Fire TV came out of the gate with an impressive initial effort, however one of its rough edges is that the voice search is actually quite limited. At launch it could only provide results from Amazon's own movie and TV selections or music videos from Vevo, but the company is already adding new services to the mix. Hulu Plus, Showtime Anytime and Crackle are first up, which is a good list, but it's still missing Netflix. The new services will start popping up later this summer, which gives Amazon more than enough time to make sure a query for House of Cards pulls it up on both Netflix and Amazon video on-demand. This also makes it more competitive with similar features on competitors like Roku and Xbox, once it's filled out.
Amazon is also working on new features, including one that we hadn't noticed before called "Prime Browse." Joning FreeTime parental controls and MP3 music access on the "coming soon" list, it appears that Prime browse will solve one of our other initial frustrations, and filter a view for only the content that's included with the Prime subscription service. More games and services are also on the way of course, but if you have a specific request for Amazon's developers, feel free to leave it here.
Popcornflix, a free movie streaming media service operated by New York City-based rights dealer Screen Media Ventures, has launched in Germany and France. Read the story »
Go ahead and dust off your OUYAs, friends -- it's updatin' time. The little Android game console that could wasn't exactly the runaway hit its creators were hoping for, but some fresh features found in the new Chupacabra update help this thing stand a bit taller. As far as the team is concerned, the biggest draw is the addition of AC3, DTS and AAS audio passthrough support for the exceedingly popular XBMC media center app. The OUYA itself doesn't have the proper licenses to play certain bits of audio (say, a movie's surround sound audio track), but now it can pass them over to a user's home theater receiver that does have the licenses. In short, those of you using your tiny Android consoles as media centers can finally play some of the trickier videos in your collection.
Also tucked away in the update: a cleaner view at game information, a download manager and the ability to set certain games as favorites for easy access. Alas, it's not all sunshine and rainbows here -- OUYA said it would remove its free-to-try requirement, and that change has finally taken hold. Granted, the move basically neuters one of the most gamer-friendly parts about owning an OUYA (who doesn't love free game demos?), but we suppose the company's gotta do what it has to in order to keep those game developers happy.
Google's little $35 dongle is like a fine wine: it just keeps getting better with age. Today, the Chromecast is adding support for MLB.tv, letting you push out live out-of-market games right to your TV from a smartphone or tablet. The only caveat is that you'll need an MLB.tv Premium subscription to do so, but chances are most of you hardcore fans of America's pastime already have one of those. If you do, the only thing left to do is grab the MLB At Bat app from Google Play or the App Store -- an update that brings Chromecast support to these apps should be rolling out as we speak. And while you're at it, perhaps you may want to download R.B.I. Baseball 14, so you can have an all-baseball day to yourself.
The United States Department of Justice says that streaming TV service Aereo is violating copyright law. Aereo, unsurprisingly, disagrees. In five days, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments from both sides. The former has already made its case to the Supreme Court in a filing; today, Aereo fights back with its own lobbying effort: a website named "Protect My Antenna" that both makes arguments for Aereo's position and compiles various legal documents for the public to read. "We remain steadfast in our conviction that Aereo's cloud-based antenna and DVR technology falls squarely within the law," Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia said in an email to users announcing the site.
Source: Protect My Antenna
Discovery is understood to have dropped out of the bidding process for the UK’s Channel 5, according to Bloomberg. Read the story »
Ofcom is to look again at the supply of Sky Sports to other pay-TV providers. The regulator says there have been a number of sector developments since the Wholesale Must Offer was first introduced following the 2010 review of the pay-TV market. Read the story »
The Romanian regulator ANCOM has suspended the activities of 49 electronic communications providers for a period of 60 days. Read the story »
UPC Polska has launched a new network of hotspots named UPC Wi-Free. Read the story »
Romania’s RCS&RDS has become the sole owner of Cluj Fiber Optic Integrator (CFO Integrator), a company that operates a project named DuctCity in Cluj-Napoca. Read the story »
French distributor of TV channels Thema has launched a new advertising sales department, by creating Thema Advertising. Read the story »
German social TV service Couchfunk will enable its users in future not only to chat about the TV programmes on their smartphones, tablets and laptops, but also to directly watch live TV channels on their mobile devices. Read the story »
AMC/Sundance Channel Global has promoted Marco Frazier to SVP, Global Distribution, EMEA. Read the story »
A&E Networks is regularly finding ways to make its programming more widely available, particularly by having on-demand options through TV providers and its own apps. To help boost these efforts, the company's now bringing live streaming into the fold, at least with a couple of properties. As of today, viewers can now watch a real-time feed of A&E and History, via each channel's website and their applications on iOS -- no word on when, or if, the feature will head to Android. Naturally, you'll need a cable subscription to enjoy this, as is often the case for most services that use the internet to broadcast entertainment content.
Dutch based Djazz.tv and Brava HD are expanding in the growing television markets of Eastern-Europe and the Middle East. Read the story »
Slowly but surely, HbbTV is becoming established in Central and Eastern Europe. Read the story »
Sony just announced sales of seven million PlayStation 4 consoles and promised more details on its upcoming software update would follow soon, now here they are. We still don't have an exact timetable for when firmware 1.70 will arrive, but now we know more about its new "SHAREfactory" video editor and that game pre-loading is in the update. Many people are familiar with pre-loading via Steam and other PC services, which allows gamers to download pre-ordered games ahead of their release, then simply unlock the digital copy on the day it's "released." All it takes is enabling the PS4's "auto download" feature, and you're done, no more waiting while overloaded servers choke on release day.
Source: PlayStation Blog
With all the modular phone concepts, balloon internet projects, robots and drones it can be easy to forget Google's main business angle: search and advertising. Google reported its first quarter earnings today and didn't have much to say about our favorite topics -- we'll hear more about those at Google I/O in June -- or even its pending sale of Motorola to Lenovo. Responding to an analyst's question, Google execs Patrick Pichette and Nikesh Arora mentioned the need to "keep evolving (search) results," as it increasingly serves up info (sports scores, TV listings, restaurant menus) on its own website instead of just providing links. That's probably also behind its push for Google Now results that bring up relevant info before the user even asks, on the desktop and mobile. In a brief reference to the Chromecast, Pichette called the $35 device a hit, mentioning the over 3,000 developers had signed up to build apps since the launch of the SDK.
Source: Google Q1 2014 earnings
Sony was quick to pat itself on the back for passing five million PlayStation 4s sold more than a month earlier than it predicted, and now that the fiscal year is over there's more to celebrate. As of April 6th, Sony says it has sold more than seven million PS4s worldwide, covering more than 72 countries/regions. Games are moving too, with 20.5 million sold in stores or as downloads since launch, while players have already punched that Share button over 135 million times. We've had multiple updates on Sony's stats since the last time we heard specific worldwide numbers from Microsoft, which seems to still trail in the hardware sales race -- we should know more about the situation in North America after the NPD reports for March come out tomorrow. Despite relative radio silence on sales, updates on the Xbox One have added a number of features to its software recently, and Sony has revealed the PS4 will get a big update with external drive support, HDCP off and more soon. A post on the PlayStation Blog claims information on that is close by, but for now gaming fans (bored of Infamous: Second Son / Titanfall) can focus on what's really important: which system moved more units.