Chromecast Adds Plex Features for Casting Music and Photos

Google’s Chromecast continues to add new services. When it launched nearly a year ago, the $35 streaming media dongle was limited to a handful of apps such as HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Netflix and YouTube. In December, it added 10 new apps, including the ability to stream cloud-based content from personal catalogs. The popular Plex Media Server was one of those additions. Last week, Plex added free casting of users’ content to Chromecast, and the ability for iOS users to share music and photos. Continue reading Chromecast Adds Plex Features for Casting Music and Photos

Will the Future of Visual Effects be Modeled on TV Production?

ETCentric member and contributor Adrian Pennington recently posted an interesting perspective on the direction of visual effects in TV production, including an interview with Adobe’s Steve Forde. “While the feature film visual effects business is in flux, the TV VFX business is thriving by delivering creativity to tight timescales on a budget,” writes Adrian. “Indeed the future of all VFX production could be modeled on the workflows built to support CGI-intensive series like ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Doctor Who.'” Continue reading Will the Future of Visual Effects be Modeled on TV Production?

Amazon Prime Bumped to $99, Retailer Considers Music Service

Insiders say that Amazon is hoping to introduce an on-demand music-streaming service for its growing number of Amazon Prime customers. While the company has negotiated with record companies and music publishers in regards to licensing, financial terms are said to remain an obstacle. The music service is expected to be one of several new possible features the company may bundle with Prime as it raises the annual membership fee from $79 to as much as $119. Amazon already announced a $20 increase to take effect in April. Continue reading Amazon Prime Bumped to $99, Retailer Considers Music Service

HDTV Survey: Most U.S. Consumers Are Not Familiar with 4K TV

Leichtman Research Group conducted its 11th annual HDTV-focused consumer survey and learned that the majority of respondents have not heard of 4K/Ultra HD, suggesting the industry may need to educate consumers in order to foster adoption of the technology. According to LRG, only 30 percent of adults have heard of 4K, while only about one-third of that group has actually seen a 4K TV. Additionally, strong interest in purchasing a 4K set was not evident in the findings. Continue reading HDTV Survey: Most U.S. Consumers Are Not Familiar with 4K TV

Samsung Enters the Music-Streaming Market with Radio Service

Samsung launched a free radio-streaming service in the U.S. last week, which aims to attract customers for its Galaxy-branded smartphones while taking on the likes of Pandora, Spotify and Apple. The initially ad-free “Milk Music” combines content licensed from Slacker Radio’s catalog of about 13 million songs with music obtained exclusively for Samsung. It differs from other services in that users do not need to log in or even register. The application can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. Continue reading Samsung Enters the Music-Streaming Market with Radio Service

SXSW: Google on Chromecast Sales and SDK for Wearable Tech

During his SXSW keynote in Austin, Texas yesterday, Google SVP of Android, Apps and Chrome, Sundar Pichai said that the company has sold “millions” of its $35 HDMI Chromecast devices since the product’s launch last summer. Pichai’s comments mark the first time anyone from Google has publicly addressed Chromecast sales. Pichai also told the crowd that Chromecast will be available for “many more countries” in the coming weeks, and Google will release an Android SDK for wearable devices. Continue reading SXSW: Google on Chromecast Sales and SDK for Wearable Tech

Instagram Flexes its Muscles with E-Commerce and New Ad Deal

Social photo- and video-sharing site Instagram has signed its first major advertising deal with an agency. Instagram is launching a paid ad program with Omnicom Media Group, which agreed to a year-long commitment of up to $100 million that will deliver ads from brands tied to Omnicom’s media and creative agencies. Instagram, which launched in October 2010, was acquired by Facebook in 2012. Today, Instagram says its 150 million active users upload 55 million photos daily. Continue reading Instagram Flexes its Muscles with E-Commerce and New Ad Deal

