Cord Cutting Could Lead to $1 Billion Loss for Pay TV Industry

According to a new study, pay-TV providers stand to lose almost $1 billion as an estimated 800,000 customers are projected to cut the cord over the next year. The results are based on an online survey of U.S. customers by management consulting firm cg42. While some analysts believe that consumers could pay more in the end for standalone Internet and streaming services if they drop cable, the study suggests otherwise, since most people typically do not spend more than about $15 on streaming services. Continue reading Cord Cutting Could Lead to $1 Billion Loss for Pay TV Industry

Amazon Aims to Bring Echo to More Homes with Music Service

Amazon’s soon-to-debut music streaming service will reportedly be priced at about $5 per month, say sources. That price point is less than that charged by competitors Spotify and Apple Music, but Amazon’s end game is to increase sales of its voice-controlled Echo. With a focus on its digital assistant, Amazon most recently debuted a less expensive version, the $50 Echo Dot and is promoting the devices, and its virtual helper Alexa, in its physical bookstores and pop-up stores. Continue reading Amazon Aims to Bring Echo to More Homes with Music Service

Plex, Amazon Launch Beta Test of Cloud-Based Media Center

Digital media center manufacturer Plex is debuting Plex Cloud, which runs its server on Amazon Drive without a local computer or network-attached storage drive. A select group of beta testers will get their hands on Plex Cloud, enabling them to set up a Plex server in one minute and use Amazon’s consumer cloud storage service, including the ability to stream media to any device. This change removes one of the biggest obstacles to adoption of Plex’s solution for personal media: the need for a dedicated server. Continue reading Plex, Amazon Launch Beta Test of Cloud-Based Media Center

Roku Refreshes Media Box Line-Up, Offers Ultra HD and HDR

Roku updated its line-up of streaming media boxes, discontinuing the Roku 1, 2, 3 and 4 devices but hanging on to its $50 Roku Streaming Stick. New products for the “low-end” HD market now include the compact $30 Roku Express that has an HDMI port to connect to HDTVs and an infrared remote, and the $40 Roku Express Plus, sold exclusively at Walmart, offering a composite cable port to connect to TV sets without an HDMI port. Roku also emphasizes 4K/Ultra HD with three new players, two of which are HDR-capable. Continue reading Roku Refreshes Media Box Line-Up, Offers Ultra HD and HDR

Top Record Labels File Lawsuit Against YouTube Ripping Site

Sony, Universal, Warner Bros. and other record labels are taking legal action against the German operator of website YouTube-mp3.org, claiming that the industry is being robbed of revenue from streaming, downloads and advertising. BBC notes that the site provides an easy-to-use method of downloading audio from YouTube videos. The labels filed the suit in a federal court in Los Angeles, seeking damages including $150,000 per each alleged act of piracy. According to the labels, “tens, or even hundreds, of millions of tracks are illegally copied and distributed by stream-ripping services each month.” YouTube-mp3.org is described as the “chief offender,” with more than 60 million monthly users. Continue reading Top Record Labels File Lawsuit Against YouTube Ripping Site

AT&T to Roll Out Streaming TV Service Aimed at Cord-Nevers

By the end of 2016, AT&T plans to debut DirecTV Now, a streaming service targeting cord-nevers, the 20 million households with no cable or satellite service. Sources say that AT&T intends DirecTV Now, which will deliver multiple live-feeds via broadband to the home, to become its primary video platform within five years. The platform will offer more than 100 channels and the ability to stream to two devices simultaneously, all without the need for cable or satellite service. AT&T bought DirecTV for $48.5 billion last year. Continue reading AT&T to Roll Out Streaming TV Service Aimed at Cord-Nevers

Presidential Race Gets Streaming Treatment Across Platforms

Election coverage focused on presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will get a major boost from social media, streaming technology and even virtual reality. Facebook plans to live-stream the upcoming debates with help from ABC News, while a Twitter-Bloomberg partnership will bring live streams of the debates to Twitter. YouTube, meanwhile, is slated to live-stream the debates from PBS, Telemundo and The Washington Post. And starting last night, NBC with AltspaceVR began streaming election coverage in virtual reality. Continue reading Presidential Race Gets Streaming Treatment Across Platforms

