Cortana issues public transport notifications, local concert suggestions
Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant for Windows Phone 8.1, has been updated with two event-related changes. WMPU reports the service will now show notifications for when a user's favorite music acts are performing nearby under "Concert Watch," while WP Central notes users in the US and UK can now benefit from public transport notifications, including delays, outages, and advising of the best time to head to an appointment or event.
Ad-supported mobile service touted as Hulu Plus hits 6M subscribers
Hulu will be enabling full episode streaming on its mobile apps for all users, the streaming service has revealed. Previously only available to Hulu Plus subscribers, users will be able to watch a selection of complete episodes of shows on mobile devices for free on the advertising-supported service from this summer, on top of the existing free service available via the desktop.
App monetization company announces advertising exchange built for in-app video
Vungle, a company devoted to promotion and monetization of apps through in-app video trailers, has announced today its new in-app advertising exchange for mobile content. The exchange will allow mobile publishers to run ads from multiple ad networks and ad buyers. Vungle Exchange aims to serve high-resolution, high-bitrate 15-second video ads within applications, as well as low-latency ad content for rapid advertisement delivery. Advertisers will have control over where their content can run, as to protect brand safety. Vungle Exchange is currently in closed beta with premier partners; those interested in more information can register to access further details.
QiPack mobile inductive charger now available for pre-order on Kickstarter
Today marks the official launch of QiPack, a mobile inductive charger that charges without the need for cables or wires. Available for pre-order through its Kickstarter, the QiPack can inductively charge enabled devices, such as the Google Nexus, by placing the device on top of the charger. Devices that are not equipped with built-in inductive charging capabilities can use the QiPack in conjunction with a coil receiver. "Early bird" pricing begins at $45, with shipping anticipated for next month.
Fire TV set-top box offers voice search by microphone in remote control
Amazon has launched its new streaming media player, the Fire TV, at its New York media event today. Part of the retailer's push into the streaming video marketplace and building upon the success of its Kindle tablets, the Amazon Fire TV is a small set-top box that allows users access to TV shows and movies watch video from Amazon's Instant Video, as well as other services.
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.
Streaming video on demand subscribers continue to rise
Streaming video services such as Netflix and Hulu could in some cases be eroding the customer base of premium television broadcasters, according to a new report. NPD Group figures for the period between March 2012 and August 2013 show that the number of subscribers to HBO, Showtime, and other channels have dropped from 38 percent of US households to 32 percent.
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."
Judge rules Hulu must face privacy lawsuit
Hulu will have to face a class action lawsuit from users angered by the television streaming service's sharing of viewing histories with Facebook and business metrics company comScore. Reuters reported on Monday that U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler rejected Hulu's argument last week that the complainants in the case had suffered no actual wrong due to Hulu's actions. Instead of the case being dismissed, Hulu will now have to face the plaintiffs in court, with the case potentially resulting in damages of at least $2,500 per violation in addition to punitive damages.
With 5M subscribers, Hulu Plus still trails Netflix
Hulu will pass the $1 billion mark in revenue for 2013, marking an increase of nearly one-third over its 2012 revenues. This according to a post last week on Hulu's official blog. Since 2010, the television and movie-streaming service's revenue has more than tripled, and revenues are up nearly $900 million since 2009. While the service now counts five million Hulu Plus subscribers as its base, it still trails rival Netflix by tens of millions.
We really meant to get this to you earlier but kept putting it off
The last days before Christmas are a special time of year, full of family gatherings and carolers for some, and panic racing thoughts for others. Those latter holiday sentiments, of course, are for those among us who neglected to get all of our shopping done. Maybe you managed to secure a flight back home at the last minute, or maybe you just decided to forgive Uncle Bobby for that incident on Thanksgiving. No matter the cause, you've probably got a few last-minute acquisitions to make, and the gift budget may have already bled into the rest of your budget. Have no fear, though, Electronista is here with the Last Minute Edition of our Holiday Gadget Gift Guide, so there's no need to grab those Starbucks gift cards in bulk quite yet, as there's still time to get folks the tech gifts they'll love.
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.
