Time Warner today is launching its Look Back service, which gives subscribers an alternative to sites like Hulu for viewing shows after they've already aired. With the Look Back service, viewers can catch up on TV episodes up to three days after they've been beamed to TV sets, Reuters reports.
The service is launching nationally to nearly all of Time Warner Cable's roughly 13 million customers and includes support for 24 channels, including ABC, NBC, Discovery, and the Food Network.
Look Back users will be able to play and rewind previously aired broadcasts using their remotes, but won't be able to fast forward through commercials.
"This gives consumers more options so they don't have to think about whether they have set up their DVRs to record a show, Look Back does so automatically," said Melinder Witmer, Time Warner Cable's Chief Programming Officers.
It looks like all the speculation is true, Redbox will soon go toe-to-toe with Netflix in the Web-based movie distribution business, the Los Angeles Timesreports.
Redbox, which has seen stellar sales from its movie rental kiosks, is in talks with various potential partners for the expansion, including Walmart. Details are still being hammered out, but the end goal is to have the Web-based service work in conjunction with the kiosks.
"The disc business is still very strong and will continue to be for quite some time, but we need to get into this space to take advantage of the gradual transition to digital," said Mitch Lowe, chief executive of Redbox.
Things get a little tricky in the online world, as instead of acquiring discs at standard prices, movie studios can charge distributors high prices for each time a movie is viewed. Combined with shipping costs, $1 rentals probably aren't part of the equation, at least not outright, but Redbox insists it will continue to offer a good value.
"The way we're going to deliver this product is going to match the value consumers associate with our brand," Lowe said.
A subscription plan similar to Netflix is being discussed, though no pricing information or concrete details have yet been revealed.
Out of all the online activities clogging up the pipelines running through cyberspace, you'd think BitTorrent and peer-to-peer file sharing in general would be the biggest offender, but you'd be wrong. According to research by Web analytics firm Sandvine, P2P usage has been declining in recent years and now only takes up 13.2 percent of available Internet bandwidth. Meanwhile, video and music streaming now account for 45.7 percent.
Coming in at a distant second is Web browsing, which takes up 24.3 percent. Leading the charge in all this streaming is Netflix.
"20.6 percent of all peak period bytes downloaded on fixed access networks in North America are Netflix," Sandvine said.
Pretty impressive for a company that started off as a mail-order DVD business, but now thrives successfully as a streaming media company too. The question here is whether or not the Internet can keep up. In Canada, Sandvine reports that Netflix accounts for 95 percent of all bandwidth during its peak (around 9:30 PM).
"For service providers, this is a double-whammy: not only are they losing revenue to these over-the-top offerings, but they are losing network capacity delivering these service," Sandvine said in regards to Internet video services like Netflix and Hulu.
Netflix has been making strides in making its streaming content more accessible. In recent weeks, both the Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3 consoles joined the Xbox 360 as disc-less Netflix streaming devices.
The Netflix outage was just another subtle reminder that the cloud isn’t perfect, but either way the company seems to be taking the issue head on by offering customers the opportunity to receive a 2% credit to cover the period they were offline. Update: Credit might be higher depending on your plan.
It may only work out to a few dimes for most people, but either way its great to see them offer reparations for those who took the day off work for a Mad Men marathon. Keep an eye on your inbox for a link that applies the credit to your account if your interested in cashing in.
Did Netflix create any good will with this move? Or would they have been better to sweep this one under the rug? It sure beats bending over to pickup coins off the sidewalk!
Don't fret if you ran into issues yesterday trying to stream content from your Netflix account, chances are your broadband connection is just fine. The problem lies with Netflix.com, which suffered an outage.
Users affected by the issue saw a messaging saying, "the Netflix website and the ability to instantly watch movies are both temporarily unavailable." Netflix said its engineers were on top of the problem and were "working hard to bring the site and ability to watch instantly back up as soon as possible," and it appears they have.
