HBO's online and app-based streaming options are surprisingly competent - they put the likes of DirecTV and Comcast, much larger organizations with ostensibly more resources, to shame. But that doesn't mean that there's no room for improvement. To that end, HBO is now publishing a beta version of, um, NOW, the cable-free standalone app for streaming cordcutters. It's available on the Play Store now via the standardized opt-in interface. Read More
Starz, the premium cable channel that offers movies and original series, now works with Spotify, the premium streaming music service. Which is... odd. An updated version of the Starz Android app now includes integrated streaming tracks from Spotify, all of which are either original music or soundtrack selections from those Starz series and movies. Apparently there are "more than 3,500" selections that are at least tangentially related to the Starz catalog. Read More
As nice as it is to get a new Android TV app from a large web property (and also rare, natch), one might reasonably wonder what Twitter is doing on a platform almost exclusively dedicated to streaming video. The answer is, of course, streaming video: Twitter has a lucrative deal with the NFL to stream some but not all of this season's Thursday Night Football games for free on the service. This app would have been a lot more useful before we got 10 weeks into a 17-week season, but hey, gift horses and whatnot. Read More
Verizon has a serious appetite for video content as of late. In addition to promoting the heck out of GO90 and its various American sports partnerships, the company bought AOL and Yahoo, which has media aspirations of its own. The latest horse to arrive at the stable is Vessel, a sort of alternative YouTube for creators who try to make "premium" videos that are good enough to warrant subscription payments from users. The service started up last year with channels from notable YouTube creators. Read More
The future of cable cutting, getting rid of expensive cable or satellite television service in favor or more economical web subscriptions, is murky. Currently users need to choose between competing libraries on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other big-name streamers, or negate some of the savings of cable cutting by subscribing to multiple services. Some newer offerings like SlingTV and PlayStation Vue are bridging the gap, and it looks like Google wants to join them, according to the latest report from the Wall Street Journal. Read More
A list of things that you’d like to watch in the future isn’t exactly breaking new ground for streaming video services – hell, Netflix was doing that back when they were just a mail-order DVD rental company. But the software engineers at Hulu think they’ve significantly improved on the idea with the new Watch List (capital W), which is apparently cool enough to warrant both an intro video and a press release. Read More
YouTube Music, the app built specifically for the YouTube Red music subscription service, is still somewhat in its infancy. There's plenty of room for improvement, and version 1.16 adds a couple of small but notable changes to better the listening experience. First, the standard Watch page (the one with the actual video on it) now has a "More from..." button, with the ellipses replaced with the relevant artist for each video. It allows users to find more music from that specific artist. Makes sense. To see the button you may need to expand the viewer in portrait mode. Read More
Well you can't say they didn't give it a good try. After years of attempting to break into the lucrative tablet market with its own semi-exclusive platform, US bookseller Barnes & Noble plans to halt digital sales on its app and video stores. Diginomica reports that the company will stop sales on March 15th (Tuesday), and that customers who've bought content from either location have until then to download their apps and videos one last time. Connecting Nook Video content to accounts for either Disney Movies Anywhere or CinemaNow will allow customers to retain streaming and download rights on other platforms. Read More
The writing isn't quite on the wall for traditional cable and satellite television - not so long as companies like Comcast can manipulate the market with artificial monopolies and data caps, anyway - but things are definitely looking up for cord-cutters. The latest fruit of the union between American telecom AT&T and satellite TV giant DirecTV is a series of TV packages that don't require, well, TV packages. These data-only streaming options will become available some time in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to an AT&T press release.
Said packages will come in three flavors. First, DirecTV Now, an all-digital streaming TV service that will offer "much of what is available from DirecTV today," including on-demand programming and premium networks. Read More
The adoption of Chromecast as a de facto streaming standard was rapid, helped in no small part by the fact that it was the cheapest streaming gadget on the market which was immediately compatible with both major mobile phone systems. But not everyone leaps to support new tech, and old media giants like the National Broadcasting Company have never been accused of being nimble. So it took NBC the better part of three years to support Google's streaming standard, so what - it's not like they're a multi-million dollar entertainment company backed by an international supercorp.
Oh wait, they are.
The Chromecast support in NBC's official network app doesn't come with any other notable changes, though video streaming appears to work with all of the live and pre-recorded video within. Read More