During this weekend’s Big Ten football championship game, Fox Sports will offer fans a different kind of on-field views during its coverage of the match-up. When Wisconsin and Penn State take the field Saturday, December 3rd, referees will be wearing hats equipped with GoPros to give fans another perspective of the action on the gridiron. The network says it worked alongside GoPro and Big Ten officials on a hat that would capture footage it could use immediately during its broadcast.
Fox Sports Lab successfully tested the system during last week’s Wisconsin vs. Minnesota game and plans to share clips via social media this weekend. That means if you can’t watch live, you should still be able to find some snippets of the action afterwards. What’s more, there will be a dedicated stream of Hat Cam footage on Fox Sports Go which could make for a rather interesting multi-screen setup if you can wrangle more than one display. Of course, you’ll need a cable subscription to take advantage of what that streaming app offers.
These referee cameras join drones and VR as tools in Fox’s arsenal to bring viewers different perspectives on sporting events throughout the year. For a look at what you can expect this weekend, you can watch a clip from the referee camera test run right here.
Source: Fox Sports
Starting Sunday, December 4th, CBS All Access subscribers will be able to stream weekend and Thursday night NFL action through the service. The network announced today that it agreed to terms with the league on a multi-year deal for live access via its $6 monthly option (or the pricier commercial-free tier). The slate of games not only includes the Sunday schedule, but Thursday night action that CBS broadcasts as well as preseason and postseason slates.
In addition to live and on-demand streaming from CBS’ catalog of shows and events, All Access will also be the exclusive home of the upcoming Star Trek series and a spin-off of The Good Wife. If all of that seems too good to pass up for a few dollars a month, the service is available through the CBS app for Android, iOS and Windows 10 in addition to Amazon Fire TV/Fire TV Stick, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Roku, Xbox One and Xbox 360. If none of those work for you, watch All Access via the web at CBS.com.
Amazon already offered Prime subscribers the ability to add streaming services to their account and today it tacked on two more big names. If you’re willing to pay a few extra dollars a month, you can now add HBO and Cinemax to that annual membership. Through Amazon Channels, HBO will set you back $15 a month while Cinemax requires an extra $10 monthly fee. Of course, the advantage here is that you’re getting on-demand access to content from the two networks without the need for a cable plan.
Showtime was already available through Amazon’s Channels program alongside NBC’s SeeSo comedy streaming service, PBS Kids, History Channel Vault, Starz and more. As you might expect, any of these networks that you link to a Prime plan are available though the retailer’s video app on phones, tablets and connected TVs. Owners of Amazon’s Fire TV, Fire TV Stick and Fire tablets also get easy access to any of the aforementioned streaming add-ons.
The best part of the news? HBO and Cinemax are available today for Prime customers. Just head over to the Channels page to get started.
Source: Amazon (Business Wire)
Microsoft really wants to make a big deal out of competitive Halo 5 gaming, and it’s taking an unusual route to get there. The company’s 343 Industries and Electronic Sports League have reached a deal with Pilgrim Media Group to create an eSports-focused reality TV series. Details of what it involves are scarce, but it will bring the “intensity and extreme competition” of Halo 5 to the TV, whatever that might mean. There’s no mention of a planned air date or even distributors, so it’s unclear when you’ll have a chance to watch. It’s safe to say that Microsoft will find some way to make the series available to Xbox One owners, though.
The show isn’t coming completely out of the blue. ESL, Pilgrim and Lionsgate announced cooperation on eSports programming back in May, and the Halo show is the first project to emerge from the team-up. It’s definitely a gamble, though. While the eSports field is growing rapidly and has had its share of TV coverage, it’s hard to say how well conventional TV viewers will respond to a serialized show about competitive video gaming… especially for a title that’s a year old before production even starts. With that said, the fictional Halo web series Forward Unto Dawn got an Emmy nomination. At this point, we wouldn’t rule out another success.
