Shocking news: Hollywood is not a fan of Netfix. Movie studios have started to become concerned with the company’s growing influence, and they’re determined to prevent it from becoming the next iTunes, so big and powerful that it can dictate terms. The solution? Turn Netflix into a “swap meet,” where users can only find low-quality movies, that is, not the top-of-the-crop Hollywood blockbusters that so many Americans seem to enjoy.
The deal, as explained by Cnet, is that Hollywood used to see Netflix as a harmless company providing a cute little service to a niche audience. (The Internet? Streaming? What am I, a nerd?) But then Netflix experienced an explosion in popularity, with the company seeing a 66 percent growth in subscribers in the year leading up to last December. And given Netflix’s ubiquity—you can find it on many Blu-ray players, the Xbox 360/PS3/Wii, etc.—it’s hard to imagine a scenario where people will all of a sudden stop using the service.
Unless, of course, Hollywood drains the life out of it.
Since Netflix is no longer seen as a harmless little company—the studios are complaining that it’s eating in airline movie sales, DVD sales, and that cable companies will no longer pay for movie rights because Netflix eliminates movie “scarcity”—Hollywood now sees itself in a prickly situation. Do you go with the flow, and try to figure out how to make Netflix “work” for you, or do you try to eliminate the threat while you still can?
I’m sure you know the answer to that one.
If Hollywood were to stop playing ball with Netflix, then the service goes away, right? Who’s going to keep paying $8 per month to have access to lame movies? (This assumes you don’t already think most of Hollywood’s movies are lame.) And once people stop paying for Netflix, the company goes out of business, then the studios can resume selling us shiny plastic discs.
That’s what they’re hoping will happen, at least.
What’s an Internet TV device without support for streaming video subscription service Netflix these days? Not in the game, might be the answer there. After all, Netflix is available on a plethora of devices, from gaming consoles to streaming players to embedded Blu-ray players and TV sets.
“Netflix support was the most common request we had on our blog comments, forum posts, tweets, etc,” writes Boxee founder and CEO Avner Ronen. “We heard you loud and clear. We were bummed that we could not make it happen earlier, but are very excited to have it out today.”
Why is having Netflix on your device such a big deal? The company recently released its Q4 numbers from 2010 and announced that it had signed on more than 7 million new members in 2010, with more than 3 million of those in the last quarter alone. The launch of its streaming-only service in both Canada and the U.S. has proven to be a huge success. Well, all that and the simple fact that Boxee users can now watch streaming Netflix content using their Boxee Box.
According to Ronen, the service will be available as an update to Boxee software and will launch simultaneously in both Canada and the U.S. How do you get the update if you don’t want to wait?
To instantly watch movies streaming Netflix on your Boxee Box, you’ll need to update the software on your Box – it will update automatically to the new version (220.127.116.1143) within the next 24hrs or you can manually check for the update by going to Settings>System>Update.
Welcome to the party, Boxee!
Gamasutra reports that cloud gaming service OnLive has reached an agreement with Vizio to integrate OnLive directly into the hardware manufacturer’s TVs and blu-ray players. “Vizio also announced that it will introduce … tablets and smartphones based on Google’s Android operating system that integrate the gaming service through its Via Plus ecosystem. OnLive is already publicly available for Apple’s iPad, but that app is exclusively for spectating other people who are playing Onlive through PCs or the MicroConsole. Perlman said Onlive is coming to Vizio’s mobile devices with playable games. … Perlman also said that thanks to the open nature of the Android platform, manufacturers are creating more traditional game controllers for Android tablets. Some resemble a gamepad cut in half, where one half snaps on either side of the table screen, Perlman said. Certain Android tablets will also potentially work with Onlive’s official controller, if the mobile device supports the appropriate RF interface.”
Grab ringside seats to the death of optical media with one of three new Blu-ray players complete with 1 year Redbox subscriptions. The folks at Redbox, who are running some other kind of concurrent Blu-Ray promotion, want their business model to remain vaguely viable for at least the next few years so they want to ensure that you and yours are enjoying fine Blu-ray entertainment as streaming moves in to eat their lunch. To that end, we must insist that you read on to find out how to win.
Hulu has formally launched its premium online video subscription service Hulu Plus after a preview period. Subscribers will be able to stream TV shows from ABC, FOX, NBC, and more to computers, internet-connected television sets and Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, mobile phones, and tablets.
Pleasant surprise for those who are interested: the monthly subscription price has dropped from $9.99 to $7.99, a 20 percent cut. Pleasant surprise for those who already signed up for Hulu Plus: early adopters will get a credit for the difference from the $9.99 preview price to be applied automatically to their next billing cycle.
Starting today, all new subscribers to Hulu Plus will also receive a 1-week free trial.
In addition, Hulu has announced that its premium streaming service will be available on more devices (the company claims that, combined, all supported devices boast an installed base of over 50 million in the U.S.).
Here’s the list, from the press release:
- Connected TV and Blu-Ray players: Samsung, Sony BRAVIAÂ® HDTVs and connected Blu-ray Discâ„¢ Players, and coming soon: LG Electronics, Panasonic, VIZIO
– Connected Set-top Boxes: Roku, Sony Network Media Player, and coming soon: TiVo Premiere DVRs, Western Digitalâ€™s WD TV Live Hub Media Center and WD TV Live Plus Network Media Player
- Gaming Consoles: PlayStationÂ® 3, and coming soon: Xbox 360
- Mobile Devices: Apple iPad, iPhone, iPod touch
- Other network appliances: Sony Dash
HD-available programs will stream to users in 720p on capable devices.
Hulu says it will continue to announce additional supported devices and platforms (Android, anyone?) in the coming months, as well as grow its library with more content continuously.
geekd writes “Once again, DRM only hurts legit content purchasers: ‘An unusual glitch has angered some Avatar Blu-ray owners. For these unlucky people, since the disc won’t play on their Blu-ray players, their new Avatar DVD serves no real purpose other than to sit idly on the coffee table. … It appears the main culprit concerning playback issues with Avatar is, ironically, the disc’s DRM (digital rights management). … Even with updated firmware, a lot of Blu-ray players weren’t prepared for these security measures. Despite the security problems, bootleggers are having a field day. Pirated copies of Avatar, according to Los Angeles Times, were available as early as January.’”
Reader Murpster adds that this problem isn’t specific to the Blu-ray version: “Got a regular Avatar DVD and it won’t play on either of my DVD players. It will play on one computer DVD drive, if I want to watch it on a 12 inch screen.”
Source: Avatar Blu-Ray DRM Issues