Chromecast Adds Plex Features for Casting Music and Photos

Google’s Chromecast continues to add new services. When it launched nearly a year ago, the $35 streaming media dongle was limited to a handful of apps such as HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Netflix and YouTube. In December, it added 10 new apps, including the ability to stream cloud-based content from personal catalogs. The popular Plex Media Server was one of those additions. Last week, Plex added free casting of users’ content to Chromecast, and the ability for iOS users to share music and photos. Continue reading Chromecast Adds Plex Features for Casting Music and Photos

Augmented Television: InAIR Layers Web Content with Your TV

A $99 device called InAIR from startup SeeSpace hopes to combine the best of your laptop, smartphone and TV all in one place by layering social media and Web content inline with the programs you are watching. Billed as “the world’s first augmented television,” the project exceeded its $100,000 goal on Kickstarter by nearly $78,000 a few days ago. InAIR plugs directly into the TV through its smart HDMI cable, connects to the set-top box, and pulls data from the movie or TV show currently airing. Continue reading Augmented Television: InAIR Layers Web Content with Your TV

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

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

Apple to Launch Updated TV Box, in Talks with Content Partners

Apple is currently in talks with Time Warner Cable and other potential partners to add video content to a new Apple TV set-top box, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple is reportedly hoping to reveal the new device in April, and start selling it for the December holidays, but this may change since the company has still not secured agreements with distribution and programming partners. The device will be an update of the current Apple TV, with an upgraded interface, faster processor and easier navigation. Continue reading Apple to Launch Updated TV Box, in Talks with Content Partners

Olympics: NBC Shooting Select Events in 4K for Demo Purposes

In addition to its Winter Olympics coverage across television, Web and mobile, NBC is also capturing some of the action from Sochi in 4K resolution. However, since the distribution infrastructure is not in place for Ultra HD broadcasts and only a small number of consumers own UHD TVs, the network is shooting limited 4K content for demonstration purposes only. NBCUniversal’s parent Comcast has scheduled invitation-only viewing parties in Washington DC, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Continue reading Olympics: NBC Shooting Select Events in 4K for Demo Purposes

Cable Companies Move Toward Cloud-Based Set-Top Boxes

For the first time in more than six years, Comcast gained more video subscribers than it lost last quarter. The cable provider can attribute that growth to its new set-top boxes, which feature a searchable, cloud-based interface resembling that of a Roku, Apple TV or Google Chromecast. Time Warner Cable, which saw a decline in last quarter’s numbers, plans to release its own set-top box in hopes of boosting its subscribers and preventing cable cutting by customers. Continue reading Cable Companies Move Toward Cloud-Based Set-Top Boxes

Satellite Providers Pair Up to Provide Targeted Political Ads

Political ads are about to get much more personal. Dish Network and DirecTV are coming together to offer microtargeted advertising spots for politicians hoping to reach specific audiences with specific messages during campaigns. Audiences will be identified all the way down to the individual household, and political advertisers will pay big money to reach those households with tailored messages. “Addressable advertising” will start small, but likely have a big impact on the industry. Continue reading Satellite Providers Pair Up to Provide Targeted Political Ads

Google Sells Motorola Handset Biz to Lenovo for $2.9 Billion

After purchasing Motorola Mobility 22 months ago for $12.5 billion, Google has decided to sell the handset business to China’s Lenovo Group for $2.91 billion. Although this is a loss for Google, the company did retain numerous Motorola patents. Google had been struggling to compete in the smartphone hardware business. The deal also signifies Lenovo’s attempt to break into the smartphone market, and create a bigger presence in the technology market worldwide. Continue reading Google Sells Motorola Handset Biz to Lenovo for $2.9 Billion

Amazon Denies Rumors That It is Planning a Pay TV Service

Yesterday, we reported two stories related to Verizon’s acquisition of Intel’s OnCue cloud-based TV platform. In our reporting we noted that a number of companies were believed to be developing Internet TV services, including Amazon, which was reportedly working on a set-top box for delivering streaming video. In response to multiple reports from leading news publications, Amazon reps made a public statement denying any plans the company is rumored to have regarding an Internet TV initiative. Continue reading Amazon Denies Rumors That It is Planning a Pay TV Service

Netflix Joins European Cable Boxes, Targets U.S. Operators

Although Netflix apps are currently offered on over 1,000 devices, they have been absent from cable boxes. This week, Netflix launched an app on Swedish TiVo boxes used by the cable operator Com Hem, which allows viewers to see Netflix’s catalog adjacent to live TV programming. The video service announced a similar deal with cable operator Virgin in the U.K. last year, and is working with Waoo in Denmark. Netflix is looking to pair with U.S. cable operators before the end of this year. Continue reading Netflix Joins European Cable Boxes, Targets U.S. Operators

Virtual Joey: DISH Debuts New App That Functions Like DVR

Satellite provider DISH Network announced that it has developed a new streaming app, dubbed the “Virtual Joey,” that provides the same functionality as its Hopper DVR for LG Smart TVs. The app, expected to launch in the first quarter, offers control of the whole-home HD DVR, including live TV, recorded content and navigation via the program guide. The smart TV app essentially takes the place of a physical Joey multi-room extender, but still requires a Hopper DVR as the anchor. Continue reading Virtual Joey: DISH Debuts New App That Functions Like DVR

CES 2014: Compelling Products Generating Early Buzz (Part 2)

Yesterday we published a first pass list of products and services we’re looking forward to seeing next week at the annual Consumer Electronics Show. Today we’re continuing the list with more that should be of interest to those who work in entertainment media technology. While yesterday’s report focused on gaming, wearable devices, connected vehicles and 3D printing — today’s list takes a look at cameras and camcorders, media players, streaming media and some very large Ultra HD televisions. Continue reading CES 2014: Compelling Products Generating Early Buzz (Part 2)

Netflix Tests Subscription Model Based on Number of Users

Netflix is testing a new pricing model with some of its new customers that provides streaming access to as many as four screens simultaneously, allowing household members to view different shows at the same time. Pricing ranges from $6.99 to $11.99 per month. The approach offers more ways to watch content, similar to how cable providers rent multiple set-top boxes. Netflix may also be looking for ways to curb account sharing. If successful, the new pricing could be expanded to additional customers. Continue reading Netflix Tests Subscription Model Based on Number of Users

MobiTV Aims to Power Over-The-Top Video Service Next Year

MobiTV reportedly has plans to power a service in 2014 that will introduce a new HDMI streaming stick or lightweight set-top box for playing Internet content on a TV set. While the company is not revealing who is behind the prospective service, it is likely that a broadband or wireless provider would use MobiTV to turn an OTT video service into something consumers can easily enjoy in their living rooms. This would be a bold move for MobiTV, which is not a traditional service provider. Continue reading MobiTV Aims to Power Over-The-Top Video Service Next Year