Netflix didn't say what the cause of the problem was, but in any event, it seems to working like normal again. Maybe someone tripped over a power cord.
We're reminded today that back in the late 1990s, Warner Bros. was looking for leverage in their negotiations with Blockbuster. The studio took on a small ownership stake in the then fledgling Netflix. The other major studios followed suit. This was all prior to Netflix's 2002 IPO. All the movie studios sold their shares about a year after that.
This was probably a financial blunder of epic proportions. Netflix is hugely popular, and its stock is trading over $150 per share. It started at $15 in 2002. Aside from the monetary cost, the studios have to contend with the fact they could have had some control over this extremely popular entertainment option. As it stands, they may find themselves benefitting less from their interactions with Netflix.
What might have been if Hollywood had kept their stakes in Netflix? Maybe Blockbuster would have fared better if Netflix was being managed by the studios. Or perhaps we wouldn't be enjoying the plethora of streaming options on Netflix.
Provided you live in the United States or Canada, Netflix is now available as a download from the Wii Shop channel. The Nintendo Wii is the last of the three major consoles to offer disc-less Netflix streaming, while the Xbox 360 had it all along.
"At this time of year, consumers have a near-insatiable demand for family entertainment," said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. "And this simplified Netflix access will help bring families together more quickly, more easily and in more ways than ever before. More than 3 million Wii systems have already connected to Netflix, demonstrating how easy the service is to set up and use."
The new Will channel doesn't cost anything, though you will need a Netflix plan starting at $8.99/month. Netflix has been available on the Wii since April 12, 2010, but prior to today streaming Netflix content required the use of a disc. This is a nice upgrade, albeit limited by the Wii's max 480P output.
Microsoft tied up the exclusive rights to disk free Netflix console streaming, but all things must come to an end, and I’m sure most PS3 owners are more than happy to count this odd business deal among them. Starting today US viewers can download the new disk-free Netflix application from the Sony Store, even though the actual service behind it won’t go live until tomorrow.
Early impressions of the new Netflix PS3 interface is overwhelmingly positive with support for 1080p, 5.1 surround sound, and even closed captioning if the title supports it. With the Wii capped at 480p, the Xbox 360 capped at 720p, the PS3 which will support resolutions up to 1080p is starting to look like the superior solution. Very few titles will support the higher resolutions at launch, but this will no doubt chance fairly quickly.
Do you intend to start using your PS3 for Netflix over your previous solution?
Owners of the PS3 have been able to watch Netflix streaming content on their consoles for some time now. The only problem is that it required a special streaming disc to be in the machine. But according to Sony, a new disc-free Netflix streaming solution is coming to the PS3 on October 18. The application will be free and it will be installed to the console like other apps.
The interface is completely redesigned, and includes search capability. Users will finally be able to add items to the queue right from the PS3. Netflix on the PS3 will also be serving up 1080p HD video and 5.1 surround sound, when the content supports it. Other Netflix solutions are stuck at 720p for the time being. If that's not enough, the PS3 will also support subtitles.
The UI looks slick in the video, but that might be trickery. We'll reserve judgment until the app rolls out, but it will be nice to get rid of that disc once and for all. Any Netflix subscribers taking another look at the PS3 as a streaming device?
Netflix is in the process of transitioning from a disc-based business, to streaming-based one. That much is clear from their recent content deals with the likes of Time Warner and Fox that get the service more content for online streaming. In exchange, Netflix abides by a 28 day window before they can have access to physical discs. Now it looks like another studio is taking Netflix up on that offer. Sources indicate that Sony has agreed to a similar deal.
Neither side is talking, but the details seem solid enough. Both sides in the deal are getting what they want. Studios get longer to push physical disc sales, and Netflix moves ahead with the streaming business that will carry them into the future. In addition to the 28 day waiting period, Netflix also pays less for the right to rent. Considering most consumers don't track release dates for discs, we think this is a pretty good deal. Would this change your rental habits?