Since rumors about Apple’s TV attempts are in their ebb phase, now it’s time for Google to take the stage. In a pattern that seems very familiar, sources tell the Wall Street Journal, Reuters and CNBC that Google has cut a deal with CBS to include its channels in a streaming “skinny bundle.” The rumored service is apparently planned for launch in 2017 under the name “Unplugged.” While Apple’s long-rumored service has yet to appear, we have seen similar efforts appear in the form of Dish Network’s Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and the upcoming DirecTV Now.
The unnamed media executives that have apparently heard the pitch say Google wants to offer a bundle priced between $25 and $40 per month, that’s separate from YouTube, although execs from that company are overseeing the project. Fox and Disney/ABC are said to be in negotiations as well, while the WSJ report mentions that one sticking point has been YouTube’s desire to add data overlays (like sports stats) to the channels it’s streaming.
Of course, negotiations between tech companies and the entertainment industry can be difficult, and the latest Apple rumors suggest it will go in a different direction entirely. If the service is meant to launch in the first quarter, then maybe we’ll hear more about it at CES in January.That could be particularly poetic, since at CES 2006, CBS exec Les Moonves joined Larry Page — Google co-founder and current CEO of its parent company Alphabet — to announce a content partnership for Google Video.
Source: Wall Street Journal, Reuters, CNBC
You buy a kid-proof tablet to give young ones a safe environment to play their favorite games and videos, so wouldn’t it make sense to buy a tablet from an outfit making all that content? PBS thinks so: it’s introducing the Playtime Pad, a self-branded Android slate (technically made by Ematic) that serves as a showcase for all its educational programming. It comes preloaded with over 25 PBS games and 120 videos, as well as preloaded PBS apps for streaming and creative play. Your children can watch Ready Jet Go without asking you to download something first, which might be important when they’re looking for something to do in the middle of a road trip.
Thankfully, parents have full Google Play access — you can download more apps if your kids want to watch Netflix or play a favorite game. PBS is shy on the specs for the tablet, but we wouldn’t expect a powerhouse between the 7-inch screen and 16GB of storage. You do get front and back cameras, however, and the rugged design should (hopefully) survive the inevitable round of drops and bumps. More importantly, it’s affordable enough that you might not panic if Junior does smash it to pieces. The Playtime Pad will sell for a modest $80 when it goes on sale November 6th, and you can pick it up at both Best Buy, Walmart’s website and PBS’ own store.
Did you like the abundance of stats while watching the Rio Olympics on Comcast? If so, you’re in for a treat from now on. Comcast is rolling out those same on-screen stats for every sport its X1 set-top box app covers. If you want to see where a basketball team has taken most of its shots, or want to know how well your favorite hockey player is doing, the info is just a short hop away. Finding that data should be easier, too.
As part of the upgrade, Comcast is expanding its voice commands to include sports. You can ask for stats on your favorite team, or compare two star players to see which one is faring best this season. Just don’t expect to bark orders right away. Voice support is coming to football in the “coming weeks,” and it’ll reach both basketball and hockey sometime later this year.
Relax, American PlayStation fans, you don’t have to worry about missing out on Star Trek: Discovery when your Xbox One-toting friends start watching. CBS has rolled out All Access on the PS4, giving you a way to check out the network’s shows in between rounds of Battlefield and Rez. As before, how much you pay depends on your tolerance for ads. Spend $6 per month and you’ll get “reduced” commercials, while $10 per month lets you watch in uninterrupted bliss. Whichever way you go, this is a big step for All Access. The streaming TV service is now available on virtually every major device platform, so you don’t have to be picky about where and how you watch.
Did you choose to watch coverage of the second US presidential debate on your computer or phone instead of your TV? You’re not alone… in fact, you might be in the majority. YouTube reports that round two of Clinton versus Trump racked up 124 million worldwide views across live streams and on-demand videos, compared to ‘just’ 63 million TV viewers. That’s a roughly 40 percent jump over what YouTube saw in the last debate, although it’s notable that there were fewer concurrent viewers — the town hall debate saw a peak of 1.5 million versus 2 million the last time.
YouTube hasn’t explained what prompted the surge, although it’s easy to point to a few factors. For a start, the incendiary nature of the debate helped — people around the planet wanted to catch more of those outrageous statements, especially knowing what happened in the first debate. The 9PM Eastern timing also likely drove some viewers to YouTube recaps instead of watching live TV. The rise of cord-cutting may have played a part as well, although that would be difficult to quantify.
It’s important to add that this is only YouTube’s data, for that matter. Twitter says that the second debate saw over 17 million tweets, the most it had ever seen for a debate — and you know that some of those users watched the showdown on Twitter itself or other internet services, such as Facebook and news websites. TV is still a force to be reckoned with in debate coverage, but it’s not nearly as vital as it used to be.
Source: YouTube Official Blog
The Robot Wars reboot, it’s fair to say, went a little better than the new-look Top Gear. While Chris Evans and chums were panned by petrolheads — leading to dismal ratings and the departure of its new anchor — the robotic mayhem on BBC Two climbed to new heights. Larger house robots, some crazy new contestants and a revamped stadium were the perfect recipe for a Sunday night in. Now, the show is coming back. The BBC has confirmed that Robot Wars will return for another six-part series with Dara Ó Briain and Angela Scanlon at the helm. Same stadium, probably the same format — and Team Apollo back to defend their coveted title. We can’t wait.
