Apple’s upcoming streaming TV service again tipped by CBS CEO

By on March 12, 2012 at 7:35 AM.

Apple’s upcoming streaming TV service again tipped by CBS CEO

Apple CEO Steve Jobs approached CBS approximately one year ago in an attempt to secure a content deal for a streaming television service that was in development at the time. CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves publicly spoke of the negotiations once before during an earnings call late last year, and now he is quoted again after having reportedly discussed the matter on stage during a presentation at the UCLA Entertainment Symposium. “I told Steve, ‘You know more than me about 99 percent of things but I know more about the television business,’ ” Moonves said according to Hollywood Reporter. Moonves said he denied Jobs access to CBS content for the service out of fear it might disrupt CBS’s existing revenue streams. Apple is reportedly still working on a unique streaming TV service that it intends to launch alongside an Apple-branded HDTV later this year. Some reports suggest the service may treat channels like apps, allowing users to subscribe to individual channels or groups of channels a la carte. More →

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Comcast will not offer Netflix to subscribers

By on March 9, 2012 at 8:45 PM.

Comcast will not offer Netflix to subscribers

On Tuesday, a report surfaced claiming Netflix was in talks with some of the largest cable companies in the U.S. to discuss integrating the company’s streaming product into cable services. The report stated that at least one cable provider was considering the launch of a trial run before the end of the year. Comcast, however, will not be that company, FierceCable reported. “We have no plans to offer access to Netflix to our customers through our Xfinity TV service, no matter what device,” Comcast spokeswoman Alana Davis said. The cable company recently launched “Streampix,” a subscription video service that competes with Netflix, allowing Xfinity subscribers to access TV series and movies from PCs and mobile devices. More →

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Netflix adds iTunes sign up and 1080p HD support to Apple TV

By on March 8, 2012 at 7:25 AM.

Netflix adds iTunes sign up and 1080p HD support to Apple TV

Netflix on Wednesday announced that users can now sign up for the service directly through Apple TV, and pay for it with their iTunes account. The company also announced that it will be offering 1080p HD streaming to Apple’s new set-top box. Apple unveiled its new Apple TV unit during the company’s press conference in San Francisco. Along with 1080p support, the new set-top box features a brand new user interface with support for Genius recommendations, Photo Stream and iTunes Match. Netflix’s new sign up and payment features will be available to customers in the United States, Canada, Latin America, the United Kingdom and Ireland. More →

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Netflix in talks with cable companies to bundle streaming service

By on March 7, 2012 at 8:00 PM.

Netflix in talks with cable companies to bundle streaming service

Netflix’s chief executive Reed Hastings has been meeting with some of the largest cable companies in the U.S. to discuss integrating the company’s streaming product into cable services, Reuters reported on Tuesday. The site’s source said that at least one cable provider may experiment and offer the streaming service before the end of the year. If a partnership were to come from these talks, cable operators could offer Netflix as an additional on-demand option that would be added onto a subscriber’s monthly cable bill. The cable industry originally viewed Netflix as a threat to its $100 billion-a-year business, fearing users would abandon more expensive packages in favor of cheap online streaming services. Having Netflix as an added option could be appealing to many cable companies in an effort to retain “cord cutting” customers. “It’s not in the short term, but it’s in the natural direction for us in the long term,” said Hastings during an investor conference last week. “Many [cable service providers] would like to have a competitor to HBO, and they would bid us off of HBO.” More →

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Google reportedly looking to dump Motorola’s set-top box business

By on March 7, 2012 at 5:00 PM.

Google reportedly looking to dump Motorola’s set-top box business

Google is reportedly looking to sell the set-top box business it will inherit from Motorola Mobility before its acquisition of the company closes, The New York Post reported on Wednesday. CEO Larry Page previously claimed the manufacturer’s set-top division would help Google revolutionize the living room. Many people, however, view the clunky cable box as an obstacle to newer and more advanced technology that integrate TV and the Internet. According to Infonetics, a company that tracks the set-top box market, last year was the sector’s peak and sales will see a sharp decline this year and in the future. Motorola attempted to sell the business for $4.5 billion in 2009, however the sale was unsuccessful. The Post claims that Google is looking to sell the business for between $2.5 billion and $4 billion. More →

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Apple announces 1080p Apple TV, available March 16th for $99

By on March 7, 2012 at 1:13 PM.

Apple announces 1080p Apple TV, available March 16th for $99

Apple on Wednesday unveiled an updated Apple TV with a new streamlined user interface during the company’s press conference in San Francisco. The iOS-based set top box supports 1080p content, Genius recommendations, iTunes Match, Photo Stream and TV shows will be available the day after they air. “People are going to love streaming movies and TV shows in 1080p with the new Apple TV, and photos look beautiful displayed at the maximum resolution of your TV,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Apple TV is easier than ever to use with its new icon-based interface and the ability to access your purchased movies, TV shows and music right from iCloud.” The new Apple TV retains the same $99 price tag, and it will be available on March 16th with pre-orders starting today. Read on for Apple’s press release. More →

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Amazon reportedly working on original TV content

By on March 7, 2012 at 10:35 AM.

Amazon reportedly working on original TV content

As Amazon continues to expand its business into new areas, the company reportedly plans to follow Netflix’s lead and introduce original TV content in the future. Rumors suggesting the Seattle-based retail giant was planning an entrance into the original programming game first surfaced last month, and now Forbes reports that a recent hire at Amazon reinforces earlier reports. Joe Lewis, formerly with Comedy Central and 20th Century Fox, briefly listed his new job title as “Vice-President of Original TV at Amazon” until Fortune contacted him for comment on Tuesday. The executive then promptly changed his title to “Vice-President, Production at Amazon Studios.” No other information about Lewis’s role at Amazon or Amazon’s possible original programming efforts were made available. Streaming video rival Netflix released season 1 of its first original series “Lilyhammer” last month, and it has at least two other series — new original seasons of “Arrested Development” and “House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey — in the works. More →

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Google developing Siri-like voice commands, proximity-based controls for Google TV

By on February 20, 2012 at 12:00 PM.

