Media Player Software Company Plex Debuts Online Service

Online service Plex Cloud, which has been in private beta since September, is now open to all paying Plex users. The new service “eliminates the need for an always-on PC or other network-attached piece of hardware in order to use the Plex media player software for watching your saved TV shows and movies, viewing photos or streaming from your music collection,” explains TechCrunch. Plex Cloud, which initially used Amazon Cloud Drive to host files, experienced a number of technical challenges that Plex says have been resolved. Plex supports Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox. Plex Cloud is now “an option for anyone who subscribes to Plex Pass, the company’s $5 per month, subscription-based service offering a variety of premium features.” Continue reading Media Player Software Company Plex Debuts Online Service

Cord Cutters Have Recording Options with TiVo Roamio OTA

Consumers interested in recording over-the-air TV shows without the need for a cable or satellite subscription can turn to recorders compatible with HDTV antennas such as TiVo’s Roamio OTA 1TB DVR. The $400 recorder (currently $370 on Amazon for a limited time) receives channels over an antenna rather than using a CableCARD. The device provides “access to streaming services and the TiVo interface,” notes Digital Trends, and “allows you to record four shows at once and up to 150 hours of HD programming.” You can beef up recording capacity with a TiVo-ready Netgear ReadyNAS or external hard drive. SkipMode allows for bypassing commercials, while QuickMode speeds through slow-moving recorded and buffered shows without audio distortion. Continue reading Cord Cutters Have Recording Options with TiVo Roamio OTA

YouTube Plans to Launch Internet TV Service for $35 a Month

YouTube announced yesterday that it plans to launch a new subscription Internet TV service in the next few months. As the latest entry in the growing collection of skinny bundle offerings that target cord cutters and cord nevers, YouTube TV will offer more than 40 broadcast and cable television channels for $35 per month. Google’s YouTube is hoping the timing may be right for such a service; there are an estimated 10 million homes that currently subscribe to a broadband service, but not television. Continue reading YouTube Plans to Launch Internet TV Service for $35 a Month

Mossberg Questions the Direction of Streaming TV Services

Streaming TV is now mainstream, with even cable and satellite subscribers paying for services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. Television networks also make their fare available for streaming via apps or smart TVs. But the typical streaming service model — whereby the subscriber doesn’t pay for a fat bundle of disparate channels and a DVR — is changing. Dish Network’s Sling TV and AT&T’s DirecTV Now, nominally streaming services, offer bundles of TV networks delivered in a linear fashion, just like cable or satellite. Journalist/author Walt Mossberg is concerned by the change.  Continue reading Mossberg Questions the Direction of Streaming TV Services

As Viewing on Smart TVs Increases, Advertisers Gain Interest

More Americans are watching TV on-demand and over-the-top. Although some services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are ad-free, the number of OTT ads is growing. Pivotal Research reports that smart TV viewing skyrocketed 65 percent over the last year, accounting now for 8.1 percent of TV viewing for the 18-to-49 demographic. In line with that finding, Innovid, which serves ads to TV apps and web video outlets, says the share of ads now placed on connected TVs has quadrupled in the same time frame. Continue reading As Viewing on Smart TVs Increases, Advertisers Gain Interest

FilmStruck Offers Classic, Foreign and Indie Films via SVOD

After a short delay to address some glitches in the registration process, Turner’s FilmStruck SVOD service is now live. The new offering, developed and managed by Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection, features select classic, foreign and independent films. The service costs $10.99 per month with the Criterion Channel, and $6.99 without (an annual sub to both is $99). While FilmStruck joins a growing field of subscription services, it is targeting cinephiles interested in indie and art-house fare, those who are willing to pay for cable TV in addition to streaming services. Continue reading FilmStruck Offers Classic, Foreign and Indie Films via SVOD

ABC, ESPN, Fox News to Join Hulu’s Live Streaming Service

Hulu announced it has signed deals with 21st Century Fox and Disney to include the media giants’ broadcast and cable channels in Hulu’s planned live streaming service, expected to launch in early 2017. ABC, ESPN and Fox News will join channels including CNN, TBS and TNT, following an earlier deal with Time Warner. All three companies are part owners of Hulu. The fourth owner, Comcast, has not yet reached an agreement for channels under the NBCUniversal banner. According to The New York Times, “Hulu’s live offering will be the latest cheaper and slimmer television package at a time when more people are canceling traditional — and more expensive — cable subscriptions.” Continue reading ABC, ESPN, Fox News to Join Hulu’s Live Streaming Service

