Make Your TV Smart: Roku to Ship $50 Streaming Stick in April

Video-streaming set-top box maker Roku is planning to launch its anticipated Streaming Stick with Wi-Fi remote next month for $49.99. The thumb-size media stick plugs into a television’s HDMI port and offers a similar interface available through the Roku set-top boxes with access to a host of online streaming services. A simple solution to make your TV smart, the Roku Streaming Stick will compete with the popular $35 smartphone-controlled Chromecast device from Google. Continue reading Make Your TV Smart: Roku to Ship $50 Streaming Stick in April

GameFly Will Take On Netflix with New Movie Rental Service

Video game rental service GameFly is launching a movie rental service (currently in beta) that aims to compete with the Netflix disc-by-mail business. GameFly will offer DVD and Blu-ray discs to subscribers, with the option of renting one or two movies at a time. While Netflix has predicted that shipping costs would bring an end to its own disc-based rental service, this may not be an issue for GameFly since mail rentals remain its core business. Continue reading GameFly Will Take On Netflix with New Movie Rental Service

New Milestone: Kickstarter Passes the $1 Billion Pledge Mark

According to Kickstarter, the crowd-funding site officially passed $1 billion in pledges yesterday. Of the one billion pledged by 5.7 million individuals from 224 countries and territories to help fund creative projects, more than half was pledged in the last 12 months. More than $663 million was pledged by nearly 3.76 million backers in the U.S. alone. Other top countries include the U.K., Canada, Australia, Germany and France. Interestingly, nearly 16,000 people have backed more than 50 projects. Continue reading New Milestone: Kickstarter Passes the $1 Billion Pledge Mark

Disney Launches Online Movie Service Powered by Keychest

Disney has launched its new Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA), that allows consumers to purchase movies and store them in the cloud. Launching initially for iOS and the Web, the service is integrated with the Apple iTunes Store. Users can browse, buy and view more than 400 Disney, Pixar and Marvel movies (however, R-rated movies are not included). DMA is powered by Keychest digital storage and streaming tech, developed by Disney, the first to offer movies and TV shows through iTunes. Continue reading Disney Launches Online Movie Service Powered by Keychest

Amazon Discusses New Streaming Service with Music Labels

Amazon continues to expand into the entertainment realm with its delivery of movies and TV via Amazon Prime, the launch of Amazon Studios, its recent acquisition of video game developer Double Helix, and now, the possibility of a streaming music service that would likely be bundled into its Prime delivery option. Amazon has been hiring executives with digital music experience in recent years, and has reportedly been in talks with major music labels for the past few months. Continue reading Amazon Discusses New Streaming Service with Music Labels

ABC to Live-Stream Academy Awards via Web and Mobile Apps

ABC plans to live-stream Sunday’s Oscars telecast in eight markets via online and Watch ABC apps for customers of participating pay TV partners including AT&T U-verse, Cablevision, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, Google Fiber, Midcontinent Communications and Verizon FiOS. ABC also announced it has retired its standalone Oscars app; red carpet and backstage action will be folded into Watch ABC, available to Oscar fans for free. Continue reading ABC to Live-Stream Academy Awards via Web and Mobile Apps

Disney Returns to 1928 for Animated Short Featuring Mickey

Fresh from last year’s win for “Paperman,” Disney is nominated for an Academy Award in the Animated Short Film category. Animators for “Get A Horse!,” which is partly done in a 1920s style, drew inspiration from early Disney holiday cards. The animation blends computer-generated imagery with traditional hand-drawn work, and the story involves Mickey Mouse on a mission to save Minnie Mouse from her lascivious kidnapper Peg-Leg Pete. A win for Disney would mark a first for an animated short starring Mickey.

