Hulu to Launch Pay TV Service, Joining Other Digital Players

Hulu is the latest platform to compete with traditional pay TV services. Separate from its current on-demand programming model, Hulu plans to launch a cable TV-style online service in Q1 2017, say those familiar with the company’s plans. Hulu co-owners 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company are likely to strike agreements to license many of their channels. ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, the Fox network, Fox News, FX and Fox national and regional sports channels are also anticipated to be part of the lineup. Continue reading Hulu to Launch Pay TV Service, Joining Other Digital Players

TiVo Unveils Roamio OTA with More Storage, More Features

In addition to the recent debut of its 4K-ready DVR, TiVo just unveiled the latest version of its Roamio, the OTA 1TB. With a 1TB hard drive, users can record up to 150 hours of HD programming and up to four shows at once, due to multiple tuners. The device can also bring in over-the-air (OTA) or broadcast programs from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS and Univision via an HD antenna. Roamio OTA 1TB will also allow users to watch streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and YouTube. Continue reading TiVo Unveils Roamio OTA with More Storage, More Features

Rovi Agrees to Acquire DVR Pioneer TiVo in $1.1 Billion Deal

Rovi Corporation has agreed to purchase TiVo Inc. for $1.1 billion, in a deal that merges two TV tech patent holders as companies including Apple, Comcast and Google are looking to control the set-top box. The FCC is proposing to allow customers who rent STBs from cable companies to “buy their own boxes or alternatives, which would open up what is now a largely closed market,” reports Bloomberg. “This deal was driven by an increasingly competitive set-top box market,” said analyst Paul Sweeney of Bloomberg Intelligence. “Cable operators such as Comcast are investing serious capital to develop next-generation boxes that are threatening the TiVo and Rovi platforms.” Continue reading Rovi Agrees to Acquire DVR Pioneer TiVo in $1.1 Billion Deal

Layer3 TV Launches Texas Beta of Its Umio Pay TV Service

Three years after its founding, Layer3 TV, a new player in the pay TV space, rolled out a beta test in two Texas markets. Launched by Broadbus Technologies founder Jeff Binder, and former Comcast/AT&T CTO Dave Fellows, the company’s new Umio service is based on a “state-of-the-art” set-top box with an integrated cable modem for Internet and TV services. The content bundle, however, appears to be fairly traditional, including local broadcasters and most cable networks, although Umio also offers some add-on channels. Continue reading Layer3 TV Launches Texas Beta of Its Umio Pay TV Service

NBCUniversal’s Burke: Netflix is Friend, Enemy and Frenemy

NBCUniversal chief executive Steve Burke did not anticipate the big impact of time-shifting and over-the-top services such as Netflix and Hulu on the cable business, he said during CES 2016. Instead, he believed cable entertainment ratings would be stronger than they are today. At the same time, he doesn’t consider Netflix to be just an enemy but, rather, a friend and frenemy as well. More puzzling to him is how advertisers discount television in favor of digital outlets, which, he notes, do not have the reach or emotional impact of TV. Continue reading NBCUniversal’s Burke: Netflix is Friend, Enemy and Frenemy

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

Assessing the Impact of VOD, Broadband, Apps and 4K on TV

The consumer is besieged by content ad platform choices and options. A group of broadcast, cable and social media executives gathered during CES to describe how it’s changing their business. “It is crazy competitive,” said Starz CRO Michael Thornton. “You have to make that show not just the best of the season but the best of all time.” Needham & Co.’s Laura Martin put digital in its place, succinctly. “There is no money in digital,” she noted. “Unless you have the powerful economic engine of TV to fund it, you’re losing money.” Continue reading Assessing the Impact of VOD, Broadband, Apps and 4K on TV

