We've been hearing rumblings for months now that Redbox has been laying the groundwork to challenge Netflix in video streaming. Redbox president Mitch Lowe has now confirmed this fact in a meeting with analysts. According to Lowe, the service would be a subscription-based model, much like Netflix.
We were beginning to wonder if Boxee Box would ever tie the knot with Netflix. The two have been flirting with hooking up for months, and behind closed doors, things were getting hot and heavy. It's appropriate, then, that on Valentine's Day, the Boxee Box team announced the two are finally together. If you own a Boxee Box, you're a single update away from enjoying Netflix access, which you can wait to be automatically pushed out or force the issue by heading to Settings > System > Update.
At Mobile World Congress today, Qualcomm has announced that they have struck a deal to bring Netflix streaming to the Android platform. The news came as the chip maker was discussing their upcoming quad-core Snapdragon chip, some clocked as high as 2.5GHz. The details of the arrangement are a little lacking, but we did get some idea.
If you always see the glass as half full, then take solace knowing that Boxee has gotten the Netflix app up and running without a hitch. Heck, the Boxee team even managed to watch the intro to Full Metal Jacket on Tuesday. Unfortunately, Boxee Box users still can't access Netflix.
In a blog post, the Boxee Box team admitted they were "in a bit of an awkward spot at the moment." While the Netflix app appears bug free, they "have not yet satisfied Netflix's security requirements." The good news is Boxee anticipates availability soon, they just don't know exactly when.
"It's terrible to be so close to releasing and yet still be waiting on one thing to fall into place," the Boxee team said. "There's not a day that goes by without dozens of emails, comments, and tweets asking about Netflix. We all want it."
Several companies are scrambling to enter the arena with Netflix before it’s too late, and if an Engadget tipster is right, Amazon might just be the first serious competitor to step up to the plate. Screenshots were obtained by a reader which showcased an unlimited video streaming section that was included as part of his Prime membership. At just $79 per year the free shipping alone made a Prime membership worthwhile for many Amazon customers, but if this deal ends up being true, then the pot has been sweetened considerably.
The watch instantly section claims to offer “unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of 5,000 movies and TV shows”, and the lineup seems to mirror Netflix’s current offering fairly closely. The resolution advertised was only 480p, but presumably this too might change in time.
Unfortunately nobody else has been able to duplicate the screenshots so they are either a really convincing Photoshop project, or an accidental leak/preview of what the future holds for Prime members. What do you think? Does this pass the sniff test, or do you smell a scam?
Video streaming and disc rental service Netflix has come out swinging with an analysis of various ISPs' ability to reliably stream Netflix video, Cnet reports. When all the numbers were in, smallish ISP Charter Communication was the winner, barely edging out Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox. Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon were in the middle of the back, and wireless ISP Clearwire was dead last.
This report seems aimed at making ISPs nervous. Netflix has a product that many people love, and the idea that their ISP isn't giving them the best Netflix experience could sway consumers. It only makes sense with the wrangling over bandwidth access fees. Some ISPs have made it known they don't like having to pay to pass all the Netflix data to their customers. Netflix seems to be saying Don't mess with us. We're watching.
The data was acquired by averaging the sustained download rates of each ISP across their entire footprint for a three month period. The newer DOCSIS 3 cable internet connections likely helped cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner to boost their scores here. Companies that rely mainly on DSL didn't really have a chance. How well does your ISP handle that Netflix stream?
In a letter to shareholders on Wednesday, Netflix announced it had another "outstanding" quarter, and it has the numbers to back that claim.
Let's start with the subscriber base. There are now 20.1 million movie and TV buffs forking over greenbacks to Netflix every month, over 3 million of which were added in the fourth quarter. By comparison, Netflix added 1.93 million subscribers in the third quarter of 2010, 1.03 million in the second quarter, and 1.70 million in the first.
Revenue reached $596 million, a 34 percent year-over-year increase, and more than 60 percent higher than the $360 million in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2008.
"To summarize Q4, we would say that our huge subscriber growth, fueled by the excitement of watching instantly, impressed even us," Netflix said. "More subscriber growth enables us to spend more on streaming content, making the Netflix service seven better in 2011."
Where Netflix goes from here is anyone's guess, but it promises to be an interesting journey. Netflix hasn't been shy in saying that it's now primarily a streaming a service, and one of the challenges will be to continue to add new content without jacking prices up.
Amazon today said it reached an agreement to acquire the remaining shares in LoveFilm International Limited, a European DVD-by-mail subscription service very similar to Netflix.
"The deal is a winner for the members who love LoveFilm because of its value, choice, convenience, and innovation in home entertainment," said Simon Calver, Chief Executive of LoveFilm. "With Amazon's unequivocal support we can significantly enhance our members' experience across Europe."
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though TechCrunch claims to "have it on good authority that LoveFilm was valued at around $312 million for the purposes of the acquisition." Amazon already owned a 42 percent stake in LoveFilm before going all in by scooping up the remaining 58 percent.
In addition to DVD-by-mail rentals, LoveFilm also offers a streaming service accessible via PCs, PlayStation 3 consoles, and some HDTVs. It will be interesting to see what Amazon does with this acquisition, and how it will affect Netflix's plans to march into Europe.
There's a new firmware revision available for Boxee Box owners that finally adds Vudu support, which Boxee has been promising since late 2010.
"Vudu on the Boxee Box means: access to the largest selection of HD movies on-demand, new releases (same day as DVD), thousands of movies available for rental at $2 for 2 nights (in standard definition). We are psyched," Boxee's Avner Ronen wrote in a blog post.
To celebrate the occasion, Vudu is offering every new user who signs up on the Boxee Box a $5.99 credit towards a first rental or purchase. If you own a Boxee Box, you should have received the update by now, but if not you can force the issue by heading to Settings > System > Update.
The latest firmware release also adds a boatload of enhancements and bug fixes, but still no Netflix. Not to worry, Boxee says it's "still on track for a release later this month."
There's a rather interesting article in The Hollywood Reporter that takes an in depth look at Netflix and the impact its fast growing streaming service is having on the industry. One of the points the article touches on is the feasibility of going after content providers like HBO.
"HBO believes in content exclusivity, especially for high-value content," says Jeff Cusson, the channel’s senior VP of corporate affairs. "That’s our rationale for not selling streaming rights to a competing subscription service." HBO does license its shows to iTunes and Amazon, but indicated it has “no intention of making its content available for streaming on Netflix."
Citing a high-placed Time Warner executive, The Hollywood Reporter says Netflix would have to raise the price of its streaming-only service from $7.99 a month to $20 to make it worthwhile. Not so fast, says Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix.
"They make an incredibly great product that is very expensive to produce," Sarandos says. "But we're buyers and they're sellers, so we'll figure out a deal that makes sense. If we don't, then the service doesn't have everything, and that's OK too."
Some of what Netflix does pay for content rights may surprise you. Starz, one of the first to jump on board, inked a deal some analyst say is in the neighborhood of $30 million (that figures to increase to anywhere from $100 million to $300 million before the end of 2011), while it's believed Netflix is paying $150 million to $200 million for a year's worth of Disney content. You can see how it all starts to add up as Netflix adds more providers to the mix.
So here's the question: How much would you be willing to pay for a streaming subscription, and what would have to be included to justify that ceiling price?