NimbleTV takes a break

NimbleTV

In a letter to their subscribers, NimbleTV explains that they have to “pause the NimbleTV service as it stands today so we can concentrate on developing something even better and more amazing than before”.

With the NimbleTV services it was possible to stream up to 140 tv channels to any other connected device. Subscribers still needed a cable subscription which made it complementary to cable providers. Next to live streaming the channels to other devices, NimbleTV earned money with their cloud DVR services.

Since the company could have chosen to develop a new service or platform next to the current one instead of going dark, it feels like there are others reasons for the break. Maybe the company ran out of funds, maybe there are legal issues, but it seems not very likely to see the company resurface.

The Fire TV stick is Amazons answer to Google Chromecast

Amazon Fire TV Stick

Although priced at little higher (USD 39), Amazon did not do any effort to hide what they are after. With their streaming media stick they want a piece of the pie of a market that is dominated by Chromecast. Yes, there are also sticks from Roku, Microsoft en Matchstick, but so far the dominant player is Google.

But there are differences. Chromecast can play anything from a chrome tab on your television and mobile apps can also have the option to view the content on the big screen by pushing a button. The Amazon comes with a W-Fi Direct remote control but who wants another remote in the living room? Luckily there is also an app for your mobile device and Amazon is supporting Miracast, allowing one to mirror their mobile device with the tv which is different from the approach Google has chosen for Chromecast. One can also fling content to the television set making it a very easy to operate.

As for the interface, it is using the same as the Amazon Fire TV interface.

Apart from its own video on demand service Prime Instant Video, Amazon offers apps for Netflix, Hulu, Hulu, WatchESPN, NBA Game Time, Twitch, SHOWTIME ANYTIME, Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, Vevo, Plex, A&E, PBS, PBS KIDS, WATCH Disney Channel, YouTube.com and more. See for all details the page at Amazon.

Nevertheless, the stick will probably work fine and is even cheaper for current Amazon Prime subscribers (USD 19) for the next two days so one might give it a try.

Finally, a film is launched at the same time online as in theater

Netflix

Life on the old continent is pretty comfortable but it comes with some disadvantages every now and then. Feeling last in line is one of them. New software? First available in the US. New products? Only shipping to America. New films or series, sorry, you have got to wait. At least a few months. And though a lot of people find ways to watch new shows (and even films) the same day they are broadcasted, it is not the preferred way. The quality is not always as good as you like, no subs or worse, dubs or hardcoded subtitles in a language you do not understand and it feels not entire right.

Enter Netflix. After all these years of being the victim of the windowing system – the system the traditional film industry used to milk as much money as possible out of every production (past tense, I doubt this is still the case), the VOD-company is trying to take on this system

Together with the Weinstein Company Netflix will bring the sequel of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (The Green Legend) on the big screen in your house and the cinema at the same time. The original film is still available on Netflix and absolutely worthwhile to see, so check this out before the sequel is released in 2015. However, I enjoyed the first film in theatre because of the beautiful graphics. So I might even go and see the sequel there as well. In the end this might be even the best outcome of this experiment. Finally the consumer has a choice. Even though the film is available on Netflix, some will go to the cinema because of the different experience.

We’ll see!

SlingPlayer is now available on Chromecast

SlingPlayer

TV-on-the-go company Sling announced an updated version of their SlingPlayer app to support Chromecast. With the latest version one will now be able to watch live TV and recorded content on the Slingbox on any TV with Chromecast as long as it is in the same network.

The new app is available for IOS and Android smartphones, Android tablets will follow later. As for hardware, a Slingbox 350 or 500 or the newer SlingTV or Slingbox M1 devices is needed.

Although this sounds very interesting at first glance, one cannot help wandering what problem this solves for as one the mobile device and the Slingbox need to be on the same network and live television is usually already available on… the television. As is the recorded content on a slingbox. So the most interesting development here might be a cheap and easy way to connect multiple television sets to the Slingbox using Chromecast.

