Netflix stands up to regulatory pressure from Canada, France, and the Netherlands

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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Standing tough! Despite having the screws put to it, Netflix is refusing to buckle to pressure from French, Dutch and Canadian regulators.

The streaming media service has refused to sign any VOD tax agreements with the French and Dutch governments. Netflix has also rebelled against the French government’s demand not to screen movies that have been in theatrical distribution for three years or less, in compliance with France’s Cultural Exception rules.

As for the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) ordering Netflix to submit its Canadian subscriber numbers, as part of this regulator’s hearing into the Canadian TV industry? “Yeah, right,” sums up the streaming service’s more polite response to this demand. (Factoid: Netflix’s 50 million-plus global subscriber base exceeds Canada’s total population of 35 million.)

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Sorry, Netflix and Hulu: YouTube is the top spot to watch TV online

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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YouTube is the most popular source for online TV, with Netflix coming in second and Hulu third. That’s the conclusion of a 2,400-person survey conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates, one of broadcast television’s most respected consulting firms. The survey was conducted in June 2014, with the results being released to CNET on Monday.

The numbers: Magid asked 2,400 people to check off a list of websites that they use to watch online TV. Thirty-eight percent checked YouTube, followed by 33 percent for Netflix. Hulu came in at distant third with 17 percent, and Amazon Prime was checked off by 14 percent.

At the same time, Magid’s research shows that 32 percent of Americans watch online TV daily. That’s up 10 percent from two years ago. (Just the fact that Magid, a stalwart of conventional TV broadcasting, is researching online TV shouts volumes to how much this medium has grown—and gained business credibility.)

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Now Streaming: Five double features on Netflix

Jeffrey M. Anderson , TechHive

Jeffrey has been a working film critic for more than 14 years. He first fell in love with the movies at age six while watching "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" and served as staff critic for the San Francisco Examiner from 2000 through 2003.
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In the days before video, film repertory houses used to program double features—two movies for the price of one—and the creativity that went into selecting those pairs was sometimes better than the movies themselves. The double feature may be a lost art in theaters, but it doesn’t have to be one at home. The latest batch of new-to-streaming movies on Netflix have bundled up nicely into five double features. Just picture them on a huge, lit-up marquee sign as you pop your popcorn and curl up on the couch for a night of movie goodness.

Two Audrey Hepburns

Roman Holiday

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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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