Samsung today followed up its HDTV announcements with word of its MediaLive add-on. The attachment requires one of Samsung's sets made in 2008 with CEC automation support but mostly eliminates the need for a media hub such as the Apple TV or the Roku Netflix Player; a compatible TV has direct access to movies from MovieLink and Vongo as well as shorter-form content from Fox Sports and Showtime TV. Streaming Internet radio stations from XM are also available.
Akimbo Shuts Down
Internet video-on-demand provider Akimbo today has been confirmed by NewTeeVee as having shut its doors. The company says it has so far been unable to raise enough cash to remain profitable for its video delivery services and has decided to drop all but a bare minimum of staff while it seeks a mergers and acquisitions partner to buy up the company's assets. All video services run by the company at present, including Homezone and MavTV, are still running, according to checks.
CCity Evading BBuster
Circuit City today sent mixed responses to Blockbuster's proposed takeover of the company. The suffering electronics retailer now says it will let both Blockbuster and its backing investor Carl Icahn conduct due diligence, effectively letting the movie rental house explore Circuit City's finances to judge whether the buyout would be practical. Circuit City warns, however, that the agreement isn't a sign that it has finished investigating Blockbuster's bid and that the company believes it can succeed without help from an outside buyer.
Sony PS3 Videos in Summer
Sony's anticipated PlayStation 3 video store could be available as soon as this summer and with wide support, sources tell the LA Times. The console maker is allegedly in talks with multiple major studios and would open the store with a mixture of full-length movies and TV shows. No information has yet been supplied as to which companies are likely to be onboard or whether Sony will offer any videos in HD.
Blockbuster Apple TV Rival
Blockbuster today is subject to rumors which claim the movie rental house is developing its own networked media hub. Similar to stand-alone devices such as the Apple TV or the Vudu, the unnamed project would let users watch Internet-streamed movies on TV and would take advantage of Blockbuster's union with Movielink to supply the content, with an unnamed electronics maker assembling the hardware itself. The device could be announced as early this month, though it may not be available until at least May.
iTunes rentals beyond Fox?
Apple's unconfirmed video rental service will debut with several companies onboard, not just one, according to the New York Times. The Financial Times recently uncovered a deal with 20th Century Fox, which should see new releases come straight to iTunes, and iPod-sized, FairPlay-encoded files carried on DVD titles. The New York Times now cites "several people familiar with the negotiations" as saying that when Fox appears on stage at Macworld January 14th, it will be joined by several other companies whose names are not being leaked.
Blockbuster Mobile Video
Blockbuster Video is in the midst of developing a service that would let users bring video downloads more easily to cellphones, company chief James Keys says. The executive notes that his video rental firm is in talks with "virtually all" cellphone manufacturers as well as some software producers to create the service. Its exact function is not described but is believed to involve converting videos downloaded from an online store to a portable form. The decision came as the result of getting help in converting movies to play on a BlackBerry, Keyes says.