Cord-Cutters Embrace Sling TV

SlingTVI’ve had several people ask me about Sling TV. It looks like ‘cord-cutters’ are beginning to ‘get it!’

Sling TV’s Web TV Subscriber Numbers Keep Growing, Now Around 250,000

re/code – By: Peter Kafka – “Sling TV, the ‘over-the-top’ service that delivers pay TV over the Web, has around 250,000 paying subscribers, according to industry executives familiar with its performance.

If you assume that the vast majority of those subscribers are paying the service’s base rate of $20 a month, that would mean the service, owned by satellite TV operator Dish Network, is generating more than $5 million a month.

Sling, which offers a free 30-day trial, has been open to the public since early February; in March, Re/code reported that Sling had at least 100,000 sign-ups. For context: Hulu, the streaming video service that offers repeats of broadcast TV shows and its own original programming, has 9 million subscribers. And Netflix, which offers its own mix of originals plus repeats, has about 41 million subscribers in the U.S.

In March, Sling apologized for a well-publicized failure on one of its highest-traffic nights – the semi-finals of the NCAA March Madness tournament; the company said it had been overwhelmed by ‘extreme sign-ups.’

I’ve asked a Dish Network rep for comment, but I don’t expect to get one.

Industry executives say the new data point is interesting and encouraging, but they’re not nearly ready to assess Sling’s performance. Sling offers a ‘skinny bundle’ of 22 cable TV channels, including ESPN, CNN and AMC, which stream live over the Web to phones, tablets and connected TVs. Depending on whom you believe, the service is meant to target Millennials who’ve never signed up for pay TV, or is aimed at cable TV ‘cord-cutters.’ Perhaps both.

Apple is trying to put together a service that would do something similar, but would also offer access to broadcast TV networks like ABC and CBS. Apple hasn’t signed up network partners for that one yet, and TV industry executives believe it may not launch this year. Sony is also offering a Web TV subscription service, but so far it is only available in three U.S. cities.”

17 Million Chromecasts Sold!

Google ChromecastIt seems the Chromecast is REALLY catching on!

Google Has Now Sold 17 Million Chromecast Units

Tech Times – By: Sumit Passary – “Google sold more than 10 million Chromecast units worldwide in 2014 and the company has confirmed that it has now sold 17 million units of the device across the globe.

Chromecast was launched in July 2013 and is a thumb-sized media streaming device, which can be plugged to the HDMI port of a TV. A user can stream media to the TV via an Android smartphone or a tablet. The device can also cast media to a TV from iPhones, iPads, Mac computers, Windows laptops or Chromebook.

On Thursday, May 28, Google revealed that the sales of Chromecast shows that the device has changed the way people watch TV. Google revealed that in the U.S. Chromecast users are now consuming 66 percent more media content each day in comparison to mid-2013, when the device was launched. Google also pointed out that YouTube watching time has also increased by 45 percent upon activation of Chromecast.

With 17 million units sold and more than 1.5 billion clicks on the Cast button, Google acknowledges that Chromecast is a big success for the company.

Streaming content is growing rapidly and 2015 will be even bigger. Market analysts estimate that in 2015 about 25 percent of all U.S. broadband homes will be streaming their TV content. Content networks likes HBO may put content online and unbundled from cable packages. Such services from content networks may boost Chromecast sales even more in the coming years.

Experts suggest that easy installation and usage of Chromecast coupled with its cheap $35 price tag are the key reasons behind its success.

Google also revealed that the company is making it easy for developers to bring graphically intensive games or applications to Google Cast receivers with Google Cast Remote Display APIs for Android as well as iOS.

‘While Casting your Android screen is an existing option for users, the new Remote Display API allows mobile developers to build a tailored, integrated second screen experience, without requiring an identical mirroring of content between mobile devices and the Google Cast device,” per Google.

More and more apps are now supporting Chromecast. Currently, Chromecast supports about 350 streaming services. However, Google suggests that more than 6,000 developers are already working about 10,000 Google Cast-ready applications, which means that customers will be attracted to the device.”

The NEW Apple TV May Yet Be a Reality Soon!

Apple LogoI still love my Roku, but this does sound intriging! After all, I am an Apple guy too!

New Apple TV device to appear midyear, report says

c|net – By: Don Reisinger – “The Apple TV set-top streaming box will reportedly get an update later this year that could finally bring some long-awaited features to the device.

