Media Streaming

Oct 19 2012

News - Netflix Streaming Now Available in Scandanavia

NetflixA couple of months ago, HBO and Netflix announced within days of each other that they were going to be launching streaming services in Scandanvia. At the time, HBO stated that HBO Nordic would launch in October, but Netflix was going with a less definitive launch date of "by the end of the year". Call me cynical, but I think HBO gave Netflix a bit of incentive to pick up the pace. Not only has Netflix announced that they have completed rolling their service out across Scandanavia, but they launched in all four countries over the course of four days. As usual, Netflix is available on a variety of Smart TVs, settop boxes, and mobile devices, and the company is claiming that initial demand has been greater than they expected. With HBO Nordic, LOVEFiLM, and Netflix all duking it out for the same region, the real test will be to see how many of those early signups turn into paid subscriptions.

Netflix Oct. 18 said it is officially beginning streaming rental service in Denmark, Finland and Norway, completing its Scandinavia rollout following the launch of subscription video-on-demand in Sweden earlier in the week.

Home Media Magazine

Oct 19 2012

News - LOVEFiLM Users to Have Option to Sign In with Amazon Account Details

When Amazon announced the Kindle Fire HD earlier this month, the company also announced its first release of the Kindle Fire line in the UK. Given the popularity of the Amazon-owned LOVEFiLM streaming service, it should be no surprise that many Kindle Fire tablets will probably be used to tap into the LOVEFiLM library of content. Evidently LOVEFiLM and Amazon have decided that the release of the Kindle Fire provides an opportunity to start tying their two different account types together. Starting today, LOVEFiLM subscribers will be presented with the option to sign into the service using either their LOVEFiLM account details or their Amazon account details. The option is only intended for Kindle Fire users at this time, though LOVEFiLM is indicating that everyone will eventually be able to use their Amazon account details. 

Amazon and LOVEFiLM Link Accounts

Why are you making this change to sign in?

In order to make streaming movies and TV on a Kindle Fire or Kindle Fire HD you need to be signed in to LOVEFiLM on the device using your Amazon e-mail address and password. Once this has happened, you should use your Amazon details to sign in to LOVEFiLM on the web and all other devices.


Oct 07 2012

News - Cablevision Signs Deal to Offer Streaming for Disney Networks, Including ESPN and ABC

Disney CablevisionCablevision has been feeling a bit left out of the whole TV Anywhere concept that has been bringing streaming versions of network offerings to subscription TV customers. As one of the smaller cable providers, Cablevision has lagged in signing deals with major broadcasters to offer streaming versions to customers, but the company picked up a big win this week by signing a deal to offer streaming WATCH versions of the Walt Disney Company's networks. This of course involves offerings such as WATCH Disney Channel and WATCH ABC Family, but probably more importantly for most Cablevision subscribers, WATCH ESPN which brings content from ESPN's repertoire of networks online. 

 Mum's the word on how much cash was involved in the deal, but we do know it's a multi-year agreement and that Walt & Co. feel rather content about it, with a company's spokesperson saying, "With our robust and ever-growing multi-platform content offerings, we're pleased to be able to expand our relationship with Cablevision."


Oct 06 2012

News - Dish Backs Off Plans for Blockbuster vs. Netflix Brawl

Many folks were left scratching their heads when Dish Network bought up the crumbled shell of Blockbuster. The once mighty movie rental chain had been felled in large part by Netflix's DVD-by-mail rental service, with Netflix's streaming service and Redbox's kiosk rental model swooping in for the final kill. Not that Blockbuster didn't try to fight back. It was in Blockbuster's own DVD-by-mail rental service, brand recognition, and retail footprint that Dish thought it saw an opportunity to turn Blockbuster into a Netflix-killer and enter a new market competing with the likes of Verizon and AT&T. The retail locations, once trimmed of unprofitable locations, would become the retail outlets for new Dish devices that would tap into special sections of Dish's satellite spectrum for an LTE service for data and video streaming. Alas, that plan is unlikely to pass FCC muster, so Dish is scaling back its plans for Blockbuster, at least in the short-term. These details do go a long way toward explaining the limited roll-out of the Dish-exclusive Blockbuster Movie Pass streaming service. Without FCC approval for Dish's new devices and spectrum usage, there wasn't much reason for announcing the big picture plans that would bring Blockbuster Movie Pass to everyone. There do not seem to be any immediate plans for changes in what Blockbuster is doing or the services it's offering right now, though the Dish-specific Blockbuster services are being rebranded to Blockbuster@Home. The most interesting details revolve around how Dish's approach to handling Blockbuster has left Dish confident that the company will, at worst, break even on the purchase. 

