Internet junkies addicted to Netflix, Instagram, and Pinterest had to find something else to occupy their time over the weekend. All three services, plus some others like BlackBerry Mobile, were down for a period of a time after severe thunder storms rolled through the D.C. area, resulting in significant power outages and knocking out Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud in Virginia.
Netflix honcho Reed Hastings became mighty upset when it was revealed that Comcast's Xfinity TV app for Xbox 360 doesn't count against subscribers' Internet bandwidth cap, and he took to the Net to voice his displeasure with a barrage of Tweets, comments, and diatribes. Apparently, someone listened to his ranting: a new report claims that the Justice Department is quizzing streaming media companies and cable providers alike to determine if the cable companies, who also control Internet access for many, are "acting improperly" to reduce the threat of Netflix and co.
As Netflix tells it, the company's streaming subscribers all around the globe are collectively watching a billion hours of movies and TV shows each month. Serving up that amount of content takes some serious bandwidth, and up to this point, Netflix has been relying on third party content delivery networks (CDNs) to pipe petabytes of data to ISPs like Comcast, Charter, and others, who in turn deliver the video to home PCs and living room HDTVs. Now Netflix has its own CDN to play with.
At this point in the game, Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings puts little effort into hiding his disdain for Comcast, the largest cable operator and Internet service provider in the U.S. He's complained about Comcast before and the favoritism the ISP gives its own Xfinity Streampix service over Netflix, and he decided to dole out a mini rant over the weekend using Facebook as his soapbox.
Do you remember what you were doing in 1987? It was the year the Simpsons appeared for the first time as a series of shorts on The Tracy Ulman Show, Bow Wow was born, and both Larry Bird and Magic Johson were still in the NBA. It also happens to be the year an incident led to the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), which was enacted a year later, nearly a decade before Netflix was founded and 16 years before Facebook launched.
Netflix is killing cable. How many times have you heard that? (Admittedly, you probably heard it a lot more before Netflix's price hike and the whole Quikster thing.) But after years of painting streaming services as the devil, a new report says that the cable companies may be considering a Faustian deal: signing a pact with Netflix and offering it as an optional service straight from your cable box.
Blackberry has seen its fortunes fade pretty rapidly over the last couple of years, but despite the trends pointing in the wrong direction, they still have millions of users around the world. Netflix rarely misses an opportunity to serve its content to such a large user base, however Blackberry users have always been left out in the cold, and according to Netflix support, that isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
Not to be beaten at its own game, TV streaming service Hulu has started airing its first original series to compete with Netflix. The show is called Battleground, and it centers around a Senate campaign in Wisconsin. Netflix just debuted it’s first series Lilyhammer, but the two companies are going about things quite differently.
Hangover Monday has turned out to be a pretty momentous day for fans of digital television watching. But while pirates bemoan the death of BTJunkie.org and Redbox gears up for a new streaming service venture with Verizon, Netflix is entering a new phase of its own: content creator. Today, the company launched Lilyhammer, a mob drama starring Steven Van Zandt of Sopranos and Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band fame. It looks like Netflix knows where its binge-watching strengths lie, too; all 8 episodes are available for immediate viewing.
Technology is transforming the humble idiot box into a powerful Internet appliance. Whether you call it “smart TV,” “connected TV,” or “Internet TV,” it has the potential to upend our boob tube experience, letting us watch our favorite shows whenever and wherever we want, and merging TV shows with online content in cunning, clever ways. Smart TV won’t prevent television from rotting your brain (it’s not that smart), but it should empower you to find, and get more from, all the content that’s available.
Hollywood studios and TV networks are finally waking up to the power of the Internet, thanks to pioneering efforts by the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Vudu. And if you can wait for pay-TV services such as HBO and Showtime to release their original programming on DVD, you can seriously consider ditching your expensive cable or satellite subscription services, too.
In the following pages, we’ll solve all the mysteries of smart TV. We’ll explain every important service and device that falls under the smart TV rubric (omitting only the most obvious players, such as YouTube), and tie everything together into a neat and simple package. It’s time to turn on and tune in.