Supercut Improves Streaming of Netflix, Amazon on Vision Pro

Apple Vision Pro users disappointed by the Netflix webOS experience on the spatial computing wearable can now take advantage of the independently developed Supercut app, designed to enhance the streaming platform on Apple’s new headset, as well as to make Amazon Prime Video work better through a dedicated iPad app port. Created by Christian Privitelli, Supercut delivers the correct aspect ratio for each app, as well as eliminating black bars, and more. It also enables 4K streaming with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Privitelli is working on a version for streaming platform Plex. Continue reading Supercut Improves Streaming of Netflix, Amazon on Vision Pro

Cineverse to Launch cineSearch Powered by Google’s Vertex AI

Global streamer Cineverse has launched an AI-powered search and discovery tool called cineSearch. Developed using the Vertex AI platform from Google Cloud, cineSearch will be released in public beta this spring. A waitlist has already been started, and Cineverse says it will be made more widely available in partnership with OEM and third-party streaming platform partners in the coming months. Simultaneously, the Los Angeles-based firm is rolling out a new ad platform called Cineverse 360, or C360 for short, that will connect brands across omnichannel services reaching 82 million monthly viewers at launch. Continue reading Cineverse to Launch cineSearch Powered by Google’s Vertex AI

FAST Platform Plex to Roll Out Movie, TV Rentals Next Month

After announcing in 2020 plans to launch a movie and TV show rental marketplace, media streaming platform Plex is finally taking the plunge. Following what has been described as “false starts,” including delays due to COVID-19, news broke at CES 2024 that the company will go public with its rental offering in February. The streaming media software maker has confirmed it will enter the TVOD (transactional video on demand) market to augment the ad-supported streaming that is its primary revenue source. Plex reportedly has “most studios” onboard, though it has yet to specify which ones. Continue reading FAST Platform Plex to Roll Out Movie, TV Rentals Next Month

CES: Amazon Offers Casting from Prime Video App to Devices

Amazon is rolling out Matter Casting, which lets customers cast directly from supported streaming apps on iOS and Android to Fire TV and Echo Show 15 devices. Viewers can begin watching a movie or browse for a Prime Video show on their phone, then cast it to a compatible Fire TV or Echo Show screen. Amazon called the CES announcement “an industry-first demonstration of implementing Matter Casting,” referring to the open-source Matter standard protocol for connectivity between smart home and IoT devices. Amazon is a founding member and active contributor to the Matter standard. Continue reading CES: Amazon Offers Casting from Prime Video App to Devices

Comcast’s FreeWheel Teams with OrkaTV to Target FAST Ads

Streaming platform OrkaTV has teamed with Comcast’s FreeWheel adtech firm on a product designed to help marketers reach target audiences for their advertising in the FAST sector. The partnership allows marketers using FreeWheel to access OrkaTV’s more than 3,500 free ad-supported streaming TV channels. The end result is expected to be “access to a more diverse pool of FAST ad inventory” that in turn helps drive up demand for inventory, according to the firms, which say the “more accurate contextual advertising targeting abilities” also raise the ante. Continue reading Comcast’s FreeWheel Teams with OrkaTV to Target FAST Ads

Popularity of FAST TV Surges as Viewers Look to Economize

As inflation drives consumers to economize, free ad-supported streaming television is booming even as premium streaming services are growing subscribers in increments. A Q4 survey by Deloitte found that 44 percent of those surveyed had canceled at least one paid subscription service in the preceding six months. The Deloitte study also found that 59 percent of viewers were willing to watch some ads each hour in exchange for a free or discounted television service. Research firm Omdia says global FAST channel ad revenue topped $4 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach $12 billion by 2027. Continue reading Popularity of FAST TV Surges as Viewers Look to Economize

Google TV Expands Free Live Channels and Revamps Guide

Google TV is launching a new TV experience with more than 800 free live TV channels across multiple providers as part of the smart TV operating system for Chromecast devices and various TVs. Included are news channels from NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX, along with stations featuring popular shows like “The Walking Dead,” “Westworld” and “Law & Order: SVU.” New streaming channels Tubi, Plex and Haystack News will be integrated and showcased in a redesigned Live tab programming guide. The new content will be positioned alongside Google TV’s existing channel lineup from free streamer Pluto TV. Continue reading Google TV Expands Free Live Channels and Revamps Guide

