Sling TV, the service that streams live TV to customers, has launched on Xbox One this morning, making it the first game console to provide access to Sling TV subscribers. The Xbox One joins Roku and Fire TV devices, Android, iOS, Macs, and PCs in providing Sling TV support.
“Sling TV and Xbox are a natural pairing; two out of three millennials think of themselves as gamers, while nearly nine out of 10 watch live sports on TV,” said Roger Lynch, CEO of Sling TV. “Today’s Xbox One customers have been some of the most passionate about Sling TV since the beginning, and now we’re pleased to bring them live TV on their favorite gaming console.”
Specific Xbox One features for Sling TV include the ability to use Kinect gestures and voice commands to control the app, and the ability to Snap Sling TV besides other activities. Current Xbox One owners who download the app will receive one month of Sling TV for free. If you buy an Xbox One between March 17 and March 25, 2015, you'll get three free months of Sling TV service to try out.
In addition to the Xbox One news, Dish Network's streaming television service is also announcing a bunch of new channels that are now available to subscribers. Sling TV is adding A&E, History, H2 and Lifetime to the $20 core live TV package, and is also expanding its $5 extra channel packs, adding Lifestyle Extra (with TruTV, the Cooking Channel, DIY and WE TV) and World News Extra (with Bloomberg TV, Euro News, France 24, NDTV 24/7, News 18 and Russia Today).
Apple kicked off its Spring Forward event this morning with a big announcement. HBO CEO Richard Plepler took the stage to announce that the new HBO standalone subscription service, HBO Now, will launch exclusively on Apple devices. The service will cost $14.99 per month, and includes the full HBO catalog of content. This is basically HBO Go, but without the need of a traditional HBO cable subscription in order to use it. HBO Now launches in April, and the first month will be free.
The Interview, the movie release that’s been at the center of media hysteria for the past week, is now available to stream from the comfort of your home after having its theatrical release pulled. You can still catch the movie in theaters starting tomorrow, Christmas Day, but you’ll only find it in 300 select independent theaters. In order to reach the masses, Sony decided to partner with Xbox Video, YouTube, and Google Play in conjunction with its own SeeTheInterview.com site on streaming the feature into the homes of potential viewers.
As far as pricing goes, you can rent The Interview for $5.99, or buy it for $14.99. Will you be watching?
Today, Apple will be holding its We Wish We Could Say More event where it’s expected to reveal the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iWatch, and a new mobile payment processing system. Some are also expecting an update to the iPad Air, and the Apple TV set-top box. This is shaping up to be one of the biggest Apple keynote events in company history—certainly the biggest yet for Steve Jobs successor, Tim Cook—and the company wants you to see it all go down, live as it happens. Here’s how you can watch today’s Apple Event:
- If you have an Apple TV, Apple has added a dedicated Apple Events channel. Fire it up at 10:00am PDT (1:00pm EDT), and you’ll be able to tune in. You need to have a second- or third-generation Apple TV running software version 6.2 or later.
- If you want to live stream the event from your desktop, you’ll need to be running OS X 10.6.8 or later and Safari 5.1.10. From there, just head to the Apple Live page.
- You can also stream the event in the Safari web browser on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch as long as you are running iOS 6.0 or later.
Of course, if you’re somewhere that you aren’t able to live stream video, you can keep it locked right here to Gear Live, where we will be bringing you reports of all the announcements at breakneck speed. Additionally, you can also follow along at The Verge, Recode, and Engadget.
Once things are wrapped up, Apple will make the video of today’s presentation available for on-demand viewing and downloading later today.
So there you have it! How will you be following along?
This morning Apple announced that it will be live streaming its upcoming WWDC 2014 keynote, which takes place on June 2nd at 10:00 am PDT. While Apple has streamed select events in the past, this one is interesting for a few reasons. First, Apple has not ever announced a live-streamed keynote this far in advance on its Web site. Secondly, the company has promised "exciting announcements" will be made. Of course, the company isn't giving anything away in advance, but it definitely wants not just the press watching--they want the average consumer and Apple fan to tune in and see what it's been working on. That would imply that there will be more than the simple developer-focused announcements.
