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Netflix starts streaming House of Cards, documentaries in 4K

04/09, 3:41pm

High-resolution Netflix streams require 2014 smart TVs, fast Internet connection

Netflix has started to stream content at Ultra High Definition (4K), starting with original series House of Cards and a number of nature documentaries. The plans, which it first revealed last year and promoted at CES, provides owners of 4K televisions with more programming, though there are a number of caveats that potential viewers must work around.

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Briefly: SesameGO streaming service, Distiller app for Android

04/08, 10:31pm

SesameGO launches, offering US customers with kid-friendly streaming service

Sesame Workshop has today launched a educational television streaming service, called SesameGO. Offering children-centric, advertisement-free content, the service will features classic Sesame Street programming as well as current material. Web-focused, the service is optimized for Mac, PC, smartphones and tablets, with no native apps anticipated. SesameGO is available now for US residents, and is priced at $4 per month or $30 annually.

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Spotify update introduces darker theme, 'Your Music' collection

04/02, 10:27am

App update removes starred tracks from Spotify for new collection system

Spotify has made drastic changes to its user interface, by introducing a new darker theme. The change in appearance of the streaming music service across all platforms is joined by a new feature called "Your Music," something the company previewed in late 2012, allowing users to collect and manage their music without requiring users to create playlists.

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WSJ: Apple in talks with Comcast about live streaming TV service

03/24, 7:54am

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.

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Amazon streaming device rumored to be dongle offering game streaming

03/17, 4:08pm

Chromecast-like dongle from Amazon could offer high-end gaming

Amazon's rumored media streaming device may have more in common with the Google Chromecast than previously thought, according to a report. The retailer is said to be making the media player in the form of a dongle that can plug directly into a television's HDMI port, with one rumor claiming that it would have the ability to stream high quality games from a server, instead of relying on modified mobile titles for gaming.

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Judge rules Pandora to pay 1.85 percent annual revenue rate to ASCAP

03/16, 4:10pm

Rate lower than ASCAP requested, higher than terrestrial radio

US Federal Court Judge Denise Cote has issued a ruling in a case between streaming music service Pandora and music publishers, which has set a new rate at which Pandora Radio will have to pay to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for performance rights on streaming radio. The rate is set slightly higher than the 1.7 percent Radio Music Licensing Committee rate for terrestrial radio Pandora argued was appropriate, but far less than the tiered rate ASCAP proposed.

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Report: Netflix signs deal with Norwegian ISP to avoid throttling

03/10, 10:39am

Agreement claimed to involve Netflix renting server space in Telenor data center

Netflix may be making more agreements with Internet service providers (ISP) to prevent throttling, and is apparently doing so outside of the United States. A deal between Netflix and Telenor of Norway is reported to be similar to one between the streaming service and Comcast, with Netflix said to be placing its servers within the ISP's own data centers.

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Ahead of SXSW show, Apple adds iTunes Festival channel to Apple TV

03/10, 2:59am

First time the event has been held in the US, will stream live on web, iOS devices

Just a few days ahead of the beginning of the first US iTunes Festival, being held as part of the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference, Apple has now re-added its iTunes Festival channel back to Apple TV, where concerts will be streamed live. Currently the channel also offers information on the concert schedule and background on the various acts, as well as a history of the festival -- which has previously only been held in London.

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Spotify acquires The Echo Nest to improve music discovery, curation

03/06, 10:43am

Music curation API used by other music services will remain open despite purchase

Spotify is looking to bolster the music curation and discovery functions of its service, by acquiring music intelligence company The Echo Nest, the streaming music service has revealed. The purchase will provide Spotify with deeper access to The Echo Nest's knowledge base and music curation tools, currently used by competitors such as Nokia MixRadio and Rdio for their own music discovery offerings.

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Twitch offers SDK to add game broadcasting to mobile games

03/05, 1:18pm

Twitch SDK allows players to stream game footage from mobile devices

Game video streaming service Twitch is hoping to expand the reach of its service into mobile gaming, from its existing PC and console efforts. The announced Twitch Mobile Software Development Kit will allow developers to add Twitch streaming to mobile titles, letting gamers broadcast their gameplay live, as well as capturing and archiving the video for future viewing.

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Rumor: Amazon in talks with record labels for Prime music streaming

02/28, 6:26am

Claimed discussions with labels stalled over music licensing discount request

Amazon Prime subscribers may receive another benefit in the future, if a rumor is found to be true. It is claimed that the online retailer is looking to expand the Prime bonuses from the current Kindle Lending Library and Prime Instant Video offerings to include music streaming, with Amazon said to be in negotiations with the larger music labels to make the service a reality.

