Media Streaming

Nov 24 2011

News - Samsung and Google Taking the Slow Approach to Google TV

Samsung Google TVSony and Logitech were Google's hardware launch partners for Google TV, but there were other companies looking at building their own hardware. One such company was Samsung, who even showed off a couple of early devices at CES 2011. Google wasn't too keen on CE manufacturers showing their Google TV offerings last January and evidently Samsung wasn't too keen on jumping into the market with their devices right away as it has been the better part of a year since CES 2011 and we are only now hearing hints that Samsung and Google are still working together. The promise that Samsung is looking to do something different with their Google TV offering is certainly intriguing, though it suggests that Samsung has completely scrapped their early plans. Google TV got a jolt in the arm from the recent 2.0 launch, but there has not been any new hardware to go with it. Would landing a brand as big as Samsung be the vote of confidence that the platform needs?

The only logical difference could be in a custom user interface. Google TV is essentially Honeycomb reskinned for a larger screen. If Samsung wants their models to stand out — and they usually do — perhaps they turned to the same engineers that designed its current line of Internet TVs.


Nov 23 2011

News - Offers Social Integration and Video Aggregation

If you consume most of your online movie and TV streams through a browser, then has a service intended to bring all of your streaming services together in one site. aggregates video from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, iTunes and Comcast Xfinity, and ties it all together with a recommendation engine. The recommendation engine is actually what is hoping will set it apart from other video aggregation services. The engine makes suggestions based on what you add to your queue for future viewing, the "Like" and "Dislike" ratings you give to the videos you watch, and based on what your friends like and dislike if you tie in your Facebook or Twitter account. The overall look and feel of the site is already reminiscent of an app, so the inevitable transition to mobile devices and media streamers should go smoothly. entered its private beta primarily as a site for recommending TV shows and movies. With the latest update, however, the startup has redesigned its site to give users the ability to create queues and help people follow TV shows. The goal, CEO Guy Piekarz told us in an interview last week, is to become a sort of “DVR in the cloud.” 


Nov 23 2011

News - Sony Finds Synergy with PlayStation Home and Crackle

Crackle on Home

Sony builds the PlayStation 3 which comes with PlayStation Home, the virtual hub where gamers can gather to play games, chat, and hang out while watching movies and listening to music. Sony also owns Crackle, a media streaming service that primarily serves up movies and TV shows produced by Sony Pictures Entertainment. Sony Pictures Loot, the internal Sony group in charge of finding and creating content for PlayStation Home has hooked Crackle up to beam movies into special LOOT EOD theaters that have been established in PlayStation Home. Now, I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, but how is that Crackle and PlayStation Home didn't hook up sooner?

PlayStation Home is proud to announce the release of Crackle on all LOOT EOD Screens this week. Now you can watch hundreds of full-length Hollywood movies and thousands of television shows with your friends for free. The LOOT EOD Screens can be found in the LOOT EOD Theater, Sunset Yacht, and the Hollywood Hills House. 

PlayStation Blog

Nov 18 2011

News - Sling Media Launches SlingPlayer Facebook App

Sling Media seems to have made it their mission to make sure that Slingbox owners can access their television from anywhere in the world on any device imaginable. Now, just to make sure that they haven't left any stone unturned, Sling has also launched a SlingPlayer for Facebook app. Slingbox SOLO and Slingbox PRO-HD users need to update to the latest firmware, install the new Facebook, and then sign into their accounts and they will be able to control their Slingbox in much the same way they would from the Slingbox website. The only real difference is the addition of a status bar running down the side of the screen for sharing what you are watching for your friends to comment on. Sling is promising that more social integration features are coming. Any suggestions on what Sling ought to add first?

SlingPlayer for Facebook

Slingbox has made the act of watching your television from anywhere stupendously easy over the years, and now the company has added yet another way to catch up on Community on the go: now you can watch from your Facebook account.


Nov 18 2011

News - Starz App to Follow the Trail Blazed by HBO Go

When Starz decided not to renew their deal with Netflix back in September, I mentioned that my money was on Starz emulating HBO and going their own way with an independent streaming service and app. Starz President Chris Albrecht recently announced that Starz would be making a big digital push in 2012, including launching an app that would stream Starz content to digital devices. Given the amount of attention HBO gets from its HBO Go app, Starz's interest in taking a similar approach to the market is not that surprising. What is surprising is the suggestion that the company might try offering Starz directly to subscribers without being bundled into a package of cable channels or even without a cable subscription as part of an Internet access bundle. I can imagine the company splitting the difference by taking a page from ESPN's playbook to create an online-only streaming channel similar to ESPN3.

 Now we have confirmation from Starz President Chris Albrecht that a mobile app is on the roadmap for 2012. Not only that, but Albrecht said at an investor conference in New York yesterday that Starz is also open to offering a service not tied to a cable TV subscription. This may be a warning shot at operators who are blocking HBO Go on the Roku.