Blockbuster and Dish

Dish planned to entice consumers to buy its wireless services by streaming Blockbuster movies on mobile devices. Without the wireless network, a nationwide streaming service would function a lot like Netflix, except Blockbuster would be starting from scratch against a big incumbent, Ergen said. Netflix has 24 million U.S. streaming-video customers.


Oct 01 2012

News - Barnes & Noble Announces Nook Video to Accompany New Nook Tablets

Nook VideoBarnes & Noble announced two new tablets this week, the Nook HD and the Nook HD+. Last year, the Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire were the big contenders in the media consumption tablet wars. This year, B&N not only needs to contend with an updated Kindle Fire, but also the Google Nexus 7 and potentially the oft-rumored iPad Mini. To help out, Barnes & Noble also announced their new Nook Video service this week. The Nook Video announcement quickly got lost in the shuffle, but with partners like HBO, Sony, STARZ, and Disney already on-board, the movie and TV rental and purchasing service promises to hit the ground running. Nook Video will be an UltraViolet service, allowing users to store their digital copies from physical media in the Nook Cloud. What's more, Nook Video will be available as a cross-device app, further expanding the potential of the service to interoperate with a variety of devices, an important consideration for mixed platform and mixed device households. This could be a particuarly good move as the Nook line has established itself as a favorite secondary family tablet as evidenced by B&N's announcement that the new Nooks would have multi-user profile switching capabilities, a rarity in tablets to date. Barnes & Noble has not announced pricing or an exact launch date, though with the new Nooks due out at the beginning of Novemeber, we probably don't have long to wait.

Partners so far include HBO, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, STARZ, Viacom and Warner Bros. Entertainment, plus “favorite movies” from Walt Disney. “Other leading studios” will be announced soon, according to the release. For now, Paramount and NBC/Universal are missing.

Barnes & Noble is partnering with UltraViolet, the initiative from Hollywood studios that lets viewers watch content across devices and aims to break Apple’s stranglehold on the digital movie market.


Sep 06 2012

News - TiVo Stream Reviewed

 TiVo Stream

We've seen the new TiVo Stream previewed, so it was only matter of time before someone would put together a full-on review. The TiVo Stream is TiVo's new IP trancoder, a small box that sits on one's network and provides mobile devices with streaming access to recordings and live TV from a TiVo Premire DVR. The Stream can also convert and transfer recorded shows to mobile devices for watching later on the go. It sounds like the TiVo Stream works better with recordings then with live TV streams, but with support for up to four iOS devices, it would still be a solid solution for the Apple/TiVo devotee household. I woudn't be surprised to see the Stream's functionality integrated into a future version of the TiVo Premiere, but hopefully TiVo will find a  long-term spot in their product line-up for the Stream to accomodate legacy Premiere owners and to serve as an upgrade option with a less expensive Premiere.

User interface elements aside, the TiVo Stream does just what it sets out to, but with a few quirks. The first is that it only streams recordings, so selecting "Watch on iPad" while browsing the guide is tantamount to starting a recording on the fly. That means it takes about eight seconds to start streaming, whereas it would take less time to begin streaming something that was already recorded. That isn't a big deal, but it is a bit odd when a show ends and the next one doesn't begin. 


