Chromecast adds support for Disney and iHeartRadio

James Careless , TechHive

James Careless has been covering the Internet since the days of 1200 baud modems. His credits include Business Week, KM World, Network World, PCWorld, and Streaming Media.
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Mouse ears on! Google has added Disney to the roster of apps that support its $35 Chromecast streaming stick.

“For kids of all ages, we’re introducing the WATCH Disney, WATCH Disney Junior, and WATCH Disney XD apps,” wrote Shanna Preve, Chromecast’s director of global content, on the Chromecast blog. “So now you’ll be able to watch Girl Meets World, Doc McStuffins, and Star Wars Rebels on demand from the Disney Android and iOS apps.”

watch disney channel

Good for Chromecast, bad for cord-cutters.

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Dish Network inks a deal to stream Food Network, HGTV, and other Scripps networks

James Careless , TechHive

James Careless has been covering the Internet since the days of 1200 baud modems. His credits include Business Week, KM World, Network World, PCWorld, and Streaming Media.
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Online TV viewers who like Scripps Networks’ channels such as DIY Network, the Food Network, HGTV, and the Travel Channel will be able to see them on Dish Network’s planned over-the-top TV service. Slated for rollout by the end of 2014, the Dish OTT service will be aimed at “cord cutters, cord nevers and what we call cord haters,” said Adam Lowy, Dish’s GM of Interactive and Advanced TV. Cable TV insiders expect the service to have between 20 to 30 channels, and to cost around $30/month. That’s a price that Dish hopes will be attractive to non-subscribers, but that won’t eat into its existing satellite subscriber base.

dish official logo 2014

This program deal is part of a multi-year contract renewal between Dish and Scripps Networks. It grants Dish “over-the-top (OTT) multi-stream rights for live and Video-on-Demand content” from Scripps, according to a Dish Network news release. “The agreement also expands DISH’s distribution of authenticated live and Video-on-Demand Scripps Networks programming on Internet-connected devices.”

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Netflix launches in France, with a Franc-o-fied 'House of Cards' on the way

James Careless , TechHive

James Careless has been covering the Internet since the days of 1200 baud modems. His credits include Business Week, KM World, Network World, PCWorld, and Streaming Media.
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In a move to woo French viewers and placate French regulators, Netflix’s France service, which just launched Monday, will feature the eight-part TV series Marseille later next year. Think of it as a House of Cards clone that has been tailored to talk about sleazy French politics, of course, instead of American.

The made-for-France plot: Instead of Francis Underwood and Washington DC, “_Marseille_ focuses on the story of Robert Taro, mayor of the city for 25 years,” says Netflix. “The coming elections have him face the man he chose as his heir, an ambitious youngster aiming high … Marseille stages a fight around revenge, animated by drug lords, politicians, unions and the political players of the city.”

Ironically, the political battles Netflix has had to fight to get into France make those in Kevin Spacey’s House of Cards pale by comparison. Netflix had long, protracted negotiations with the French government, who demanded that Netflix France help fund domestic TV production, just as other France-based broadcasters do. Netflix France also has to kowtow to France’s “Cultural Exception” rules, which are basically designed to keep France’s French language film-and-TV industry by being dominated by English language content.

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Chromebooks gain Chromecast streaming for Google Drive-stored videos

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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Google Drive is getting more Chromecast integration thanks to a new feature under development for Chrome OS. Right now, anyone using the latest developer version of Chrome OS can stream videos stored in Google Drive cloud storage directly to their Chromecast device (and by extension, their televisions).

The functionality only works if you are using the dev channel version of Chrome OS and have Google's Chromecast extension installed. If that describes your set-up, all you have to do is start playing a video stashed in Google Drive and you'll see a Chromecast icon appear in the upper right corner of the video player. Click the icon and you'll be able to choose where to start casting your video, François Beaufort, a Chromium evangelist at Google, announced via Google+.

The new feature appears to be a Chrome OS-only feature as the functionality was not available on the dev version of Chrome for Windows at this writing.

