Networks Claim New Verizon TV Bundles Violate Agreements

ESPN, Fox and NBCUniversal claim that Verizon’s newly launched package offerings, that feature cheaper bundles of pay TV channels, violate the terms of their respective agreements. On Sunday, Verizon introduced new flexibility for FiOS subscribers by offering a slim package of channels and optional add-on “channel packs” that feature genre-based channels. A few days prior to the launch, ESPN expressed its objection to being placed in an optional sports tier. Fox and NBCUniversal claim the Verizon plan is also outside the terms of their contracts. Continue reading Networks Claim New Verizon TV Bundles Violate Agreements

DraftKings: Disney Investing in Online Fantasy Sports Business

Disney is reportedly investing $250 million in DraftKings Inc., a Boston-based online fantasy sports startup. DraftKings enables fans to play fantasy sports on a per-game basis with real money. As part of the deal, DraftKings has committed to spending more than $500 million in future advertising on ESPN’s platforms. While sports fans have enjoyed a variety of options for fantasy leagues from CBS, ESPN, Yahoo and others, the model involved tracking performances across an entire season — and did not involve playing for cash payouts. Continue reading DraftKings: Disney Investing in Online Fantasy Sports Business

Lack of Competition Means Higher Broadband Prices in the U.S.

Internet users in the U.S. pay more for broadband and have fewer choices than Europeans. According to findings from the Center for Public Integrity, Americans pay 3.5 times the amount that French people do for Internet access, for example, and most U.S. residents can only choose from two Internet providers. That’s because broadband companies carve out their own territories to offer service. Cable providers do the same thing, but Internet TV may finally force them to compete. Continue reading Lack of Competition Means Higher Broadband Prices in the U.S.

Apple is Planning to Launch its Internet TV Service This Fall

Details regarding Apple’s online TV service are becoming available as the company continues discussions with programmers. Insiders point to a slimmed-down bundle of about 25 channels from networks such as ABC, CBS and Fox to be offered this fall. As previously reported, the content would be available across Apple devices powered by iOS, including iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV. Some execs suggests the skinny bundle would run in the $30-$40 per month range. It streaming service is expected to be announced in June and launch in September. Continue reading Apple is Planning to Launch its Internet TV Service This Fall

Comcast Subscriber Shift Points to More Web Than TV Users

Comcast, the largest cable company in the U.S., could potentially soon have more Internet subscribers than television subscribers. During the last quarter, the company’s video users increased by only 6,000 to 22.4 million, while its broadband subscribers jumped by 375,000 to nearly 22 million. The diminishing gap could be a sign of the times, with an increasing number of consumers becoming more interested in services such as Amazon and Netflix, as opposed to traditional TV. As a result, Comcast is working to attract more broadband users. Continue reading Comcast Subscriber Shift Points to More Web Than TV Users

DLNA: VidiPath Tech to Enable Subscription TV Across Devices

According to the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), wireless VidiPath technology will enable the secure delivery of subscription TV to all certified devices in the home. This could lead to eliminating the need to rent multiple set-top boxes. Wi-Fi-based VidiPath provides access to subscription TV across smartphones, tablets, Blu-ray players, game consoles and PCs. The first VidiPath-certified products are slated for availability in the first quarter. Comcast, Cox and Time Warner Cable are among those planning to offer VidiPath STBs. Continue reading DLNA: VidiPath Tech to Enable Subscription TV Across Devices

NEEO Universal Remote Simplifies Use of Smart Home Devices

A Cupertino-based startup may have finally developed a universal remote that can help manage the growing array of smart home devices. Last month we reported on NEEO and the launch of its Kickstarter campaign, which has since generated more than $1.2 million in pledges. NEEO is an automation system designed to control all the devices in your home. It also features palm recognition technology, which identifies when a specific person is holding the remote to bring up their personalized profile. Continue reading NEEO Universal Remote Simplifies Use of Smart Home Devices

Super Bowl Halftime Show Will Be Shoppable for the First Time

During Katy Perry’s halftime performance at this weekend’s Super Bowl, Delivery Agent’s ShopTV platform will enable viewers to purchase special merchandise via connected devices. Products (including a limited-edition Perry item) can be ordered through connected Samsung and LG TVs, shop-enabled tweets from brand partners, and mobile devices with the Shazam content-recognition app. Merchandise will also be available during and after the Super Bowl via the ShopTV app on Roku devices.

