Snell Advanced Media Stresses Interoperable IP Solutions, 4K

Snell Advanced Media (SAM), which is the rebranded combination of Snell and Quantel, outlined solutions for its broadcast/cablecast customers to adopt IP networks, 4K, HDR, software virtualization, monitoring and news/sports solutions, as described by chief executive Tim Thorsteinson. 2016 is looking up, said Thorstseinson at NAB in Las Vegas, adding that, “2015 was the worst year in the market I’ve ever experienced in this industry.” The company is also a founding member of a consortium, AIMS, to standardize the implementation of IP networks. Continue reading Snell Advanced Media Stresses Interoperable IP Solutions, 4K

DirecTV Set to Deliver First-Ever 4K UHD MLB Game April 15

Although Super Bowl 50 was broadcast only in HD, now media outlets are beginning to deliver live sports in 4K Ultra HD. AT&T’s DirecTV says it plans to deliver as many as 25 MLB Network games live in the new format this year, although its 4K Ultra HD will not feature high dynamic range (HDR). Sony reports it just accomplished a 4K Ultra HD (with HDR) test broadcast on a February 10 soccer match between Mexico and Senegal, in Miami’s Marlin Park. Last year, about 6.3 million UHD TV sets shipped in North America. Continue reading DirecTV Set to Deliver First-Ever 4K UHD MLB Game April 15

Technicolor, Vubiquity Partner on HDR Video Upscaling System

Technicolor and Vubiquity inked a deal to debut an HDR video delivery service to distributors later this year, enabling a large-scale rollout to consumers at a “premium rate.” Vubiquity provides the technology for video distribution to linear channels and on-demand streaming. Technicolor offers its HDR Intelligent Tone Management system, which “upscales” video mastered for existing standards into HDR video, and its HDR distribution technology that lets a single video signal work for HDR TVs and older models. Continue reading Technicolor, Vubiquity Partner on HDR Video Upscaling System

Layer3 Aims to Improve Cable Model, Leases its IP Network

Although cable companies lost more than a million subscribers last year and Internet viewing is booming, Layer3 chief executive Jeff Binder thinks the future isn’t about cutting the cord to cable, but making it better, with improved pictures, design and customer service. That, he hopes, will win over customers struggling to find content online and on cable. Layer3 will debut in Chicago and a few unnamed major cities on the East and West Coasts, at $80 to $150 a month, depending on the number of TVs in a home. Continue reading Layer3 Aims to Improve Cable Model, Leases its IP Network

Netflix’s Two-Stream HD Plan Increasing by $2/Month in May

Starting next month, Netflix will increase the price of its two-stream HD service plan by 25 percent for long-term streaming customers. Subscribers previously paying $7.99 monthly will now be charged $9.99 per month for the service’s standard plan. The rate change will be based on subscriber billing periods. Those who signed up at $8.99 per month following the previous increase in May 2014 will experience the jump to $9.99 this October. Netflix members will have the option of continuing at $7.99 for a single stream SD plan or keeping the HD plan at $9.99. Continue reading Netflix’s Two-Stream HD Plan Increasing by $2/Month in May

Nielsen Debuts Connected TV Data, Adds to Television Usage

Starting April 25, Nielsen will provide data for connected TV devices, including Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation and Nintendo Wii. Also new is Nielsen’s Total Use of Television (TUT) that adds connected-TV device data to traditional TV usage. Nielsen research, based on data from 40,000 households with 100,ooo+ TVs and 50,000 TV-connected devices, also shows that consumers are less likely to cut the cord than add streaming services to traditional pay TV. Continue reading Nielsen Debuts Connected TV Data, Adds to Television Usage

Viacom Inks Multi-Year Deal for comScore/Rentrak Digital Data

Ever since comScore acquired Rentrak, the merged companies have posed competition to ratings giant Nielsen. Now, the merged digital measurement firm has signed a multi-year deal with Viacom to help the media giant more accurately target specific demographics across its linear TV, digital, mobile and over-the-top channels including MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central. Viacom offers Vantage as a data-targeting service to advertisers who want to reach “new parents looking for diapers” and other more granular targets. Continue reading Viacom Inks Multi-Year Deal for comScore/Rentrak Digital Data

