Streaming set-top box being offered to TWC subscribers
Fan TV, a set-top box from Fanhattan and designer Yves Behar unveiled last year, has signed a deal with Time Warner Cable, and has opened up for pre-orders. The device, which combines a number of streaming services in a similar way to the Roku and other media streamers, aims to streamline the viewing experience for users, and will be offered to Time Warner subscribers in the future.
High-resolution Netflix streams require 2014 smart TVs, fast Internet connection
Netflix has started to stream content at Ultra High Definition (4K), starting with original series House of Cards and a number of nature documentaries. The plans, which it first revealed last year and promoted at CES, provides owners of 4K televisions with more programming, though there are a number of caveats that potential viewers must work around.
SesameGO launches, offering US customers with kid-friendly streaming service
Sesame Workshop has today launched a educational television streaming service, called SesameGO. Offering children-centric, advertisement-free content, the service will features classic Sesame Street programming as well as current material. Web-focused, the service is optimized for Mac, PC, smartphones and tablets, with no native apps anticipated. SesameGO is available now for US residents, and is priced at $4 per month or $30 annually.
App update removes starred tracks from Spotify for new collection system
Spotify has made drastic changes to its user interface, by introducing a new darker theme. The change in appearance of the streaming music service across all platforms is joined by a new feature called "Your Music," something the company previewed in late 2012, allowing users to collect and manage their music without requiring users to create playlists.
Early-stage talks could see Apple-supplied device with higher-quality connection
Apple is reportedly in discussions with Comcast, which could see the two collaborate on a streaming TV service. Sources for the Wall Street Journal claim the service would involve Apple supplying the set-top box to customers, with Comcast giving the device preferential treatment in the bandwidth management of the connection itself.
Chromecast-like dongle from Amazon could offer high-end gaming
Amazon's rumored media streaming device may have more in common with the Google Chromecast than previously thought, according to a report. The retailer is said to be making the media player in the form of a dongle that can plug directly into a television's HDMI port, with one rumor claiming that it would have the ability to stream high quality games from a server, instead of relying on modified mobile titles for gaming.
Rate lower than ASCAP requested, higher than terrestrial radio
US Federal Court Judge Denise Cote has issued a ruling in a case between streaming music service Pandora and music publishers, which has set a new rate at which Pandora Radio will have to pay to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for performance rights on streaming radio. The rate is set slightly higher than the 1.7 percent Radio Music Licensing Committee rate for terrestrial radio Pandora argued was appropriate, but far less than the tiered rate ASCAP proposed.
Agreement claimed to involve Netflix renting server space in Telenor data center
Netflix may be making more agreements with Internet service providers (ISP) to prevent throttling, and is apparently doing so outside of the United States. A deal between Netflix and Telenor of Norway is reported to be similar to one between the streaming service and Comcast, with Netflix said to be placing its servers within the ISP's own data centers.
First time the event has been held in the US, will stream live on web, iOS devices
Just a few days ahead of the beginning of the first US iTunes Festival, being held as part of the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference, Apple has now re-added its iTunes Festival channel back to Apple TV, where concerts will be streamed live. Currently the channel also offers information on the concert schedule and background on the various acts, as well as a history of the festival -- which has previously only been held in London.
Music curation API used by other music services will remain open despite purchase
Spotify is looking to bolster the music curation and discovery functions of its service, by acquiring music intelligence company The Echo Nest, the streaming music service has revealed. The purchase will provide Spotify with deeper access to The Echo Nest's knowledge base and music curation tools, currently used by competitors such as Nokia MixRadio and Rdio for their own music discovery offerings.
Twitch SDK allows players to stream game footage from mobile devices
Game video streaming service Twitch is hoping to expand the reach of its service into mobile gaming, from its existing PC and console efforts. The announced Twitch Mobile Software Development Kit will allow developers to add Twitch streaming to mobile titles, letting gamers broadcast their gameplay live, as well as capturing and archiving the video for future viewing.
Claimed discussions with labels stalled over music licensing discount request
Amazon Prime subscribers may receive another benefit in the future, if a rumor is found to be true. It is claimed that the online retailer is looking to expand the Prime bonuses from the current Kindle Lending Library and Prime Instant Video offerings to include music streaming, with Amazon said to be in negotiations with the larger music labels to make the service a reality.
BlackBerry updates BBM app to work with Android 2.3
BlackBerry has opened up BBM for Android to users of older devices. BlackBerry Messenger can now be downloaded and used on smartphones and tablets running Android 2.3 or later, though the older version of the mobile operating system will not have access to new additions to the app, such as BBM Voice, BBM Channels, and Glympse real-time location sharing.
