AT&T Winning Race to Gigabit Internet, Passing Google Fiber

Google’s super-fast broadband service, Google Fiber, has only debuted in four cities serving fewer than 100,000 people. But its very existence spurred Comcast and AT&T to up their game, offering the same 1-gigabit Internet speed. Now, the leader, AT&T, offers its GigaPower service in 20 urban areas, and Comcast, which tested cable-based gigabit in Atlanta, has plans to roll it out in Nashville, Chicago, Detroit and Miami later this year. That probably suits Google just fine, since its end game is to sell ads requiring that speed. Continue reading AT&T Winning Race to Gigabit Internet, Passing Google Fiber

MovieSwap, VidAngel Claim DVD Streaming Services Are Legal

French startup MovieSwap has a new way for users who own DVDs to stream and swap them online. The company, which has a 200,000+ library of DVDs, says subscribers who own DVDs can send in their physical DVD collection and then stream them online, “swap” movies with other users, or pay to receive DVDs that they add to their digital collections. MovieSwap is not alone in creating models that skirt Hollywood studios’ copyright infringement laws, but so far the trade group that represents Hollywood studios, MPAA, has no comment. Continue reading MovieSwap, VidAngel Claim DVD Streaming Services Are Legal

States Push Web Tax, Hoping to Spur Litigation and Legislation

States that want to collect sales taxes from out-of-state Internet e-tailers are tired of waiting for Congress to act. As a result, they’re passing state laws to do so. Alabama, South Dakota, Utah and 10 other states have passed legislation that directly contradicts the standing national law that states can only apply tax to businesses with brick-and-mortar locations there. State legislators are hoping that by challenging the existing law, they will spur litigation and force Congress to re-examine the issue. Continue reading States Push Web Tax, Hoping to Spur Litigation and Legislation

Amazon and Netflix Acquire Movies and Visibility at Sundance

After coming up empty at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, streaming services Amazon and Netflix made some significant acquisitions at this year’s indie film festival in Utah. Prior to the festival, Netflix spent $5 million for the streaming rights to “Tallulah,” starring Allison Janney and Ellen Page, and almost $7 million for “The Fundamentals of Caring,” starring Paul Rudd and Selena Gomez. Amazon inked a deal for Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester by the Sea,” with Kyle Chandler, Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges. Continue reading Amazon and Netflix Acquire Movies and Visibility at Sundance

New Intel, Micron Chips Said to Offer Big Performance Gains

Intel and Micron Technology announced that they have developed a new memory chip technology that will increase performance up to 1,000 times faster than today’s technology. If proven true, the new chip technology, named 3D XPoint, could offer tremendous new capabilities for computers, smartphones and other electronics. 3D XPoint is not as fast as DRAM (dynamic random access memory), but stores 10 times more data and also, similar to current NAND flash memory, retains data even after devices are powered off. Continue reading New Intel, Micron Chips Said to Offer Big Performance Gains

Google Continues Expansion of Ultrafast Fiber Internet Service

Google announced yesterday that it plans to deliver its Fiber Internet service with speeds of one gigabit per second (100 times faster than average U.S. broadband) to many of the neighborhoods in 18 cities of metro areas including Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; and Nashville, Tennessee. As with its initial three areas, the company will offer its one gigabit Internet service for $70 per month, while an Internet and TV package will cost $120-$130, depending on the location. Continue reading Google Continues Expansion of Ultrafast Fiber Internet Service

VR Films Are Expected to Make a Splash at Sundance Festival

At the Sundance Film Festival in Park City next month, attendees can expect to watch both great films and virtual reality experiences. Ten of the 13 installations in the festival’s New Frontier program involve VR or other digital interactive technology. These projects use several different brands of headsets, from Oculus Rift to Google Cardboard and Samsung’s Gear VR, and for one of the first times, the content for these devices will be original, not a promotion for an existing movie. Continue reading VR Films Are Expected to Make a Splash at Sundance Festival

