Amazon Instant Video Stories September 7, 2015

Waiting for offline Netflix viewing? The company thinks you can’t handle it …

If you, like me, have been wondering when Netflix is finally going to get around to allowing offline viewing, so we can stock up our tablet when traveling, the answer would appear to be: not anytime soon. When Gizmodo asked the company why, when Amazon Instant Video does so, a company spokesman gave the unconvincing reply that it thinks we can’t handle the awesome complexity of clicking a download button.

According to Neil Hunt, Netflix’s Chief Product Officer, Netflix users won’t be able to handle the complexity the added choice will bring […]

“Undoubtedly it adds considerable complexity to your life with Amazon Prime – you have to remember that you want to download this thing. It’s not going to be instant, you have to have the right storage on your device, you have to manage it, and I’m just not sure people are actually that compelled to do that, and that it’s worth providing that level of complexity.”

There’s also the content owners who may not have stipulated that their content can be downloaded. Hunt didn’t discuss that but its likely a big concern.

There is some small hope of being able to view Netflix content when traveling, says Hunt.

As an example, what if we can put Netflix in a rack box that essentially contains all of Netflix content that you could imagine putting in an airplane server, right along with our existing offerings? That for me is a more interesting thing; can we make Netflix work on a plane, can we make it work on a train, in hotels?

But that seems to me a ridiculous way to offer a half-assed solution, and it’s merely an idea, not a plan.

Hunt did make one good point: not all of Amazon’s content is available for downloading, and it can be frustrating when one show is and another isn’t. Amazon already has enough issues with its seemingly-random selection of videos available to Prime members on desktop but not mobile, mobile but not desktop or only for purchase.

But with Netflix increasingly focusing on producing exclusive content, it could at least make a decent start by offering its own shows available for downloading.

Amazon Instant Video Stories December 2, 2014

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Google’s diminutive and cheap Chromecast is making strong headway against its competitors according to a report today by Parks Associates. Priced at $35 but now going for just over $20, the dongle, which is controlled by Apps on iOS and Android devices rather than a traditional remote has passed the almost forgotten Apple TV and is closing in on the king of streamers, the Roku.  Roku and AppleTV represented two thirds of the market last year but with entrants like Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire TV/Stick, the two dropped to around half the market.

The research finds Roku is still the leading brand with 29% of sales, but Google Chromecast (20%) has supplanted Apple TV (17%) in second place. New entrant Amazon Fire TV is in fourth place with 10%. Consumer content choices are also increasing, with Showtime and Sony planning to launch their own OTT video services to compete with Netflix and HBO.

“Nearly 50% of video content that U.S. consumers watch on a TV set is non-linear, up from 38% in 2010, and it is already the majority for people 18-44,” said Barbara Kraus, Director, Research, Parks Associates. “The market is changing rapidly to account for these new digital media habits. Roku now offers a streaming stick, and Amazon’s Fire TV streaming stick leaves Apple as the only top player without a stick product in the streaming media device category.”

Sticks are where it is at it would seem. Conversely, Google’s Nexus Player, introduced in October, has yet to make a blip but it might also show up in results next year.

Amazon Instant Video Stories September 9, 2014

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Amazon seems to have finally accepted that access to Amazon Instant Video still isn’t going to make anyone want to buy a Fire Phone. As of today, Amazon Prime members in the U.S. can watch Instant Video on any Android device using the updated Amazon app.

Prime members in the US can stream unlimited Prime Instant Video from inside the Amazon app using the Prime Instant Video player, including HBO shows The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, Six Feet Under, and The Wire …

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Amazon Instant Video Stories September 8, 2014

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Is the Amazon Fire Phone simmering out? Recent estimates reached by The Guardian pegged the device at having sold less than 35,000 units and today Amazon and AT&T are bringing down the price to 99¢ on a two year contract less than two months after launch. The device was previously priced at $199 for 32GB with a two year commitment, which many observed was a rather high price point for a not-so-remarkable handset mostly differentiated by its 3D effect and Amazon Prime services… expand full story

Amazon Instant Video Stories February 21, 2014

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Image: digitaltrends.com

Amazon’s TV box, which the company is believed to have been working on for around a year, is to be launched next month, according to unnamed content distribution sources cited by re/code. It had originally been expected to be launched in time for last year’s holiday sales.

People I’ve talked to who are partnering with Amazon believe the company is aiming for a March rollout […]

Sources tell me Amazon’s box will be powered by Google’s Android operating system, which is also not a surprise — Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets use a “forked” version of Android …  expand full story

Amazon Instant Video Stories October 3, 2013

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This morning  we reported that Amazon had trademarked FireTube, and the trademark could serve as a name for the company’s long-rumored TV product. Now, the WSJ follows up by claiming said device is on Amazon’s roadmap for the holiday season. Here are some of the details on the device:

  • Will compete with the Roku and Apple TV
  • Will stream Amazon Prime content
  • Will run third-party media apps and gaming content
  • Amazon is working on a dedicated remote for the device, but it could also be controlled via smartphone/tablet apps

Of course, the device could be shelved at the last minute, but given the uptake in reports about an Amazon TV device, today’s trademark discovery, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s want to expand his company’s hardware portfolio, it seems likely that the device truly is in the imminent Amazon product pipeline.

