Hardware, Service Recommendations for Today’s Cord Cutters

According to research firm SNL Kagan, cord-cutting started in 2011 when the cable industry lost 744,000 subscribers. Last quarter, cable was down 298,000 subscribers. In response, streaming video services such as Amazon, Hulu and Netflix are ramping up investments in original programming. With a growing array of options for today’s cord cutters, The New York Times offers suggestions based on consumers’ habits. For movie fans, NYT cites Netflix as best service and the Roku Streaming Stick as best hardware. For sports, PlayStation Vue is the recommended service, with Fire TV or Google Chromecast the best hardware — while Roku’s Stick, Netflix and Amazon are recommended for binge watchers. Continue reading Hardware, Service Recommendations for Today’s Cord Cutters

Mi Box: Xiaomi Now Selling its New $69 Android TV Streamer

Chinese CE company Xiaomi introduced its first product geared for U.S. customers yesterday — the $69 streaming Mi Box, an Android TV STB that supports 4K video playback, HDR, and includes a Bluetooth voice remote. The company first unveiled the Mi Box at this year’s Google I/O developer conference. Since it’s based on Google’s Android TV, the device provides access to apps for Hulu, HBO Now, Netflix, Sling TV, YouTube and others. It also supports Google Cast for launching playback from mobile apps and makes recommendations based on a user’s YouTube and Google Play preferences. Continue reading Mi Box: Xiaomi Now Selling its New $69 Android TV Streamer

StubHub Rolls Out First Ticketing App Available for Apple TV

StubHub has become the first ticketing service to be made available on Apple TV. Users of the fourth-gen connected-TV device can now browse, check seating options, and buy tickets to concerts and sporting events through their televisions (although, to make a purchase, explains TechCrunch, “the Apple TV app will redirect users back to your mobile phone to complete the process”). StubHub, which was acquired by eBay in 2007, currently sells tickets via mobile apps for iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch and Android devices. According to Variety, “the company has partnerships with more than 60 teams in the MLB, NBA, NHL, Major League Soccer and NCAA, as well as AEG, AXS and Spectra.” Continue reading StubHub Rolls Out First Ticketing App Available for Apple TV

Federal Regulators Need More Time to Vote on Set-Top Boxes

The FCC delayed its vote yesterday on the proposal to unlock cable set-top boxes. FCC members “could not agree on a set-top box proposal that requires cable operators to provide their shows and movies on alternative devices rather than just on a cable box,” reports The New York Times. “The plan was intended to bring more competition to the television industry and liberate consumers from an average of $231 in annual cable box fees.” While the proposal will be considered for a future vote, FCC chair Tom Wheeler said commissioners needed additional discussions. However, with an upcoming change of administration, Wheeler’s window to adopt the regulation may be dwindling. Continue reading Federal Regulators Need More Time to Vote on Set-Top Boxes

Roku Refreshes Media Box Line-Up, Offers Ultra HD and HDR

Roku updated its line-up of streaming media boxes, discontinuing the Roku 1, 2, 3 and 4 devices but hanging on to its $50 Roku Streaming Stick. New products for the “low-end” HD market now include the compact $30 Roku Express that has an HDMI port to connect to HDTVs and an infrared remote, and the $40 Roku Express Plus, sold exclusively at Walmart, offering a composite cable port to connect to TV sets without an HDMI port. Roku also emphasizes 4K/Ultra HD with three new players, two of which are HDR-capable. Continue reading Roku Refreshes Media Box Line-Up, Offers Ultra HD and HDR

Twitter Comes to Apple TV, Fire TV, Xbox in Time for Football

Twitter has introduced a new video-centric app available for Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV and Microsoft’s Xbox One as the social platform readies its live-streaming debut of “Thursday Night Football.” The new app “will contain only video, photos and tweets curated by the company,” explains The Wall Street Journal. Live streaming is now a major component of the company’s latest business strategy as evidenced by deals with “the NFL, MLB, the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Pac-12 Networks for sports, and Bloomberg News and Cheddar for financial news.” Continue reading Twitter Comes to Apple TV, Fire TV, Xbox in Time for Football

Twitter to Live-Stream ‘Thursday Night Football’ for First Time

Twitter won a bidding war to live-stream NFL games in a $10 million deal inked in April. Now, this Thursday, the social media company will stream the first such match-up of the 10-game deal, seen as an effort by chief executive Jack Dorsey to revive the company’s dwindling support from advertisers. Viewers can watch the live CBS feed on Twitter’s mobile app and website, with the added value of in-the-moment tweets. Bank of America and Budweiser are two companies that will also stream commercials during the game. Continue reading Twitter to Live-Stream ‘Thursday Night Football’ for First Time

