Hulu officially launches its co-viewing feature Watch Party

Hulu’s social viewing feature, Watch Party, has now launched to all on-demand subscribers, the company announced today. The co-viewing feature was first introduced during the earlier days of the pandemic in 2020, allowing Hulu users to watch shows together from different locations, as well as chat and react to what they’re watching in a group chat interface on the side of the screen.

Initially, the feature was only made available to Hulu’s “No Ads” subscribers before being tested with Hulu’s ad-supported subscribers in a more limited capacity. To celebrate the Season 2 premiere of Hulu Original “Pen15,” the company had offered the Watch Party experience to its ad-supported customers for 10 days, starting on Sept. 18.

In November, Hulu began testing the Watch Party feature with election news live streams — the first time it had offered co-viewing with its live content.

Today, Hulu says Watch Party is no longer in a “test” phase, and is now officially available to both sets of on-demand customers, including those on its commercial-free and ad-supported plans alike.

At launch, Watch Party works across thousands of on-demand titles from Hulu’s library. This includes not only Hulu’s own original content but also other licensed and broadcast programs like The Golden Girls, This is Us, Family Guy, and The Bachelorette — all of which Hulu said had been popular titles for Watch Party during the testing period.

To use Watch Party, you’ll look for the new Watch Party icon that appears on a title’s detail page on Hulu.com. This will provide a link that you can then share with up to seven other Hulu subscribers, age 18 or older. The experience doesn’t require a browser plugin, but works directly on the Hulu website itself.

As the program plays, users can chat and react with emoji in the group chat window, or even pause the viewing experience if they need to take a quick break. This won’t pause the stream for other viewers, as with some other co-watching experiences — instead, the user can rejoin the group and stay behind others or they can use a “Click to Catch Up” button in the chat window to get back in sync.

Co-watching has been a popular pandemic activity, as people looked for ways to stay connected with friends and family when they couldn’t spend time in person. In addition to Hulu, Amazon Prime Video launched co-viewing and Twitch launched its own Watch Parties. HBO teamed up with Scener, Plex launched Watch Together, and Instagram and Facebook rolled out co-viewing too. Netflix users still have to use third-party tools, however.

#hulu, #media, #movies, #tv, #video, #watch-party

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The best TV deals of Black Friday 2020

lg bx oled tv

Enlarge / LG’s BX OLED TV is among the best premium TVs for most people. (credit: LG)

Black Friday is almost synonymous with TV deals, but in reality, most of the offers advertised during the shopping holiday aren’t worth your time. While many retailers are happy to shovel out big screens at dirt-cheap prices, the actual image quality of those cheaper displays tends to be mediocre. Put another way, you usually get what you pay for.

That said, for the handful of TVs that are good value, Black Friday is generally the best time to pick up a new set. You can check out our list of the best Black Friday deals for a more general roundup, but to make things easier for those who are specifically looking to grab a new centerpiece for their living room, we’ve curated a separate rundown of the best Black Friday TV deals we can find.

While we don’t regularly review TVs here at Ars, we’ve scoured through feedback on forums and review sites we trust to supplement our own impressions. We’ve also made sure to check price history charts to ensure each offer below brings genuine savings over what you’d pay at other points in the year. We’ll be sure to update this post if any more good discounts become available, but just be warned that some deals may sell out before the end of the day, since Black Friday sales started earlier than usual this year.

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#black-friday, #black-friday-2020, #dealmaster, #staff, #tv

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Haystack News adds 16 live news channels ahead of Election Day

Ad-supported streaming news platform Haystack News is announcing a significant expansion ahead of U.S. Election Day. The company this morning introduced sixteen 24/7 live streaming news channels, including ABC News Live, CBSN, Al Jazeera, Euronews, Newsmax, Yahoo Finance and several more live local news broadcast stations across the U.S.

These are the first live news channels Haystack News has added to its previously video-on-demand (VOD) only news service.

The expansion follows another recent update to Haystack News that brought its service to over 350 total news sources, thanks to the addition of Fox owned-and-operated local stations. This change allowed Haystack News to reach 100% of the top 30 DMAs (designated market areas).

With today’s update, Haystack News aims to become a one-stop shop for live Election Night coverage, as well  — particularly for cord cutters looking for a service offering a combination of both national and local news coverage.

Haystack News has particularly benefited from the rapid shift to over-the-top streaming and rise of cord cutting.

Earlier this year, the company rebranded from Haystack TV to Haystack News to better reflect its position as a destination for ad-supported video news coverage. And in June, Haystack News reported record growth for its service with “millions” of new users signing up year-to-date, and 145% audience growth year-over-year. It also said the app was on pace to more than double usage in 2020, exceeding millions of hours monthly.

As part of its rebrand, Haystack News updated its app’s user interface and rolled out Newsline — a personalized and dynamic news TV ticker.

Today, Haystack News tells us the company has doubled its net new users for each of the past five years and that number has reached about 3 million users for 2020.

It also offered a new data point, noting for the first time that Haystack News has surpassed 2 billion minutes of news content consumed in 2020.

As a free service, Haystack News is supported through advertising, but claims its ad load is less than of traditional TV. This makes the service appealing to cord cutters in particular, who may have lost access to TV news when they dropped their traditional pay TV subscription and are looking for a free replacement.

While there are a number of ways to access streaming news from a smart TV or streaming media device, Haystack News’ advantage is that it now, as of this update, offers a variety of content — including both on-demand and live streaming news, and both national and local news coverage.

However, the company tells us its larger competitive advantage will continue to be how it personalizes the news to the end users — a feature that will help to differentiate itself from other streaming rivals, it says.

Haystack News is offering across a range of smart TVs, including Hisense, LG, Samsung, Sony, TCL and Vizio Smart TVs, as well as on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Roku, and Android and iOS mobile devices. On the web, it’s available at haystack.tv.

To date, Haystack News has raised $6.5 million, including its most recent round of funding that closed in 2019. The service is backed by AltaIR Capital, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Stanford University’s StartX Fund, SVLinks, Uhuru Capital, and Zorlu Ventures.

#haystack-news, #haystack-tv, #live-news, #live-streaming, #media, #news, #streaming-media, #streaming-news, #streaming-tv, #tv

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The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart will return in new Apple TV+ series

Jon Stewart appears in a segment on <em>The Late Show with Stephen Colbert</em> post-<em>Daily Show</em> retirement.

Enlarge / Jon Stewart appears in a segment on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert post-Daily Show retirement. (credit: CBS)

Former The Daily Show host Jon Stewart has signed a multiyear deal with Apple TV+ to write, star in, and produce a current affairs show that Apple and Stewart expect to run for multiple seasons, according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter.

Five years ago, comedian and commentator Jon Stewart departed his role hosting Comedy Central’s The Daily Show—just a year before his audience would have wanted him most, many have observed.

Since then, he has occasionally appeared to do small and infrequent segments on his former colleague Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show on CBS, he’s appeared in some media interviews, he directed one film, and he did a comedy tour with fellow topical comedian Dave Chapelle. Mostly, though, he has lived the family life at his farm in New Jersey.

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#apple-tv, #jon-stewart, #media, #politics, #streaming, #tech, #the-daily-show, #tv

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WarnerMedia to discontinue HBO and WB TV channels in India, and select other South Asia markets

WarnerMedia will discontinue HBO and WB TV channels in India, Pakistan, Maldives, and Bangladesh later this year as the entertainment conglomerate struggles to find a sustainable business model in South Asian despite operating in the region for over a decade.

