortly after the Time Warner acquisition made headlines, AT&T announced that its streaming TV service, launching next month, will offer 100-plus channels for $35 per month. The company previously suggested that DirecTV Now would not undercut cable. “It’s clear what customers want. They want premium content in a mobile environment,” said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. “Our goal is to drive prices down.” The move can also be seen as a way to generate support for the Time Warner deal. “Regulators will heavily scrutinize the proposed merger of two such large and influential companies, but the pair are insistent that the deal benefits consumers,” reports Wired. “Certainly, Internet television benefits consumers.” Continue reading DirecTV Now: AT&T Streaming TV Service to Undercut Cable

Dish Is First Pay-TV Company to Offer YouTube Vids via STB

Dish Network’s Hopper 3 DVR now offers access to YouTube video content, marking the first time a U.S. pay-TV provider will allow consumers to access the online videos through its set-top box. The Hopper 3 YouTube app offers access to YouTube’s video offerings and, for subscribers, the YouTube Red SVOD service. Other apps available on Hopper include Netflix, Pandora and Vevo. “Dish customers can search, browse and play YouTube videos without switching inputs and devices,” explains CNET. “With YouTube now at greater parity with regular television programming on Dish’s box, pay-TV customers can decide for the first time if YouTube is actually ‘premium’ for them, too.” Continue reading Dish Is First Pay-TV Company to Offer YouTube Vids via STB

AT&T to Purchase Media Giant Time Warner for $85.4 Billion

Over the weekend, AT&T announced it has agreed to acquire Time Warner for $85.4 billion in cash and stock. If the deal passes regulatory hurdles, AT&T would become home to Turner cable networks (such as TBS, CNN and TNT), premium cable channel HBO and the Warner Bros. film and TV studios. The telco, which already owns DirecTV, would also pick up a stake in Hulu. The new business would combine the carrier’s millions of wireless and pay-TV subscribers with Time Warner’s major media entities, enabling AT&T to produce and distribute an array of content across wireless phone, broadband and satellite TV. Continue reading AT&T to Purchase Media Giant Time Warner for $85.4 Billion

Netgear Nighthawk Router Ideal for 4K Streaming, VR Gaming

Netgear is launching its $500 Nighthawk X10, which the company claims is the “world’s fastest router.” The X10 features quad-stream Wave 2 Wi-Fi architecture, a 10-gigabit port and a 1.7-gigahertz quad-core processor, the fastest processor found in a home router today. Intended for 4K video streaming, instant backup and VR gaming, the Nighthawk X10 Smart Wi-Fi Router can handle next-gen 802.11ad Wi-Fi and speeds up to 7.2 gigabits per second. “The Nighthawk X10 supports Plex Media Server with transcoding for smooth 4K streaming, even to remote devices,” reports VentureBeat. “It is also the industry’s first router to run Plex Media Server without the need for a computer.” Continue reading Netgear Nighthawk Router Ideal for 4K Streaming, VR Gaming

The NBA Plans to Experiment with VR Streaming This Season

The NBA announced it plans to stream at least one game each week this season in virtual reality. Available only to NBA League Pass subscribers, the VR streaming will debut October 27 when the Sacramento Kings take on the San Antonio Spurs. “Initially, they will only be accessible by people who own a Samsung smartphone and a Samsung Gear VR headset,” reports The Wall Street Journal, “but the plan is to make the games viewable on other types of VR devices later in the season.” The league, which “plans to have a distinct production crew and even announcing team for the VR broadcasts,” partnered with NextVR to develop an app for accessing the games in virtual reality. Continue reading The NBA Plans to Experiment with VR Streaming This Season

Google Signs Deal with CBS for Planned YouTube TV Service

Google has signed an agreement with CBS to feature the network’s content on Unplugged, YouTube’s soon-to-be-launched Web TV service, expected to roll out early next year. While CBS is the first major network to join Unplugged, Google is reportedly close to signing deals with 21st Century Fox, Disney and NBCUniversal. The company is targeting cord cutters and consumers growing wary of traditional pay-TV subscription costs with its YouTube alternative — a skinny bundle of channels priced at $25 to $40 per month. Google will join a crowded field of OTT offerings, including Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and a planned service from Hulu. Continue reading Google Signs Deal with CBS for Planned YouTube TV Service

Walmart Debuts Free, Ad-Supported Video Streaming Service

Retail giant Walmart announced the launch of its free, ad-supported streaming video service called Vudu Movies On Us, which offers thousands of titles available for 1080p HD streaming, and supports Dolby Digital sound when available. Vudu has been selling and renting movies and TV shows for almost 10 years. The new service, however, will not feature new releases or current series. Instead, it will focus on older blockbusters and classics. Vudu considered developing a subscription VOD service, but opted for the ad-supported model since the majority of Walmart customers expressed interest in free or discounted video services. Continue reading Walmart Debuts Free, Ad-Supported Video Streaming Service