Hulu signs with CBS for 2,600 new episodes of programming for Hulu Plus
Hulu has made a new deal with US broadcaster CBS, adding 2,600 new episodes to its subscription-based television and movie streaming service Hulu Plus. The library expansion includes classic television content such as The Brady Bunch, Melrose Place and Taxi, as well as more recent programming such as Everybody Loves Raymond. The added content brings Hulu Plus' CBS library to over 5,300 episodes.
Speculation of pushing TV content, taking iTunes content delivery in-house
Apple, which has for years relied on third-party content delivery networks (CDNs) like Akamai and Level3 to ensure reliable streaming of its media content, is now building out its own CDN, reports the Wall Street Journal. This would in time mean that items such as iTunes streaming video and music content (movie rentals, iTunes Match music, iTunes Radio) as well as other large files such as OS X updates could be delivered on its own network.
Archive NFL videos, highlights, analysis in NFL Now app
The National Football League (NFL) is introducing a new online streaming initiative for fans of the sport, that allows them to follow their teams on any digital platform they choose, alongside its existing apps. NFL Now is billed as a digital network that offers fans the ability to watch a range of video content produced by the teams as well as NFL Films, as the organization moves to embrace Internet distribution.
Invitations to test game streaming service sent to PlayStation 3 owners
Sony has reportedly started sending out invitations to beta test its PlayStation Now streaming service. Taking place ahead of its expected launch in the United States this summer, the private beta will allow users to play PlayStation 3 titles without needing to download the game beforehand, with players able to stream games to a console over the Internet.
Steam's streaming service in beta, allows streamed game play between PCs
Valve has announced the latest update to its gaming service platform Steam, which consists of a beta release of its new, in-home streaming component. Steam's in-home streaming, according to its site, "will allow [users] to play a game on one computer when the game process is actually running on another computer elsewhere in [one's] home." Game audio and video is captured on the remote computer, and subsequently sent to the player's computer.
International expansion still dragging down bottom line, improvement in sight
Internet movie streaming service Netflix has announced its quarterly earnings. The company continues to be dragged down by a loss overseas, but still managed to earn $0.79 per share. With over 44 million customers worldwide, the company pulled down $1.18 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter, with $48 million of that being net income.
Canadian ISPs tested on streaming performance
Google will be offering users information about their Internet connection's capabilities for YouTube streaming, under a new monitoring system. The search company's Video Quality Report will analyze the connection offered by Internet service providers (ISP) and identify those that offer the best YouTube experience, in a move to help its end users have a more satisfactory Internet experience.
Project said to be in early stages
Amazon is reportedly working on a new video service that will mimic traditional cable and broadcast models by focusing on live streaming programming, unnamed sources have told The Wall Street Journal. The project is said to be in early stages, though the sources claim the company has already reached out to at least three major content owners to begin discussions for potential licensing deals.
Commission cites foreign-ownership rules
The Federal Communications Commission has reportedly sided with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), stalling Pandora's application to acquire a terrestrial radio station based in Rapid City, South Dakota. The commission is said to have notified the streaming music company of the decision, which cites foreign-ownership rules as a remaining hurdle, according to a Billboard report.
Tech demoed on Vita, Bravia
After a slew of announcements yesterday, Sony waited until this morning to formally introduce its PlayStation Now streaming game technology. The system promises to bring the company's game ecosystem to Bravia TVs and eventually non-Sony hardware such as tablets. We were curious to see the technology in action, so we stopped by Sony's CES booth to try out game streaming from a Vita and a TV.
First drop in digital music sales since iTunes was invented
According to a new report by Nielsen SoundScan, digital music sales dropped for the first time since the iTunes Store went online in 2003. Sales fell by 5.7 percent to 1.26 billion songs, with industry executives putting the blame on streaming services like Pandora, Spotify and Rdio -- services the record companies themselves licensed their music to in an effort to reduce their dependency on iTunes. Whether revenue from streaming has offset the sales dip hasn't yet been revealed.
Netflix trials single-stream, standard definition tier with some customers
Netflix is testing a possible new price plan for customers that do not require a HD stream. The new tier spotted by Adweek offers the user a single stream at standard definition for $6.99 per month, $1 cheaper than the normal two-stream standard and HD version typically offered by the service. Netflix has since confirmed its tests, advising "Not all people will see this option and it may not be something we ever offer generally."
4K content creation to help bolster small Ultra HD streaming catalog
Netflix will be offering some of its home-grown content in 4K in the future, the video streaming service has revealed. The second season of House of Cards will be shot in the format and will be available to stream to users sometime in 2014, though this is not a sign that the company will be offering the high-resolution option to users for all of its content.
Image-heavy redesign adds more detail to show recommendations
Netflix has updated a number of its apps for smart TVs and set-top boxes, bringing them all under the same new uniform interface. The new UI heading to the Roku, Smart TV apps, Blu-Ray players, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 aims to provide more detail about potential shows, using large images and more personalized recommendations.
