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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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.
That Amazon tablet we've been waiting on for months has finally arrived, and it's called the Kindle Fire. Amazon's looking to disrupt the tablet landscape with the Fire, and is pricing it aggressively at $199. So, what do you get for your money? Well, the Kindle Fire weighs 14.6 ounces and packs a 7-inch IPS display with Gorilla Glass protection, dual-core processor, 512 MB RAM, and 8 GB of on-board storage. It runs a forked version of Android that Amazon has prettied up in a major way, customizing and optimizing it to take advantage of Amazon's various services. The Fire also has Wi-Fi built-in, but lacks a 3G option, camera, and microphone.
Purchasers of the Kindle Fire also get a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, which'll let you get a nice sampling of what the company's Video on Demand service offers. Other services you can access from the Fire include Amazon's Android Appstore, Kindle books, a host of magazines, Cloud Drive, Cloud Player, and the Amazon MP3 service. One nice feature is that WhisperSync, the technology that let you continue reading Kindle books from where you left off across multiple devices, now works with movies and TV shows. In other words, you can start a show on your Kindle Fire, and continue where you left off on your television. Another big feature is the inclusion of the Amazon Silk web browser, which does all the web processings on Amazon's EC2 servers, greatly speeding up the browsing experience.
You can pre-order a Kindle Fire now, and it'll ship on November 15th - check out the commercial after the break.
Cable executives on Tuesday downplayed the impact of Netflix on their businesses, arguing that it is simply another provider in a crowded market, though they were forced to acknowledge that consumers are no longer satisfied with just a cable box and a remote.
Execs from Time Warner, Viacom, Comcast, Cox, and News Corp. sat down this morning for a panel discussion at The Cable Show in Chicago. When asked about Netflix's recent decision to air original content, Philippe Dauman, president and CEO at Viacom, warned that "it's not easy to get into the content business; it's a tough exercise."
"That's not really their fundamental business," Dauman said of Netflix. Viacom, on the other hand, is "100 percent focused on content," he said. Netflix is just one cog in the content wheel, he said, pointing to the "incremental money" Viacom has made by repurposing its older shows, like "Beavis and Butthead," on Web-based services like Netflix.
This morning TiVo has announced their new TiVo Premiere Q and TiVo Preview boxes, alongside an update for the TiVo iPad app. Unfortunately for TiVo fanatics, the new hardware won't be available for direct sale, which is a shame. The Premiere Q is a four-tuner device that can also stream video to up to three other TiVo boxes on the same network, including the new TiVo Preview, which lacks a built-in hard drive and only functions as a TV viewing box and streaming client. The new TiVo app will hook in to your cable providers video on demand services, and will let you flick that over to your TiVo for viewing. This is all well and good, but the fact that the Premiere Q and Preview will be relegated only to cable company rollouts, coupled with the fact that there will be only two of those partnerships at first (RCN and Suddenlink,) mean that this is more of a non-announcement from where we sit than anything else. It's like they're teasing us!