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.
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.
Read More | Netflix
TiVo has announced that the Flingo suite of streaming apps is now available on TiVo Premiere boxes. If you're unfamiliar with what this means, Flingo basically provides multiple channels of streaming video content, including programming from A&E, History Channel, TMZ, Showtime, and about 200 other content sources, alongside 70 apps. Flingo will also be creating exclusive content apps specifically for the TiVo Premiere through "Launchpad for TiVo." "People are demanding access to online streaming content from the comfort of their own living room, and TiVo’s offerings has evolved to support that demand," Tara Maitra, SVP and general manager of content and media sales at TiVo Inc., said in a statement.
In a way, this is like turning your TiVo into a Roku set top box. We'll be checking it out later today.
Read More | MarketWire
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
It appears that Netflix has some new competition in the form of a Redbox and Verizon partnership. Today they're slowly rolling out their content streaming alternative to the masses. For $8 per month, Redbox Instant will have unlimited streaming and four DVD rentals; $9 if users opt for the Blu-ray option. As part of the launch, Redbox Instant has released their universal app for iOS that works on iDevices. To date, it is a mystery what contracts the Redbox and Verizon partnership has with studios with regards to content.
For those brave early adopters out there, y'all have the chance to get in on the Redbox Instant action by signing up on their private beta via their website.
Read More | Redbox Instant
Amazon has announced a deal with NBCUniversal that brings even more video content to its Prime Instant Video streaming offering. Hundreds of new episodes of plenty of different shows are now part of Amazon Prime Instant Video including Battlestar Galactica, Parks and Recreation, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, Parenthood, and many more. Amazon Prime members can access Instant Video from their PC, Mac, Kindle Fire, iPad, Roku, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. The service also recently added hundreds of offerings from both Paramount and MGM.
Today Amazon has released its long-awaited Instant Video iPad app on Apple's App Store. If you're an Amazon Prime member, this means that you have access to the entire Prime Instant Video catalog, but anyone can access purchased content on-demand as well. We've been playing with it this morning, and it works just as you'd expect it to, with badges indicating which pieces of content are available for free to Prime members.
One nice bonus is that the app supports AirPlay, essentially bringing Amazon Instant Video to your Apple TV. Sure, it's not built-in like Netflix or the newly-added Hulu Plus, but it still allows you to enjoy Amazon's streaming catalog on your television if you own an Apple TV. You can download the free Amazon Instant Video app now.