Tag Archives | Online Video

Want to See Starz on Netflix? You’ve Got Until February

So much for Starz movies on Netflix. Negotiations between the two companies have fallen through, and Starz has announced that it’ll stop providing movies for Netflix’s streaming catalog on February 28, 2012.

Netflix had paid an estimated $30 million for Starz content in 2008, which in hindsight was a steal. Three years ago, Netflix had just started appearing on set-top boxes like the Xbox 360, and Hulu was still getting off the ground. To renew the deal with Starz, Netflix had earmarked $250 million, according to the AP.

UPDATE: Here’s a story by the L.A. Times’ Ben Fritz that says Netflix offered $300 million, but Starz wanted tiered pricing, which would charge subscribers a premium to view its content. Interesting, but not surprising, that Netflix didn’t want to go that route.

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Shocker: Piracy Rises After Fox Delays Hulu Shows

When Fox announced that it would withhold its TV shows from Hulu and its own website until eight days after their original air date, a lot of people assumed that piracy would increase as a result. Now, TorrentFreak claims to have proof.

The site tracked BitTorrent downloads for two Fox shows — Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef — over the last week, when the delay began. Sure enough, during the first five days, downloads of the latest Hell’s Kitchen episode rose by 114 percent compared to the previous three episodes. Downloads of MasterChef spiked by 189 percent, with the season’s finale likely accounting for higher demand on BitTorrent.

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Zediva’s Streaming Video Loophole Closed By Judge

If you’ve been waiting for an invite to Zediva’s cut-rate streaming video service, it might be time to give up. A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction against Zediva on grounds of copyright infringement, which should lead to the site’s closure in about one week, CNet’s Greg Sandoval reports.

Zediva launched out of beta last March, with streaming rentals of new releases for $2 per night, or $10 for a 10-pack. It offered new movies before they became available through Netflix and Redbox, and didn’t pay a dime to movie studios. The trick was to let each individual user rent an entire DVD player, along with the disc inside, remotely over the Internet. Zediva argued that it was just like a brick-and-mortar rental store, but with a different delivery method.

Not surprisingly, movie studios disagreed. The Motion Picture Association of America sued Zediva and argued that the service’s rentals were actually performances, entitling studios to licensing fees. U.S. District Judge John Walter concurred, and has given Zediva and the MPAA a week to work out the wording of an injunction.

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ESPN’s Xbox Overhaul Could Be Cooler Than Cable

ESPN’s app for the Xbox 360 is about to get a lot better, just in time for college football.

The app, which relaunches on August 25 according to Gizmodo, will let users watch two games at once in 720p, with the ability to pause, rewind and replay each game independently. The second viewing window will also be able to show scores from around the league and replays from the game you’re already watching.

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Hulu Plus Hits Android in Fragmented Fashion

If you’re the lucky enough to own one of six particular Android phones, you may now enjoy Hulu Plus on the go.

An app for Hulu’s premium streaming video service, which costs $8 per month, is now available from the Android Market, but only for the Nexus One, Nexus S, HTC Inspire 4G, Motorola Droid II, Motorola Droid X, and the Motorola Atrix. “We expect to add to the number of Android smartphones and will be making additional device announcements throughout the year,” Rob Wong, Hulu’s director of product management, wrote in a blog post.

The limited launch is reminiscent of Netflix’s partial Android app release last month. At the time, Netflix said that Android lacked a standard set of playback features across all Android devices, although the company previously blamed platform security issues.

Hulu’s not saying why its own Android app rollout begins with only a half-dozen devices. Except for the Nexus One and Nexus S, the devices that Hulu supports are different from the ones that Netflix supports at this time.

I guess that’s an argument for going pure Google. But with Netflix and Hulu both launching in limited fashion, it’s clear that Android needs a standard solution to make media companies happy, especially as the number of Android tablets grow. If they can’t stream media from major sources like Netflix and Hulu, they’ll have a tougher time answer the question of why you’d buy one instead of an iPad.


Got Bandwidth Caps? Netflix Has You Covered

Netflix is now letting U.S. users dial down the quality of streaming videos to avoid hitting bandwidth caps.

Users can choose from three quality settings by visiting the “Your Account” page on Netflix’s website and looking for the “Manage Video Quality” link. “Good quality” consumes up to 0.3 GB per hour, “Better quality” burns up to 0.7 GB per hour, and “Best quality” consumes up to 1 GB per hour for standard definition or 2.3 GB per hour for HD. The settings apparently apply to computers and televisions.

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Zediva Defends Its Zany Movie Service With Big-Shot Lawyers

Zediva’s streaming movie service may seem too good to be true, but its legal battle with the movie industry will be no joke.

To defend itself from the Motion Picture Association of America, Zediva has retained a trio of laywers from Durie Tangri, a high-profile intellectual property law firm. The team includes Michael Page, who defended music-sharing service Grokster through to its loss in the Supreme Court; Joe Gratz, who won a case that allowed consumers to sell promotional CDs; and Mark Lemley, a Stanford University professor and IP expert.

The Motion Picture Association of America is bringing its own heavyweights from the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson. The team played a role in bringing down the music-sharing service Limewire, killing the music search engine Seeqpod and nixing RealNetworks’ RealDVD copying software. As PaidContent’s Joe Mullin puts it, this will be “quite the legal battle.”

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Netflix: Savior of TV Shows?

It’ll be a while before Netflix’s first original TV series, House of Cards, is ready to stream, but in the meantime, the company may find a new niche by saving TV shows from cancellation.

Following the news that NBC is cancelling The Event, Deadline reported that Netflix considered picking up the serial drama. It wouldn’t be unheard of; in an interview with All Things Digital last week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said he could see the company paying networks to keep shows alive, provided they were popular with Netflix streaming subscribers.

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mSpot Movies Wants to Undercut Netflix

Netflix may be an unstoppable force in the streaming video business, but it’s not without weaknesses. The service’s selection of on-demand movies doesn’t compare to its mail-order DVD catalog, and if you want new releases, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

That’s why services like mSpot Movies are trying to get a piece of the action. Although mSpot Movies isn’t new, the service is now slashing prices in hopes of landing on consumers’ radars.

mSpot rents standalone streaming movies for the same $3.99 as other on-demand services, but the main draw is a “club” package that charges a flat rate per month in exchange for credits, which can be redeemed for on demand movies. Starting at $5 per month for 20 credits, good for up to four movies, the basic service is now half as expensive as it used to be. There’s also an $8 option for 40 credits, and a $16 option for 80 credits. Throw in the promise of new and recent releases, and mSpot seems like a decent deal.

But there are caveats.

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YouTube May Imitate TV, Channels and All

After failing to become a hub for Hollywood content, Google’s YouTube may be spending millions of dollars on its own professional videos, without help from networks.

The Wall Street Journal’s unnamed sources say YouTube is planning a major redesign focused on “channels.” To that end, the company will reportedly spend up to $100 million to commission low-budget, professional content. Roughly 20 of the channels will host several hours of original programming per week, the Journal reports.

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