Dish’s AirTV Box Fuses Streaming, OTA Channels with EPG

At CES, Dish debuted AirTV, a 4K set-top box that features Sling TV, Netflix and Android TV for streaming apps and OTA channels, with the Sling TV guide as an organizer for all of the content. The accompanying remote control, which connects to the box via Bluetooth and offers voice controls, provides dedicated buttons for the streaming libraries. The set-top box is “about the size of an Apple TV or Roku box,” with ports for power, Ethernet, HDMI and USB. AirTV is priced at $100 or $130 for the antenna-compatible version. Continue reading Dish’s AirTV Box Fuses Streaming, OTA Channels with EPG

DEG Report: Streaming Exceeds Disc Sales in Industry First

The Digital Entertainment Group reports that, for the first time, subscription streaming has surpassed disc sales, further evidence that Hollywood may need to reconsider traditional windows for theatrical distribution. While total home entertainment spending increased 1.36 percent, “the $5.4 billion in disc sales fell well short of the $6.2 billion tabulated from SVOD providers like Netflix,” notes Variety. Subscription streaming jumped nearly 23 percent in 2016 (although figures do not include Amazon Prime), while disc sales dropped almost 10 percent. In another first, “spending on electronic-sell-through, or EST, which totaled just over $2 billion, was edged by VOD by just $67 million.” Continue reading DEG Report: Streaming Exceeds Disc Sales in Industry First

Nvidia’s New Shield TV Adds 4K HDR and Google Assistant

At CES, Nvidia introduced a new version of its Shield TV streaming box, featuring an updated design and support for 4K HDR. Available later this month, the $200 Shield TV now includes a remote and game controller. The box — which Nvidia claims offers three times the performance speed of any streaming competitor on today’s market — runs Android TV and provides support for thousands of games and access to 4K content from Google Play Movies, Netflix and Vudu. It also features Amazon Video in 4K HDR, which is unusual for Android TV boxes. With Google Assistant also built-in, Nvidia may be looking to take on Amazon Echo. Continue reading Nvidia’s New Shield TV Adds 4K HDR and Google Assistant

LG Wows the Vegas Crowds with Super-Thin 4K OLED Series

LG is showcasing its new Signature 4K OLED W-series this week in Las Vegas with the tagline “Picture on Wall” (as a follow-up to its previous “Picture on Glass”). That’s because at 2.57-millimeters thin, the TVs are best mounted completely flat against a wall (the ‘W’ stands for ‘wallpaper’). To address the lack of ports with such a super-thin design, the W-series features companion soundbars connected via a thin cable. The Dolby Atmos capable soundbars are outfitted with four HDMI ports, three USB connections and an optical audio port. The two models are also exceptionally light; the 65-inch version weighs 18 pounds, and the 77-inch model is 27 pounds. Continue reading LG Wows the Vegas Crowds with Super-Thin 4K OLED Series

Roku Readies 4K HDR Platform, Announces New TVs at CES

Roku is introducing new hardware at CES this week, including a number of 4K TVs featuring Dolby Vision HDR (high dynamic range). The company, whose app platform is now the basis of 13 percent of smart TVs sold in the U.S., has partnered with Element Electronics on Roku TVs expected to hit shelves later this year. TCL, which uses the Roku TV program for all its smart TVs, is also introducing new Roku-based 4K HDR TVs. And Hisense unveiled its H4 series, the company’s first 4K HDR Roku TVs. Dish, Dolby, Element, Hisense, Hitachi and TCL are among the vendors showcasing Roku TVs in Las Vegas. Continue reading Roku Readies 4K HDR Platform, Announces New TVs at CES

Sling TV to Offer Local Broadcasts, Streaming via AirTV Player

Streaming TV service Sling TV is debuting its own TV tuner box, according to news on the company’s website. The AirTV Player features the ability to receive local over-the-air TV channels via a digital antenna, as well as Sling TV’s standard streaming services, with optional Netflix. EchoStar’s Sling Media subsidiary and Dish’s Sling TV appear to have collaborated on the AirTV box, since “AirTV Player” and its logo are copyrighted by EchoStar. By offering local channels, AirTV might encourage more viewers to cut the cord. Continue reading Sling TV to Offer Local Broadcasts, Streaming via AirTV Player

SkyLights and Gogo Bring Personal Entertainment to Airlines

People are accustomed to accessing on-demand video at will, so a flight on an airplane with a communal TV screen can be jolting. Now, startup SkyLights aims to let airline passengers don a virtual reality headset to watch the latest 3D Hollywood movies. French entrepreneur David Dicko’s company offers a headset with six-hour battery life and noise-canceling headphones, which has been tested on flights for almost one year. French carrier XL Airways will soon begin to offer SkyLights headsets for rent, at $16 per flight. Continue reading SkyLights and Gogo Bring Personal Entertainment to Airlines

