Research In Motion is currently working on a media box codenamed “BlackBerry Cyclone” that will launch later this fall, BlackBerry news site NerdBerry.net reports. The rumored media hub is said to be similar to Apple’s iOS-based Apple TV box, which connects to a television and plays streaming video content from iTunes. The BlackBerry Cyclone’s purported capabilities include Netflix streaming, YouTube streaming and streaming from media devices connected to the same Wi-Fi network. The unit will also reportedly feature an HDMI-out port. The move would be a peculiar one from RIM, as it does not have an iTunes competitor to speak of and even with the extremely popular multimedia market, the Apple TV has not been an overly successful device for Apple. The Cupertino-based company announced the million-unit milestone for its refreshed Apple TV late last year, but we haven’t heard much about it since that time. RIM is also in the midst of prepping its first QNX-powered smartphone for release in 2012, not to mention seven BlackBerry handsets due to launch later this year, so we would hope the bulk of its attention is focused on these infinitely more important products. More →
When we last heard from social media listening firm Mashwork, we learned that future smartphone buyers were much more interested in purchasing the Samsung Galaxy S II than the 4G-friendly Motorola DROID BIONIC. Mashwork is back on Monday with some more interesting findings: according to the firm’s latest research, 45% more people prefer Netflix over Hulu Plus than vice versa. Pulling data from 10,283 relevant tweets between June 28th and July 6th, 2011, 29% of all users prefer Netflix over Hulu Plus for streaming movies and TV shows, while 20% prefer Hulu Plus over Netflix. Also of note, 51% of those accounted for in Mashwork’s study use both services and are hoping to cut the cord with their cable or satellite TV providers. Hulu certainly would like to have been positioned better in the study; Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed at a recent Allen & Co conference that Hulu owners NBCUniversal, News Corp and Disney/ABC Television Group are currently trying to sell the company. Mashwork’s full infographic follows below. More →
To say Android fans had mixed emotions earlier this month when Netflix finally released its Android app is an understatement. On the one hand, the app is finally here, which is obviously great news. On the other hand, Netflix only made the app available on five of the many, many Android phones currently on the market. But we have good news for those of you with an Android device not currently supported by the Netflix app: your pals over at xda-developers forum have figured out a workaround that will let you install the app and stream all the movies and TV shows you can handle — and you won’t even need to root your phone. The workaround is tested and working on plenty of devices and it couldn’t be easier to do; you’ll just have to change a setting and then install one of the Netflix apps linked in the xda thread. Of note, most AT&T devices won’t be supported until a fix is implemented, but that should be coming in the near future. Check out the via link below for the how-to, and the files you’ll need can be found through the read link. More →
A bankruptcy judge on Thursday approved Dish Network’s winning bid and gave it the OK to acquire Blockbuster for $320 million. Dish’s bid topped other bidders including Cobalt Video, a group of hedge funds lead by Monarch Alternative Capital, and billionaire investor Carl Icahn earlier this week at an auction for Blockbuster’s business and assets. New York Judge Burton Lifland gave his approval in bankruptcy court, and Dish will now assume control of 1,700 remaining Blockbuster locations, the company’s DVD-by-mail business and its streaming video business. Now that a judge has approved the deal, Dish is expected to pay roughly $228 million for Blockbuster when factoring in the value of the fallen video giant’s remaining cash and other assets. Proceeds from the sale will help Blockbuster’s creditors, which include multiple movie studios and Carl Icahn, reclaim a portion of the $1 billion they are collectively owed. More →
Pending approval at a hearing scheduled for Thursday, Dish Network will acquire Blockbuster Inc. following an auction that took place earlier this week. The company’s winning bid was approximately $320 million but the acquisition is expected to land at about $228 million in cash, taking into account Blockbuster’s inventory, available cash and other adjustments. Blockbuster was put up for sale at an auction on Monday following its recent bankruptcy filing, and several companies competed for control of Blockbuster’s business and assets. Dish’s winning bid topped several other bidders including Cobalt Video, a group of hedge funds lead by Monarch Alternative Capital, and billionaire investor Carl Icahn. “Blockbuster will complement our existing video offerings while presenting cross-marketing and service extension opportunities for Dish Network,” said Dish Network’s EVP of sales, marketing and programing, Tom Cullen. More →
