Amazon Fire TV Widens Its Lead at 34 Million Active Users

Back in January, Amazon announced that its Fire TV streaming platform had more than 30 million users. Today, Fire TV has grown to more than 34 million active users, according to an announcement made by Amazon this week during a panel titled ‘The Battle for Your Living Room: Sticks, Boxes, and Smart TV Platforms’ at The Pay TV Show in Denver. This indicates that Amazon’s lead over rival streaming platform Roku is widening. Roku grew to 29.1 million active users per its latest earnings report from this month.

Continue reading Amazon Fire TV Widens Its Lead at 34 Million Active Users

Studios, Streaming Services Take on TickBox in Copyright Suit

In October, MPAA member studios 20th Century Fox, Columbia, Disney, Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros. teamed with streaming services Amazon and Netflix to sue TickBox TV over copyright infringement. Yesterday in California, U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald sided with the studios and streamers by issuing “a preliminary injunction against the streaming device manufacturer to pause further potential infringement while the litigation plays out,” explains The Hollywood Reporter. “TickBox argues it only offers hardware, on which users can ‘voluntarily install legitimate or illegitimate software,’ and that access to the infringing content came from downloadable ‘themes’ that it didn’t create.” Continue reading Studios, Streaming Services Take on TickBox in Copyright Suit

New Research Places Roku at Top of Connected-TV Market

According to a new eMarketer study, Roku is now the leading connected-TV device in the U.S. Roku has more users than Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Google Chromecast. The research firm estimates that 38.9 million U.S. consumers will use their Roku devices at least once per month this year. Chromecast will follow at 36.9 million users, Amazon Fire TV at 35.8 million, and Apple TV at 21.3 million. Roku is the only one of the four leading brands that is not connected to an affiliated content service and, as a result, has signed agreements with numerous partners. Continue reading New Research Places Roku at Top of Connected-TV Market

TCL Announces 4K Roku Smart TVs With Dolby Vision HDR

In 2014, TCL’s first Roku-driven smart TVs were aimed at consumers on a budget. Now, TCL is debuting two lines of higher-ticket TVs. The P and C series are the first 4K Roku TVs with Dolby Vision HDR. They also have Roku’s latest operating system, which allows the user to pause live TV for up to 90 minutes if he adds a USB flash drive to the TV. Another option enables recommendations of content based on viewing patterns. The P Series offers Dolby Vision HDR with local dimming; the C Series features a more contemporary design. Continue reading TCL Announces 4K Roku Smart TVs With Dolby Vision HDR

Roku Signs Licensing Deal with TiVo, Gains Access to Patents

Roku and TiVo have signed a multiyear IP agreement that will provide Roku with access to thousands of patents. According to Variety, the license “agreement covers the TiVo and Rovi patent portfolios as well as the over-the-top patents in the Intellectual Ventures portfolio under the TiVo-IV licensing partnership. TiVo in its current instantiation was formed out of Rovi’s $1.1 billion acquisition of the DVR maker last year.” There are currently about 6,000 issued and pending patents in the combined company’s portfolio covering tech “including interactive program guides, DVR functions and mobile device media processes.” Continue reading Roku Signs Licensing Deal with TiVo, Gains Access to Patents

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

Plex Integrates Alexa Voice Control with Popular Media Player

Media player Plex, joining many device manufacturers, has added Alexa voice control for its first foray into home automation. Now, via the company’s Plex Skill for Alexa, the user can ask for favorite content, even music, from her Plex media library without a remote control. But Alexa for Plex isn’t as simple as it is for Spotify or Pandora, which rely on the Alexa mobile app. Instead, users have to enable Remote Access for their media server in the software’s setting, to turn requests into API calls in Plex’s cloud services. Continue reading Plex Integrates Alexa Voice Control with Popular Media Player

Google Builds Cast Functionality Directly into Chrome Browser

Google recently integrated full Google Cast capability directly into its Chrome browser, a significant upgrade to its previous Cast extension that allowed streaming from Chrome to supported devices like the company’s popular Chromecast. The Cast icon will appear on all sites that support it, enabling Cast functionality from the Chrome menu, no software download required. Cast is also now available on third party hardware such as TV sets and speakers. More than 38 million casts were sent from Chrome in August alone, representing over 50 million hours of consuming media content. Continue reading Google Builds Cast Functionality Directly into Chrome Browser

