Fox' Digital HD movies coming to iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, Xbox Live, more
Google was one of many on Tuesday to reveal that it has signed a new deal with Twentieth Century Fox to bring over 600 titles to Google Play and YouTube. Dubbed Digital HD and available on the premium services, the shows and movies will be available to rent or buy, with many in high-definition. The campaign is highlighted by Fox's Prometheus, which can be purchased on Tuesday in HD for just under $15, a full three weeks before it comes out on Blu-ray, DVD, and video-on-demand services.
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.
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.
Embedded Intel CPU features allow secure streaming
CinemaNow is now offering 1080p HD movies for rental and purchase with the help of Intel. CinemaNow has added several hundred HD titles to their catalog. Previously, the division of Best Buy had only offered standard-definition media.
WD TV Live carries Spotify Music and more
Western Digital on Tuesday brought out its next-generation WD TV Live media box and companion WD TV Live Hub. The new version has a revamped, tray-based interface and now has Spotify music. Listeners with a Spotify Premium account can stream at the full 320Kbps with support for making playlists, sharing, and getting access to others' content through profiles and the song inbox.
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.
Sharp to ship 80-inch Smart TV in October
Sharp's has just revealed the 80-inch LC-80LE632U, which it claims is the largest LED-lit LCD TV commercially available. It sports a 1080p resolution and is labeled as a Smart TV with both Wi-Fi as well as access to apps such as Netflix, CinemaNow and Vudu. Sharp is quick to point out the TV has more than double the screen area of a 55-inch TV.
Sharp Elite TVs pack intelligent contrast, refresh
Sharp took advantage of its rights to Pioneer's Elite name by launching its own range of Elite TVs. Now using LCDs, the 60-inch Pro-60X5FD and 70-inch Pro-70X5FD both have a unique scanning backlight effect that goes beyond 240Hz; the company claims an equivalent to about 720Hz. Both have an Intelligent Variable Contrast system that purportedly goes beyond usual dynamic contrast to tune the brightness and the backlight for maximum effect.
Rovi claims Hulu interface copies patented tech
Rovi on Friday sued Hulu over claims the Internet streaming site copied its technology. The complaint alleges that Hulu's interface for navigating shows copies multiple patents Rovi has for electronic program guides like those seen on a cable or satellite set-top box. The complaint wants tripled damages that would include back pay for the earlier violations.
Insignia TiVo TVs get leaked release schedule
Insignia's once-vaporware TiVo-integrated TVs have shown up again in a leak on Friday. Now called the cTV, the sets would offer every non-DVR feature of a TiVo, ranging from CinemaNow and Netflix video to Napster and Pandora music. Materials obtained by Zatz Not Funny suggested TiVo would instead be used as a smart TV interface to find Internet content without Insignia, most often known as Best Buy's in-house brand, having to invest in the work.
Sharp ships first of four 70-inch LCD HDTVs
Sharp this week has showed off the largest LCD HDTV on the market with the 70-inch LC-70LE732U. The company was quick to point out the set is 62 percent larger than 55-inch TVs, and it offers the company's signature Quattron four-color pixels with yellow to improve some scenes. It centers on a 120Hz, LED-backlit panel with a native 1080p output.
Sharp announces four new Aquos Quattron HDTVs
Sharp has added a new range to its Aquos Quattron HDTVs with the LE830. It includes 60-, 52-, 46- and 40-inch models, each with integrated Wi-Fi and access to CinemaNow, Netflix and Vudu services. All are also DLNA certified for streaming content from home networks.
Panasonic prices, dates 2011 HDTVs, home theaters
Panasonic has revealed prices for its range of 2011 HDTVs and home theater systems. At the same time, it has added two LCD LED TVs with the 37-inch TC-L37DT30 and 32-inch TC-L32DT30. Either has a 240Hz IPS AlphaLED panel and the VIERA Connect feature that brings with it access to Netflix, Amazon VOD, CinemaNow, Hulu Plus, Napster, Pandora, Facebook, Gameloft and access to sports sites MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS, among others. They are also DLNA compatible for local media sharing.
TV supports Netflix, CinemaNow
LG has formally introduced its latest flagship television, the LW9500 'Smart TV' series, which will be on display this week at CES. The new offerings provide access to a variety of Internet features, including Netflix, CinemaNow, educational courses, and games. Users can also wirelessly stream content from their computers or other compatible devices.
Sonic acquires DivX to improve Roxio
Sonic today acquired video codec maker DivX for $3.75 per share, or the equivalent of $323 million. The deal gives the owner of Roxio one of the more popular video formats and are intended to give Sonic a better means of providing video over the Internet, especially for home electronics. Many Blu-ray and DVD players, TVs, and set-top boxes already support DivX videos, and DivX is already using copy protection approved by movie studios, Sonic said.
