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Apple's TV Plans Come Into Focus
March 18, 2015
Apple is expected to launch a Web-TV service this fall, offering 25 channels of content from various providers. Its pending move "is yet another sign that the traditional pay-TV provider lock on programming distribution continues to erode," said IDC analyst Greg Ireland. "The availability of more options ... will attract attention from cord-cutters and current pay-TV subscribers alike."
Samsung Offers Free Milk to All
March 12, 2015
Samsung has opened its Milk Music streaming music service to anyone via a Web browser, one year after introducing it on its mobile devices. "In a word, why?" questioned Mike Goodman, director of digital media at Strategy Analytics. "There's Pandora, there's Spotify, there's Google Music Play ... . They're offering a lot of the same things everybody else is offering."
Apple Springs Bevy of New Products at Watch Event
March 9, 2015
The Apple Watch wasn't the only new product to take the stage at Apple's Monday media event -- Apple also introduced an all-new sleek MacBook. In addition, Apple nabbed the chance to be the exclusive launch partner for HBO's new streaming subscription service. Among the event highlights: Apple Watch will be available for preorder April 10, sale April 24; and Apple Watch Edition starts at $10,000.
The Great War's Untapped Video Game Opportunities
March 5, 2015
It's fair to say that game developers have missed an opportunity with World War I. It was the first conflict to see aircraft used in combat, the first to see tanks and other armored vehicles make an appearance on the battlefield, and the first war in more than a century to completely draw in the major powers of the world. WWI should be a setting ripe for action and strategy games.
Nvidia's Shield Takes On Crysis With Confidence
March 4, 2015
Nvidia on Tuesday unveiled Shield, an Android TV console that in addition to playing content locally, can stream video games, movies, music, apps and more. Yes, it can play Crysis. That claim, a measure of a gaming PC's power a few years ago, is how Nvidia is marketing the Shield console. Nvidia's Shield Tablet led the way with its Tegra K1 processor and its ability to play Android ports of AAA games natively.
Making Sense of the Muddled In-Home Entertainment Market
February 20, 2015
The global access and entertainment services marketplace continues its pace of dramatic change, as broadband services achieve new levels of penetration and speed worldwide. Emerging markets are experiencing rapid growth, as many homes obtain high-speed broadband services for the first time. Pay TV is seeing a similar pattern in global growth.
BitTorrent's Original Content Deal Makes Bid for Reputability
February 11, 2015
BitTorrent will begin to offer a series of original movies, dubbed "BitTorrent Originals," in a bid to enter the content entertainment space later this year. BitTorrent inked a deal with Rapid Eye Studios to handle original video content for its BitTorrent Bundle platform, which launched in May 2013. More than 10,000 publishers have joined the platform, according to company officials.
Dish Network Slings New TV Service
February 9, 2015
Dish Network on Monday officially launched Sling TV, its widely anticipated US$20 per month streaming service, and further announced that customers could sign up for a "Sports Extra" add-on pack for $5 per month. The service, which is available now via a one-week free trial, can be accessed via Roku devices, and through Android, iOS, Mac and PC devices -- with support for Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick coming soon.
YouTube Halftime Show Sets Stage for Cross-Channel Ads
February 3, 2015
On Sunday evening, as a record 114.4 million people watched Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott rock out during the Super Bowl's halftime show, another show was under way, as well. For the first time, Google's YouTube hosted its own version of halftime on Super Bowl Sunday during roughly the same time slot.
Amazon to Produce Original Movie House Fare
January 20, 2015
Amazon Studios on Monday announced it would begin to produce and acquire original movies for release in theaters. Amazon Prime customers will be on an early distribution list, with the movies becoming available to them four to eight weeks after their theatrical debuts. The goal is to create around 12 movies a year. Amazon will focus on up-and-coming filmmakers.
Dish Slings Tastier TV to Millennials
January 6, 2015
Dish Network on Monday unveiled Sling TV, its live OTT television service, at the 2015 International CES in Las Vegas. Sling TV will be offered to consumers without a contract, starting at $20 per month. It will be available early this year through a variety of devices. This new service is not meant to complement Dish Network's existing satellite pay-TV service. Instead, it targets cord-cutters.
Netflix's Very Big Deal
December 22, 2014
Dish Network last week announced that it had integrated the Netflix app into its set-top box. The video streaming service is now available to Dish subscribers with a second-generation Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR. This integration of the services allows Dish customers the ability to stream Netflix movies and TV shows from the same platform that is used to access linear TV channels.