TuneIn Radio update features redesign and optimization for iOS 7
TuneIn Radio, a free radio app for iOS, lets users listen to a variety of streaming radio stations features sports, news, talk, and music programming. Listeners have access to 100,000 live radio stations and two million podcasts, concerts and shows, all of which can be streamed on an iPhone, iPad and iPod. In version 5, Tunein features a redesigned interface, optimized for iOS 7. Live college basketball games can also now be accessed, including every PAC-12 game. Also included in the update are bug fixes regarding playback and streaming errors, and issues pertaining to viewing recommendations upon swiping the Now Playing screen. TuneIn Radio is available on iTunes, and can also be accessed from the web.
Streaming outside home network works over Wi-Fi, LTE to come
TiVo has finally allowed out-of-home streaming on some of its digital video recorder range. Apps have been released for the iPhone and iPad in the App Store which allow for streaming and downloading of live TV shows and recorded content to a mobile device, something the company teased at the launch of its TiVo Roamio DVR line back in August.
Second music streaming service from Google could still launch this year
Rumors of a YouTube music streaming service have resurfaced, with a new report providing a lot more detail about Google's potential plans. It is now thought by report sources that the tiered service, in a similar vein to Spotify, iTunes Radio, and its own Google Play Music All Access, will be launching before the end of the year.
Amazon media streamer to use forked Android
The expected launch of Amazon's rumored set-top box, dubbed by some as "Firetube," for the living room has apparently been delayed by the company. The device, which is said to be a direct competitor with Apple TV and Roku for streaming video as well as running apps, will not receive its pre-holiday season shopping launch as allegedly planned.
Live streaming of Apple event confirmed on Apple TV
[Update: Streaming to iOS devices confirmed] Apple will be streaming its press event to the general public later today. A new item has appeared on Apple TV set-top boxes labeled "Apple Special Event – October 2013," within the "Apple Events" channel, with iPad, iPhone, and Mac owners also able to watch the event live at the same time.
TV and movie streaming app adds Google Chromecast extension for iPhone users
Hulu, a subscription-based movie and TV streaming service, has added a Google Chromecast extension to its Hulu Plus app for iOS. Already included for iPad devices, version 3.1.1 of Hulu Plus for iPhone and iPod touch includes access to Google's digital media streaming adapter for those running iOS 6 or later. The addition of Google Chromecast support offers users more ways to stream Hulu Plus content to their high-definition television. Hulu Plus can be downloaded for free on iTunes, and its subscription service is priced at $8 per month.
New Vizio streamer cuts price, streamlines remote control
Vizio has introduced a new media-streaming set-top box along the lines of its existing Co-Star offering, that offers more basic smart TV functionality. The Co-Star LT offers the same apps and services found on the Vizio M-Series smart TVs, such as access to Internet radio and streaming video, but in a device that can be connected to any HDTV with a HDMI connection.
America's northern neighbor likely to be first outside country to gain the service
Apple has posted job notices seeking iTunes Radio programmers for Canada, a sign that the well-received free music-streaming service will be expanding into the US' closest ally as one of, if not the, first countries outside America to gain the service. The posting suggests that the launch of the service in Canada may occur as early as sometime later this month, presuming some strong candidates can be found.
New device allegedly to run apps, stream from multiple sources
Amazon is reportedly in the process of designing a set-top box, similar in form and function to an Apple TV or Roku media streamer, to be released before the holiday buying season. Divergent from Apple, Amazon is allegedly offering an app ecosystem for the device, allowing gaming or media streaming from sources other than just Amazon purchases.
Hulu adds Cast button to mobile apps to support Chromecast streaming
The Google Chromecast media-streaming dongle is now able to support video from Hulu. An update to the Hulu Plus mobile app for the iPad and Android will add a Cast button to the menu, which then starts playing the selected TV show through the Chromecast device, with the app acting as the remote control. Support for the iPhone is "coming very soon," according to the Google blog.
Roku line refresh shipping to US, UK, Ireland
Roku has refreshed a majority of its line of streaming set-top boxes, in order to coordinate with its existing Roku 3. While the Roku 3 remains the same, the new Roku 1, Roku 2, and Roku LT all have a number of hardware and software updates, as well as an overhaul in external design to match the current flagship model.
Hundreds of ideas under consideration
Microsoft is reportedly preparing a wide range of original television programming for its Xbox streaming video service. In an interview with Reuters, Microsoft Studios VP Phil Spencer said the company is "very close" to announcing details of the new projects, which will include content that is not directly related to games.
