Half of U.S. Homes with Internet Have Connected TV Devices

NPD Group reports that “connected TV devices” were in 46 million U.S. homes at the end of Q2 2015. That figure represents about half of all U.S. homes with an Internet connection. NPD defines “connected TV device” as one that connects to the Internet and allows the user to access apps (including connected devices such as smart TVs, game consoles, streaming media players and Blu-ray Disc players). According to NPD executive director John Buffone, the 4 million year-over-year jump is attributable to increased sales of smart TVs and a surge of streaming services. Continue reading Half of U.S. Homes with Internet Have Connected TV Devices

TV Everywhere: Scripps Offers Live Streams of Cable Channels

Scripps Networks Interactive has partnered with TV Everywhere platform provider Anvato to offer viewers new live streams of the Cooking Channel, DIY Network, Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel online and via mobile devices. In addition to streaming Scripps programming, Anvato is powering dynamic ad insertion (DAI) on network websites and the Android and iOS apps for Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel. According to Matt Smith, chief evangelist at Anvato, DAI is becoming more popular as producers look to monetize their digital services. Continue reading TV Everywhere: Scripps Offers Live Streams of Cable Channels

New Apple TV Could Compete with Traditional Game Consoles

When Apple unveils its next generation Apple TV product this Wednesday at its scheduled event in San Francisco, insiders say videogames will be one of the key selling points. The move marks a departure for Apple TV, which has thus far been marketed as a device for streaming video and music content. The device will reportedly feature the components necessary for generating interest from casual gamers, including more power and a faster processor for improved graphics, a motion-sensitive remote that could also serve as a game controller and an app store for downloading games. Continue reading New Apple TV Could Compete with Traditional Game Consoles

Amazon Plans to Acquire Portland-Based Video Formatting Firm

Amazon announced that it has agreed to purchase Elemental Technologies in an all-cash deal valued at about $500 million, marking Amazon’s biggest deal since last year’s $1 billion acquisition of videogame streaming site Twitch. Elemental helps media companies encode and transcode video content for viewing on the Web and via mobile devices. Amazon plans to add Elemental to its Amazon Web Services cloud computing division, one of the company’s faster-growing units. Amazon reportedly beat out both Ericsson AB and Cisco Systems to acquire Elemental. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Acquire Portland-Based Video Formatting Firm

IFA 2015: Samsung is First to Announce 4K UHD Blu-ray Player

As 4K UHD TVs slowly come to market, and streaming services continue to introduce support for 4K and high dynamic range programming, Ultra HD Blu-ray is the next logical step. During its press conference at the IFA trade show in Berlin yesterday, Samsung became the first company to officially announce a 4K UHD Blu-ray player. Samsung’s UBD-K8500 supports HDR, offers 64 times the colors of standard Blu-ray, and plays UHD content at up to 60 frames per second. 20th Century Fox is providing content for the player, and plans to issue all its new releases in 4K Ultra HD with HDR. Continue reading IFA 2015: Samsung is First to Announce 4K UHD Blu-ray Player

Hulu Introduces Ad-Free Option to Streaming for Additional $4

For an additional $4 ($11.99 per month), Hulu is offering an ad-free option to streaming movies and TV shows. Those who prefer to pay $7.99 will still have to sit through ads. The move could help Hulu better compete with popular streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon that do not include advertising. It could also present the company with an opportunity to increase its revenue in order to invest in more content. This could prove vital since premium cable networks such as HBO and Showtime are making their programming available outside traditional cable bundles. Continue reading Hulu Introduces Ad-Free Option to Streaming for Additional $4

Google Ups the Ante with VP10 Compression, to Beat H.265

Media today requires more bandwidth, and that means more efficient compression. Ultra HD or 4K, wider gamut for more color choices, and HDR (high dynamic range) all require a bigger pipe and better compression. Same goes for HFR (high frame rate) — anything above 30 fps, for movies and games — and of course all that video streaming that everyone is doing. Up until now, H.264 has been the leading contender, but now Google is pushing its VP9 technology hard to play catch-up. H.265 and VP10 are just over the horizon. Continue reading Google Ups the Ante with VP10 Compression, to Beat H.265

