Roku Expands Reach of Video Channel to the Web and Mobile

Earlier this month, streaming device maker Roku introduced The Roku Channel — its streaming destination for free, ad-supported movies and TV shows — to non-Roku devices for the first time. The rollout started on the web and select Samsung smart TVs, before plans for a wider cross-platform launch. In addition to updating the navigation for Roku players and Roku TVs to access free TV content, the company plans to bring its service to PCs, smartphones and tablets for those consumers who have not purchased Roku devices. Continue reading Roku Expands Reach of Video Channel to the Web and Mobile

Sony Introduces its New Premium OLED and LED Televisions

Sony Electronics revealed its new premium TVs, the Bravia Master Series, with the goal of bringing a professional-level studio monitor into the home. The OLED A9F, which follows the first Bravia OLED set in 2017, and the A8F, launched earlier this year, feature an upgraded version of Sony’s Acoustic Surface, recreating a 3.2 audio set-up. Other new features are object-based HDR remastering and “super resolution.” Sony has also invested in large crystal LED (CLED) screens, “currently targeted at commercial users,” but not hard to imagine ultimately being scaled down for consumers. Continue reading Sony Introduces its New Premium OLED and LED Televisions

Senators Request Investigation of Smart TV Privacy Practices

Senators Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) have written a letter to Federal Trade Commission chair Joseph Simons requesting that his agency investigate the business practices of smart TV manufacturers. The two senators are concerned about “consumer privacy issues raised by the proliferation of smart TV technology,” since some companies are able to identify what people are watching and use that data to feed ads to other device’s in the consumer’s home. Continue reading Senators Request Investigation of Smart TV Privacy Practices

Oculus TV Debuts as Smart TV for Viewing in Virtual Reality

Oculus officially debuted Oculus TV, a free app and dedicated hub for watching flatscreen video in virtual reality via the Oculus Go headset. By introducing Oculus TV, first announced at last month’s F8 conference, the company makes good on its interest in non-gaming uses of VR. Oculus TV features a virtual home theater with what Oculus says is the equivalent of a 180-inch TV screen, and supports access to streaming video services including Showtime, free web service Pluto TV, Red Bull TV, and Facebook Video. Continue reading Oculus TV Debuts as Smart TV for Viewing in Virtual Reality

AT&T to Purchase AppNexus, Plans Global Ad Marketplace

AT&T is reportedly paying about $1.6 billion to acquire AppNexus, which offers automated software to help advertisers buy ads across apps and websites. Now, AT&T chief executive of advertising and analytics Brian Lesser revealed that the purchase is aimed at creating a platform that connects advertisers not simply with AT&T’s own content, but with competing media outlets in television and digital video. The result would be a pioneering marketplace and give AT&T more leverage against Facebook and Google. Continue reading AT&T to Purchase AppNexus, Plans Global Ad Marketplace

Viewers Not Warming to Recommendations by Video Services

According to research from UserTesting, the personalized viewing recommendations offered by video streaming services are failing to gain traction with most consumers. While results varied across services, only 29 percent of participants indicated that they watch content recommended to them. In addition to relevant recommendations, the study rated services based on metrics such as speed, availability of content, episode scanning, and overall ease-of-use. With a total score of 89.5, Netflix led the field, followed by Hulu (86.8), Amazon Prime (85) and YouTube TV (80.7). Continue reading Viewers Not Warming to Recommendations by Video Services

CBS and Nielsen to Serve Dynamic Ads for Live TV Broadcasts

CBS and Nielsen are joining forces to deliver dynamic ad insertion (DAI) into linear national television programming that is viewed via connected devices. This will enable advertisers to better target individual viewers with more relevant commercials. The collaboration will use Gracenote’s Automatic Content Recognition software, which is already installed in millions of smart TVs. “Nielsen, through its acquisition of Gracenote, will leverage patented technology to replace linear ad spots on individual smart TV sets to offer more advanced advertising capabilities to brands,” said Nielsen exec Peter Bradbury. Continue reading CBS and Nielsen to Serve Dynamic Ads for Live TV Broadcasts

