Sony Unveils 4K Streaming Service for Latest Bravia XR TVs

Sony debuted its Bravia Core (the ‘CORE’ stands for ‘Centre of Real Entertainment’), a 4K streaming service exclusive and free to owners of its 2021 Bravia XR TVs. Its content draws from the Sony Pictures library for new releases and older movies. Sony stated that Core provides lossless 4K streaming at a much higher bitrate than Netflix and other streaming services,” HDR, DTS sound and “the largest IMAX Enhanced movie collection.” The service, accessed through the Bravia Core app, is not available on older Sony smart TVs or other devices. Continue reading Sony Unveils 4K Streaming Service for Latest Bravia XR TVs

TV Maker Vizio Goes Public on the New York Stock Exchange

Irvine, California-based smart TV maker Vizio had its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange last week, offering 12.25 million shares priced at $21, valuing the company at about $3.9 billion. Vizio chairman and chief executive William Wang, who founded the company in 2002, is focused on the SmartCast streaming platform. Among smart TVs in North America, Vizio is second only to Samsung. Vizio’s platform business grew four-fold from 2018 to 2020, to $147.2 million, with total revenue topping $2 billion in 2020. Continue reading TV Maker Vizio Goes Public on the New York Stock Exchange

EU Indie Producers Issue Code of Fair Practices to Streamers

The European Producers Club (EPC), based in Paris, represents 130 independent film and television drama producers throughout Europe. The group just issued a four-point Code of Fair Practices for VOD Services aimed at Amazon Studios, Disney+, Netflix and other streaming companies that commission content from its members. France, Italy and Germany are currently in negotiations to implement Europe’s earlier Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), which requires streaming companies to invest revenue into local productions.

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Netflix Running Test to Curb Unauthorized Password Sharing

Netflix is reportedly considering a move to enforce one of its terms of service: that a customer’s account credentials cannot be shared with individuals beyond the account holder’s household. The company recently introduced a limited test that displays a warning that reads, “if you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” It next prompts viewers with three options: to get an email or text verification code to authenticate the account, click on a button to verify later, or sign up for a new account. Continue reading Netflix Running Test to Curb Unauthorized Password Sharing

Disney+ Achieves 100 Million Subscriber Mark in Record Time

The Walt Disney Company’s streaming service Disney+ reached 100 million subscribers in its first 16 months of operation, after reporting 94.9 million subscribers on January 2. With the latest announcement, Disney+ is clearly on track to reach the goal of 260 million subscribers by 2024. At a shareholder meeting, Disney chief executive Bob Chapek again stressed that Disney+ is a company priority and that it still plans to add 100+ new titles each year. In comparison, Netflix has 203.7 million subscribers. Continue reading Disney+ Achieves 100 Million Subscriber Mark in Record Time

Netflix Rolls Out ‘First Laughs’ Comedy Clips for Mobile Users

Netflix just added First Laughs to its iPhone app, offering comedy clips from movies, TV shows and its own stand-up comedy specials, with the full-screen vertical video running via an auto-playing feed. The company stated it will debut up to 100 curated clips per day. Fast Laughs also includes social features and lets users add titles to their watch list or start watching a program immediately. The length of each video segment will run from about 15 seconds to up to 45 seconds or longer. The idea of watching content on the go echoes TikTok and the now defunct Quibi. Continue reading Netflix Rolls Out ‘First Laughs’ Comedy Clips for Mobile Users

Startup Debuts a DVR-Like App for Media Content: ‘Channels’

Startup Fancy Bits, founded by two former GitHub employees, has launched Channels, a kind of DVR for the streaming age. The $8 per month service pulls video from feeds as disparate as cable channels, live streaming apps, on-demand services and over-the-air broadcasts and places them into a single app. “What we’re building towards is something that was sort of built 20 years ago,” said co-founder Jon Maddox. “Really, we’re just trying to make this single place for people to go watch their TV that everybody is looking for.” Continue reading Startup Debuts a DVR-Like App for Media Content: ‘Channels’

