Live streaming locked to authenticated subscription
In addition to an updated iTunes Festival app, the Apple TV has also been refreshed with Showtime Anytime, an app for the Showtime TV network. While some episodes are available on-demand for free, full use of the app -- including live streaming -- requires authenticating a subscription with compatible providers. That list includes AT&T U-Verse, Bright House, Comcast Xfinity, Cox, DirecTV, Optimum, Time Warner, Verizon FiOS, and a number of regional firms.
Users tuning in during primetime hours
ABC News has published new statistics showing that its Apple TV app is enjoying early popularity. During its first 30 days, the app is said to have registered about 50 percent more live video access than ABC's desktop and mobile services combined. Moreover, viewers are said to spend 65 percent more time per session on the Apple TV than on ABC's website.
Phone's marketing campaign winds down
Over the weekend, Apple began airing a new TV ad (below) for the iPhone 5s, dubbed "Dreams." The spot continues Apple's recent theme of highlighting different real-world uses for its products, although in this case the uses are even more diverse. In one segment, for example, students are shown capturing weather data, while in others a fire department responds to emergency calls, and a veterinarian examines a horse.
Cable deals, Comcast/Time Warner merger interfering
Apple is indeed working on a new set-top that will let people will watch both live and on-demand TV, but won't have it ready until sometime in 2015, a source indicates. Engineers at the company are allegedly being told not to expect to ship the device this year, and working along that timeline. The issue is claimed to be cable companies "dragging their heels," and the possible Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, which together are interfering not only with the device but a matching TV service.
Bulk of content locked to cable subscriptions
Apple has added a pair of new app channels to the Apple TV, CNBC and Fox Now. The former is NBC's business network, while the latter offers access to shows like Glee, Family Guy, and The Following. In both cases, viewers must have a cable subscription to unlock the full range of content. Otherwise, people are limited to a much smaller selection of clips and episodes.
Reduces obstacles to cord-cutting
Satellite TV provider DirecTV has announced its first digital-only subscription plans for NFL Sunday Ticket. Subscribers will have to wait until September 7th for the first games, and will only be able to watch out-of-market events, but will have access to them on phones, tablets, computers, and/or consoles without also having to have a satellite or cable package. Costs begin at $200 for a subscription covering phones, tablets, and computers. A separate console-only plan is $240; the $330 Max plan covers all devices, and further includes access to the Red Zone channel and DirecTV's new Fantasy Zone.
FCC approves rules to cover clips under Communications of Video Accessibility Act
Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously to extend the provisions of 2012 closed captioning rules to further cover Internet video clips from television shows. The new rules expand provisions of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 in the process. As a method of ensuring equal access to all programming forms to parties that suffer from hearing impairment, the FCC opted to require all Internet TV show clips to have captions in place, starting in January 2016.
Highlights disparities in battery life
Samsung has released a new TV ad (below) for the Galaxy S5, comparing it against the iPhone in terms of battery life. iPhone owners are depicted as "wall huggers," forced to constantly hunt for outlets at spaces like airports due to only being able to go a few hours on a charge. On the other side of the coin the ad touts the S5's removable battery, and its "ultra power saving mode," which disables non-essential functions and can allow the phone to run for a full day with just 10 percent power left.
Limited to watching clips, special feeds
(Updated with channels from PBS, AOl, Willow) Apple has silently updated the Apple TV with a new app channel, ABC News. It doesn't require authentication with a cable provider, but live content is limited to feeds already available on abcnews.com. The bulk of the app is dedicated to clips, broken up into categories like Top Stories, and topics such as the 2014 World Cup or the ISIS takeover of Iraq.
Streaming television broadcaster Aereo adds Chromecast support to Android app
Aereo, a television streaming service, has added Google Chromecast support to its Android app. Subcribers can now stream live broadcast television to their TV by tap the "cast" icon within the app. A beta release, any issues found can be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the app's feedback link. Bug fixes and performance improvements are also included in Aereo's Android app update. Though it requires a subscription to run, the Android version of Aereo can be downloaded through Google Play at no charge.
Video discovery service to shut down as team moves to Samsung project
Shelby TV announced today that it has been acquired by Samsung. The company has revealed that even though it would remain a separate entity, it will be closing the doors on its service later in the year. Word of the acquisition confirms speculation on the acqui-hire of the team, which was first reported late last month.
Separation may not be acrimonious: Apple ad team made up of TBWA alumni
According to a new report, Apple is moving its TV ad spot creation in-house, using employees that are either liasoned or poached from its long-time ad agency. Members or former members of TBWA Chiat Day are said to be part of the new internal Apple TV commercial team, and Bloomberg is reporting that many of the more recent Apple commercials, including the "Your Verse" and the latest "More Powerful" ads, are the work of Apple's own team rather than its ad agency.