Razer Purchases THX with Plans for VR and Global Expansion

Razer, which develops hardware and services for the gaming world, announced this week that it is acquiring THX from Creative Labs, with plans to run the iconic audio company (founded by filmmaker George Lucas in 1983) as an independent subsidiary with a focus on overseas expansion and new device areas such as VR headsets. THX is expected to continue operating under current management, led by CEO Ty Ahmad-Taylor. Razer, run by CEO Min-Liang Tan and valued at $1.5 billion, also acquired gaming startup Ouya last year. Financial terms of the THX deal have not been disclosed. Continue reading Razer Purchases THX with Plans for VR and Global Expansion

Netflix Adjusts China Plans, Pursues Licensing Deals for Now

Facing stiff regulatory hurdles, Netflix has decided to shift gears regarding its plans for expansion into China. Rather than launching its own streaming subscription service as originally planned, the company will instead focus on licensing content to Chinese online service providers for now. “We still have a long-term desire to serve the Chinese people directly, and hope to launch our service in China eventually,” the company said while announcing its impressive Q3 earnings and subscriber jump. Netflix added more than 130 countries to its global presence this year, but a move into China would involve a “challenging” regulatory environment. Continue reading Netflix Adjusts China Plans, Pursues Licensing Deals for Now

ABC Offers its New Shows for Streaming via Digital Platforms

ABC announced yesterday that it plans to offer all episodes of new series and some returning shows to authenticated viewers for streaming on its digital platforms, including the ABC TV Everywhere app and ABC.com. In addition, consumers without a pay-TV sub will have access to a rolling five of recent episodes, most of which will also be available on Hulu. “Designated Survivor,” “Conviction,” “American Housewife” — and a few returning series like “Quantico” — are among the series that will be available as full seasons. Continue reading ABC Offers its New Shows for Streaming via Digital Platforms

Google to Divide its Index, Enabling Improved Mobile Searches

During a keynote address at Pubcon in Las Vegas last week, Google’s Gary Illyes explained that the company is planning to create a separate mobile index soon that will serve as the primary index the engine uses for responding to search queries. There will also be a separate, less up-to-date desktop index maintained. The plan was first announced at last year’s SMX East. “It’s unclear exactly how the mobile index will work,” reports Search Engine Land. “For example, since the mobile index is the ‘primary’ index, will it really not be used for any desktop queries? Will it only contain ‘mobile-friendly’ content? How out-of-date will the desktop index be?” Continue reading Google to Divide its Index, Enabling Improved Mobile Searches

W3C to Host Workshop This Week on Web and Virtual Reality

WebVR development, VR content, 3D audio, user interfaces, codecs, file formats and standardization will be among the many topics addressed at this week’s W3C Workshop on Web & Virtual Reality (October 19-20) in San Jose, California. The goal “will be to establish the overall roadmap to standardization to make the Web a robust platform for Virtual Reality,” explains organizer Dominique Hazaël-Massieux. Through presentations and breakout sessions, the workshop plans “to bring together practitioners of Web and Virtual Reality technologies to make the Open Web Platform a better delivery mechanism for VR experiences,” notes the event page. Continue reading W3C to Host Workshop This Week on Web and Virtual Reality

SoftBank Signals Major Ambitions with $100 Billion Tech Fund

Japan’s SoftBank Group, led by chief exec Masayoshi Son, is partnering with a Saudi sovereign-wealth fund to establish a multibillion-dollar tech investment fund. SoftBank is an ambitious tech investor, as evidenced by its recent deals with China’s Alibaba Group, mobile carrier Sprint and chip designer ARM Holdings. Today, the company “plans to invest at least $25 billion over the next five years through a fund dubbed the SoftBank Vision Fund,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund may contribute an additional $45 billion over the next five years as the fund’s lead partner.” SoftBank is in talks with additional global investors, who could “push the new fund up to $100 billion to become the world’s ‘biggest investor’ in technology over the next decade.” Continue reading SoftBank Signals Major Ambitions with $100 Billion Tech Fund

Facebook Allows You to Watch News Feed Videos on Your TV

Facebook has launched a new iOS feature (coming soon to Android) that enables users to cast News Feed videos to TV sets for stream through AirPlay devices, Apple TV, Google’s Chromecast and Google Cast devices. “The move could help Facebook generate more video ad revenue, and increase usage time by giving people the richest possible viewing experience while at home,” suggests TechCrunch. Users can continue to scroll through the Facebook feed as the video streams, allowing the social platform to serve as both first and second screen. Periscope is taking a different tack to do the same “by allowing professional content broadcasts to be piped into Periscope and Twitter via its new Producer feature.” Continue reading Facebook Allows You to Watch News Feed Videos on Your TV

ETC Recognizes ‘Wonder Buffalo’ Creators for Innovative Tech

The Entertainment Technology Center at USC, through its Project Cloud initiative, has selected filmmaker Christine Berg and writing partner Simon Shterenberg to receive the 2016 Innovative Technology Award for their AR/VR/Cloud-based project, “Wonder Buffalo.” Berg and Shterenberg developed the script at the Writers Guild Foundation’s Veterans Writing Program, which pairs military veterans with WGA film and television writers. “Wonder Buffalo” is the third short to be produced through ETC’s Project Cloud to explore and test next-gen production processes and technologies. Continue reading ETC Recognizes ‘Wonder Buffalo’ Creators for Innovative Tech

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