Streaming video service Target Ticket shuttering next month
Target is shutting down its video streaming service next month. Target Ticket has already stopped providing rentals, though existing rentals will be viewable until the service shuts down completely on March 7, according to its support pages. The retailer has already made arrangements for its customers to watch movies through CinemaNow from the same account when Ticket closes, with any UltraViolet purchases viewable through other supported video services automatically.
Video streaming service enters Cuba after US relaxes trade restrictions
Netflix is continuing its current strategy of fast expansion into new countries, by unexpectedly launching in Cuba. The video streaming service is being made available to residents of the country for the first time, following the recent easing of trade restrictions that have been imposed on Cuba by the United States since 1961, though potential users still have some obstacles in the way between them and watching House of Cards.
Sling TV accepting new customer registrations without an invitation
Dish Network's Sling TV has been opened up to new registrations without requiring an invitation, following its soft launch. Spotted by GigaOM, the Internet TV service provides a trial week of usage before requiring users to pay for access. While the basic package includes live access to 15 channels for $20 per month, a collection of three add-on packages containing channels relating to news and information, kids and family, and sports can all be added at $5 per extra bundle.
Firefox OS-based streaming device gaining faster processor, new Wi-Fi antenna
Matchstick, a streaming dongle similar to the Google Chromecast, is going to be delayed shipping out to customers, the project has announced. The Kickstarter-funded Firefox OS device is being held back until August rather than its initial shipping target of February, as the company is going to redesign it to account for a faster chipset, as well as adding in digital rights management (DRM) systems.
Boutique streamer identical to Sonos Play:1, boasts custom paint job
In order to "commemorate 75 years and counting of Blue Note Records," speaker company Sonos has debuted the Sonos Play:1 Blue Note Limited Edition wireless streaming speaker. The speaker, identical to the original Sonos Play:1, will be available online only in limited quantities, and for a short time.
Parent company of Tidal, WiMP agrees to $56M acquisition by rapper
Rapper Jay Z is moving into the streaming music business, by attempting to acquire the parent company of two services. A press release and local media reports claim management of Swedish company Aspiro AB has agreed to the takeover by Jay Z's own companies, with the acquisition deal said to be worth approximately 464 million krona ($56 million).
RunKeeper adds Spotify integration to iOS app
RunKeeper has added Spotify integration to its iOS app. The fitness app will now offer access to Spotify playlists, created both by the user and by Spotify, and stream music while a workout is underway. Both Spotify and Runkeeper have to be installed on the same device with RunKeeper connected to the Spotify account in order to function, and though it is only on iOS for the moment, a similar update to the Android app may also happen in the future.
Limited device doesn't allow app loading, only for Vudu
Walmart has commenced sales on the Vudu Spark video streamer on its website, in addition to 2,500 stores US-wide. The HDMI dongle is, as expected, a one-feature device intended only to provide streaming content from the Walmart Vudu service powered by a USB port, controlled by a dedicated remote control. Connectivity is through 802.11n Wi-Fi. Resolutions supported include 1080p 60Hz, with the addition of 7.1 surround sound audio.
Videos on Vessel exclusive for 72 hours, offers creators financial incentives
Vessel, a video streaming service set to take on YouTube, has opened itself up to the public in beta. Unlike Google's video site, Vessel aims to offer professional videos from content creators, including web series and TV segments, with users able to pay a subscription price to watch new releases from videographers they follow before anyone else.
Forecast for Q1 2015 places Netflix subscribers at over 61M
Netflix has grown its total audience by 4.33 million subscribers globally, the streaming service revealed in its financial results. The faster increase in viewers compared to the last quarter is reflected in additional subscribers for both US and international markets, 1.9 million and 2.43 million respectively, with the total Netflix audience hitting 57.4 million members.
Test allows Marriott guests to use own Netflix accounts during stay
Travelers may be able to log into their own Netflix accounts from a hotel's television in the future, if tests performed by Marriott are successful. The hotel chain is trying out a new in-room entertainment service which would allow guests to view streaming content from Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora, as well as the usual on-demand TV services.
TalkTalk adds Netflix app to YouView set-top box
Netflix is being included on the YouView set-top box in the United Kingdom for the first time, giving viewers another way to watch shows from the streaming service. The TalkTalk-owned device will start rolling out to pre-registered customers initially, with Digital Spy reporting that the rollout is expected to continue to the end of the month, covering all 1.2 million TalkTalk TV homes.
