Streaming media Stories November 17, 2015

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T-Mobile is extending its popular Music Freedom service, which allows unlimited use of Google Play Music and other streaming music services without eating into your data allowance, to MetroPCS prepaid customers – albeit under a slightly different name. T-Mobile said that its Music Unlimited service would be available on a range of plans, starting from just $40/month.

Music Unlimited includes more than 30 music streaming services, including Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, Slacker, iHeart Radio, and Google Play Music. Music Unlimited is available to new and existing MetroPCS customers on Metro’s new $40, $50, and $60 unlimited plans.

The company is also offering a Binge On equivalent, known as Data Maximizer. This compresses streaming video streams down to DVD quality to allow customers to stream three times as much video content for the same data usage …  expand full story

Streaming media Stories June 26, 2015

Meerkat continues to fight for live-streaming ubiquity, releases an embeddable player

Meerkat, the mobile live-streaming app that competes with Twitter-owned Periscope, continues to move fast with new products that make its streams more accessible, today releasing an embeddable player.

Embeddable players allow anyone with some basic understanding of how to add HTML to a website to include widget-like objects on their sites. What this means in regards to Meerkat is that anyone who live streams using the company’s mobile app can now have their streams viewable from their own websites. We could, for example, host a 9to5 live stream on Meerkat and include the stream in this very post so you wouldn’t have to download an app to see it.

One of Meerkat’s partners with this launch is Discovery Channel, the media giant behind behind Shark Week, the annual week-long programming block all about, well, sharks. And since Shark Week starts on July 5th, the partnership includes Discovery Channel streaming clips all throughout the week of shark-based festivities from their @SharkWeek Meerkat account and through an embedded player on their website. The new embedded web player looks like this:

The player can be customized before it’s embedded – comments can be shown or hidden, there are three sizing options for the player, and if you’re not live it will show your next upcoming stream if you’ve scheduled one. Otherwise if you haven’t scheduled an upcoming stream it’ll show the stats from your last stream.

Even though competitor Periscope is owned and has its salaries paid by Twitter, who’s public market value is $22 billion, Meerkat has managed to stay nimble and ahead in the race to build out features that expand the potential audience of its streams. The company back in May released a developer platform and API upon which others could build their own Meerkat experiences – maybe a full-screen, leanback experience like YouTube TV, for example. The company also released its Android app ahead of Periscope.

The company has been fighting an uphill battle against Periscope ever since the Twitter-owned product launched, however, even though it had a month head start. In many countries including the United States, Periscope ranks much higher in overall downloads as well as in the social networking category, in both Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

It’s hard to say whether mobile live streaming is a winner-takes-all space, or both can live alongside each other in harmony. Periscope has the benefit of one today being more closely integrated with Twitter’s social network, the best in the world for following real-time news. But at the same time it only has roughly 300 million monthly actives, much less than Facebook and on-par with Instagram. How much of a competitive advantage that may be is uncertain. Only time will tell.

Streaming media Stories May 1, 2015

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Meerkat may have had the launch of its live video streaming app rather overshadowed by Twitter’s official app, Periscope, but it has today made it to Android ahead of its competitor.

Meerkat allows you to live stream video from your phone to all of your Twitter followers at once. Press ‘Stream’, and instantly your live video stream shows up in your follower’s Twitter feeds.

When your followers have the app, they will also get pushed notified with your live stream, watch, comment and interact with it using the app.

It’s officially a beta, so don’t expect everything to work perfectly, but TechCrunch says that it appears to work well …  expand full story

Streaming media 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.

Streaming media Stories August 18, 2014

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We’ve been hearing rumors of a YouTube streaming music service for quite a while, but now Android Police has published a report detailing Google’s streaming music plans. The report claims that Google will soon launch a new service called YouTube Music Key, as well as rebrand Google Play Music All Access to Google Play Music Key.

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Streaming media Stories July 23, 2014

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Frustrations over delays in launching YouTube’s long-awaited subscription-based music service are the reason the company has just lost its second head of music in less than a year, reports the WSJ.

Chris LaRosa, YouTube’s product manager in charge of music, will be leaving Google this Friday to join a startup. A YouTube spokesman confirmed LaRosa’s departure but didn’t say which startup LaRosa would be joining.

