Netflix over the weekend announced that its expanding to the U.K. and Ireland where it hopes to entice potential subscribers with a free one-month trial. It's a different ballgame overseas, and while Netflix dominates the streaming scene in the U.S., it will now face off against Lovefilm, a popular streaming service in the U.K. with over 2 million subscribers and owned by online giant Amazon.
Congratulations UK PS3 owners. You’ve got Netflix! Well, a Netflix app, at least. Did we mention there is still no Netflix service in the UK? You were probably aware of that, but the appearance of the app in the PlayStation Store should offer some hope that the service is really and truly going to arrive soon.
When Spotify arrived in the U.S., there was such fanfare that one part of the rollout plan was largely ignored. That free Spotify playback on the desktop enjoyed by so many users was only set to last for six months, and next week is Spotify’s six-month anniversary in the U.S. market. When that sweetheart licencing arrangement is up, free Spotify accounts are going to be much more locked down.
Google's attempts to transform your living room into one big Web-fest have fallen flat, to say the least, and if you ask Logitech, it will tell you it made a "big mistake" getting in bed with Google, a decision that cost the company $100 million. That hasn't stopped LG from being smitten with the sultry sultan of search, and once the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas kicks off, LG will unveil a Google TV that combines Google's Android OS with its own 3D and Smart TV technologies.
With all the fuss over Netflix's price hikes and near-catastrophic amputation of its DVD-by-mail arm, after the all the pitchfork wielding, the mass exodus, falling stock price, and everything else company CEO Reed Hastings and the rest of the Netflix crew would like to forget about, subscribers still kicked back on their couches and tuned in to what the streaming outfit had to offer.
Roku on Wednesday rolled out its new Streaming Stick device, essentially a wireless dongle about the size of a standard USB flash drive that you plug into your television for an instant IQ upgrade, transforming your dumb box into a Smart TV. Despite its diminutive size, the Streaming Stick is packed with built-in Wi-Fi, memory, and the same software as found in Roku's set-top box.
Come next month, Netflix will officially be in the original content game with the premier of its first series, Lillyhammer. The show stars Sopranos alum Steven Van Zandt as a former mobster in witness protection. Van Zandt’s character is moved to Lillehammer, Norway, and as you can imagine, shenanigans ensue.
The Internet has brought the concept of content creation to the masses in the form of social media, blogs, and personal websites. People with interests of all types are able to share ideas and passions with likeminded individuals throughout the world. But as the Internet has become more open to content created by end-users, competition has increased in the form of other competing messages, making it increasingly important for content creators to embrace new forms of media, like video blogs or podcasts.
Reed Hastings and everyone else behind the trenches at Netflix would probably like a do-over for all of 2011. They're not getting one, and for Hastings, the company's CEO, he's not getting the full amount of his stock option award next year, either. Instead, he'll receive exactly half of what he would have been entitled to had things not gone so wrong for Netflix in recent months, but don't feel too bad for Hastings.
Rhapsody just went platinum. After a decade in the business, Rhapsody can finally celebrate amassing more than a million paying subscribers in the United States, which is still well short of Spotify's legion of 2.5 million paying subscribers worldwide, but it does qualify Rhapsody as the largest premium music subscription service in the U.S. To celebrate the occasion, Rhapsody boss Jon Irwin shaved his head, just as he promised he would.