Cinedigm Teams with ROW8 to Bring ‘Still in Theaters’ to TV

Cinedigm, a streaming firm that debuted its Cineverse platform this summer, is introducing the ability to rent fresh theatrical films via a partnership with ROW8, a subscription-free cinema OTT service launched in 2018. Cinedigm says the partnership allows it to market content on Cineverse that’s “still in theaters” via TVOD (transactional video on-demand). The agreement is reciprocal, with ROW8 able to offer Cinedigm’s own upcoming theatrical releases to Android and iOS, Apple TV, Google TV, Roku players, Vizio and other mobile devices. Cinedigm claims to be platform agnostic. Continue reading Cinedigm Teams with ROW8 to Bring ‘Still in Theaters’ to TV

New YouTube Shorts Feature Is Optimized for HDTV Screens

With research showing TVs are the biggest growth platform for YouTube Shorts, the streamer is rolling out its purpose-built player for HDTVs worldwide, starting this month. The YouTube Shorts on TV player will work with recent-model smart TVs, game consoles and streaming devices such as Roku and Google’s Chromecast. Users will now see a “Shorts shelf” on the homepage of their YouTube TV app, or the Shorts can be launched directly from a creator’s channel. YouTube Shorts are seen on about 1.5 billion mobile devices monthly, and this move is designed to increase views. Continue reading New YouTube Shorts Feature Is Optimized for HDTV Screens

New Apple TV 4K Touts Upgrades Including A15 Bionic Chip

The new Apple TV 4K went on sale online and in stores last week, offering improvements over what some say is the best streaming hardware available. The 2022 model has an A15 Bionic processor, a significant update over the A12 inside the previous model, which shipped in May. A 16-core neural engine and added RAM are among the upgrades. Starting at $129 for Wi-Fi only with 64GB of RAM, there is also a higher-end $149 version with 128GB that is Wi-Fi and Ethernet compatible and has a Thread IoT modem that supports Matter. Continue reading New Apple TV 4K Touts Upgrades Including A15 Bionic Chip

Comcast, Charter Provide Details of Xumo Streaming Venture

Comcast and Charter Communications have christened their streaming joint venture Xumo, taking the name from the FAST platform Comcast acquired in 2020 for a reported $100 million. Built to challenge biggies like Amazon, Apple, Google and Roku, the Xumo joint venture aims to create “an entire entertainment ecosystem” to include hardware as well as content and a platform to help advertisers “reach audiences at scale.” The first Xumo devices are targeting late 2023 delivery, with distribution through Comcast, Charter and Walmart (and other vendors to be announced). Xumo’s FAST service will be rebranded Xumo Play. Continue reading Comcast, Charter Provide Details of Xumo Streaming Venture

YouTube Launches a Streaming Hub for Subscription Services

In Google’s ongoing bid to become a one-stop destination for video entertainment, the company’s YouTube has launched a U.S. streaming marketplace called Primetime Channels that debuts with 34 services, including Paramount+, Showtime, AMC+ and Starz. The company jumps in the ring with Amazon, Apple and Roku, all of which offer streaming subscriptions directly through their platforms, although none has managed to secure every major on-demand outlet. YouTube, the leader in free video streaming says it has integrated Primetime Channels among user-uploaded content, making it easy for viewers to hop from free trailers to subscription purchases. Continue reading YouTube Launches a Streaming Hub for Subscription Services

Dish Network Sets Shutdown Date for Sling Media’s Slingbox

Slingbox, the pioneering streaming device from Sling Media, will be permanently taken offline on November 9. The “place-shifting” technology that let people take pay-TV programming with them on mobile devices (and helped foster Internet streaming), is being shelved by parent Dish Network, which announced the shutdown in 2020. Sling Media was founded in 2004 and purchased by Dish parent EchoStar three years later for $380 million. Although the Slingbox was deemed “revolutionary,” it never achieved mass adoption, ultimately getting displaced by content-focused streamers like Netflix and YouTube. But some Sling tech continues to be used by the industry. Continue reading Dish Network Sets Shutdown Date for Sling Media’s Slingbox

Xperi Names Vestel First Smart TV OEM for ‘Neutral’ TiVo OS

Top European TV supplier Vestel has become the first OEM for Xperi’s new TiVo-branded TVOS. In addition to distributing TVs under its own imprimatur, the Turkish firm manufactures sets for Hitachi, JVC, Toshiba and Panasonic. Vestel will begin selling branded TVs with TiVo as the primary software OS in mid-2023, Xperi said. Smart set manufacturers have increasingly sought a portal approach that helps customers navigate among a dizzying array of individual content platforms while sidestepping the additional costs associated with interfaces from the likes of Amazon Fire, Roku, Google TV or Android TV. Continue reading Xperi Names Vestel First Smart TV OEM for ‘Neutral’ TiVo OS