Google's Cardboard VR Kit Is Really No Joke
December 17, 2014
Google last week announced an updated app for its minimalist Cardboard virtual-reality viewer, as well as software development kits for both Android and the Unity game engine. It also published new building specifications for those interested in making their own Cardboard viewers and announced that it's hiring more people to work on the project, with five new positions now open.
2014's Top Google Play Picks: Fitness, Netflix, Frozen and More
December 12, 2014
Health and fitness was the fastest-growing category of apps on Google Play this year, according to a report Google published on Thursday. MyFitnessPal was the most-downloaded app within that category, while Duolingo led the education category. Facebook was top among social apps named in the report, which listed the most popular apps, games, movies, music, news and books in 2014 on Google Play.
No Respite for Sony
December 12, 2014
Since the hacker group calling itself "Guardians of Peace" announced its attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment late last month, things have gone downhill for the company. After confidential documents were leaked to the Internet over several days, a denouement of sorts was reached last week, when a security company examining the stolen data discovered nearly 50,000 Social Security numbers.
Grooveshark Tries a Different Tack
December 9, 2014
Grooveshark on Monday confirmed that it will launch a new mobile app that allows subscribers to chat while listening to user-created music stations. Dubbed "Broadcasts," the new app will debut next month, offering an ad-free social radio listening experience on both Android and iOS. Stations will be "created by people rather than by algorithms," said spokesperson James Pearson.
Apple Doesn't Need No Stinking Streaming Media Stick!
December 5, 2014
In the first three quarters of 2014, the Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV made stunning gains in sales activity versus the market-leading Roku and the No. 2 device from 2012 and 2013, the Apple TV. Roku snapped up 29 percent of sales, while Google Chromecast rose to claim 20 percent, edging past the Apple TV's 17 percent. The Amazon Fire TV, which launched in April, is already in fourth place.
Amazon Free Video Could Hook Non-Prime Audience
November 24, 2014
Amazon reportedly plans to introduce a new ad-supported streaming video service early next year. The new service will be separate from Amazon's Prime membership offering, which already includes a video-streaming component. That Amazon already has a presence in the streaming video market is almost beside the point. The growth projections for this type of service are very high.
Gadget Ogling: A Creepy Echo, Clever Home Connections, Bizarre Smartphones and Flexible 3D Printing
November 15, 2014
Echo, Amazon's newest attempt at a smart personal assistant, is set to take pride of place in your home. The black tower is voice-activated and can play music, as well as provide information and news updates. It's from Amazon, so it also can update your shopping list. It's always on, so it's continually listening to you, wherever you are in a room. That's just more than a little unsettling.
Ubisoft Under Siege for Glitch-Filled Assassin's Creed
November 14, 2014
Ubisoft on Friday released a second patch for Assassin's Creed: Unity, in an effort to quell the uproar that has arisen over problems with the game. The first patch was released earlier this week. Ubisoft has been the target of harsh criticism from gamers and game reviewers alike for releasing Assassin's Creed: Unity with numerous bugs and glitches.
Nvidia Flips Grid's Game-Streaming Switch
November 13, 2014
Nvidia on Thursday officially launched its Grid on-demand game-streaming service. Due to become available on Nov. 18 in North America, Grid will be free through June 30, 2015, for users of Nvidia Shield tablets and portable devices. "We intend to build Grid into a premium cloud gaming service, and the best global service," said Nvidia spokesperson Brian Burke.
Microsoft Spiffs Up Xbox One
November 10, 2014
Microsoft on Monday announced that it had begun rolling out its Xbox One November Systems Update, which will be its final major update for the console for 2014. The improvements will deliver new ways for owners to watch TV, personalize the game system, and interact with the Xbox Live gaming community, as well as provide new integration with Xbox One Store and Microsoft's SmartGlass platform.
Amazon's Echo Plays Hard to Get
November 7, 2014
Amazon on Thursday announced Echo, a speaker with a built-in voice-activated personal digital assistant. Think of a cylindrical Bose SoundLink Mini married to Siri, Cortana or Google Voice -- or heck, living in sin with all three. Echo can conduct Web searches, add items to your to-do list, let you play streaming music, and give you news and weather reports, among other things.
YouTube Warms to Subscription Model
October 30, 2014
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki this week said that her team was in the early stages of exploring a new subscription business model. Wojcicki didn't offer any specific details, but she did suggest that one option might include an ad-free service. That would be a big change from YouTube's current advertising-only approach. At some point, people won't want to see ads, Wojcicki said.

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