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.
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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.
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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.
In a move that's far overdue, Apple has finally launched Hulu Plus on the Apple TV. A software update was released early this morning that adds the Hulu Plus app to the second- and third-generation Apple set-top-box, but it's a behind-the-scenes update. All you need to do is restart your Apple TV if you don't see Hulu Plus on the home screen.
Users can get a 1-week trial, log in with their existing Hulu Plus account, or subscribe right from the Apple TV using their connected iTunes account.
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We've gotta hand it to Netflix. The company has just announced a pretty major milestone--there were over one billion hours of video content streamed from Netflix in the month of June. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings made the announcement on Facebook, stating that he expects that upcoming Netflix exclusives like House of Cards and Arrested Development season four will help "blow these records away."
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Amazon has just announced a new partnership with MGM Studios that's set to bring hundreds of additional TV and movie classics to Amazon Prime Instant Video. This includes such hits as The Silence of the Lambs, Species, Rain Man, Stargate, and The Terminator. This brings the total of Amazon's offerings to over 18,000 movies and television episodes that you can stream to your Xbox 360 and other devices, all included in the price of your Amazon Prime membership.
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If you thought Nintendo wasn't serious about bringing more than just video games over to the Wii U console, think again. This morning during its E3 Media Briefing, Nintendo announced four popular streaming video options that'll be available on Wii U at launch: Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video. That's not all, though. While you'll be able to watch content from these four service, Nintendo also announced plans for a dual-screen experience with each one. Imagine, for example, that while watching a movie on Netflix, you could pull up all sorts of related content, facts, maps, and other information about that movie on the Wii U GamePad when it launches later this year. Could be interesting, and it sounds a lot like Xbox SmartGlass.
Network and cable TV has been the primary source for new sitcoms and shows, historically. Now, with the adaptation of the internet, that is slowly changing. What started as a mere hub used to catch up on television shows, Hulu is now expanding into producing original, first-run shows on its own.
For those that use Hulu, you may have already known that Hulu had original programing like Battleground, Up to Speed, and A Day in the Life. Hulu’s programing is now expanding to include new shows, titled We Got Next, The Awesomes, Don’t Quit Your Daydream, and Flow.
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You're now able to skip forward and backwards during play, allowing users to quickly change between movies and TV episodes. Users now will be able to zoom during play, turning letterboxed displays into full screen, and there are now contrast settings that allow you to tweak things to make colors more vivid, and blacks purer. For users outside the States, you’ll now have expanded and improved Facebook functionality connected via Facebook. The social functionality allows others to see what you watched and how you rated the shows.
If you’re wondering how to get the update, signing into your Xbox Live account and fire up your current Netflix app. You should get a notification that an update is available right away. If you’re not a Netflix user, when you decide the time is right to try Netflix, the most up-to-date software will be downloaded when you sign-up. Keep in mind in order to access Netflix through the Xbox 360, you need an Xbox Live Gold Account, broadband Internet, and an active Netflix membership.
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