Roku Aims to Expand Its Audience for Original Programming

Roku, the streaming media platform with more than 63 million U.S. accounts, has taken the plunge into exclusive programming this past year. In addition to purchasing the Quibi library and spending a reported $97.8 million to buy the home improvement franchise This Old House Ventures, Roku Originals has funded the Funny or Die production “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,” budgeted at $12 million. Roku Originals has also produced a movie adaptation of NBC’s canceled “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” and greenlit fresh seasons of Quibi’s Kevin Hart-starrer “Die Hart” as well as the remodeling series “Murder House Flip.” Continue reading Roku Aims to Expand Its Audience for Original Programming

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

YouTube Explores Plans for a Multi-Service Streaming Portal

YouTube is launching an online streaming video store and is in talks with entertainment companies to engage their participation. Internally referred to as a “channel store,” it could reportedly be open for business as early as this fall. Currently, subscribers who pay $64.99-a-month for the YouTube TV package of cable channels can add services such as HBO Max. The new marketplace would let consumers add streaming services a la carte via the main YouTube app. YouTube, a division of Alphabet-owned Google, will be competing with platforms including Amazon, Apple and Roku, which all have hubs that sell streaming video services. Continue reading YouTube Explores Plans for a Multi-Service Streaming Portal

Amazon Launches Updates to Its Prime Video User Interface

Amazon is rolling out a redesigned Prime Video app for Android and connected living room devices, including Fire TV for customers worldwide, with iOS and web to follow. The company says the new interface will make discovery and navigation much easier. Among the visual enhancements are a Top 10 Chart showcasing trending Prime Video content and “Super Carousel” displays with “poster-style artwork” for Amazon Originals. Also emphasized is graphical distinction between content included with Prime memberships versus that which is available for general purchase. Continue reading Amazon Launches Updates to Its Prime Video User Interface

TiVo Owner Xperi Acquires OTT Software Firm for $109 Million

Technology company Xperi has purchased Norway-based OTT software maker Vewd for $109 million. Xperi purchased TiVo for $3 billion in December 2019, with the goal of integrating TiVo’s video UX with its smart TV expertise. Xperi intends to compete with companies like Amazon, Comcast, Google and Roku for the “gatekeeper” position in the world’s connected-TV living rooms. The Vewd deal gives Xperi access to an installed European footprint of roughly 15 million devices that it plans to target for activation of TiVo+, a free ad-supported TV (FAST) service. Continue reading TiVo Owner Xperi Acquires OTT Software Firm for $109 Million

NESN Is First Regional Sportscaster Offering DTC Streaming

Regional Sports Network NESN is launching a subscription streaming service called NESN 360 for $29.99 per month, with the first month priced at $1. NESN 360 allows fans to purchase a direct subscription to NESN’s live programming and video-on-demand content. Launched in partnership with the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Bruins and Major League Baseball, NESN 360 makes NESN the first regional sports network in the country to launch a direct-to-consumer service bypassing cable. Annual subscriptions are priced at $329.99 and include eight tickets to see the Red Sox play in 2022. Continue reading NESN Is First Regional Sportscaster Offering DTC Streaming

Google Says Android TV at 110 Million, Adds Central Casting

Google TV is working on an app that will let users cast content from multiple streaming services to a central TV or display. A new “central casting” button announced at the Google I/O developer conference will later this year allow the Google TV app on Android phones or tablets to send content from a variety of different streaming services to your TV through a single app. The Alphabet unit also updated statistics for its Android TV ecosystem, detailing 110 million monthly active devices using the Android TV OS, which includes Google TV. That’s an increase from 2021’s 80 million monthly active devices. Continue reading Google Says Android TV at 110 Million, Adds Central Casting

Discovery+ Is First Roku Premium Sub with Ad-Supported Tier

Discovery+ has become the first ad-supported plan among Roku Channel premium subscription offerings. Announcing the deal, Roku and Warner Bros. Discovery said Discovery+ brings 70,000 episodes of network shows and more than 200 originals to become the largest vertical library on The Roku Channel. Discovery+ on Roku TV will cost $7 per month for the ad-free version and $5 per month with ads. Both options are available now, with a 7-day free trial. The deal marks Roku’s first premium subscription for a video-on-demand tier supported by ads. Continue reading Discovery+ Is First Roku Premium Sub with Ad-Supported Tier