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This morning, Pandora announced a new way of accessing the service through television when it unveiled its new website TV.Pandora.com which is built using HTML5. Pandora says that the new HTML5 app offers easier navigation and controls than previous designs.
According to Pandora, you can access the new site today from TV web browsers such as those featured on smart TVs and consoles like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The company says it plans to expand into the next-generation consoles as well as future smart TVs.
"We imagine a future where web-based standards can be the answer to that question," Tom Conrad, Pandora's CTO said in an interview. "We're pointing the industry in that direction with this announcement." This new offering comes as Pandora operates without a CEO and as revenues plummet as services like Spotify and Google Play Music All Access rise in popularity.
It's Prime time for Dora and pals: Amazon lands exclusive deal with Viacom after Netflix license expires
Early this morning, Amazon announced that it would be exclusively adding thousands of TV episodes from media powerhouse of Viacom to its Prime subscription service. While the content is mostly kids programming, such as shows like Dora the Explorer and Blue's Clues, the demographic the shows are aimed at equals billions of dollars in revenue.
Citing a source close to the deal, The Verge is reporting that the exclusive licensing contract cost Amazon several hundred million dollars. Viacom's library will be available to Prime members on the company's Kindle Free Time service which is a $2.99 per month subscription tacked on to the yearly Prime membership fee.
So where does this leave Netflix? The company will still have Disney programming as well as hundreds of other cartoons and children shows. Amazon does, however, seem to have a very strong advantage with several of Viacom's properties being the largest children shows on TV.
Hulu has updated the living room experience for their Plus service. This update comes during a time when rumors of potential buyout suitors continue to pop up. The new update brings with it a new look, search, controls, and a new kids section, which could partially be in response to Netflix losing its Viacom content.
Hulu has updated the experience on Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players, Roku set-top boxes, and--coming soon--Nintendo's Wii. Navigation, controls, search, and artwork have all been improved. Hulu has also introduced theme-based suggestions, including "Movies for Memorial Day" or "Time-Traveling Heroes."
Hulu has also added a new kid-friendly section that provides commercial-free children's programming. These updates should roll out to Samsung and Roku devices within 48 hours.
We all thought the Transformers franchise would end with Dark of the Moon, the third outing in Michael Bay's CG-filled movies, but Transformers 4 has begun filming. Principal photography has started for Transformers 4, which sees Bay behind the camera once more, but Shia LaBeouf is replaced by Mark Wahlberg.
Wahlberg is joined by a whole new cast, including Nicola Peltz, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Li Bingbing, Sophia Myles, and Jack Reynor. T.J. Miller also joins Transformers 4 as "Wahlberg's best friend, a fellow mechanic". What most people will be interested in, however, are the cars, which we have some pictures to tease you with. There's a 1,200-horsepower Bugatti Grand Sport Vitesse, and a Corvette Stingray, which is based on Corvette's upcoming 2014 production car.
Toddlers will no longer have access to some of their favorite shows on Netflix. While this is sad for toddlers, the real issue is for Netflix who is now losing out on exposing children at a young age to their service. Toddlers who are exposed to Netflix will more likely grow up with the service as a household name.
Viacom has said, "We continue to be in discussion with several parties, including Netflix, on digital distribution of our content." Netflix, meanwhile, has been playing down the importance of this kids programming. Netflix also added Disney content recently, which could make up for the lack of Dora and the rest.
Netflix pays quite a bit of money for its content and only Netflix has access to the true viewer numbers. It will be interesting to see if Netflix and Viacom sign another deal to bring back some or all of the content. Netflix has previously expressed interest in buying just some of Viacom's content.
Redbox Instant offering free rental of 'The Hobbit' after users unlocked the freebie through a tweet-to-stream promotion
Redbox Instant is one of the newest movie streaming companies on the block and needs to add customers. This need likely led to a promotion in which users had to tweet to unlock a free movie rental. The movie in question? The Hobbit. So, did they succeed? They did and you can now rent The Hobbit for free.
To receive the free rental, you'll need a free Redbox Instant account and you'll need to rent the movie before 12a.m. ET on May 23. This means you'll need to complete the rental in the next 9 hours or so. After you rent the movie, you'll have up to 30 days to watch it. However, "Once you start watching it, you have 48 hours to view the movie as many times and on as many supported registered devices as you choose."
Redbox says they'll run future promotions of this same nature, though we don't currently know when the next one will take place.
We've had a handful of trailers to Zack Snyder's reboot of Superman, Man of Steel, but this new 'Fate of Your Planet' trailer is filled to the brim with action. Check it out below, and then we'll go through what we can see in the trailer.
The beginning starts of with Zod's message to Earth, then the fun really begins. We get a better look at Laurence Fishburne's Perry White, Amy Adams' Lois Lane, Michael Shannon's General Zod, and of course, UK born Henry Cavill's Superman. The trailer has General Zod threatening Earth for harboring Kal-El, where he states that "the fate of your planet rests in your hands" unless they give Kal-El up.
Zod says that Kal-El has 24 hours to surrender, "or watch this world suffer the consequences". Things ramp up a bit, and we have a death stare from Zod, a huge punch to Zod by Superman, Faora threatening someone (Superman, or the military), Superman receiving a huge smackdown by some robot or person in a suit, a fighter jet crashing into buildings in Metropolis, Superman being dragged into countless skulls, Lois going into some form of a suit, more of Superman flying, Zod hitting Superman with a steel girder (girly scream from me), Superman screaming, some utterly awesome heat vision being shot from Superman's eyes, and bam - the El symbol, end.
Man of Steel launches on June 14 in the US.
At the Xbox One unveiling event, Microsoft and 343 Industries took the time to unveil Halo - The Television Series. I know, right, you've just fallen off your chair in excitement. Once you've pulled yourself back up, get ready to be blown down again.
Steven Spielberg is involved, the director behind movies like Indiana Jones, and TV shows like Band of Brothers. We'll have more news on Halo - The Television Series when it arrives.
Microsoft are merely hours away from unveiling their next-generation Xbox, where the company is going to unveil a two-part show for Xbox Live subscribers that will have the XBL subscribers given a chance to choose how the show ends.
The Music Room is what we'll see, which will allow for user feedback, or polling, to help the guide the show's finale. Laura Jackson will host the show, with Carl Barat who was formerly with the Libertines will be a guest. Performers will be featured, with Swim Deep and Everything Everything. The show starts on May 29, as Microsoft's first in-house production for the Xbox.
Ubisoft has confirmed that the Assassin's Creed movie will be coming to a theater near you on May 22, 2015. In just over two years, moviegoers will be able to flock to theaters to see a movie based upon the Assassin's Creed gaming franchise. The movie will star Michael Fassbender and is written by Michael Lesslie.
2015 is shaping up to be a massive blockbuster year. The next Avengers movie, Pirates of the Caribbean 5, Star Wars, Hunger Games, The Hobbit, and more are all scheduled to release in 2015. Disney is rumored to be thinking about releasing Star Wars on May 22, 2015 as well, so if Assassin's Creed's producers have any sense, they'll pick a different date.