Claims best products in 25 years due in 2014
Speaking yesterday at the Code Conference, Apple's senior VP of Internet software and services, Eddy Cue -- joined by Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine -- offered an explanation of the company's $3 billion buyout of Beats, and also discussed Apple's upcoming product pipeline. He noted that a deal for Beats and/or the people behind it has been in development for a decade, and that together the two companies should be able to speed up products that are being kept secret.
Full special to be aired Tuesday night
CNBC has ranked Apple co-founder Steve Jobs #1 in First 25: Rebels, Icons & Leaders, a new list of people who have "had the greatest influence, sparked the biggest changes and created the most disruption in business over the past quarter century." In talking about Jobs, the network says he took first place "for both transforming the way we think about technology and redefining the style in which we live." It adds that "More than any other member of our group of extraordinary entrepreneurs and executives - all outstanding leaders - his vision spurred changes far beyond his industry and put an indelible stamp on the wider culture."
Follows shortly after live streaming support on iPad
Via a silent update, Apple has added three channels from A&E Networks to the Apple TV. These include A&E itself, as well as History and Lifetime. In general the apps simply provide access to episodes from their respective TV shows, but Lifetime also includes its signature original movies. As with Apple's other recent channel adds, a cable subscription and carrier that supports the addition is required.
Feature tethered to cable providers
A&E has updated two of its iOS apps -- History, and the network's namesake -- with support for watching live TV. Previously users were able to watch clips and full episodes, but only after the fact. Like some other TV apps, gaining access to the live streams requires a cable subscription.
Tries to bounce back from successful Samsung efforts
The gap between Apple and Samsung's US advertising budgets narrowed during 2013, according to new data from Kantar Media. Apple's budget is said to have increased 5 percent year-over-year to $351 million. Samsung, conversely, actually cut its spending by 10 percent, but still ended spending more with a budget of $363 million. Most of Apple's cash is said to have gone toward TV commercials.
Report comes second-hand from analysts, claims 'unnamed' Korean maker
A report in the Korea Herald has revived talk that Apple may be preparing either its own HDTV set or a partnership with a known brand to bring new technology to a future television product. The newspaper quotes analysts from IBK Securities as saying that Apple has requested sample 65-inch OLED display panels from an unnamed Korean manufacturer for testing. Given traditionally low yields of large OLED displays and their high price, the report seems speculative.
Exposure cannot overcome Flappy Bird phenomenon, but it helps
A new study by mobile analytics firm App Annie has quantified the idea that app developers can increase their products' visibility in the App Store and gain players through the use of TV commercials -- particularly for top-quality "freemium" titles. While the practice of developers creating their own TV ads is common in some countries like Japan, it is a fairly new phenomenon in the North America. The App Annie study showed a correlation between TV exposure and a gain in App Store rankings.
Early-stage talks could see Apple-supplied device with higher-quality connection
Apple is reportedly in discussions with Comcast, which could see the two collaborate on a streaming TV service. Sources for the Wall Street Journal claim the service would involve Apple supplying the set-top box to customers, with Comcast giving the device preferential treatment in the bandwidth management of the connection itself.
Currently missing live content
Apple has introduced another app channel to the Apple TV, ACC Sports. The app is a collaboration between the Atlantic Coast Conference and Campus Insiders, covering all of the schools participating in the ACC, as well as a smaller selection of events from other conferences. The app doesn't offer any live content however, only highlights and miscellaneous pre-recorded features.
Cross-device access costs $10 per month
As predicted, access to the WWE Network has launched on the Apple TV, as well as other iOS devices via the WWE app. Subscription signups are handled through iTunes or the WWE website, and cost $10 per month plus tax. Buyers can purchase time in six-month blocks for $60.
Official Facebook comment deleted
A World Wrestling Entertainment app should appear on the Apple TV alongside the launch of the WWE Network on February 24, according to a now-deleted Facebook post (below) by a WWE PR representative. Aside from the launch date, the representative indicated that people will need a $10-per-month subscription to WWEN to access any of the app's content.
May back rumors of impending refresh
(Updated with possible new hardware features) The Apple TV now has its own separate section at Apple's online store, checks show. Until today, the Apple TV had been categorized as an iPod-related accessory. The new section in fact lists its own set of accessories, including HDMI cables and AirPort routers.
Spots based on recent 'Your Verse' commercial
Apple has begun airing two new TV ads for the iPad Air. Dubbed "Light Verse" and "Sound Verse," the spots are shortened, 30-second versions of "Your Verse," a 90-second ad that premiered last week. Intermixed with the earlier ad's content is some original imagery.
Project said to be in early stages
Amazon is reportedly working on a new video service that will mimic traditional cable and broadcast models by focusing on live streaming programming, unnamed sources have told The Wall Street Journal. The project is said to be in early stages, though the sources claim the company has already reached out to at least three major content owners to begin discussions for potential licensing deals.