The company said it will end HBO and WB TV channels in the aforementioned markets, where a cable subscription costs about $4 to $5 a month, on December 15. In India, for instance, it costs less than 25 cents to subscribe to both HBO (in HD) and WB atop a monthly cable plan, which costs about $2.

While HBO is a household name in the U.S. and several other developed markets, in India and other South Asian nations, its audience size remains tiny. Times Internet’s Movies Now, Star Movies, and Sony Pix had a considerably larger viewership than HBO in India last month, according to Broadcast Audience Research Council, India’s ratings agency.

Warner Media cited a dramatic market shift in the pay-TV industry for its decision. It said it will continue to offer Cartoon Network and Pogo in India, and distribute CNN International in the country.

“After 20 years of successes for the HBO linear movie channel in South Asia and more than a decade with the WB linear movie channel, this was a difficult decision to make. The pay-TV industry landscape and the market dynamics have shifted dramatically, and the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for further change,” said Siddharth Jain, SVP and Managing Director of WarnerMedia’s entertainment network in South Asia, in a statement.

HBO also maintains a content syndication partnership with Disney’s Hotstar in India. So the streamer will continue to offer HBO’s shows such as “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” — hopefully without any censorship — in the country.

“WarnerMedia has a strong interest in India and are committed to assessing optimal opportunities to serve valued customers here,” said Jain.

#asia, #entertainment, #hbo, #india, #south-asia, #tv, #warnermedia

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Amazon redesigns Fire TV, introduces new Fire TV Stick and low-cost Fire TV Stick Lite

Amazon today announced a redesign Fire TV experience along with an updated Fire TV Stick and a new, lower-cost Fire TV Stick Lite. The updated interface for the Alexa-enabled smart TV platform will introduce a handful of new features, including support video calling and other options for using Fire TV as a way to video chat, including later, support for Zoom, Amazon says.

It also improves the overall design of the Fire TV software experience.

The updated Fire TV design includes a personalized home page where you can more quickly get to your favorite content and apps. It will also support the recently introduced user profiles for up to six people in a household. The profiles allow users to keep track of the shows they’re watching and see recommendations tailored to their own interests.

Fire TV’s navigation has also been simplified. Gone is the lengthy row of tabs at the top of the screen to click through. Instead, navigation has moved down the page next to your profile icon, and now includes tabs for Home, Find, Live, and Library, alongside a row of your favorite apps.

The top of the screen, meanwhile, has been freed up to better display a large advertisement for Amazon’s own content. This is an understandable design choice but also serves as a reminder that Amazon Fire TV is not as neutral a platform as something like Roku, where home screen ad space is offered for sale to interested parties and may even point you to new services and apps.

An Alexa hub on Fire TV will help to show off what sort of things you can do with Alexa, including how you can use picture-in-picture mode to watch your smart cameras alongside your TV show. And now, when you ask Alexa a question, she won’t take over the full screen — a tweak that recalls Apple’s recent update to the Siri experience in iOS 14, perhaps.

But the bigger is news is around how Amazon envisions the Fire TV as a communications device.

“People have been watching more and more TV at home through devices like Fire TV and we’ve sold over 100 million of them live today,” said Amazon VP, Entertainment Devices and Services, Marc Whitten. “They’re watching billions of hours of entertainment a month. And they’ve also been using them for new things — different things that they hadn’t before,” he added.

On this front, Amazon is introducing Video Calling with Fire TV.  The new feature will allow the home’s biggest screen to display video calls. Initially, this will work by allowing customers to connect a Logitech USB webcam with their Fire TV Cube to enable two-way video calling on Alexa. Later, Amazon will add support for Zoom, but didn’t offer a launch date.

Though not mentioned today, it seems obvious that Amazon is likely planning to introduce new Fire TV television sets that include built-in webcams at some point further down the road. It’s unclear why it wasn’t ready to launch those today at its big event, however.

Image Credits: Amazon

As for Fire TV hardware, today’s announcements were limited to Fire TV Stick.

The Fire TV Stick is one of Amazon’s best-sellers and the first product on all of Amazon.com to surpass a quarter of million in customer ratings, the company noted. It now has the most 5-star ratings of any product.

The updated Fire TV Stick has been updated with a 50% more powerful processor, and supports HDR compatibility and Dolby Atmos support for full-HD streaming. But it will use 50% less power than its predecessor, Amazon says. It will continue to ship with the Alexa remote, which includes dedicated volume, power and mute buttons that can control your TV, soundbar and AV equipment. The device will roll out later in the year for $39.99.

Amazon also announced a new, more affordable Fire TV Stick, called the Fire TV Stick Lite. This version, which isn’t quite as powerful, supports streaming in full-HD with HDR, and comes with Alexa Voice Remote Lite.

The Fire TV Stick Lite will start shipping later this month for $29.99.

#amazon, #amazon-hardware-event-2020, #fire-tv, #fire-tv-stick, #tc, #television, #tv, #video-calling

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“This is the day”: Disney+ announces The Mandalorian season 2 premiere date

Characters walk in an extraterrestrial sunset outlined by the word Mandalorian.

Enlarge / Disney’s new key art for The Mandalorian season two. (credit: The Walt Disney Company)

Disney took to its Disney+ and The Mandalorian Twitter accounts this morning to announce the premiere date for the second season of the live-action Star Wars TV series: October 30.

The show was a huge part of Disney+’s early success in driving subscriptions, as it gained a large following, a lot of buzz, and generally positive critical response. However, when or if a second season would be coming was not clear, given the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The previous season ended its run on December 27 of last year. The final episode of season one resolved most of that season’s story arcs but laid the groundwork for a new story for season two. That said, it’s not yet clear exactly what form the new season will take.

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#disney, #disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #star-wars, #streaming, #the-mandalorian, #tv

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Ridley Scott is back to making operatic sci-fi in new Raised by Wolves trailer

My favorite video.

Today marks the release of a new trailer for HBO Max’s upcoming sci-fi series Raised by Wolves, produced and initially directed by Ridley Scott, who also directed Alien and The Martian.

Compared to the initial trailer that landed recently, this one fleshes the world out a bit more by introducing additional characters and more thoroughly explaining the central conflict in the series.

Here’s a quick recap of what we know about the series so far: it principally stars a female, possibly part-biological android named Mother, who has left behind some catastrophe on humanity’s home planet to travel to a new one. There, she raises a group of children who will be the seed for a new human civilization that avoids the mistakes that purportedly destroyed civilization as we know it. But in the course of raising them, it becomes clear that the young humans are susceptible to the same tendencies that Mother claims were humanity’s undoing.

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#alien, #hbo, #hbo-max, #raised-by-wolves, #ridley-scott, #sci-fi, #streaming, #tech, #trailer, #tv, #video

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Netflix test puts a ‘Shuffle Play’ button right on your home screen

Don’t know what you’re in the mood to watch? Netflix’s new “Shuffle” feature could help. The company confirms it’s currently testing a feature that puts a big button labeled “Shuffle Play” right on the Netflix home screen, beneath your user profile icon. When pressed, Netflix will randomly play content it thinks you’ll like. This could be a movie or show you’re currently watching, something you’ve saved to your list, or a title that’s similar to something you’ve already watched, the company says.

The new button is currently showing up on the Netflix app for TV devices, much to many users’ surprise. Some users thought the addition could be fun or useful, while others just seem confused.

