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

HBO Experiments with Branching Narrative TV Series and App

Against the backdrop of eroding live TV viewership and the expansion of video games and Web video, acclaimed filmmaker Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic,” “The Knick”) has directed “Mosaic,” an interactive series with branching narratives. Co-developed by Soderbergh and former Universal Pictures head Casey Silver with screenwriter Ed Solomon, “Mosaic” is a multi-episodic mystery that allows audiences to choose the story threads they experience. The series is now available for free download from Android and Apple stores and for viewing with Apple TV. Continue reading HBO Experiments with Branching Narrative TV Series and App

Facebook Plans to Buy Content Outright, Strikes Sports Deal

Facebook, which launched its video tab Watch three months ago, is mulling over changing how it works with the media companies that bring new shows. Sources say that Facebook will switch to buying projects outright — dubbed “hero” shows — rather than partially funding their production. The goal is to provide more funding for the shows crucial to Watch’s success. Among the so-called hero shows are teen drama “Five Points” produced by Kerry Washington, Simon Fuller’s “Skam” and some short-form and mid-form series. And in a new deal, Facebook also plans to stream more live college sports. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Buy Content Outright, Strikes Sports Deal

Amazon Cancels Plans to Launch a Skinny Bundle TV Service

Amazon has decided to cancel its plans to create an online streaming service that would have bundled broadcast and cable TV networks. The decision was reportedly based on the challenges involving how to generate a profit from the proposed service. The e-commerce giant has also experienced difficulties drawing interest from networks for its Amazon Channels a la carte TV platform. The company has been looking to leverage more television content, especially to attract younger cord cutters who are increasingly viewing media on mobile devices. Continue reading Amazon Cancels Plans to Launch a Skinny Bundle TV Service

Netflix Survey Shows Erosion Between Private, Public Viewing

After studying when, where and how people consume its content, Netflix found in its most recent data that 67 percent of U.S. users are now watching content not in their living room, but out in the world. The practice has been dubbed “Netflixing in Public.” In a sense, this isn’t new. In 2015, the Pew Research Center found that 77 percent of Americans thought it was fine for people to use their cellphones while walking down the street and 75 percent also approved of using them on public transportation. Continue reading Netflix Survey Shows Erosion Between Private, Public Viewing

Amazon Considering an Ad-Supported Version of Prime Video

Rumors are rife that Amazon is — or is not — developing a free ad-supported version of its Prime streaming video service. Sources say that the company is already talking with media companies on providing content to the service. Current Prime members pay $99 per year for free shipping and access to ad-free TV shows and movies, including original programming. The new service could heat up the competition for eyeballs, as even more streaming services debut. Facebook, for example, launched Watch, a video hub with commercials. Continue reading Amazon Considering an Ad-Supported Version of Prime Video

Disney Looks to Major Franchises for First Streaming Content

The Walt Disney Company has revealed some of the details regarding its upcoming streaming service, slated for launch in the second half of 2019. Debuting on the new service will be television series based on “Star Wars,” “Monsters Inc.,” “High School Musical” and Marvel, currently under development. Disney chief executive Bob Iger also disclosed that the service will be priced substantially less than Netflix, in part because it will have less content at its introduction. However, Iger noted that the price could increase as Disney adds more content. Continue reading Disney Looks to Major Franchises for First Streaming Content

Amazon FreeTime Rolls Out New Feature for Offline Viewing

Amazon is introducing a new feature to its subscription children’s service this week that enables users to download and watch FreeTime Unlimited content without an Internet connection. The new Offline Mode will roll out for free as an over-the-air software update for Fire and Fire Kids Edition tablets. Parents can create Kindle Fire profiles for their kids through FreeTime and specify age, gender, time limits, filters and appropriate content. FreeTime Unlimited features a range of children’s offerings from the likes of Amazon Originals for Kids, DC Comics, Disney, Nickelodeon and PBS. Continue reading Amazon FreeTime Rolls Out New Feature for Offline Viewing

Sandvine Details Households Turning to Illegal TV Streaming

About 6.5 percent of North American households are now accessing illegal TV streaming services per month, according to data from a new Sandvine study based on broadband service provider customers. The illegal services earn an average of $10 per month in fees, which represents nearly $840 million for the pirates, notes Variety. Meanwhile, the percentage also represents a potential $4.2 billion in lost revenue for cable, satellite and telco providers based on a estimated $50 per month fee for pay-TV services. However, it is not known whether the households in question would even consider legal pay-TV or OTT options. Continue reading Sandvine Details Households Turning to Illegal TV Streaming

YouTube Aims to Deliver TV Everywhere With Smart TV App

Eight months after launching YouTube TV on smartphones, the company now has an app for smart TVs, set-top boxes, and game consoles, all of which will work with a remote. The idea, says YouTube, is that this TV service will successfully ape the traditional TV experience even as it has a native Internet feel. The focus on live TV will give the viewer something to watch immediately. Instead of icons, the user can browse through content until she finds something she wants to watch — and then start over again if she’s bored. Continue reading YouTube Aims to Deliver TV Everywhere With Smart TV App

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