Finding out just how well webOS works on the big screen
When we first took a look at LG's new webOS-powered smart television interface, we promised to circle back and spend more time with the rejuvenated and repurposed platform. Friday being the last day of the annual Consumer Electronics Show – as well as the least crowded day – we thought that the perfect time to get a closer look at the erstwhile Palm platform turned LG engine. What we found upon stopping by LG's booth was actually even more impressive than we'd initially expected.
Aquos lineup gets updated for 2014
During its CES keynote, Sharp announced the next developments for its range of large screen Aquos TVs. Throughout 2014, Sharp will be updating its entire line with the introduction of new models in its Aquos HD, Quattron, and 4K lineups. Furthermore, a new Quattron+ model, which has been designed to bridge the gap between Full HD and 4K, was also announced alongside a new SmartCentral TV platform.
LG revives webOS for use on smart televisions
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, LG finally showed off what it has been doing with the webOS operating system it bought from HP last year, revealing that the platform will power more than 70 percent of the televisions the manufacturer releases in 2014. LG is hoping that the resurrected operating system will fare better than it did on Palm's ill-fated hardware, and Electronista took a look at the new screen to get a feel for just how well that works out.
Reflects growing importance of digital viewing
CBS will stream its full coverage of NFL playoff games to computers and tablets beginning this year, according to an announcement. That entails AFC playoff games -- including one wildcard -- and any divisional and championship rounds. People will generally have to watch through CBSSports.com, as the network hasn't said anything about app support.
Completes holiday theming throughout site
Apple has posted its holiday-themed new commercial, "Misunderstood," to the front page of its website, replacing the tribute to Nelson Mandela that had graced its landing page. The site shows off both the TV ad and the original "Harris Family Holiday" video which the company has since verified was shot entirely on an iPhone 5s. Apple has received nearly universal acclaim for the touching holiday ad, and the change completes the company's site-wide redecoration for the holiday season.
Based on actual home video shot on iPhone 5s
Apple has debuted a 90-second holiday TV ad for its iPhone 5s, called "Misunderstood," that is based on a family holiday home video shot on an iPhone 5s. While the company didn't say if the original home video was actually created within the family, the commercial version introduces a backstory of a teenage member of the "Harris family" who makes a thoughtful Christmas present by creating a movie on his iPhone.
Pair talk (Product) RED designs
Apple's lead designer, Jonathan Ive, is interviewed along with fellow designer Marc Newson on the latest episode of the Charlie Rose Show on PBS. The show aired last night in some parts of the US, but is only scheduled for 11PM Eastern tonight in others. It has also yet to become available on the Charlie Rose website, although Bloomberg has a short clip (below).
LG firmware will fix TV fault over data transmission without user permission
LG has admitted that its smart televisions are sending data related to TV shows and content watched to its servers. The electronics producer will be releasing a future firmware update for the televisions, one that fixes an issue where user data got fed back to LG, even if the television's owner did not allow it in the device's options menu.
Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV negating need for full-scale TV set
Apple is no longer planning to ship a dedicated TV set in 2014, claims NPD DisplaySearch. The firm quotes sources in the TV supply chain industry, who add that one of the main obstacles is the company's inability to secure deals for proprietary content. While Apple is potentially an attractive partner, earlier reports have suggested that TV networks are reluctant to risk the lucrative deals they have with cable and satellite companies, which typically bundle channels into packages.
Cloud-based DVR service to be available in Denver metro area November 4
Aereo, a cloud-based DVR company, has announced its service expansion to the Denver metropolitan area, launching in the region November 4, 2013. A monthly membership permits users to access 'over-the-air' television channels via an Internet connection, from local Aereo antenna and remote DVR centres. Users control both the antenna and remote DVR using a web browser or mobile device, and can view, record, pause, fast-forward and rewind. The Denver metro area service expansion includes sixty-seven counties across Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming. Aereo membership pricing starts at $8 per month, which includes 20 hours of DVR storage, and $12 per month for 60 hours of storage. Consumers receive their first month of access for free.
Cloud-based DVR accesses free over-the-air TV channels via supported devices
Aereo, a cloud-based DVR company, has announced the upcoming availability of its television services in the Detroit metropolitan area, beginning October 28, 2013. Using web browsers, iOS devices, Android devices, and more, Aereo allows users to access 'over-the-air' television channels via an internet connection, that could once be attained with 'bunny ear' antenna over top of one's TV. Aereo's antenna are located in data centres for serviceable areas, which also include a remote DVR. Users control both with an Internet-connected device, and can view, record, pause, fast-forward and rewind as one would with a cable or satellite DVR.