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Briefly: BBM for Android on Gingerbread, Streaming music on UK charts

02/19, 5:32am

BlackBerry updates BBM app to work with Android 2.3

BlackBerry has opened up BBM for Android to users of older devices. BlackBerry Messenger can now be downloaded and used on smartphones and tablets running Android 2.3 or later, though the older version of the mobile operating system will not have access to new additions to the app, such as BBM Voice, BBM Channels, and Glympse real-time location sharing.

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Briefly: Hulu's CBS deal, Chromecast's embedded Youtube streaming

02/10, 6:58pm

Hulu signs with CBS for 2,600 new episodes of programming for Hulu Plus

Hulu has made a new deal with US broadcaster CBS, adding 2,600 new episodes to its subscription-based television and movie streaming service Hulu Plus. The library expansion includes classic television content such as The Brady Bunch, Melrose Place and Taxi, as well as more recent programming such as Everybody Loves Raymond. The added content brings Hulu Plus' CBS library to over 5,300 episodes.

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Report: Apple quietly building large-scale content delivery networks

02/04, 1:14am

Speculation of pushing TV content, taking iTunes content delivery in-house

Apple, which has for years relied on third-party content delivery networks (CDNs) like Akamai and Level3 to ensure reliable streaming of its media content, is now building out its own CDN, reports the Wall Street Journal. This would in time mean that items such as iTunes streaming video and music content (movie rentals, iTunes Match music, iTunes Radio) as well as other large files such as OS X updates could be delivered on its own network.

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NFL Now to offer extra football content through free, paid apps

01/30, 1:41pm

Archive NFL videos, highlights, analysis in NFL Now app

The National Football League (NFL) is introducing a new online streaming initiative for fans of the sport, that allows them to follow their teams on any digital platform they choose, alongside its existing apps. NFL Now is billed as a digital network that offers fans the ability to watch a range of video content produced by the teams as well as NFL Films, as the organization moves to embrace Internet distribution.

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Sony opens PlayStation Now private beta in North America

01/29, 7:56am

Invitations to test game streaming service sent to PlayStation 3 owners

Sony has reportedly started sending out invitations to beta test its PlayStation Now streaming service. Taking place ahead of its expected launch in the United States this summer, the private beta will allow users to play PlayStation 3 titles without needing to download the game beforehand, with players able to stream games to a console over the Internet.

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Briefly: Steam's beta PC streaming service, Dash driving feedback app

01/26, 4:34pm

Steam's streaming service in beta, allows streamed game play between PCs

Valve has announced the latest update to its gaming service platform Steam, which consists of a beta release of its new, in-home streaming component. Steam's in-home streaming, according to its site, "will allow [users] to play a game on one computer when the game process is actually running on another computer elsewhere in [one's] home." Game audio and video is captured on the remote computer, and subsequently sent to the player's computer.

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Netflix posts $48 million net income, notes 4K streaming bitrate

01/22, 7:28pm

International expansion still dragging down bottom line, improvement in sight

Internet movie streaming service Netflix has announced its quarterly earnings. The company continues to be dragged down by a loss overseas, but still managed to earn $0.79 per share. With over 44 million customers worldwide, the company pulled down $1.18 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter, with $48 million of that being net income.

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Google rates Internet providers by YouTube streaming quality

01/22, 5:33am

Canadian ISPs tested on streaming performance

Google will be offering users information about their Internet connection's capabilities for YouTube streaming, under a new monitoring system. The search company's Video Quality Report will analyze the connection offered by Internet service providers (ISP) and identify those that offer the best YouTube experience, in a move to help its end users have a more satisfactory Internet experience.

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Amazon preparing to mimic cable, offer live streaming programming?

01/21, 6:45pm

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.

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FCC sides with ASCAP, stalls Pandora's radio-station acquisition

01/16, 12:18pm

Commission cites foreign-ownership rules

The Federal Communications Commission has reportedly sided with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), stalling Pandora's application to acquire a terrestrial radio station based in Rapid City, South Dakota. The commission is said to have notified the streaming music company of the decision, which cites foreign-ownership rules as a remaining hurdle, according to a Billboard report.

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Hands on: Sony PlayStation Now

01/07, 3:49pm

Tech demoed on Vita, Bravia

After a slew of announcements yesterday, Sony waited until this morning to formally introduce its PlayStation Now streaming game technology. The system promises to bring the company's game ecosystem to Bravia TVs and eventually non-Sony hardware such as tablets. We were curious to see the technology in action, so we stopped by Sony's CES booth to try out game streaming from a Vita and a TV.