Over 60M active users of Spotify, most connect accounts to Facebook
Spotify is continuing to enjoy rising user numbers, with the popular music streaming service announcing it has reached a total of 15 million subscribers. At the same time, reports claim that the majority of Spotify streams stem from mobile listeners, with 52 percent of listening taking place on smartphones and tablets rather than desktops.
Netflix, Haier, Insignia on board as partners; releases across the year
Entertainment streaming platform provider Roku made a number of announcements today at CES regarding Roku televisions and expanded HD content streaming. Roku will be partnering with television manufacturers Haier and Insignia to produce new HDTV models of Roku televisions, while NetFlix works on delivering 4K compatible content through Roku's platforms, and a previous Roku TV maker will focus on debuting a Roku 4K Ultra HD TV for the new year.
Offline caching a short term fix, claims Netflix executive
Netflix will not be allowing its users to cache television shows and movies from the streaming service for later playback, an executive has advised. In an interview, Director of Corporate Communications and Technology Cliff Edwards denied Netflix would offer offline storage of content, categorically stating "It's never going to happen."
Streaming app from HBO hits Fire TV today, Fire TV Stick in spring
HBO Go is heading to a number of streaming devices now and in the near future, it has been revealed. Owners of Roku streamers on Comcast will soon gain access to the app and Showtime, while Amazon's Fire TV users are able to stream from the service straight away, with the app also including support for the Fire TV's voice search functionality.
Executive decision prompts resignation of HBO CTO
HBO has hit some stumbling blocks in the creation of its standalone streaming service, it has been revealed. An alleged internal memo states that the broadcaster has decided to cancel its own attempt at the project, and instead will be using an existing streaming provider to provide the eventual service, something which is earmarked to launch by April 2015.
Ultra HD streams of Amazon originals, Sony Pictures movies offered to Prime subscribers
Amazon has started to make some of its Prime Instant Video content available to view in 4K, later than originally thought and months after major competitor Netflix started offering its Ultra HD streams. The change will allow Prime subscribers to stream a selection of movies and TV shows, including some of Amazon's original productions, as well as offering up 4K movie purchases to all customers.
Average time spent watching TV in US lower, online viewing up 50 percent
The viewing of television shows in the United States via broadcasting has dropped in the face of streaming services gaining in popularity, according to Nielsen. The ratings company's third-quarter report claims the average American watches more than 141 hours of live television per month, or more than four hours a day, but the figure is a year-on-year four percent drop from last year's 147 average hours per month.
Pai questions development of Open Connect, believes cache devices could lock others out
A commissioner from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is asking Netflix to answer allegations that it is touting net neutrality in one hand, while constructing Internet "fast lanes" with another, by December 16. Commissioner Ajit Pai issued a letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, asking that the company reply to allegations that its development of Open Connect and decision to forego membership in the Streaming Video Alliance is actually helping tip the scales in its favor.
Beta program allows friends to watch gameplay, broadcasting automatically starts, ends
Valve has launched a new feature for its Steam gaming platform today, that aims to make live streaming gameplay a little easier than the widely-used Twitch. Steam Broadcasting is currently available as a beta feature, allowing users to hop into a stream to watch their friends play a quick game, or watch public broadcasts through the community hubs.
CMA finds adults are more likely to take action, buy music after streaming exposure
Since Taylor Swift kicked off a debate on the artistic merits of the album and the degradation of art by streaming music, numerous parties in the music industry are chiming in on the topic of sales. The latest is the Country Music Association (CMA), which conducted a study that compared consumer action towards buying a song or album, based on listening to a new song over the radio or through a streaming platform.
Streaming from Google Play Music, 13 other services no longer uses T-Mobile Simple Choice data allow
T-Mobile has expanded the range of its Music Freedom scheme to include more streaming services. The program, which allows T-Mobile subscribers to listen to music from specific services without using up any of their mobile data allowance, now has an additional 14 services for customers to choose from, bringing the total for the entire collection to 27 services.
Fire TV Stick described as most successful Amazon device launch ever
The Fire TV Stick, Amazon's second media streamer after the Fire TV, has started shipping. Pre-orders of the competitor to the Google Chromecast are the first to go, dispatched on a first-come, first-served basis, though new customers will have a considerable wait for their order, as new stock will not be available until January 15th, 2015.
Netflix launching video streaming service in Australia, New Zealand from March
Netflix is planning to expand its service to Australia and New Zealand from early next year. Starting from March 2015, the streaming video service will be available in the two countries, complete with 4K video playback with compatible devices, though The Next Web notes the inclusion of "a curated selection" in the announcement points to a more limited TV show and movie collection at launch than in other territories.
