Digital Movie Revenue on the Rise While Home Video Sales Fall

According to first quarter reports, revenue from digital movies has grown 43 percent since last year, bringing in $330.25 million for the home entertainment industry. However, that number is still dwarfed by the revenue from disc sales. Even though disc sales dropped 13.7 percent, they still account for $1.82 billion in consumer spending on DVDs and Blu-ray discs. Revenue from subscription streaming is up 26.5 percent to $928.6 million. Continue reading Digital Movie Revenue on the Rise While Home Video Sales Fall

Technicolor Ultra HD Set-Top Box Supports High Frame Rate

Earlier this week, Technicolor revealed a prototype of its new Ultra HD set-top box that will allow viewers to watch TV in 4K resolution and at high frame rates twice as fast as typical 30 fps set-tops. Targeted for cable and satellite services, it is is the industry’s first high frame rate 4K STB. Technicolor, which is hoping to start rolling out the first Ultra HD boxes in about a year, is showcasing its family of STBs at this week’s National Cable & Telecommunications conference in Los Angeles. Continue reading Technicolor Ultra HD Set-Top Box Supports High Frame Rate

Netflix to Be Available to 500,000 Cable Subscribers Next Week

Netflix has reached an agreement with cable companies RCN, Grande Communications and Atlantic Broadband that will allow subscribers to basically access the streaming video service as if it were a cable channel starting next week. Netflix will be added as an app to set-top boxes to provide subscribers with the option of viewing the Netflix content they would otherwise access via computers and mobile devices. The offer is only available for customers of the cable companies who also subscribe to Netflix. Continue reading Netflix to Be Available to 500,000 Cable Subscribers Next Week

HBO Signs Exclusive Licensing Pact with Amazon Prime Service

In a first of its kind deal for Time Warner’s HBO, the premium cable channel has agreed to license older episodes of its programming to Amazon Prime’s subscription streaming service. The agreement is the first such HBO deal with an online video provider, and will make original series such as “The Wire” and “The Sopranos” available for online streaming. Prior to this deal, HBO shows were only available for digital purchase through Amazon or Apple’s iTunes, or via rental services such as Netflix. Continue reading HBO Signs Exclusive Licensing Pact with Amazon Prime Service

AT&T and Chernin Group Invest $500 Million in Online Video

AT&T announced a joint venture with The Chernin Group to commit $500 million to buy and launch Internet video services. Video content is foreign territory for AT&T, while Chernin’s only foothold is a majority stake in anime streaming service, Crunchyroll. Together, the two organizations have pledged to “acquire, invest in and launch over-the-top video services.” AT&T’s move into streaming services comes on the heels of similar projects by competitors such as Verizon and Dish Network. Continue reading AT&T and Chernin Group Invest $500 Million in Online Video

Time Warner Cable Offers VOD, Streaming, Cable via Fan TV

Time Warner Cable has partnered with startup Fanhattan to offer customers the Fan TV cable set-top box, which enables viewers to watch live TV, cable TV, and streaming video via Internet Protocol. The sleek cable box features a unique viewer guide with an integrated offering of online and live content from television shows to movies through a simple touchpad remote. Pre-orders of Fan TV set-tops, which began Tuesday, are $99, and they will be ready to ship in June. Continue reading Time Warner Cable Offers VOD, Streaming, Cable via Fan TV

Digital Comics Platform ComiXology to be Acquired by Amazon

Amazon announced that it will acquire comiXology, the digital comics platform that had its 200-millionth download last fall. With the sales of physical comics fading, comiXology is developing tech to allow the craft to move online. The company operates a comics store and a mobile comics app, which was the top-grossing non-game iPad app from 2011 to 2013. Its library includes 40,000 comics from 75 major publishers. ComiXology also opened a self-publishing platform last year. Continue reading Digital Comics Platform ComiXology to be Acquired by Amazon

CNN’s Interactive Product Offers News Viewers More Control

During its upfront presentation in New York last week, CNN introduced a live news service called Watch CNNx that allows viewers to choose content in real time. The service will be available on iPads and on TVs through set-top boxes later this year. Alongside the live CNN feed, CNNx offers a rundown of stories that appear on the right side of the screen, while a menu of digital features, including photo galleries, appear at the bottom. Additionally, CNN plans to use Flipboard’s display ad format on its applications. Continue reading CNN’s Interactive Product Offers News Viewers More Control

