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).
Some new numbers for analytics firm comScore have more or less revealed what you have been doing when you're supposed to be working. According to the new stats, YouTube had a record 14.6 billion video views in the month of May. Overall, 183 million US internet users watched at least one online video during that same period. How do you people get anything done?
What's really intriguing here is that the total number of online video views comScore is reporting is just short of 34 billion. Therefore, YouTube had 43% of all online video views last month. The next service in the ranking was Hulu with a measly 1.2 billion videos. Both sites are up a bit from April.
Google specifically sees users watching an average of 101.2 videos per month. The nearest competitor is Yahoo's sites with only 7.3 videos per user each month. Clearly YouTube is a juggernaut in this space. Is there a video streaming site you prefer to use instead of YouTube?
You know what's all the rage right now? Music streaming. You know who the newest player in that space is? HP. After buying up Palm in a $1.2 billion deal, HP has picked up music streaming service Melodeo for around $30 million. Quite the deal by comparison. Get ready for the audio streaming wars.
Both Google and Apple are working on streaming services of some sort. Google actually showed off this feature at Google I/O. But Apple has been silent since it acquired Lala a few months back. We can only assume they plan to do something with it. Melodeo's main product is called nuTsie; an app that allows Android, Blackberry, and WinMo phones to stream iTunes playlists.
We would be shocked if this service didn't end up in WebOS in the near future. We'll keep an eye on this one. Before you know it, a streaming music solution will be as important as an app ecosystem.
Popular video streaming service Hulu is rumored to be talking to both Time Warner and CBS about adding additional content to a possible paid version of the site. The details aren't yet available, but sources say the new content would roll out behind a pay wall of some sort starting in September.
If Hulu could tempt CBS, it would be a major coup for the company. They already have support from Fox, NBC, and ABC. Adding the fourth major TV studio could be a selling point for many consumers. If the September date does hold up, the timing seems perfect for a new season of TV to be available online. We could also see the rollout of the Xbox 360 and iPad Hulu apps at that time. It would make sense for Hulu to make the biggest splash possible when the pay service finally opens up.
It's not clear what benefits a paid Hulu account would provide. What sort of features would you need to see before paying up?
Following the recent launch of Apple's Safari 5 Web browser, users have been reporting that Netflix streaming no longer works. We expect this to be sorted out rather quickly, but in the meantime, there's a pretty simple workaround - use a better browser. Oops, did we just say that?
We kid (kind of). For those of you who want to stick it out with Safari, you can take matters into your own hands until an official fix is in. The problem stems from the browser agent string, which Netflix doesn't yet recognize as a supported browser. All you have to do is change this back to Safari 4.1 and you're golden. Here's how:
Click the Gear icon (Settings) and select Preference > Advanced. Check the "Show Develop menu in menu bar" box. Now click the Paper icon (Menu) and select Develop > User Agent > Safari 4.1 -- Mac (yes, you select this option even on a Windows machine).
That's it, you're now ready to one again stream Netflix movies and TV shows to your browser. Just be aware that if you later plan to surf a Safari 5 optimized site, you'll want to switch this back.
As a consequence of having a really stellar launch, the HTC EVO 4G cause a little havoc for video chat service Qik. The fine folks at Qik are partnering with Sprint to offer video calling on the EVO. Little did they know EVO users would bombard their servers with roughly 20 times the usual traffic. As you can imagine, the servers went down in a big way.
The situation got so bad that the app had to be pulled from the Android Market. Qik promised the app would be back up soon. However, users that managed to get the app before it was removed are still being met with connection failures and overall poor quality of service. Luckily, the EVO is able to use other apps for video including Fring for Android.
We hope they've got a rainy day fund to buy more servers. EVOs aren't likely to stop selling any time soon. Are there any EVO users out there that have had trouble finding or using Qik?