Will you be watching? It'll be at 10:00 am PDT this Monday.
If you live in the world of video gaming, you probably know about Twitch. It's a sound concept. Watch other people play video games. I know I did it when I was nine, there was always a group of us kids around the the guy with the Gameboy playing Mario as we cheered him on.
Now it comes down to watching strangers play over the internet in real time and instead of five guys looking at a handheld console over their friend’s shoulder, it's 43 million people watching a sum total of 6 billion hours of video game coverage every single month.
Those are some big numbers, and if there is one company that has a good nose for big numbers and the internet, it's Google. Now sources connected to Google have let it slip that the internet giant YouTube, owned by Google, is looking to acquire Twitch for $1 billion.
Should the deal go through, Twitch would gain access to Google's nigh-unlimited resources to expand. It also could run afoul of United States monopoly laws, granting Google a majority share of internet video game streaming services.
Twitch alone accounted for 1.35% of all downstream bandwidth in North America in March, with Youtube raking in 18.67%.
It's still in the rumor stage unfortunately, with Youtube and Twitch refusing to confirm talks, naturally. We'll see what banner I'm streaming under when July rolls around.
The WWE Network app is now available for download on the Xbox One console, completing its availability on all announced video game platforms. Prior to today, the WWE Network was available on the Playstation 3, Playstation 4, and Xbox 360, with the Xbox One launch scheduled to come later "this summer." Obviously, the app was completed here in early spring, and made its way to the Xbox Live Marketplace without so much as an announcement from WWE or Microsoft.
We played with the app for a few minutes, and found it to be much easier to navigate than the other game console offerings. In fact, we'd place the Xbox One version just behind that of the Apple TV when it comes to connected devices. Having already used the WWE Network on the Xbox 360, after downloading it to the Xbox One, I was able to navigate around and watch content without having to log in again, thanks to my credentials syncing over Microsoft's cloud.
Streaming quality looks great, with no initial lag or stutter. You can download the WWE Network app now.
The WWE Network, announced at CES 2014, went live on February 24th--and it crashed hard. The company has had about 5 weeks to fix all the issues (and not all have been fixed as of press time,) and stress test the MLBAM servers in anticipation of what many believe to be the "make or break" event for the unique live streaming service that's paired with a vast on-demand content vault.
On April 6th, WWE presents WrestleMania XXX, which will be the very first live pay-per-view event that is broadcast on the WWE Network. It just so happens to also be the biggest event of the year for pro wrestling, as WrestleMania is seen as the Super Bowl of wrestling. The company has been broadcasting live programming several times per week in order to get a handle on load, but WrestleMania is a beast all its own. To prepare, the WWE Network will be doing daily live shows this week, along with a two-hour pre-show before WrestleMania begins. We've got the full schedule of special events that'll air on the WWE Network this week, below.
This morning, the long-awaited WWE Network launched, bringing with it 24/7 live programming alongside an extensive content library from WWE. As is to be expected with any new, big content offering, there are some hiccups due to the rush of demand that the servers are having to deal with. Users are having a hard time getting signed up since the MLBAM (the company hosting the WWE Network content) service has been slammed.
However, there's a simple workaround that'll let you bypass the whole mess for users who own an Apple TV. As with Netflix and Hulu Plus, Apple offers direct subscription access to the WWE Network through iTunes. This means that you are dealing with Apple servers rather than the ones the WWE is using, and therefore, you can sign right up with no problem and start watching immediately.
Netflix 4.0 has arrived on the App Store, bringing new features to the video streaming service for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Netflix 4.0 introduces redesigned controls for episodic television show selection, audio, and subtitles. On the iPad specifically, TV show episode selection and navigation has become much more intuitive, with the rest of the improvements hitting the iPhone and iPod touch. In addition to all that, the typical bug fixes and optimizations are also baked in.
What’s New in Version 4.0
- This new app release makes watching Netflix TV shows and movies an even better experience.
- Easy episode selection with a brand new episode selector on the iPad
- Redesigned audio and subtitle selector on iPad and iPhone
- Bug fixes
You can download Netflix 4.0 now, for free.
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