HBO Sends Warnings to Torrent Users Sharing ‘Game of Thrones’

The first four episodes of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” fifth season were leaked online before the season’s premiere. Reportedly leaked from a review screener, the episodes have since been downloaded from public torrent sites millions of times. In response, HBO has distributed thousands of warnings to those Internet subscribers whose connections were determined to share leaked episodes. There are no legal ramifications for the subscribers, but HBO hopes that the warnings will prevent some of them from downloading future episodes. Continue reading HBO Sends Warnings to Torrent Users Sharing ‘Game of Thrones’

Netflix Beats Projections for User Growth In U.S. and Abroad

Netflix added 4.88 million subscribers in the most recent quarter, exceeding expectations for growth of its user base. The company had forecast 4.05 million new subscribers. Netflix believes its popular original programming like “House of Cards” helped attract more users both in the U.S. and internationally. The streaming service is continuing to expand overseas and plans to encrypt its video streams in order to protect the privacy of its now 62 million-strong user base. Continue reading Netflix Beats Projections for User Growth In U.S. and Abroad

Maelstrom: BitTorrent’s New Browser Built on P2P Architecture

BitTorrent’s peer-to-peer Web browser endeavor, Maelstrom, is now in beta. Since its limited alpha release back in December of last year, the browser has reportedly seen as many as 3,500 publishers and more than 10,000 developers sign up to work on its platform. The beta release will make the browser available to more people and help gauge interest in a torrent-based service built on a decentralized, P2P architecture. For now, the beta version of Maelstrom is only available for Windows users. Continue reading Maelstrom: BitTorrent’s New Browser Built on P2P Architecture

Coachella to Live Stream Performances and More via YouTube

For music fans that want to catch acts such as AC/DC, Drake, Interpol, Jack White and Vic Mensa perform at Coachella this weekend, much of the three-day festival will be streamed on YouTube. Three channels of performances, commentary and interactive profiles will be made available as well as a schedule feature that offers updates based on a user’s time zone and channel choice, and a virtual map feature that will include photos taken during the live event. Coachella’s YouTube channel is sponsored by T-Mobile. Continue reading Coachella to Live Stream Performances and More via YouTube

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

New Twitter Feature Offers Workaround to Character Limitation

Twitter has officially launched its “retweet with comment” feature, which enables users to embed a tweet in a tweet — and bypass the social platform’s 140-character limit in the process. This will allow users to share and comment on tweets without the need to shorten the original tweet, while preserving context and meaning. (However, users are not able to embed the full retweet and comment.) The new feature is currently accessible via the Twitter site and iPhone app; an update to the Android app is expected soon. Continue reading New Twitter Feature Offers Workaround to Character Limitation

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.

Amazon Dash Button Helps Shoppers Conveniently Place Orders

Amazon introduced the Dash Button this week, a Wi-Fi-enabled button that can be attached to surfaces in your home and pushed to order household products rather conveniently. Each button is branded with a unique product logo and linked to the Amazon mobile shopping app so customers can customize their automated orders. Amazon says that the Dash Button is a precursor to its Dash Replenishment Service (DRS), which will enable physical goods to automatically restock when supplies are low.   Continue reading Amazon Dash Button Helps Shoppers Conveniently Place Orders

Curator Tool Will Help Media Publishers Share Tweets and Vines

Twitter unveiled its new Curator media tool this week designed to make more tweets available to a larger audience outside of its own site — and ideally build upon its base of 288 million users that log in at least once a month. The tool will help media organizations locate tweets and Vine videos that can be posted with stories and broadcasts. Publishers regularly create and share compelling content related to live events and breaking news. Twitter aims to leverage these publishers to help address its slowing user growth rate. Continue reading Curator Tool Will Help Media Publishers Share Tweets and Vines

OTT: New Trends Evolving in Streaming TV and Online Video

According to research from video optimization company Conviva, about 75 percent of new over-the-top service users stop watching video after just more than four minutes, due primarily to poor streaming quality or too many interruptions. While only 25 percent continue past four minutes, the study shows that some viewers will keep trying. Nearly half will stop the video and try again and 29 percent will try a different platform. A related study notes another trend: OTT services may be steering consumers back to their big screen TVs. Continue reading OTT: New Trends Evolving in Streaming TV and Online Video

Asus Chromebit Runs Google Chrome, Turns Displays into PCs

The Asus Chromebit is a cigar-sized device that runs on Google Chrome OS and essentially serves as a tiny PC. It can be plugged into an LCD display or television to run software normally run on computers — including word processing, spreadsheets, email and online video. It is scheduled to launch this summer for less than $100. The Chromebit is the latest addition to a growing collection of devices designed for Chrome OS, which is based on Google’s Chrome Web browser OS, intended for use with Internet-based applications. Continue reading Asus Chromebit Runs Google Chrome, Turns Displays into PCs

Facebook Hopes Drones Will Expand Global Internet Connectivity

Facebook has long expressed its goal to connect as many people as possible. The company already has a reported 1.4 billion users, but has plans to expand well beyond these numbers by launching drones that can provide high-speed connectivity to even the most remote areas of the world. The drones would resemble a Boeing 767 in width, weigh less than a small vehicle and help Facebook connect with the roughly 5 billion people that it does not already reach on a global scale.  Continue reading Facebook Hopes Drones Will Expand Global Internet Connectivity

NFL to Experiment Broadcasting One Game Online Next Season

For the first time, the NFL will allow one football game to be streamed on a national digital platform. The league relies heavily on television to broadcast its games, but for this single broadcast next season, it is letting digital platforms bid for the rights. The game will be a week-seven matchup between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars to be played in London. The broadcast is slated for 9:30 am Eastern time, but that will be primetime in China where the NFL hopes to attract viewers. Continue reading NFL to Experiment Broadcasting One Game Online Next Season

Video Service Vessel Out of Beta, Launches on Web and iOS

Online video subscription service Vessel had its public launch this week for Web and iOS. Founded by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar and CTO Richard Tom, the service offers early access to the increasingly popular videos created by today’s YouTube stars. Kilar is betting that consumers will be willing to pay a monthly $2.99 subscription fee to access videos 72 hours before they become available for free on YouTube. The model has generated some early skepticism, but it is not much different from Hulu’s approach from six years ago. Continue reading Video Service Vessel Out of Beta, Launches on Web and iOS

Streaming TV Services Look to Bypass Internet Congestion

While the FCC has proposed that broadband companies cannot accept payments for access to an Internet fast lane, some streaming TV services want to be classified as “managed services,” much like digital phone services. This gray area of the net neutrality rules may provide media companies a fast lane opportunity. The FCC allows cable and phone companies to operate managed services, such as digital phone services or video-on-demand, on a special bandwidth so that consumers do not experience dropped calls or video buffering. Continue reading Streaming TV Services Look to Bypass Internet Congestion

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