We’ve been hearing rumors about YouTube’s plans to launch the service since last October – the rumors then suggesting it would launch that year. Then it was going to be the first quarter this year. And then the second quarter – which just ended, still with no sign of the service nearing launch …

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Streaming media Stories July 22, 2014

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In April of this year, it was announced that JW Player would soon be adding support for the Chromecast, and today the feature finally went live for everyone. For those unfamiliar, the JW Player platform powers a variety of popular websites including ESPN and millions of others. With today’s release of JW Player 6.9, it just got a whole lot easier to view web video on your TV.

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Streaming media Stories July 15, 2014

Chromecast now available from Google Play in Ireland

Google officially introduced Ireland to Play Movies less than two weeks ago and today the company is releasing its Chromecast media streaming dongle to the land of saints and scholars. In addition to Mountain View’s in-house movie service, Irish Chromecast owners will have access to YouTube, Netflix and several other cast-friendly applications.

Streaming media Stories July 14, 2014

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Controversial torrent streaming application, Popcorn Time has added Chromecast support for its Android app. This comes just one week after the software’s development team pledged streaming support for Google’s popular media dongle. If you’re not familiar with Popcorn Time, it’s like a black market version of Netflix’s video streaming service that uses peer-to-peer tech to get the job done. People often use the software to watch movies and TV shows that are still in only available in theaters, which of course is rubbing the motion picture industry the wrong way.

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Streaming media Stories June 17, 2014

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YouTube is currently working on its own paid music streaming service that will let users watch videos and listen to tunes without ads. As intriguing as this may sound, it could come at the expense of the outlet’s relationship with several indie bands. Historically, the Google-owned video streaming platform has been a major springboard for independent record labels looking to gain mainstream exposure, but this could soon change. According to Financial Times, YouTube will start blocking videos from record labels that haven’t signed licensing deals with the company’s subscription-based service.

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Streaming media Stories April 4, 2014

youtube-logoLast October, Billboard reported that YouTube was planning to launch a music streaming service in late 2013 or early 2014. This evening, however, Billboard has published another report claiming that YouTube’s music streaming platform has been delayed until the second quarter of this year or beyond. According to the report, which cites “an executive briefed on YouTube’s plans”, YouTube is approaching this service with a “get it right” attitude.

The company wants to launch the first version of the service in an incredibly polished form that will help it stand out against competitors like Spotify and Rdio, which have been around for a while and have had several iterations of improvements. “They feel that there’s just too much scrutiny of this product, and that they need to get it right out of the gate,” said a senior label executive speaking to Billboard. This, of course, contradicts the strategy of YouTube’s parent company, Google, which launches services left and right in beta form, many of which get shut down relatively quickly.

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Streaming media Stories March 10, 2014

Chromecast coming to “many more countries” in the next few weeks, millions sold

Google’s handy Chromecast dongle is to go on sale in “many more countries” in the next few weeks, according to an SXSW keynote speech by Sundar Pinchai reported by TNW.

The speech seemingly majored on ‘vague,’ with no specific countries listed and U.S. sales of the $35 device described only as in the millions.

Google announced a month ago that the UK would be the second market to get access to Chromecast, going on sale in the electrical retail chain Currys at or around the beginning of this month. At the time of writing it was not yet showing up in a search on the company’s website.

Once it does go on sale, buying one is pretty much a no-brainer if you own both a television and an Android device. Chromecast support is available in a wide range of apps, that include YouTube, Netflix, HBO GO, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Plex and many others – with more likely to be joining the list thanks to a Chromecast SDK, making it easier for developers to add support.

Streaming media Stories December 11, 2013

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Spotify fans the world over take note, the company is moving into the ad-supported model with a new app for both iOS and Android tablets. The company is introducing a whole new tier of service on mobile, providing users an opportunity to listen and search for songs on the go for free on tablets.

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Streaming media Stories December 10, 2013

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Google announced today a major round of app additions for its media streaming Chromecast HDMI stick including Plex, Vevo, Songza, and more.

Chromecast, which retails for $35 (currently $32.88 on Amazon Prime), can now play local files synced with your Plex media library from iOS, Android, or Chrome. Plex support is highly requested and offers a major advantage for content consumers looking to play content from a device to an HDTV.