Continue reading Super Bowl Halftime Show Will Be Shoppable for the First Time

FreedomPop Targets Affordable Alternative to Cellular Plans

Los Angeles-based FreedomPop wants to make Wi-Fi hotspots more accessible to mobile phone users by eliminating the process by which users typically have to accept terms and conditions or enter a password in order to connect. Users of the new service would pay $5 monthly in exchange for automatic and seamless access to about 9 million hotspots (and growing). With its new Wi-Fi service, FreedomPop hopes to provide customers with an alternative to costly service plans from cellular carriers. Continue reading FreedomPop Targets Affordable Alternative to Cellular Plans

OnePass: TiVo Unveils Update to Roamio, Premiere and Mini

TiVo’s new update to its Roamio, Premiere and Mini devices will allow users to access content from various sources including live and recorded TV, streaming services and other apps the device may be connected to. The content will be arranged for display on a single user-friendly navigation screen. The OnePass upgrade was unveiled during CES and is unique from existing set-top boxes and cable/satellite services. This should be significant for TiVo users who want to access their streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Continue reading OnePass: TiVo Unveils Update to Roamio, Premiere and Mini

CES Keynotes to Go Well Beyond Typical Hardware and Devices

The showpiece keynote sessions at the 2015 International CES underscore the scope of industry and breadth of innovation gathering in Las Vegas January 5-9. Of this year’s four featured keynote speakers, two represent leading automobile manufacturers, one is the CEO of a leading tech giant, and only Samsung’s Boo-Keun Yon, opening the show on Monday night at the Venetian’s Palazzo Ballroom, represents what would be considered a typical CES keynote highlighting consumer electronics devices. Continue reading CES Keynotes to Go Well Beyond Typical Hardware and Devices

Broadcasters Offered Final Approval of Auction of Aereo Assets

Aereo, the controversial startup that captured over-the-air cable TV without paying licensing fees and allowed subscribers to watch the content on multiple devices, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November. A bankruptcy court in New York has approved the dismantling of the company, with its assets to be auctioned to the highest bidder. The auction is scheduled for February 24, and the broadcasters that initially complained about Aereo’s business model will have two weeks to decide whether they approve of any sales. Continue reading Broadcasters Offered Final Approval of Auction of Aereo Assets

Comcast Launches Ultra HD VOD App for Samsung 4K TVs

Comcast is offering select television programming in Ultra HD, available for compatible 2014 Samsung 4K TVs. Comcast Xfinity customers will initially be able to stream NBC’s “Chicago Fire” and USA Network’s “Covert Affairs” and “Suits” to Samsung sets via the Internet. Comcast will expand its UHD offerings in 2015, including NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” in February. Amazon, DirecTV, M-GO, Netflix and Sony are among those that have also launched Ultra HD video services. Continue reading Comcast Launches Ultra HD VOD App for Samsung 4K TVs

NBC Offers Live Streaming Online, Planning Mobile for 2015

NBC launched a free 24-hour live broadcast feed over the Internet, which viewers can access if they have a pay TV subscription with certain providers and they live in one of 10 markets across the U.S. Currently, the live feeds can only be viewed on desktop PCs, but NBC plans to add mobile support in early 2015. Other networks, such as ABC and CBS, have launched similar live TV streaming services. NBCUniversal also launched a new campaign to drive viewers to its apps. Continue reading NBC Offers Live Streaming Online, Planning Mobile for 2015

Verizon Will Not Sue FCC Over Net Neutrality, Despite History

Verizon now says it will not sue the Federal Communications Commission over net neutrality rules as long as broadband providers are not reclassified as utilities. However, Verizon did sue the FCC (and won) the last time net neutrality rules were introduced, which is one reason the FCC is presently considering reclassifying broadband. “We are going to be sued,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last week. In response, Verizon EVP Randal Milch e-mailed that Verizon would not sue if the FCC uses Section 706. Continue reading Verizon Will Not Sue FCC Over Net Neutrality, Despite History

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