The company tells TechCrunch the idea behind the feature is to help its members quickly and easily find content that’s tailored to their tastes. This is a challenge Netflix has addressed over the years through a variety of features and tests, like screensavers on its TV apps, pre-roll videos, and even promotional content showcased on the home screen. Ultimately, the company wants the experience of using Netflix to feel more like watching traditional TV — meaning you can just turn it on and something starts playing. (Of course, that’s also what gave us the annoying auto-playing feature, which Netflix finally allowed users to disable with an update earlier this year.)

The new “Shuffle Play” button is the latest in a long series of tests where Netflix has tried to make a shuffle concept work. Last year, for example, Netflix tried out a shuffle mode that let you click on a popular show to start playing a random episode. This may have worked well when users wanted to play a random episode of their default pick, like the “The Office” or “Friends,” but Netflix is losing the former in 2021 and it has already lost the latter.

More recently, some Netflix users discovered a shuffle option called “Play Something” in their TV app’s sidebar navigation. (See below)

Netflix confirmed these are all variations on the general “shuffle mode” concept, which it’s been trying out across surfaces, including what it calls the “profile gate,” as well as the side menu and the main screen. Currently, the “Shuffle Play” button on the profile screen is the only test that’s still underway, we’re told.

The company said it started to roll out the new test to members worldwide last month and only on TV devices. Netflix has yet to make a decision about if or when it will launch a shuffle feature publicly, as it needs to first collect feedback from each different test and compare the results.

#cord-cutting, #netflix, #streaming, #streaming-services, #streaming-video, #tc, #tv, #video

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Star Trek: Lower Decks review: Comfort food with a comic twist

Screenshot from Star Trek: Lower Decks trailer

Enlarge / Ensigns Tendi (Noël Wells), Rutherford (Eugene Cordero), Boimler (Jack Quaid), and Mariner (Tawny Newsome) reporting for duty. (credit: YouTube/CBS All Access)

Star Trek has been many things in the past 54 years: eight television series, 13 films, the better part of a thousand total novels, and the beating heart that arguably created modern fandom as it now stands. But for all the humor—both intentional and not—scattered throughout its storied history, there is one frontier it has not yet explored: the half-hour comedy.

The ninth and newest Star Trek series aims to change all that. Lower Decks is a half-hour animated series set in the timeline two years after the conclusion of Star Trek: Voyager. The half-hour comedy cartoon format is a definite change of pace from ViacomCBS’ other recent Star Trek offerings, the heavily serialized dramas Picard and Discovery. The question any fan might have then, is simple: does it hold up?

And the answer is yes, mostly—but don’t set your expectations to “stunned.”

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#cbs, #cbs-all-access, #gaming-culture, #reviews, #star-trek, #star-trek-the-next-generation, #star-trek-lower-decks, #tv

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Plex launches a live TV service with over 80 free channels, most available worldwide

Streaming media platform Plex announced today it’s further expanding into live TV with the addition of over 80 free live TV channels accessible by free users and subscribers alike. The company had already allowed consumers to capture and record live TV by way of a digital antenna and tuner connected to a Plex media server, but this had required investment in additional hardware and involved a more complicated setup process.

The new Live TV service, meanwhile, will offer easier access to a broad range of free content across categories like news, sports, film, classic TV, comedy, game shows, anime, kids, entertainment, esports, and more.

The channel lineup include Reuters TV, Yahoo Finance, Toon Goggles, Kidoodle TV, KidsFlix,
fubo Sports Network, Cooking Panda, DrinkTV, IGN TV, AFV Family, Tastemade, Revry, FailArmy, Dove Channel, Docurama, The Pet Collective, WeatherSpy, Made in Hollywood, and others. There are also channels dedicated to individual programs, like The Bob Ross Channel or Deal or No Deal, for example. Others are more thematic in nature, like Surf TV, the Law & Crime Trial Network, Game Show Central, Retro Crush, Gravitas Movies, and more. A range of music video channels, also genre-based, fill out the selection.

While none of these are big names, they expand Plex’s service with a range of free content where you might catch something interesting upon browsing — like a cooking show, old movie, classic TV episode, funny video, or kids cartoon, for instance.

Initially, Plex users will access the service from a new section called “Live TV On Plex.” From here, you’re taken to a more traditional grid guide that shows you what’s currently airing on each channel and what’s coming up in the hours ahead. In the future, Plex says it aims to integrate the free live channels with its existing product for recording from live TV via the over-the-air antenna, in order to simplify navigation.

Unlike with its current Live TV product, you can only tune into and watch the free live TV programs — you can’t record the shows or movies. However, in true Plex fashion, it’s making it easy to customize the guide to your particular interests, by allowing you to do things like reorder channels to your liking or even hide those you don’t care about.

Though there are several “free TV” services on the market today, Plex aims to differentiate its offering by making over 80% of the live channels available to users outside the U.S., where “free TV” services are more limited.

The free content is supported by programmatic advertising, which also supports Plex’s on-demand Movies & TV library and its free News offering. The company says it has no plan to directly sell its own ads for any of these properties, but its continued expansions into ad-supported content have begun to return revenue.

The company declined to speak to its specific revenue situation. But Plex co-founder and Chief Product Officer Scott Olechowski described the numbers as getting “interesting.”

“It’s now becoming interesting enough that we’re able to expand this footprint, the licensing we’re doing, the resources we’re putting into it, and the marketing we’re doing it around it,” he explains. “Because of [Plex’s] independence, the quality of the catalog, and the quality of the app, the amount of interest we’re getting from demand partners is pretty impressive,” Olechowski adds.

Plex may also benefit from the increasing battles between media giants to run their own, competing free TV platforms. For example, Fox Corp. acquired free streaming service TUBI in March and ViacomCBS now runs the free service Pluto.TV, acquired last year. As these services now operate as an arm of corporate giants, it makes sense for them to highlight and promote the parent company’s own content over niche, third-party channels, where the revenue take is smaller.

Now that the service has launched, Plex says the plan is to further expand its lineup with more channels in time, potentially including those it programs itself using content from its existing free Movies & TV library. Longer-term, Plex envisions creating even more personalized channels for its users which would include content from its free services combined with content from your own media library.

More broadly, the company sees live TV as another hole to plug on its way to becoming a comprehensive media platform that includes not only access to users’ personal libraries, but also live and on-demand TV and movies, podcasts, music, news, web shows, and more. The company is still working to add a movies and TV rental and purchase library, and is figuring out a way to direct users to off-platform content, perhaps by way of its movie and TV database, Plex Mediaverse.

The new live TV channels are rolling out now in the U.S. and other international markets, where supported.

#cord-cutting, #live-tv, #media, #plex, #streaming-service, #streaming-tv, #tv

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Amazon Fire TV now pulls in live TV content from Sling TV, YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV

Amazon is upgrading its Fire TV’s live TV experience through new integrations with several live TV streaming services, including Sling TV, YouTube TV, and Hulu + Live TV. Live content from these services will now appear within key areas with the Fire TV user interface, including the Fire TV’s Live tab and Channel Guide, making Fire TV feel even more like a cable TV replacement than before.

Already, Amazon Fire TV had offered integrations with nearly 20 other apps in a similar fashion, including live TV apps like Philo and Pluto TV, as well as its own Prime Video Channels.

But the addition of Sling TV, YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV brings in the three largest and most popular apps among cord cutters who are paying for a live TV experience. Sling TV has 2.31 million subscribers; YouTube TV has over 2 million; and Hulu + Live TV has 3.3 million.

