Microsoft has begun to roll out an update for its Xbox Live service that includes new on-demand content from Comcast, along with apps from HBO and MLB, GigaOM reported on Monday. The launch these services will give users the ability to search through a wide range of content directly from their game console. In October, Microsoft announced a number of new content partners that would deliver movies, television shows and other content to its popular Xbox 360 game console. The system had already received updates that included apps from Verizon, Epix, Vevo, Vudu and YouTube. The launch of HBO Go comes as little surprise. In February, the company’s co-president Eric Kessler told reporters that the Xbox HBO Go app would go live on April 1st, in time for the season premiere of “Game of Thrones.” Microsoft fans noted that the company always releases updates on Tuesdays, however, and it was unlikely for HBO to roll out an update the day of the premiere to avoid download complications. More →
We knew that Cablevision was involved in creating an iPad app that enables the viewing of TV content, but we didn’t know that the app would offer iPad owners a better experience than FIOS’ and Time Warner Cable’s offerings. Cablevision’s Optimum app lets you, from behind your own network at home, view your entire channel lineup directly from up to two iPads simultaneously, complete with program guide information, access to the company’s more than 2,000 VOD offerings with the rest coming this summer, while also letting you record and control your DVR directly from the app. After entering my Optimum account username and password, I was immediately able to access every Optimum channel that I subscribe to from my iPad, and after some quick buffering, video looked absolutely great. It doesn’t look like you’re able to currently watch any recorded video from your DVR, but that’s not such a big deal in my book. Cablevision told me that their app doesn’t use the internet to deliver video to your iPad, nor is the content streamed, rather it’s sent over the company’s network just as it works with your set-top box. If you are an Optimum customer that doesn’t have a cable modem, Optimum will provide an internet-blocked cable modem for free that will enable you to use the iPad app with a user-provider secure wireless router. Cablevision also said that they plan to deploy the same experience to other devices, so we anticipate an iPhone and Android app in the future. Check out some screenshots of the app in our gallery, and if you’re an Optimum cable customer, the app is available for free in the App Store. Press release after the break.
Today, Verizon announced a new video application that will allow subscribers of their FiOS television service to watch live, linear programming on an iPad. Before anyone gets too excited, the application — which is scheduled to be released early next year — does have one fairly enormous catch. As reported by Gigaom, “subscribers with an iPad will only be able to watch linear programming within their own home, which allows Verizon to authenticate and make certain that the users have access to whatever content they have paid for.” Verizon has said that all the backend legwork to make the TV streams available has been completed; they are now woking on getting content providers comfortable with the idea of their precious shows being available on devices other than television sets.
Verizon also announced a new video-on-demand application that will debut in Q4. The application, “will allow subscribers to purchase and rent videos and watch them across multiple devices and multiple platforms,” including the DROID X, DROID 2, BlackBerry Storm and handsets running Windows Mobile 6.5 (wah?).
All pretty exciting stuff in the mobile entertainment realm. Our one question is: why would we want to watch TV on a 9.7-inch iPad screen when we’re in the same vicinity as our HDTV? Thoughts? More →
With our US-centric focus, we often forget that globally, WiMAX has over 500 network deployments in more than 145 countries. One of the current hotbeds for WiMAX deployment is the Asia-Pacific region which is expected to see explosive growth over the next two years. Capitalizing on this growth opportunity is InfoValue, a US-based IPTV company. InfoValue has announced the launch of its newest IPTV service, which promises to deliver high quality live TV and interactive video-on-demand over WiMAX networks in the burgeoning Asia-Pacific market. They claim the service can deliver a consistent, high-quality H.264 stream in moving vehicles, handling tower to tower handoffs with ease. Sweet! Now if they could just get Sprint to jump on board and bring real mobile TV to the US… Full press release after the break.
Hot on the heels of Apple’s recent announcement of HD movie rentals and purchases, Amazon is rumored to be readying HD content for its Amazon Video on Demand service. Apparently Google search bots have indexed some Amazon pages, like the Law & Order page above, that show HD content for $2.99 per episode. The same cached pages also suggest the availability of season passes for this HD content — a potentially great feature if the price is right. Clicking on any link within the cached pages bring you to the main page of Amazon’s Video on Demand page suggesting that this HD content is not ready to go live… At least not yet. It’s probably safe to assume however, that a formal announcement will be coming soon.
Roku announced this morning that it would be adding Amazon Video On Demand to its portfolio of available online video content, bringing the grand total up to two. Roku owners will be able to rent or purchase movies and televisions shows from Amazon’s 40,000-title-strong Video On Demand service after an update that will be rolled out over the course of the next week to enable this service on all Roku boxes. With Netflix as the cornerstone, Amazon content as a supplement and YouTube supposedly on the way, the $99 Roku box keeps looking better and better.
Roku has just announced support for Amazon Unbox Video on Demand movie streaming with its diminutive Netlix set-top box. Up until today, the little box was capable of streaming Netflix content to your friendly living room television set. It’s a great step in the right direction, providing access to Amazon’s more than 40,000 title library, and greatly increasing the relative value of the $99 box. That being said, we’re still not entirely sold on the value of the system, given the generally limited reach of both the Netflix streaming and Amazon on Demand catalogs. Couple that fact with a somewhat awkward user interface and you have a good idea that’s still somewhat flawed in its execution. That said, it certainly looks like the company is committed to increasing content and providing more value down the road, so we’ll continue to keep our eyes open in the hopes that some of our gripes will be heard.
Listen up, couch potatoes! It looks like NetFlix and Vudu might not be the only streaming services that will offer up a high definition content. Opening up Amazon Video On Demand on your TiVo now shows a tab called “Available in High Definition,” but apparently clicking on it does nothing. A teaser, maybe? Or a slip up? We get the feeling that we’ll all find out very soon, but it seems as though it’s a done deal. Blockbuster is going to have to do something about the “DVD quality” streams they’ll be doing via set-top boxes in order to keep up with the game. So, if you subscribe to Amazon’s video service and would like to do us a favor, keep clicking it every five minutes and tell as soon as it works, thanks. Otherwise, we’ll keep you all updated as soon as we find out ourselves.
Although it’s still in beta (read: bugs galore), we’re pretty excited about the new Amazon Video On Demand streaming media store. Launched this morning, the service provides customers access to a wide collection of content, boasting over 40,000 titles with plans to expand even further in the coming months. Unlike services like iTunes that download massive files directly to your hard drive, Amazon streams the media from its servers, delivering a near instant-on solution. As Amazon’s VP of Digital Media says, “For the first time, this is drop dead simple.” It’s a bold statement, and we’d wager that there are still a number of appealing alternatives out there, but if this plays out anything like the company’s entry into the DRM-free music market, it should prove to be a formidable competitor to the current leaders.