Category Archives: Media

Hulu Plus doubles subscriptions



Hulu continues to surprise me — the service never seems quite mainstream, but continues to thrive. This time the TV service is announcing record gains in subscriptions to its Plus service, the paid subscription plan that it introduced back in 2010.

“Overall, Hulu continues to grow very quickly. In Q1 of this year, we set new records for revenue, and for the first time ever, Hulu viewers streamed more than 1 billion content videos in a single quarter” states Hulu’s acting CEO Andy Forssell. In fact, the company has seen continued growth every year that it has existed — in Q1 2013, Hulu Plus surpassed 4 million subscribers—setting new records for subscriber additions.

hulu usage graph

Mobile viewing is also growing, now accounting for 15 percent of Hulu’s consumed videos in 2013-2014. Living room viewing now makes up 29 percent of the viewing audience.

Forssell also points out advertising revenue — “Hulu is also #1 in market share of all premium online video providers, delivering 1 in 3 of all premium video ads in the U.S. Our reasonable ad load drives the highest recall and awareness for brands, which results in higher effectiveness for the video ads”.

Hulu has recently jumped in the game of original content with Quick Draw and East Los High. This brings the service into direct competition with Netflix and Amazon Prime.


Xbox gets new entertainment options



xbox live logoMicrosoft may be planning to unveil its next Xbox console in the near future, but that has not stopped the company from continuing to update its current 360 version of the device.

The Xbox 360 may sometimes be thought of as a gaming box, but it has long since exited that pigeon hole. Microsoft wants to use the console to take over your living room and it has been moving steadily in that direction for some time. The company has been adding more and more entertainment content and now it has announced the next wave.

Larry Hryb, better known as Major Nelson, announced the next set of updates, which are rolling out right now and include a load of new entertainment options for customers.

Updates:

  • Xbox SmartGlass for Game of Thrones Season 3
  • MLB.TV Refresh
  • IndieFlix
  • Revision 3
  • PopcornFlix
  • Toys “R” Us Movies

If you have an Xbox 360 then you should be receiving these updates at any moment. If you do not yet have one of the consoles then you may just want to wait and find out what gets announced at the upcoming E3 show.


Roku unveils new box and interface



roku 3This morning Roku unveiled its brand new Roku 3 box. This is the first update to the Roku lineup in some time and there are quite a few changes with the Roku 3. The announcement calls it the “fastest, most powerful streaming player to-date”.

The new box, according to Roku’s Jim Funk, is five times faster than previous versions. The new Roku 3 also comes with an all new user interface, as Funk explains — “In the spirit of simplicity, the new Roku interface features a streamlined layout to provide quicker access and greater visibility – especially if you have many channels installed. The Roku Channel Store and Search are now fully integrated into the home screen, and both have been redesigned with our new on-screen experience”.

The new device also comes with a slightly revamped remote control. The remote has a headphone jack and includes a set of earbuds. When these are plugged in, the box automatically switches the audio to the headphones and mutes your speakers, allowing you to move around while listening to your music and also do so without disturbing other household members.

The box also comes with Angry Birds installed and the new remote control is motion sensitive to make for better gaming. There are also dual-band ethernet and USB ports as well.

The Roku 3 is available for $99 starting today. The new interface will begin rolling out to Roku boxes in April.


Skifta talks whole-home audio



skifta logoQualcomm’s Skifta rep stopped by TPN  during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to talk a bit about its whole-home audio systems and its iOS launch.

The new iOS app allows users to stream media to AirPlay devices. This includes images, music and video regardless of where it is stored — phone, tablet, computer or NAS drive. You can even grab media from the cloud using something like Dropbox or SkyDrive. The app grabs the photos and then looks for a DLNA device to play the media to.

The Android app, which has been around for sometime now, functions in the same way. Both versions of the app are free to download and install.

The company is also creating an entire DLNA system for whole-home audio distribution. You can learn more about that, and the mobile apps, by watching the video below.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network and Don Baine, the Gadget Professor

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Vivitek front projectors for your home theater



vivitek logoVivitek is likely a tech name you are familiar with. James Hsu stopped by the TPN table to show off some of the company’s latest technology to Todd and Don.