Apple Considers Move into Producing Original Video Content

Sources indicate that Apple has recently been meeting with Hollywood executives to discuss the possibility of the tech giant taking a more active role in the entertainment business by producing original programming. The group exploring the possibility reports to Eddy Cue, who handles content-related issues for Apple. According to one high-level exec who met with Apple, the goal is to launch development and production units by next year that would produce streaming content to take on Netflix and similar services. Continue reading Apple Considers Move into Producing Original Video Content

Apple TV 4 to Debut in October, Could Be a Game Changer

Inside sources report that Apple is on the verge of releasing its 4th generation Apple TV in October for a price likely to be under $200. The new Apple TV will feature an A8 chip in a dual-core configuration for an updated interface and improved navigation. More importantly, it will include a native software developer kit, ensuring that a wide variety of apps will continue to be developed and released. Also featured are a new motion sensitive remote control, Siri support and an as-of-yet unknown quantity of TV content. Continue reading Apple TV 4 to Debut in October, Could Be a Game Changer

Netflix Allows Its Epix Cable Deal to Run Out, Hulu Jumps In

Netflix has let its deal with pay-TV channel Epix lapse, as it moves away from non-exclusive content to more exclusive content and original programming. Into that void, the smaller Hulu has inked a deal with Epix to stream its content beginning in October. Epix, owned by MGM, Lionsgate and Paramount Pictures, has the rights to numerous high profile films including “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Transformer: Age of Extinction.” Epix also signed a deal in 2012 with Amazon Prime Instant Video. Continue reading Netflix Allows Its Epix Cable Deal to Run Out, Hulu Jumps In

Streamed 4K Video from Netflix Being Leaked to Torrent Sites

Pirates have reportedly found a workaround for 4K copy protection on Netflix, as an Ultra HD copy of the first episode of “Breaking Bad” is making the rounds on torrent sites. While 4K content for television and PCs may still be in its early stages, some analysts anticipate increased leaks in the future. Netflix and Amazon are among the first streaming services to offer 4K content, although most consumers do not own 4K TVs yet. Streaming has strong protection, and until the recent leak, High-Bandwidth Digital Copy Protection (HDCP) was generally believed to be unbreakable. Continue reading Streamed 4K Video from Netflix Being Leaked to Torrent Sites

Facebook Video Raises Offensive Content, Piracy Concerns

Now that Facebook has become a major player in video, the social media company finds itself tackling new issues: piracy and policing of content. The latter became an issue within minutes after a gunman killed two journalists on live TV; the gunman posted his video on Facebook (and Twitter), which went viral. Content owners are also irate that Facebook has been slow in working to prevent copyrighted videos from being reposted by third parties. Now that Facebook admits it has a problem, the work to fix it begins. Continue reading Facebook Video Raises Offensive Content, Piracy Concerns

YouTube Rolls Out Dedicated Gaming Hub to Take on Twitch

YouTube launched its centralized hub for gaming this week, a new competitor to Amazon’s Twitch that features live and recorded video content about popular games. YouTube Gaming is available for game fans on mobile (Android, iOS) and the Web and offers more than 25,000 dedicated pages. The service automatically populates all gaming content from YouTube’s community, and Google is appealing to video creators by promising to make it simpler to livestream their games. Gaming-related video content has exploded in popularity, and is now second only to music. Continue reading YouTube Rolls Out Dedicated Gaming Hub to Take on Twitch

LG to Intro New Flat Series of HDR-Compliant 4K OLED TVs

LG announced that its first flat-screen 4K OLED TV lineup will be available next month. The EF9500 series will be similarly priced to the curved EF9600 series ($5,500 for the 55-inch model and $7,000 for the 65-inch model). However, the new series will mark the first fully HDR-compliant OLED TVs, capable of displaying high dynamic range content from streaming sources and components such as Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and players shipping later this year. HDR offers more contrast between light and dark images for a superior viewing experience. Continue reading LG to Intro New Flat Series of HDR-Compliant 4K OLED TVs

Hulu Pursues Programmatic Advertising, Powered by LiveRail

Hulu will try its hand at programmatic advertising with a private ad exchange that should make buying ads more similar to the experience on Facebook or Twitter. The new automatic ad buying service will rely on Facebook video ad exchange LiveRail, but won’t leave the company’s traditional salespeople out of the equation. To make ads more valuable, Hulu will combine its own data with that of the advertiser to more narrowly target relevant viewers. Show-specific sponsorships won’t initially be offered. Continue reading Hulu Pursues Programmatic Advertising, Powered by LiveRail

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