Microsoft Planning Original TV Programming for Xbox Console

Microsoft is expanding beyond video games in an effort to make its Xbox console more of an entertainment media hub. The software giant is planning to produce TV-like original programming including an expected series from Steven Spielberg based on “Halo,” a version of Swedish sci-fi show “Humans,” a soccer reality-style series and a documentary about discarded Atari games. Microsoft joins a growing field as companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Yahoo are tackling original content. Continue reading Microsoft Planning Original TV Programming for Xbox Console

Netflix to Be Available to 500,000 Cable Subscribers Next Week

Netflix has reached an agreement with cable companies RCN, Grande Communications and Atlantic Broadband that will allow subscribers to basically access the streaming video service as if it were a cable channel starting next week. Netflix will be added as an app to set-top boxes to provide subscribers with the option of viewing the Netflix content they would otherwise access via computers and mobile devices. The offer is only available for customers of the cable companies who also subscribe to Netflix. Continue reading Netflix to Be Available to 500,000 Cable Subscribers Next Week

HBO Signs Exclusive Licensing Pact with Amazon Prime Service

In a first of its kind deal for Time Warner’s HBO, the premium cable channel has agreed to license older episodes of its programming to Amazon Prime’s subscription streaming service. The agreement is the first such HBO deal with an online video provider, and will make original series such as “The Wire” and “The Sopranos” available for online streaming. Prior to this deal, HBO shows were only available for digital purchase through Amazon or Apple’s iTunes, or via rental services such as Netflix. Continue reading HBO Signs Exclusive Licensing Pact with Amazon Prime Service

Dish Network Plans Internet TV and Wireless Data Services

Late this summer, Dish Network hopes to begin offering a low-cost Internet TV service that would allow customers to solely stream live TV channels on tablets, smartphones and computers. The company is in talks with potential content partners and has already struck a deal with Disney to offer channels such as ABC, the Disney Channel and ESPN. Dish also partnered with startup Artemis on a separate project to develop a high-speed wireless data service that is 1,000 times faster than 4G. Continue reading Dish Network Plans Internet TV and Wireless Data Services

AT&T and Chernin Group Invest $500 Million in Online Video

AT&T announced a joint venture with The Chernin Group to commit $500 million to buy and launch Internet video services. Video content is foreign territory for AT&T, while Chernin’s only foothold is a majority stake in anime streaming service, Crunchyroll. Together, the two organizations have pledged to “acquire, invest in and launch over-the-top video services.” AT&T’s move into streaming services comes on the heels of similar projects by competitors such as Verizon and Dish Network. Continue reading AT&T and Chernin Group Invest $500 Million in Online Video

Time Warner Cable Offers VOD, Streaming, Cable via Fan TV

Time Warner Cable has partnered with startup Fanhattan to offer customers the Fan TV cable set-top box, which enables viewers to watch live TV, cable TV, and streaming video via Internet Protocol. The sleek cable box features a unique viewer guide with an integrated offering of online and live content from television shows to movies through a simple touchpad remote. Pre-orders of Fan TV set-tops, which began Tuesday, are $99, and they will be ready to ship in June. Continue reading Time Warner Cable Offers VOD, Streaming, Cable via Fan TV

Aereo Supreme Court Case Could Upend Cloud Computing

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the Aereo case that could cause legal implications for cloud computing businesses such as Dropbox and Google, especially if remote storage and data transmission are classified as “public performance.” Broadcasters accuse the Internet startup Aereo of violating copyright laws by using antennas to stream over-the-air broadcasts to paid subscribers. Justices will determine if Aereo’s service is “public performance” that requires permission. Continue reading Aereo Supreme Court Case Could Upend Cloud Computing

