3/9/2011

Sony adds extra features to iTunes movies

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Some of Sony Corp.’s movies sold through Apple Inc.’s iTunes store are now available with extra features that enable people to search scenes for actors and bits of dialogue by typing terms into a computer.

Other features allow viewers to choose clips to share on Facebook and Twitter and check where songs from a soundtrack appear. A link to the iTunes store makes music purchases easy.

12/9/2010

Howard Stern in 5-year deal with Sirius XM

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Howard Stern will be shocking Sirius XM Radio Inc listeners for at least five more years, news that pushed the satellite radio company’s shares up more than 6 percent.

Under a new contract announced on Thursday, Stern will be broadcasting until December 31, 2015, and the shock jock’s content will be available for the first time on mobile devices, Sirius XM said in a statement.

Stern’s previous five-year, $500 million contract with Sirius XM Radio expires this month, and investors had been concerned that subscribers would abandon the service if he were to move on.

One estimate says Stern brought 1.2 million subscribers aboard when he joined Sirius in 2006. Sirius merged with XM Satellite Radio in 2008, and the service now reaches 20 million listeners.

No other terms of the new contract were disclosed.

Crockett estimates that Stern will get $80 million a year in cash, the same amount he makes now, but not the $100 million in stock over five years that he had previously received.

Stern first announced that he had reached an agreement with Sirius XM on his morning show and on his website.

10/22/2010

Television broadcasters block Google TV

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Three of the biggest U.S. television broadcasters have blocked their shows from Google Inc’s new Web TV service, throwing a wrench into the company’s plans to expand from computers to the living room.

Spokespeople from Walt Disney Co and NBC Universal confirmed on Thursday that the companies blocked access to its broadcast TV shows from Google TV. Disney owns network and cable TV businesses ABC and ESPN.

News Corp’s Fox is also considering blocking access to shows on its Website, but a decision has not yet been made, a source familiar with the matter said.

CBS has blocked access to full-length episodes of their programs, including popular shows like “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

10/19/2010

Netflix disc-free streaming comes to Sony PS3, Nintendo Wii

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Beginning this week, Netflix subscribers with a Nintendo Wii or Sony PlayStation 3 console will be able to stream video directly from the Netflix library – without the hassle of inserting that pesky Netflix disc. According to Netflix, the process is pretty simple: Fire up your console, navigate to the online marketplace – the Wii Shop channel on the Wii and the PlayStation Store on the PS3 – and download the Netflix application.
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“In addition to removing the need for discs, we’ve developed a new user interface on both applications that significantly improves the experience,” Netflix exec Greg Peters wrote in a blog post today. “The new applications will allow you to search for content directly from the device and you’ll also be able to view an increasing portion of our content library with subtitles or alternate audio tracks.”

9/19/2010

Intel confirms Blu-ray HDCP encryption is cracked

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Intel has confirmed Blu-ray HDCP encryption is cracked after admitting a leaked master key is the real deal.

High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) copy protection technology is designed to protect high-definition video content as it travels across digital interfaces. The technology was developed by Digital Content Protection, a subsidiary of Intel, and licensed to HDTV, set-top boxes and Blueray disk manufacturers and the like.

A leaked key, now confirmed as genuine, was published online on Tuesday via Pastebin, and quickly spread around the web. The master key creates a mechanism to strip the encryption from, for example, a HD satellite TV broadcast and a DVR, at least in theory. The availability of a master key effectively renders the key revocation feature built into HDCP impotent.

9/16/2010

Slew of 3-D TV movies for the home? Not so fast

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

If you’re thinking of buying a 3-D television set this year based on the belief that you’ll be able to purchase a lot of the 3-D movies that have hit theaters in the past few years, think again.

U.K. research firm Screen Digest says more than 70 percent of the 25 3-D movies expected to be available this holiday season will be tied to the purchase of a TV from a certain manufacturer.

For example, a Sony 3-D TV buyer won’t immediately be able to watch DreamWorks Animation’s “How To Train Your Dragon” because that movie will be tied to the purchase of a set from Samsung Electronics Co. Meanwhile, the Walt Disney Co. said last week that home copies of its 3-D movies “Alice in Wonderland” and “Bolt” would be available exclusively to people who buy certain sets from Sony Corp.

