In a somewhat surprising move, DISH Network said Wednesday that the company had been selected as the winning bidder in BlockBuster's bankruptcy auction, and will acquire BlockBuster's assets for about $228 million after various cost adjustments.
The total bid was $320 million, DISH said. The acquisition is expected to be completed during the second quarter, the companies said, if the bankruptcy court approves the deal.
DISH, a satellite provider, didn't say why it wanted to acquire BlockBuster, with 1,700 physical stores and a streaming service on top of it. But DISH has recently made moves to acquire licenses to content, enhancing its video-on-demand services with a deal with EPIX on Tuesday to bring its movies to DISH's online service, DISHOnline. DISH extended remote streaming to the iPad in December.
Adding a chain of stores and BlockBuster's existing relationships with content providers will help facilitate DISH's transformation into more of a provider of on-demand content than simply a "linear" provider of scheduled broadcasts.
"Mad Men" fans might not get a new dose of Don Draper until 2012, but Netflix has inked a deal with Lionsgate to stream all seasons of the show via Watch Instantly.
The first four seasons of the AMC drama will be available to U.S. viewers on Netflix starting July 27. Canadian customers already have streaming access to the show.
"Mad Men has been and continues to be a representation of TV at its best and Netflix is proud to be the syndication home for this acclaimed series," Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix, said in a statement. "This deal secures long term instant access to an iconic show for Netflix members for years to come."
The deal is noteworthy because Netflix is paying for the syndication rights to "Mad Men"; reruns will not air on other broadcast or cable TV channels.
When we got a look at the Syabas Popbox back at CES, the company said the 1080p-streaming set top box would start shipping by the end of March. Well, they missed that goal by about four months, but you can now purchase the Popbox for $129 from sites like Amazon. The Popbox is like a smaller Popcorn Hour that supports 100Mbps 1080p streaming, and has what essentially amount to an App Store, letting you choose different sites and services to integrate into your device. You know, things like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and the like. They call them “Popapps.” One glaring omission? Netflix. Hopefully that one comes back sooner rather than later though. We’ve got a video of the Popbox for you after the break, but just ignore the Netflix integration that was present when we recorded, okay?
Now, where’s that Boxee Box?
Microsoft Silverlight 3 is live, and you can go ahead and update your browsers now over at Microsoft’s Silverlight page. Silverlight 3.0.40624.0 weighs in at 4.7MB, and works with Internet Explorer, Firefox 2 and 3, and Safari 3 and 4. Here’s a look at some of the major new features:
- Media: GPU hardware acceleration, new codec support (H.264, AAC, MPEG-4), raw bitstream Audio/Video API, and improved logging for media analytics
- Graphics: GPU Acceleration and hardware compositing, perspective 3D, bitmap and pixel API, pixel shader effects, and Deep Zoom improvements
- Application development: Deep linking, navigation and SEO, improved text quality, multi-touch support, 60+ controls available, and library caching support
- Data-binding improvements, validation error templates, server data push improvements, binary XML networking support, and multi-tier REST data support
Also, remember that Xbox 360 Instant-on 1080p stuff? That’s all powered by Silverlight 3 as well (yes, Silverlight is coming to your Xbox 360 dashboard.) It’s a solid upgrade, and the installation is pretty much immediate if you are on any sort of respectable broadband connection. Definitely worth a look, and you can bet that Microsoft will be pushing hard for a few big Silverlight exclusives, like they did with the Beijing Olympics.
One of the new iPhone 3.0 features that Apple happily touted when they introduced the new OS is HTTP Streaming Media. Now, the common man may not exactly know much about HTTP Streaming, so let’s break it down for a moment. HTTP Live Streaming allows a server to server multiple versions of the same media file, and serve the one that will perform best for you depending on the amount of bandwidth you have available. If you move to an area with a higher or lower amount of bandwidth while you are viewing a piece of content, the video will be dynamically improved or degraded so that you get the best experience. Very cool, right?
If you want to give it a try, you can do that right now at the iPhone 3.0 Video Showcase, which is hosted by Akamai. Visit the site on your iPhone for the full effect, of course.
Japan has finally realized the full monetary potential of the Wii. Beginning next year, streaming video will be available through Nintendo and partnering companies. While players are watching some of that content, they will be able to order sushi, pizza, and Japanese and Chinese food. And if Japanese gamers don’t know what to order, the roulette mode will randomly make a selection. If it picks pizza, it’s time to get back to the Wii.
Read More | BGR
LG’s BD-300 Blu-ray Player is almost here. As we told you back in August, the player up-converts standard DVD to 1080p and allows Netflix subscribers access to over 12,000 titles. You can now pre-order the player from Circuit City for $349.99 and it will begin shipping soon. Amazon offers the BD-300 in price ranges of $379.00 up to $399.95 and says that they are in stock. This is certainly one instance that Amazon is not the bargain site for ordering.
Read More | Boy Genius Report
Now that Netflix has cut back on Indy cinema, this might be a good time to check out iArthouse. They have over 800 international and arthouse films and plan thousands by the end of the year. They offer ad-supported free streaming video, subscription, and download-to-burn options. Download their free StreamBurner software and start shopping from film companies such as Vanguard Cinema and Arts Alliance America. We really dig that they offer online free screenings of such classics as “M,” Hitchcock’s “39 Steps,” and “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.”
Read More | iArthouse
We can’t wait to try Tversity, free software that will add even more entertainment options to your already multi-tasking PS3, Wii, or Xbox 360. Tversity allows you to stream just about any multimedia from your PC to your TV via your gaming console. Basically, if it can be played on Windows Media Player, it can be played on TV. The software also allows you to stream internet media—audio, video, RSS feeds, podcasts and images—for television viewing. This can be done by entering websites of your choice, or using Tversity’s audio and video guides. And that’s only some of this freeware’s features! Sounds like exactly what we’ve been looking for. We’ll report back after giving Tversity a test run…
Details are sketchy at the moment, but it appears that Microsoft may be planning on integrating some sort of IPTV into the Xbox 360. Whether this means that you’ll be able to watch streamed (instead of downloaded) video content on your 360, or that you’ll be able to stream purchased videos from your 360 to some sort of mobile, wireless-enabled device *COUGH* Zune! *cough*, we can’t yet say. What we can say is that Dean Takahashi posted and then quickly removed an article about how the Xbox 360 would soon function as a set-top box for IPTV.
Could this be Microsoft’s response to PS3’s LocationFree streaming capabilities? We should know soon enough…
Read More | Engadget.com
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