AT&T Could Reach $50 Billion Deal for DirecTV in Two Weeks

AT&T is close to striking a $50 billion deal to acquire satellite TV provider DirecTV, according to people familiar with the matter. An agreement between the two companies involving a mix of cash and AT&T stock could be reached within two weeks. Insiders say the two sides are discussing a share price for DirecTV in the low to mid-nineties (at $95 a share, such a deal would value DirecTV at almost $48 billion). The deal comes as AT&T considers video distribution a potentially key initiative for its future. Continue reading AT&T Could Reach $50 Billion Deal for DirecTV in Two Weeks

Comcast Customers to Soon Stream Games from Electronic Arts

Following two years of testing, Comcast and Electronic Arts are reportedly close to reaching an agreement that would allow customers to stream EA video games to televisions via Comcast’s X1 cable box system, and use their tablets as controllers. The cloud-connected X1 system features apps, viewing recommendations and voice control. According to sources familiar with the plans, games such as “FIFA,” “Madden” and “Monopoly” would be available to Comcast’s more-than 22 million U.S. customers. Continue reading Comcast Customers to Soon Stream Games from Electronic Arts

Charter and Comcast Joining Forces, End Dispute Over TWC

Charter Communications may have figured out another plan to become the nation’s second-largest cable operator, despite losing out to Comcast in its bid to acquire Time Warner Cable. As part of a new three-part deal with Comcast announced yesterday, Charter plans to pick up subscribers that Comcast will be divesting. Should the deals be completed, Charter will acquire a stake in a new public company to be launched by Comcast, and swap subscribers with the cable giant. Continue reading Charter and Comcast Joining Forces, End Dispute Over TWC

Netflix Reaches New Deal with Verizon to Improve Streaming

Netflix has reached a deal for direct access to Verizon’s network that should provide subscribers with better performance of streaming video in the coming months. Despite Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ public complaints about paying extra for such connectivity, Verizon confirmed the new deal, which follows a similar approach to the agreement Netflix reached with Comcast earlier this year. As more Internet users stream movies and TV content, the debate over who should be responsible for infrastructure upgrades intensifies. Continue reading Netflix Reaches New Deal with Verizon to Improve Streaming

Will Proposed FCC Regulations Create a Two-Speed Internet?

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed to allow broadband providers to charge fees for high-speed Internet for faster delivery of video and other data, essentially allowing a premium Internet fast-lane for companies that can pay. Small content providers may not be able to compete because they do not have the resources to pay for high delivery speeds. The regulations would also prohibit broadband companies from blocking or slowing down individual websites. Continue reading Will Proposed FCC Regulations Create a Two-Speed Internet?

AT&T and Chernin Group Invest $500 Million in Online Video

AT&T announced a joint venture with The Chernin Group to commit $500 million to buy and launch Internet video services. Video content is foreign territory for AT&T, while Chernin’s only foothold is a majority stake in anime streaming service, Crunchyroll. Together, the two organizations have pledged to “acquire, invest in and launch over-the-top video services.” AT&T’s move into streaming services comes on the heels of similar projects by competitors such as Verizon and Dish Network. Continue reading AT&T and Chernin Group Invest $500 Million in Online Video

Netflix Passes 34 Million Subscribers, Previews Price Increase

Netflix announced on Monday that it plans to raise the price of its streaming video service for new members by a dollar or two per month. The service, which now has more than 34 million paid U.S. subscribers, is justifying the rate increase based on its continued investment in original programs, including series such as “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.” In addition to its first-quarter earnings report yesterday, Netflix announced opposition to Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Continue reading Netflix Passes 34 Million Subscribers, Previews Price Increase

New Sony Media Player to Access 4K Library and Stream Netflix

As a follow-up to its original $700 4K media player, Sony has announced a new model, the FMP-X10, that will provide access to Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K download library and be able to stream 4K Netflix content. The new player, available this summer, will be compatible with Sony Ultra HD sets and include 1 terabyte of storage. A price has yet to be announced. Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K library currently features more than 200 titles (45GB-60GB files), about 50 of which are available for free. Continue reading New Sony Media Player to Access 4K Library and Stream Netflix

Universal Studios Hollywood to Receive a $1.6 Billion Makeover

Comcast plans to renovate 70 percent of the California theme park, Universal Studios Hollywood, with thousands of parking spaces, improved transit, two 500-room hotels, and most importantly, new attractions designed to broaden their fan base. Several “Despicable Me” inspired attractions will open for young riders on Saturday. Other updates, including the highly anticipated “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” attraction, will be completed by 2016. Continue reading Universal Studios Hollywood to Receive a $1.6 Billion Makeover

Startups From SPROCKIT Program Deliver Pitches During NAB

In partnership with the National Association of Broadcasters and the World Series of Startups, SPROCKIT is a program that shines a spotlight on interesting startups through the NAB Show and SPROCKIT Sync, the exclusive community of entertainment and media decision-makers that meets three times a year. The July 2014 meeting will take place at ETC@USC. The other meetings are October 2014 in conjunction with NY TV week, and January 2015 in Silicon Valley. Continue reading Startups From SPROCKIT Program Deliver Pitches During NAB

FCC Rejects Netflix Plea for Expanded Net Neutrality Rules

The Federal Communications Commission explained that it does not plan to support the request made by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to expand net neutrality rules in order to regulate how companies connect across the infrastructure of the Internet. Hastings had asked the FCC to consider an approach that would not require companies like Netflix to pay additional fees to service providers such as Comcast for special connections that help ensure customers can access video without problems. Continue reading FCC Rejects Netflix Plea for Expanded Net Neutrality Rules

Study Predicts 4K Adoption Will Be Faster Than That of HDTV

New research by Parks Associates suggests that 4K televisions will trace a similar trajectory in terms of price and consumer adoption that played out with HDTVs over the last 15 years. However, the study’s findings point to a slightly quicker progression for 4K. While HDTVs took about 15 years to achieve a certain level of affordability and ubiquity, Parks predicts that 4K will reach mass market prices within two to three years and exceed 80 percent penetration of households in 10-12 years. Continue reading Study Predicts 4K Adoption Will Be Faster Than That of HDTV

Will Networks Consider Cable or OTT Service to Combat Aereo?

CBS Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves said the network would consider launching its own over-the-top streaming TV service with other leading television networks if the Supreme Court rules that New York-based startup Aereo is allowed to continue reselling broadcast programming over the Internet without permission. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the Aereo case later this year. “We are going to win either way,” Moonves said. Continue reading Will Networks Consider Cable or OTT Service to Combat Aereo?

Dish Chair Said to Approach DirecTV About Possible Merger

Insiders report that Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen recently contacted DirecTV CEO Mike White to discuss a potential merger of the two companies. DirecTV, the largest U.S. satellite TV operator, currently has about 20 million subscribers, while Dish, the No. 2 operator, has about 14 million. Ergen reportedly approached White in response to Comcast’s proposed $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. However, White is said to be reluctant regarding formal talks out of concern that regulators would block a deal. Continue reading Dish Chair Said to Approach DirecTV About Possible Merger

AT&T Will Lower Internet Prices if FCC Ends Net Neutrality

At the FCC’s “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet” proceeding on Friday, AT&T said it will lower its Internet prices if the FCC allows Internet service providers to charge websites such as Netflix for faster delivery of content. In the wake of a court decision vacating the FCC’s net neutrality rules against charging for preferential treatment, the Commission opened a proceeding with hopes of writing new rules that achieve similar goals. AT&T is asking for rules that explicitly allow ISPs to charge for special access.

Continue reading AT&T Will Lower Internet Prices if FCC Ends Net Neutrality

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