Hulu preparing to name new CEO
Hulu has reportedly been in discussions with Fox executive Mike Hopkins, with the aim of naming Hopkins as the streaming service's new chief executive. On Friday, reports emerged from Bloomberg that claimed the announcement of Hopkins' appointment is imminent. Fox is both a major broadcaster and one of the controlling parties of Hulu, so Hopkins' appointment could mean even closer ties to the broadcasters, as well as a possible resolution of the strained relationship between the media companies and the streaming service they created and control.
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.
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.
Hulu gains 144 BBC shows in multi-year, non-exclusive deal
Hulu has signed a deal with BBC Worldwide to bring 2,000 episodes from 144 different BBC shows. The multi-year deal will bring titles such as Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Luther to the streaming service, with hundreds being made available this week. The Wall Street Journal reports that this is not an exclusive deal, due to similar arrangements with Netflix and Amazon.
New role related to Apple's TV plans?
Former Hulu executive Pete Distad has confirmed a new job as VP of product marketing at Apple, reports note. Bloomberg first hinted at the recruitment in July, but the switch was only made official this week through a change in Distad's LinkedIn status. Before coming to Apple, Distad was Hulu's senior VP of marketing and distribution.
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.
Bidders in sale failed to provide high-enough offers for Hulu
Streaming media service Hulu will not be sold to another company, it has revealed. The Walt Disney Company, 21st Century Fox, and NBCUniversal, the owning companies of the service, have all decided to pull Hulu from potential sale, and instead will be providing another $750 million in investment to grow the service further.
Five bidders in the running to purchase the media streamer
Bids for the latest attempt to sell Hulu closed on Friday at 2PM PT, with no clear leader. Reportedly at the top of the bidding with very similar offers are DirecTV, The Chernin Group, and Guggenheim Digital Media. Two other bidders allegedly behind the top three are Time Warner Cable, and equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Beyond just undisclosed cash considerations, the conglomerate that currently own the digital video streaming service are evaluating content licensing provisions, which vary suitor to suitor.
New experience enhances content discoverability, fixes bugs
Hulu has implemented wholesale changes to the user interface for the iPad. Starting in version 3.0 of the app, the iPad editin boasts a new UI design similar to that of the web interface. Additionally, the update fixes a number of bugs with both the iPhone/iPod Touch versions as well as the iPad.
Web giant continues makeover by acquisitions
Yahoo has reportedly entered a bid to buy Internet television service Hulu, according to reports. The web giant submitted a bid for Hulu on Friday, sources tell AllThingsD, though the dollar figure for Yahoo's bid was unknown. Should Yahoo win the bidding process, Hulu would mark the second large acquisition the company has made since CEO Marissa Mayer came to the helm of the firm.
DirecTV, Time Warner Cable interested in streaming TV service
Four parties have allegedly placed bids to purchase streaming service Hulu, with the first round of bidding apparently due to end this week. Guggenheim Digital Media, DirecTV, and Time Warner Cable are said to be interested in the company, following a bid from former News Corp president Peter Chernin for a reported $500 million.
Status of talks remains unclear
Former News Corp president Peter Chernin has reportedly submitted a $500 million bid to buy Hulu, several unnamed sources have told Reuters. Aside from noting the value of the alleged offer, the report does not shed light on the seriousness of the buyout talks. The company has been wooing potential buyers for several years, aiming in 2011 to fetch $2 billion for the streaming TV service.
Streaming service yet to receive formal offer for sale
Hulu could come under new ownership, if rumors about its potential sale is true. News Corp and Disney are said to be considering selling the streaming service to one of a number of potential suitors, though they are also considering the option of buying each other out in order to take full control of the company.
Sources point to new video offering
Spotify is reportedly preparing to launch a streaming video service that may rival Netflix and other established players, unnamed sources have told Business Insider. The unconfirmed report suggests the company is already attempting to find partners that will help produce exclusive content, following a strategy already employed by Hulu and Netflix.
Makes ease-of-use upgrades
Hulu has launched a new version of its Apple TV app for Hulu Plus subscribers. The app uses a new interface, for example adding TV, Movies, Kids, and Latino content categories to the top navigation bar. Each category highlights both new content and any series a person already watches. Along similar lines, the app as a whole sports a new "Shows You Watch" tray, which makes it easier to return to commonly-watched material.
