Amazon Expands its TV Footprint, in Talks on Skinny Bundles

AMC Networks chief executive Josh Sapan and ESPN president John Skipper have both spoken recently about discussions with Amazon to include their channels in possible skinny bundles for the Internet. Amazon has gone on record as considering the idea for some time, but hasn’t responded to Sapan and Skipper’s remarks. Amazon isn’t the only online entity that might be hawking TV service soon. Turner Broadcasting chief executive John Martin reveals that he’s talking with six or so new companies looking to do just that. Continue reading Amazon Expands its TV Footprint, in Talks on Skinny Bundles

Sling TV Adds First Broadcast Station, ABC, for Cord Cutters

Dish Network’s streaming service Sling TV just added support for streaming broadcast network ABC in select U.S. markets. Sling TV subscribers in metro regions, including Chicago, Fresno-Visalia, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco can add the $5/month “Broadcast Extra” bundle by calling the company, which has not officially announced the service. According to Dish, these markets represent more than half of the top 10 U.S. market areas, serving almost 25 percent of the population. Continue reading Sling TV Adds First Broadcast Station, ABC, for Cord Cutters

Dolby Partners with Entertainment Companies on 4K Movies

Dolby Laboratories announced new deals with Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and MGM to enhance their 4K movie releases. The Sony deal focuses on the upcoming releases of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs with the Dolby Atmos sound technology. Sony has also agreed to work with Universal Pictures and MGM to release new and catalog titles with Dolby Vision technology, an HDR format that produces greater contrast on screen. The remastered movies will be available via streaming services. Continue reading Dolby Partners with Entertainment Companies on 4K Movies

CES 2016: First Public Demo of ATSC 3.0 Standards for UHD

The Advanced Television System Committee’s ATSC 3.0 standards for 4K are expected to be finalized this year, and CES attendees in Las Vegas can get an early look at 4K Ultra HD over broadcast television. LG and Samsung are sponsoring two local TV stations (independent KHMP and NBC-affiliated KSNV, respectively) playing 4K content on display at this week’s conference. This marks the first major public demonstration of the ATSC 3.0 transmission system, designed for improved broadcast signals of 4K Ultra HD TV, mobile TV and interactive content. Continue reading CES 2016: First Public Demo of ATSC 3.0 Standards for UHD

With Elemental Buy, Amazon May Be Planning Pay TV Service

According to several sources, Amazon is reportedly looking into the logistics and costs of creating an online pay TV service by talking with multiple content owners about carrying their channels. These talks — with CBS and Comcast’s NBCUniversal — have been going on for several months, say the sources. Amazon already offers content via its Prime Instant Video streaming service, as well as producing its own TV content. A live service would put it in direct competition with other pay TV providers such as Comcast and AT&T. Continue reading With Elemental Buy, Amazon May Be Planning Pay TV Service

FCC May Consider New Standard to Open Up Control of STBs

The Federal Communications Commission is deliberating whether cable and satellite TV companies should have exclusive control of the set-top box, an idea applauded by Google and TiVo and vigorously opposed by the cable/satellite TV industry. Increased competition would lower costs and drive improvements in functionality, say Google and TiVo. Among the supporters of this idea is the COMPTEL trade group, whose membership includes Amazon and Netflix. The cable industry, already suffering losses to cord cutting, strenuously opposes the move. Continue reading FCC May Consider New Standard to Open Up Control of STBs

EPIX is First Cable Network to Allow Offline Video Downloads

Premium cable channel EPIX — a joint venture between Viacom, Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate and MGM — is getting ready to launch a new feature that will provide users with offline viewing capabilities on mobile devices, including Apple’s iPhone and iPad, Android phones and tablets, and Kindle Fire devices. The news follows Amazon’s recent announcement that its Prime members would be able to view Amazon Instant Video content offline. However, the EPIX feature will be included in the channel’s TV Everywhere apps, and will not be available to over-the-top subscribers. Continue reading EPIX is First Cable Network to Allow Offline Video Downloads