‘In Your Eyes’: Joss Whedon Releases New Movie via Vimeo

With little fanfare, Joss Whedon’s Bellwether Pictures has released its newest film, “In Your Eyes,” for online distribution via Vimeo. During the film’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this week, Whedon announced that the movie was already available online for $5. Whedon, the writer and producer of the film, previously experimented with bypassing traditional distribution methods with his 2008 Web series, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.” This is his next step in exploring ways to release content directly to the audience. Continue reading ‘In Your Eyes’: Joss Whedon Releases New Movie via Vimeo

Netflix Passes 34 Million Subscribers, Previews Price Increase

Netflix announced on Monday that it plans to raise the price of its streaming video service for new members by a dollar or two per month. The service, which now has more than 34 million paid U.S. subscribers, is justifying the rate increase based on its continued investment in original programs, including series such as “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.” In addition to its first-quarter earnings report yesterday, Netflix announced opposition to Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Continue reading Netflix Passes 34 Million Subscribers, Previews Price Increase

Rentrak Reports Increase in VOD Broadcast Prime Time Viewing

TV and film measurement service Rentrak recently released its latest “State of VOD” report, which found that free video-on-demand viewing of prime time broadcast television programming increased 24 percent over the same period last year. The Rentrak report also found that 66 percent of prime time program viewing occurred after the third day of original broadcasts, suggesting that there is increased opportunity to generate additional advertising dollars for VOD. Continue reading Rentrak Reports Increase in VOD Broadcast Prime Time Viewing

Streaming Video: Amazon No Netflix, But Tops Apple and Hulu

Amazon recently released statistics that show its Prime Instant Video streaming service has tripled since last year, and is now more popular than Apple and Hulu. Despite its growth, Amazon is still dramatically far behind Netflix and YouTube. According to a recent report from Qwilt, a provider of online-video delivery and caching solutions, Netflix is currently the number one streaming video site, representing more than 57 percent of the streaming market in March, while YouTube follows in second. Continue reading Streaming Video: Amazon No Netflix, But Tops Apple and Hulu

LG Launches Open Source Connect SDK for App Developers

Rather than copying Chromecast to webOS, LG released an open source Connect SDK late last week that integrates media casting, making it easier for developers to bring their apps to connected devices such as Roku streaming boxes, Google’s Chromecast, Amazon’s Fire TV and LG’s own TV sets. By combining existing multiscreen and home sharing protocols such as Google’s Cast SDK, DLNA and DIAL, developers’ mobile apps only need one set of code to work on a variety of big screen devices. Continue reading LG Launches Open Source Connect SDK for App Developers

Labels File Copyright Suit Against Pandora Under State Law

Major record labels Sony, Universal and Warner Music, along with indie label ABKCO, filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan last week, claiming that streaming music service Pandora is violating New York’s common-law copyright protections by using songs recorded prior to 1972 without licenses. The suit acknowledges that older songs are not protected under federal copyright, but contends that Pandora needs permission to use them under state law. Continue reading Labels File Copyright Suit Against Pandora Under State Law

New Sony Media Player to Access 4K Library and Stream Netflix

As a follow-up to its original $700 4K media player, Sony has announced a new model, the FMP-X10, that will provide access to Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K download library and be able to stream 4K Netflix content. The new player, available this summer, will be compatible with Sony Ultra HD sets and include 1 terabyte of storage. A price has yet to be announced. Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K library currently features more than 200 titles (45GB-60GB files), about 50 of which are available for free. Continue reading New Sony Media Player to Access 4K Library and Stream Netflix

Twitter Acquires Gnip, Could Provide More Data to Advertisers

Twitter has agreed to purchase data partner Gnip, in a move that could lead to an expanded role by Twitter in analyzing tweets for businesses that are seeking new insights from social media. While financial terms of the deal have yet to be released, Gnip has reportedly raised $6.6 million in funding. Twitter also announced that it has hired Daniel Graf as its new product chief. Graf, an expert in mobile apps, most recently served as a director at Google where he oversaw Google Maps. Continue reading Twitter Acquires Gnip, Could Provide More Data to Advertisers

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