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Digital music sales drop: streaming services the culprit?

01/03, 8:44pm

First drop in digital music sales since iTunes was invented

According to a new report by Nielsen SoundScan, digital music sales dropped for the first time since the iTunes Store went online in 2003. Sales fell by 5.7 percent to 1.26 billion songs, with industry executives putting the blame on streaming services like Pandora, Spotify and Rdio -- services the record companies themselves licensed their music to in an effort to reduce their dependency on iTunes. Whether revenue from streaming has offset the sales dip hasn't yet been revealed.

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Briefly: Netflix trials cheaper tier, ABC restricts online viewing

12/31, 6:31pm

Netflix trials single-stream, standard definition tier with some customers

Netflix is testing a possible new price plan for customers that do not require a HD stream. The new tier spotted by Adweek offers the user a single stream at standard definition for $6.99 per month, $1 cheaper than the normal two-stream standard and HD version typically offered by the service. Netflix has since confirmed its tests, advising "Not all people will see this option and it may not be something we ever offer generally."

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Netflix plans 4K 'House of Cards' streaming to smart TVs

12/19, 6:19am

4K content creation to help bolster small Ultra HD streaming catalog

Netflix will be offering some of its home-grown content in 4K in the future, the video streaming service has revealed. The second season of House of Cards will be shot in the format and will be available to stream to users sometime in 2014, though this is not a sign that the company will be offering the high-resolution option to users for all of its content.

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Netflix updates app with new UI, unified cross-platform experience

11/13, 5:24am

Image-heavy redesign adds more detail to show recommendations

Netflix has updated a number of its apps for smart TVs and set-top boxes, bringing them all under the same new uniform interface. The new UI heading to the Roku, Smart TV apps, Blu-Ray players, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 aims to provide more detail about potential shows, using large images and more personalized recommendations.

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Briefly: TuneIn Radio adds college basketball, STM Bags' iPad cases

11/08, 12:15pm

TuneIn Radio update features redesign and optimization for iOS 7

TuneIn Radio, a free radio app for iOS, lets users listen to a variety of streaming radio stations features sports, news, talk, and music programming. Listeners have access to 100,000 live radio stations and two million podcasts, concerts and shows, all of which can be streamed on an iPhone, iPad and iPod. In version 5, Tunein features a redesigned interface, optimized for iOS 7. Live college basketball games can also now be accessed, including every PAC-12 game. Also included in the update are bug fixes regarding playback and streaming errors, and issues pertaining to viewing recommendations upon swiping the Now Playing screen. TuneIn Radio is available on iTunes, and can also be accessed from the web.

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TiVo enables out-of-home streaming, updates iOS apps

10/24, 7:57am

Streaming outside home network works over Wi-Fi, LTE to come

TiVo has finally allowed out-of-home streaming on some of its digital video recorder range. Apps have been released for the iPhone and iPad in the App Store which allow for streaming and downloading of live TV shows and recorded content to a mobile device, something the company teased at the launch of its TiVo Roamio DVR line back in August.

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New YouTube music service rumor claims possible offline caching

10/24, 6:58am

Second music streaming service from Google could still launch this year

Rumors of a YouTube music streaming service have resurfaced, with a new report providing a lot more detail about Google's potential plans. It is now thought by report sources that the tiered service, in a similar vein to Spotify, iTunes Radio, and its own Google Play Music All Access, will be launching before the end of the year.

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Amazon allegedly delays set-top box until after the holidays

10/24, 5:13am

Amazon media streamer to use forked Android

The expected launch of Amazon's rumored set-top box, dubbed by some as "Firetube," for the living room has apparently been delayed by the company. The device, which is said to be a direct competitor with Apple TV and Roku for streaming video as well as running apps, will not receive its pre-holiday season shopping launch as allegedly planned.

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Channel for today's Apple special event appears on Apple TV [U]

10/22, 8:26am

Live streaming of Apple event confirmed on Apple TV

[Update: Streaming to iOS devices confirmed] Apple will be streaming its press event to the general public later today. A new item has appeared on Apple TV set-top boxes labeled "Apple Special Event October 2013," within the "Apple Events" channel, with iPad, iPhone, and Mac owners also able to watch the event live at the same time.