Mar 14 2012

News - HBO Adjusting Exclusivity Agreements to Allow for iCloud Syncing


By now, we've all become accustomed to the movie industry's efforts to continue to enforce traditional release windows and exclusivity deals. One of the vagaries of these deals often comes up in relation to streaming and digital distribution systems, where movies can seem to arrive later than one would expect or can come and go, seemingly at random. One of the most common reasons for these situations relate to the deals that movie studios sign with networks that give the networks exclusive distribution windows. This is particularly true for HBO, whose deals with movie studios give HBO almost complete distribution control over non-physical formats. This has been an impediment to digital locker systems in the past because HBO's exclusive control meant that the movie might not always be available for streaming or extended access. With Apple bringing movie syncing to iCloud, HBO has agreed to adjust their deals so that movie studios can allow for movies to be synced to Apple's cloud. It does not mean that  HBO is giving up its exclusivity windows, only that consumers who have purchased a movie will still be able to access the movie from iCloud. At this point, all of the discussion seems to involve iCloud, but we can probably look forward to more services coming online that require similar agreements.

HBO is working on loosening its grip on movie studios in order to allow them to offer their films to sync across Apple's iCloud, the Wall Street Journal has confirmed. This means that, eventually, films from Universal and Fox may soon enjoy the same iCloud syncing as films from Lions Gate, Sony Pictures, Disney, Paramount, and Warner Bros.

Ars Technica

Mar 12 2012

News - NBC to Stream Complete 2012 Summer Olympics with YouTube

Olympics 2012 NBC YouTube

NBC has been the sole source for Olympics coverage in the US for the last several events, and each time, the network has tried to tweak their offerings to best capitalize on their exclusivity. Sometimes this has meant utilizing NBC's secondary cable networks for extended coverage or providing event replays online. This year, NBC seems intent on providing as much coverage as possible, in as many formats as possible. Not only will this Olympics be the first in 3D, but it will also be the first in which every event gets streamed online. To achieve this prodigious feat, NBC has ditched their Silverlight-based web player and cut a deal with YouTube to provide the new backend. The video will actually be available on NBC's site, but it will be all YouTube behind the scenes. Every event will be streamed live, along with recaps and exclusive interviews and commentary. I've always preferred the Winter Olympics, but with NBC getting serious about streaming coverage, I might just find myself willing to explore the summer games a bit more.

More than 3,000 hours of live streaming footage from the Olympics will be broadcast online, making it the most live content, by far, ever to be broadcast from the global competition. In case you were wondering, yes, that equates to every single event during the entire Olympic period will be available to Web surfers in the US. This is the first time that has happened.


Mar 07 2012

News - Netflix Announces Integrated iTunes Payment and 1080p Streaming for New Apple TV

Netflix has stepped up to catch a bit of Apple's spotlight with a couple of announcements to accompany the new Apple TV. The first announcement is that it will now be possible to sign-up for Netflix on the Apple TV and pay for the subscription through an iTunes account. To be fair, this new billing arrangement will also be enabled on 2nd-generation Apple TV devices via a software update, but only the new 3rd-generation devices will be able to take advantage of Netflix's second announcement. The new Apple TV will be able to stream Netflix content in 1080p and Dolby Digital 5.1. 

Apple TV Netflix

Starting today, you can sign-up for Netflix directly on your Apple TV and pay via your iTunes account. Plus, with the new third generation Apple TV, you’ll also be able to watch thousands of hours of great movies and television streaming on Netflix in 1080p high definition and with room-filling Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. 

Netflix Blog

Mar 05 2012

News - Plex Media Server v0.9.5.3 Released

Plex Logo

A new version of Plex Media Server has been released, bringing it up to version The update can be downloaded from the Plex website now, and Mac and Windows users will start receiving auto-updates notices soon. On the new feature front, the Plex Media Server brings a universal font for rendering subtitles on Windows and Linux and an enhanced system for selecting audio tracks. There is also a slew of bug fixes. Looking ahead, there are even bigger releases on the horizon. There is a Windows Phone 7 client as well as the DLNA-enabled version of Plex Media Server in the works and getting previewed through different outlets. The Plex team is also promising that new versions of the Plex client will be coming to fix long-standing bugs.

For today, we have a new release of the media server for you, which fixes a number of issues. The release can be downloaded from the usual spot, and we’ll enable autoupdate in a day or two for Mac and Windows. (On Linux, ReadyNAS, QNAP/Cisco and unRAID packages are up, others will follow shortly.)

Plex Blog

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