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The Binge-Watch List: BoJack Horseman makes existential bleakness funny

Monty Ashley Writer, TechHive Follow me on Google+

Monty Ashley lives in Seattle, where he watches movies and television, reads books, and plays games. He's trying to learn Latin, for reasons known only to him. He has written for Wizards of the Coast, Television Without Pity, and Previously.TV, and podcasts with The Incomparable.
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It’s not hard to find TV shows to watch these days. But finding good ones to watch amid all the streaming video services fighting for your attention and your eyeballs? That’s more of a challenge. Every other week, we’ll help you separate a would-be House of Cards from the rest of the pack, as we look at which streaming TV shows are worth your time.

BoJack Horseman is Netflix’s new animated show—and animating it was a smart move, because it would probably require a lot of CGI to put animal heads on half the cast. The 12 episodes of the first season became available for binging in August, and it turns out there’s a really good reason for BoJack Horseman to be released in a block.

What it’s about

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SlingTV review: Convenient TV place-shifting, with an underwhelming new interface

Andrew Hayward Contributor, TechHive

Andrew Hayward is a Chicago-based games, apps, and gadgets writer whose work has been featured in more than 50 publications. He's also a work-at-home dad to a wild toddler.
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Released in July, the Slingbox M1 is new hardware for Sling, but it effectively maintains Sling’s place-shifting status quo. By contrast, the SlingTV is the same higher-end hardware from two years back—it’s a repackaged Slingbox 500, with little effort to hide that fact. Yet its brand-new interface represents a new step forward for Sling by adding value to the content you watch on your actual TV.

The pricier SlingTV does everything that the entry-level model can, letting you shift live TV and DVR recordings to a web browser, smartphone, tablet, or even a Roku or Apple TV via a handoff from a phone or tablet. Where it really differs is the new Gallery feature, which is an overlay on your actual TV, showing you what’s on in a more visual manner than the usual bland channel listings, with artwork and Internet-powered info like sports scores and movie ratings. It’s an interesting addition in theory, but the Gallery doesn’t actually make finding content much easier or more enjoyable than the usual way of doing things.

A bigger box

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Comedy Central, MTV, and other Viacom channels coming to Sony Cloud TV

James Careless , TechHive

James Careless has been covering the Internet since the days of 1200 baud modems. His credits include Business Week, KM World, Network World, PCWorld, and Streaming Media.
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Cord cutters will finally be able to stream some cable networks without having to, uh, “borrow” a pay-TV subscriber’s login. Viacom is letting Sony’s upcoming cloud TV service to carry at least 22 of its most popular networks. The deal will let Sony OTT subscribers tune into “BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, MTV2, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, Spike, TV Land and VH1, BET Gospel, Centric, Logo, CMT Pure Country, MTV Hits, MTV James, mtvU, Palladia, TeenNick, Vh1 Classic and Vh1 Soul and all available in HD,” said a Viacom news release announcing the arrangement. “The deal marks Viacom’s first-ever agreement to provide its networks for an Internet-based live TV and video on demand service.”

Sony’s yet-to-be-named cloud TV service—for convenience’s sake, we’ll call it ‘Sony Cloud TV”—is supposed to provide OTT viewers with the “most popular live TV programs combined with a large library of VOD content,” said Sony Computer Entertainment Group CEO Andrew House at CES 2014 last January. At the time, Sony said that it would pilot the new service sometime in 2014. With the announcement of the deal with Viacom, Sony has not only taken a big step to realizing this goal, but also gained a sizable advantage on other OTT service providers who lack this content. Hulu has some Viacom shows, but getting entire networks is a big deal.

According to Viacom, this deal brings together two titans. It claims that there are more than 75 million Internet-enabled Sony devices in U.S. living rooms today, while “Viacom owns and operates the largest basic cable portfolio in the United States by audience share, including 25.9 percent share of basic cable viewership among young people aged 2 to 34.”

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