Where to Watch offers streaming sites, online episode purchases as viewing alternatives
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) introduced a new tool last week that aims to make it easier to sift through the streaming services on the Internet find legal channels to view hit television shows and movies. Where to Watch is referred to as a "one-stop shop" for connecting film and television fans to their desired entertainment, directing them to numerous legal viewing platforms with only a few clicks.
Record label CEO claims Taylor Swift paid less than $500,000, not $6M
The battle between Spotify and Taylor Swift is continuing, with an executive at the singer's record label now stepping into the fight. Scott Borchetta, CEO of record label Big Machine, advises that Swift has been paid less than $500,000 in the last year, a significantly lower figure than the $6 million claimed to have been paid by Spotify to the label in a recent blog post.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek claims Swift was on track for $6M in royalties this year before pulling music
Spotify has responded to claims by singer Taylor Swift that the service does not pay music producers enough, by revealing it has paid more than two billion dollars in music royalties. A blog post by CEO Daniel Ek following the removal of Swift's music from the service and a further attack in an interview also notes Swift was on track to receive $6 million in streaming revenues for this year alone.
Chromecast-style HDMI streamer from Walmart may ship soon
Walmart is preparing to launch a streaming HDMI dongle, similar to the Google Chromecast, Amazon's Fire TV Stick, and the Roku Streaming Stick, according to an FCC filing. The Vudu Spark is similar in shape and size to its competition, connecting directly to the HDMI port on a television, though it is unclear if it will have the same level of utility as other devices.
CBS CEO Moonves says the popular paid cable channel is coming to the web in 2015
Consumers considering cutting the cord have yet another reason to dump their cable providers, as CBS announced that a digital subscription version of Showtime is in the works. While there is no definitive date for a service launch, CEO Les Moonves said that the paid web-based video service would be on its way in 2015.
Free options to continue, Warner first major label to receive royalties from service
Audio distribution platform SoundCloud is on the cusp of launching its premium subscription service, adding another layer of offerings to help the company generate revenue. The premium ad-free service will be launched in 2015, with Warner Music Group signing on as the first major label to earn money from the sharing and streaming hub.
Royalty collection company claims Spotify payments 13-percent higher than iTunes
Streaming services are heavily impacting music sales, with one report claiming Spotify's music royalty payments have eclipsed royalties earned through iTunes sales in Europe. Kobalt, a music royalty company representing over 6,000 songwriters and artists, claims that Spotify-derived revenues on the continent were higher that those earned from European iTunes sales by 13 percent in the first quarter of this year.
Globe Theater opens video on-demand store for Shakespeare plays
The Globe Theater has launched a streaming service specializing in Shakespeare plays. Available globally, the Globe Player store offers a selection of performances filmed at the London theater, with a seven-day rental priced at approximately £4 ($6.50) and sales including offline viewing priced at £8 ($13) for each of the famous plays, though it also hosts a number of interviews with notable performers which can be viewed at no charge. Currently, the service only works through a web browser, but the service is considering creating mobile apps if the demand warrants it.
Albums by Taylor Swift removed from streaming service
Singer Taylor Swift has taken the unusual move of pulling her entire back catalog from Spotify, in the same week that her label launched her latest album. The move, which involves the removal of all of the artist's earlier albums, has been conducted without comment from Swift nor her management, but that has not kept Spotify from speaking out.
WatchMe project aims to help developers add live YouTube streaming to apps
Android app developers may take advantage of live YouTube streaming, thanks to a new open source project released by the video service. The YouTube WatchMe for Android project, hosted on GitHub, uses a combination of existing APIs to make it easier for developers to add live streaming capabilities to their apps in the future.
Amazon competes against Chromecast with own HDMI dongle
Amazon has added a second option for customers wanting to acquire its Fire TV media streamer, one which seemingly takes inspiration from the Roku Streaming Stick and the Google Chromecast. The Fire TV Stick plugs into the HDMI socket of a television, and aims to provide the same streaming experience as its set-top box stablemate.
New payment option lowers cost for multiple users to access Spotify
Spotify is adding a new subscription option to its plan roster, one which covers multiple users. Spotify Family will provide access to the premium version of the music streaming service to up to five nominated users, with the group plan being discounted heavily compared to the single-user subscription, a payment option Rdio first introduced in June of last year.
Streaming version of HBO will be offered outside of current pay-TV packages
HBO will be starting up a stand-alone streaming service in the United States, the CEO has confirmed. Starting from next year, the broadcaster will be offering subscriptions to stream its content to customers with broadband Internet connections, without it being bundled alongside other channels as part of a more expensive pay-TV package.