Web Video Pioneer KoldCast TV Shutters After Loss of Millions

Early pioneer of original online video content KoldCast TV announced last week that it is shutting down. KoldCast co-founder and CEO David S. Samuels said that the company has lost millions of dollars in its efforts to bring original serialized video to the Web. KoldCast’s production company, The Sixth Wall, will also close as the founders focus their energy on sister companies Dynamic Influence and Wild Spirit Studios, that offer production and consulting services for third parties. Continue reading Web Video Pioneer KoldCast TV Shutters After Loss of Millions

OnLive Shifts Strategy Beyond Simply Streaming Games Online

OnLive, a startup that provides users with online video game streaming, is shifting its strategy to allow users to play games that are purchased from other services, as well as access games without being connected to the Internet. OnLive’s original goal was to enable users to play sophisticated games over the Internet, and eliminate the need to buy hardware or install software to play them. OnLive’s service could be compared to Netflix, but for video games instead of movies. Continue reading OnLive Shifts Strategy Beyond Simply Streaming Games Online

Mario Batali to Kickstart New Dailymotion Original Programming

In an effort to attract more U.S. viewers, Paris-based online video site Dailymotion is pushing new original programming that it hopes will help the service compete with Google’s YouTube. Dailymotion plans to initially commit between $3 million and $4 million to produce up to six series this year that will include leading personalities from industries such as food, music and entertainment. The company is also courting U.S. firms as potential investors. Continue reading Mario Batali to Kickstart New Dailymotion Original Programming

DirecTV in Talks with Disney for New Licensing Agreement

Following this week’s news of a first-of-its kind licensing agreement between Disney and the Dish Network, DirecTV said it is in similar talks to license the rights to offer Disney channels as part of an Internet-based product. The rights are part of a larger programming deal that would replace a current agreement slated to expire in December. In related news, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said he expects to reach a streaming deal with Netflix and hopes to partner with content providers for a broadband-only video service. Continue reading DirecTV in Talks with Disney for New Licensing Agreement

HBO Chief Exec on a Standalone Version of HBO GO Service

During a Q&A session at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in San Francisco yesterday, HBO CEO Richard Plepler indicated that the company has considered offering a standalone version of its HBO GO service. However, the prospect of offering broadband-only distribution will depend largely on demand, and only a small percentage of subscribers currently use HBO GO. The traditional model is still working for the premium channel, which reported subscriber gains of 2 million in 2013. Continue reading HBO Chief Exec on a Standalone Version of HBO GO Service

Dish Programming Deal with Disney Resolves Auto Hop Dispute

As part of a new long-term programming deal with Disney, Dish will curtail the use of its DVR ad-skipping feature, Auto Hop, for ABC shows. The deal will also provide Dish with online video rights to Disney’s flagship TV channels for a planned Internet-based TV service. The rights deal, confirmed by both companies Monday, marks a first of its kind for Disney. ABC and other major broadcasters have been involved in litigation over the Auto Hop feature since it launched in 2012. Continue reading Dish Programming Deal with Disney Resolves Auto Hop Dispute

Digital Video Content Not a Replacement for TV Programming

According to a new Consumer Electronics Association study, 79 percent of online U.S. adults obtain the video content they watch from traditional TV providers, although a significant number of viewers are turning to other sources. Online video streaming is most common with consumers ages 18-34. However, traditional TV viewing remains consistent for most age groups, suggesting that online services are being used as a supplement rather than a replacement of traditional programming. Continue reading Digital Video Content Not a Replacement for TV Programming

Make Your TV Smart: Roku to Ship $50 Streaming Stick in April

Video-streaming set-top box maker Roku is planning to launch its anticipated Streaming Stick with Wi-Fi remote next month for $49.99. The thumb-size media stick plugs into a television’s HDMI port and offers a similar interface available through the Roku set-top boxes with access to a host of online streaming services. A simple solution to make your TV smart, the Roku Streaming Stick will compete with the popular $35 smartphone-controlled Chromecast device from Google. Continue reading Make Your TV Smart: Roku to Ship $50 Streaming Stick in April

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