Renews exclusive programming from France, UK
Hulu has previewed three new shows that it will air in the summer as part of its original programming drive. The new shows, a pair of comedy series and a docu-series, are also joined by a number of new exclusive shows that will start in January, while existing Hulu-specific programming has also seen renewals.
Streaming services added days after US console launch
Nintendo has now expanded the streaming video options for the Wii U from the initial offering of Netflix. Both Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus have been included in the Wii U, just days after the console's US launch. Netflix, the natural competitor for both companies, has been included on the console since November 18th.
Medium, Numb3rs, other CBS shows in non-exclusive deal
CBS and Hulu revealed today a new multi-year agreement that will bring CBS' television content to the popular streaming service. CBS shows will now be available on Hulu Plus in a non-exclusive arrangement, but the broadcaster is said to be holding out on making its content available on the free version of Hulu.
US console gets video streaming, earlier launch
Nintendo has laid out its plans for the Wii U release in the US and Europe. Release dates and prices were discussed in both events, however the US and Canada will also have several applications for streaming video to the console, under the banner of "Nintendo TVii."
Apple TV support arrives year after service's Japanese debut
Hulu is now accessible via the Apple TV in Japan, according to an official announcement. The option doesn't require a firmware upgrade; instead, as with an equivalent update to US Apple TVs, Hulu should simply appear in the set-top's menus. People can try Hulu for a month before a paid subscription is needed.
Memo hints at management buyout, content changes
Content streaming site Hulu may be about to undergo significant changes over the next few months as an internal realignment looms that could see current CEO Jason Kilar departing. Variety has obtained an internal memo from the site detailing the possible reorganization within the streaming site. The coming changes could see not only the departure of Kilar, but also a significant weakening of the popular television portal.
Adds major service to Apple set-top
The Apple TV has been updated in the US with access to Hulu Plus, users note. Despite popping up a new icon on the set-top's homescreen, the change doesn't require a new firmware download. Access to Hulu Plus does, however, cost $10 a month after a free week-long trial expires.
iTunes, Hulu, Netflix traffic allegedly discriminated against
The Justice Department is allegedly in the midst of a large-scale antitrust investigation focusing on potentially anticompetitive practices by cable companies that compete with online video purveyors such as Apple's iTunes store, Hulu, or Netflix. Regulators are said to be attempting to determine if Comcast violated a net-neutrality agreement to not discriminate against competitors that send data through its Internet service to reach customers, though the broad probe is claimed to involve other cable companies.
Netgear NeoTV Pro gets Intel WiDi support, Netgear adds four new channels
Netgear has now followed up its NeoTV 200 media hub with a new NeoTV Pro version that most significantly adds support for Intel's WiDi tech. This lets compatible Intel desktops and notebooks wirelessly stream what's on their displays through the media hub to an HDTV. The box otherwise retains the same Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu, YouTube, and Pandora streaming of the original.
Apple marketshare drops to 32.3 percent
In 2011, Netflix surpassed Apple in terms of US online movie revenue, according to IHS. Netflix's share of the market jumped to 44 percent; by comparison, it had less than 1 percent in 2010. Apple controlled 60.8 percent of revenue in 2010, but even though its revenue has continued to grow, its marketshare has shrunk to just 32.3 percent.
Video player gets 're-engineered'
Video service Hulu has released a major update of Hulu Plus for iOS, v2.5. Most of the focus of the update is on iPad support, since it adds compatibility with the third-generation iPad's Retina display, and also enhances the native interface. Hulu has moreover improved AirPlay mirroring and HDMI output, which should also work when an iPad is in operating in split view mode. Users must have at least an iPad 2 or an iPhone 4S.
Hulu may shift wholesale to requiring TV service
Hulu may remove itself from contention as a pure Internet video service based on rumors overnight. The historically connected New York Post cited insiders who claimed the service would take the Fox authentication strategy, where customers must prove they have conventional TV access, and make it a broader policy. Fox's deal would see it soon talk to Comcast for a deal using the TV Everywhere imitative.
