West Wing, Fringe to come to Amazon Prime
Online retailer Amazon announced today an agreement that will see Warner Bros. content appearing on Amazon's Kindle Fire media tablet. The deal will bring shows like Fringe and The West Wing to Amazon's Prime Instant Video catalog. The deal represents another step by Amazon to strengthen its content library as the retailer is thought to be preparing to a successor to its Kindle Fire tablet this summer.
Google gets MGM video rentals
Google on Monday scored a key deal with MGM to get some of its movies on Google Play Movies and YouTube. About 600 of the studio's 4,100 titles will be available, the majority of which are back catalog titles rather than cutting edge content. The deal still means having access to titles such as the original The Terminator and Rocky that had previously been absent.
Sony intros Qriocity streaming service to devices
Sony will soon bring its Qriocity service to the PSP and connected Bravia TVs, Blu-ray players and home theater systems in the UK. In the PSP, this means access to Sony's Music Unlimited library, while the other devices will have access to streaming access. The PSP requires a software update, v6.35 that's coming soon. This will bring with it a new icon under the XMB interface's Music category.
Epix HD Beta
Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount today launched an invitation beta for Epix, a hybrid cable and online movie streaming service meant to supplement rather than replace regular pay-per-view TV. Anyone with a cable package that includes the channel will get access to the studios' movies weeks ahead of their regular DVD releases for "free" but will simultaneously have access to streaming, 720p versions of those same movies for their computers. The approach is ad-free, even online, and automatically scales the bitrate up or down (to as low as 500Kbps) depending on the quality of the connection.
YouTube HD Videos
YouTube has quietly started regularly putting up content in HD. Searching for videos marked "HD" turns up content that plays natively at 720p, well above the sub-SD resolution clips that make up most YouTube clips. Many of these are also available in the basic resolution but can be upgraded at the YouTube website with a "watch in HD" link that enables the sharper footage, though embedded clips continue to play at the original resolution.
MGM on YouTube
Movie studio MGM and YouTube today are set to announce a deal bringing the former's movies and TV shows to the web video portal. The deal is currently an experiment and will see MGM launch a handful of full-length and primarily action-oriented movies, such as Bulletproof Monk, as well as a limited range of TV that will initially be limited just to episodes of the original American Gladiators.
Movies at iTunes UK, Can.
A select number of movies should soon be available for sale from the UK and Canadian iTunes Stores, writes The Times. The British newspaper cites studio sources, who claim that Apple has signed new agreements with four major studios: Fox, Disney, Warner Bros. and Paramount. Lionsgate and MGM are also expected to join in the deal, but issues appear to remain with Sony and Universal. Crucially, people should be able to both buy and rent films from iTunes, at prices comparable to the countries' DVD and video-on-demand options.
Apple stores in casinos
Apple's stores are surfacing internationally, both as stand-alone stores, and as mall boutiques, but new reports suggest that casino resorts are also on the list for Apple store destinations. According to ifoAppleStore, two new locations are in progress, one in the Forum Shops at Ceaser's Palace in Nevada, and the other at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods, Connecticut. Las Vegas residents have spotted a large barricade, titled with the words "Apple, Coming Summer 2008" in large print in the far west side of the Strip.
Fox, Disney iTunes rentals
More details of the highly-anticipated iTunes rental service have been leaked, according to Variety. The movie trade magazine cites "studio sources" as saying that Fox and Disney are indeed confirmed as partners, and will make some sort of appearance during the January 14th Macworld keynote by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The two may also be joined by other distributors, such as MGM, Lionsgate and Paramount, which like Fox and Disney already sell permanent downloads on the iTunes Store.