Pandora Plus Makes Debut, Record Labels Experience Uptick

Pandora unveiled Pandora Plus, replacing the 16-year old company’s original ad-free service. What’s different is that the company now licenses music from the major record labels, rather than using compulsory licenses from the government, with rates determined by federal judges. With the new version, users can replay or skip songs and listen offline. The monthly price remains $4.99. Out of Pandora’s nearly 80 million users, only 4 million are paying subscribers. An on-demand tier for $10/month will also debut by end of 2016. Continue reading Pandora Plus Makes Debut, Record Labels Experience Uptick

Netflix CFO Explains Plans to Ramp Up Original Programming

Speaking at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia conference yesterday, Netflix CFO David Wells explained that the streaming service’s goal over the next few years is to offer more original programming. The company is aiming for half of its content to be represented by original productions and the other half licensed movies and TV shows. According to Wells, original programming will continue to be content produced by Netflix in addition to a range of co-productions and acquisitions. Netflix is “one-third to halfway” toward reaching its goal, he said. Continue reading Netflix CFO Explains Plans to Ramp Up Original Programming

Netflix Debuts Open Source Tools for IMF and Image Testing

Netflix has long collaborated with rivals, most notably on cloud computing open source projects. Now, it’s released “Meridian,” a 12-minute movie that acts as test footage to allow hardware manufacturers, codec developers and engineers to evaluate imagery. The company is also releasing open source tools to encourage the use of the Interoperable Master Format (IMF), developed as a standard by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers for exchanging master files between studios, distributors and services such as Netflix. Continue reading Netflix Debuts Open Source Tools for IMF and Image Testing

Spotify Focuses on Major Record Label Deals to Boost Profits

In its efforts to move more free-tier users to its $10/month subscription service, Spotify has redoubled its efforts to ink long-term licenses with major record labels. One potential option is that the labels would limit new releases to Spotify’s subscription tier in exchange for a lower percentage of subscription revenue. Another possibility is that Spotify will provide artists data and promotion in exchange for reduced royalty payments. Spotify is trying to settle the deals by end of 2016, say sources. Continue reading Spotify Focuses on Major Record Label Deals to Boost Profits

EU to Propose Stricter Regulations Impacting Digital Services

The European Union has unveiled proposed regulations designed to help protect its consumers. The goal is to create a single market out of Europe’s many regions, enabling its 500 million consumers to access the same services. But the EU proposals also create stricter demands for privacy and against copyright infringement, including reforms that would hold streaming services responsible for instituting better anti-piracy methods. From the perspective of Silicon Valley and much of Hollywood, the EU’s efforts are a form of protectionism. Continue reading EU to Propose Stricter Regulations Impacting Digital Services

Twitter Comes to Apple TV, Fire TV, Xbox in Time for Football

Twitter has introduced a new video-centric app available for Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV and Microsoft’s Xbox One as the social platform readies its live-streaming debut of “Thursday Night Football.” The new app “will contain only video, photos and tweets curated by the company,” explains The Wall Street Journal. Live streaming is now a major component of the company’s latest business strategy as evidenced by deals with “the NFL, MLB, the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Pac-12 Networks for sports, and Bloomberg News and Cheddar for financial news.” Continue reading Twitter Comes to Apple TV, Fire TV, Xbox in Time for Football

Sony, Universal Ink Deals with Pandora for Streaming Services

Sony Music, Universal Music and Merlin Network, which represents 20,000 independents, have agreed to license songs to Pandora for its two new music services. Pandora plans to offer the advertising-free Pandora Plus and an on-demand service similar to Spotify. The company is also still in talks with Warner Music in an attempt to ink a deal with this third-largest music rights holder. Pandora hopes to launch both of its new services by the end of 2016. As of June 30, Pandora says it has 78.1 million active listeners. Continue reading Sony, Universal Ink Deals with Pandora for Streaming Services

TiVo Introduces Bolt+ DVR with Six 4K Tuners and 3TB Drive

Following Rovi’s $1.1 billion acquisition of TiVo and the unveiling of TiVo’s new UX on-screen user experience, the company has now rolled out its latest DVR, the Bolt+ with six 4K tuners and 3TB of storage. While last fall’s 4K-ready Bolt debuted a white chassis and curved form factor, the Bolt+ returns to TiVo’s standard black body. The newest addition to the Bolt family can record 450 hours of HD content and allows users to simultaneously record and stream more shows. The Bolt+ will be available for $499.99 (not including the monthly service fee) starting tomorrow. Continue reading TiVo Introduces Bolt+ DVR with Six 4K Tuners and 3TB Drive

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