Best Buy's CinemaNow goes live
Best Buy today officially relaunched CinemaNow as its own service. The site provides the same movie and TV show downloads and streaming as before but will be the official service of choice for all of its devices. Besides reaching most new LG Blu-ray players and home theaters, it should also be a staple feature later this year on the retailer's in-house Insignia label as well as other companies' hardware.
First 3D Blu-ray player from LG shows on Amazon
LG has launched its first 3D Blu-ray player, the BX580, which is already available for pre-order on Amazon. The player has a Wi-Fi connection, HDMI 1.4 with 3D Output and will upscale DVDs. It has a significant online presence with support for DLNA networking as well as CinemaNow, Netflix, Vudu, YouTube and other online services
Best Buy promises Blue Sky video downloads
Electronics retailer giant Best Buy announced on its Twitter page that it will offer a video-on-demand service dubbed Blue Sky for its Reward Zone Premium Silver members. Unlike a similar promised service that was announced last year, this one will be offered to the store chain's Reward Zone Premium Silver members. These members will be able to rent one movie every month.
Volcano streams video to smartphones
Monsoon at CES debuted Volcano, an all-in-one home video convergence device. The system combines major features of TiVo, Slingbox/HAVA, and Roku internet video into one package, and supports video streaming and recording to smartphones. Using 3G or Wi-Fi connections, owners can schedule and record TV channels remotely from their mobile phone to the system's hard drive, which can be simultaneously viewed on the smartphone or transferred and stored for later use.
v.Clone creates bootable PC image
Iomega has unveiled several new products, the focus being on the the ScreenPlay Director HD ($250) and the ScreenPlay TV Link Director ($130). Both units allow streaming 1080p video to a TV, in formats including AVCHD, DivX, H.264, WMV and MKV; CinemaNow and YouTube videos are also supported, along with DVD images. Photos can be streamed from Flickr, and some other options include Shoutcast radio, RSS feeds and podcasts. The Director HD differs only in including a 1TB hard drive, but is now up for pre-order.
Update to be formally unveiled at CES
Sonic Solutions is set to introduce an update to its CinemaNow platform. Version 2.0 features a new storefront with contextual links that allow users to explore content related to a movie's studio, director, or actors. The interface will also provide recommendations for other movies, along with previews and trailers for upcoming titles.
Netgear starter network AV hub reviewed
Netgear has made a few forays into the home entertainment market over the past few years with various networked media hubs. The Entertainer Live is Netgear’s budget offering , with an asking price of only $150. But unlike other high-end media extenders that include hundreds of gigabytes of storage, the Entertainer Live only streams data from networked sources, the Internet, or your own source. We'll discover in our full DE Live! review if this seemingly simple device hits a budgeting and feature set sweet spot.
Sony frees CinemaNow from Windows Media
Sonic has launched a pair of initiatives to expand CinemaNow past its current platform. Starting Thursday, the company will make available DivX versions (link not yet active) of movie downloads. The gesture will let any computer that recognizes protected DivX play the service's videos, such as third-party hardware like LG and Samsung devices, game consoles (most likely the PS3 and Xbox 360) and phones.
Best Buy deal to give online movies as bonus
Best Buy today struck a deal with Roxio to create a unique online and DVD hybrid movie service for the big-box retailer. The unnamed project hopes to give users buy once, play anywhere privileges: those who buy a DVD in-store will then have access to a CinemaNow-based portal for watching movies both on computers as well as on smartphones and Internet-aware Blu-ray players. Many of the movies will be new releases instead of reprints or old titles.
Netgear Digital Entertainer Live
Netgear is adding to its line of set-top boxes with a low-end device that supports 720p HD but lacks a hard drive and built-in wireless. The Digital Entertainer Live relies mostly on its Ethernet-based online access and has built-in support for YouTube, pay-per-view movies from CinemaNow and live internet TV through VuNow. Resembling one of Netgear's internet routers, the small device has both the 100Mbps network link as well as two USB ports for external storage, one HDMI output for digital and one RCA for analog sources. An optional USB adapter brings 802.11n Wi-Fi for those that want it later.
Film Fresh DivX Movies
Young movie store Film Fresh today launched itself as the first US-based movie store to provide downloads from larger studios in DivX form. Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony and Warner have all agreed to include both recent and classic titles on the store and as a result have created one of the first few truly cross-platform movie services. Although the videos are still copy-protected, the choice of DivX lets them play on Macs as well as any other device with an official DivX certification, including Blu-ray and DVD players, consoles like the PS3, and even the TVs themselves.