Sony to sign a deal with Viacom for its cloud-based TV service

Sony strikes deal with Viacom

Sony announced the service early this year at the CES promising a combination of live television, on demand and DVR. But no cloud without good content and good content is rather difficult to obtain. So where others have failed (Intel, Google) or are still working on it (no news about the Apple TV yesterday), Sony seems to have found a way to do business by striking a deal with Viacom. Sony will be allowed to distribute 22 of the Viacom channels over the internet, including popular channels like Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon.

Although it looks like a breakthrough, the only new thing here is the ability to access traditional lineair channels over IP and therefore on other devices than the TV set and the (technical) possibility to sell contracts anywhere in the world. However, it still will be (mostly) linear TV and Sony might encounter problems in countries where these Viacom channels are already being distributed by traditional cable companies.

Furthermore, one of the biggest reasons Netflix is so extremely popular has to do with the fact that they provide on demand content only. Somehow people seem to like this, so it has to be seen if the new Sony service is something that will attract the coach potatoes attention.

It is finally here, the Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV

The long rumoured Amazon streaming media box has finally arrived. Meet Amazon Fire TV. The Fire TV is a small, black box that runs on a special operating system, has 2GB ram and a quad core processor.

The box connects through wifi and has a small remote control that also has a small microphone to enable voice search

Content comes from its own Amazon Instant Video library as well as from a large number of partners like Netflix, HBO GO, SHO Anytime, Hulu and ESPN.

But it is not all streaming video that one can watch on the Fire TV. Amazon added a photo app, there are several music services like Pandora, iHeartRadio and TuneIn and Amazon is promising to grant access to thousands of games as of next month.

The media box costs only USD 99 and is already for sale at… Amazon.com

Finally you can watch LOVEfilm on your iPhone now

LOVEfilm

Whereas most services are available on the iPhone first, Amazon’s LOVEfilm took its time producing an app for the popular smartphone. Until now. Next to the obvious Kindle platform (also Amazon) and the iPad there is a LOVEfilm Instant app for iPhone and iPod allowing streaming video and TV on demand.
The app also brings AirPlay and IMDB integration.

Endemol is investing EUR 30 million in premium internet video channels

Endemol Beyond

Famous television production company Endemol is expanding its business into online video with a serieus investment of EUR 30 million. With this investment, it will create a series of premium channels within main video portals like YouTube,Yahoo, AOL, MSN and Dailymotion.

The new venture is called Endemol Beyond and aims to accelerate current online video productions in countries like the US, the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain but Endemol Beyond will also invest in original productions and work together with brands to create new channels.

Currently, Endomol has already launched over 100 YouTube partnering with global brands like YouTube, Yahoo, McDonalds, Sony Music and Mazda.

TiVo out-of-home streaming is now is available

TiVo Roamio

TiVo has begun the roll-out of their out-of-home streaming services. From now on, owners of a Roamio Pro or a Roamio Plus DVR can stream live TV and recorded content over Wi-Fi to iOS devices (5.1 and higher) at no extra costs. Support for streaming over 4G/LTE and to Android devices is scheduled for 2014. Also dowloading content to a mobile device for later viewing will be possible.
Note that streaming to a mobile device is limited to one device at the time and that there are still shows that are not allowed to be streamed or downloaded to a mobile device. Visit www.tivo.com for more details.

TiVo will start pushing the new app with the streaming functionality as of today.

Tight integration with Comcast turns Twitter into a TV remote control

Twitter NBC

We have known for sometime that Twitter is taking TV very seriously as users are already using Twitter heavily during linear programs and advertisers and networks are looking for ways too tap in these massive twitter streams. Today Twitter announced a deal with Comcast promising a tight integration that will go beyond chatting.

During shows like The Voice, Twitter users will see a “See it” button in NBCUniversal tweets about this show. Clicking on the button will open a Twitter card and, if you are already a Comcast pay TV subscriber (Xfinity), even give you the opportunity to watch or record the show directly from your set top-box, computer of mobile device making it a almost some sort of social remote control.

Not clear yet is if tweets from ordinary users talking about a show will contain the “See it” button as well. That might create even a bigger impact.

If this is a success, other networks might join and making watching TV a new experience. Especially if not only networks, but also VOD and Streaming Services like Netflix are included. One other thing that would be great is a sharing option that allows a Twitter user to invite another Twitter user to watch the show via a tweet.