Source: Pilgrim Media Group
The British Film Institute (BFI) has a plan in motion to save old, at-risk TV programmes stored on obsolete video formats. As part of a new five-year strategy, the organisation has vowed to digitise and preserve “at least 100,000” shows for future generations. These include children’s TV programmes Rubovia, the Basil Brush Show and How, and comedy series Do Not Adjust Your Set and At Last the 1948 Show, which featured Monty Python duo John Cleese and Graham Chapman. Regional dramas such as Second City Firsts and Rainbow City have also been earmarked.
Heather Stewart, the BFI’s creative director told the BBC: “The whole infrastructure in relation to video is just disappearing. There are technicians who want to retire. We can’t let them go until we’ve got this stuff off these one-inch and two-inch formats. There’s a limited pool of people who know how to do it and there’s a limited pool of machines.” Another problem is storage. The BFI has a vault in Hertfordshire which holds many of its recordings from the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Digitising the lot would fit into “a robot the size of a wardrobe,” according to Stewart.
As the Guardian reports, the BFI is yet to lock down a complete list. Roughly 750,000 shows are held on one and two-inch tapes, so a six-month “discovery phase” will need to be conducted first. Some of the titles have already been digitised, so the Institute will be looking for what it considers to be the most at-risk shows. It will also need to work with broadcasters and rights holders to ensure its preservation efforts are approved. Should it be successful, the BFI will be in a position to share them online, either for free or through its premium BFI Player+ service.
Source: The Guardian, BBC, BFI
BT said earlier this month it would be rolling out a major update to its TV service next year, but it can only do that by following YouView’s lead. Today, YouView announced the finer details of the impending platform upgrade, which is coming to all set-top boxes, including TalkTalk’s and, of course, BT’s. Moving in the same direction as all TV UIs, YouView’s has been redesigned to be more visually compelling. Less words and menus, more cards and thumbnails. The EPG remains relatively unchanged, though it’s now translucent by default, with whatever’s currently playing shown behind it.
There’s a new miniguide, also card-based, that takes up the bottom third of the screen and offers immediate access to live channels, on-demand apps, recordings and settings. The main menu and recordings library (formerly MyView, now MyTV) have been rejigged, too, so users can get at more content with less “clicks.” Arguably more important than the fresh UI is the promise of significant speed improvements. Behind the scenes changes — a move to HTML5, if you’re interested — have resulted in a faster UI with slicker navigation. BBC iPlayer loads in a couple of seconds after the update, for example, as opposed to nearly half a minute previously.
To help improve the speed of the service, YouView has offloaded as much as possible to the cloud. The company says this will allow it to personalise the user experience better and iterate new features quicker, including adding multi-room capabilities in the future. One of the immediate impacts of a move to the cloud will be reflected in the updated, companion mobile app — and TalkTalk’s and BT’s. While users have long been able to schedule recordings remotely, there was at least a 15-minute lag time between sending the command, and the set-top box receiving it. After the update, the app will communicate with the set-top box in real-time.
Though it was YouView that spilled the beans today, the update will actually hit TalkTalk set-top boxes first, starting next Monday (November 28th). It’ll take a couple of months for it to roll out to all customers, though. In addition to the platform-wide updates, TalkTalk is adding a new “MoreTV” menu that’ll promote premium content available through its “Boost” channel packages and the TalkTalk TV Store.
Retail YouView boxes will receive the update next year, before summer, at the same time BT’s boxes and app get updated. An update for compatible Sony Bravia TVs is likely coming sometime later.
After stepping off the Saturday Night Live stage, the return of Dave Chappelle includes three comedy specials for Netflix. The streaming service announced today that three selections from the popular comedian would be released together in 2017. While details are somewhat scarce for now, Netflix did reveal one of the shows will be a new stand-up special while the other two will be unreleased material from performances at Austin City Limits and the Hollywood Palladium.
This announcement comes on the heels of reports that Netflix shelled out $40 million for two stand-up specials from Chris Rock. It’s also home to comedy material from Dana Carvey, Aziz Ansari, Patton Oswalt, Ali Wong, Hannibal Buress and many others. The streaming service has been keen on adding fresh stand-up material to its library of original content for some time now and the addition of Chappelle will certainly boost viewership next year.