Sonic, Zip movie downloads
Canadian rent-by-mail DVD service Zip.ca said today that it's in talks with Sonic Solutions, the owner of the Roxio CinemaNow movie download service, to bring the first large-scale movie download service in Canada. The partnership will allow PC and portable multimedia device users to download TV shows and movies, making it somewhat akin to the streaming feature Netflix offers its US customers; it's not clear if Zip would shadow this format.
Wii to get CinemaNow
Sonic Solutions, the company behind Roxio, on Thursday announced its streaming movie service CinemaNow will be made available for the Nintendo Wii. Sonic will partner with Fujisoft to bring the former's content to the game console via the latter's video-on-demand Everyone's Theater Wii service. While the announcement only covers Japan, its successful integration potentially leads to the service arriving in other countries as well. CinemaNow offers more than 1,500 streaming movies, short films, and concerts to buy or rent.
Best Buy Movie Store Rumor
If accurate, a rumor floated today will see Best Buy leap into its own online movie store. Entertainment magazine Variety claims to have heard from movie studio executives that the retailer is talking to CinemaNow and "other online movie services" to establish a link between itself and one of these services. While what's involved is uncertain, Best Buy is likely to arrange for a cut of the revenues for each movie viewed and may promote hardware with that movie service's features built-in.
Blockbuster may Exit
Blockbuster yesterday submitted a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing that reveals the company doesn't believe it can continue business. The video store is no longer certain that it can remain a "going concern" and may have to stop operations and close its doors if its financial situation doesn't improve in the near future. The warning comes in spite of a $250 million refinancing loan having been put in place just last week; Blockbuster now says there is "no assurance" that it can meet the requirements of the transaction before it's completed on May 11th.
Blockbuster, Sonic team up
Blockbuster and Sonic Solutions on Wednesday announced a multi-year agreement that will have the former deliver its library of digital movies and shows to home and portable electronics devices with Internet connectivity and Sonic software. The companies will also merge their digital libraries – including Sonic's recently purchased CinemaNow – and offer them under the Blockbuster brand, to create one of the largest VOD services on the market.
LG NetCast Blu-ray players
At its CES press conference on Wednesday, LG unveiled a pair of Blu-ray players with a world-first NetCast entertaintment Access, featuring access to streaming HD movies from Netflix, the CinemaNow library and YouTube videos. While both can bring the videos to users’ living rooms, only the BD390 sports 7.1-channel audio support, Wi-Fi connectivity and 1GB of built-in memory. Either can access online Blu-ray features such as BD Live and BonusView content and users can connect their thumb flash and external drives via USB connections for playback of MPEG4, JPEG, MO3 and WMA formats.
LG adds CinemaNow, Y.Tube
LG has announced the addition of two new entertainment options to its network-enabled Blu-ray players, CinemaNow and YouTube. CinemaNow offers some 14,000 movies, TV shows and other videos, and should join YouTube on LG players in the first half of 2009. LG’s only instant-streaming entertainment option is currently Netflix, which provides over 12,000 movies and TV shows, a portion of which are available in HD.
Sonic to buy CinemaNow
Sonic Solutions on Wednesday announced it would acquire CinemaNow, a digital video distribution service with over 6000 Hollywood Movies, moving one step further in growing its Qflix service. The move will reportedly blend CinemaNow into the Qflix business group, and adopting the title of Premium Content Group. Sonic is hoping the further concentration of the two services will boost placement of CinemaNow and Qflix drives.
Dell offers music bundles
Dell on Thursday announced it will partner with Universal Music Group to offer buyers of certain Dell computer systems pre-loaded music bundles to help them start their music collections. Each bundle will contain 50 or 100 DRM-free tracks that can be played on any digital media player or burned to a CD. The bundles start at $25 and so cost about half the price of current digital audio track. The content will be instantly accessible when buyers power up their Dell computers for the first time, saved in the widely used MP3 format and so not trapped to any one program or portable music player.
Pioneer, Qflix DVD burners
Pioneer has teamed up with Qflix to allow users to create DVDs from downloaded content from the video download site, the electronics company announced on Tuesday. The two Pioneer drives, the internal DVR-2920Q and external DVR-X162Q, feature Qflix DVD Download & Burn technology that allow users to save the downloaded movies and TV show collections from CinemaNow on a format that is easy to store, find and play. Like the Dell drives with Qflix technology introduced last month, the Pioneer burners will require special blank discs in order to create movies.
Dell intros Qflix drives
Dell announced on Monday it has partnered up with Sonic Solutions to make Qflix DVD drives that, together with software and special DVDs, will allow users to legally record downloaded movies to DVDs with formatting and DRM that works both on other PCs and in home theaters. The downloads will come from the CinemaNow service, though how many and which DVD titles or TV shows will be made compatible with Qflix is not known. The limit is a requirement to purchase DVDs from Roxio, which also supplies the software for the drive, to make the process possible.