Samsung has announced today that it will include Lovefilm movie streaming by way of application on all of its UK Blu-ray players. The app will be activated by a Lovefilm subscription of £5.99 or above and give customers access to thousands of movies via Samsung's Internet@TV service.
Amazon's Video On Demand service is making inroads into Europe with the acquisition of Lovefilm. Lovefilm, in which Amazon already has a minority stake, is the European version of Netflix, operating a DVD rental service (originally purchased from Amazon) and streaming video to the Playstation 3, some TVs and computers.
The deal, expected to be completed by the end of March, is a strategic move again both Netflix, which hasn't expanded into Europe yet, and Apple's iTunes which does offer service to Europe.
Google TV is facing some glitches. The search monolith had a line of hardware partners set to show off new Google TV-based products next month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. But now the company has asked companies such as Toshiba, LG and Sharp to hold off on releasing new products until the next version of Google TV software is released.
Reviews thus far have been lukewarm and Google appears to be having similar difficulties to all the other companies that have attempted to bring the internet to TV. It's conceivable that Google TV, should it catch on, won't do so until next Christmas now. By then it could have a competitor that more effectively manages its partners and times the release of its product.
A Netflix app has been available for the iPad for some time now. Nada for other iOS devices such as the iPhone and the iPod Touch. But today Netflix announced that the latter two devices are supported and an updated app is available from the iTunes store:
Get Netflix on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. Just download this free app and you can instantly watch TV shows & movies streaming from Netflix.
- It's part of your Netflix unlimited membership. Not a Netflix member? Start your FREE trial today.
- Watch as often as you want
- Resume watching where you left off on your TV or computer
- Browse movies and manage your instant Queue right from your device
The use of the app does require a Netflix subscription which starts at $8.99/month, but judging from the text above you can start off with a free month or two.
Rumors of a new $99 Apple TV continue to fly as Techcrunch, citing a report by Engadget, says the network box is just around the corner. Not only is it supposed to carry the very mainstream $99 price tag, it's functionality is rumored to be pretty mainstream as well. This won't be the hackable original Apple TV, but a locked down (meaning you'll have to buy your content off of iTunes) device that will only do what Apple wants it to do. Rumors state that the so-called iTV will only support 720p, the max for iTunes content, have a variation of the iOS system that runs on the iPhone/iPad but supports HD content, and be completely missing the ability to stream local or network content. Sounds pretty boring, but a mainstream Apple TV will do something good - open up the market for other, competing network media streamers that have way better features!
Netgear has become the first third-party hardware manufacturer to produce a gadget that supports Panasonic Viera HDTVs. Panasonic has chosen Netgear to provide Viera owners access to online content via a wireless connection. The connection will be provided by the Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter which features a simple setup via Push 'N' Connect technology. Once set up, Viera owners can view Amazon VOD, YouTube, Picasa, Viera Cast weather and stock market information, along with tons of other internet content directly from the TV. You can currently purchase the Netgear N600 for $79.99.
Redbox, the company that places DVD rental kiosks in dark corners of grocery stores and other such places, is reportedly working on the development of a web strategy to take on the likes of Netflix. Now's probably a good time. Redbox may have upwards of 24, 000 kiosks out there, but the company only offers around 200 titles. Compare that with the 100, 000 mail order titles and 20, 000 online titles that Netflix offers.
Likely Redbox will tie up with a technology provider like Sonic Solutions to make it to market faster. But is it already too late. With competition from Netflix, Apple, Best Buy, Walmart's Vudu and even to some extent, Blockbuster, is Redbox coming to the game too late? It remains to be seen.
I've been waiting a long time for this. According to a tweet from the Netflix Twitter account, the video rental/streaming service is launching in Canada this fall. The company has launched Netflix.ca, a Canadian website version, where you can sign up to be notified when the service launches. Details are minimal at the moment, but since the word comes from Netflix itself, I think we can call it official.
As part of its continued emphasis on Watch Instantly, Netflix has signed another deal with Warner Bros. to add more streaming video content. This deal nets Netflix all 100 episodes of Nip/Tuck, some Veronica Mars, Pushing Daisies and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
This adds to a deal Netflix signed with Warner Bros. earlier this year that resulted in the latter's new release titles being held for 28 days from the former's DVD-by-mail service. Netflix was given access to more streaming content in exchange. This week's deal also lengthened Netflix's existing license for Warner Bros. streaming content through 2011.
Netflix continues to make the transition to the web and de-emphasize its popular DVD-by-mail business. While some business, such as Blockbuster, have had trouble with this transition, Netflix seems to be doing okay with its web traffic exploding last month.
Way back when I predicted Hulu wouldn't be much of a success and I was way off. Last month the video streaming site served up more than 1 billion videos, second only to YouTube in popularity. But it has some competition, according to new numbers from ComScore, in the form of Netflix. The prominent DVD-by-mail business has been steadily working over the past few years to move its business to the web and its traffic is growing quickly with its large library of streaming movies.
Netflix web traffic is up 15% since April and 46% year-over-year, and while this trails Hulu, Netflix's plain-jane June web traffic was actually higher - 20.2 million unique individual visitors to Hulu's 19.7 million. Of course, visitors use Netflix's website to look for DVDs to rent as well, but the trend is clear. Netflix is gaining ground on the video-streaming web.
YouTube has entered into a partnership with World Wrestling Entertainment to broadcast full length episodes of Friday Night Smackdown, WWE NXT, WWE Superstars and ECW on the WWE YouTube channel. The episodes will, unfortunately, only be broadcast in the United States. Clips from Monday Night Raw and classic matches will also be available.
Yahoo today has expanded its TV Widgets program to nearly 100 countries around the world, significantly broadening its reach. The company didn't have much choice as it's now facing competition from Google's TV platform, introduced at the Google I/O conference last month, and its partnership with Sony. The Google operating system will be used in connected Sony TVs and Blu-ray players enabling web access.
The Yahoo TV Widgets allows users to access all kinds of web content including news, weather, social networking, TV shows and more. Yahoo TV Widgets are also found on a variety of TV models including Samsung, Vizio, LG and HiSense.
Walmart's purchase of video streaming service Vudu looks to be a good bet as the
partnership will result in the first available instant HD streaming of the hit movie Avatar. Though it won't be in 3D, it will be the first public availability of streaming HD. The only other service that will offer the title in HD is the Playstation 3, but that will require a download.
Vudu owners will also get special features with the streaming flick, apparently called "Hardware", that are usually reserved for hard disc copies. The price? $25. Too much? You'll still pay $20 for the SD version.
Panasonic has announced the TY-CC10W, a Viera-compatible webcam geared toward the non-techie crowd. Apparently simple to use, Panasonic's Skype camera allows for 720p video and active noise cancellation to over-the-set video conversations via a USB 2.0 plug-in. Once plugged in, a Skype option will be added to the usual onscreen menu with the added ability of browsing your contact list and adding new ones directly from the user interface.
On sale June 11, the Panasonic TY-CC10W Skype camera is expected to price in the neighborhood of 18, 000 yen or slightly under US $200. Unfortunately it'll only work with Viera HDTVs, so don't plan on plugging this one into your Bravia or home desktop PC.