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

Capcom Debuts Cloud-Streaming Version of ‘Resident Evil 7’

Japanese game publisher Capcom is introducing a cloud-based streaming service to add high-end games to Nintendo’s Switch. Last month, the company released a cloud version of “Resident Evil 7” for the Switch in Japan, priced at $18 for 180 days of access, compared to as much as $50 for a downloaded version. Up until now, the video game industry hasn’t fully adopted cloud services because — rather than simply streaming a selected song or video – the servers would have to respond without lag to unpredictable game play. Continue reading Capcom Debuts Cloud-Streaming Version of ‘Resident Evil 7’

ESPN to Cover More Than 500 Wimbledon Tennis Matches

For the first time, ESPN will have cameras on all 18 courts at Wimbledon to offer complete coverage of more than 500 matches, including this week’s four days of qualifiers. Tennis fans can stream coverage from the All England Club on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPN+ via the ESPN App. The sports network is also planning to televise about 140 hours on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. Additionally, the network will offer daily highlights, weekly reviews, press conference feeds, social buzz, related specials, and a marathon of notable matches on ESPN Classic. Continue reading ESPN to Cover More Than 500 Wimbledon Tennis Matches

AT&T Looks to Attract Cord Cutters With New Video Service

AT&T launched WatchTV, a “skinny bundle” video service aimed at luring cord cutters. The package offers a select number of TV channels for as little as $15 per month and gives free access to subscribers on unlimited data plans. For now, the service will be free with the company’s two top-tier wireless plans; the $15 per month plan will launch later. Among the channels to be included are AMC Networks and Discovery; Viacom’s Comedy Central and MTV2 will be added after launch. AT&T just acquired Time Warner for $81 billion. Continue reading AT&T Looks to Attract Cord Cutters With New Video Service

Roku to Offer Subscription Video Market Similar to Amazon’s

According to sources, Roku will debut a marketplace similar to Amazon Channels, allowing consumers to sign up for video subscription services without downloading separate apps on Roku devices. Roku already offers access to HBO Now, CBS All Access and other subscription services via its channel store, but, up until now, consumers have needed to download a dedicated app (which Roku calls a “channel”) onto their device and then sign up for the service. The new marketplace is expected to make it much easier to access such services. Continue reading Roku to Offer Subscription Video Market Similar to Amazon’s

New YouTube Premium and Music Services Go International

On Monday, YouTube increased international distribution of YouTube Premium, with its streaming hit “Cobra Kai” and other original content — and YouTube Music, with the Beatles’ album catalog. Both services have been available in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea, and the move represents a major push into international territories. YouTube Music, which is offered as an ad-supported free service or as the subscription-based Music Premium, is now available in both forms in the U.K. Continue reading New YouTube Premium and Music Services Go International

Tron Founder Sun Purchases File-Sharing Pioneer BitTorrent

Justin Sun, founder of Tron and its TRX cryptocurrency, just purchased BitTorrent, a pioneering file-sharing company. TorrentFreak first reported rumors of the acquisition last month, saying that Sun was pursuing the company. After starting talks with BitTorrent in September last year, Sun signed a letter of intent to purchase the company in January. Meanwhile, BitTorrent began speaking with other suitors, leading Sun to file a temporary restraining order, asserting that BitTorrent agreed not to pursue other offers. Continue reading Tron Founder Sun Purchases File-Sharing Pioneer BitTorrent

Apple Inks Original Program Partnership with Oprah Winfrey

Apple and Oprah Winfrey just inked a production partnership for the former’s subscription video service, although neither gave specifics of the kind of programming they intend to create. As competition heats up in the media content space, traditional media companies find themselves vying with Silicon Valley firms for the talent needed to create blockbuster programming; in fact, Amazon also was in talks with Winfrey. Netflix, meanwhile, has signed Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, and Warner Bros. retained Greg Berlanti. Continue reading Apple Inks Original Program Partnership with Oprah Winfrey