LeEco’s hardware lineup is supposed to make its splashy US debut on October 19th, but it appears that someone at the company couldn’t wait to show what it had in store. Vizio’s new owner briefly posted listings for most (if not all) of its American devices, and it looks like the company’s cost-conscious Chinese pricing will survive the trip across the Pacific. Its 5.7-inch Le Max 2 flagship, for example, could cost just $349 before a $60 promo discount — and the mid-tier, 5.5-inch Le S3 (likely a rebranded Le 2) could start at $299 before discounts. You may not like the absence of a built-in headphone jack, but these phones could offer a lot of performance for the money.
There are four 4K TVs listed (the Super4 X43, X55 and X65, plus the uMax 85), although their prices are definitely placeholders. Sorry, folks, you won’t pay $15 for an Ultra HD set. However, their very existence is telling. It suggests that LeEco isn’t going to rely solely on Vizio for TV sales in the US, and could complement Vizio’s in-house smart TV strategy with its own Android TV models.
There’s no guarantee that these are the prices you’ll get, or that the devices you see here represent exactly what LeEco will present on the 19th. From initial appearances, though, the company might be planning a more cautious US rollout that focuses on the hardware most likely to prove a success.
Via: The Verge
Source: Android Police
When Sky launched its new Q service, it was only a matter of time before it became the default option for new and upgrading subscribers — we just didn’t expect it to happen so soon. As of today, Sky Q is no longer positioned as the premium offering, with Sky+HD packages now notably absent from the provider’s online store. And to make the transition from old to new that bit easier to swallow, Sky has added a cheaper, basic Q bundle to lower the cost of entry.
This means there are now three different channel packages to choose from. The new Original bundle is the cheapest at £20 per month, and includes 270 channels. The £32 Variety bundle ups that to over 300 channels and adds on-demand kids content, while the £38 Box Set bundle improves upon that with more than 350 channels and access to roughly the same number of TV box sets. Only the most expensive package includes HD channels, by the way. Right now, opting for any of these bundles will also get you a free 32-inch LG TV, a Lenovo laptop or £100 cashback in the form of a pre-paid card or Amazon/Tesco vouchers.
Optional extras include Sky’s movies and sports channels, which go for £18 and £27.50 per month, respectively, or £36 for the pair (though you need to add £6 to that if you want Sky Sports in HD). If you thought things couldn’t get any more complicated, let’s move onto hardware.
The 1TB Sky Q box demands a one-off payment of £15, which jumps up to £199 if you want the 2TB version. The two aren’t separated just by HDD capacities, though. The 2TB model supports 4K, can push broadcasts to more rooms and tablets than the 1TB version, and is now the only option that includes the fancy touchpad remote. If £199 is a bit too steep, you can reduce that to £60 if you add Multiscreen to your package for £12 per month.
You actually need Multiscreen to access Ultra HD broadcasts — and the right bundle, like Sky Sports HD. It’s also required if you want to watch TV in other rooms via a Sky Q Mini box, or stream/download recordings to tablets. Your first Sky Q Mini box isn’t free anymore, either, instead costing £30 with additional boxes still £99 thereafter.
If your brain hasn’t melted already, what Sky is trying to do here is make the 1TB box an attractively cheap option while keeping the 2TB box on a pedestal, thanks to value-adding features like 4K output, the touch remote and broader multiroom capabilities. In this way, the 1TB model is a replacement of sorts for Sky+HD, which is all but retired at this point.
Sky is keen to allay any concerns current Sky+ subscribers might be feeling, however. Their boxes will still be supported and updated with new features; plenty of boxes are still around to replace faulty ones; and in the niche instances where Sky Q is just not an option (such as in a block of flats that’s not Q-ready), Sky+HD boxes will be available as a stop-gap solution.
Panasonic showed off an early transparent TV before, but the company has now improved the image quality to the extent that the idea of a TV built into your furniture’s glass panes is not only possible — it’s right here. The OLED screen is made of a fine mesh, embedded into the glass sliding door. While the TV image is visible even with the backlighting on, once it’s dimmed, the image is clear and bright enough to be almost indistinguishable from existing TVs. (The last model was a bit too dim, and required undershelf lighting to boost the image.) Turn the TV panel off, however, and it’s hard to tell it was ever there to begin with. Want one? Panasonic’s spokesperson says the TV is likely to stay in development for a few years longer: at least another three years.
It’s tough to compete against the Netflix juggernaut, even if you throw a ton of money at the problem… just ask Shomi. The Canadian streaming video service is shutting down on November 30th, a little over two years after it got off the ground. Rogers, one of the two cable giants running Shomi, isn’t shy about the reasons for the prompt exit. Simply put, the service’s subscriber base “just isn’t big enough” — Rogers is expecting a loss of up to $140 million Canadian (about $106 million US), and its partner Shaw is likely to be hurting as well.
As to why Shomi didn’t reel people in? It’s hard to say for sure, but it’s not for a lack of licensed content. The service is closer to Hulu than Netflix through its focus on conventional TV, but it occasionally has an advantage over both. You get access to TV shows that simply aren’t available on Netflix (such as Mr. Robot), and Shomi is currently the Canadian home for Amazon originals like Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle.
It might be the combination of a slow rollout with Netflix’s overwhelming presence. Shomi was exclusive to Rogers and Shaw customers for its roughly year-long test phase, leaving many Canadians unable to sign up. And the blunt truth is that Netflix is not only good enough for many viewers, but had a years-long head start. Why pay an extra $9 per month to stream regular TV shows when Netflix exclusives like Narcos or Stranger Things are already fitting the bill, especially if you have cable service? As well-executed as Shomi might be, it has always faced daunting odds.
Source: Shomi (Yahoo Finance), Canada Newswire