Univision Launches Subscription Video with Live Broadcasts

Hispanic media powerhouse Univision Communications has launched Univision Now, a $5.99-per-month Internet video service that features live broadcasts of the Univision and UniMás networks for Spanish-speaking viewers. The SVOD service features DVR-style replays of its live programming for up to three days after broadcast, in addition to on-demand access to primetime shows up to seven days after airing. Univision Now — offering the networks’ full slate of news, sports, telenovelas and award shows — is available via the Internet and iOS and Android apps. Continue reading Univision Launches Subscription Video with Live Broadcasts

Digital Hollywood: Evolution of Internet TV and Mobile Video

Internet TV has become increasingly mainstream, fulfilling the promise of video anytime, anywhere. A Digital Hollywood panel, moderated by Siemens executive Steve Wong, took a look at video across platforms to determine where the players currently stand in the evolution. Quoting a Parks Associates study, Wong revealed that North America leads the globe with OTT, whose revenue is largely based on subscriptions rather than transactions. Internet advertising is also due to overtake TV advertising by 2017, said the study. Continue reading Digital Hollywood: Evolution of Internet TV and Mobile Video

TiVo Introduces Bolt DVR, Ready for Ultra HD and Ad-Skipping

TiVo introduced its new Bolt DVR this week, with features that TiVo customers have requested for years. That includes a new SkipMode that improves the device’s ability to leap over commercials on recorded content, 4K Ultra HD capability, and, with a fall update, an iOS app that allows the creation of a customized “What to Watch” screen built by selecting categories based on hobbies and interests. The new TiVo also offers an iOS app with AirPlay so users can stream content to Apple TV, and the company says it’s working on an app for Amazon Fire TV. Continue reading TiVo Introduces Bolt DVR, Ready for Ultra HD and Ad-Skipping

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

Disney COO Defends the Programming Bundle as TV Evolves

In the wake of pay TV subscriber losses and a falloff in content stocks, industry news has recently focused on the impact of the Internet, mobile apps and streaming services on traditional television. Disney chief operating officer Tom Staggs, who most analysts believe will be the successor to CEO Bob Iger, defended the future of ESPN and the programming bundle at an industry conference in Beverly Hills on Thursday. Staggs also suggested that Wall Street had overreacted to recent changes in the business and should not be so quick to dismiss the current model. Continue reading Disney COO Defends the Programming Bundle as TV Evolves

Nvidia Debuts GeForce Experience Feature for Game Sharing

As part of a beta release of GeForce Experience, Nvidia is introducing GameStream co-op, which allows two gamers to play with a single copy by one streaming the game to another PC. The co-op feature, which resembles Sony’s Share Play feature on PlayStation 4, allows for three different modes of play. It is based on the same technology found in Nvidia’s GameStream service, which lets users stream a game from their PC, over a local network, to another device, such as a Shield tablet. Continue reading Nvidia Debuts GeForce Experience Feature for Game Sharing

Watch TV on Any Device with AT&T’s First Nationwide Bundle

Less then two weeks following FCC approval of its $48.5 billion takeover of DirecTV, AT&T is already rolling out plans to lure new customers. In a first-of-its kind nationwide offer to be made available August 10, AT&T is packaging wireless phone service and television for $200 per month for the first year. The “All in One” promotional plan places an emphasis on TV anywhere, featuring HDTV and DVR services across four receivers through DirecTV or U-verse, four smartphone connections including unlimited talk and text, in addition to 10GB of shared data. Continue reading Watch TV on Any Device with AT&T’s First Nationwide Bundle

IPO Plan Details Benefits of ACR Software in Vizio Smart TVs

Vizio has sold more than 15 million smart TVs as part of its $3 billion per year business and is now ready to go public. Its recent IPO filing reveals how its smart TVs are tracking what consumers are watching. Inscape software embedded in Vizio screens can track anything being played — including cable TV, streaming devices and game systems. The technology, based on Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) software, can pull 100 billion datapoints from its connected TVs daily. The data should prove valuable to advertisers and content providers. Continue reading IPO Plan Details Benefits of ACR Software in Vizio Smart TVs

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