2013 June

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Australian multiscreen viewing habits (Original)

Over a quarter of Australian homes have access to four screens: television, computer, tablet and smartphone. That is up from 16% a year ago. The latest Australian Multi-Screen Report from Nielsen suggests that television remains at the centre of these connected homes, but reading through the report it seems Australians are watching a little less television than the previous year.

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Cox flareWatch beta brings IPTV with 60 HD channels, cloud DVR for $35 monthly (Original)

Cox flareWatch TV beta brings IPTV with 60 HD channels, cloud DVR for $35 monthly

While everyone tries to figure out what the future of TV looks like, Variety reports Cox Cable has crossed over to offering internet TV service to customers in Orange County. flareWatch beta testers can buy a Fanhattan Fan TV set-top box for $99 (up to three per household) and sign up for a TV package that features 90 live TV channels (60 in HD) and includes the usual favorites like ESPN / ESPN2, AMC, CNN, Nickelodeon and TNT, with video on-demand coming soon. DVR recordings take place in the cloud, with 30 hours of storage available for each subscriber.

There is one notable limitation however, as with cable company provided TiVo DVRs, streaming services like Hulu and Netflix are not available. Cox already cloud based storage under the MyFlare brand name, and Variety also mentions the company plans to expand it with music and game services. Other providers have hinted at offering IPTV options and Comcast launched an IPTV test at MIT, but this is the first one publicly available from a major company. If you live in the area, demonstrations are available at several locations, check out the site at the link below and a preview video after the break.…

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Netflix gamifies content recommendations on the PS3 with “Max” (Original)

Looking for a new way to encourage more Netflix Instant users to use ratings tools, Netflix is launching a voice assistant called Max on the PlayStation 3 which is tied into a batch of mini-games.

The post Netflix gamifies content recommendations on the PS3 with “Max” appeared first on Digital Trends.…

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Time Warner Cable app coming to Xbox 360 with 300 live channels for subscribers (Original)

Microsoft and Time Warner Cable partner up to bring a TWC app to Xbox 360, offering subscribers with Xbox Live Gold membership access to as many as 300 channels, including favorites like Comedy Central and CNN.

The post Time Warner Cable app coming to Xbox 360 with 300 live channels for subscribers appeared first on Digital Trends.…

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Netflix just hired Clippy to give you movie and TV suggestions (Original)

Netflix Max
In what looks, sounds, and is written like a rated-G April Fools’ joke, Netflix has announced Max, a recommendation engine that sits on top of Netflix’s already established recommendation services, except with a……

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Skype’s Mobile Future: A Few Thoughts on the Road Ahead (Original)

Skype was founded under the simple principle that “the whole world can talk for free,” and I’m not sure any of us could have imagined the remarkable effect this would have had in our daily lives. From millions of young families sharing their weekly video call with proud grandparents, to connecting students around the world with Skype in the Classroom, to bringing families together of all kinds – Skype has become a fundamental part of how the world communicates.

SkypeDenis4_18MarIndoorPortrait_Social

Lindsay Clang Portrait

That said, when you ask people “What’s Skype?”, pretty often the answer you’ll get is “it’s a free video calling app for your PC or Mac.” We love that; that got us to where we are today. But, as we all know, the world has changed. People’s computers are just as much in their pockets as on their desks, and Skype has grown up right along with this increasingly mobile world. Here’s a few things you may not know about us:

  • At certain points in the day, there are more people using Skype from their phone or tablet than from a PC.
  • Each month, the growth rate of new users coming to Skype on a tablet or phone is double what it was the year before.

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BT plans TV rebrand, entertainment push (Original)

BT is planning to slowly rebrand its TV service from BT Vision to BT TV, and has plans to boost its channel line-up later this year. 

Speaking at a Broadcasting Press Guild event yesterday, BT Retail’s chief executive of TV Marc Watson said that BT is rebranding the division following the launch of its web-connected YouView set-top box offering last year.

“We’re going to call our set-top box services and our platform BT TV and within that we’ll have a Vision box and a BT YouView box – so there’s that umbrella brand,” Watson said.

Asked why BT doesn’t simply phase out its older generation BT Vision set-top box, Watson said currently it is only able to offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 on this device, due to ongoing wrangles with Sky about distribution of the channels on its YouView offering.

