Passengers on American Airlines flights are about to get a new perk. Instead of craning their necks to catch reruns of "Monk" and excerpts from "The Tonight Show" on tiny aisle TV sets, they'll be able to wirelessly stream content to their personal devices from the comfort of their own seats.
American announced Tuesday that it will begin testing an inflight streaming service, created through a partnership with Aircell, that gives customers choices of movies and TV shows that they can stream to Wi-Fi-enabled devices in the air.
"American was the first North American airline to launch inflight Wi-Fi, and today we again set a new industry standard as the first domestic airline to test inflight streaming video content," American's vice president of marketing, Rob Friedman, said in a statement. "We know our customers want to be connected on the ground and in the sky, so we are working hard to stay on the leading edge of connectivity through technology enhancements like this."
Netflix is considering a plan that would allow subscribers to watch concurrent "Watch Instantly" streams on the same account.
Similar to how Netflix DVD customers can opt to have more than one DVD out at a time, Netflix streaming customers could add a customer to their account, allowing one person to stream a movie on a laptop while another person watches on a tablet, for example.
The move comes as Netflix starts to think of membership opportunities as it relates to individuals rather than households.
"As streaming has become central to our business, we believe there may be an opportunity to change our focus from a household relationship to an individual relationship, since streaming is viewed on personal devices, such as phones, tablets, and laptops, as well as on shared large screen televisions," Netflix said in a note to investors.
As a result, Netflix said it plans to start offering the concurrent streaming plan later this year, though "we are still thinking about how to best do it." It also thinking about a price point that might encourage multiple accounts in one household, like a Netflix family plan.
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.
Bloomberg reported that Apple already licenses the AirPlay technology to Pioneer Corp. and D&M Holdings.
Bloomberg quoted executives from Philips as well as Pioneer; the Philips executive was quoted as being interested in the technology, while the Pioneer executive called AirPlay a "blessing for an industry trying to move the needle forward on sales".
In November 2010, Apple issued iOS 4.2, which added AirPlay connectivity to Apple TV and the iPad. Specifically, the update added enables AirPlay—wireless streaming of video, photos, and music from your iOS device to Apple TV—and AirPrint, the wireless printing solution for the iPad. Currently, CE manufacturers are prohibited from taking advantage of the video capabilities inherent in AirPlay, Bloomberg reported.
If you've ever wanted to be able to capture a moment that you knew was coming, but weren't sure exactly when, you may want to check out Looxcie. It's a wearable video camera that constantly records. You can stream what you are recording live over the Internet, and if you wanna capture something, you just hit the button and it clips the last 30 seconds and saves it for you. If you have an iPhone or Android device, then you can even get an app that lets you use the phone as a viewfinder.
You can pick up Looxcie at Amazon.
Netflix published a very interesting set of charts showing the performance of various networks in Canada and the US. Taking only HD content, they rate each network based on how much throughput they can achieve, or how much bandwidth they can provide to their customers over the length of a streamed movie. While the Canadian Internet providers are very close to each other, there are major differences for the US. If you're streaming video or high demand data online regularily, Netflix or otherwise, this may give you a good indication on which carrier fares better. Hit the break for a look at the numbers.
Netflix today announced that streaming from Watch Instantly movies on your TV will be even simpler, as they've struck deals with several device makers including Dynex, Haier, Memorex, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, and Toshiba that will see a dedicated Netflix button added to the remote control. Starting this spring, new devices will apparently come with a remote that features the Netflix logo prominently, giving one-button access to the service. This will include some Blu-ray disc players and Internet connected TVs. According to the company's Chief Product Officer: "No more turning on the TV, going to a home screen and searching for the Netflix icon. With the Netflix one-click remote, it's simply a matter of pushing the Netflix button to instantly watch any of the vast selection of TV shows and movies available to stream from Netflix." The company has been working steadily to increase its reach, and is now available on almost any connected device one can think of.
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Looks like all the giants of the superstore world are looking to own a piece of territory in the online movie market. Just ask WalMart who recently purchased Vudu, a non-subscription service for buying and renting movies that stream online.
Sears and Kmart are partnering with RoxioNow on their service, called Alphaline Entertainment, which is going to be available on a multitude of devices. Whether Xbox 360, PS3, or Wii will want to be home to yet another movie service that does pretty much the same thing as all the others isn't known yet. What is known is that 'Alphaline Entertainment' is looking to succeed against an already established king of the online movie world where many have failed. And it doesn't help that the name doesn't roll off the tongue as easily as 'Netflix'.
Do you think Alphaline Entertainment stands a chance? Let us know.
The newly redesigned Apple TV is next up in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide, and for good reason. You can stream movies, TV shows, photos, and music to the device, and setup just requires plugging it into power, and into your television. A couple minutes later and you're connected to Wi-Fi and streaming Netflix. With iOS 4.2 and the AirPlay feature, you can even send videos and music directly from your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch directly to your television. Mix in HD movies rentals from $3.99 and TV show rentals for $.99 cents, and you have a nice little wireless media extender. You can pick one up now for $99 from Apple, or $98 from Amazon with free shipping.