Amazon Hits 100M Prime Subscribers, Inks Deal with Best Buy

For the first time, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos revealed the number of Amazon Prime subscribers: 100 million people. In 2015, the company last hinted about the number, saying there were “tens of millions” of Prime members. With this revelation, Bezos is letting shareholders know that Prime is healthy, and that the large number of subscribers will allow the company to continue to invest in technology and thrive. Bezos also recently announced that Amazon is teaming with Best Buy to sell Amazon Fire TV-powered sets. Continue reading Amazon Hits 100M Prime Subscribers, Inks Deal with Best Buy

CBS Brings Sports News and Analysis to Connected Devices

CBS launched its streaming CBS Sports HQ network this week, designed to complement programming from CBS Sports. The free, 24-hour streaming network will feature live reporting, news, previews, highlights and analysis. The offering — a collaborative effort between CBS Sports and CBS Interactive — is available on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku, in addition to the CBS Sports app (iOS and Android), news streaming network CBSN and the CBS All Access subscription service. Later this spring, ESPN is expected to launch its standalone streaming service, ESPN Plus. Continue reading CBS Brings Sports News and Analysis to Connected Devices

Google Developing Game Streaming Service for Chromecast

Google is in development on a game streaming service for compatible Chromecast devices (or potential future home consoles). Dubbed “Yeti,” the service would be similar to Sony’s PlayStation Now and Nvidia’s GeForce Now game streaming services, which means that users wouldn’t download software but stream from a Google server. Users could play Android games on a consumer TV via existing technology, but it isn’t clear if that would be Google’s sole strategy. The company recently hired game industry veteran Phil Harrison. Continue reading Google Developing Game Streaming Service for Chromecast

Caavo to Ship Universal Remote Control With Machine Vision

Caavo is a universal TV control system that uses machine vision (which the company dubs Caavo Vision) to navigate behind the scenes of every streaming, cable and satellite box. The company, which first promised to ship units in June, now states that 5,000 units will be on sale for $399 on February 14. The company also raised another $17.5 million in venture capital, bringing the total to $32.5 million. Caavo differs from other universal remotes in that it can create a single search index and watchlist across devices and services. Continue reading Caavo to Ship Universal Remote Control With Machine Vision

DisneyNOW Consolidates Three Popular Kids Apps Into One

Until now, Disney had separate Watch apps for children 2-14 that featured entertainment content from the Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior. Now, the company has consolidated all three into a single app, thus boosting its pay-TV business. DisneyNOW will offer full episodes and live streaming from all the networks to customers whose cable, Internet TV, satellite or telco providers are participating. In addition to DisneyNOW, the company reportedly plans to create its own movie streaming service when its deal with Netflix expires in 2019. Continue reading DisneyNOW Consolidates Three Popular Kids Apps Into One

Amazon’s NFL Deal Creates New Paradigm for Sports Rights

On September 28, Amazon will live-stream the first of 11 NFL “Thursday Night Football” games to its Prime Video members in over 200 countries and territories (excluding China). The last game, between Pittsburgh and Houston, will live-stream on Christmas Day. The event marks the beginning of an era in which technology titans, including Google and Facebook, vie with traditional broadcasters for the rights to major sports deals. The sports leagues are drawn to the global reach of the major technology companies. Continue reading Amazon’s NFL Deal Creates New Paradigm for Sports Rights

Advertisers Follow YouTube Viewers to Living Room TV Sets

An increasing number of YouTube’s 1.5 billion viewers are watching its videos on the living room TV set rather than smartphones. With Internet-connected TVs, users are having an easier time streaming over-the-top content at home, where they can enjoy the content on a much bigger screen. Other over-the-top providers, from Roku to Apple TV, Facebook to Twitter, are experiencing the same kind of migration from smaller digital devices to the TV. That means more advertisers than ever are buying YouTube and its ilk. Continue reading Advertisers Follow YouTube Viewers to Living Room TV Sets

Sony, National Cable TV Group Ink Deal for PlayStation Vue

Sony Interactive Entertainment America and the non-profit organization National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) inked a deal that will allow local cable companies to offer Sony’s PlayStation Vue’s “cable TV bundle.” NCTC is a programming-and-hardware purchasing group for 850 cable and broadband systems in the U.S., serving more than nine million customers, mainly located in rural areas. In addition to the Sony deal, NCTC also made a deal with fuboTV, a startup that offers streaming sports channels. Continue reading Sony, National Cable TV Group Ink Deal for PlayStation Vue

