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Netflix is spreading its wings throughout Europe, where it has announced it is launching in six new countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Luxembourg later this year.
The company hasn't spilled the pricing, launch dates or content selections - something we should hear in the near future. Are you based in any of these countries? Excited to hear that Netflix is coming to you soon?
Most of us are used to the movie and music industry trying to make us feel like criminals if we let a friend watch a movie or borrow an album. Vudu is changing that with UltraViolet users now being able to allow up to five friends to share their online movie collection. The new feature is called Share My Movie.
Using that feature, flicks can be shared with up to five other people. To share the movies you will need to enter the email address of up to five people. If they already have a Vudu account, they will be instantly linked and able to see and share films they purchase.
Users who don't have accounts will be sent to sign up for one before they can view shared movies. The main goal is to use the sharing feature to woo new customers to sign up for Vudu and use the service.
LG said earlier this month when it had its Q1 financial meeting that it expected to get a sales boost from the new LG G3 smartphone that would launch in Q2. April was the start of Q2 and it is over, so many expected the device to launch in May.
LG has now sent invites out to publications in the tech world inviting them to an event to be held on May 27. This is most likely the event where the G3 will be unveiled to the public. That would give a full month for sales of the smartphone to happen in Q2.
Hulu is a video streaming suite that is meant to be used by people in the US only. That fact hasn't stopped a bunch of people outside the US from using Hulu to watch shows they like before they air in their home countries. The way many people are able to access the site from outside the US is by using a VPN.
Hulu knows this is going on and has taken steps to crack down on VPN users. Recently people who had been able to access Hulu via a VPN in the past have been greeted with a message rather than TV shows to watch when they reach Hulu.
If you are one of the folks that coughed up big money for one of the early models of Sony's 4K TVs, you might be bummed now to realize that streaming services like Netflix are using a format your set doesn't support. Sony is trying to fix that issue with the launch of a new streaming media player for 4K content that adds in support for HEVC.
Netflix is using HEVC H.265 for streaming its shows like House of Cards. Out of the box, Sony 4k sets before the recent 2014 models didn't support that format. The FMP-X5 media player brings support for that format to the older TVs. This is defiantly a product for early adopters since very little content is out there right now.
There are two basic types of TV shoppers. The sort that wants the largest screen they can afford and the sort that will get a smaller screen if the TV looks cool. Sceptre makes a wide range of budget TV offerings and has announced a new line of TVs that will go down well with the crowd wanting a TV that looks cool.
The line is called the X322XV-HDR Color and the big feature is a case bright enough to make the 80's wince. The TVs come in pink, purple, or white cases. They all share the same hardware with 32-inch LED backlit screens.
Apple TV has been a hot topic the last few weeks with word of a new set-top box coming soon, and the addition of several new apps, but none of that was quite as interesting as today's news. During today's call to investors, Apple said that it has sold more than $20 million Apple TV units in the second quarter of 2014.
Apple says that its Apple TV product now represents a billion dollar market and as such, the company no longer views it as a hobby. While I see this as a stretch, Apple TV is becoming a powerhouse in the set-top box market, and with its recent deal to bring HBO-Go to the device, it could be a real contender in the second half of 2014.
For those of you who have been borrowing your friends HBO Go accounts to watch its TV series can now watch them through Amazon Prime if you are a Prime member of course. Today Amazon announced that it has partnered with HBO to bring many of the company's most popular shows to its premium member service. Unfortunately Game of Thrones was not a part of the deal.
HBO says that The Sopranos, Eastbown & Down, Enlightened, Deadwood, Six Feet Under, Rome, The Wire, and Flight of the Conchords will be available. Select seasons of Boardwalk Empire, True Blood, and Treme will also be available on Amazon Prime, but it is not clear how the selection process is handled. Additionally the early seasons of Girls, The Newsroom, and Veep will be included but only once they have passed the three-year anniversary of their first airing. This means that True Detectives will remain a HBO Go exclusive until 2017.
When it comes to set top boxes to bring steaming media to your big screen in the living room, some of the most popular products are the line of devices from Roku. For a long time Roku devices were missing access to one of the most popular streaming video portals online- YouTube.
In December of 2013, that changed when YouTube came to the Roku 3 set top box. That still left a lot of Roku fans unable to stream YouTube videos without slinging them over from a smartphone. Roku has announced this week that all current generation Roku devices now have access to the YouTube app.
Media streaming has been slowly replacing cable subscriptions for people for the last few years, and in the past 12 months, it has exploded with help from set-top boxes and HDMI dongles such as Google's Chromecast. As such, media streaming apps and services have been popping up left and right, and now it appears that AT&T wants its cut of the action as well.
Today AT&T announced that it has partnered up with the Chernin Group to develop the next major media streaming service that would be a direct competitor to the current number one, Netflix. AT&T says that together, the partnership has committed $500 million in funding the new service, and are currently working out how the service would work. Luckily for AT&T, the Chernin Group already owns such a service, called Crunchroll.
"A critical part of The Chernin Group's strategy has been our significant focus on the online video industry, and joining forces with AT&T only further underscores our strategic commitment in this area as operators, investors and programmers," said Peter Chernin, Chairman and CEO, The Chernin Group. "Consumers are increasingly viewing video content on their phones, tablets, computers, game consoles and connected TVs on mobile and broadband networks. AT&T's massive reach on those platforms across mobile and broadband and their commitment to the online video space make them the perfect fit for this venture with us."