Aereo: Internet TV Service on Hold in Denver and Salt Lake City

TV startup Aereo has temporarily shut down its service in Denver and Salt Lake City. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit refused to overturn a preliminary injunction granted by a Utah District Court judge that prohibits Aereo from operating in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. Aereo is issuing full refunds for this month to customers in the two cities. Despite the setback, Aereo continues its expansion with a recent launch in Austin, Texas one week before the SXSW conference. Continue reading Aereo: Internet TV Service on Hold in Denver and Salt Lake City

Google Takes On Broadband Giants with Fiber Expansion Plans

Google is looking to expand its fiber network to compete with cable operators that currently dominate the broadband market. Google is in talks with 34 cities in nine areas, such as Atlanta, Nashville, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and Portland, Oregon. Google’s new network is currently offered in Kansas City and Provo, and is expanding into the Austin, Texas area. Google Fiber provides download speeds of up to 1 GB per second for $70 per month. Continue reading Google Takes On Broadband Giants with Fiber Expansion Plans

Google Exploring 10 Gigabit Internet Connection, Says CFO

Google is continuing to push for change in commercial Internet services, looking beyond the super-fast gigabit connections available in locations such as Kansas City, Kansas and Chattanooga, Tennessee. At a conference in San Francisco last week, Google CFO Patrick Pichette discussed the company’s 10 gigabit experiment, which is exploring connections that are more than 1,000 times faster than today’s average speeds. The news could encourage other providers to also increase their speeds. Continue reading Google Exploring 10 Gigabit Internet Connection, Says CFO

Mark Duplass Offers Advice to New Filmmakers: Get on Netflix

During a talk at the Variety Studio at the Sundance Film Festival, director/producer/actor Mark Duplass offered some straightforward advice to peers and young filmmakers navigating the world of distribution. He stressed the importance of making films available on Netflix, saying the release of his first movie on the streaming media service “made his career.” Duplass, who has debuted nearly 10 films at Sundance, was there to premiere his new project, “The One I Love.” Continue reading Mark Duplass Offers Advice to New Filmmakers: Get on Netflix

Increasing Number of Sundance Films are Being Crowdfunded

Of the 140-plus films in this year’s Sundance Film Festival, 26 of them were crowdfunded through Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Zach Braff’s “Wish I Was Here” was one such film, which raised funds from more than 47,000 fans to make up part of its $5 million budget. Some question what kind of impact crowdsourcing might have on sales and distribution, but many filmmakers insist it’s a great way to raise awareness and interest in their productions. Continue reading Increasing Number of Sundance Films are Being Crowdfunded

Vimeo Looks to Crowdfunding Sites for its On Demand Platform

Content licensing has seen a paradigm shift with the iTunes Store and emerging online alternatives for distribution. Now Vimeo, largely touted as a competitor to YouTube, has announced a program to help indie filmmakers market their films if they have raised at least $10,000 from crowdfunding sites. Vimeo searches for movies to license, and offers creators free Pro accounts and promotion financing, in exchange for the movies being made available on its paid distribution platform Vimeo On Demand.

Continue reading Vimeo Looks to Crowdfunding Sites for its On Demand Platform

Sundance: Some Indie Films are Opting for Smaller Screens

The annual Sundance Film Festival kicked off this week in Park City, but despite the buzz surrounding the event, the indie distribution landscape is changing. Filmmakers are not profiting from festival exposure like they were only a few years ago, and some are choosing to deliver movies directly to an audience on smaller screens. Many independent films, even those that get scooped up at festivals, run the risk of not making it to theatrical distribution. Continue reading Sundance: Some Indie Films are Opting for Smaller Screens

Tribune to Acquire 19 Local TV Stations in $2.7 Billion Deal

The Tribune Company has agreed to pay about $2.73 billion to acquire all 19 television stations from Local TV Holdings, which is owned by investment firm Oak Hill Capital Partners. Tribune, which already owns 23 local TV outlets and is looking to possibly sell some or all of its newspapers, will become one of the country’s largest station groups through the deal (and the biggest holder of Fox affiliates). The 19 stations cover areas from Scranton to Salt Lake City. Continue reading Tribune to Acquire 19 Local TV Stations in $2.7 Billion Deal