TiVo DVRs Add Support for Amazon’s Virtual Assistant Alexa

TiVo is introducing voice control to its DVRs with support for Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa. Consumers who have TiVo devices including the Premiere, Roamio and Bolt boxes will be able to interact with Alexa for basic remote control commands such as skipping commercials with SkipMode, changing channels, and launching video apps like Netflix. TiVo joins companies including DirecTV, Dish and Verizon in adding hands-free, voice control features. At CES in January, TiVo announced its plans to add support for Alexa and Google Assistant. Continue reading TiVo DVRs Add Support for Amazon’s Virtual Assistant Alexa

AT&T Plans to Introduce New Sports-Free Streaming Service

AT&T chief exec Randall Stephenson announced last Thursday that the company plans to introduce the AT&T Watch live TV service in the coming weeks. The streaming service will offer a sports-free, skinny bundle of channels to general consumers for $15-per-month and for free to AT&T Wireless subscribers. “At this price point,” explains TechCrunch, “the service would be one of the lowest on the market — less than Sling TV’s entry-level, $20-per-month package, and just a bit less than Philo’s low-cost, sports-free offering, priced at $16 per month.” Continue reading AT&T Plans to Introduce New Sports-Free Streaming Service

Broadcom Offers $103 Billion in Unsolicited Bid for Qualcomm

Broadcom has made a move to acquire rival Qualcomm, the San Diego-based chipmaker making headlines this year due to its ongoing legal battle with its biggest customer, Apple. In January, Apple filed a federal lawsuit against Qualcomm, claiming the company unfairly blocks rivals and charges steep patent royalties. Qualcomm is now suing Apple for failing to abide by its software license. Broadcom’s unsolicited $103-billion offer marks the largest attempted takeover for the tech industry and is expected to face regulatory hurdles. Continue reading Broadcom Offers $103 Billion in Unsolicited Bid for Qualcomm

Sandvine Details Households Turning to Illegal TV Streaming

About 6.5 percent of North American households are now accessing illegal TV streaming services per month, according to data from a new Sandvine study based on broadband service provider customers. The illegal services earn an average of $10 per month in fees, which represents nearly $840 million for the pirates, notes Variety. Meanwhile, the percentage also represents a potential $4.2 billion in lost revenue for cable, satellite and telco providers based on a estimated $50 per month fee for pay-TV services. However, it is not known whether the households in question would even consider legal pay-TV or OTT options. Continue reading Sandvine Details Households Turning to Illegal TV Streaming

AT&T to Roll Out New Android TV-Based Set-Top Box for OTT

AT&T’s DirecTV is preparing to launch a new TV set-top box based on Google’s Android TV platform. A new FCC filing reveals that the satellite TV company is trying its hand at over-the-top streaming, with the model  number C71KW-400 set-top box, described as the “AT&T/DirecTV Wireless 4K OTT Client.” The accompanying user manual, which defines OTT as delivering video via the Internet to user-connected devices, notes that the device will not be able to interact with DirecTV’s current Genie hardware. Continue reading AT&T to Roll Out New Android TV-Based Set-Top Box for OTT

Pay TV Losses Could Jump to 5 Million Households per Year

We’ve seen a wide range of recent forecasts regarding cord cutting and the impact on traditional pay TV. According to a new survey from RBC Capital Markets, only 55 percent of respondents said they would continue their pay-TV subscriptions. While 2016 saw a loss of 2 million subscribers, a future increase exceeding 5 million per year “does not seem impossible,” wrote RBC analyst Steven Cahall. “The RBC survey found that 21 percent of current cable, satellite or telco TV customers were considering switching to a lower-cost virtual pay-TV service,” reports Variety, “like Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV or DirecTV Now.” Continue reading Pay TV Losses Could Jump to 5 Million Households per Year

CNN to Transform Great Big Story Into a Streaming Channel

Time Warner’s CNN plans to spend $40 million over two years to turn its in-house social video startup Great Big Story into a 24-hour streaming channel. The cable news pioneer “launched Great Big Story in 2015 to make short videos about offbeat places and people,” explains Bloomberg. “The goal was to distribute videos on social media to reach millennials who don’t watch CNN on television.” By next summer, Great Big Story will transform to a 24-hour schedule, “including live programming or feature-length films,” streaming via web TV services such as Sling TV or DirecTV Now. According to CNN exec Andrew Morse, the online feed could one day become its own subscription service or TV network. Continue reading CNN to Transform Great Big Story Into a Streaming Channel

Sling TV Debuts Enhanced DVR, Availability on More Devices

Sling TV’s DVR is one of its more attractive features to consumers, and the company just rolled out DVR enhancements, as well as the option to record TV shows on more devices and channels. The company reports it took customer requests into consideration in tweaking the DVR, which now also protects recordings from deletion, a feature found on hardware-based DVRs. Being able to protect against deletions, however, is not commonly found on cloud-based DVRs for streaming video services. Continue reading Sling TV Debuts Enhanced DVR, Availability on More Devices

