The Warner Bros. blockbuster The Dark Knight has become the first title to be made available for rental on Facebook, giving us our first glimpse of what ultimately could be a truly disruptive home entertainment product. Executives at Netflix, Hulu, Redbox and other similar services were no doubt squirming in their seats on Tuesday morning following the announcement that users can now use Facebook credits to rent The Dark Knight for $3. One rented, the movie can be streamed directly from the movie’s Facebook fan page for 48 hours. “Facebook has become a daily destination for hundreds of millions of people,” said Thomas Gewecke, President of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, in a statement. “Making our films available through Facebook is a natural extension of our digital distribution efforts. It gives consumers a simple, convenient way to access and enjoy our films through the world’s largest social network.” Warner Bros. said it also plans to make digital movies available for purchase via Facebook. Hit the break for Warner Bros.’ full press release. More →
Here’s another reason for Samsung Captivate owners to be aggravated after yesterday’s debacle — Android phone owners with Android 2.2 (Froyo) or later now have access to streaming content from Netflix, Hulu, ESPN 3, Fox, Comedy Central, Spike, CNN, PBS and more thanks to the arrival of PlayOn for Android. PlayOn, MediaMall Technologies’ premier product, allows Windows PC users to stream popular video content from their home computers to a TV, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android device. Setup is incredibly simple and content can be streamed to Android devices over Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G. MediaMall offers a free two-week trial of PlayOn to new users and then charges $39.99 for the first year of service and $19.99 for each following year. Alternatively, a $79.99 lifetime subscription is available as well. The PlayOn app for Android is available immediately in the Android Market. Hit the jump for MediaMall Technologies’ full press release along with a video explaining how it all works. More →
Roku has just announced a firmware update — version 2.9 b1509 — for its popular line of streaming media players. The new code packs various bug fixes, playback optimizations, and, most notably, 1080p video playback for the Roku XR player. If your device hasn’t yet automatically retrieved the update, you can manually grab the firmware by navigating to: Settings > Player Info > Check For Updates. More →
Here’s a bit of good news: Hulu has just announced that its Hulu Plus premium subscription service will shed $2 from its monthly price tag. As the press release reads: “The monthly price for Hulu Plus moving forward is just $7.99. Any current subscribers who joined during our preview period will receive a credit for the difference from the $9.99 preview price. This credit will automatically be applied to their next billing cycle.”
But the juice doesn’t stop there. Hulu has also announced the following promotions:
• One free week trials for all new subscribers. In addition, current subscribers who joined during the preview period will receive a credit for one week of Hulu Plus toward their next month’s subscription.
• Two free weeks of Hulu Plus for both current subscribers and friends they invite through our referral program. Subscribers can learn more by clicking on the “Referrals” tab on their Hulu profile page.
• 11 weeks ($20 worth) of free Hulu Plus with the purchase of a Sony BRAVIA connected TV or Blu-ray player through January 31, 2011. (See sony.com/huluplus.)
• One free month of Hulu Plus with the purchase of a Roku device through December 15, 2010. (See roku.com/hulu.)
The release also notes that the service is launching on Roku today and will be coming to “Internet-connected Vizio, LG Electronics, and Panasonic Blu-ray players and HDTVs; TiVo Premiere DVRs; the Xbox 360; and Western Digital’s WD TV Live Hub Media Center and WD TV Live Plus Network Media Player,” in the coming months. Updates to the Hulu Plus iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Samsung, and PlayStation 3 players will be made available this week.
Anyone reconsidering Hulu Plus after the price drop? More →
Hulu Plus, a premium Web-based video streaming service, is now available to the public. Rob Wong, product director for Hulu Plus, made the announcement Thursday on the company’s blog, saying the service is now available without need for an invitation. Hulu provides a service that allows users to stream movies and TV episodes for free to computers. Hulu Plus, which costs $9.99 each month (for the time being, at least), offers enhancements such as additional content and the ability to stream to more devices like Apple’s iPhone and the Sony PlayStation 3. Rumors suggest interest in Hulu Plus has been minimal though, thanks to widely available free content as well as subscription competition like Netflix’s Watch Instantly. Hulu claims to have had a successful closed beta period, however, and it will continue to expand the service to more devices during the current open preview period.
[Via ReadWriteWeb] More →
Following Netgear’s announcement Tuesday that it would offer a $90 set top box powered by Roku’s software, it looks as though Roku is playing with alternative models in an effort to stay competitive. Roku gained notoriety in 2008 by providing an easy solution for streaming Netflix Watch Instantly video content to television sets. The company has since expended its product through partnerships that brought additional content from the likes of Amazon Video On Demand, MLB.TV and Hulu. With a growing content library and three new hardware products starting at just $59.99, Roku still finds in the precarious position of having to compete with the likes of Google, which recently launched Google TV, and Apple, which refreshed its Apple TV offering last month.