Live content from these apps will be found within three main sections: the Live tab, the “On Now” rows and the multi-app Channel Guide.

Streaming live TV over the internet has become a more popular option for cord cutters over the years, as it offers a less expensive way to have a cable TV-like experience. Unfortunately, that gap has been closing in more recent months, as live TV users have been subjected to continual price increases as the services expanded their channel lineups.

However, many live TV customers remain because even with the increases, it can still be slightly less than cable and offers more flexibility — like working across platforms and not tied to a cable box.

This trend toward live content has also been seen on Fire TV, Amazon says.

The Live tab has become the second-most-visited destination on the Fire TV interface after the Home screen, due to its integrations of live content, the company noted. In addition, live TV streaming apps on Fire TV have seen the total time spent in app and active customers more than double, on average, since Fire TV added its live TV discovery integrations.

Image Credits: Amazon

“Fire TV is hugely popular among Philo fans. Since integrating with Amazon’s live streaming discovery features, the number of active Philo users is up nearly 2.5x on Fire TV,” said Philo CEO Andrew McCollum, whose TV streaming app was one of the earlier additions to Fire TV.

To use new integrations, you’ll first need to log into the streaming app you subscribe to with your current account information. You can then access the app’s live content across the Live Tab, which organizes live content in the familiar Netflix-like style of scrollable rows. Here, there are rows for things like “Live Sports” and “Live News,” plus content from your subscriptions’ channels.

From here, you can hop into the Channel Guide, which offers the more traditional grid guide, similar to cable TV.

This format is proving popular among live TV service subscribers.

On Monday, for example, Roku introduced its own Live TV Channel Guide, accessible via a new tile, which allows Roku users to browse the free live and linear content Roku offers in a similar way.

Amazon’s Fire TV platform, however, has the perk of Alexa integration.

That means users can ask Alexa to open the Channel Guide or even change the channel, by saying “Alexa, tune to [name of channel],” for example. This works via built-in Alexa on the Fire TV Cube, via a paired Echo device, or by using the Fire TV’s Alexa Voice Remote, depending on your setup.

“We’re excited to welcome Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, and YouTube TV into our integrated suite of Live TV discovery features,” said Sandeep Gupta, VP of Fire TV, in a statement. “We believe the future of Connected TV is one that brings live content forward, simplifies the streaming and OTT landscape, and enables customers to discover the programs they want to watch with ease,” he added.

Sling TV’s integration began rolling out earlier this year, Amazon clarifies, but is being officially announced today.

YouTube TV will be available starting today, and Hulu + Live TV will become available in the coming weeks.

#alexa, #amazon, #amazon-fire-tv, #cord-cutting, #fire-tv, #live-tv, #live-tv-streaming-service, #media, #streaming-service, #streaming-tv, #tv

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Amazon Prime Video will finally offer one of Netflix’s most basic features

Amazon Prime Video on an iPad Pro.

Enlarge / Amazon Prime Video on an iPad Pro.

At long last, Amazon Prime Video is catching up to competitors like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ with a key feature: user profiles. The feature is rolling out in the mobile and set-top box versions of the Prime Video app starting today.

The feature allows multiple people sharing an Amazon Prime subscription to maintain separate watch histories and watch lists. Additionally, Amazon has made a distinction between user profiles for kids and profiles for adults, with different rules. Users can configure up to six profiles in any mix of children’s and adults’ profiles. All this is rolling out starting today, but it won’t reach all users right away.

According to TechCrunch, multiple user profiles were supported in India and Africa previously, and they are only now making their way to the rest of the world, including the United States. The rollout brings Amazon closer to feature parity with Netflix and other big streaming players. The majority of major apps in this space offered this feature, but there are some outliers—like CBS All Access.

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#amazon, #amazon-prime, #amazon-prime-video, #gaming-culture, #streaming-video, #tech, #tv, #video

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Vizio’s 2020 TV plans: HDMI 2.1, FreeSync, eARC, and—at long last—OLED

Vizio is on the precipice of shipping its first OLED TVs, after having made a name for itself as the gadget-maker that produces LED TVs that offer a particularly strong balance between cost and performance. The company has also just begun rolling out its annual lineup of LED TVs.

The OLED models will be pricy by most people’s standards but slightly cheaper than entry-level sets from Sony or LG, which have been the only large-scale suppliers of OLED sets in the United States for a while now. Vizio plans to ship 55- and 65-inch models at $1,300 and $2,000.

Vizio has a much larger market share in the US than LG or Sony (it’s third behind Samsung and TCL), so it could become the most popular OLED TV maker if these sets are as successful as its LED lineup. Most reviewers agree that Vizio’s LED TVs are neither the cheapest nor the absolute highest quality—but they might be an optimal middle ground for many enthusiasts. Vizio looks to be aiming for a similar strategy with OLED.

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#4k, #hdr, #hdtv, #led, #oled, #tech, #tv, #vizio

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YouTube TV hikes price to $64.99 per month following new channel additions

YouTube TV is getting another price hike, making its live TV streaming service less competitive with the cable TV services it aims to replace. The company announced today its service would now cost $64.99 per month, starting today, June 30, for new members. The change will also be reflected on the next billing cycle for current members after June 30.

The bump in pricing is now one of several price increases YouTube TV has seen since its debut, starting with a modest $5 per month bump in 2018, followed by a much more substantial price hike last year to $50 per month.

The increases are due to the rising costs of programming for the streaming TV service as the pay TV industry collapses amid a rise in cord cutting — a trend now accelerating at even a faster pace due to the pandemic.

YouTube TV had announced in May it would soon gain 14 more ViacomCBS channels as part of an expanded distribution deal. This included the addition of new channels like BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TV Land and VH1 which are today being made available. This brings YouTube TV’s base plan to over 85 channels.

Other channels that were are a part of that same deal — including BET Her, MTV2, MTV Classic, Nick Jr., NickToons, and TeenNick — are due to arrive at a later date, the company noted.

While YouTube TV didn’t announce its plans to raise prices back in May, at this point it’s to be expected whenever a service says it’s adding channels to its core offering.

But for YouTube TV’s some 2 million subscribers, new additions aren’t always welcome.

The original promise of live TV streaming services were smaller lineups, sometimes even a la carte options, for a lower monthly price.

Services like Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV, Philo, and others offer pared down channel selections compared with the hundreds of channels offered by cable and satellite providers. But in the years since their respective launches, they’ve slowly closed the gap with cable by adding more and more channels to base packages and raising prices.

In addition to the ViacomCBS channels, YouTube TV also recently introduced premium add-ons including Cinemax and HBO Max.

Now, instead of wooing consumers on price, YouTube TV focuses on feature set.

For example, YouTube TV announced today a new feature that allows users to jump to various segments within select news programs on the service, starting first on TV screens and coming to mobile in the next several weeks. It also touted its unlimited DVR, dark mode option, “Mark Watched” feature, and redesigned Live Guide with access to TV programming for the week ahead.

“We don’t take these decisions lightly, and realize how hard this is for our members,” YouTube TV’s announcement read, in detailing the price hike.

“That said, this new price reflects the rising cost of content and we also believe it reflects the complete value of YouTube TV, from our breadth of content to the features that are changing how we watch live TV,” wrote YouTube TV VP of Product Management, Christian Oestlien. “YouTube TV is the only streaming service that includes a DVR with unlimited storage space, plus 6 accounts per household each with its own unique recommendations, and 3 concurrent streams. It’s all included in the base cost of YouTube TV, with no contract and no hidden fees,” he said.

