Google is ready to take the next step with YouTube and will launch an on-demand video rental service in which viewers will be able to stream Hollywood flicks, according to reports. The service could launch as early as next week, providing instant competition to Netflix and Apple's iTunes, and give Hollywood studios yet another revenue stream.
Well that was fast. Early BlackBerry PlayBook adopters were elated to find out that they could access Hulu's streaming service on their brand new Flash-enabled tablets, but not surprisingly, the celebrations were short lived. Hulu was quick to play the part of party pooper and added the PlayBook's browser to its blacklist, and now when they try to access TV shows on Hulu's website, they're greeted with an error message instead.
With the meteoric rise of streaming services like Netflix, Vudu, Hulu, and a handful of others, cable and satellite TV providers need to rethink how to best serve their customers, lest they become obsolete in favor of Internet TV. Perhaps for this reason, satellite provider DirecTV just announced the launch of HBO's new authenticated online video destinations, HBO GO and MAX GO, both of which are provided free to DirecTV customers who subscribe to the premium channels.
You can find Vudu on hundreds of devices, such as HDTVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, Sony's PlayStation 3 console, and the Boxee Box. In addition to all that, Vudu just announced that its entire catalog of content is now available directly on Vudu.com, accessible via your Web browser in a Flash-based player that will allow you to watch your rented or purchased flicks on your PC or CE device.
Good news for fans of the hit TV show "Mad Men." Netflix hammered out an agreement to stream reruns of "Mad Men" after the show's initial airing on cable network AMC. As part of the deal, Netflix will fork over between $750,000 and $900,000 per episode to Lionsgate, the show's producer.
Satellite billionaire Charlie Ergen, who owns Dish Network, outbid at least three other suitors in pursuit of Blockbuster in a bankruptcy auction, Reuters reports. That means Dish Network, the second largest U.S. satellite TV provider in the U.S. (behind DirecTV), now owns Blockbuster, for which it will pay around $320 million. What will this mean for Dish Network?
Twentieth Century Fox and Netflix today announced an amended and expanded non-exclusive digital distribution agreement that will add more titles from Fox's TV and movie library to Netflix. The multi-year agreement gives Netflix instant access to the first season of "Glee" and the first two seasons of "Sons of Anarchy," with additional seasons being added annually. Also on tap is "Ally McBeal" and "The Wonder Years."
Hulu has just released a new version of its Hulu Plus app for the Roku set-top box player. You should automatically receive the update to version 1.9 the next time you launch the Hulu Plus app on Roku, though you can also force the update by opening and exiting the Roku Channel Store. Details of the minor update after the jump.
The movie studios have been floating the idea for months now, but according to All Things D, premium video on demand is launching soon. The system is being endorsed by four of the big studios: Warner, Sony, NBC-Universal, and Fox. Customers in select markets with DirectTV and Comcast service will have the option to pay $30 to rent films that are still in theaters. Pricey, but it might make sense.
Earlier this month Warner Bros. decided to test the social networking waters by making "The Dark Knight" available as a rental on Facebook. At the time, Warner Bros. described Facebook as "a natural extension" of its digital distribution efforts, and the idea was to see if people would be willing to rent and watch movies via the world's most popular social networking site. That initial launch must have been a success, because as of this morning, Warner Bros. added five more films to Facebook.