Hulu steps up original video content
Hulu used its turn at upfronts for TV content to reveal that it was adding four original shows beyond those teased earlier in the year. The strategy would be headlined by The Awesomes, a superhero comedy show due in 2013 that would draw on Saturday Night Live actors Seth Meyers and Michael Shoemaker. A nearer-term committed show, the 2012 basketball series We Got Next, would have The Game's Hale Rothstein and Kenya Barris along with The Office's Danny Leiner.
Hulu doesn't charge for incompletely watched ads
US streaming video service Hulu has just celebrated its own achievements by announcing that its paid Hulu Plus subscription service has reached the two million subscribers milestone this past winter, which is faster than any other US service, be it online or offline. It's also shared some news that's bound to make advertisers happy. It will not charge advertisers if viewers skip their ads, only billing them based on a 100 percent completion rate.
Netflix may spur FCC action on Comcast neutrality
A commentary by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings may have brought official FCC scrutiny on Comcast for its cap exemption of Xfinity TV on the Xbox 360. He argued that Comcast was violating net neutrality principles by giving its own service a 'free' pass while applying the cap to competing services, including not just his own Netflix but HBO Go and Hulu Plus as well. After being asked by the Wall Street Journal, the FCC said it "takes seriously" allegations of violations like these and was following what was going on.
Convergence Consulting estimates 2012 cutters too
Over one million pay TV customers stopped their subscriptions in the US last year, a Convergence Consulting Group research report (PDF) published this month found. The total number was 2.65 million since 2008, as users look to online streaming services such as Netflix. Researchers estimated the 2011 figure at 1.05 million.
New Hulu Plus app arrives on 7 Android tablets
Streaming TV show and movie provider Hulu on Thursday announced it has made its Hulu Plus service on seven new Android tablets. This includes the Acer Iconia Tab line, ASUS Transformer Prime and Eee Pad Transformer, LG G-Slate, Motorola Xoom, Motorola Xyboard 10.1, and Toshiba Thrive. The app (free, Google Play) will become available for more Android tablets in the future as well, Hulu added.
Nintendo 3DS gets automatic 3D music videos
Nintendo on Wednesday began giving 3DS owners a promised set of 3D music videos. Anyone who has the Nintendo Video app will start automatically pulling a set of videos that take advantage of the glasses-free display, such as "The Rifle's Spiral" by The Shins. B.O.B. and Wale have videos in the app today, while Skrillex and OK Go are among those in the near-term queue.
In-browser video screen enlarged by 55%
Hulu has revamped its web-based video portal in an attempt to improve the viewing experience. Users will now see a larger video screen when watching directly from the browser, as the player now covers 55 percent more area than the previous layout.
Turns smartphones into remotes for media players
Roku has released an app for Android devices (free, Android Market). With it, users can control one of the company's streaming media players with a smartphone instead of the remote that normally comes with the hub. Roku made a similar app available for iOS devices in December (free, App Store).
Sony Google TV update due Monday, closes root?
While it's currently possible to root Sony's Google TV hardware and load unofficial software onto it, an upcoming update may reverse this exploit, GTVHacker learned. The official, over-the-air security update may be arriving as soon as Monday, and no longer enable the recovery downgrade to be run. Users who root their hardware before this update, won't get it, however, and they can always go back to the stock firmware at a later date.
Comcast tries Internet VOD to fend off rivals
Comcast on Tuesday tried its hand at mitigating the impact of Internet video on traditional TV by launching Streampix. The service will include a mix of movies and TV shows across its own NBCUniversal as well as Disney, Sony, and Warner Bros. Access won't be confined to Comcast's own network and should include mobile and computer access to some content that would normally go through Comcast's traditional video on demand.
Nintendo Wii U may become general-purpose
Nintendo might transform the Wii U into a full media hub if mentions of early discussions are accurate. AdWeek had heard this weekend that Nintendo had been in talks with "several major media companies," including music and sports providers in backroom CES chats last month. The console designer was even said considering a cable TV deal with Comcast, similar to the Xbox 360's live TV.