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Briefly: Hulu+ adds Chromecast for iPhone, Code School's new iOS Path

10/21, 6:40pm

TV and movie streaming app adds Google Chromecast extension for iPhone users

Hulu, a subscription-based movie and TV streaming service, has added a Google Chromecast extension to its Hulu Plus app for iOS. Already included for iPad devices, version 3.1.1 of Hulu Plus for iPhone and iPod touch includes access to Google's digital media streaming adapter for those running iOS 6 or later. The addition of Google Chromecast support offers users more ways to stream Hulu Plus content to their high-definition television. Hulu Plus can be downloaded for free on iTunes, and its subscription service is priced at $8 per month.

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Vizio adds budget Co-Star LT media streamer to catalog

10/16, 11:37am

New Vizio streamer cuts price, streamlines remote control

Vizio has introduced a new media-streaming set-top box along the lines of its existing Co-Star offering, that offers more basic smart TV functionality. The Co-Star LT offers the same apps and services found on the Vizio M-Series smart TVs, such as access to Internet radio and streaming video, but in a device that can be connected to any HDTV with a HDMI connection.

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Apple want ad suggests iTunes Radio on its way to Canada

10/04, 9:32pm

America's northern neighbor likely to be first outside country to gain the service

Apple has posted job notices seeking iTunes Radio programmers for Canada, a sign that the well-received free music-streaming service will be expanding into the US' closest ally as one of, if not the, first countries outside America to gain the service. The posting suggests that the launch of the service in Canada may occur as early as sometime later this month, presuming some strong candidates can be found.

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Wall Street Journal: Amazon to launch set-top media streaming box

10/03, 9:45pm

New device allegedly to run apps, stream from multiple sources

Amazon is reportedly in the process of designing a set-top box, similar in form and function to an Apple TV or Roku media streamer, to be released before the holiday buying season. Divergent from Apple, Amazon is allegedly offering an app ecosystem for the device, allowing gaming or media streaming from sources other than just Amazon purchases.

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Briefly: Hulu support for Chromecast, Netflix adds more NBC content

10/02, 5:22am

Hulu adds Cast button to mobile apps to support Chromecast streaming

The Google Chromecast media-streaming dongle is now able to support video from Hulu. An update to the Hulu Plus mobile app for the iPad and Android will add a Cast button to the menu, which then starts playing the selected TV show through the Chromecast device, with the app acting as the remote control. Support for the iPhone is "coming very soon," according to the Google blog.

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Roku updates Roku LT, Roku 1, Roku 2 to match Roku 3

09/25, 7:30am

Roku line refresh shipping to US, UK, Ireland

Roku has refreshed a majority of its line of streaming set-top boxes, in order to coordinate with its existing Roku 3. While the Roku 3 remains the same, the new Roku 1, Roku 2, and Roku LT all have a number of hardware and software updates, as well as an overhaul in external design to match the current flagship model.

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Microsoft working on original TV programming for Xbox Live

09/18, 10:27am

Hundreds of ideas under consideration

Microsoft is reportedly preparing a wide range of original television programming for its Xbox streaming video service. In an interview with Reuters, Microsoft Studios VP Phil Spencer said the company is "very close" to announcing details of the new projects, which will include content that is not directly related to games.

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Reported Rdio, broadcaster deal could lead to free service in future

09/16, 7:11am

Deal would see content shared from 525-station radio network with Rdio

Rdio could be offering a free version of its service before the end of the year, as part of a deal with a radio broadcaster. Expected to be announced later today, Rdio is said to be working with radio station operator Cumulus Media that will see the streaming service gain access to the broadcaster's programming and offer an advertising-based free service, in exchange for stock.

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Netflix uses video piracy statistics to decide show acquisitions

09/15, 7:30pm

Piracy figures triggered Prison Break purchase for Netflix in the Netherlands

Netflix monitors piracy sites for shows being downloaded, in order to decide what to acquire for its users. The video streaming service uses statistics relating to video piracy as a social barometer, along with other metrics, in working out what shows and films it doesn't currently offer that it needs to secure for members to view.

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Ohio man sues Apple over 'Breaking Bad' Season Pass split

09/09, 8:15pm

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."

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Spotify launches Connect, streams music to speaker systems

09/03, 9:25am

Direct streaming from Spotify to compatible speakers

Spotify has announced it is working with a number of hardware manufacturers to bring controllable music streaming to other devices, taking on AirPlay and other audio transmission systems. Spotify Connect will allow for subscribers to send playlists to nearby speakers or home theater systems, and in a move similar to Google Chromecast, the audio will stream directly to the sound-producing device from the service itself, instead of from the smartphone.