Google developing Siri-like voice commands, proximity-based controls for Google TV

A patent filed by Google showcases a new technology that could enable users to control Google TV-equipped devices using their voices, reports Patently Apple. Using a specific smartphone app, users could be able to speak commands or queries that are then acted upon by a television, a set-top box, a DVD player or another device equipped with Google TV, according to the patent filing. The patent documentation also mentions an interesting feature where “the provision of the query to the television may occur when the user is within a set distance of his home also (e.g., by determining with GPS functionality on the smartphone that he is within 1/4 mile of the home), and the television may be turned on automatically as he approaches the home, with the television tuned to a channel that is determined to be most relevant to the query.” Google’s technology can also be applied to music, allowing users to remotely set up a playlist to be streamed on a TV or other device. Whether or not we can expect Google TV products to launch with the functionality described in this patent is unknown. More →

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Growth of global TV shipments to slow in 2012

By on February 10, 2012 at 11:30 PM.

Growth of global TV shipments to slow in 2012

The growth of global LCD TV shipments is expected to fall in 2012, according to market research firm GfK. The company believes that in 2012, growth will come from emerging markets as demand from the U.S. and Europe will subside. Global TV shipments grew 12% in 2011, and that rate is expected to slow to an estimated 7% growth rate this year. In total, GfK expects vendors to ship 225 million LCD TVs worldwide in 2012, Digitimes reports. Samsung, the world’s largest TV vendor by shipment volume, has vowed to sell more than 50 million units into global channels this year. More →

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Samsung unveils new remote with Siri-like voice controls and touch support

By on February 7, 2012 at 1:40 PM.

Samsung unveils new remote with Siri-like voice controls and touch support

Samsung has developed a new universal remote control for its televisions and home theater accessories that ditches dozens of buttons in favor of Siri-like voice command support and a touch pad. As Apple reportedly readies an assault on the TV industry, established vendors such as Sony, LG and Samsung looked to cut the Cupertino-based firm off at the pass during this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. All the big names at this year’s show added voice controls and gesture support to their flagship HDTVs, and now Samsung has taken the wraps off its new voice-controlled universal remote, Nikkei’s Tech-On blog reports. The device allows users to speak commands in many cases rather than typing on a keyboard or pressing buttons, and it uses a combination of Bluetooth and infrared connectivity to improve reliability. While Samsung hasn’t yet stated exactly which devices will be compatible with its new remote, it did say TVs, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and other accessories will be supported. More →

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Apple’s Siri-enabled iTV already being tested by potential partners, report claims

By on February 7, 2012 at 7:30 AM.

Apple’s Siri-enabled iTV already being tested by potential partners, report claims

Prototypes of Apple’s upcoming HDTV are already being tested by multiple potential carrier partners Apple is trying to woo, The Globe and Mail reports. The Canadian paper calls the iTV “a product that has the potential to revolutionize TV viewing by turning conventional televisions into gigantic iPads,” and claims at least two Canadian carriers are currently testing the Apple television in their labs. Apple’s forthcoming iTV can be controlled using voice commands or by making gestures in the air, and it supports Web browsing as well according to the report. Apple is said to be in talks with Canadian carriers Rogers and BCE regarding potential broadcast partnerships in Canada, though the content and terms Apple is seeking are unclear. Apple is expected to launch an iOS-powered HDTV later this year that will replace the conventional remote control with voice commands interpreted by Siri. The iTV may also offer a customized channel subscription model and iOS app support according to earlier rumors. More →

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Season 1 of Netflix’s first original series ‘Lilyhammer’ is now live

By on February 6, 2012 at 8:30 PM.

Season 1 of Netflix’s first original series ‘Lilyhammer’ is now live

The debut season of Netflix’s first original series “Lilyhammer” is now available on demand to all Netflix “Watch Instantly” subscribers. All eight episodes of the series’ first season can be streamed beginning Tuesday, and the show is available in high definition. Lilyhammer is the first in a string of original content Netflix is working on in an effort to create an all-inclusive online-only network that will truly pose a real threat to traditional pay TV networks. The show features Steven Van Zandt of “The Sopranos” fame, who stars as a relocated New York City gangster trying to make a new life for himself in a small town in Norway. Netflix is working on more original content that will launch this year, including a new season of “Arrested Development” and “House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey. More →

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Corning and Samsung form joint venture to combine ‘Lotus Glass’ with OLED displays

By on February 3, 2012 at 8:00 PM.

Corning and Samsung form joint venture to combine ‘Lotus Glass’ with OLED displays

Samsung and Corning — best known for its Gorilla Glass products — announced a new joint venture this week that will manufacture specialty glass substrates for OLED displays. The joint venture will be based in South Korea and will combine Samsung’s OLED display technology with Corning’s ultra tough Lotus Glass substrate. The new displays will be utilized in mobile devices as well as larger products, such as televisions, and will be used in Samsung products and sold to other South Korean manufacturers. “Corning and Samsung have a long and successful partnership in the display industry, dating back nearly 40 years to the early days of television,” Corning chairman, President and CEO Wendell P. Weeks said. “The strength of our business relationship is built on Corning’s ability to develop and make high-technology glass with the key attributes that enable Samsung’s next-generation displays.” Samsung’s full press release follows after the break.  More →

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