Apple will unveil a new Apple TV box at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) later this year, Buzzfeed is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the company’s plans. The Apple TV announcement will come in tandem with the unveiling of a software development kit that will allow developers to bring apps to the set-top box, according to the report. Apple TV currently has apps, but those are automatically added to the device. The update would deliver an App Store to the Apple TV, similar to the App Store on iOS devices like the iPhone and the iPad.

The Apple TV box has been on a strange odyssey since its debut in 2007. The original device was designed to bring iTunes content to a customer’s television and was followed by subsequent versions that stripped away the need for onboard storage and focused solely on streaming content to the television. An updated Apple TV device hasn’t appeared since 2012.

The Apple TV box currently offers access to iTunes content, as well as a host of apps, ranging from YouTube to HBO Go. Owners can also rent and buy movies and television shows from the device. The Apple TV device will also play host to HBO’s upcoming streaming-only service, called HBO Now, starting next month. It’ll initially be the only TV streaming device to support HBO Now, beating out competitors Roku and Google’s Chromecast.

Years ago, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs famously called the Apple TV a ‘hobby’ and gave little indication that the product would feature prominently in the company’s product roadmap. Indeed, over the last several years, some analysts have said that Apple has treated Apple TV as little more than an afterthought.

The tide, though, appears to be turning. At its special event earlier this month announcing more details on Apple Watch, Apple said it has reduced the price on the Apple TV to $69 from its previous $99 price tag. Apple also touted that it has sold 25 million Apple TV units since the product’s inception in 2007.

Just a week later, a report surfaced in The Wall Street Journal claiming Apple is working with television networks to launch a service later this year that would let users stream programming from a range of providers, including ABC, CBS and Fox. The service would be available on Apple’s iOS devices and the Apple TV. (Disclosure: CBS is the parent company of CNET.)

The Buzzfeed report claims Apple is looking to sweeten the pot a bit. The new Apple TV box would come with a new design and more storage than the current device’s 8GB to allow for the storage of apps. The Apple TV device could also include a Siri voice control feature and support for Apple’s home automation platform HomeKit, the report says.

So far, pricing and other key details, like improvements to the device’s operating system, are unknown. Apple has yet to announce an official date for WWDC 2015. It typically hosts the show, which caters to developers who create software for Apple’s iOS mobile operating system and OS X operating system for laptop and desktop computers, in early June. Apple hosts a keynote address to kick off the event, which would likely be where the company announces an updated Apple TV.

Apple declined to comment.”

VLC Player to Support Google Chromecast!

Now, this rocks! You will be able to play any video or audio format and “cast” it to your TV via the Google Chromecast!

VLC update to bring Chromecast streaming support

Trusted Reviews – By: Sean Keach – “VideoLAN has confirmed that the next update to its VLC media player will bring support for Google’s Chromecast.

This means users will be able to stream video and audio content directly from VLC to their television, via Chromecast.

Chromecast launched less than two years ago, but has seen widespread usage as more people want to bridge the gap between their TV and other devices.

Of course, Chromecast depends largely on other support from third-party sources, so VLC joining its compatibility roster is a huge win for Google.

It’s also worth mentioning that VLC is adding Chromecast support not just to its desktop software, but to its iOS and Android apps too.

VLC was tipped to be offering Chromecast support earlier this week, after a changelog revealed the upcoming update.

It’s not yet clear when VLC will send its next major update live, but we do know that the software version will be VLC 3.0.

Considering the recent changelog leak however, it’s like that VideoLAN is very nearly ready to push out the update.”

Dr. Bill.TV #372 – Video – “The SpaceSniffer Chromecast Edition!”

Raspberry Pi 2 arrives: 6x faster for $35, RadioShack is closing: a remembrance, the Kano computer kit, Twitter reaches deal to show Tweets in Google search result, a live action Zelda show on Netflix, GSotW: SpaceSniffer, get Chromecast rewards.

Links that pertain to this Netcast:

TechPodcasts Network

International Association of Internet Broadcasters

Blubrry Network

Dr. Bill Bailey.NET

Uderzo Software SpaceSniffer


Start the Video Netcast in the Blubrry Video Player above by
clicking on the “Play” Button in the center of the screen.