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WSJ: Vevo app coming to Apple TV, Samsung HDTVs very soon

08/21, 12:12am

Music video content app for Apple TV could happen as soon as this week

Music video provider Vevo may have signed deals with both Apple and Samsung to provide streaming and on-demand content. For Apple, the deal will likely mean a new app on Apple TV, possibly coming as early as later this week. For Samsung, Vevo is allegedly providing the content for the Korean company's smart TV lineup. The on-demand music video service would be similar to the content already provided to Microsoft's Xbox, reports say, but the new deals add a second channel that would stream videos 24 hours a day.

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Report: Sony working on Internet TV content deal with Viacom

08/15, 5:29pm

Viacom network includes content generally not on 'broadcast' channels

Viacom has reportedly hammered out an agreement for its programming, including BET, Comedy Central, VH1, and Nickelodeon, to appear on a Sony Internet television streaming service. Sony's service, scheduled to launch before the end of 2014, may differ from current services by streaming content that normally exists only on cable or from satellite TV providers.

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Roku updates iOS app to allow streaming to its set-top boxes

08/09, 1:00am

Can only use content from Camera Roll, currently iOS-only

Streaming media set-top box maker Roku updated its iOS app on Thursday with a thus-far exclusive feature: the app can now stream some video content wirelessly to various models of Roku set-top devices, expanding the company's "Play on Roku" feature which previously allowed only photos and music. The new function is limited to streaming only videos on the user's Camera Roll, and is thus intended to share self-shot videos by and large by transferring them wireless to an HDTV. Version 2.3 also includes bug fixes and performance enhancements.

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FireCore's Infuse for iOS adds multi-format AirPlay streaming

08/07, 11:00pm

Streaming app saves having to transcode video formats

Media appmakers FireCore have issued a major update to their multi-format media player Infuse for iOS ($5), which allows users to play normally unsupported video and audio file types by transcoding them on-the-fly. The new version 1.3 offers AirPlay streaming, Wi-Fi transfers of media from network-connected computers or drives, social sharing and one-button subtitle downloads. The program supports 14 different video formats, and features automatic artwork and metadata fetching, Dolby Digital Plus surround sound and full 1080p.

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Study: Apple tops in content streaming, beating Netflix, HBO GO

08/06, 9:00pm

Ranking proves again that value of experience can trump content

A study done by customer experience research firm ForeSee has surveyed customers of mobile media and entertainment sites and found that generally, customers are more satisfied with such services than they were a year ago: the average score was 77 out of 100, compared to 67 a year ago. In the streaming TV and movies category, Apple's iTunes squeaked out a surprise win over competitors such as Netflix and HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, Crackle and Hulu Plus. The study also found that customers were much more satisfied with home Internet service than cellular data.

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Briefly: Aereo expanding to Utah, Braven 855s rugged portable speaker

07/22, 1:54pm

Aero expanding to Utah and Chicago

Aereo, a live TV streaming/DVR service has today announced that it will be expanding into Utah on August 19. With memberships beginning at $8 per month, Aereo allows customers to access 30 major broadcast channels on any internet-connected device as well as record up to 20 hours of DVR content in a cloud account. A pre-registration page has been setup online, and will provide priority access to anyone who signs up before the August 19 launch. In addition, Aereo has also announced that after the Utah expansion it will begin to prepare for a September 13 launch in Chicago.

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Study: Apple TV has majority stake in IP streaming device market

07/16, 6:45pm

Appe's 'hobby' outsells all other competitors combined

The business both Steve Jobs and current CEO of Apple Tim Cook refer to as a "hobby" is the dominant player in the nascent-but-growing "Streaming IP Device" market, according to a new report. Apple TV's 56 percent share -- a figure that represents the more than 13 million units sold through Q1 2013 -- is greater than all other competitors in the space combined. While brands like Roku, WD TV, Boxee and Google TV may get more headlines, all but Roku and TiVo have negligible market share in a field that is growing rapidly -- as more consumers become "cable cutters" and use alternatives such as Netflix and mobile apps for a relatively ad-free entertainment experience.

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Hulu pulled from sale by owners, $750M invested to grow the service

07/12, 3:29pm

Bidders in sale failed to provide high-enough offers for Hulu

Streaming media service Hulu will not be sold to another company, it has revealed. The Walt Disney Company, 21st Century Fox, and NBCUniversal, the owning companies of the service, have all decided to pull Hulu from potential sale, and instead will be providing another $750 million in investment to grow the service further.

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