The World Cup Is Finally Available in 4K HDR in Your Home

For the first time, the FIFA World Cup is available in 4K HDR in your living room. Those interested in viewing the world’s single biggest sporting event this way have several choices. Via the Fox Sports World Cup app, cable subscribers can view 4K HDR streams on Hisense’s H6E, H8E or Laser models. Dish is offering 56 of the 64 games live in 4K HDR, and DirecTV is broadcasting all the games that way. Layer3 TV/Altice is also broadcasting in 4K and Comcast Xfinity X1 subscribers can watch 4K HDR on demand the next day. Continue reading The World Cup Is Finally Available in 4K HDR in Your Home

Spotify Offers Direct Licensing Deals to Managers, Indie Acts

Spotify is offering some managers and indie music acts a new arrangement: Management firms can receive “several hundred thousand dollars” as an advance fee for licensing “a certain number of tracks” of their indie artists directly to Spotify. In addition, in some cases, the managers and acts will earn 50 percent of the revenue of those songs per stream. In comparison, major-label artists and their management teams usually get 20 percent to 50 percent of the label’s share and don’t own their master recordings. Continue reading Spotify Offers Direct Licensing Deals to Managers, Indie Acts

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of AT&T-Time Warner Merger

Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court in Washington has approved the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner, despite the Justice Department’s claim that the deal would stifle competition. Judge Leon ruled the Justice Department did not prove that AT&T’s $85.4 billion takeover of Time Warner would result in fewer consumer choices and higher prices for Internet and TV services. While AT&T aims to move forward with the transaction, the DOJ is reportedly considering its options. The decision is expected to impact the future of media and telecom industries, and spur additional mergers and related deals. Continue reading Federal Judge Rules in Favor of AT&T-Time Warner Merger

Electronic Arts to Launch Subscription Service for PC Games

Electronic Arts has embraced a subscription model for its latest PC games, following similar moves by Sony and Microsoft to offer older games via subscription. EA’s Origin Access Premier, to debut this summer, will give full access to more than 100 of its games and some other publishers’ titles, for $15 per month or $100 annually. Ordinarily, games such as “Battlefield V” and “FIFA 19” cost $60 each. Electronic Arts comes in second after Activision Blizzard, the biggest U.S. video game publisher. Continue reading Electronic Arts to Launch Subscription Service for PC Games

Highlights From Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends Report

Noted venture capitalist and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Mary Meeker recently released her annual Internet Trends report at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Among the 294 slides, Meeker explained that smartphone shipments did not grow in 2017, and Internet user growth slowed to 7 percent (more than half the world is already online). However, people are spending more time online. Of the 5.9 hours per day that U.S. adults spent on digital media last year, 3.3 were spent on mobile, which is leading the charge in digital media consumption. Continue reading Highlights From Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends Report

Microsoft Buys Four Game Studios to Ramp Up Development

During Microsoft’s E3 press conference yesterday in Los Angeles, Xbox head Phil Spencer announced that the company has acquired game studios Compulsion Games (Canada), Playground Games (United Kingdom), Ninja Theory (United Kingdom) and Undead Labs (Seattle). Microsoft is planning to expand its Xbox Game Pass service; building up its in-house game development should assist in that effort. Spencer also revealed that the company is developing a cloud-based game-streaming network that will work across Xbox, PCs and phones. Continue reading Microsoft Buys Four Game Studios to Ramp Up Development

Amazon Debuts 4K Fire TV Cube With Alexa-Centric Strategy

Amazon, which started shipping its Fire TV video streaming devices four years ago, is now planning the release of its 4K Fire TV Cube, which combines Fire TV capabilities with Amazon Echo and acts as a TV control center for other devices. Fire TV Cube offers built-in Alexa and was designed with a “voice first” strategy to, as Amazon Fire TV vice president of product development Sandeep Gupta said, “highlight the use of voice.” Priced at $119, Fire TV Cube is the most expensive device in the segment and the sleekest. Continue reading Amazon Debuts 4K Fire TV Cube With Alexa-Centric Strategy

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