The company also noted it was working to develop more flexible models for YouTube TV users, but didn’t offer details on what those are or when they would arrive.

#cord-cutting, #live-tv, #media, #streaming-service, #television, #tv, #youtube, #youtube-tv

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Hulu scraps support for older Roku devices

The 2017 Roku Ultra, which will still be supported by the latest Hulu app.

Enlarge / The 2017 Roku Ultra, which will still be supported by the latest Hulu app. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Several older Roku devices will lose access to the latest Hulu app on June 24, 2020, the subscription-based streaming service has announced with an update to its support pages. Users of the affected devices will see messages like “Hulu is no longer supported on this device,” or simply “your user session has expired,” according to Hulu documentation.

Affected devices include Roku Streaming Stick models 3420 or earlier, as well as Roku Streaming Player models 2400 to 3100. Roku device owners can navigate to the About panel under Settings within the Roku interface to determine which model they have.

The sticks and players were already limited to using the “classic” Hulu app instead of the modern one. The classic app has a number of limitations—most notably the lack of live TV support. However, with this change, it appears that users of these models will not be able to access Hulu in any form after the end-of-support date.

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#hulu, #roku, #streaming, #streaming-box, #streaming-dongle, #tech, #tv

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Nielsen finds connected TV viewing remains higher than pre-COVID-19 levels, despite lockdowns lifting

The significant increases in TV watching and streaming services that were seen during the COVID-19 lockdowns in the U.S. may represent the new normal, new data from Nielsen suggests. During the height of the lockdowns, the weekly time spent watching connected TVs grew alongside overall media use, rising by over a billion hours in the passing weeks. But now that government restrictions and shelter-in-place orders are lifting, connected TV usage continues to remain well above pre-COVID-19 normals, the firm has found.

Connected TVs, which include things like smart TVs, internet-connected devices, and even game consoles, allow users to access a variety of entertainment beyond traditional broadcast or cable channels. They also offer access to sources of over-the-top content, streaming apps, games, and other subscription video services. Because of this wealth of content, connected TV usage grew during the pandemic while traditional TV usage in early May still hadn’t grown much over 2019 levels.

As of March 2020, 76% of U.S. homes had at least one connected TV, Nielsen data found. But that doesn’t necessarily correlate to usage. In January 2020, those homes with connected devices streamed a collective 12.5 billion of hours per month.

Shortly after COVID-19 spread in the U.S., that usage grew. The total number of hours spent with the devices was up 81% year-over-year, equating to an increase of nearly 4 billion hours of connected TV use per week.

Specifically, usage of the devices grew in the living room as families spent more time watching together, with “co-viewing,” as it’s called, growing to account for 62.5% of the share of minutes watched in early March to 64.1% by the end of the month.

Outside of the connected TV space, co-viewing across broadcast, cable and syndicated TV also grew by 2 percentage points (from 34% to 36%) from early March to early May.

What’s most notable about the data, however, is that the trend towards increased connected TV viewing isn’t being significantly impacted by the lifting of government lockdowns. Although people have the option to leave their homes and go to more places, they’re still choosing to spend time indoors watching TV.

In the first week of March, connected TV households spent a combined 2.7 billion watching TV. That continued to grow as restrictions went into place, peaking at nearly 4 billion hours during the week of April 6-12, 2020, in the U.S. By early May, however, when stay-at-home orders lifted across numerous states, connected TV usage had only dropped to 3.5 billion hours per week — higher than before the lockdowns began.

It may seem obvious that consumers would be more cautious about venturing out in the world when there’s no vaccine for COVID-19 and reported cases to continue to climb. But this is hard data that points to the potential longer-term impacts the pandemic will have on the way U.S. consumers behave.

“With 49 of the U.S. states now re-open at least partially, the continued high CTV usage is a testament to consumers’ attraction to the variety of options available and the connectivity they have to it,” said Nielsen. “So in this new normal, we see that connected TV and co-viewing are a big part of the new media consumption equation,” the firm said.

 

#cord-cutting, #media, #nielsen, #streaming, #television, #tv

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Enjoy some 4K TV with your nature on Samsung’s new outdoor sets

Like most of us you’ve probably been stuck inside for months now. Sitting around, pacing your home, watching a lot of bad television. Would anything possibly be better that finally getting some time outdoors to commune with nature and catch a little ultra high-def television?

Up to now, outdoor sets have largely been the realm of specialty companies with names like SunBriteTV. Now Samsung’s getting on the decidedly niche category, with the Terrace line. The sets also sport a fairly niche price tag, starting at $3,499 for the 55-inch model and going up to $6,499 for the 75-inch.

The lofty price tag gets you IP55 weather proofing, against the inevitable water and dusty. The 2160p screen is an extremely bright 2000 nits — designed to be bright enough to watch in the sunlight. It’s got all of the necessary ports, but Samsung’s largely focused on wireless connectivity, so users (well, installers) only have to plug it into a power source. There’s also a separate Terrace sound bar that also carries the IP55 rating. That’s going to run you an additional $1,200 to complete the set up.

Maybe it’s just me, being grumpy and slightly unhinged from being stuck inside a New York apartment for months on end, but the last thing I want to do upon leaving the apartment is watch TV. Granted, this pandemic is starting to get to me. If you’ve got the inclination, outdoor space and several grand to spend, Samsung’s got you.

#hardware, #samsung, #tv

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YouTube TV to gain 14 more ViacomCBS channels in expanded distribution deal

YouTube TV is expanding its lineup of channels thanks to a new, multi-year distribution agreement with ViacomCBS, announced this morning. The Google-owned streaming TV service is gaining 14 new ViacomCBS channels as a result of the deal, including news, sports, and entertainment offerings. It will also continue to carry CBS broadcast stations, CBS Sports Network, Pop TV, Smithsonian Channel, and The CW.

New channels including BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TV Land and VH1 will arrive on YouTube TV this summer, where they’ll reach the service’s over 2 million subscribers.

Other channels, such as BET Her, MTV2, Nick Jr., NickToons, TeenNick and MTV Classic, will roll out at a later time as part of YouTube TV’s base package.

In addition, YouTube TV will continue to offer ViacomCBS’ premium subscription services, including Showtime, on its YouTube TV service and as an extended partnership on YouTube’s broader platforms.

The YouTube TV service today costs $49.99/month for a lineup of over 70 networks, including live and local sports, news, shows, movies and more, as well as an unlimited cloud DVR for recording favorites.

“We are thrilled to have reached an expanded agreement with YouTube TV that recognizes the full power of our newly combined portfolio as ViacomCBS,” said Ray Hopkins, President, U.S. Networks Distribution, ViacomCBS, in a statement about the deal. “Google has been an excellent partner, and we look forward to bringing even more of our entertainment networks to YouTube TV subscribers for the first time.”

The YouTube TV deal follows a series of distribution agreements ViacomCBS has secured over the past six months, including a new agreement with Verizon FiOS (disclosure: TechCrunch parent’s parent company is Verizon). The Verizon deal was its first carriage deal for ViacomCBS’ full portfolio of networks since the merger between Viacom and CBS closed in December.

ViacomCBS also did distribution deals with Comcast in January, and with News Corp-controlled Australian pay TV company Foxtel in March.

Meanwhile, the ViacomCBS free streaming service Pluto TV has also recently confirmed new distribution deals with TiVo and Verizon, the latter across Verizon’s wireless network, on connected TV platforms like Stream TV, and on its pay TV service, FiOS.

