Best Buy to End CD Sales, While Target Adjusts Sales Model

Physical CDs are still selling well, although the U.S. has seen sales down by 18.5 percent. But Best Buy and Target have just taken steps that may hasten the demise of physical media. Best Buy, which was once the biggest music seller in the U.S., has told its music suppliers that it plans to pull CDs from its stores on July 1. The company will continue to carry vinyl records for two years, fulfilling a promise made to vendors. Meanwhile, Target is now telling music suppliers it will sell CDs on a consignment basis. The move would also impact sales of movies, TV shows and other video content on DVD. Continue reading Best Buy to End CD Sales, While Target Adjusts Sales Model

YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV Experience Early Subscriber Growth

Hulu with Live TV has reached about 450,000 paid subscribers, while YouTube TV now has more than 300,000, according to sources familiar with the private figures. Neither service has reached the success of leading live-streaming services such as Dish’s Sling TV (more than 2 million subscribers) and AT&T’s DirecTV Now (1 million subscribers), but Hulu and YouTube only launched their offerings last year. Sling TV is the oldest, having launched in 2015, and DirecTV Now experienced recent growth after promotional deals offered free HBO and the option to add the service to mobile plans for $10 a month. Continue reading YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV Experience Early Subscriber Growth

At CES 2018, Hulu Touts Its Content and Subscription Growth

At CES 2018, Hulu made a splash promoting its growing subscriber base and productions. The company also made a point of saying that Netflix’s plan to spend $8 billion on content this year, a number much mentioned at CES, is no great shakes. That’s because Hulu, which is owned by Comcast NBCUniversal, Disney/ABC, 21st Century Fox and minority investor Time Warner, which owns HBO and CNN, has access to $20 billion to $30 billion worth of content. The company recently won an Emmy for “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Continue reading At CES 2018, Hulu Touts Its Content and Subscription Growth

Netflix Takes #1 Ranking for Top Non-Game App By Revenue

Sensor Tower lists Netflix as the top-earning app for 2017 (not counting mobile games). According to TechCrunch: “The service saw gross subscriber revenue of approximately $510 million — a 138 percent increase over last year. That’s about 2.4 times the $215 million users spent in the Netflix app in 2016.” In previous years, the #1 ranking was earned by Spotify and LINE. The annual report ranks apps and publishers available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. Top earners on Google Play included Tinder, Google Drive, LINE, Pandora, and HBO Now. Continue reading Netflix Takes #1 Ranking for Top Non-Game App By Revenue

LG Unveils OLED TV That Rolls Out Like a Projector Screen

Four years after LG Display demonstrated an 18-inch, rollable OLED screen with the promise of larger future versions, the company has delivered with a 65-inch 4K version. Most reviewers are reporting eye-popping colors and perfect blacks; The Verge awarded the display Best Prototype at CES and described it as “absolutely stunning,” noting that it “goes from its native 16:9 to a wider 21:9 cinema mode at the press of a button.” In fact, the TV has three modes: the first mode unrolls the screen up from the base about a third of the way to offer content such as news, photos, weather and sports; the second rises to a 21:9 aspect ratio ideal for movie viewing; and the third mode presents the full 16:9 screen for watching television content. Continue reading LG Unveils OLED TV That Rolls Out Like a Projector Screen

Studios Take on Dragon Box in Latest Streaming Piracy Battle

Amazon and Netflix have joined major studios including Disney and Warner Bros. in suing Dragon Box, claiming that the company’s $350 streaming device makes it easy for consumers to access illegal streams of TV shows and movies. The lawsuit alleges that some of the titles, such as Disney’s “Coco,” are still in theaters. Variety reports: “Dragon Box has advertised the product as a means to avoid paying for authorized subscription services, the complaint alleges, quoting marketing material that encourages users to ‘Get rid of your premium channels … [and] Stop paying for Netflix and Hulu.’” Continue reading Studios Take on Dragon Box in Latest Streaming Piracy Battle

OWNZONES Demos its Cloud-Based IMF Transcoder at CES

OTT video distribution startup OWNZONES Media Network claims it can transcode Interoperable Master Format (IMF) assets 40+ times faster than conventional methods via its Connect solution. “Using a parallel architecture with cloud transcoding, the company says OWNZONES Connect can process a film with a runtime of 2 hours and 40 minutes in just 6 minutes,” reports Variety. “In addition, the company has introduced a ‘pay-as-you-go’ model to let content owners distribute assets in the new SMPTE IMF format standard without any upfront investment.” Continue reading OWNZONES Demos its Cloud-Based IMF Transcoder at CES

