Time Warner Invests in Hulu with Plans to Join Pay TV Service

Time Warner announced it is investing $583 million for a 10 percent stake in Hulu, joining forces with existing owners Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast’s NBCUniversal. However, Time Warner does not plan to offer its television programming via the current version of Hulu’s video service, which features repeats of recently aired shows. Instead, the media giant will license its content for the new pay TV service that Hulu plans to launch in 2017. That means channels such as Cartoon Network, CNN, TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies would be available to viewers through the planned live TV service. Continue reading Time Warner Invests in Hulu with Plans to Join Pay TV Service

Dish and Comcast to Offer NBC’s 4K Rio Olympics Coverage

According to Multichannel News: “Dish Network and Comcast will be joining AT&T in offering access to NBCUniversal’s delayed 4K coverage of the Summer Olympics in Rio.” Comcast will provide content from Rio on demand via its Xfinity in UHD app for Samsung and LG smart TVs, while Dish will offer content on linear channel 146 and on VOD via the Hopper 3 DVR and 4K Joey box. Dish will also include a sports hub on channel 148 for access to NBCU’s coverage and integrate the NBC Olympics app on its Hopper and Joey devices. Dish’s Sling TV will also carry select coverage on its Sling Blue service. Continue reading Dish and Comcast to Offer NBC’s 4K Rio Olympics Coverage

Google Pairs Webpass with its Wireless Tech for Fiber Rollout

Google plans to use the approach of acquired Webpass to more cost-efficiently develop and rollout its Fiber fast Internet business. The San Francisco-based Webpass, founded by Charles Barr, is known for using wireless technology to build fast broadband service in cities in a speedier and most cost effective manner. Verizon, Comcast and AT&T, meanwhile, have spent billions of dollars digging up streets to lay fiber cable. Google will pair Webpass’ approach with wireless technology it is currently developing. Continue reading Google Pairs Webpass with its Wireless Tech for Fiber Rollout

SES Begins Ultra HD Linear TV Trials with Small Cable Ops

The transition to Ultra HD is the classic chicken-and-egg scenario: Programmers don’t launch services because pay TV operators can’t distribute them, and consumers don’t buy UHD TV sets because there’s nothing to watch. Fifteen years ago that was the identical conundrum for High Definition, however, and now HDTV is ubiquitous in the U.S. Ultra HD just got one step closer to that with satellite operator SES’s launch of its first trials of Ultra HD 4K linear channels, to be followed by subscriber tests later in 2016. Continue reading SES Begins Ultra HD Linear TV Trials with Small Cable Ops

Hollywood Studios Weigh Impact of Rotten Tomatoes Scores

To understand why some movies bomb, Hollywood studio executives are increasingly focused on Rotten Tomatoes and other platforms that aggregate hundreds of views into a single score. This switch is a marked difference from past decades when high-profile movie critics at big newspapers were the most important judges of a movie’s merit. Those critics still exist, but primarily seem to hold sway with a small group of older viewers. Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic scores, meanwhile, show up in today’s search results and social media conversations. Continue reading Hollywood Studios Weigh Impact of Rotten Tomatoes Scores

Comcast to Roll Out its Xfinity Prepaid Services in Five States

Later this year, Comcast will debut a prepaid service similar to the plans wireless companies use to attract low-income households. Dubbed Xfinity Prepaid Services, the customer can buy TV or Internet services for seven or 30 days at a time, with a one-time equipment set-up fee. Upon completion of the term, the user can renew the service with no limitations. Xfinity Prepaid Services will first be available in Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Florida and Indiana. Comcast will extend the service to all its customers by end of 2017. Continue reading Comcast to Roll Out its Xfinity Prepaid Services in Five States

NBCUniversal Marks Numerous Firsts for Upcoming Olympics

For the first time, viewers of the Olympic Games in Rio will be able to watch on connected TVs and via devices such as Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku and Amazon Fire. There’ll be a lot to watch: NBC Olympics plans on 4,500 hours of live event coverage of 34 sports to numerous digital devices. Also for the first time, NBC will stream content digitally — but only to pay TV customers, since parent company Comcast’s core mission is to keep people paying for cable TV. Continue reading NBCUniversal Marks Numerous Firsts for Upcoming Olympics

ESPN Planning to Offer Select Content via Streaming Package

ESPN is reportedly planning to offer a streaming package of live niche programming and select college sports directly to consumers via the Internet. The OTT offering is not expected to feature big league content, and ESPN does not have any immediate plans to make its core product available for standalone streaming. “Despite the growing selection of so-called ‘skinny bundles,’ earlier this year ESPN president John Skipper said that this isn’t the time to move away from the lucrative business of selling to TV providers like Comcast and Time Warner Cable,” reports The Verge. Last year, ESPN experimented with offering direct access to its Cricket World Cup coverage without the need for a pay TV subscription. Continue reading ESPN Planning to Offer Select Content via Streaming Package

Comcast, Netflix Ink Deal to Stream Videos on X1 Set-Top Box

Comcast just announced that it will allow Netflix to stream videos onto its X1 platform. According to a statement, both companies say they still have “much work to do” before they will be able to rollout the new service to consumers before the end of the year. Sources say that the deal will ultimately be similar to those that Netflix has created with smaller cable services across the country. In those arrangements, the Netflix app is seen on the platform, making it easier for users to sign in and access it. Continue reading Comcast, Netflix Ink Deal to Stream Videos on X1 Set-Top Box

Netflix Plans Debut of Video Download Feature By End of Year

Earlier this year, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings said the idea of offering video downloads was a possibility — but he wasn’t more specific. Now, industry insider Dan Taitz, whose company Penthera Partners offers video downloading technology, reports that, by the end of the year, Netflix will allow subscribers to download some programs for offline viewing, a feature already in place at Amazon, Comcast and elsewhere. Frost & Sullivan principal analyst Dan Rayburn confirms Taitz’s prediction. Continue reading Netflix Plans Debut of Video Download Feature By End of Year

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

Vrse Changes its Name to Within and Raises More VC Money

VR company Vrse has changed its name to Within and received $12.56 million in funding, led by venture firm Andreessen Horowitz. Other Within investors include 21st Century Fox and Annapurna Pictures. This is just the latest example of the huge sums that VR and AR companies have been able to garner. Magic Leap raised $793.5 million earlier this year, and Disney spearheaded a $65 million round for VR firm Jaunt. Comcast also led a $6.8 million Series A funding round in VR studio Felix & Paul. Continue reading Vrse Changes its Name to Within and Raises More VC Money

Court Rejects Telecom Industry’s Challenges to Net Neutrality

In a 2-1 vote, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has upheld the FCC’s net neutrality rules, “handing a defeat to cable and telephone companies trying to fend off tighter oversight of the consumer broadband business,” reports The Wall Street Journal. The ruling is also considered a victory for the Obama administration and companies such as Google and Netflix that see net neutrality as a defense against unfair competition from ISPs. The decision “opens the door to further pending FCC regulatory steps that cable and wireless firms have resisted,” notes WSJ. “It also sharpens a growing policy divide between Internet firms and the broadband-access industry.” Continue reading Court Rejects Telecom Industry’s Challenges to Net Neutrality

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

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