Philo, Mobile Cable TV Startup, Expands to More Universities

Philo, which brings live TV and DVR use to mobile devices, was launched to entice young audiences that are not interested in traditional cable television. The company, backed by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and HBO, just expanded to an additional 15 U.S. universities, bringing its total presence on campuses to 40. The expansion comes in the wake of an additional $10 million raised in venture funding. Among the new campuses to sign on are University of Houston, University of Utah and Virginia Commonwealth University. Continue reading Philo, Mobile Cable TV Startup, Expands to More Universities

Pay TV Industry Loses 532,000 Subscribers in North America

Cord cutting continues to impact the pay TV industry. According to a new report from Strategy Analytics, the top 20 cable and satellite TV providers lost 479,000 subscribers in the U.S. between April and June, while operators in Canada lost 53,000 customers, marking the highest rate of decline experienced thus far in North America. The report comes after the first net drop of pay TV subscribers for the first three months of a year, following a disappointing Q1. Additionally, digital IPTV subscriptions fell by 62,000 in the U.S. and 9,000 in Canada. Continue reading Pay TV Industry Loses 532,000 Subscribers in North America

Apple Delays Live TV, Lacking Licensed Content and Network

At Apple’s upcoming September 9 event, the Silicon Valley company will announce a more powerful version of its Apple TV set-top box. But what it won’t be introducing is a live TV service streamed over the Internet. Although Apple insiders are mum, those close to the project say that Apple hasn’t licensed enough content from TV networks and that talks to do so are moving slowly. Another obstacle is a sufficiently robust computer network to guarantee the content will stream properly. The company is reportedly now targeting a 2016 launch date. Continue reading Apple Delays Live TV, Lacking Licensed Content and Network

Research Points to Increase in Cord Cutting and Cord Shaving

According to a recent study, the number of consumers in North America who are cutting the pay TV cord in favor of OTT streaming video services is growing. TiVo subsidiary Digitalsmiths reports that 8.2 percent of survey respondents were no longer paying TV subscriptions as of 2014, a 1.3 percent increase over the previous year. Interestingly, an impressive 45.2 percent indicated that they downsized their cable or satellite TV bundles during the same period in the wake of paying for services such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Instant Video (a trend referred to as “cord shaving”). Continue reading Research Points to Increase in Cord Cutting and Cord Shaving

Merger Talks Between Dish and T-Mobile at the Formative Stage

Dish Network is in discussions to merge with T-Mobile US, say people familiar with the matter. While financial specifics remain unresolved, the people indicate that the combined company would be led by Dish Chief Exec Charlie Ergen as chairman, and his T-Mobile counterpart John Legere as CEO. The deal would merge the second-largest satellite TV operator in the U.S. with the fourth-largest wireless carrier. Dish has a current market capitalization of $33 billion, slightly higher than T-Mobile’s $31 billion. Continue reading Merger Talks Between Dish and T-Mobile at the Formative Stage

Report Predicts Surge in Subscriber Numbers for OTT Services

According to Juniper Research, global subscriber numbers for streaming video services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video are expected to climb from 92.1 million in 2014 to 333.2 million by 2019. Juniper predicts that adoption will be driven by connected TVs, streaming devices like Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, as well as connected game consoles and set-top boxes. Newer streaming devices like affordable media sticks will continue to make watching OTT services easily accessible on living room screens. Continue reading Report Predicts Surge in Subscriber Numbers for OTT Services

Verizon to Debut New Options for its FiOS Service Next Week

To better compete in the changing pay TV landscape, Verizon is planning to introduce more flexibility for subscribers of its FiOS service. Beginning April 19, viewers will have the option of a slim package of channels and will also be able to add “channel packs” that feature genre-based channels (for example: pop culture, lifestyle, sports). Plans will start at $55 per month. Additional packages including 10-17 channels will run $10 a month. In addition, subscribers will have the ability to switch between channel packs after 30 days. Continue reading Verizon to Debut New Options for its FiOS Service Next Week

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.