STB News: Google Getting Closer to Unveiling its Android TV

According to documents obtained by The Verge, Google is getting ready to launch Android TV, which is expected to be very different than the failed Google TV. Rather than turning your television into a bigger version of your smartphone, Android TV will be a new entertainment interface similar to set-top boxes such as Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Major video app providers are reportedly already building for the platform, which is expected to support voice input, notifications and optional game controllers. Continue reading STB News: Google Getting Closer to Unveiling its Android TV

Verizon’s New DVR Can Record 12 Shows at the Same Time

Verizon recently launched a DVR system that allows viewers to record up to 12 shows at once, and store up to 200 hours of HD programming. While these stats are impressive, critics are wondering how necessary it is to simultaneously record 12 shows. While only a small number of TV addicts might require such a feature, Verizon is using these numbers to showcase its significant jump in capabilities. The company’s other DVRs allow viewers to record only one or two shows at a time. Continue reading Verizon’s New DVR Can Record 12 Shows at the Same Time

Fire TV: Amazon Unveils its $99 STB-Game Console Hybrid

Amazon announced its new video streaming device called Amazon Fire TV that intends to take on products such as Roku and Apple TV. During a presentation this morning, Amazon’s Peter Larsen suggested that Amazon’s new hardware will address areas in which competing devices struggle including search, performance, and a closed ecosystem. The $99 Fire TV features a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. Larsen claims it provides speeds three times faster than the latest Roku and Apple boxes. Continue reading Fire TV: Amazon Unveils its $99 STB-Game Console Hybrid

Mixed Reports: Amazon Considering Streaming Media Service?

Yesterday The Wall Street Journal ran a report that insiders suggest Amazon is considering an ad-supported streaming TV and music-video service, separate from its $99-per-year Prime subscription service. Amazon reportedly outlined the proposed service to potential partners as one that could launch in coming months featuring original and licensed content. Amazon has since denied the plans. “We’re often experimenting with new things, but we have no plans to offer a free streaming media service,” said a spokesperson. Continue reading Mixed Reports: Amazon Considering Streaming Media Service?

Samsung Unveils Pricing, Availability of Upcoming Ultra HDTVs

Samsung announced details regarding its 2014 lineup of Ultra HDTVs and a new 4K video collection. The entry level U8550 flat panel line, starting at $2,500 for the 50-inch model, will launch this month with a 55-inch set and four other sizes in May. The curved U8700 series is expected by late spring in 55-inch and 65-inch screen sizes. And the flagship line, the U9000 curved sets with proprietary Auto Depth Enhancer, will be available in 55-, 65- and 75-inch models, priced at $4,000, $5,000, and $8,000 respectively. Continue reading Samsung Unveils Pricing, Availability of Upcoming Ultra HDTVs

Apple, Comcast Discuss Teaming Up for Streaming TV Service

Apple is in talks with Comcast about joining forces on a streaming-television service, according to people familiar with the matter. The Wall Street Journal reports the service “would use an Apple set-top box and get special treatment on Comcast’s cables to ensure it bypasses congestion on the Web.” While discussions are in the early stages and a number of hurdles remain, the deal “would mark a new level of cooperation and integration between a technology company and a cable provider to modernize TV viewing.” Continue reading Apple, Comcast Discuss Teaming Up for Streaming TV Service

Amazon STB Expected to Be a Dongle That Also Streams Games

The long-rumored Amazon set-top box, an expected rival to Roku and Apple TV, is reportedly going to be produced by Lab126 and take the form of a dongle or stick similar to Google’s Chromecast. Amazon’s device could also compete with game consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation, as it is expected to support streaming for full PC game titles. Streaming games could provide Amazon with a competitive advantage over rivals in the STB space and, if bundled as an Amazon Prime member benefit, could help justify its subscription cost increase. Continue reading Amazon STB Expected to Be a Dongle That Also Streams Games