(Click on the buttons below to Stream the Netcast in your “format of choice”)
Streaming M4V Audio





Streaming MP3 Audio

Streaming Ogg Audio

Download M4V Download WebM Download MP3 Download Ogg
(Right-Click on any link above, and select “Save As…” to save the Netcast on your PC.)

You may also watch the Dr. Bill.TV Show on these services!

 

Dr. Bill.TV on YouTube Dr. Bill.TV on Vimeo

 


Dr. Bill.TV #372 – Audio – “The SpaceSniffer Chromecast Edition!”

Raspberry Pi 2 arrives: 6x faster for $35, RadioShack is closing: a remembrance, the Kano computer kit, Twitter reaches deal to show Tweets in Google search result, a live action Zelda show on Netflix, GSotW: SpaceSniffer, get Chromecast rewards.

Links that pertain to this Netcast:

TechPodcasts Network

International Association of Internet Broadcasters

Blubrry Network

Dr. Bill Bailey.NET

Uderzo Software SpaceSniffer


Start the Video Netcast in the Blubrry Video Player above by
clicking on the “Play” Button in the center of the screen.

(Click on the buttons below to Stream the Netcast in your “format of choice”)
Streaming M4V Audio





Streaming MP3 Audio

Streaming Ogg Audio

Download M4V Download WebM Download MP3 Download Ogg
(Right-Click on any link above, and select “Save As…” to save the Netcast on your PC.)

You may also watch the Dr. Bill.TV Show on these services!

 

Dr. Bill.TV on YouTube Dr. Bill.TV on Vimeo

 


More Info on the Vudu Stick Release!

Wal-Mart VuduThis is the Wal-Mart media stick to combat the Google Chromecast… interesting how cheap it is!

Walmart starts selling its Vudu Spark streaming stick for $25

GigaOm – By: Janko Roettgers – “Remember Walmart’s very own HDMI streaming stick, which I spotted in the FCC’s online database two months ago? Turns out Walmart already started selling it for just $24.95, and is now getting ready to make it more widely available.

Walmart’s Vudu video streaming service just added a dedicated section for the Vudu Spark, as the streaming stick is called, to its website that includes lots of details about the device. Vudu’s website states that the is “available only at Walmart.com and select Walmart locations. I wasn’t able to find it on Walmart’s website just yet, but I would expect it to make an appearance shortly. A Walmart spokesperson told me that the company actually started selling it “in about 2400 Walmart stores” last month already.

Here are a few more details about the Spark, straight from Vudu.com: It’s a HDMI streaming stick that is controlled with a dedicated remote control and powered via USB. It looks like Walmart is only putting a USB cable but no power adapter in the box, so Spark owners will either have to use their TV’s USB port to power the device, or supply their own adapter. Connectivity is provided via 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, and it supports video resolutions of up to 1080p, and 7.1 surround sound.

As I predicted back in November, Vudu Spark is very much a one-trick pony. The user manual reveals that it only comes with Vudu’s app preloaded, and there is no mention of any way to load any additional apps. In fact, Vudu’s app launches automatically as soon as the device successfully connects to a Wifi network.

I’m honestly not sure how big of a market there is for a single-purpose streaming stick, but Walmart is pricing it pretty aggressively. Not only does it cost $10 less than Chromecast, the company is also offering new and existing customers up to $25 in Vudu credits for activating the stick.”

Chromecast update lets you mirror your Android screen on a TV!

Chromecast UpdateBy: Jon Fingas @jonfingas “Google vowed that Android users would finally get official screen mirroring on Chromecast through an update, and it’s making good on that promise by rolling out the Chromecast 1.7 app today. Grab the new release and supporting devices (primarily from HTC, LG and Samsung) can send just about anything to a TV just by hitting a ‘cast screen’ button. If you’re using a Nexus device, you don’t even have to launch any software — the feature will pop up in Android’s quick settings. You’re high and dry if your devices aren’t on Google’s compatibility list, but don’t worry too much. We hear there are third-party mirroring apps that can pick up the slack.

An update to Google’s Chromecast has been announced at Google I/O, bringing screen mirroring to Android devices as well as a Backdrop mode.

Android mobile and tablet owners will now be able to mirror live to their TV with a connected Chromecast. This will be so fast that it’s even possible to open the camera and shoot live, while the camera’s view is shown on the big screen.