Plex Goes Social for Content Discovery, Adds Music Channels

Free streaming media service Plex is testing a new community-oriented feature called Discover Together that lets users add friends and keep tabs on their favorite programs, viewing their ratings and bookmarks. In addition to enhancing engagement by prompting online discussions, Plex hopes the crowd-sourced community data can eventually help power its recommendation engine. The idea is for Discover Together to launch with a high degree of privacy, inviting users to fill out Plex profiles with their geographic location and Plex Pass status, extending individual friend invites using a Plex username or email. The feature is currently in beta for web, iOS and Android users. Continue reading Plex Goes Social for Content Discovery, Adds Music Channels

Nielsen Says Viewers ‘Love’ Streaming but Find It Confusing

Seventy two percent of Americans say they “love” their user experience with streaming services, according to Nielsen’s State of Play report, which notes that 93 percent of those surveyed will increase their streaming subscriptions or make no change, despite nearly half the respondents admitting they’re somewhat overwhelmed by options. As of February, U.S. viewers could choose from more than 817,000 unique program titles, compared to about 646,000 in 2019. In the 12 months ending February 2022, Americans’ upped their average weekly video streaming time by 18 percent, to 169.4 billion streaming minutes, from 143.2 billion. Continue reading Nielsen Says Viewers ‘Love’ Streaming but Find It Confusing

New Plex Features Help Viewers Navigate Streaming Services

Further to its goal of becoming a sort of Google-with-benefits for viewers who stream TV shows and movies across multiple platforms, Plex is reformatting its welcome screen to include a discover feature, universal search and universal watchlists. Rolling out in beta, the new Plex interface offers what amounts to personalized search-and-save “across virtually any streaming service,” from Plex’s own free movies and television series to subscription services like Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max. “As of today, Plex searches, personalizes, and organizes all of your content, no matter where that content lives,” the company announced. Continue reading New Plex Features Help Viewers Navigate Streaming Services

YouTube Joins the Free, Ad-Supported Streaming TV Market

YouTube recently announced that it plans to offer full seasons of ad-supported streaming TV series free of charge, a first for the Google video platform. The move will put YouTube in competition with a growing number of free streaming services such as IMDb TV, Peacock, Plex, Pluto TV, The Roku Channel, Tubi and Xumo. U.S. consumers can expect more than 4,000 free episodes to start, with up to 100 additional film and television titles to be added each week. The popular video site already offers more than 1,500 free, ad-supported movies, so the television content is expected to serve as a vital expansion of its streaming options. Continue reading YouTube Joins the Free, Ad-Supported Streaming TV Market

Streaming Distributor Filmhub Floats $6.8 Million Seed Round

Filmhub, the independent distribution website incubated by German composer Klaus Badelt and Brazilian tech entrepreneur Alan d’Escragnolle, has raised $6.8 million led by Andreessen Horowitz in the company’s first capital raise. Filmhub helps budding cineastes get their work onto more than 100 streaming platforms, including Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, IMDb TV, Plex, Roku Channel and others. Using its own sales team and technology, Filmhub pushes out content from shorts to episodics to full-length films, taking a 20 percent fee from royalties, which vary by service. Continue reading Streaming Distributor Filmhub Floats $6.8 Million Seed Round

Google Launches New Google Pay, Readies Banking Service

Google is relaunching its Google Pay digital wallet and online payment system for Android and iOS with a raft of new features including the ability to connect to the user’s bank account for a searchable overview of finances. The company also plans to partner with banks in 2021 to offer its Plex, an online checking and savings account within the app. This more fully-featured Google Pay can now serve as a direct competitor to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, PayPal, Venmo and other apps and services, as well as an online bank such as Ally. Continue reading Google Launches New Google Pay, Readies Banking Service

Plex Launches 80 Live TV Channels on Its Ad-Supported App

The free, ad-supported media app Plex just added 80 live TV channels, none of them cable channels like CNN, Lifetime or TBS. Rather, it offers a lineup that includes Reuters, Toon Goggles and the Bob Ross Channel, among others. In the current economic climate, consumers are gravitating to this kind of free linear programming, which harkens back to the early days of television. Plex got its start as a cord-cutting solution with free on-demand video and DVR functionality for on-air TV networks. Continue reading Plex Launches 80 Live TV Channels on Its Ad-Supported App

Hulu Launches Watch Party Feature to Enable Social Viewing

Hulu is the first major streaming platform to launch a built-in Watch Party feature that allows its subscribers to watch a show in a group chat room. During COVID-19 shutdowns, watch parties have become increasingly popular, although most are enabled by third-party apps and services rather than built-in social viewing features. The Hulu Watch Party feature is now available to web users who subscribe to the platform’s ad-free plan. Plex also launched a Watch Together feature that works with the user’s own media and the company’s on-demand content. Continue reading Hulu Launches Watch Party Feature to Enable Social Viewing