Denied for Mac offers rule creation option for avoiding the music you hate
Since it's now commonplace to regularly listen to randomly generated or pre-curated music playlists, there will inevitably be songs you're not a fan of thrown into those mixes. Denied for Mac does one thing, and does it really well - it spares you from songs you don't care to hear, while streaming content from subscription-based platforms or iTunes. Though a convenient addition to an average listening experience, is it worth paying for?
Grooveshark disagrees with decision as it's based on 'an early iteration' of the service
After record labels were granted a summary judgment from a US District Court judge in New York in September, streaming music service Grooveshark says it's gearing up for an appeal to the the case. The reason for the appeal sounds somewhat defiant, as Grooveshark states it doesn't agree with the decision since it was based on "an early iteration of Grooveshark."
Users will be refunded for remaining time on October 10
Redbox and Verizon's collaborative effort for online video streaming, Redbox Instant, is shutting down. October 7 marks the service's last day, with refunds issued to current customers on October 10. Any kiosk credits owed may be used before 11:59PM local time on October 7. Unaffected by the change is the actual Redbox service, which will continue as before.
Plans to revamp Beats Music next year at lower monthly price
Apple is asking the major music labels to adjust their agreements with the iPhone maker to allow to go ahead with a planned revision of the subscription-based Beats Music service that may well portend a lowering of the monthly cost. The company apparently plans to introduce changes to the service next year, and wants to obtain new rights and features at a lower price as part of what it has in mind. Streaming services have recently gained in popularity at around the $10 per month mark, which is what Beats Music charges.
Spotify opens Canadian streaming service to everyone
Spotify has opened up its service in Canada to all users, following a brief invitational period. The streaming music service boasts over 20 million songs served on 320kbps streams, with chief content officer Ken Parks claiming the collection has been "tailor made for Canadian music fans." Users have the same ad-supported free and paid service options as other regions, with Spotify Premium priced at $10 per month.
PlayStation TV includes PS Now, in-home PlayStation 4 streaming
Sony will launch the PlayStation TV in North America from October 14th, it has revealed. The micro-console, capable of streaming games from the PlayStation 4 similar to the handheld PS Vita, will be able to play titles from a catalog of nearly 700 games from launch day, with one report hinting that more capabilities could be on the way.
Jury awards Personal Audio $1.3 million, less than the $7.8 million sought
Podcasters may not be in the clear of potential patent violations after a ruling this week in a Texas court. Six jurors found that CBS Corporation, home of the television network with shows like The Big Bang Theory and Person of Interest, infringed upon the patent by streaming episodic content of its television shows on the Internet. The trial only lasted four days, with CBS failing to prove the patent owned by Personal Audio LLC should be invalidated.
Music streaming service comes to Amazon's set-top box with Spotify Connect
Spotify announced this week that the music streaming service has made it to one of the products under Amazon's expanding lineup. Amazon Fire TV owners will now be able to use Spotify Connect to access the millions of songs the service offers on a subscription basis. The company notes that users can navigate Spotify Connect using a smartphone or a tablet as the remote, also seamlessly handing off the sound to the Fire TV. Spotify notes that a premium subscription is required to use the service on the Fire TV, which runs $10 a month.
Google reveals apps updated with support for Chromecast streaming
Owners of the Chromecast will have more choice of what to watch in future, as Google has revealed a new collection of supported apps for the streaming device. Watch Disney, Watch Disney Junior, and Watch Disney XD offer shows for children, with the iHeartRadio, Twitch, and DramaFever apps also joining the roster of Chromecast-compatible apps.
Deezer launching in United States with beta streaming for Sonos owners
Music streaming service Deezer is finally heading to the United States, after being available across Europe, Canada, and a few other countries for some time. In order to differentiate itself from the competition, Deezer plans to offer a higher quality of stream to owners of Sonos speaker systems, with a far higher bitrate than Spotify and Rdio streams available on 90 percent of the catalog.
Sponsored sessions provide advertising-free Spotify for 30 minutes
Spotify will soon be showing video-based advertising to listeners of its free service. The streaming music company has revealed it will start airing the videos to its free users shortly, with both desktop and mobile app users set to see the clips, though marketers will have a few options for how their advertizing efforts get utilized by the service.
Shuffle play mode now available for Windows Phone 8.1, free version supported by ads
Subscripiton music streaming service Spotify has announced that it is bringing its free listening experience to Windows Phones beginning today. In today's software update, owners of phones like the Nokia Lumia 920 or the HTC One (M8) for Windows can now partake in the Spotify experience, with a few limitations. As with the expansion into a free version for Android and iOS in December, the offering is supported by in-app advertising.