Google Stadia, Microsoft xCloud Advance Game Streaming

Gaming is available across multiple devices (such as consoles, phones, tablets, PCs) and numerous services, including Google Stadia and Microsoft Project xCloud, and subscription mobile gaming from Apple and Google. Most of the latest offerings have involved software and services, with new hardware releases expected for next year. For the holidays, a Microsoft Xbox One or Sony PlayStation 4 are good choices; the latest models, with better graphics and more storage than the 2013 versions, will go as low as $150 and $200, respectively, on Black Friday. Meanwhile, streaming services are improving and may replace the need for consoles among some gamers. Continue reading Google Stadia, Microsoft xCloud Advance Game Streaming

Cloud Movie Locker UltraViolet Plans to Close This Summer

Industry consortium Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) plans to shutter the UltraViolet cloud-based digital media locker on July 31. However, users are advised not to delete their accounts. According to the UltraViolet site, “You can continue to access your UltraViolet movies and TV shows through the retailer(s) linked to your UltraViolet Library” between now and the shutdown date, after which, “Your UltraViolet Library will automatically close and, in the majority of cases, your movies and TV shows will remain accessible at previously-linked retailers.” Continue reading Cloud Movie Locker UltraViolet Plans to Close This Summer

New FOX Sports GO Brings Multi-Screen Viewing to Apple TV

FOX Sports GO is now available on Apple TV, with a full slate of more than 3,000 live events, hundreds of hours of studio content and originals, and a variety of other features. Coverage includes NFL, MLB, UFC, NASCAR, Big 12 and Pac-12 Football, Big East Basketball, FIFA World Cup, and UEFA Champions League soccer. In some areas, viewers will be able to access hometown MLB, NBA and NHL telecasts. Fox previously had an iOS app, but Apple TV viewers will now be able to enjoy multi-screen viewing among other innovations. Continue reading New FOX Sports GO Brings Multi-Screen Viewing to Apple TV

Oscars Backstage: ABC to Live-Stream Video from 20 Cameras

ABC is partnering with AOL, Comcast and Yahoo for Sunday’s “Oscars Backstage” live-streamed red carpet and behind-the-scenes webcast. Pay TV subscribers in eight markets — Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham and San Francisco — can access the live stream on ABC.com and the WATCH ABC app. ABC has streaming access agreements with AT&T U-verse, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Google Fiber, Midcontinent, Cablevision and Verizon FiOS. Continue reading Oscars Backstage: ABC to Live-Stream Video from 20 Cameras

EPIX is First Cable Network to Allow Offline Video Downloads

Premium cable channel EPIX — a joint venture between Viacom, Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate and MGM — is getting ready to launch a new feature that will provide users with offline viewing capabilities on mobile devices, including Apple’s iPhone and iPad, Android phones and tablets, and Kindle Fire devices. The news follows Amazon’s recent announcement that its Prime members would be able to view Amazon Instant Video content offline. However, the EPIX feature will be included in the channel’s TV Everywhere apps, and will not be available to over-the-top subscribers. Continue reading EPIX is First Cable Network to Allow Offline Video Downloads

NBC Offers Live Streaming Online, Planning Mobile for 2015

NBC launched a free 24-hour live broadcast feed over the Internet, which viewers can access if they have a pay TV subscription with certain providers and they live in one of 10 markets across the U.S. Currently, the live feeds can only be viewed on desktop PCs, but NBC plans to add mobile support in early 2015. Other networks, such as ABC and CBS, have launched similar live TV streaming services. NBCUniversal also launched a new campaign to drive viewers to its apps. Continue reading NBC Offers Live Streaming Online, Planning Mobile for 2015

Verizon Offers Netflix, HBO and Showtime to Lure Cord Cutters

Last month, we reported that Verizon and Netflix were quietly testing a bundled subscription plan with FiOS Triple Play customers in New York City. The move seemed somewhat surprising, when considering the recent public feud between the two companies regarding connection speeds. Now, in an effort to recapture cord cutters, Verizon is offering a $60 per month plan that includes Netflix, broadband speeds of up to 50Mbps, local TV channels, HBO and Showtime (and when they arrive next year, HBO Go and Showtime Anytime). Continue reading Verizon Offers Netflix, HBO and Showtime to Lure Cord Cutters

Report: TV Viewers Continue to Drop Cable and Satellite Subs

Third quarter reports indicate a greater reduction in the number of pay TV customers as compared to the previous year. The decline in pay TV customers suggest that a growing number of consumers are taking to “cord cutting” when it comes to media consumption. With a number of viable streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon currently available, customers are choosing to abandon traditional pay TV to avoid paying the steep cost of cable and satellite packages. Continue reading Report: TV Viewers Continue to Drop Cable and Satellite Subs

Trial: Verizon FiOS and Netflix Test Bundled Subscription Plan

Verizon and Netflix are quietly testing a plan that could lead to an industry first regarding a major MVPD offering the SVOD service as part of a bundled subscription. Verizon is offering new FiOS Triple Play customers in New York City a free year’s worth of Netflix (a $108 value). The trial follows the back-and-forth between Verizon and Netflix contentiously debating which company was to blame for buffering problems that eventually led to a peering deal with Netflix paying extra fees. Continue reading Trial: Verizon FiOS and Netflix Test Bundled Subscription Plan

Verizon FiOS Eyes Future with Bump in Bandwidth for Uploads

Verizon’s FiOS TV and broadband service unveiled faster Internet upload speeds yesterday as a next step in competing with the cable industry while attempting to reverse slowing growth. The company is increasing the bandwidth its customers can use for uploading media, at no additional charge. FiOS will provide the same upload speeds as download speeds that subscribers currently have. FiOS plans to complete the rollout by the fall, with 95 percent of customers receiving it automatically. Continue reading Verizon FiOS Eyes Future with Bump in Bandwidth for Uploads

Viacom to Launch Personalized, Interactive Kids’ TV Channel

Viacom is planning to launch My Nickelodeon Junior, an interactive children’s TV channel, to Verizon FiOS customers in the upcoming months. The channel uses elements of streaming services such as Pandora and Netflix, and allows parents to program the channel according to their personal taste, while accessing hundreds of old episodes of kids’ shows like “Dora the Explorer.” The channel will appear on the TV menu next to the main Nick Jr. channel.  Continue reading Viacom to Launch Personalized, Interactive Kids’ TV Channel

Sony Launches 4K Bravia TVs, Other Brands Expected Soon

Since the debut of Ultra HD 4K TVs at CES in January, Sony has become the first to offer 4K televisions to consumers with its new line of screens available through its Bravia brand. The first 4K Bravia sets are 55- and 65-inch models priced in the $7,000 range, while an 84-inch unit costs as much as $25,000. As an incentive, Sony is including a set of 10 4K mastered Blu-ray movies, and plans to launch a digital download service with more content. Continue reading Sony Launches 4K Bravia TVs, Other Brands Expected Soon

Disney in Discussions to Provide TV Everywhere-Type Authentication

  • Similar to the approach Fox announced last month, Disney is negotiating TV Anywhere deals for ABC-TV shows with distributors. Access would require authentication with a cable ID.
  • Fox provides next day access to viewers who log in with cable IDs, and makes others wait for eight days to view content on Fox.com or Hulu.
  • Disney already has deals with Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS to access ESPN content using a mobile app.
  • “Our overall approach…has been to make deals that increase revenue while at the same time protect and respect the channel distribution value that we see today,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said. The company is looking to build authentication into future deals, which Iger explains would “allow access to our programming faster or in a more aggressive window if the customer is a multichannel subscriber.”