Speaking about BT’s wider channel plans away from sport, Watson said BT now has all the “biggest channels” on the platform aside from Sky’s entertainment channels like Sky One and Sky Atlantic – though he said he would be open to working commercially with Sky to carry these networks.

He also added: “We are planning to launch more channels later this year, and we’ll be making some more announcements about that in due course, but we’re not quite ready to do it yet.”

In the last year, BT has signed channel deals with the likes of Discovery Networks UK and Viacom International Media Networks to carry stations like Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.…

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Anchor is like Facebook for the workplace, launches today on iOS and the web (video) (Original)

Anchor is like Facebook for the workplace, launches today on iOS and the web (video)

We don't usually cover business software around these parts, but Anchor, a social networking app launching today on iOS, goes out of its way to look like a regular app. The brain child of a former GM of Flickr and ex-VP at AOL, it's sort of like Facebook, in that it allows coworkers to join groups, post status updates, upload photos (complete with filters) and like each other's activity. (In lieu of a thumbs up, you give someone a rock-on sign.) It also has built-in chat and contact cards, so in theory you could use it as a one-stop shop for communicating with coworkers instead of cobbling together various other apps.

You could even compare it to Yammer, the social network eventually bought by Microsoft, except Anchor's co-founders say the app is more about coworkers bonding with each other, than necessarily being productive. (Imagine that!) Again, it's available today for iOS (and the web too), with free lifetime membership if you get it before September 25th. It's also coming soon to Android and Google Glass, we're told. With no commitment you should give it a try -- the UI is extremely slick -- though we have to wonder if it's really that big a faux pas to friend your coworkers on Facebook.…

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Consumers moving to on-demand but bundling still makes sense, says Discovery (Original)

Mark Hollinger

Mark Hollinger

Polish and other central and eastern European customers are increasingly looking to non-linear and advanced TV services, but bundled pay TV remains key to the success of content providers and guarantees continued investment in high value content, according to Mark Hollinger, president and CEO of Discovery Networks International. 

Speaking at the Digital TV CEE conference yesterday, Hollinger said that VOD is beneficial provided it is additive rather than a replacement for linear TV.

According to figures cited by Hollinger, linear TV viewing continues to rise but 49% of viewers in Poland are now regulaly consuming live TV online. Thirty-five per cent of viewers in Poland regularly use VOD, he said.

Hollinger said that three quarters of Polish viewers continue to watch scheduled shows, but 85% would prefer to watch TV when they want rather than have the schedule dicate when they should watch. He said that the research showed that 53% of Polish viewers would be interested in a device or services that automatically recorded TV shows they might interested about.

Discovery conducted research amongst 5,000 viewers across 10 CEEMEA markets in partnership with the The Future Foundation.

Hollinger said the investment model in a completely on-demand environment or a completely a la carte environment would not be “very different” and that channel providers including Discovery would invest much less in content in this environment.…

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RTL Group invests US$36m in YouTube network BroadbandTV (Original)

broadbandtv screenshotRTL Group has partnered with multi-channel YouTube content network BroadbandTV, putting US$36 million (€27.7 million) into the firm in the first of a string of planned investments. 

The deal, designed to increase RTL Group’s expansion in the online video market while upping BroadbandTV’s global growth strategy, gives RTL Group a 51% shareholding in BroadbandTV. RTL Group also takes three seats on the BroadbandTV board.

The firms said they will explore joint business opportunities in the “development of original content and advertising sales,” with the deal also giving RTL Group a platform to work on.

“As the leading European entertainment network, RTL Group is committed to becoming a major player in all segments of the rapidly growing online video market, and is ideally positioned to do so,” said Guillaume de Posch, co-CEO of RTL Group.

“Our major broadcasters have built leading catch-up TV services, while RTL Group’s global content arm, FremantleMedia, has become the highest-rated TV producer on YouTube, with 135 channels currently generating 400 million video views per month. Today, we are delighted to announce a partnership with BroadbandTV and Shahrzad Rafati that will further our development.”

BroadbandTV founder and CEO Shahrzad Rafati added: “BroadbandTV has been on a rapid growth trajectory since we began, and that pace will only accelerate with our partnership with RTL Group.…

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