NBC’s Premier League Pass to Live Stream Soccer Matches

NBC Sports is doubling down on soccer. Next season, in addition to streaming 130 Premier League soccer matches to online subscribers, the NBC Sports Gold live streaming service will debut its Premier League Pass for $50. Starting in August, it will offer at least three matches per club as an exclusive live stream. Replays of most matches (including those not offered live via NBC Sports Gold), highlight clips, Premier League Productions and NBC Sports original content will also be available. Continue reading NBC’s Premier League Pass to Live Stream Soccer Matches

Amazon Takes Aim at Cord Cutters, Roku With Its Fire TV Set

Amazon is taking pre-orders for Element’s Fire TV Edition sets, to ship in June at the same time other retailers get them. Amazon, Element and Westinghouse announced Fire TV-based television sets at CES 2017, and the companies are now revealing prices and other details. Element will offer its 43-inch Fire TV for $449 retail, a 50-inch for $549, a 55-inch for $649, and a 65-inch for $899. The TVs support 4K video and offer a quad-core processor, 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage for apps, specs that are meant to future-proof it. Continue reading Amazon Takes Aim at Cord Cutters, Roku With Its Fire TV Set

BitTorrent Adds New Chief Exec, Aims to Spinoff Live Service

BitTorrent is going through some changes: according to sources, founder Bram Cohen is turning his efforts to a new crypto-currency project, Rogelio Choy is taking over the chief executive position from Dipak Joshi, and plans are afoot to turn the BitTorrent Live service into a separate, venture-funded company. Joshi, who came on board as interim chief executive after BitTorrent fired its co-chief executives in October, will continue to work as its chief financial officer, a role he’s held since 2014. Continue reading BitTorrent Adds New Chief Exec, Aims to Spinoff Live Service

Sling TV Expands Cloud DVR Access in Early Access Program

Dish’s Sling TV is rolling out its new Cloud DVR to customers with Amazon devices through an early access program. The feature has been in private beta for Roku users since November. While one potential advantage of the cloud is never running out of storage space, “Sling TV isn’t offering infinite storage or even different storage capacities,” reports TechCrunch. “Instead, ‘First Look’ customers pay an extra $5 per month for up to 50 hours of storage, with no expiration on those programs. When capacity runs out, the oldest ‘watched’ recordings are removed first, to make room for others.” Sling TV’s Cloud DVR also allows users to record multiple programs simultaneously (although limited based on rights deals with broadcasters). Continue reading Sling TV Expands Cloud DVR Access in Early Access Program

Facebook Readies TV App for Streaming Video Through STBs

Facebook will soon launch a TV app that will let users stream videos in their News Feed through set-top boxes including Apple TV and Amazon’s Fire TV, and smart TVs from Samsung. The move to a television app is evidence of Facebook’s new directive from chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to become a “video first” company, and positions the social network to compete for TV advertising dollars. Users can employ the TV app to watch Facebook videos on their living room TV sets, and Facebook is in discussions to provide access to other video content. Continue reading Facebook Readies TV App for Streaming Video Through STBs

Plex Integrates Alexa Voice Control with Popular Media Player

Media player Plex, joining many device manufacturers, has added Alexa voice control for its first foray into home automation. Now, via the company’s Plex Skill for Alexa, the user can ask for favorite content, even music, from her Plex media library without a remote control. But Alexa for Plex isn’t as simple as it is for Spotify or Pandora, which rely on the Alexa mobile app. Instead, users have to enable Remote Access for their media server in the software’s setting, to turn requests into API calls in Plex’s cloud services. Continue reading Plex Integrates Alexa Voice Control with Popular Media Player

AT&T Reveals Details About DirecTV Now Streaming Service

AT&T filled in details about its streaming service DirecTV Now, which goes on sale this week for between $35 and $70 a month. Four tiers of service range from 60 channels to 120 channels, delivered to Web browsers, mobile phones and streaming devices, including Amazon’s Fire TV stick and Apple TV. AT&T is currently offering a promotional deal of a 100-channel package, which will be priced at $60/month, for $35/month. The company, which bought DirecTV for $50 billion last year, will continue to sell its satellite service. Continue reading AT&T Reveals Details About DirecTV Now Streaming Service

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