Remember the other day when the hot rumor was that Redbox would be taking on Netflix with a streaming service? Well, it looks like they're going to have more of a deficit to make up than we thought. Netflix has just announced that their overall subscriber count has jumped 42% since last year. The numbers, while in line with Netflix's predictions, and pretty substantial in our estimation, were not up to analyst expectations, and Netflix stock is trading down about 10%.
Another interesting tidbit from Netflix's quarterly statement is that 61% of their customers streamed at least one TV show or movie during the quarter. Clearly, people have embraced the streaming service in a big way. Raw revenue was up only 27% over last year, indicating that many customers were opting for cheaper plans, that still include the streaming service. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings even called the demand for Netflix Watch Instantly "astounding".
Are you a new customer to Netflix? Let us know how you use the service. Is it just the occasional disc and lots of streaming, or do you prefer to get the physical media as much as possible?
You may be familiar with the Redbox DVD rental kiosks, but company president Mitch Lowe hinting at the next step for Redbox. In a recent interview, Lowe discussed their intention to expand the selection beyond what can be crammed into their kiosks. This isn't likely to be a shipping model like Netflix mostly relies on, but a streaming service.
Rumored pricing is only $3.95 per month for unlimited streaming and four kiosk rental a month. By comparison, Netflix plans start at $8.99 per month for streaming and a single mailed DVD at a time. The make or break element of Redbox's service would be the selection. Netflix has famously sought to get newer movies on their streaming service, but the selection is still lacking top content. Could Redbox come from nowhere and surpass Netflix?
If this plan actually come to fruition, Blockbuster is likely to be the biggest loser. The video rental chain is already on the verge of bankruptcy, and a new push from Redbox could do them in.
With the announcement that Netflix is bringing its streaming TV and movie service north of the border, our Canadian brethren have one less thing to complain about.
"Canadian Netflix members will be able to instantly watch a broad array of movies and TV episodes right on their TVs via a range of consumer electronics devices capable of streaming from Netflix, as well as watching on PCs and Macs," Netflix announced today.
At launch, the service will be available in English only, but there are plans to add French language capability sometime down the line.
Had things gone a little differently, we might be talking about Pandora in the past tense, as in the online music service that used to serve up streaming songs before it went belly up. Instead, the future's finally starting to look bright for Pandora.
"In the last year, I feel like we've finally cracked the nut on how to effectively monetize a streaming radio service," says Pandora founder Tim Westergren. "Out intention is to build a radio business that looks a lot like the traditional radio business, with a scalable mechanism for selling national and local advertising so we can do everything from big, branded national campaigns to local pizza joint specials. They can be delivered as graphic ads, as audio ads, as video ads. We're pitching big ad agencies who have historically bought broadcast radio and pitching them to shift that money to the Web."
That's quite the turnaround for Pandora, which is about to record 60 million register users and posted its first profitable quarter at the end of 2009. Prior to that, Pandora looked like it wouldn't be in this for the long haul, and at one point it even asked its employees to work without pay for nearly two years. Contrast that with the hiring of 70 more workers last year, with plans to add 70 more this year.
A whole lot more on the current state of Pandora (and where it's headed) right here.
My PC is in my home office and my home theater system is in my living room about 30 feet away. I like to listen to jazz but my local jazz radio station changed format so I started listening to jazz streamed over the Internet on my PC. I would like to stream this music to my home theater system. I already have a CAT-6 cable strung from my router to the DVR in my living room for on-demand TV. I’ve tried to sort through all the streaming devices available but have only managed to be confused and overwhelmed by the features and specifications. I wouldn’t mind streaming video too, but that is not my priority. A unit that will play Blu-ray discs is an acceptable option as all I have on my home theater system is CD/DVD, but, again, that is not a priority. Can you suggest some viable options for me? Thanks a heap!
Read the Doctor's advice for David after the jump.
Many felt some disappointment in learning that Hulu's $10 a month premium service would still show ads to users. Those individuals may have reason for hope today as Hulu's CEO, Jason Kilar, has said that an ad-free version of the service is a possibility. While nothing is official, Kilar seemed sympathetic to customer concerns.
