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 →
Folks on the fence about a Roku box may be swayed by the news that Roku is teaming up with Clearleap to bring on-demand cable TV programing to the video streaming platform. Clearleap is a growing company that serves as the middle man between cable, satellite and telephone companies that have on-demand content and video streaming services like Roku that want to dish up this content. This arrangement would allow Roku users to purchase on-demand movies from their television provider via their Roku box and have all charges tacked onto their monthly TV bill. That’s definitely great for those with more than one TV in their house, and could also potentially allow television providers the option to offer the Roku box as a cable box alternative. Roku’s move towards providing traditional video-on-demand content is still in its infancy as no content providers have currently jumped on board. But if and when this on-demand service materializes, Roku owners will only have to download an update with the on-demand application to activate the service. More →
Verizon couch potatoes throw your hands up! If you have a DROID or Eris on Verizon, and you’re a FiOS customer, you can get FiOS Mobile on your phone now. You can check TV listings, adjust parental controls, set your DVR and even check out Videos On Demand with the new mobile application. Verizon also included a nifty little storage space indicator to let you know when it’s time to delete those episodes of Jersey Shore that you’ve already seen a dozen times. Let us know how it works out for you, will you? More →
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.
While there’s nothing more than a rogue screen-shot to go by at the moment, we wouldn’t rule this one out as a possible feature of the upcoming Roku software revision. Currently in private beta, Roku is testing its new Amazon VOD integration into what was previously a one-trick Netflix streaming pony. The integration with Amazon Video was a boon for anyone looking to extend the functionality of their little Roku and if the shot above is to be believed, we might see that value extended even further. Sounds good, right? While it’s still quite a ways off from being a direct competitor to the Apple TV, the price is far more appealing for anyone looking to add a bit of streaming VOD to their home theater setup and it’s becoming more and more viable as a legitimate option for serious movie and video enthusiasts. Now all we need is a little Hulu support and we’ll consider ourselves more than happy. You listening Roku? Mmmmk, thanks.