Plex Media Player System Adds DVR Feature for Broadcast TV

Client-server media player system Plex has debuted beta DVR functionality, enabling users to record broadcast TV programs and stream them to other devices. Recorded content can be watched on TV/mobile devices with Plex apps for Apple TV, Android, iOS, Roku, Chromecast, game consoles and many smart TVs. For now, scheduling shows is only available via Plex’s Web interface. The DVR feature also requires the use of a networked TV tuner to access broadcast TV signals; Plex has partnered first with tuner maker SiliconDust. Continue reading Plex Media Player System Adds DVR Feature for Broadcast TV

Windows Users are Encouraged to Uninstall Apple QuickTime

Apple has decided it will no longer support or update its QuickTime software for Windows PCs. The company recently posted instructions online for uninstalling the popular multimedia player. Windows PC users should note that keeping QuickTime on their computers could pose a risk since there will be no more security updates (two new security holes were discovered by researchers at Trend Micro just last week). Apple offers an alternative to QuickTime via iTunes for playing back video and audio files. Additionally, Microsoft has its own media player. Continue reading Windows Users are Encouraged to Uninstall Apple QuickTime

BitTorrent Program Popcorn Time Returns After 2015 Shutdown

Popcorn Time is back. The fork most closely associated with the version shut down by the MPAA last year is now promising “resilience-driven development” based on the development of the relatively new and legal Project Butter. In October 2015, the most popular Popcorn Time fork shuttered its website after the MPAA filed a lawsuit against developers in Canada. While the MPAA’s threats created a domino effect that stopped several contributors from working on the platform, outdated versions of PopcornTime.io software began receiving updates this month. Continue reading BitTorrent Program Popcorn Time Returns After 2015 Shutdown

SpecOut Lists 99 VR, AR Headsets for Comparison Shopping

Product comparison site SpecOut.com provides “detailed information and specs on thousands of gadgets” for those researching smartphones, streaming media players, motherboards and more. Now the site has added a section on virtual and augmented reality headsets that features currently available and soon-to-be-released devices such as the Sony PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, Avegant Glyph, HTC Vive, Microsoft HoloLens and 94 others. This is a great resource for those interesting in HMD product descriptions, pricing, and details such as refresh rate, processing source, and field of view. Continue reading SpecOut Lists 99 VR, AR Headsets for Comparison Shopping

Popcorn Time Goes Dark, Just After Launching Butter Project

Popcorn Time, a free software BitTorrent client with integrated media player, has shut down, seemingly due to tampering with its DNS server. Could this be the end for the company that was shut down once due to MPAA complaints about piracy? That’s not clear, but just before its site went down, Popcorn Time creators announced the launch of Butter, a new version of the Popcorn Time service, but without any direct links to piracy. Butter lets the user create a streaming service — and leaves the piracy up to the individual user. Continue reading Popcorn Time Goes Dark, Just After Launching Butter Project

Plex and VLC Streaming Media Apps Are Coming to Apple TV

Analysts seem to agree that the most promising aspect of the recently unveiled fourth-generation Apple TV is its App Store. A wave of compelling apps could easily generate more interest in the device. Plex, for example, which works with Chromecast and Fire TV as a tool for organizing personal media libraries, and has long been sought after by Apple TV users, is planning an app for the new Apple TV. Plex co-founder Scott Olechowski has confirmed plans for a new app as the team awaits the tvOS developer beta. Meanwhile, a tvOS version of the cross-platform VLC media player is also being planned. Continue reading Plex and VLC Streaming Media Apps Are Coming to Apple TV

Amazon Releases Fling SDK, New Competition for Chromecast

Amazon’s new Fling SDK helps mobile developers create second screen and Cast-like functionality for iOS and Android apps, essentially simplifying the “network discovery and communication technologies” around Fire TV, according to the company. “Flinging” (Amazon’s version of Chromecast’s “casting”) is a means of sending video, audio or images from an app to a television screen via the Fire TV player. Amazon is targeting developers already using Chromecast by offering the ability to integrate Amazon’s SDK with existing Chromecast apps. Continue reading Amazon Releases Fling SDK, New Competition for Chromecast

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