Hulu is offering an increased selection of video, and access from other devices to justify the $10 fee. Kilar pointed out to NewTeeVee that there are many business models for online video distribution. It did seem clear, however, that any ad-free Hulu would cost more than the current $10 subscription. So we have to wonder, would you pay more to ditch the ads? We're a little skeptical many people would go for it.
Did your car really need new muffler bearings and was it actually low on blinker fluid, or did your mechanic take you for a ride? You may never know (we do - he took you for a ride). To help put your mind at ease (and maybe to get back at its staff for joining a union), Audi is test driving a new program called Audi Cam.
The way it works is when you drop off your Audi for repair, you end up tethered to your mechanic with a two-way radio and headset video camera. You're then whisked away to the waiting room, where you can watch your mechanic's every move and, for better or worse, communicate with him as he works, and vice versa.
Snarkiness aside, we can see where this would be useful, both for the mechanic and the customer. We can also see where it would be incredibly annoying, at least for the repair guy. Either way, Audi Cam so far is only available in Europe.
While Netflix continues to spread its presence on even more devices -- look for the streaming video service to shuttle onto the iPhone this summer -- one time rival Blockbuster is struggling just to stay in business. It's hard to call the two rivals anymore considering the sorry state the rental chain is in.
The latest victory for Blockbuster has nothing to do with one-upping Netflix or Redbox, but in winning a one-month reprieve on debt payments, Reuters reports. And even that comes with a caveat - the mega rental chain must begin delisting from the New York Stock Exchange.
After failing to make debt payments on July 1, Blockbuster said it struck a forbearance agreement with creditors holding some 70 percent of its 11.75 percent senior secured notes due 2014. Collectively, creditors are owed about $440 million, and they've agreed to hold off from exercising "remedies" until August 13.
"Six weeks is not a long time in a tough economy, where nobody has much credit," said Michael Pachter, analyst with Wedbush Securities. "There's nothing on the horizon that makes it look like Blockbuster is going to be more profitable."
A company called Software Development Solutions (SDS) announced the launch of Jamcast on Tuesday, which promises effortless streaming of your music collection from your PC to any network connected source, including your Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles.
The magic happens with Jamcast's Virtual Soundcard, a software module capable of capturing any audio playing on a PC and then transmitting it over a wireless network to DLNA and UPnP-compliant devices. This not only includes other PCs and gaming devices, but smartphones, HDTVs, media adapters, home theater components, and more.
"Jamcast has really caught the attention of consumers looking to enjoy their favorite music from popular streaming services like Pandora and Spotify away from their PC, in the living room or elsewhere," said SDS CEO Scott Streaker. "Jamcast's Virtual Soundcard makes this easy when no solution from the device manufacturer or content provider is otherwise available," he added.
A wide range of media is supported, including MP3, FLAC, OGG, ALAC, AAC, WMA, WMA Lossless, WMA Pro, WMA Voice, WAV, AIFF, SHN, and PCM. There's also Playlist support for iTunes libraries, Windows Media (WPL), PLS, and M3U.
Intrigued? There's a 14-day free trial available, after which time you'll need to shell out $30 for a full license.
After a month long private beta period, MSpot has opened up its streaming service to the general public. MSpot offers free and unlimited streaming from the cloud to your PC or Android-based device, at least for the first two 2GB of storage.
You can stream all day long and to multiple devices at once, and if 2GB doesn't cover your music collection -- or the portion you want uploaded to the cloud -- MSpot sells several storage plans, including 12GB ($3/month), 22GB ($5/month), 52GB ($10/month), and 102GB ($14/month).
We briefly kicked the tires on MSpot's public release and found it works as advertised. Following a quick software install, it didn't take long for MSpot to comb through our iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries and begin uploading songs. As songs are uploaded, you can start playing them back through MSpot's easy-to-use media player, which integrated perfectly fine in Chrome (it also supports Firefox, IE, and Safari).