If you are thinking of upgrading your home theater to a front projector setup then this is something you will want to pay close attention to. Of course, these will also work just fine in a business environment, as they have more than enough power to handle bright environments and larger screens, though it is more geared towards a home.

The projectors come with two HDMI in outlets, USB, Composite and audio. MSRP will be $999 and should become available this summer. Head over to Vivitek to learn more.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network and Don Baine, the Gadget Professor

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Active Video for Cloud TV



active video logoActive Video is a company that has become involved with cloud TV, an up-and-coming platform that aims to change how many of us consume content today. Doug Casselini stopped by to visit TPN and talk a bit about his company and what it can do and what it plans to pursue.

Video is rendered in the cloud and then delivered to platforms like set-top boxes and smart TV’s. Unlike devices such as the Roku, which downloads content from the cloud in real-time as it streams, this service actually renders and streams from the cloud, meaning nothing is being downloaded. It all runs on a very small thin-client installed on the boxes.

To find out more information you can head over to Active Video for details.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network and Don Baine, the Gadget Professor

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Sookbox



Sookbox Sookbox is a small box that will acts as a media server for your videos and music. This not only includes music on your local server, but also music that is stored in the cloud and on services such as Pandora or Spotify. The software includes an internet browser. You can access your Sookbox through an ip address from anywhere. The Sookbox includes four HDMI outputs, 16 analog audio outputs and 1.5 TB of storage capability. You can connect to your TVs and receivers either wired or wirelessly. The wireless connection works with a dongle that you connect to the TV. Everything is controlled through an app which will be available on Android or iOs. Sookbox is currently still in beta. The control has an open api and they are looking for developers.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine. and Daniel J. Lewis of the The Noodle.mx Network and the Audacity to Podcast

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Red Touch Media talks about content management and delivery



red touch media logoWayne Scholes stopped by the TPN broadcast area to talk a bit about Red Touch Media and its content delivery and management solutions. The company handles this on a rather large scale — think Sony, Paramount, etc.

The company not only delivers and tracks the media, but also provides the data analytics for its customers. This content is delivered to TV networks and eliminates the middle area, like DVD’s. The company also operates kiosks around the world where customers can download content using points they win playing games in locations like Dave and Buster’s.

You can learn a lot more by checking out the video below, including exactly how all of this works.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine and Nick DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology

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PressReader: All Your Favorite Newspapers in One Application



PressReader PressReader brings over two thousand three hundred daily newspapers into one application. It has a direct relationship with all the newspapers that are available through its application. At first it was hard to get the newspapers to agree to the model. However once they saw how well it worked they were more than happy to participate. Most of the newspapers appear in the app before they are delivered. Unlike many newspaper’s websites, the PressReader shows the actual newspaper including the ads. PressReader is a default application on many devices. Some of the newspapers included in the PressReader application are the New York Times, LeMonde and many more. PressReader is available on every mobile operating system including iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry. It does work on older devices however there are more features available the newer the device is. PressReader is optimized for the device it is on.

PressReader will translate newspapers into your language. You can have the newspaper read to you. PressReader will go into text only mode. You can search for keywords through all the newspapers and you can also create your own personal clipping service. You can purchase a single newspaper for ninety-nine cents each. A full subscription to PressReader is twenty-nine ninety-five a month.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net. and by Jamie Davis of the MedicCast and the Health Tech Weekly

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NeroKwik: All Your Devices Photos Together



NeroKwikNeroKwik is a way to organize and share your pictures between your various devices and online services. It will work on no matter which platform each device is on. The photos show up as a tapestry. You can set it to a random view, a social view or a view by rating. If you rate your photos then in the rating view the higher the rating the bigger the photo will appear. You can also connect your Facebook account.and the more a photo is liked on Facebook the larger it will appear in the social tapestry. You can easily create a tapestry and share that tapestry with friends and then automatically see which ones they favorite. Those they favor will appear larger.

The app is available in the Google Play Store and should be available soon in iTunes and on the Windows Phones Market.  Two devices and as many online services that NeroKwik supports is free. They are releasing a premium version later in the year. If you have more than two devices the cost will be $2–4 a month plus you will be able to connect to the pictures on your computer and add videos. NeroKwik does not store your pictures. The pictures stay on the original device and are just shared to the other devices.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network, and Daniel J Lewis of The Audacity to Podcast