YouTube Creates New Ad Category to Reach Light TV Viewers

YouTube is luring advertisers away from TV, stating that connected TVs are the fastest growing category, with an audience of cord cutters and so-called light TV viewers. Its own YouTube TV, launched last year as a skinny bundle paid TV service, is now being viewed not just on mobile screens but on TV screens. In fact although half of all YouTube videos are watched on mobile devices, 150 million hours daily are watched on TVs, a 50 percent jump in the last six months. YouTube TV now reaches 85 percent of U.S. TV households. Continue reading YouTube Creates New Ad Category to Reach Light TV Viewers

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

CES Tech Trends: 5G Ushers In a New Connected Ecosystem

On Sunday, January 7, CES 2018’s hottest trends were previewed in an event open only to press. CTA senior director of research Steve Koenig and senior manager of research Lesley Rohrbaugh divided tech trends into three parts: Ingredient or B2B technologies such as 5G, AI and robotics; In the Market tech comprised of native interfaces, digital senses and realism redefined; and Emerging Tech focused on smart cities, sports innovations and digital therapeutics. The technology that will make all of it possible, they say, is 5G. Continue reading CES Tech Trends: 5G Ushers In a New Connected Ecosystem

TiVo Next-Gen Platform Integrates Cable, Streaming and DVR

TiVo has launched Next-Gen Platform, its new streaming service that gives consumers a unified way to access content they’ve recorded from cable providers and other streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Altice and other operators can integrate TiVo’s technology on other devices and screens to provide “hyper-personalization, recommendations and voice-control,” says the company. TiVo first mentioned the Next-Gen Platform a year ago, and now touts it as an integration of linear, OTT, on-demand and DVR platforms. Continue reading TiVo Next-Gen Platform Integrates Cable, Streaming and DVR

Preparing for Targeted Ads and Better Metrics With Smart TVs

The advent of smart TVs connected to the Internet has opened up new ways to gather data about the viewing of TV shows and ads. Three companies — Sorenson Media, Alphonso and Verance — are getting ready to leverage new technologies. The first, which is known for its video compression and coding technology, has a way to detect and analyze what’s on a smart TV screen and play the ad best targeted for a specific household. The company has created deals with smart TV manufacturers to have access to the data necessary to do so. Continue reading Preparing for Targeted Ads and Better Metrics With Smart TVs

NBCUniversal Snags Mobile Rights to ‘Sunday Night Football’

NBCUniversal inked a deal with NFL for the rights to stream “Sunday Night Football” to mobile phones, beginning in 2018 and including Super Bowl LII on February 4. The media titan, which will stream the games through its “TV Everywhere” mobile phone offering, has been streaming “Sunday Night Football” to various platforms since 2008, but this is the first time it will be able to stream the No. 1 primetime TV show on all digital platforms. Cable subscribers have had access to the games via apps for tablets and smart TVs. Continue reading NBCUniversal Snags Mobile Rights to ‘Sunday Night Football’

Amazon Lowers Echo Prices to Gain Foothold in Smart Home

It’s a great time to buy a smart speaker, due to Amazon lowering prices of its six Echo devices on Black Friday. Over the Thanksgiving Day weekend, the entry-level Dot — whose price plummeted from $50 to $30 — became the No. 1 seller on Amazon’s website. Amazon, Apple and Google share the same strategy for smart speakers and their virtual assistants: as an entry point to the connected home. But because home speakers’ functionality is limited, consumers don’t see them as necessary and aren’t willing to pay a high price. Continue reading Amazon Lowers Echo Prices to Gain Foothold in Smart Home

Redbox in Public Beta for New On-Demand Streaming Service

Redbox, known for its red kiosks where users can rent DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, has unveiled a new on-demand streaming service for movies and TV shows. The new service is not subscription-based but, similar to iTunes or Google Play, allows the user to pay for each movie or show that they rent or buy; the on-demand service, currently in public beta, will offer the same kind of new release movies and shows available in the kiosks. The privately held company offers content from every studio except Disney. Continue reading Redbox in Public Beta for New On-Demand Streaming Service

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