AT&T Set to Launch DirecTV Now 100-Channel OTT Service

On the heels of acquiring DirecTV for almost $50 billion, AT&T plans to roll out DirecTV Now, an Internet video service, by the end of 2016. This new over-the-top service challenges the pay-TV industry with its ability to stream a 100-channel line-up to TVs and mobile devices without a satellite dish, cable set-top box or annual contract. Sources say that AT&T is likely to charge about $50 a month for the service. Currently 25.3 million subscribers pay an average of $117 a month for AT&T’s pay-TV business. Continue reading AT&T Set to Launch DirecTV Now 100-Channel OTT Service

Google Signs Deal with CBS for Planned YouTube TV Service

Google has signed an agreement with CBS to feature the network’s content on Unplugged, YouTube’s soon-to-be-launched Web TV service, expected to roll out early next year. While CBS is the first major network to join Unplugged, Google is reportedly close to signing deals with 21st Century Fox, Disney and NBCUniversal. The company is targeting cord cutters and consumers growing wary of traditional pay-TV subscription costs with its YouTube alternative — a skinny bundle of channels priced at $25 to $40 per month. Google will join a crowded field of OTT offerings, including Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and a planned service from Hulu. Continue reading Google Signs Deal with CBS for Planned YouTube TV Service

ABC Offers its New Shows for Streaming via Digital Platforms

ABC announced yesterday that it plans to offer all episodes of new series and some returning shows to authenticated viewers for streaming on its digital platforms, including the ABC TV Everywhere app and ABC.com. In addition, consumers without a pay-TV sub will have access to a rolling five of recent episodes, most of which will also be available on Hulu. “Designated Survivor,” “Conviction,” “American Housewife” — and a few returning series like “Quantico” — are among the series that will be available as full seasons. Continue reading ABC Offers its New Shows for Streaming via Digital Platforms

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

Cord Cutting Could Lead to $1 Billion Loss for Pay TV Industry

According to a new study, pay-TV providers stand to lose almost $1 billion as an estimated 800,000 customers are projected to cut the cord over the next year. The results are based on an online survey of U.S. customers by management consulting firm cg42. While some analysts believe that consumers could pay more in the end for standalone Internet and streaming services if they drop cable, the study suggests otherwise, since most people typically do not spend more than about $15 on streaming services. Continue reading Cord Cutting Could Lead to $1 Billion Loss for Pay TV Industry

Disney Said to Be Considering Possible Bid for Twitter Merger

Following the CNBC report that Google and Salesforce.com were among those being considered for a Twitter takeover, TechCrunch added that Microsoft and Verizon have also expressed interest. Today, headlines indicate that Disney is considering a possible bid. Bloomberg reports that Disney is working with an adviser on a potential deal, in what would be the company’s latest investment in a string of tech-related media businesses including Hulu, Vice and MLB’s BAMTech. The Wall Street Journal suggests that “a Twitter acquisition would be Disney’s biggest technology deal yet” and “could benefit ESPN as cord-cutting becomes more widespread.” Continue reading Disney Said to Be Considering Possible Bid for Twitter Merger

Viewer Satisfaction with Streaming Video Varies, Says Report

A new study from J.D. Power examined the levels of consumer satisfaction with streaming video services among subscribers to traditional cable or satellite services, cord shavers, cord cutters and cord nevers. The J.D. Power survey, conducted in June and July, relied on the responses of 4,000 customers. The cable and satellite industries will be heartened by the results: the happiest consumers are those that are using streaming services in addition to pay-television subscriptions. Continue reading Viewer Satisfaction with Streaming Video Varies, Says Report

AirTV Combines HD Antenna and Sling TV for Local Channels

A new draft listing for Amazon.com features a $149.99 hardware device called AirTV that addresses the limitation of Dish Network’s Sling TV regarding access to over-the-air, local channels. “The device works with an antenna and Sling TV’s app in order to offer a combination of local live television programming and Sling TV’s content, including its program guide and optional add-on packages,” reports TechCrunch. According to the product listing, free local TV is accessible via the app on any compatible device via Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV and Roku. For more channels, “you can subscribe to paid Sling TV packages — all from the same app.” Continue reading AirTV Combines HD Antenna and Sling TV for Local Channels

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