In an effort to combat the aforementioned giants, Roku is licensing out its software. The first taker, Netgear, announced the Netgear Roku Player NTV250 earlier this week, which is already available at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Fry’s, Amazon.com and Buy.com. Roku hopes that by letting larger hardware partners do the heavy lifting, it can spread its net as wide as possible and let the simplicity of its software carry partner offerings. There’s no question Roku has a great product, but Google has shown that it plans to be very aggressive with Google TV and Apple sold a quarter-million Apple TVs in just six weeks. Roku tells BGR that its business couldn’t be better right now but with competition like Apple and Google, Roku has its work cut out for it. More →
We knew it was coming, but that doesn’t make the arrival of Applidium’s VLC Media Player universal binary any less exciting. That’s right kids, your favorite multi-format video player for the iPad is now available for the iPhone and iPod touch as well. VLC Media Player lets users sync video content to a device via iTunes in a variety of formats not formally supported by iOS. In other words, users can break free of the multimedia chains that bind their iGear. It should be noted that the new VLC Media Player build is only available for the iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and the two most recent iPod touch generations. Obviously, older hardware can’t hang with this multimedia powerhouse.
[Via Applidium] More →
With all of the options currently available for streaming movies and TV shows over the Internet, many wondered how Hulu would fare with its recently launched Hulu Plus service. The answer, as it turns out, may be not so great. Hulu Plus currently costs subscribers $9.95 per month. The subscription fee brings with it a larger catalog of content and the ability to stream Hulu on a variety of devices including the iPad, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal’s MediaMemo blog, adoption may be significantly slower than Hulu might have hoped. The company is apparently considering a 50% price drop just a few short months after having launched the service this past July. The supposed new subscription, $4.95, would certainly be much more appealing. Whether or not it will accelerate Hulu Plus adoption in the face of Netflix’s Watch Instantly service and free streaming provided on studio websites remains to be seen. More →
In a seemingly coordinated strike, Roku and TiVo both announced the availability of Hulu Plus streaming content via their respective set-top boxes. TiVo writes that they have, “teamed with Hulu to provide TiVo Premiere DVR subscribers with access to the full-array of Hulu Plus content streamed instantly to their TVs. The Hulu Plus channel will be available to all TiVo Premiere customers in the coming months.” Like the Roku offering, a Hulu Plus subscription — $9.99 per month — is required. The full press release is after the break. More →
Roku has just announced that they will be adding a Hulu Plus channel to their lineup “later this fall.” As the press release reads: “Hulu Plus offers one of the deepest offerings of TV shows, both current and classic, on a streaming platform to subscribers in the U.S. Through Hulu Plus on Roku, TV lovers can watch every episode of more than 45 current hit programs from ABC, FOX and NBC.” A Hulu Plus subscription, which will still be required, retails for $9.99 per month. We’ve got the full press release after the break. More →
The New York Times is reporting that streaming video site hulu.com is in talks with investment banks to go public as soon as this fall. The Times cites “people briefed on the matter,” and goes on to say that the IPO could “value the company at more than $2 billion.” Hulu is a joint venture of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, the Walt Disney Company, NBC Universal, and a private equity firm. A recent change in comScore’s reporting methodology caused Hulu’s monthly viewership numbers to drop from 43.5 million in May to 24 million in June. Things aren’t all bad for the video service though; comScore did register that Hulu served up 556 million ads in June of this year, which outpaces all other video sites including YouTube. What do you think? If Hulu went public would you buy? Just another dot com destined for failure on Wall Street? More →
Announced earlier today after months of speculation, Hulu Plus has finally become official. For $9.99 per month, subscribers will be able to watch their favorite shows — including those from seasons past — on a multitude of internet-connected devices. Mobile devices are a go, with iOS devices including the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, and iPod touch (3rd generation) being the main attraction at this point in time. The best part as far as mobile is concerned is that streaming will work on both Wi-Fi and 3G networks. Several internet-connected HDTVs and Blu-ray players from Samsung already have support for the streaming service, and later on in the year, both Sony and Vizio will introduce support in some of their sets ad Blu-ray players. The PlayStation 3 will support the service “soon”, while the Xbox 360 will play nice come 2011. Hulu Plus will officially launch is July, but if you’re lucky you might just be able snag a preview invite. More →
Amidst a rumor that Hulu may be rolling out is premium video service next week for testing, another rumor is surfacing that suggests the online video streaming company may be close to inking a deal with Sony. The deal could be announced as early as next week and would bring Hulu’s $9.99 monthly subscription service, dubbed Hulu Plus, to the PlayStation Network as a value-added service for PS3 owners. Late last month, a similar rumor was circulating that suggested Hulu was negotiating with Microsoft to bring Hulu to the XBOX 360. With its Hulu Plus service ready to roll out and console distribution in the works, Hulu is apparently trying to grab a bigger slice of the online entertainment market while the market is still ripe for the picking. The timing of this market grab is apropos as Hulu’s licensing agreements with its content providers is set to expire at the end of 2011. A revenue-generating distribution method on two of three major console platforms would be a valuable negotiating tool, no? More →