Continue reading Disney Returns to 1928 for Animated Short Featuring Mickey

VFX Industry Plans Oscar Demonstration to Protest Offshoring

PandoDaily and TheWrap are among those reporting that visual effects industry workers are planning a demonstration outside the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood during Sunday’s Academy Awards to protest ongoing efforts to send post-production work overseas. The group believes that offshoring has led to a slow collapse of the VFX industry in the U.S. While there was little the effects industry could do about this in the past, it may now be armed with a new weapon based on the MPAA’s attempts to combat Internet piracy. Continue reading VFX Industry Plans Oscar Demonstration to Protest Offshoring

QPlay TV Streamer from TiVo Co-Founders Expected to Debut

InVisioneer, the company created by TiVo co-founders Michael Ramsay and Jim Barton, is reportedly planning to release its anticipated QPlay video streamer very soon. While official plans have yet to be announced, an early adopter beta test is expected, based on a recently posted demo video and related documents online, including the company’s terms of service and privacy policy. The streaming box, about the size of an external hard drive, connects to a TV and is controlled via an iPad app. Continue reading QPlay TV Streamer from TiVo Co-Founders Expected to Debut

Rovi Pays $69 Million to Acquire Voice Search Startup Veveo

Rovi announced that it is purchasing video discovery and voice search startup Veveo and the company’s IP for $62 million in cash and up to an additional $7 million based on performance milestones. The acquisition of Veveo’s technology is expected to bring new voice search capability to Rovi’s video discovery platform. Veveo uses natural language processing combined with semantic tech to integrate intuitive search and recommendation features into video discovery applications. Continue reading Rovi Pays $69 Million to Acquire Voice Search Startup Veveo

Task Force on File Formats and Media Interoperability Launches

Key media organizations have announced the launch of the Joint Task Force on File Formats and Media Interoperability, which plans to work with manufacturers, broadcasters, ad agencies, standards organizations and trade associations to develop greater efficiencies and cost savings for the exchange of file-based content. The initial focus will be to collect and analyze requirements for a machine-generated and readable file interchange and delivery spec for the media industry. Continue reading Task Force on File Formats and Media Interoperability Launches

Standoff Ends: Netflix to Pay Comcast for Improved Streaming

In a landmark deal that could potentially serve as precedent for future Netflix agreements with broadband providers, the video streaming service has agreed to pay Comcast to guarantee that movies and TV shows stream smoothly to the cable provider’s customers via Netflix. In exchange, Netflix will have direct access to the broadband network. The pact comes 10 days after Comcast agreed to buy Time Warner Cable, which, if approved, will lead to Comcast providing broadband services to about 32 million households. Continue reading Standoff Ends: Netflix to Pay Comcast for Improved Streaming

“Veronica Mars” To Be Released in Theaters, VOD on Same Day

Warner Bros. is planning to release its Kickstarter-initiated “Veronica Mars” movie, starring Kristen Bell, in 270 theaters on March 14, the same day the film will be made available to rent or purchase online. While independent studios and theaters have been experimenting with same-day releases in recent years, the move will mark the first time that a major Hollywood studio has distributed a movie theatrically and for home viewing simultaneously in the U.S. Continue reading “Veronica Mars” To Be Released in Theaters, VOD on Same Day

HPA Tech Retreat: Panel Ponders New Era of Post Production

In what was perhaps the most forward-looking panel yet to appear onstage at the HPA Tech Retreat, a group of six professionals from across the post-production industry made the case Thursday afternoon that the future of post would be more distributed, more accessible, and very much dependent on cloud technologies. The “Virtual/Distributed Post” panel, moderated by Creative COW‘s Debra Kaufman, featured individuals working to develop and deploy technologies that break the mold of traditional post-production facilities. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Panel Ponders New Era of Post Production

HPA Panel Discusses Pixel Count in Next-Generation Displays

A panel of experts from across the entertainment industry convened at the HPA Tech Retreat on Thursday morning to discuss the importance of increasing pixel counts in next generation televisions and displays. While so-called “4K” or Ultra HD televisions have now appeared on the market from nearly every major consumer electronics manufacturer, there has been some debate about whether simply increasingly resolution truly improves picture quality. Continue reading HPA Panel Discusses Pixel Count in Next-Generation Displays

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