“We’re excited to launch ViacomCBS’ portfolio on YouTube TV this summer, ” said Lori Conkling, Global Head of Partnerships at YouTube TV, in an announcement. “Our expanded partnership delivers on our promise to offer a premium portfolio of content to our YouTube TV subscribers, as well as across the YouTube platforms.”

#google, #media, #streaming-service, #streaming-tv, #television, #tv, #viacomcbs, #youtube, #youtube-tv

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FCC orders Sinclair to pay $48 million fine related to its failed merger with Tribune

Sinclair Broadcast Group has agreed to pay a $48 million fine to the Federal Communications Communication to close investigations related to its attempted merger with Tribune Media. The FCC said in its announcement that this is the largest civil penalty paid by a broadcaster in the agency’s history. It added that Sinclair will also have to “abide by a strict compliance plan in order to close three open investigations.”

The merger, which was valued at $3.9 billion and would have created one of the largest broadcasters in the United States, was called off by Tribune in August 2018. Tribune also filed a lawsuit accusing Sinclair of breaching contract and misleading regulators “in a misguided and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to retain control over stations that it was obligated to sell.”

In today’s announcement, the FCC said its agreement with Sinclair was related to investigations into the company’s disclosure of information related to the acquisition of Tribune-owned stations, its failure to identify sponsored content it produced for broadcast, and “whether the company has met its obligations to negotiate retransmission consent agreements in good faith.”

In today’s FCC statement, chairman Ajit Pai, who was critical of the deal before it was scrapped, said “Sinclair’s conduct during its attempt to merge with Tribune was completely unacceptable. Today’s penalty, along with the failure of the Sinclair/Tribune transaction, should serve as a cautionary tale to other licensees seeking Commission approval of a transaction in the future.”

He also added that the FCC would not revoke licenses granted to the conservative-leaning broadcaster. “On the other hand, I disagree with those who, for transparently political reasons, demand we revoke Sinclair’s licenses,” Pai said. “While they don’t like what they perceive to be the broadcaster’s viewpoints, the First Amendment still applies around here.”

In a statement, Sinclair Broadcast Group president and CEO Chris Ripley said that the company is “pleased with the resolution announced today by the FCC and to be moving forward. We thank the FCC staff for their diligence in reaching this resolution. Sinclair is committed to continue to interact constructively with all of its regulators to ensure full compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations.”

#federal-communications-commission, #media, #sinclair-broadcast-group, #tc, #tribune-media, #tv

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AT&T loses 897K more pay TV subscribers in Q1 2020, adding pressure to HBO Max launch

AT&T gave a first look into how the pay TV business is faring amid the coronavirus pandemic…and it’s not great. The company reported today as a part of its Q1 2020 earnings that its traditional pay TV services, including DIRECTV and its newer streaming option AT&T TV, saw a combined net loss of 897,000 subscribers in the quarter. Meanwhile, its over-the-top streaming service, AT&T TV Now, also lost 138,000 subscribers, following a number of price hikes.

The company’s newer pay TV service, AT&T TV, only just became available nationwide in March. But despite its “streaming” nature — it ships with an Android TV-powered box to deliver TV over the internet — consumers may have already caught on to the fact that it’s still just the worst of pay TV wrapped up in a new delivery mechanism.

The streaming service is expensive compared with today’s over-the-top and video-on-demand options. It’s also laden with fees for things like activation, early termination and additional set-top boxes. And its bundle with AT&T Internet offers each service for $39.99/month for the first 12 months, but ties subscribers into 2-year contracts where prices climb in the second year.

AT&T’s Q1 TV subscriber numbers indicate how quickly the pay TV market is imploding. And perhaps it will decline even more rapidly now that people no longer want to risk coronavirus exposure by having service techs install equipment in their homes. While AT&T TV’s DIY installation may help in that area, it’s unclear if the new service will ever broadly appeal to consumers in the streaming era.

AT&T ended the quarter with 18.6 million pay TV subscribers, down from 19.5 million in Q4 when it lost 945,000 subscribers.

This all puts much more pressure on WarnerMedia to deliver with its May 27th launch of HBO Max. The new direct-to-consumer streaming service promises all of HBO, plus original content, and a library of movies, classic TV and film, fan favorites, and more. But at only $14.99 per month, it won’t be able to replace the lost revenue from high-priced pay TV subscriptions — only offset it.

AT&T also today admitted how the coronavirus outbreak has forced it to rethink its theatrical model.

Just yesterday, WarnerMedia announced the new kids movie “Scoob!” would skip theaters and head straight into homes, where it will be offered at either a $19.99 rental or $24.99 digital purchase. It will later have its “exclusive streaming premiere” on HBO Max.

“We’re rethinking our theatrical model and looking for ways to accelerate efforts that are consistent with the rapid changes in consumer behavior from the pandemic,” said WarnerMedia CEO and AT&T COO John Stankey, as reported by The Wrap.

“When theaters are closed, it’s hard to generate revenue,” he said. “And I don’t expect that’s going to be a snapback. I think that’s going to be something we’re going to have to watch the formation of consumer confidence, not just about going to movies, just in general about being back out in public and understanding what’s occurring there,” Stankey noted.

Overall, AT&T missed on both revenue and earnings in Q1, largely citing impacts from the coronavirus outbreak which reduced earnings by 5 cents per share ($433 million). Total revenue in the quarter was $42.8 billion, short of Wall St. estimates of $44.2 billion. Adjusted EPS was 84 cents per share, versus an expected 85 cents.

A $600 million decline in revenue was attributed to lost ad sales, specifically those that were expected from now-postponed live sports events like March Madness, as well as lower wireless equipment sales.

AT&T’s WarnerMedia division — which includes HBO and Turner broadcast networks in addition to Warner Bros. theatrical releases — was heavily impacted by the pandemic, as well, reporting $7.4 billion in revenue, down from $8.4 billion a year earlier.

“The COVID pandemic had a 5 cents per share impact on our first quarter. Without it, the quarter was about what we expected — strong wireless numbers that covered the HBO Max investment, and produced stable EBITDA and EBITDA margins,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO, in a statement. “We have a strong cash position, a strong balance sheet, and our core businesses are solid and continue to generate good free cash flow — even in today’s environment. In light of the pandemic’s economic impact, we’ve already adjusted our capital allocation plans and suspended all share retirements,” he added.

The company said it will continue investing in 5G and broadband, two of its only bright spots in the quarter, in addition to investments in HBO Max.

AT&T withdrew its financial guidance due to the “lack of visibility related to COVID-19 pandemic and recovery,” it said.

#att, #cord-cutting, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #hbo-max, #media, #pay-tv, #streaming, #streaming-services, #television, #tv

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HBO Max debuts on May 27th with 10,000 hours of content, including a handful of originals

AT&T’s WarnerMedia announced last fall its plan was to launch the new streaming service HBO Max in May 2020 for $14.99 per month. Today, we have a solid launch date: May 27th. AT&T has also now revealed its initial programming slate for the new direct-to-consumer service, which includes over 10,000 hours of premium content from both the HBO service and past and present titles from Warner Bros., in addition to a selection of original programming.

However, some of the more high-profile original projects and new HBO series won’t arrive on launch day.

Instead, HBO Max is promising a more modest slate of original programming at its premiere, including a scripted comedy called “Love Life,” starring Anna Kendrick; the Sundance 2020 Official Selection feature documentary “On the Record;” the underground ballroom dance competition series “Legendary;” a kids competition series, “Craftopia,” hosted by YouTuber LaurDIY; the all-new “Looney Tunes Cartoons” from Warner Bros. Animation; and Sesame Workshop’s “The Not Too Late Show with Elmo.”

