Get ready for Epic Rap Battles to come to Disney World any day now: Disney has officially acquired Maker Studios for $500 million. Read more »
Roku just launched version 3.0 of is remote control app for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire, and the new app doesn’t just look better, it also offers universal search for movies and TV shows across Roku channels. It’s a feature that Roku introduced for its set-top boxes last year, but it makes even more sense on the mobile, where text input is easier to handle. As before, the apps also support local content playback.
Data collected by a music tech hacker reveals that people tweet a whole lot more about SoundCloud than about Spotify or Pandora. Read more »
A proposed new Apple service that resurfaces a dicey issue about Comcast’s online TV business just when the company is about to face new merger conditions? That’s some funny timing. Read more »
AT&T should get paid by Netflix for making more interconnecting capacity available, argues the company’s SEVP Jim Cicconi. It’s just the latest in an increasingly public fight about peering. Read more »
Is Apple getting ready to build its first Android app? Declining digital music sales may force the company to break with long-held beliefs. Read more »
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings suggested tongue-in-cheek this week that the company could switch to P2P video streaming to avoid peering troubles with ISPs. Would that actually be possible? Read more »
Can’t find any good 4K content for your brand-new 4K TV? Samsung wants to help — with a ridiculously overpriced hard drive bundle. Read more »
That security camera that’s staring at you in a store may just be there to scare off shop lifters — but it could also be used to help the store owner decide where to put which products. Read more »
The BBC wants to give its viewers a way to catch-up on shows that have aired a few weeks ago, and also plans expanding support for Google’s Chromecast streaming stick. Read more »
Well this is interesting: Lip sync videos and other fan adaptations of pop hits make record labels more money that the official music videos produced by the labels themselves, according to a report by the Toronto Star (hat tip to hypebot). The paper quotes Universal’s global head of digital business saying calling fan videos a massive growth area, and adding: “We’re very excited about the creativity of consumers using our repertoire and creating their own versions of our videos.” The flow of money is largely due to the fact that YouTube gives record labels the option to monetize third-party videos that use their music, instead of taking them down.
Crowdsourced Wifi network operator Fon is getting ready to launch a new product called Gramofon, and we were able to dig up some photos as well as other details ahead of its official launch. Read more »
Exposing data isn’t just a compliance challenge — it can also be creepy. The solution is to tag data and control access, thereby allowing only partial visibility. Read more »
Well, hello there: Chromecast is now available in 10 European countries as well as Canada, and the BBC and some other big publishers are ready to cast. Read more »
Google just rolled out its Play Movies service, which offers Hollywood Blockbusters for rent or sale, in a whole bunch of additional countries — 39, to be precise, including a number of countries in Central and South America, Europe and Africa. This means that Google Play Movies is now available in about 60 countries around the world. However, TV show episodes are still just available in Australia, Japan, United Kingdom, United States.
Longtime Pandora CTO and SVP of Product Tom Conrad is leaving: Conrad announced with a blog post Tuesday that he will be “transitioning to an adviser role” in three months, which is corporate speak for leaving, but on good terms. Former Pandora VP of Engineering Chris Martin has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer, and the company has started to look for a Chief Product Officer. Conrad can be credited for shaping Pandora’s technology strategy, which involved an early focus on mobile, and more recently, an embrace of open standards for connected TV and whole-home audio platforms.
Sonos is giving its mobile controller apps a much-needed overhaul, starting with the Android app. More support for third-party apps could also be on its way. Read more »
Once again, you’ll be able to watch all 67 March Madness games live online, or on your iPad, iPhone or Android device. But roughly two-thirds of the games will require authentication. Check out our guide for all the details. Read more »
BitTorrent-based video streaming app Popcorn Time may be the media darling of the moment, but it doesn’t account for a whole lot of P2P traffic — at least not yet. Popcorn Time usage makes up for less than 1 percent of torrent downloads in March, according to Variety, which tapped German P2P analytics company Excipio for the data. Popcorn Time offers users the ability to stream videos directly as opposed to having to download them first to their hard drives. The app first surfaced in early March, got briefly shut down by its own developers soon after, and resurfaced only days later on different servers.