Netflix Doubles Subscription Base in 5 Years, Surpasses Cable

According to Leichtman Research, Netflix has surpassed cable TV in number of total subscribers. Netflix recently reached 50.85 million subscribers, whereas U.S. cable companies presently have 48.61 million. “The numbers don’t count minor cable networks, which could in themselves amount to 5 percent of total cable customers,” explains Forbes. While Netflix has added 27 million subs in the last five years, cable subs are only down by 4 million, “not a massive drop off. It’s also worth bearing in mind that cable TV makes up only 50 percent of total TV viewership in pay TV.” Satellite TV presently has around 38 million subscribers. “In total there are 93,319,187 subscribers to cable, satellite and Internet streaming services in the U.S. Continue reading Netflix Doubles Subscription Base in 5 Years, Surpasses Cable

With NBCU Deal, Hulu Will Stream All Top Four Broadcasters

Hulu just inked a deal with NBCUniversal that will bring live coverage of NBC and Telemundo-owned stations to its live streaming service. The deal is a coup for Hulu, which, when it unveils its new service later this month, will offer the top four broadcast TV channels. Hulu previously made deals with CBS, Disney-ABC and Fox as well as USA, Syfy, Bravo, E!, MSNBC, CNBC, NBCSN, Sprout and others, for a total of 50 live TV channels. The new deal also allows Hulu to license NBC and Telemundo broadcast affiliates. Continue reading With NBCU Deal, Hulu Will Stream All Top Four Broadcasters

Hulu Readies Spring Launch of Its Live Streaming TV Service

Hulu’s live TV service, say sources, scheduled to launch this spring, will likely be priced at $39.99 per month, although a company spokesperson said that prices have not yet been finalized. The new live TV service, which will include access to Hulu Originals and on-demand content as well as live network broadcasts and broadcast networks’ on-demand content, will enter a crowded market, competing with Sling TV, DirectTV Now, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue and other streaming services. Continue reading Hulu Readies Spring Launch of Its Live Streaming TV Service

Research Indicates Another Drop in Number of Pay-TV Subs

According to new research from Kagan, pay-TV providers in the U.S. lost about 1.9 million subscribers in 2016. Additionally, OTT providers such as Sling TV, DirecTV Now and Sony PlayStation Vue “gained about 900,000 subscribers last year, rising from approximately 600,000 at year-end 2015 to 1.5 million at the end of 2016,” reports Variety. “While the gains on the OTT front would appear to be good news for cable programmers, the problem is that many broadband-targeted TV packages are stripped-down ‘skinny bundles’ that omit many of the channels included in traditional basic cable lineup.” Kagan estimates 94.7 million residential pay-TV subscribers for the close of 2016, down 2 percent from 2015. Continue reading Research Indicates Another Drop in Number of Pay-TV Subs

SoftBank Reportedly Ready to Sell Sprint to Deutsche Telekom

When the U.S. spectrum auction ends in April, Japan’s SoftBank Group plans to approach Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile US about taking over Sprint, for a merger of the two wireless carriers. Until then, SoftBank is restricted by FCC anti-collusion rules preventing discussions between competitors. SoftBank ran into U.S. antitrust regulations two-and-a-half years ago when it was forced to stop negotiations to acquire T-Mobile for Sprint, a deal that would have put SoftBank in control with Deutsche Telekom a minority shareholder. Continue reading SoftBank Reportedly Ready to Sell Sprint to Deutsche Telekom

Caavo Connects All Your Apps, Devices and Content Platforms

Caavo is a $399 savvy middleware box that connects content to virtually any device. Featuring eight HDMI ports and software that automatically configures to any device, Caavo offers a universal remote control with touchscreen and buttons, and works with Alexa (Google Assistant and Siri are soon to come). Caavo is designed to make watching a range of content on many different devices a seamless affair. The company was founded by Andrew Einaudi, Ashish Aggarwal and the late Blake Krikorian (who also co-founded Sling Media).  Continue reading Caavo Connects All Your Apps, Devices and Content Platforms

HBO Now Service Has More Than 2 Million Subscribers in U.S.

During a conference call yesterday with analysts detailing HBO’s strong 2016 earnings, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes announced that the cable network’s standalone streaming service HBO Now, which launched in April 2015, has officially surpassed the 2 million domestic subscriber mark. “Wall Street has been keenly attuned to the pace of subscriber growth for HBO Now as a bellwether of how major media giants will evolve their businesses in the digital era,” reports Variety. The service is vital to Time Warner since “HBO is in the midst of carriage renewal deals with major MVPDs, including the two largest cable operators, Comcast and Charter Communications.” Time Warner is also looking to merge with AT&T, parent of DirecTV. Continue reading HBO Now Service Has More Than 2 Million Subscribers in U.S.

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