Major studios pressure Netflix to block VPN access

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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Gee, thanks Hollywood. In a bid to protect their rights at all costs—including the cost of consumers' legitimate rights—major movie studios are reportedly pressuring Netflix to block VPN (Virtual Private Network) users from accessing its U.S. site.

The reason? The major studios are upset that up to 200,000 Aussies are accessing Netflix U.S. by using VPNs to hide their geographic locations, thus violating the studios' content ownership rights.

The Aussies do this by signing into VPNs with U.S. sign-in sites. They then connect these Down Underites to the Netflix U.S. site just as if they were Americans… which they are not. With Netflix due to launch an Australian service, the studios want to ensure that Australians are only watching content that has been sold to the Australian market, and that the studios are getting paid for it.

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Sling's TV place-shifting gains Chromecast support

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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Good news for Chromecast dongle users! Sling Media has upgraded its iPhone, iPad, and Android phone Slingplayer smartphone apps to stream Sling-connected content to any TV fitted with a Chromecast dongle. (An Android tablet app is in the works and coming soon.)

The Slingplayer apps’ upgrades gives Chromecast users the same reception capabilities that Sling has already extended to Apple TV and Roku users. The functionality works with TV captured on the company's Slingbox M1, 350 and SlingTV/500 ‘place-shifting’ boxes, which connect to the user’s cable/satellite TV set-top box.

“When paired with the Slingplayer app, you’ll be able to watch any of your cable or satellite programming (live or recorded) on any TV that’s been set up with Chromecast,” said Slingblog. “Remember, both the Chromecast device and Slingplayer-equipped mobile device must be on the same network. And when they are, you’ll be able to control your TV with a soft remote interface that shows up on your phone or tablet.”

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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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