Preparing for Targeted Ads and Better Metrics With Smart TVs

The advent of smart TVs connected to the Internet has opened up new ways to gather data about the viewing of TV shows and ads. Three companies — Sorenson Media, Alphonso and Verance — are getting ready to leverage new technologies. The first, which is known for its video compression and coding technology, has a way to detect and analyze what’s on a smart TV screen and play the ad best targeted for a specific household. The company has created deals with smart TV manufacturers to have access to the data necessary to do so. Continue reading Preparing for Targeted Ads and Better Metrics With Smart TVs

Redbox in Public Beta for New On-Demand Streaming Service

Redbox, known for its red kiosks where users can rent DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, has unveiled a new on-demand streaming service for movies and TV shows. The new service is not subscription-based but, similar to iTunes or Google Play, allows the user to pay for each movie or show that they rent or buy; the on-demand service, currently in public beta, will offer the same kind of new release movies and shows available in the kiosks. The privately held company offers content from every studio except Disney. Continue reading Redbox in Public Beta for New On-Demand Streaming Service

FCC Votes 3-2 to Roll Back 2015 Net Neutrality Regulations

As anticipated, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 along party lines yesterday to repeal the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules, which were originally introduced to help protect an open Internet. FCC chair Ajit Pai and two other Republicans backed the change. Net neutrality rules were created as a means of regulating how broadband providers treat Internet traffic in an effort to avoid slowing content delivery or providing fast lanes for specific services. Dismantling the rules is seen as a win for cable and wireless providers and will likely result in lawsuits. Continue reading FCC Votes 3-2 to Roll Back 2015 Net Neutrality Regulations

Samsung and Amazon Join Forces to Stream HDR10+ Video

Amazon and Samsung have partnered to begin streaming videos in the high dynamic range format HDR10+ on the latter’s premium QLED and UHD TVs. Reported by Yonhap News, Samsung said it will be the first time that HDR10+ content will be available via a streaming service. Samsung and Amazon first announced their intent to rely on the HDR10+ open standard in April. Netflix also just announced that it is considering adding support of the HDR10+ standard. Netflix currently supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR standards. Continue reading Samsung and Amazon Join Forces to Stream HDR10+ Video

Netflix Users Are Watching a Billion Hours of Video Per Week

While facing increased competition from Amazon Prime, HBO Go, Hulu and others, Netflix revealed that its users collectively watched about one billion hours of content per week in 2017 (that’s more than 140 million hours per day). Despite being an impressive number, the average user may actually be watching less over time. Based on 109 million global subscribers, the math points to about 480 hours per account. According to TechCrunch, “at the end of 2015, Netflix announced that the 74.7 million users it had at the time had watched 42.5 billion hours of content that year. That suggests about 570 hours per year per account.” Continue reading Netflix Users Are Watching a Billion Hours of Video Per Week

TDG: 40 Percent of U.S. Households Will Cut the Cord by 2030

Despite the increasing number of digital streaming services currently available, including Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, about 85 percent of U.S. households continue to subscribe to traditional cable television. However, The Diffusion Group suggests the tide is turning; the market analyst predicts that by 2030 as many as 40 percent of Americans will have cut the cord. TDG Research also expects the percentage of households subscribing to pay TV will drop to 60 percent during the same period. TDG suggests that by 2030, about 30 million households will be “without an MVPD service of any kind.” Continue reading TDG: 40 Percent of U.S. Households Will Cut the Cord by 2030

Intel, Warner Bros. Unveil AV Entertainment Experience Plans

During this week’s LA Auto Show, Intel and Warner Bros. announced a partnership to develop in-cabin, immersive experiences for autonomous vehicles. The companies are creating the AV Entertainment Experience, which Intel chief Brian Krzanich describes as “a first-of-its-kind proof-of-concept car to demonstrate what entertainment in the vehicle could look like in the future.” Since Americans spend an average of 300 hours per year driving, there is a wealth of possibilities for using that time differently when automobiles become self-driving. The collaboration is looking beyond movies and TV programming to more immersive experiences. Continue reading Intel, Warner Bros. Unveil AV Entertainment Experience Plans

Plex DVR Exits Beta With New Commercial-Removal Feature

Plex started out as a simple home media server and has evolved into a cloud-based platform that offers streaming personalized news and a full-featured DVR. The company has now added a new DVR feature, via an update, that automatically removes commercials. Most of the update fixed bugs; this new feature must be manually enabled in the Plex DVR settings, which now offers a “Remove Commercials” option. Users should, however, pay attention to reports from other users and the setting’s description. Continue reading Plex DVR Exits Beta With New Commercial-Removal Feature

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