Time Debuts People/Entertainment Weekly Streaming Network

Time is launching its People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN) today — a streaming, ad-supported video service also available as an app, on numerous Web-connected devices and People’s website. The venture, Time’s latest effort to leverage digital advertising, is free and available to watch live and on-demand, with a focus on celebrities, coverage of popular entertainment franchises (such as “Star Wars” and “Game of Thrones”), live events (such as the Emmy Awards) and human interest stories. Continue reading Time Debuts People/Entertainment Weekly Streaming Network

Plex Media Player System Adds DVR Feature for Broadcast TV

Client-server media player system Plex has debuted beta DVR functionality, enabling users to record broadcast TV programs and stream them to other devices. Recorded content can be watched on TV/mobile devices with Plex apps for Apple TV, Android, iOS, Roku, Chromecast, game consoles and many smart TVs. For now, scheduling shows is only available via Plex’s Web interface. The DVR feature also requires the use of a networked TV tuner to access broadcast TV signals; Plex has partnered first with tuner maker SiliconDust. Continue reading Plex Media Player System Adds DVR Feature for Broadcast TV

CBS Debuts Ad-Free Version of All Access Streaming Service

CBS has introduced an ad-free, $9.99 per month option for its All Access on-demand service. The new option eliminates nearly all advertising, except for promotional interruptions during select series. The original version of the service, with reduced commercials, costs $5.99 per month. “The addition of a commercial-free plan gives our subscribers even more ways to customize their CBS viewing experience — from which devices to whether they watch in or out of the home, and now with commercials or without,” said Marc DeBevoise, president and COO of CBS Interactive. Continue reading CBS Debuts Ad-Free Version of All Access Streaming Service

New FOX Sports GO Brings Multi-Screen Viewing to Apple TV

FOX Sports GO is now available on Apple TV, with a full slate of more than 3,000 live events, hundreds of hours of studio content and originals, and a variety of other features. Coverage includes NFL, MLB, UFC, NASCAR, Big 12 and Pac-12 Football, Big East Basketball, FIFA World Cup, and UEFA Champions League soccer. In some areas, viewers will be able to access hometown MLB, NBA and NHL telecasts. Fox previously had an iOS app, but Apple TV viewers will now be able to enjoy multi-screen viewing among other innovations. Continue reading New FOX Sports GO Brings Multi-Screen Viewing to Apple TV

YouTube Rolls Out TV App Designed for Living Room Viewing

YouTube just upgraded its TV application to be easier to use on actual television sets, a response to the growing popularity of cord cutting, smart TVs and streaming media players. The company’s latest app will feature a redesigned look and has organized its categories to better reflect how people use YouTube on bigger screen devices in the living room. More specifically, consumers who watch YouTube videos on TV screens rather than mobile devices or desktops, tend to browse for content. Continue reading YouTube Rolls Out TV App Designed for Living Room Viewing

SVOD Service Yuyu Offers Titles from Independent Publishers

New York-based Digital Media Rights is attempting to bridge the gap between cable networks and YouTube with the launch of its new Yuyu streaming service. Yuyu, which joins an increasingly crowded SVOD market, currently features more than 350 titles with an emphasis on content from independent publishers. The video aggregation company, which has more than 8,000 TV shows and movies under license and distribution deals with Hulu and Amazon Prime, plans to launch three more OTT services this year, adding to its portfolio that includes Asian Crush and Midnight Pulp. Continue reading SVOD Service Yuyu Offers Titles from Independent Publishers

Google Now Could Introduce Customization with New Feature

Google has tracked specific information since Google Alerts debuted, and several startups have tried to improve the experience. Google Now is the company’s current intelligent personal assistant, integrated into Android and search, and capable of delivering a wide range of information, from sports scores to weather. But it’s not easy to customize Google Now for individual interests; the user relies two not very intuitive or granular tools: on/off switches in the app’s setting or tapping on items to deem them not interesting. Continue reading Google Now Could Introduce Customization with New Feature

Apple’s New Plan for TV Ecosystem Influence is Digital Guide

Apple is now working on a digital TV guide that shows what’s playing on video apps from HBO, Netflix, ESPN and others, so consumers don’t have to open individual apps to discover content. The TV guide will work on a range of Apple devices, including Apple TV and iPhones. Last year, Apple’s goal was to sell TV programs to consumers, with an interface to make it easy to find content. By focusing on the interface, Apple leaves the financial arrangement to programmers, distributors and consumers. Continue reading Apple’s New Plan for TV Ecosystem Influence is Digital Guide

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