Pocket Casts just added Chromecast support to the Android version of its podcast app, making it easier to cast audio and video shows to the TV. Read more »
Forget browsing your TV guide by show names — how about you look for the topics that everyone is talking about right now instead? TV data startup Boxfish, which just raised $7 million, believes it can make this happen. Read more »
Bonjour and guten Tag, Chromecast: Google seems to be set to launch its streaming adapter in Germany, France, the U.K. an possibly a number of additional markets next week. Read more »
Spotify competitor Rdio has acquired the Indian music subscription service Dhingana, according to local media reports that have since been confirmed by Dhingana executives. The acquisition could be a way for Rdio to quickly get access to a huge market, but it comes after Dhingana had to shut down because it wasn’t able to secure licenses from one of the country’s biggest record labels. Rdio said in a release posted on Dhingana’s website that it wants to launch in India later this year.
Leaks show that Amazon has developed a game controller for an Android device. Is it an accessory for the company’s TV streamer, or part of an even more ambitious video game initiative? Read more »
Got a Chromecast streaming stick? Then you can now cast media from Plex, even without paying for a PlexPass subscription. Plex also added automatic personal media uploads to its iOS app. Read more »
Netflix is getting three new original kids shows from DreamWorks Animation, and all of them are based on existing characters. Maybe this will make up for Dora disappearing a year ago? Read more »
Home entertainment revenues have been on a steady decline in the U.K. since 2008, but in 2013, that trend got reversed by Netflix and Amazon’s Lovefilm, according to a report from the Guardian. Video subscription services like Netflix and Lovefilm grew 120 percent last year, the paper said, quoting a recent report by the British Entertainment Retailers Association. Digital music services like Spotify and Deezer also fared well, growing 34 percent, but physical media sales were down 8 percent, and now only make up 40 percent of the home entertainment market.
Well, that was fast. Neil Young’s Pono startup, which wants to build a high-resolution digital music player by the same name, shot past its $800,000 funding goal on day one of its Kickstarter campaign. Pono launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance the production of its player Tuesday morning, and at 10pm, it already had raised more than $925,000. This also means that the discounted $200 Pono players are all gone, but backers can still secure a player for $300, which is $100 less than what Pono wants to sell the device for this fall.
Beats Music raised a big round of new funding, according to multiple reports that put the total amount raised between $60 million and $100 million. The new raise comes after Beats secured a $60 million round of financing a year ago, once again proving the point that digital music is a really expensive business. Beats competitor Spotify, for instance, has raised close t0 $540 million so far, and is now looking to go public to bring in more cash.
Spotify wants to keep the Echo Nest open for third parties, but Rdio’s CEO says that he doesn’t want to share his company’s data with a competitor. Read more »
Amazon’s TV streamer will have apps for Netflix and Hulu Plus, and will possibly support DIAL, but don’t hold your breath for a YouTube app. Read more »
The Kickstarter campaign for Pono, the high-resolution music startup founded by Neil Young, is live, with an ambitious goal: Pono wants to raise $800,000 within the next 34 days to fund the production of its portable music player. Early backers have a chance to pick up a Pono player for $200, as opposed to the $400 retail price it will be selling for this fall. Other rewards include posters signed by Neil Young and a private dinner with the rock star. The campaign page also includes a few more technical details, including that Pono will play FLAC files with bit rates of up to 9216 kbps.
Netflix wants to go to Europe later this year, and the CEO of French operator Orange just spilled the beans about a possible partnership. Read more »
The ongoing consolidation in the Chinese online video space has resulted in Iqiyi becoming the most popular video site in the country. Read more »
After months of rumors, Warner Bros. is now making its $18 million investment in Los Angeles-based YouTube network Machinima official. The investment comes after Machinima was forced to lay off 30 percent of its staff last week, including its entire ad sales department. So why buy a stake in a struggling company? Because it buys the studio access to a young male audience for relatively little risk, argues Variety.
Neil Young is set to unveil his Pono music player at SXSW this week. The unveiling comes after the startup switched hardware partners in the last few months. Read more »
Connected speaker maker Sonos announced Monday that it generated $535 million in revenue in 2013. This represents a 97 percent year-over-year growth, according to a company spokesperson. Sonos got a nice boost in sales after introducing its $200 Play-1 speaker last year, with some retailers struggling to keep the device in stock during the holiday season. This year around, Sonos is facing a number of new competitors, with everyone from chipset makers to startups like Beep rushing into the internet-connected speakers market.
Google SVP Sundar Pichai told the crowd at SXSW that Chromecast has been selling really well, and that it will come to many more countries soon. Read more »
LiveNation Labs has made another acquisition. This time, it brought the team of social search startup YourTrove on board. Read more »
Netflix doesn’t do ads on its video service — but a recently-added featurette about the new Mr. Peabody & Sherman movie sure feels a lot like promotion. Read more »