Comcast Signs Deals with Four Studios to Offer Movie Extras

Comcast inked deals with Universal Pictures (which it owns), Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment for “movie extras” to accompany those studios’ film titles. The cable company, which will offer a free sample of the enhanced extras during the 10 days leading up to Christmas, says it is working on adding more studios and movies in the coming year. With the extra content, Comcast hopes to better compete with other digital movie providers, including Apple, which added extra content two years ago. Continue reading Comcast Signs Deals with Four Studios to Offer Movie Extras

Amazon’s Global Push Creates Direct Competition with Netflix

Amazon launched its global Prime Video service, pricing it under Netflix to compete in the subscription-video arena. This year, according to Cowen & Co., Amazon is on track to spend more than $3 billion on Prime Video content, compared with $6 billion by Netflix. In addition to its Amazon Studios originals, the program line-up for its international Prime Video offering will include hundreds of movies and TV shows, varying by country. Licensed movies include “Jurassic Park,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Gone Girl” and others. Continue reading Amazon’s Global Push Creates Direct Competition with Netflix

Facebook Pursues Funding, Licensing Original Video Content

Facebook plans to fund original productions and license original video content from media companies and digital celebrities for its platform. To be led by Facebook head of global strategy Ricky Van Veen, the new initiative is still in its nascent stages; a spokesperson only says the company is reaching out to many potential partners. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has steadfastly insisted Facebook is not a media company, but given this decisive move towards content, that will be a difficult position to maintain. Continue reading Facebook Pursues Funding, Licensing Original Video Content

Netflix Finds That TV Binge Viewing Often Followed by Movies

Netflix’s research shows that, after binge-watching a TV show, 61 percent of subscribers (accounting for 36 percent of all Netflix members) watch a movie, after nearly all of them (59 percent) take at least a one-day break. More granular research shows that the TV-movie pairings are often logical: Those who watched the “Pretty Little Liars” series next watched “Bring It On” and “Mean Girls,” and “Breaking Bad” viewers turned to “Full Metal Jacket” and “Pulp Fiction.” Horror series viewers, however, often turned to comedy. Continue reading Netflix Finds That TV Binge Viewing Often Followed by Movies

Google Play Sells Movies in 117 Countries, Launches 4K Titles

Launched less than four years ago, Google Play has become much more than the official Android app store, establishing itself as a top retailer in home entertainment. Users treat it like a digital media store, where they can buy movies or TV shows digitally — often sooner than they can on Netflix or other streaming services. Google is now selling movies in 117 countries. Next, Play Movies & TV will be offering 4K for over 125 movies in its collection, for sale via Web or mobile. Continue reading Google Play Sells Movies in 117 Countries, Launches 4K Titles

Hulu Launches Ultra HD, YouTube Supports 4K Live Streaming

Hulu has joined Netflix and Amazon in offering select titles in 4K. Subscribers with a Microsoft Xbox One S or Sony PlayStation 4 Pro console (and a minimum connection speed of 13 megabits per second) can now enjoy James Bond films and original Hulu series in the Ultra HD format. Netflix and Amazon also offer select high dynamic range content. Meanwhile, YouTube — which first introduced 4K support to its video-sharing site in 2010 — is now bringing the same capability to live streaming of 4K and 360 videos. The feature should help the site compete with Facebook and Twitter in the live streaming space. Continue reading Hulu Launches Ultra HD, YouTube Supports 4K Live Streaming

Netflix Makes Updates to Improve Visual Quality of Downloads

Last week, Netflix opened the doors to downloaded content for offline viewing on mobile devices. Now, the company is describing some judicious technology adjustments it made to ensure viewers enjoy an improved video image, and that the resulting content doesn’t eat up the mobile device’s storage. The company did that by switching video codecs, although the result favors Android users, as well as improving its already-established method of varying data rates based on the needs of each scene in a movie or TV show. Continue reading Netflix Makes Updates to Improve Visual Quality of Downloads

Facing Ad Saturation, Facebook Is Now Forced to Get Creative

Facebook, which is currently ranked second in Internet advertising, is reaching saturation with its ads, prompting chief financial officer David Wehner to declare that the company’s revenue growth will “meaningfully” slow in 2017. That’s forcing Facebook to experiment with more creative ways to boost ad revenue than simply pushing quantity. To that end, the company is experimenting with targeting customized ads based on the Facebook profiles tied to the IP addresses streaming shows to peoples’ Roku or Apple TV boxes. Continue reading Facing Ad Saturation, Facebook Is Now Forced to Get Creative

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