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Time Warner Cable’s incoming CEO is open to adding Netflix’s app to his company’s set-top-box. Rob Marcus, who will begin his gig as CEO of Time Warner Cable In January, said as much at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference in New York Monday, according to Variety. That’s somewhat different from Comcast, whose CEO recently said that a partnership with Netflix is “not really a high priority” for his company. Netflix has started to work with ISPs overseas to get its app onto their set-top-boxes, but Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has said that he only wants these partnerships if his app gets prominent placement on set-top-boxes.

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In Brief

Hisense is the latest to drop the Google TV brand for its new generation of Android-based TV devices. The company announced this week that it is building a new TV set dubbed the H6 SMART TV that features “the latest Google services for TV powered by Android 4.2.2″ (hat tip to Engadget). The H6 will come in 40-inch, 50-inch, and 55-inch, and Hisense is also building a new set-top-box dubbed the Pulse PRO, which will replace the Hisense Pulse Google TT box. We reported first in October that Google was phasing out the Google TV brand as it merges the platform with Android.

On The Web

Netflix may call itself a next-generation TV network, but it’s fundamentally changing how we watch television, and in turn define ourselves as a nation, argues Tim Wu in a piece for the New Republic. Wu retells some of Netflix’s earlier original content efforts, and argues that the company’s recent shows aren’t about mass culture but about intense niche fandom. Definitely worth a read.

In Brief

Some Chromecast users are starting to report that they have received the latest firmware update for Google’s TV dongle, and the most prominent change seems to be an even more subdued home screen. Gone is the big “ready to cast” tag line, as well as the Google-colored status bar. Instead, Google is introducing photo credits, an indication that the company may be opening up Chromecast backgrounds to a wider array of sources, possibly at some point including a user’s personal photos. You can check out some photos of the new Chromecast home screen here and here, and join folks speculating about other features of this update on Reddit.

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In Brief

This morning, an email from a PR agency titled “Netflix likely to end binge watching in 2014″ hit my inbox, responding to this week’s announcement that the streaming service’s first animated original Turbo Fast will be released in installations, as opposed to making the entire season available on day one. Then, a little later, another email, this time from Netflix: “House of Cards returns for second season Friday February 14.” In one big swoop, ready to binge. No change of heart, after all. So why did Netflix divvy up Turbo Fast? Business Week has the answer, House of Cards star Robin Wright has no comment.

On The Web

After an increasing backlash from some high-profile musicians, Spotify is going on the offensive by sharing some information on how it generates money for the music industry. Aside from average pay-outs, which range from $0.006 to $0.0084 per play, the service is also offering musicians detailed statistics, and even an additional revenue stream: Spotify has teamed up with Topspin to allow bands to sell merchandise through its service.

In Brief

Rdio named Anthony Bay as its new CEO Tuesday. Bay joins the digital music subscription service from Amazon, where he was working as Global head of Digital Video. That’s an interesting background, considering that Rdio also is operating a digital video service called Vdio – but for now, Bay seems to be concentrated on Rdio’s music business, as the company’s press release doesn’t mention Vdio with a single word. Of course, it’s not like Rdio won’t keep Bay busy: The company has been trying to catch up with Spotify by partnering with radio network Cumulus to launch free, ad-supported services. But making the numbers work hasn’t been easy for Rdio, which recently laid off a reported 35 employees.

On The Web

Japanese TV fans got one more option to get their movie fix this week: Amazon launched its Instant Video service in Japan Tuesday, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The offering has 26,000 movies and TV show episodes available for rent and purchase, but Amazon isn’t currently offering a Prime Instant-like subscription to Japanese customers. The launch coincided with the introduction of the Kindle Fire HDX in Japan.

In Brief

Google’s Chromecast streaming adapter may get all the attention these days, but Google TV is still around as well — and it just got a small boost from French telco SFR, which is now offering an Android-based TV set-top box to its DSL subscribers. The device offers users access to Google Play, YouTube and Chrome, and combines those apps with live broadcast TV. This is the second such operator partnership for Google, which has been selling Android-powered set-top boxes to LG U+ customers in South Korea for some time. And it’s one more example of Google slowly moving away from the Google TV moniker, something we first reported in October.

In Brief

Google just added another major retailer to distribute its Chromecast streaming stick: Walmart started selling Chromecast in its stores as well as online Monday. The addition of Walmart comes just days after news broke that Chromecast now also sells at Staples as well as via Verizon’s and Motorola’s websites, and in time to make the device a big seller this holiday season.

In Brief

Hot on the heels of the HBO Go app launch, as well as signs that more apps may be supported soon, comes the news that Chromecast is now more widely available for sale. Google’s TV streaming stick started selling at Staples stores as well as through the retailer’s website this week. Motorola is also selling the device through an online store you probably didn’t know existed, and Verizon has begun to sell it online as well as in its flagship store in the Mall of Americas in Minneapolis as well. There’s no word on when Chromecast will find its way into regular Verizon stores, or other retailers, just yet.

On The Web

Netflix recently launched a new, unified user interface across most connected devices, but the company made an exception for Microsoft’s Xbox One. The Netflix app on the Xbox One, which was internally code-named “Project Halo” was custom-designed for the game console, and Netflix’s Lead UX Designer Michelle Koh and visual designer Trevor Cleveland show off their work on Behance.

In Brief

Hola, Elmo: Hulu added a number of new shows to its Hulu Plus kids section Thursday, including episodes of the Sesame Street in English and Spanish, as well as shows like Strawberry Shortcake, Bob the Builder, Bratz and Angelina Ballerina. All of the content is on a non-exclusive basis, meaning that you’ll likely recognize much of it from Netflix — but it’s nonetheless interesting that Hulu is continuing to invest in kids content, which seems to be working well for all online services. And adding Spanish-language titles to the mix is an interesting twist. Hulu launched its Latino offering in late 2011, and has since struck a number of deals to get content for its Spanish-speaking audience.

Good news for everyone lining up to get an Xbox One: Microsoft’s new game console will have a YouTube app available at launch, after all. YouTube announced the app on its blog Wednesday, explaining that it will make use of both voice and gesture control, and […] Read more »

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