Screen Digest says that so far, only three Hollywood movies, including Disney’s “A Christmas Carol,” and three documentaries will be available on retail shelves without being tied to a specific TV brand.

6/30/2010

Hulu launched a subscription service

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Online video site Hulu, under pressure from its media company parents to generate a bigger profit, launched a subscription service Tuesday with complete access to back episodes of popular television shows.

For $9.99 a month, subscribers can get the entire current season of “Glee,” “The Office,” “House” and other shows from broadcasters ABC, Fox and NBC, as well as all the past seasons of several series. The popular, ad-supported website will continue to have a few recent episodes for free online.

In a surprise move, however, paying subscribers will get the same number of ads as users of the free website.

Hulu Chief Executive Jason Kilar said keeping ads was necessary to help keep the subscription price low.

6/27/2010

Google and YouTube defeat Viacom in copyright lawsuit

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google Inc won a landmark victory over media companies as a Manhattan federal judge threw out Viacom Inc’s $1 billion lawsuit accusing the Internet company of allowing copyrighted videos on its YouTube service without permission.

Viacom claimed “tens of thousands of videos on YouTube, resulting in hundreds of millions of views,” had been posted based on its copyrighted works, and that the defendants knew about it but did nothing to stop illegal uploads.

But in a 30-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton said it would be improper to hold Google and YouTube liable under federal copyright law merely for having a “general awareness” that videos might be posted illegally.

“Mere knowledge of prevalence of such activity in general is not enough,” he wrote. “The provider need not monitor or seek out facts indicating such activity.”

Viacom said it plans to appeal to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

4/18/2010

Rolling Stone’s archive going online for a price

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

For the first time Rolling Stone is inviting its readers on the long, strange trip though the magazine’s 43-year archive, putting complete digital replicas online along with the latest edition. But you’ll have to pay to see it all.

With a new site launching Monday, Rolling Stone will become one of the most prominent magazines to decide that adding a “pay wall” is the best way to make money on the Web.

To many publishers and media analysts, charging for Web access is the fastest way to drive readers to free competition, where advertisers will follow. But even free sites with lots of readers haven’t been able to charge the kind of rates for advertising that print still commands. As one of the few major consumer magazines now asking readers for an online fee, Rolling Stone is likely to get a close look from the rest of the industry.

The magazine’s revamped home page will remain mostly free. The kind of material that seems to work best on the Web - quick updates on who’s breaking up, slide shows of popular bands on tour - won’t cost readers anything.

But there will be reminders planted throughout the site that full access to Rolling Stone’s latest issue is just a few clicks and a credit card number away.

A one-month pass will cost $3.95 and annual access is $29.99. Online subscribers will automatically get a print subscription, which normally costs $19.95 a year. But print subscribers don’t automatically get Web access.

4/11/2010

3D TV to face global test in soccer World Cup

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Hundreds of thousands of soccer fans are likely to get their first taste of live 3D viewing during this year’s World Cup, the vast majority of them in cinemas rather than at home, according to football body FIFA.

Together with partner Sony, FIFA plans to supply 25 World Cup matches in the immersive 3D technology made popular in cinemas by blockbuster movie Avatar and expected to spread to living rooms around the world this year.

Viewers with 3D television sets who live in a country where the broadcaster with World Cup rights also has 3D capabilities will also be able to watch live in 3D at home — if they are not put off by the need to wear special glasses.

3/18/2010

Google working with Intel, Sony on TV project

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google Inc is working with Intel Corp and Sony Corp to develop a new class of Internet-enabled televisions and set top boxes, according to a media report.

The effort, known as Google TV, has been under way for several months and is based on Google’s Android software.

According to the report, the partners hope to make it easy for consumers to use Web applications like Twitter on their TVs and to entice software developers to create new applications to run on Google TV.

Google has begun testing the set top box technology with Dish Network, the Times said.

3/7/2010

Real settles lawsuits, will stop selling RealDVD

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

RealNetworks has agreed to pay US$4.5 million and permanently stop selling its RealDVD software as part of a legal settlement with six Hollywood movie studios, the company said Wednesday.

The lawsuits date back to 2008, when the movie studios accused RealNetworks of selling software that allowed people to essentially steal DVDs by making copies of them. RealNetworks argued that RealDVD was designed only to let customers make a backup copy of movies on their PC hard drive.

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