Today’s update also brings support for the music video streaming service Vevo as well as the music discovery radio Songza. expand full story

Streaming media Stories September 10, 2013

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The latest Roku for Android app allows video as well as audio and photos to be streamed to a Roku set-top box – but only for a limited number of devices.

Play your video from select Android devices to your Roku player. Supported models include: Samsung Galaxy SIII, Samsung Galaxy S4, Nexus 4, HTC One, and Nexus 7 (2012 model). Video playback requires Android 4.0 or later …  expand full story

Streaming media Stories July 31, 2013

That $35 stick is looking less and less like a novelty item and more and more like a serious option for those looking to view content on their TV as developer Koushik Dutta has created an Android app to allow both photos and video to be streamed from a smartphone …  expand full story

Streaming media Stories May 14, 2013

In March, Fortune reported that Google had signed up Warner Music for an online music service similar but not identical to the popular Spotify service. Today, Greg Sandoval at The Verge is reporting that Universal and Sony Music have also signed on and the service will be launched tomorrow at Google I/O:

When Google rolls out the new services tomorrow at I/O, it will mean that it gets the jump on Apple, which is also trying to launch a new streaming-music service. According to reports, Google’s subscription services would resemble Spotify, and offer on-demand songs that would be streamed to their PCs and mobile devices. In contrast, Apple is working on an online radio service that is said to be more akin to Pandora, the top webcaster.

Google comes to these negotiations as a powerful player in music. While Google Play is still a relatively new service, insiders say YouTube is a juggernaut. The user-generated video site sees more than 800 million unique visitors a month and music videos are among the most popular fare.

I may not have exotic taste in music but I’ve never not been able to find whatever I want to listen to on YouTube. Google already owns the space and an advertising-based version of YouTube streaming is just a GUI change in my book. expand full story

Streaming media Stories February 25, 2013

Bloomberg: Google in talks with labels to launch subscription music streaming service by Q3

Following a report from the Financial Times last week claiming Google is developing a free music service to compete with Spotify, Bloomberg reported today much of the same details citing “two people with knowledge of the situation.” According to the report from Bloomberg, Google is planning to launch the subscription-based music streaming service by the third quarter and it’s already in talks with record labels:

Negotiations are under way with major record labels to license their music, said the people, who sought anonymity because the talks are confidential. Google, which also owns the YouTube video website, is also discussing renewing deals that cover the use of songs in videos made by consumers, they said.

The report added that sources said the service would work on both Android and devices running another OS.

Streaming media Stories December 19, 2012

Verizon and Redbox confirmed on the official Redbox Instant Twitter account that the new unlimited streaming service is rolling out gradually starting today. The $8-per-month Netflix competitor will provide unlimited streaming and four physical DVD or Blu-ray rentals ($9 a month for Blu-ray) and will be available through the browser as well as mobile apps. A Redbox Instant by Verizon Android app is already available on Google Play. There is also a free one-month trial included.

https://twitter.com/redboxinstant/status/281397404585062400

It is unclear what kind of content deals are in place for streaming, but we do know the service will offer content from Warner Bros., and EPIX.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of the service today, you’ll have to sign up for the private beta on the Redbox Instant website.

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Streaming media Stories June 25, 2012

We all know Google I/O is just around the corner with yet another Nexus tablet leak today and news of some fresh Google TV products hitting the market soon. We will be on hand this week with live coverage of the event, and Google will make things even easier this year thanks to a new blogging tool it is unleashing specifically for the conference. As noted on Google’s developers website, you can now create your own embeddable Google I/O keynote live blogging gadget that will pull the event’s live video stream, and then it will post from your Google+ account:

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Streaming media Stories April 13, 2012

YouTube announced it is live-streaming “Coachella 2012” all weekend long on its video-sharing platform.

“Since 2001, the the Coachella Music and Arts festival has brought thousands of fans to southern California to kick off the music festival season in style.  For the second year, YouTube will be live streaming the action, with a three day broadcast of the festival, presented by State Farm,” explained Google’s Music Marketing Manager Tim Partridge on the Official YouTube Blog. 

Over 60 artists will stream during the event—from Gotye to The Black Keys. The show begins at 6:50 p.m. EST tonight on the Coachella YouTube channel. expand full story

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