Deal would see content shared from 525-station radio network with Rdio
Rdio could be offering a free version of its service before the end of the year, as part of a deal with a radio broadcaster. Expected to be announced later today, Rdio is said to be working with radio station operator Cumulus Media that will see the streaming service gain access to the broadcaster's programming and offer an advertising-based free service, in exchange for stock.
Piracy figures triggered Prison Break purchase for Netflix in the Netherlands
Netflix monitors piracy sites for shows being downloaded, in order to decide what to acquire for its users. The video streaming service uses statistics relating to video piracy as a social barometer, along with other metrics, in working out what shows and films it doesn't currently offer that it needs to secure for members to view.
Likely to be dismissed due to content owners determining 'seasons'
Noam Lazebnik of Ohio has filed suit against Apple, saying that the company should not have advertised a "season pass" to the fifth season of the hit television series Breaking Bad that does not contain what he considers to be the full season. Apple is one of several resellers who offer streaming downloads of the show, most of which have offered the currently-airing second set of eight episodes as "Season 6," apparently as set by the show's producer, American Movie Classics (AMC). The case, should it get to trial, is likely to center on which company determined the "seasons."
Direct streaming from Spotify to compatible speakers
Spotify has announced it is working with a number of hardware manufacturers to bring controllable music streaming to other devices, taking on AirPlay and other audio transmission systems. Spotify Connect will allow for subscribers to send playlists to nearby speakers or home theater systems, and in a move similar to Google Chromecast, the audio will stream directly to the sound-producing device from the service itself, instead of from the smartphone.
Music video content app for Apple TV could happen as soon as this week
Music video provider Vevo may have signed deals with both Apple and Samsung to provide streaming and on-demand content. For Apple, the deal will likely mean a new app on Apple TV, possibly coming as early as later this week. For Samsung, Vevo is allegedly providing the content for the Korean company's smart TV lineup. The on-demand music video service would be similar to the content already provided to Microsoft's Xbox, reports say, but the new deals add a second channel that would stream videos 24 hours a day.
Viacom network includes content generally not on 'broadcast' channels
Viacom has reportedly hammered out an agreement for its programming, including BET, Comedy Central, VH1, and Nickelodeon, to appear on a Sony Internet television streaming service. Sony's service, scheduled to launch before the end of 2014, may differ from current services by streaming content that normally exists only on cable or from satellite TV providers.
Can only use content from Camera Roll, currently iOS-only
Streaming media set-top box maker Roku updated its iOS app on Thursday with a thus-far exclusive feature: the app can now stream some video content wirelessly to various models of Roku set-top devices, expanding the company's "Play on Roku" feature which previously allowed only photos and music. The new function is limited to streaming only videos on the user's Camera Roll, and is thus intended to share self-shot videos by and large by transferring them wireless to an HDTV. Version 2.3 also includes bug fixes and performance enhancements.
Streaming app saves having to transcode video formats
Media appmakers FireCore have issued a major update to their multi-format media player Infuse for iOS ($5), which allows users to play normally unsupported video and audio file types by transcoding them on-the-fly. The new version 1.3 offers AirPlay streaming, Wi-Fi transfers of media from network-connected computers or drives, social sharing and one-button subtitle downloads. The program supports 14 different video formats, and features automatic artwork and metadata fetching, Dolby Digital Plus surround sound and full 1080p.
Ranking proves again that value of experience can trump content
A study done by customer experience research firm ForeSee has surveyed customers of mobile media and entertainment sites and found that generally, customers are more satisfied with such services than they were a year ago: the average score was 77 out of 100, compared to 67 a year ago. In the streaming TV and movies category, Apple's iTunes squeaked out a surprise win over competitors such as Netflix and HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, Crackle and Hulu Plus. The study also found that customers were much more satisfied with home Internet service than cellular data.
Aero expanding to Utah and Chicago
Aereo, a live TV streaming/DVR service has today announced that it will be expanding into Utah on August 19. With memberships beginning at $8 per month, Aereo allows customers to access 30 major broadcast channels on any internet-connected device as well as record up to 20 hours of DVR content in a cloud account. A pre-registration page has been setup online, and will provide priority access to anyone who signs up before the August 19 launch. In addition, Aereo has also announced that after the Utah expansion it will begin to prepare for a September 13 launch in Chicago.
Appe's 'hobby' outsells all other competitors combined
The business both Steve Jobs and current CEO of Apple Tim Cook refer to as a "hobby" is the dominant player in the nascent-but-growing "Streaming IP Device" market, according to a new report. Apple TV's 56 percent share -- a figure that represents the more than 13 million units sold through Q1 2013 -- is greater than all other competitors in the space combined. While brands like Roku, WD TV, Boxee and Google TV may get more headlines, all but Roku and TiVo have negligible market share in a field that is growing rapidly -- as more consumers become "cable cutters" and use alternatives such as Netflix and mobile apps for a relatively ad-free entertainment experience.