CBS Five-Year Plan Looks to Expand OTT and Skinny Bundles

During an investor day in New York on Tuesday, CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves unveiled the network’s five-year business plan, which intends to ramp up business online and overseas, and cash in on retransmission fees in order to increase overall revenue by $3.75 billion. To help achieve its goal, the company plans to reach 8 million subscribers for its OTT services — CBS All Access and Showtime streaming — and add another 4 million subs for its skinny bundle packages. Sources also indicate that CBS has expressed interest in adding Starz to its cable portfolio. Continue reading CBS Five-Year Plan Looks to Expand OTT and Skinny Bundles

Sony PlayStation Vue Debuts OTT Tiers, Skinny to Full Bundles

Sony’s PlayStation Vue, which recently added ESPN, is offering OTT service throughout the U.S., although most markets still won’t get live local TV programs. The national OTT offering competes head-on with Dish Networks’s Sling TV, priced at $20+ per month, and AT&T’s DirecTV pay-TV packages, slated to launch in Q4 2016. PlayStation Vue’s Slim packages, which start at $30 per month and are on offer in 203 U.S. markets, provide on-demand access to ABC, NBC and Fox primetime content, with CBS on board later in some markets. Continue reading Sony PlayStation Vue Debuts OTT Tiers, Skinny to Full Bundles

AT&T Reveals Plans for 3 Tiers of DirecTV-Branded Web TV

AT&T is the latest player to enter the video-streaming market with an announcement that in Q4 it will offer three plans under the brand of DirecTV, the satellite TV company it acquired last year. What’s missing are all the details. AT&T hasn’t provided programming, pricing or a more specific launch date. But one important point was made clear: AT&T’s national, app-based OTT service will be available to those who are not subscribers to its TV or wireless services. Verizon and Sony offer a similar service. Continue reading AT&T Reveals Plans for 3 Tiers of DirecTV-Branded Web TV

Warner Bros. Buys DramaFever, Considers New OTT Services

Warner Bros. has acquired streaming-video subscription service DramaFever from Japan’s SoftBank Group. DramaFever was launched in 2009 with a focus on Korean TV shows and eventually movies. Today, it reaches 20 countries and offers a wide range of series, films and kids programming available in multiple languages. WB may use the acquisition, expected to close during Q2 2016, to launch new OTT services such as a new offering with content from Machinima or an expanded subscription service with programming licensed from other countries. Continue reading Warner Bros. Buys DramaFever, Considers New OTT Services

ETC Presents vNAB Cloud Innovation Conference March 2-3

The Entertainment Technology Center@USC will host its second annual vNAB Cloud Innovation Conference on March 2-3, 2016 in the Venice, California offices of Google. This year, the 2-day extension of the April NAB Cloud Innovation Conference presents “Masters of the Media Cloud Lifecycle” with 32 Media & Entertainment (M&E) superstars, panelists and keynotes presenting TED-style talks focused on cloud-related topics designed to keep senior leaders up to date on an ever-changing world. For more information please visit ETC’s vNAB page. Continue reading ETC Presents vNAB Cloud Innovation Conference March 2-3

HPA Tech Retreat: OTT Metadata an Opportunity for Post Houses

The huge quantities of metadata generated by over-the-top programming poses an opportunity for new revenue streams, said Siemens executive Steve Wong and media tech consultant Christy King at an HPA Tech Retreat panel on “Big Data, Big Dollars for Post in an OTT World.” Wong noted that a tremendous amount of data about a production is generated through production, from scriptwriting software through scheduling and budgeting. That’s why it frustrates him that nearly everyone has been served irrelevant ads online. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: OTT Metadata an Opportunity for Post Houses

HPA Tech Retreat Looks at Approaching Tipping Point in Media

The annual HPA Tech Retreat opened in Indian Wells, California, near Palm Springs. The sold-out event hosts 600 executives and technologists in broadcast, cable, digital and feature film industries. In addition to an “Innovation Zone,” the new term for the former demo room, the HPA Tech Retreat is known for its days-long series of lectures and panels, all of which are a deep dive into technology. All of Tuesday was devoted to a single topic: Snowflake Workflows are Turning into Distribution Snowstorms! Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat Looks at Approaching Tipping Point in Media

HPA Tech Retreat: Producing ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ in HDR/4K

Amazon Studios’ production “Mozart in the Jungle” is shot in 4K UHD and released in both standard dynamic range (SDR) and high dynamic range (HDR) versions. At an HPA Tech Retreat panel, “Mozart in the Jungle” associate producer Mike Weiss and Technicolor vice president Mark Smirnoff talked about the “snowflake” production of this Golden Globe-winning OTT series. “There are so many more deliverables and things that can catch you off guard, it really is a snowstorm,” said Weiss. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Producing ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ in HDR/4K