WarnerMedia also today released the trailers for the new shows for the first time, available on its YouTube channel.

The service’s added focus on family-friendly entertainment is meant to offer HBO a better way to compete with rival streamers, like Netflix and Disney+, in a crowded market. That said, the launch comes at a time when many families are stuck at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, in search of things to watch as a group. That could prove beneficial for HBO Max — at least in its early days, before the government lockdowns are lifted.

In the long run, HBO Max will easily convert its HBO NOW subscriber base — after all, it’s the same price — but will have to prove itself on the original front to gain new customers. And unfortunately, it no longer has a breakout hit like “Game of Thrones” to lead the way.

“Our number one goal is having extraordinary content for everyone in the family, and the HBO Max programming mix we are so excited to unveil on May 27th will bear that out,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of Warner Media Entertainment and Direct-To-Consumer, in a statement about the launch. “Even in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic, the all-star teams behind every aspect of HBO Max will deliver a platform and a robust slate of content that is varied, of the highest quality, and second to none. I’m knocked out by the breadth and depth of our new offering, from the Max originals, our Warner Bros library and acquisition titles from around the world, and of course the entirety of HBO,” he added.

WarnerMedia had been steadily announcing the shows it had greenlit for HBO and HBO MAX to whet consumers’ appetite for the service, pre-launch. These included a “Game of Thrones” spin-off for HBO called “House of the Dragon,” plus new shows from Elizabeth Banks, Issa Rae and Mindy Kaling; new DC Comics titles “Green Lantern” and “Strange Adventures” from “Arrow’s” producer; and reboots of classics ranging from “Grease” to “Gossip Girl” to “Dune,” and more.

Last week, WarnerMedia also revealed the first three J.J. Abrams series for HBO Max, including “Duster,” “The Shining” offshoot “Overlook” and an untitled DC Comics project focused on characters in the Justice League Dark universe.

However, many of its more anticipated projects weren’t mentioned today as being in HBO MAX’s near-term future.

Instead, the next set of Max Originals to arrive this summer and fall include “The Flight Attendant,” starring and executive produced by Kaley Cuoco; all-new original episodes of DC fan favorite “Doom Patrol;” the return of the mystery comedy “Search Party;” a three-part documentary series, “Expecting Amy,” starring comedian Amy Schumer; sci-fi series “Raised by Wolves” from director and executive producer Ridley Scott; the adult animated comedy “Close Enough” from J.G. Quintel (creator of Cartoon Network’s Emmy-winning “Regular Show”); and “Adventure Time: Distant Lands-BMO,” the first of four breakout specials resurrecting Cartoon Network’s Emmy-winning franchise “Adventure Time.”

In fact, the biggest draw in terms of can’t-get-it-elsewhere content may end up being the unscripted cast reunion special for “Friends,” which will arrive later this year, once it’s able to be filmed.

The service will also soon include the full run of “Friends,” along with the libraries of “The Big Bang Theory;” (new) “Doctor Who;” “Rick and Morty;” “The Boondocks;” “The Bachelor;” “Sesame Street;” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air;” CW shows such as “Batwoman,” “Nancy Drew” and “Katy Keene;” the first season of DC’s “Doom Patrol;” “The O.C.;” “Pretty Little Liars;” the CNN catalog of “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown;” and more.

“South Park,” “Gossip Girl” and “The West Wing” will be added in the first year.

Feature films to arrive will include “Crazy Rich Asians,” “A Star is Born,” “Aquaman” and “Joker,” along with others it acquired from the Criterion Collection and the acclaimed Studio Ghibli. Classics will include “Casablanca,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Matrix,” “The Goonies,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “The Lord of the Rings,” “Citizen Kane,” “Gremlins” and the “LEGO” movies, along with every DC film from the last decade, including “Wonder Woman,” “Justice League,” and every “Batman” and “Superman” movie from the last 40 years.

In total, HBO Max promises a library of over 2,000 feature films in the first year.

And finally, the service will also pull from WarnerMedia’s library of movies and TV, New Line and library titles from DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth and Looney Tunes. And it will offer a selection of classic films curated in partnership with TCM, plus third-party acquired series and movies.

#att, #entertainment, #hbo, #hbo-max, #media, #movies, #streaming-service, #streaming-tv, #tc, #television, #tv, #warnermedia

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Disney+ surpasses 50 million subscribers in just 5 months

Screenshot from Trailer for upcoming series The Mandalorian.

Enlarge / Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian on Disney+. (credit: YouTube/Star Wars/Disney)

This week, Disney announced a new milestone for its Disney+ streaming video service: 50 million subscribers just five months after the service’s initial launch.

That seems to be many more subscribers than Disney’s own Hulu service, which as of the end of last year clocked in at just over 30 million, and three times the combined subscribers for CBS All Access and Showtime as of January—though none of those services are available in as many countries and regions as Disney+. You might compare Disney+ instead with the more global Netflix, which has 167 million subscribers.

Still, Netflix has been building that subscriber base over many years. Disney has reached 50 million in just a few months. In February, Disney reported 29 million, so those subscribers have nearly doubled in just a few short months. The service may have gotten a boost from users who are consuming more home entertainment amid shelter-in-place orders right now—and that might suggest that the above numbers from a few months ago for CBS, Netflix, and Hulu might be notably behind current figures.

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#disney, #gaming-culture, #hulu, #netflix, #streaming, #tech, #tv

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„Germany’s Next Topmodel“ – Zwei Mädels fuhren die (Tango)-Krallen aus

„Germany’s Next Topmodel“: Zwei Mädels fuhren die (Tango)-Krallen aus Diese Challenge brachte so einige aus dem Takt. Am Donnerstag mussten die Mädels bei GNTM ihr Tanz-Talent unter Beweis stellen.
Foto: ProSieben/Richard Hübner

#gntm-kandidatinnen, #klum-heidi, #mir-rebecca, #sinato-massimo, #tv

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Simone Kowalski im „Playboy“ – Heidi Klums Topmodel rechnet mit GNTM ab

Simone Kowalski im „Playboy“: Heidi Klums Topmodel rechnet mit GNTM ab Simone Kowalski gewann 2019 „Germany’s Next Topmodel“. Im neuen „Playboy“ zeigt sie sich nackt und rechnet mit der Heidi-Klum-Show ab.
Foto: Philip la Pepa für PLAYBOY Deutschland Mai 2020

#germanys-next-topmodel, #gntm-kandidatinnen, #gntm-personen, #klum-gunther, #klum-heidi, #playboy, #playmate, #steinbach-dirk, #tv

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In der Live-Show – Claudia Obert mischt „Big Brother“ auf

„Big Brother“: Claudia Obert sorgt für Stimmung in der Sendung Am Montagabend zauberte Jochen Schropp in der Live-Show von „Big Brother“ per Video-Schalte Luxus-Lady Claudia Obert in die Sendung.
Foto: Andreas Rentz / Getty Images

#big-brother, #liveubertragung, #tv

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Maschmeyer bei „Höhle der Löwen“ – „Kaputtsparen ist wie Selbstmord aus Todesangst“

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Foto: TVNOW

#coronavirus, #die-hohle-der-lowen, #infektionskrankheit, #investor, #maschmeyer-carsten, #thelen-frank, #tv, #wohrl-dagmar

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Der nächste Umzug steht an – Abschiedsschmerz bei den Reimanns

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Foto: RTL2

#auswandern, #hawaii, #portland, #reimann-konny, #rtl-2, #texas, #tv, #usa

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Bohlens Favorit holt den Sieg – Ramon gewinnt Finale von DSDS

Dieter Bohlens Favorit Ramon gewinnt „Deutschland sucht den Superstar“ Mit über 80 Prozent beim Zuschauer-Voting holte sich der Sachse am Samstag den Sieg im DSDS-Finale. Und das, obwohl er schwächelte.
Foto: TVNOW / Stefan Gregorowius?