This live stream option also means that users can cast whatever they are doing right there to the TV. So drawing in an app, writing, scrolling through photos, or sharing videos can be done live on the phone as others in the room watch it happen on the big screen.

The intelligent Backdrop function is also really useful. This allows users to feed photos to the TV turning it into a huge picture frame of sorts. But it isn’t just about watching the screen. If the user spots something they like it’ll be possible to pick up the connected mobile and ask “What’s on Chromecast?” to immediately get more information on that. A painting, for example, will be detailed on the phone while the image can be appreciated, unchanging, on the TV.

The Chromecast homepage won’t just be random images anymore as it will now pull in photos from a user’s Google+ page.

The Chromecast dongle is also more friendly than before as it now allows anyone nearby to connect and control it. Previously that person would need to be connected to the local Wi-Fi network. Of course who is allowed access can still be limited.

Expect the Google Chromecast update to arrive over the air in the coming weeks.”

Google Chromecast usage is down… but streaming overall is up!

What’s up with this? I love my Chromecast, AND my Roku… but, it seems, some folks don’t see the benefits of both. Granted, if you get a Roku 3, you have Chromecast capabilities built-in, in that that Chromecast plug-in in your Chrome browser “sees” the Roku3 as a Chromecast… so, best of both worlds!

Nearly 20% of U.S. broadband households now have a streaming media player, but Google Chromecast usage is waning

Parks Associates – “New research from Parks Associates reports that usage of Google Chromecasts appears to be decliningwhile adoption of streaming media players has increased to nearly 20% of U.S. broadband households, up from 14% in 2012.

360 View: CE Adoption and Trends, which includes data and analysis of a 1Q 2014 consumer survey of 10,000 U.S. broadband households, shows ownership of Chromecasts is steady at approximately 6% of U.S. broadband households, but monthly usage rates are slightly lower than the last two quarters of 2013. The percentage of Chromecast owners who use the device at least monthly to view web pages on a TV declined from 76% in 3Q 2013 to 57% in 1Q 2014. Similarly, the percentage of Chromecast owners who use the device at least monthly to watch online video on a TV dropped from 78% to 73%.

‘Streaming media players are starting to play a bigger role in home entertainment, but interest in new entry Google Chromecast is waning,’ said John Barrett, director, Consumer Analytics, Parks Associates. ‘Streaming media players, thanks to their ease-of-use, trail only game consoles and smart TVs as the most frequently used streaming media device in the home. By contrast, only about 22% of Chromecast owners say it is the most frequently used streaming device in their home.”

The research also finds smart-TV adoption increased to over one-third of U.S. broadband households.

‘As consumers add new devices to their home, the usage habits in the home change and adapt to the new device, its benefits, and its capabilities,’ said Brett Sappington, director, research, Parks Associates. ‘Chromecast was introduced last summer. Given the low price, many consumers purchased one and began experimenting with it, producing high initial use. Over time, however, owners developed a better understanding of Chromecast’s usefulness and appropriate niche in the video-viewing environment. Some continue to use Chromecast regularly, while others are choosing different options to get online video to their televisions.”

Glenn Hower, Research Analyst, Parks Associates, will examine monetization opportunities created by streaming devices, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and other IP-connected devices in the webinar ‘Driving revenue from multiscreen opportunities’ on June 11, 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT). The event, hosted by FierceCable, will discuss the revolution in content distribution created by these devices and examine the implications for content providers, distributors, and advertisers. The speakers will also analyze the variety of multiscreen strategies that are currently being used by pay-TV providers. Registration is available online.

To request specific research or an interview with John Barrett, Brett Sappington, or Glenn Hower, contact Holly Sprague at hsprague@gmail.com or 720-987-6614.

About Parks Associates: Parks Associates is an internationally recognized market research and consulting company specializing in emerging consumer technology products and services. Founded in 1986, Parks Associates creates research capital for companies ranging from Fortune 500 to small start-ups through market reports, primary studies, consumer research, custom research, workshops, executive conferences, and annual service subscriptions.

The company’s expertise includes digital media and platforms, entertainment and gaming, home networks, Internet and television services, digital health, mobile applications and services, support services, consumer apps, advanced advertising, consumer electronics, energy management, and home control systems and security.

Each year, Parks Associates hosts industry webcasts, the CONNECTIONS™ Conference Series, and Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer.”

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