Motorola on Wednesday announced that it has closed a deal to acquire Swedish IPTV software company Dreampark. The terms of the acquisition, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2011, were not disclosed. Dreampark’s core software product is called Dreamgallery, a middleware solution that allows operators to provide services over television networks. Motorola will integrate Dreamgallery and other Dreampark solutions into its Motorola Medios software suite. “This transaction enables us to continue to enhance our Medios software portfolio and capitalize upon the convergence of wireless technology, media, mobile computing and the Internet,” said Motorola Mobility’s SVP and GM of Converged Experiences, John Burke, in a statement. “With the acquisition of Dreampark, Motorola Mobility will strengthen its ability to provide systems integrators, service providers, enterprises and content providers with innovative solutions for deploying converged media experiences. It’s great to have the Dreampark team on board.” Hit the break for the full press release. More →
In a meeting with analysts, Redbox President Mitch Lowe reaffirmed the Coinstar-owned company’s plans to launch a Netflix “Watch Instantly” competitor this year. Coinstar CEO Paul Davis first confirmed the forthcoming service last year during an earnings call, though he would not specify whether the company’s Internet streaming service would utilize an all-you-can-eat pricing model or and a la carte model. Lowe has now confirmed that the service will be subscription-based, but he did not indicate price points for the service. Redbox currently owns and operates a large network of unmanned DVD rental kiosks located throughout the country. These self-service kiosks, which are stocked with new releases and popular recent titles, allow customers to rent DVDs for as little as $1. Redbox still has not revealed a partner for its upcoming streaming service, though rumors suggest Amazon may be the most likely candidate. More →
According to an unconfirmed report in The Wall Street Journal Monday, Amazon.com is in the early stages of developing a subscription streaming service that will compete with Netflix’s “Watch Instantly.” Citing anonymous sources, WSJ reports that the service will look to undercut Netflix’s offering, though no other points of differentiation were mentioned.
Amazon.com Inc. is developing a Netflix-like subscription service that would offer TV shows and movies, according to people familiar with the matter. That service would be included as a bundle with its Amazon Prime shipping service, which costs $79 a year, those people said.
Amazon Prime gives members free two-day shipping on all Amazon.com orders. It also offers overnight shipping for $3.99 per item. Lumping in streaming movies and TV shows for free with this unrelated service would be a peculiar move at best, though it would mirror Netflix’s original strategy, in a way. Though the company recently launched a streaming-only plan for $7.99 per month, Netflix first introduced Watch Instantly as a free add-on for its DVDs-by-mail service. At $79 per year, Amazon.com’s service would be $17 less expensive per year than Netflix’s least expensive streaming package. More →
It might not have launched with a new name or an App Store as rumors suggested, but Apple’s refreshed set top box still managed to find its way into plenty of living rooms following its launch last month. The new iOS-powered Apple TV became available in early September and according to Apple’s earnings call this past Monday, the company has sold over 250,000 units in the six weeks since its release. It looks like Apple TV isn’t such a bad hobby after all. Unlike less popular Apple TV models of generations past, the new Apple TV is very affordable at $99. It also offers TV show rentals for just 99 cents, HD movie rentals for as little as $3.99, and it supports Netflix’s Watch Instantly streaming video service. Firm rumors that the media box will soon have access to third-party apps persist, so it will be interesting to see if the introduction of an App Store will increase Apple TV’s already impressive sales pace.
It looks like Xboxers might not be the only gaming console owners who will be able enjoy Netflix streaming in the future, provided customers show interest that is. A new survey currently being conducted by Netflix asks users a variety of questions surrounding the idea of streaming Netflix content directly to their Wii consoles. The survey also questions what the requirement to purchase a $10 “Netflix Instant Streaming Disc” would do to Wii streaming desirability, leading us to believe Nintendo has absolutely no interest in making the service available any time soonvia a firmware update. $10 to stream to the Wii and avoid purchasing and setting up yet another hardware device? Count us in. Reports also suggest a similar survey covering PlayStation 3 is currently being circulated. What do you guys think — would you pay $10 to add Netflix streaming to your Wii or PS3?
Thanks, Jon Jon!