#bohlen-dieter, #deutschland-sucht-den-superstar, #rtl, #tv

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Luca Hänni bei „Let’s Dance“ – Hat Motsi sein Liebesgeheimnis verraten?

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Foto: Stefan Gregorowius / picture-alliance

#hanni-luca, #lets-dance, #mabuse-motsi, #rtl, #tv

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„Wer wird Millionär“ – Diese Kandidatin trieb’s bei Jauch ganz schön bunt

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Foto: TVNOW / Stefan Gregorowius

#jauch-gunther, #tv, #wer-wird-millionar

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„Kitchen Impossible“ – Mälzer am Tellerrand der Verzweiflung

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Foto: TVNOW/PA/Frank May

#kitchen-impossible, #kochen, #kochsendung, #malzer-tim, #raue-tim, #tv

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Der Liebe wegen – Bruno hört bei Hafenkante auf

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Foto: SYBILL SCHNEIDER

#brodersen-maik, #hamburg-regional-news, #krimi, #notruf-hafenkante, #serien, #tv, #zdf, #zdf-mediathek

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wegen Corona – Neue Joker bei„Wer wird Millionär?“

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Foto: TVNOW / Stefan Gregorowius

#coronavirus, #jauch-gunther, #quizshow, #rtl, #tv, #wer-wird-millionar

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TV-Talker Domian – „Man kann sich den Hintern auch waschen!“

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Foto: Ben Knabe/WDR

#coronavirus, #domian, #jurgen, #tv, #wdr

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„Das Geld ist mir egal“ – Menowin will bei „Big Brother“ aussteigen

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Foto: Sat.1

#big-brother, #big-brother-promi, #deutschland-sucht-den-superstar, #dsds-kandidaten, #frohlich-menowin, #tv

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Oprah Winfrey’s new Apple TV+ show, ‘Oprah Talks COVID-19,’ arrives for free streaming

Over the weekend, Apple introduced the first two episodes of its new Apple TV+ show, “Oprah Talks COVID-19,” for free viewing. In the first episode, Oprah Winfrey interviews actor Idris Elba, who recently tested positive for coronavirus, as well as his wife, Sabrina Dhowre, who is also positive. In the second episode, Oprah talks to longtime friend and supporter Reverand Wintly Phipps about the pandemic.

The interviews are conducted over FaceTime video calls with guests and are meant to offer hope and thought leadership, Oprah explained on Twitter.

“Like millions of people all over the world, I’ve been staying safer at home for over a week now. I know a lot of people are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, & uncertain,” Oprah wrote in a tweet. “[Because] of that, I want to offer some hope & gather thought leaders & people going through it to add some perspective,” she said.

In her interview with Elba, they talk about his decision to go public and his wife’s decision to quarantine with him, plus the result of her test. The shows have a more inspirational tone, compared with traditional news interviews.

“I think we all lose as human beings if we just think of this as a physical virus. I think it’s here to teach us, show us something about ourselves, as a world. This is a moment for our humanity to either rise or not,” Oprah says in one episode.

Though the majority of Apple TV+ programming is only available on a subscription basis, this COVID-19 show is available for free.

It can be watched across platforms, including via the Apple TV app for Mac, iPad, iPhone, tv.apple.com and Apple TV, as well as through the Apple TV+ app for streaming platforms or via AirPlay-enabled TVs.

The program is one of several Oprah is involved with for Apple TV+.

In 2018, Oprah and Apple announced a multi-year partnership on original content for the Apple TV+ streaming service. That has already resulted in an Apple TV+ show that brings back Oprah’s Book Club as a series of author interviews. Another show, produced in partnership with Prince Harry and focused on mental health, has yet to arrive. A third, a documentary about sexual assault in the music industry, was canceled.

This new show, put together quickly in reaction to the COVID-19 crisis and using lower-production values, is the first show of its kind on Apple TV+, where the content is typically highly produced and made available in 4K. Apple hasn’t said how many episodes will arrive in total, but this is a unique situation.

#apple, #apple-tv, #apple-tv-plus, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #media, #oprah, #streaming-service, #streaming-tv, #television, #tv

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Foto: privat

#bar-dietmar, #behrendt-klaus-j, #interview, #tatort, #tatort-kommissare, #tv

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Foto: Jan Woitas / dpa

#coronavirus, #erste-bundesliga, #formel-1, #fussball, #internationale-fussball-ligen, #liveubertragung, #motorsport, #pay-tv, #sport, #tv, #tv-tipp, #us-sport, #wintersport, #zweite-bundesliga

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Joko & Klaas wegen Corona ohne Fans: Bitte kommen Sie nicht aufs Gelände Erst reduziert – dann ganz gestrichen. „Joko und Klaas gegen ProSieben“ und die kompletten NDR-Sendungen finden ohne Publikum statt.
Foto: ProSieben

#coronavirus, #heufer-umlauf-klaas, #moderator, #prosieben, #tv, #winterscheidt-joachim

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Mega-Zoff um eine Jacke bei DSDS – Chiara und Lorna gehen aufeinander los!

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Foto: TVNOW / Stefan Gregorowius

#bohlen-dieter, #deutschland-sucht-den-superstar, #rtl, #schoppmann-juliette, #tv

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Tränen bei „Let’s Dance“ – Laura tanzt gegen Hasskommentare

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Foto: Malte Krudewig

#gonzalez-jorge, #lets-dance, #llambi-joachim, #mabuse-motsi, #muller-laura, #setlur-sabrina, #tv, #wendler-michael

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„I Am Not Okay With This“ – Ist Supergirl Sydney die neue Elfie?

Neue Netflix-Serie „I Am Not Okay with This“: Ist Supergirl Sydney die neue Elfie? Die neue Netflix-Serie „I Am Not Okay With This“ ist da – und viele Fans drehen schon komplett am Rad. Warum?
Foto: Netflix

#bobby-brown-millie, #mystery-filme, #netflix, #schauspielerin, #stranger-things, #tv

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TV-Duell der Streithähne – Wendler: „Ich habe keine Angst vor Herrn Pocher“

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Foto: Henning Kaiser / picture-alliance, michael.wendler/Instagram

#becker-boris, #muller-laura, #pocher-oliver, #tv, #wendler-michael

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Vildan Cirpan – Sie ist der schöne Neuzugang bei GZSZ

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Foto: TVNOW Ð Bernd Jaworek

#gute-zeiten-schlechte-zeiten, #tv

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„Big Brother“-Inzestskandal – Die unlogische Ausrede von ihrem Halbbruder

„Big Brother“-Inzest-Skandal: Die unlogische Ausrede ihres Halbbruders „Big Brother“-Kandidatin Cathleen hatte eine Beziehung mit ihrem Halbbruder. Doch jetzt behauptet dieser, dass es nie eine Beziehung gab.
Foto: RTL / Ralf Juergens

#tv

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