PlayStation Vue on Roku Devices Offers Alternative to Cable

Sony’s PlayStation Vue streaming TV service is now available on Roku’s set-top boxes, media sticks and television sets. The Vue service enables users to stream dozens of cable channels such as CNN, Comedy Central, ESPN, Fox News and MTV over the Internet. Vue can be accessed as a Roku app in addition to apps for iPhones, iPads and Amazon’s Fire TV. Next week Vue will be offered for Android users. “Now that Vue is available nationwide and on many streaming-video devices, it’s truly a viable alternative to a traditional cable-TV service,” suggests The Wall Street Journal. Continue reading PlayStation Vue on Roku Devices Offers Alternative to Cable

Virtual Reality Naysayers Dub VR ‘Prison’ and ‘Health Hazard’

Virtual reality may be the hottest technology trend now, with new headsets, cameras and content in high gear. But not everyone is enthused. Two naysayers have had big audiences for their caveats recently. The New York Times technology writer Farhad Manjoo has dubbed virtual reality “a prison of fantastical sights and sounds.” On Quora, a community-sourced Q&A site, military flight simulator expert Steve Baker wrote VR headsets are a major health hazard that can disorient the human brain and damage the eyes. Continue reading Virtual Reality Naysayers Dub VR ‘Prison’ and ‘Health Hazard’

Viacom Debuts BET Streaming Service for International Market

Viacom rolled out a standalone online service this week dubbed BET Play, targeting an adult audience (last year, Viacom launched Nickelodeon-related app Noggin for kids). The video-on-demand application will feature BET’s award programs, such as this week’s 2016 BET Awards, in addition to TV series, musical performances, documentaries, comedy specials and news. BET Play will launch for iOS, Android and Apple AirPlay-enabled TVs without the need for a broader pay TV subscription. It will be available in 100 countries outside the U.S. for the equivalent of $3.99 per month. Continue reading Viacom Debuts BET Streaming Service for International Market

Comcast Rolls Out X1 Search & Record Tool for Rio Olympics

Comcast developed X1, a voice-controlled remote technology that allows its subscribers to search, similar to virtual assistants from Amazon and Apple. Now chief executive Brian Roberts has a good reason to roll it out: the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. NBC plans to broadcast every event live on TV or online — a programming equivalent of 24 hours a day for 250 days — and X1 will make it all searchable, by event, athlete or country. Subscribers can even get alerts when an American is close to winning gold. Continue reading Comcast Rolls Out X1 Search & Record Tool for Rio Olympics

Altice Closes Cablevision Deal to Become Major U.S. Operator

The $17.7 billion acquisition of New York-based Cablevision Systems Corp. by European cable company Altice NV is now complete. The new company, Altice USA, will become the fourth largest broadband provider in the country with 4.6 million customers across 20 states. Cablevision will join with Suddenlink, acquired by Altice last year. “Altice has vowed to invest more in improving the infrastructure of the Cablevision and Suddenlink networks with a focus on boosting broadband speeds, improving Wi-Fi service and updating the programming guide and interface to more user-friendly designs,” reports Variety. Continue reading Altice Closes Cablevision Deal to Become Major U.S. Operator

Tablo Premieres Live TV and DVR App for 4th Gen Apple TV

Canadian-based Tablo has launched an app for Apple TV 4th generation devices that, with the company’s $200 Tablo DVR, will allow users to stream live TV and watch recorded programs. The Tablo DVR, seen as an alternative to TiVo, includes an over-the-air broadcast antenna, and two tuners for the $200 price. A $300 version offers four tuners; TV Guide data is an add-on at $5 a month. Tablo’s only downside may be that it requires some technical know-how to attach the user’s external drive to store the recordings. Continue reading Tablo Premieres Live TV and DVR App for 4th Gen Apple TV

Social Media Becoming Significant Platform for Today’s News

Two new reports — one from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and another from the Pew Research Center — highlight how social media platforms are becoming the dominant platform for accessing and consuming news. Reuters reveals that 28 percent of 18-to-24 year olds are more likely to access social media as their main source of news than TV (24 percent), and 51 percent of those with online access also rely on social media as a news source. This trend is negatively impacting traditional business models. Continue reading Social Media Becoming Significant Platform for Today’s News

Networks Use Data From Social Media to Produce New Shows

Entertainment companies are increasingly paying attention to trends on tweets and Facebook posts to create content that will appeal to viewers. The idea is that giving viewers what they want, as judged by their current conversations, is a barometer of success and loyalty. At NBCUniversal Media’s leadership conference last year, the focus was on this topic: how to use big data — as found on a variety of social media platforms — to create content that resonates with today’s viewers. Big data is now becoming a key factor in the development process. Continue reading Networks Use Data From Social Media to Produce New Shows