News: 3 new Dave Chappelle comedy specials, coming soon. pic.twitter.com/OzrDukBPk6
— Netflix US (@netflix) November 21, 2016
Source: Netflix (Twitter)
Amazon already offers a robust library of movies and television for streaming, but the online retailer could be looking to tackle one of the last remaining strongholds of pay television. The Wall Street Journal reports the company has held talks over the last few months with the NBA, MLB, NFL and MLS. Amazon has reportedly also met with the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), which has it’s own network with a hand from ESPN, in addition to Campus Insiders and 120 Sports for college athletics coverage.
Details are scarce at this point, but WSJ’s sources say a new premium sports package would be tied to Amazon’s Prime. In talks with some leagues, including the NBA, the company is said to have proposed an exclusive sports tier that would be available alongside its annual subscription. It wouldn’t be a surprise if you have to pay a few dollars more to add live games to Amazon’s current Prime lineup similar to how DirecTV customers can add on NFL Sunday Ticket. In addition to the big-name US sports, the company has also reportedly spoken with the National Lacrosse League, Major League Lacrosse and World Surf League.
WSJ also reports that Amazon has reached out to networks about rights to games that they aren’t using. For example, Univision has a deal for Mexican soccer league matches (Liga MX), but it doesn’t air all of them so perhaps Amazon might be able to pick up the unused events for its own service. The company also spoke with ESPN and One World Sports about leftovers and is considering Indian Premier League cricket and international NBA coverage for viewers outside of the States.
As far as live sports on the internet go, Amazon would have a lot of competition if it’s able to secure rights. Twitter already has deals in place for NFL games and college sporting events while Yahoo streamed daily MLB matchups this season and currently offers an NHL game of the week. Facebook tried its hand at live sports as well and is reportedly considering more eSports coverage in the future. There’s also Sling TV that not only streams live network coverage, but offers add-ons like NFL Redzone and NHL Network.
“My sense is they are interested in anything that might be out there,” said ACC vice president of digital Chad Swofford told The Wall Street Journal.
Amazon may have to be content with sports like gymnastics, lacrosse and surfing as many of the major sports leagues and college conferences have television deals in place through the middle of the next decade. Of course, the company could still use those events as a means of promoting its selection of sports gear even if it can’t negotiate deals for action from the more popular leagues. We reached out to Amazon for a comment on the matter and we’ll update if we hear back.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Twitter TV events have included Thursday NFL games and the presidential election, but until now they’ve only been available on TV through Apple TV, Fire TV and Xbox One. Now, Android TV is joining that list, and from the appearance, the app is the same as on every other platform. There’s a listing for whatever featured broadcast is going on at the top, plus popular tweets and videos from the service, and some live Periscope streams. Twitter is pushing this ahead of tomorrow’s Saints/Panthers game, but it should probably add some updated screenshots to the Google Play Store first — currently they only show the phone version of the app.
Twitter for Android TV is available in the @GooglePlay store! Watch #TNF streaming LIVE on Twitter tomorrow night. https://t.co/5Dsxcuh4fU pic.twitter.com/Z6TewE5dkp
— Twitter (@twitter) November 16, 2016
Source: Twitter for Android TV
Google just illustrated one of the advantages of having an app-centric television service like Fiber TV: you can refine the entire experience through a simple software update. It’s trotting out a new version of the Fiber TV app that will help you find something to watch, even if you’re not sure where to start. It now offers personalized recommendations for live TV, and will show you live sports events. You shouldn’t miss out on that new drama you were meaning to see, and you’ll know if that football game has already started.
The software is also much better at helping you catch up on your backlog. The home screen now emphasizes the next episodes of shows you’re watching, and will recommend DVR recordings to make sure that you don’t miss a beat. Both Android and iOS users should receive the new Fiber TV app in the weeks ahead — the biggest challenge is getting Fiber in the first place.
Source: Google Fiber Official Blog, App Store, Google Play