Wi-Fi 6 Will Eventually Benefit Homes with Connected Devices

Wi-Fi 6 has arrived, promising faster speeds, broader coverage and the ability to share connections across a single household’s wireless devices. The latter means that if one device is consuming huge amounts of data, it will not slow down the household’s other devices. The new generation Wi-Fi actually debuted in 2018 but is only now affordable enough and more widely available on Internet routers to become mainstream. While consumers can now purchase smartphones and computers including chips that enable use of Wi-Fi 6, the tech’s real benefits will likely have a stronger impact once households have more connected devices. Continue reading Wi-Fi 6 Will Eventually Benefit Homes with Connected Devices

Google Shutters Stadia’s Video Game Development Division

Google is shutting down the Stadia division that makes exclusive games in order to “focus on building on the proven technology of Stadia as well as deepening our business partnerships,” said Stadia vice president and general manager Phil Harrison. He added that the plan is to expand “efforts to help game developers and publishers take advantage of our platform technology and deliver games directly to their players.” Alphabet debuted Stadia in November 2019 to compete with major video game console companies. Continue reading Google Shutters Stadia’s Video Game Development Division

Survey Reveals U.S Viewers Adding More Streaming Services

During the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of streaming media services have thrived and, according to a J.D. Power survey, Americans now subscribe, on average, to four streaming services, up from three when the pandemic began. That translates to 24 percent more in subscription fees, for an average consumer outlay of $47 per month in December, up from $38 in April. Netflix and Disney+ have surged, and newcomers HBO Max and Peacock have also done well. Apple wants to boost its Apple TV+ service but may find itself at a disadvantage. Continue reading Survey Reveals U.S Viewers Adding More Streaming Services

CES: Sony Integrates Movie Streaming to Promote Bravia TVs

Sony announced during CES 2021 that its new line of Bravia XR television sets would provide consumers with the Bravia Core platform for streaming select movies from Sony Pictures Entertainment. The company indicates that its Pure Stream tech enables “near lossless” ultra high-def Blu-ray Disc quality. The Bravia Core platform comes pre-loaded on new Bravia XR models including Sony’s 8K LED, OLED and 4K LED models. Access to film titles is based on a type of voucher system in which customers are given credits depending on which Bravia XR model is purchased. Continue reading CES: Sony Integrates Movie Streaming to Promote Bravia TVs

Municipalities Want Streaming Services to Pay Franchise Fees

As streaming media services increasingly resemble cable bundles, more towns and counties are looking to regulate them. In Georgia for example, three municipalities filed a federal lawsuit against Netflix, Hulu and other services for as much as 5 percent of their gross revenue in an attempt to treat them as cable services. According to the lawsuit, Netflix earned about $103 million over the recent five years from subscribers in Gwinnett County, Georgia. If treated as a cable provider, that would represent $5.15 million in retroactive fees. Continue reading Municipalities Want Streaming Services to Pay Franchise Fees

Netflix Tops 200 Million Subs in 2020, Lifted by the Pandemic

By the end of 2020, Netflix signed up a record 37 million new subscribers for a total of 203.7 million users, driven by the home-bound people eager for more entertainment during the COVID-19 pandemic. This latest bump in subscriber numbers took place in an increasingly competitive environment with new streaming services, including Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max and Comcast’s Peacock. Unlike other TV networks, Netflix has been able to offer more new content during the pandemic, with 500+ new titles in post production or ready to air. Continue reading Netflix Tops 200 Million Subs in 2020, Lifted by the Pandemic

CES 2021 Opens with Predictions on Tech Trends for the Year

At the opening of the all-digital CES 2021 this week, Consumer Technology Association vice president of research Steve Koenig and director of research Lesley Rohrbaugh described their predictions for innovation and technology trends to expect in the coming year, noting that the CTA provides 30 studies a year on its website. Koenig put 2021 in context as following a tough 2020 of COVID-19 and related economic downturn. “As a global community we confronted a lot of those challenges together and saw a myriad of solutions from tech innovation,” he said. Continue reading CES 2021 Opens with Predictions on Tech Trends for the Year

Struum to Aggregate Content from Many Streaming Services

Co-founded by former Discovery and Disney executives, Struum is a new entrant to the streaming space that, rather than offering its own content, instead hopes to find a niche in helping viewers manage the flood of content available from hundreds of streaming services. It will provide viewers á la carte access to shows and movies without having to subscribe to each platform, giving visibility to smaller services. Former Disney chief executive Michael Eisner’s The Tornante Company is Struum’s main financial backer.

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