Industry minister calls for changes
The Canadian government is reportedly preparing to establish new regulations that will force cable TV companies to offer unbundled channels. Several cable services already offer "a la carte" pricing for individual channels, however comments from the country's industry minister, James Moore, suggests the government will mandate the service option as part of a broader consumer-protection strategy.
Now available worldwide, presumed lost for over 45 years
Fans of Doctor Who are celebrating the recovery of nine previously-thought-lost 1960s episodes of the classic sci-fi fantasy show, with the recovered material already exclusively available on iTunes less than a day after the find was publicly announced. This is the first time that newly-rediscovered episodes of the pioneering BBC space drama have been made available in digital form before being (re) broadcast or made available on DVD, and comes just over a month ahead of the show's 50th birthday.
Could ship in October alongside new iPads
Apple is preparing a new version of its Apple TV set-top, which could ship as soon as October, according to well-known tech commentator M.G. Siegler. The claim is backed up by 9to5Mac, which says that while it's not sure when the device will arrive, sources indicate that the hardware is at least in development. The site adds that the unit should keep the same overall form factor, and that Apple is separately continuing work on a full-scale TV, as well as possible Kinect-style motion controls for TV products.
Likely to be dismissed due to content owners determining 'seasons'
Noam Lazebnik of Ohio has filed suit against Apple, saying that the company should not have advertised a "season pass" to the fifth season of the hit television series Breaking Bad that does not contain what he considers to be the full season. Apple is one of several resellers who offer streaming downloads of the show, most of which have offered the currently-airing second set of eight episodes as "Season 6," apparently as set by the show's producer, American Movie Classics (AMC). The case, should it get to trial, is likely to center on which company determined the "seasons."
Case viewed as important in Aereo battle
Television broadcasters have won a legal battle against FilmOn X, a company that provides online streams of broadcast TV content. Judge Rosemary Collyer of the US District Court for DC has ordered the company to shutter its services, noting that broadcasters will likely prevail in arguing that the service violates copyright laws.
Issue unreported on Apple's system status page
A number of users are reporting that access to TV shows has vanished on the Apple TV and in the Mac and Windows versions of iTunes. On the Apple TV, the app for TV shows has disappeared; in iTunes, trying to click on the "TV Shows" tab in the iTunes Store may boot users back to the storefront's homepage. Apple's system status page shows no sign of the problem.
Alcatel working on successor to One Touch Idol X claims rumor
Alcatel is rumored to be working on a successor to the One Touch Idol X, shortly after its launch. The TCL N3, likely called the One Touch N3 outside of its native China, is shown in a render leaked by Chinese site MTKsj.com to have a 5.7-inch 1080p display with minimal bezel. Internal specifications and a projected release date were not suggested in the rumor.
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.
Could include pay TV service
Apple is adopting a new strategy towards getting content for its TV set, sources say. For years the company has tried talking to cable companies, but made little progress. Now though the company is allegedly latching onto an app-based strategy, and talking directly to content providers. Some providers already have apps on the Apple TV set-top box -- namely HBO and Disney's ESPN -- but Apple is also said to be negotiating with companies like Viacom, which owns networks like Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and MTV.
Product would allegedly ship in first half of 2014
Officials from Apple met with peers at Corning, Foxconn, and G-Tech Optoelectronics in the US about two weeks ago to talk about the production of a TV set, according to sources for Taiwan's Economic Daily News. Foxconn is reportedly asking Corning to share some data about Gorilla Glass with G-Tech, so that the latter can do surface treatments needed to produce the set. G-Tech is relatively unknown in the West, but was once rumored to be behind the anti-reflection glass for the 2012 iMac.
New title replaces earlier apps
TV network Syfy has launched Syfy Now, a new iOS app. The title replaces two earlier apps with a redesigned interface formatted for both iPhones and iPads. The main addition however is support for watching complete episodes, instead of just clips and behind-the-scenes promotional videos. Episodes are normally only available the day after broadcast, though, with access authentication from a TV provider.
Could include 'some surprises'
Apple is preparing "some sort of television product" that could be arriving as soon as this November, according to M.G. Siegler. The venture capitalist and former tech industry reporter notes that it's not necessarily a long-rumored TV set, but says he has refrained from writing about it because of uncertainty about what the product is. The method of interaction may be a key selling point, though. "People have talked about voice, but I think that's out the window and there might be some new way to interact with whatever this thing is," he comments.
Company had comprehensive database of available TV content
Matcha.tv -- a startup "second screen for TV' service that offered comprehensive cable and online video service listings, social channels for managing and talking about TV watching and other features -- has been bought by Apple, reports claim. The promising service and matching iOS app, which routinely featured in the top charts for entertainment apps, shut down quickly and mysteriously at the end of May. Users could use Matcha to discover content on digital, streaming and cable services, rate shows and get recommendations based on what they enjoyed.