Xbox Live services to go free from April 19-23
In an attempt to get some more users hooked on its premium Xbox Live subscription service, Microsoft will offer it for free for five days, commencing on Thursday, April 19, and running until Monday, April 23. Partners like Hulu Plus, Netflix, and EPIX will also open their doors for free during the same time period. Depending on where users are, however, they will get various amounts of free app access during those five days.
Roku media hub arrives with slight premium
Roku on Monday kicked off its Canadian launch. The country will get two higher-end models in the lineup, the Roku 2 XD and Roku 2 XS, both of which can handle 1080p video; the XS bundles in the Wii-like motion remote and includes both Ethernet and USB for wired access and local content. Canadians get much of the same content, including Netflix, Rdio music, and major sports like the MLB and NHL, although US-specific services like Hulu Plus are out of contention.
Roku branches out to UK in earnest
Roku's international plans became real Friday after it began UK and Ireland. The Roku LT and Roku 2 XS are now available for £50 and £100 respectively (60 and 120 euros). British customers are simultaneously getting BBC iPlayer to catch up on the past one to two weeks of TV shows.
Xbox Live TV gets new CinemaNow, Crackle apps
Microsoft has further expanded the content capabilities of the Xbox 360 with the arrival of the new Xbox Live TV apps for CinemaNow and Crackle. Users in the US can download and access content from both of the new apps immediately. Users in Australia, Canada and the UK now have access to Crackle, but with no current plans to launch CinemaNow in those markets due to content licensing rights.
Microsoft outlines launch plans for X360 live TV
In sync with the fall Xbox 360 Dashboard update, Microsoft has provided a listing of TV providers that will be ready to go this week. Along with existing access to ESPN, Hulu, and Netflix, the December 6 update will also bring EPIX authenticated video in the US, Lovefilm in the UK, MediaSet's Premium Play in Italy, Sky Go in Austria and Germany, Telefonica España's Movistar Imagenio, and MSNBC's Today in the US.
PS3 matches Xbox with group viewing
Sony offered a partial answer to the Xbox 360's group Netflix viewing this weekend by upgrading PlayStation Home to support group viewing through Crackle. Gamers can gather friends in personal and public spaces to watch "hundreds" of movies and TV shows for free. The movies are the same as on the web page and include big-name, if older, movies like Resident Evil and Snatch.
Xbox 360 live TV goes available worldwide
Microsoft as repeatedly rumored has kicked off its Xbox 360 live TV option. Cable and fiber TV providers such as AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, as well as individual TV stations such as Bravo, Epix, HBO, and SyFy, are all promising apps for the new Xbox Dashboard to watch TV online. Most if not all of the services will require that viewers authenticate to get access and will still need to have traditional TV.
Xbox 360 to bring TV content as soon as next week
The latest update in Microsoft's bid to bring TV content to Xbox 360 Live has the new content arriving on its game console subscription service as early as next week. Microsoft is engaged in talks on the matter with many content providers and cable companies, with Comcast and Verizon chief among them. A source who couldn't speak publicly revealed these details.
Sony releases 2011 Bravia HDTVs
Sony announced on Wednesday that it will begin shipping its 2011 range of Bravia TVs introduced at CES. Of the 37 new models, 32 are Internet-connected and 23 have 3D screens. The connected TVs offer or will soon offer access to Netflix for streaming movies and TV shows, Crackle for Hollywood movies and TV shows for free, the Yahoo Connected TV Store for apps and TV content from CBS and Showtime and more.
Roku gets Crackle video channel
Roku had a late-breaking but symbolic addition today as its Internet Players got their hundredth Internet content channel. Crackle's content brings free videos, including major movies, independent, TV shows and shorts. All the content should be available soon if not immediately through a firmware update.
Sony Dash up for pre-sale, due April 15th
Sony has began taking pre-orders for its Dash Personal Internet Viewer and lists the projected ship date as April 15th. It's being described as a more functional version of the Chumby and can show news, play media and Facebook updates on its 7-inch touchscreen with 800x480 resolution. Perhaps most unique is its ability to download from a library of more than 1,500 free apps developed for the Chumby.
Sony Dash closely related to Chumby
As part of a slew of updates brought out with its CES keynote, Sony added the Dash to the mix. Expanding beyond what it mentioned at the presentation, the company views it as an upscale parallel to the Chumby. The all-touchscreen device can display news, make Facebook updates and play media but thrives the most on apps: over 1,000 Chumby apps will work and significantly extend its features beyond what's in the box.
Sony BRAVIA Gets Netflix
Sony today said its Internet-aware BRAVIA TVs now have access to Netflix. Both newer sets with support built-in, as well as older sets using the add-on Internet Video Link, can access (but not add to) the Watch Instantly queue and stream movies or TV shows directly to the set. Whether or not it's capable of HD footage isn't clear.
Sony confirms Google talks
Sony has confirmed this week's earlier rumors that it is engaged in talks with YouTube on posting full-length movies on the free video service site, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. If the deal goes through, it would see the first major US studio to do so on a large scale, and the full-length films would be offered for viewing for free, likely supported by ad sales in the stream.