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.
Western Digital's WD TV media player family just got a little bit better with the addition of streaming movie service Vudu. That's in addition to several new sports and entertainment services WD rolled out to the WD TB Live and WD TV Live Hub media players, both of which are already content rich with support for Netflix, Hulu Plus, Blockbuster, CinimaNow, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Facebook, and a bunch of others.
Football fans will have plenty of ways to tune into the Super Bowl and watch Tom Brady and Co. decimate the opponent (this editor might be a tad bit biased) in 2012. That's because for the first time ever, NBC and the NFL will stream the Super Bowl online at NBCSports.com and NFL.com through SNF Extra, giving viewers access to special features like DVR controls, various camera angles, in-game highlights, and other interactive bits, all in HD.
Netflix shareholders haven't been thrilled with Netflix's direction the past few months. After announcing a spin-off of its DVD-by-mail rental business and higher prices for streaming and DVD services combined, subscribers raged until Netflix reversed course on severing its DVD arm, but the company didn't relent on recent price hikes. It's been paying a price in subscriber losses ever since. Enter unhappy investors, though talk of Verizon taking over the streaming service has them smiling once again.
The sky is falling for movie lovers! The post office recently announced that it was closing down nearly half of its processing centers starting in early in 2012, which could eliminate next-day delivery services – and add an extra day of processing to Netflix deliveries. No worries, you can just shift the slack to streaming, right? (Possibly) wrong – as we recently reported, ISPs are considering implementing tiered data pricing to squeeze more cash out of heavy media streamers. So is all lost? Could your ABC Family Movies addiction be in danger of extinction? Not if you’re a Comcast customer. The company apparently has no plans of switching to tiered data pricing.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told attendees at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York that streaming video will grow to replace cable as the viewing option of choice within 3-5 years. In reality, streaming video could leapfrog ahead of cable even sooner than that, but as Netflix gets ready to renew contracts with Hollywood studios, he might want to keep his cards closer to his chest.
Word to the wise, if you're planning to attack Netflix and make a serious attempt at stealing away its streaming customers, now is the time to do it. Netflix subscribers -- the ones who haven't fled -- are an excuse away from jumping ship, and surprising as it sounds, Verizon Communications might be the one to push them over the edge (insert your own 'Can you hear me now' joke here).
YouTube's daddy (Google) shoved a fistful of cash into the streaming video service's pocket and told it to get a haircut. But why stop there? Google's bank account is plenty big enough to fund a full makeover, and that's exactly what YouTube got. The new look starts with a brand new homepage, and continues with a Channel. design and fresh coat of digital paint.
If you're a Sonos user, go grab your dancing shoes and air guitar, because the Sonos System Software 3.6 update gives you more ways to rock out. One of the big additions is Android tablet support via the Sonos Controller for Android app. With Android smartphones already supported, users are now able to wirelessly control Sonos from any Android 2.2 (or above) device with this update, including the Kindle Fire.