Following the success of House of Cards, Netflix has launched its next original series, Hemlock Grove. All thirteen episodes of Hemlock Grove were made available to Netflix subscribers early this morning albeit to lackluster critic reviews. Hemlock Grove is based on a 2012 novel penned by Brian McGreevy, a supernatural thriller that is set in a small town in Pennsylvania. The plot revolves around the murder of a teenage girl, and the odd and unorthodox residents who are potential suspects. The show stars Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgard, Landon Liboiron, and Penelope Mitchell.
The horror genre is more forgiving than many others, and as such, even with the series being panned for not having much of a storyline, it may find success with the Netflix audience. Netflix invested $45 million in the production of the first season, and so far over 1,400 Netflix members have rated the show an average of 3.9 out of 5 stars.
What's next for Netflix? The fourth season of Arrested Development. All 15 episodes of the cult hit will hit Netflix on May 26th.
Netflix's Neil Hunt wants to make 4K streaming a thing in your home. The Netflix exclusive House of Cards, headlined by Kevin Spacey, is the current target for 4K streaming, says Hunt. As it turns out, much of the series was shot in 4K.
"Our own original House of Cards was shot in 4K," Hunt said to The Verge. "It's being mastered in full HD, but the raw footage, or a good chunk of it, was shot in 4K, and we hope to have some House of Cards 4K encodes later this year." Hunt believes 4K "will likely be streamed first before it goes anywhere else," and he plans to deliver the ultra high definition format through Netflix within the next couple of years.
Read More | The Verge
The Internet video on demand streaming giant has been given the green light to share your Netflix activity among your Facebook friends. The added functionality is off by default, but users can turn it on and pretty much allow others to spy on what they're watching and liking. Thankfully, Netflix added another feature that will hide specific videos that you deem unworthy of sharing. The caveat is that you don't forget to click the "don't share this" button on a specific video.
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Amazon has announced that it's Instant Video service has secured exclusive rights to Downton Abbey, the same day that Netflix exclusive House of Cards went live. Season 3 of the popular show will debut on Amazon Prime Instant Video on June 18th. The first two seasons are available on Hulu and Netflix, but will be removed later this year. Season 4 (and 5, if produced) will maintain Amazon exclusivity.
It's fun to sit back and observe the battle between Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, but we have to wonder what this does for customers. If you want to be able to watch shows that are exclusive to different services, then you need to be a subscriber to all of them. Not super-expensive at about $25 per month, but it's still a substantial jump over just choosing one service for $8 per month and sticking with it.
Read More | Amazon
Nintendo's TVii service for the Wii U is finally out, so you can take advantage of Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video. TVii will act as a media hub, providing several streaming services as well as your cable and DVR boxes into a cross-searchable package. You may've noticed he absence of Netflix and TiVo, however, but they are coming early next year. Japan was lucky enough to receive the service when the Wii U launched on the 8th of December, while folks in the US had no such luck, for whatever reason.
Check out the press release in full below.
iOS devices like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch will be big holiday gifts this year, make no mistake about it. The Apple TV is actually a fantastic complement to Apple's handhelds, worthy of being featured in our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide. A nice little device in its own right, the Apple TV gives you access to Apple's iTunes Store entertainment content right on your television. In addition, you get Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, sports networks, and plenty of other entertainment options. Connect it to your iTunes Home Share, and you can use your iOS devices as remote controls for the Apple TV. The best part, though, is AirPlay. You can beam audio and video content right to the Apple TV with ease from your iOS device, or your Mac. You can also mirror the display of these devices as well, all wireless over your home network.
You can pick up the Apple TV for $99, or $94.95 on Amazon.
Honorable Mention: Roku 2 XS Streaming Player
Read More | Apple TV
Microsoft is developing a set-top box as an alterntative to a fully-fledged next generation gaming device. The set-top will run on core components of Windows 8, offering casual gaming titles (most likely through Xbox Live) instead of the big productions you'll find on the next-generation of Xbox consoles.
Furthering the casual theme of the set-top box, Microsoft is planning on incorporating a chipset enabling the device to boot up practically instantaenously for quick and simple access to TV, games and other entertainment services.
The set-top box is but one step in Microsoft's plan to bring the core architecture of the next-generation across several devices, such as a phone capable of handling a complete Xbox Live experience.
Ever wonder how your favorite tech companies, apps, services or social networks like Facebook and Twitter actually make money? Do they even make a profit? This cool HTML5 optimized page by RCS See Interactive answers that very question. It gathers up all of that info and breaks it down into categories in a cool interactive way. It lets you know which companies make money from advertising, subscriptions, lead generation, selling your data (yep, that happens a lot!), freemium models, and royalties. Go check it out! Tap any circle and what you find may surprise you.
Read More | How Do They Make Money?
The most popular streaming service is now iOS 6 and iPhone 5 compliant. Netflix just rolled out its latest video streaming offering, which includes improved browsing and searching. iOS Netflix subscribers go grab the update and say "no" to letterboxing!
Read More | Netflix App
Amazon has announced yet another video sponsorship for Prime Instant Video, this time with premium cable network Epix. The partnership will bring over 3,000 movies from the likes of Lionsgate, Paramount, and MGM to Amazon's streaming offering, including movies like The Avengers, The Hunger Games, Thor, and more. Amazon and Epix have announced that this is a multi-year licensing deal. Amazon Prime Instant Video is available as one of many perks of the $79 per year Amazon Prime membership. The Epix titles will be available 90 days after they appear on Epix VOD. Netflix had previously held an exclusive license for Epix content, which has now expired.
Read More | Amazon