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Amazon Instant Video Stories April 24, 2013

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Following in the footsteps of Apple and Google attempts at the set-top-box market, Amazon is planning to release a set-top-box, according to Bloomberg

They say the box will plug into TVs and give users access to Amazon’s expanding video offerings. Those include its a la carte Video on Demand store, which features newer films and TV shows, and its Instant Video service, which is free for subscribers to the Amazon Prime two-day shipping package. The Amazon set-top box will compete with similar products like the Roku, Apple TV and the Boxee Cloud DVR, along with more versatile devices like the Playstation 3 and the Xbox. An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment.

The device is reportedly being developed in Amazon’s Cupertino based labs and could launch this fall. The project is reportedly being spearheaded by a former Apple and Cisco employee:

The project is being run by Malachy Moynihan, a former vice president of emerging video products at Cisco (CSCO) who worked on the networking company’s various consumer video initiatives. Moynihan also spent nine years at Apple (AAPL) during the 1980s and 1990s.

Perhaps this future product is the reason that Apple and Amazon have no deal for Amazon content streaming on the Apple TV.

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Amazon Instant Video Stories January 4, 2013

Amazon Instant Video apps add seasons of popular shows from A&E, HISTORY, and Lifetime

Following the launch of A+E Network’s dedicated iPad apps for A&E, History Channel, and Lifetime last month, Amazon announced in a press release today that it also licensed content for its Amazon Instant Video service. It sounds like Amazon is only getting access to old seasons of popular shows from the network, but any additional content will surely be welcomed by Android users taking advantage of the service through the Amazon Instant Video app on Google TV, Kindle Fire, or elsewhere.

Amazon.com, Inc. today announced a content licensing agreement with A+E Networks to add prior seasons of popular series from A&E, bio, HISTORY and Lifetime to the Prime Instant Video service…The deal with A+E Networks will bring Prime customers more TV episodes from some of their highest rated television programming including Pawn Stars, Storage Wars and Dance Moms, which are also available for purchase through Amazon Instant Video.

Amazon Instant Video Stories July 24, 2012

Vizio Co-Star Google TV-streaming box now available for $99 pre-order [Video]

We told you last month that the Vizio Co-Star received a $99 price tag, but the set-top box is now officially available for pre-order starting today.

Those who are interested in the Google TV-streaming box can go to www.vizio.com/costar to pick it up. It is exclusively sold on Vizio’s website for $99.99 USD with introductory free-shipping while supplies last. The current estimated shipping date is pegged around August 14.

The Co-Star goes beyond the typical Google TV experience by providing a skinned user-interface with an HTML5 Chrome browser, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, iHeartRadio, and OnLive built-in. The box even comes with a dual-sided Bluetooth remote that boasts a full QWERTY keyboard and a touchpad.

Vizio took to its blog today to make the announcement:

  • VIZIO Co-Star Available for Pre-order Today
  • We are happy to announce that the VIZIO Co-Star is available for pre-order today. Visit VIZIO.com to pre-order the Co-Star for $99.99 (US) and take advantage of the limited-time offer of free shipping.
  • The VIZIO Co-Star turns any HDTV into the ultimate smart TV. With 1080p and 3D support; Co-Star offers the distinct advantage of connecting to a cable or satellite box. This feature allows viewers to enjoy full screen web browsing with Adobe® Flash® Player and HTML 5, access to entertainment apps such as the OnLive® Game Service, Netflix®, YouTube® and more3 without switching inputs or remotes thanks to the universal touchpad remote with keyboard.
  • The VIZIO Co-Star is the first stream player to offer video games on demand. Through OnLive,® users can demo, watch and play hundreds of top-tier video games directly from the “cloud,” eliminating the need for an independent game console. In addition, the VIZIO Co-Star offers popular apps such as Amazon Instant Video, YouTube®, iHeartRadio and more – all available for download through the Google Play Store.

The Vizio Co-Star’s first commercial—which debuted yesterday—is atop.

The press release is below.

Amazon Instant Video Stories June 26, 2012

While we already got a look at its Google TV plans during the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, Vizio made things official today for its “Co-Star” Google TV streaming box by giving it a $99 price tag and pre-order date set for July. The Co-Star goes a little bit beyond the typical Google TV experience, providing a skinned UI with HTML5 Chrome browser, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and iHeartRadio apps built-in. It also has OnLive for the first time ever on a Google TV set-top box. The box will come with a double-sided Bluetooth remote with a full QWERTY keyboard on one side and a number and touchpad on the other. We do not have specifics on a release date, but Vizio plans to start taking preorders next month.

“Our focus to deliver the best consumer experience continues with today’s announcement of the Co-Star, which delivers a superior smart TV interface that anyone can add to their existing HDTV,” said Matt McRae, VIZIO’s Chief Technology Officer. “We combined the powerful features of Google TV™ with an intuitive and easy to use interface, giving users the power to enjoy an entire world of entertainment.”

Reports claimed yesterday that Google is getting ready to unveil some new updates to the Google TV platform tomorrow at its Google I/O keynote, including: combined content browsing for Netflix, DVR, and TV content, and AirPlay-like features for sharing content between devices. expand full story

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