WWDC: Apple Unveils OS Enhancements, Opens Siri to World

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference kicked off yesterday in San Francisco with a two-hour keynote that introduced new enhancements coming to iOS, watchOS, tvOS and Mac OS X (now called macOS). Developer previews of the operating systems are being made available now, with public betas to follow next month, and integration with Apple devices by fall. Among the highlights: live channels and YouTube search are coming to Apple TV, Siri is coming to the desktop, a new SDK invites developers to create Siri apps, iPhone users can dump unwanted apps, Apple Pay is expanded to Safari, Apple Music gets a new interface, and watchOS 3 loads apps seven times faster. Continue reading WWDC: Apple Unveils OS Enhancements, Opens Siri to World

Cable and Telecom Companies Lobby Against FCC Proposals

Last month, 60 lawmakers signed a letter objecting to an FCC regulation that would open up the cable TV set-top box market. More recently, Democratic congressman Bobby Rush’s staff pushed his colleagues to sign another letter, this one opposing an FCC proposal to limit how broadband providers can share users’ personal data. These are just recent efforts by the cable industry to oppose what it sees as unfair advantages enjoyed by tech companies such as Google in the light of new FCC proposals. Continue reading Cable and Telecom Companies Lobby Against FCC Proposals

Google Chromecast Shipments Top Apple TV for the First Time

According to researcher IHS, Google Chromecast shipments surpassed Apple TV numbers for the first time. During Q1, 3.2 million Chromecast devices shipped, compared to 1.7 million Apple TV units. The $35 Chromecast has become more competitive since launching its new version in September, designed for easier use with televisions than the previous model. Chromecast also supports “thousands” of popular apps such as Google Play Movies, HBO Now, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Showtime Anytime, Spotify, Twitch, WatchESPN, YouTube, and many others. Continue reading Google Chromecast Shipments Top Apple TV for the First Time

Time Inc. and Wochit Partner to Help Publishers Create Videos

Time Inc., which purchased ad tech network and Myspace owner Viant earlier this year, is planning to publish 40,000 pieces of video content in 2016. To help achieve this ambitious goal, Time has partnered with New York City-based Wochit, a startup that helps online publishers produce short videos. Wochit provides pre-licensed content, editing tools and publishing options for social media and mobile platforms. The service analyzes article text and finds related graphics, photos and videos to build a video. Publishers can then add voice-over, music and more. Continue reading Time Inc. and Wochit Partner to Help Publishers Create Videos

Latest Cisco Study Predicts Internet Traffic Will Triple by 2020

Cisco’s 11th annual Visual Network Index predicts that one billion new Internet users will be connected by 2020, driven in large part by the introduction of 10 billion new connected devices. Cisco forecasts that by the end of the decade smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic — and the demand for video services will serve as the greatest driver, representing nearly 80 percent of data traffic. The report suggests that annual global IP traffic will surpass the zettabyte (1,000 exabytes) milestone this year, and will reach 2.3 zettabytes by 2020. Continue reading Latest Cisco Study Predicts Internet Traffic Will Triple by 2020

Emmy Awards to Debut New Short-Form Categories This Year

The Television Academy has added Emmy Award categories for short-form variety, nonfiction/reality and animation series as well as new actor and actress awards. The move reflects recognition of the growing popularity of original content produced primarily for online video services. Contenders on the 2016 ballot include digital series such as Maker Studios’ “Epic Rap Battles of History;” “Scare PewDiePie,” available on YouTube Red; AwesomenessTV’s “Guidance;” and New Form Digital’s “Oscar’s Hotel for Fantastical Creatures,” produced with Jim Henson’s Creature Workshop and available on Vimeo. Continue reading Emmy Awards to Debut New Short-Form Categories This Year

Dish Ships HopperGO, Mobile Video Solution for Hopper Users

The Dish HopperGO, originally announced at CES, is now shipping, and early reviews deem it a good device for specific uses. About half the size of a smartphone, the tiny device is basically a 64GB USB drive with built-in wireless access that connects to the user’s Dish Hopper 3 or Hopper 2 and offers a capacity of up to 100 hours of TV. The user can unplug the device and then watch four hours on one charge through the Dish Anywhere app. The device’s interface consists of an “on” button and a USB port. Continue reading Dish Ships HopperGO, Mobile Video Solution for Hopper Users

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