Zatz Not Funny

Nov 18 2011

News - LOVEFiLM Signs Deal With Warner Bros.

Like Napoleonic-era generals, Netflix and LOVEFiLM are marshalling their forces and establishing their positions on the field. Over the last couple of weeks, Netflix has been kicking up the most dust preparing for their entry into the UK and Ireland next year, but now LOVEFiLM is responding by bringing Warner Bros. in on their side of the battlefield. LOVEFiLM's deal with Warner Bros. doesn't seem to focus as much on securing exclusive streaming rights like the deals that Netflix has been signing with studios, but instead seems to be geared toward leveraging the extended services and market outlets that LOVEFiLM and Warner Bros. possess in the region.

Today, the Amazon-owned streaming and rental service announced a new, multi-year partnership with the Brothers Warner, promising to deliver "wider choice and more access" to content across multiple platforms. Under the deal, users will be able to access a range of Warner Bros.' recent and forthcoming titles on their iPad, PlayStation 3, and, as of later this year, their Xbox 360, among other devices.


Nov 17 2011

News - Miramax Makes Three for Netflix's UK and Ireland Launch

First came MGM, then Lionsgate UK, and now we have Miramax hopping on the Netflix train. Netflix has been lining up studios for Netflix's launch in the UK and Ireland, and Miramax is the most recent studio to sign on. Unlike MGM and Lionsgate, Miramax is not giving Netflix exclusive streaming rights to their new releases, but given Miramax's relationship with Netflix in the US, it is likely that Miramax will be generous with their catalog.


Miramax is the latest film studio to sign on to Netflix‘s streaming service in the UK and Ireland, with a planned launch early next year. Financial terms of the multi-year licensing agreement were not disclosed.


Nov 17 2011

News - Sony May Be Looking at IPTV Integration for Future Televisions

Sony's TV business has been taking it on the chin for a while now and Sony has promised that it is going to turn things around. From the sounds of things Sony is planning on forging into the world of IPTV as a way of getting people excited about Sony televisions again, and perhaps extend the window of revenue generation for their TVs and other devices.

This service would cut cable companies out of the media delivery loop. According to the WSJ's "people familiar with the situation," Sony wants to license smaller bundles of channels than cable operators. That could present some problems. Media companies might not want to undercut the partnerships they have with cable and satellite outlets.


Nov 15 2011

News - Netflix Locks In Lionsgate UK Ahead of UK Launch

About a week ago we commented on Netflix gaining exclusive streaming rights to MGM's first-run movies in anticipation of Netflix's launch in the UK and Ireland. Netflix is looking for every advantage it can find against the deeply entrenched LOVEFiLM streaming service. At the time we suggested that we would likely hear about more such agreements. Turns out we didn't have long to wait as Netflix has announced a similar arrangement with Lionsgate UK. As with the MGM deal, Netflix will also be gaining access to Lionsgate UK's catalog titles. Any readers in the UK or Ireland thinking of switching from LOVEFiLM to Netflix in the face of these announcements?

 The deal makes Netflix the "exclusive subscription streaming service" in the UK and Ireland for the studios first-run movies, with upcoming titles like The Expendables 2, and the Dirty Dancing remake already on deck.


Nov 11 2011

News - Attack of the Inexpensive Media Streaming Tablets: Nook Tablet vs. Kindle Fire

Nook Tablet vs. Kindle Fire

As we all know at this point, Amazon announced their first proper tablet, the Kindle Fire, at the end of September. Based on Android and built to tie into the collection of services that Amazon has built, there was a lot to like about it, especially its $199 price tag. Much was made of it as an iPad competitor, but in size and price, it more directly competes with the Barnes & Noble Nook Color. Amazon had little to say at the time about what kind of apps the Kindle Fire would run, but the general assumption was that the Kindle Fire would be largely limited to Amazon's cloud services for media consumption. Even so, the Kindle Fire was very definitely a media consumption tablet that also acted as an e-reader while the Nook Color was an e-reader that could also run some tablet apps; it wasn't set to be much of a competition.

This week Barnes & Noble announced the Nook Color's successor, the Nook Tablet. The Nook Tablet is priced at $249, but it has a more powerful processor, more memory, and a predecessor to drop to the $199 price point with the Kindle. What's more, the Nook Tablet is a media consumption tablet in the vein of the Kindle Fire, but with the pledged support of some very big names.

Barnes and Noble just announced its Nook Tablet with plenty of content coming along for the ride. Most notable is Netflix integration, described by B&N as the deepest on any tablet with Netflix recommendations getting pushed to your homescreen. B&N calls the 7-inch tablet an "unrivaled portable content machine" and backs up the claim with preloaded Pandora and Hulu Plus services (and free trials). Flixster with UltraViolet is also coming soon with newly released movies and TV shows from Warner Bros. and others.

The Verge

The Kindle Fire remained a formidable entry to the tablet market, but for a short time it appeared that Barnes & Noble might have fielded a true champion. That is, until Amazon decided to share a bit more about the Kindle Fire.

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