Amazon Fire TV now pulls in live TV content from Sling TV, YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV

Amazon is upgrading its Fire TV’s live TV experience through new integrations with several live TV streaming services, including Sling TV, YouTube TV, and Hulu + Live TV. Live content from these services will now appear within key areas with the Fire TV user interface, including the Fire TV’s Live tab and Channel Guide, making Fire TV feel even more like a cable TV replacement than before.
Already, Amazon Fire TV had offered integrations with nearly 20 other apps in a similar fashion, including live TV apps like Philo and Pluto TV, as well as its own Prime Video Channels.
But the addition of Sling TV, YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV brings in the three largest and most popular apps among cord cutters who are paying for a live TV experience. Sling TV has 2.31 million subscribers; YouTube TV has over 2 million; and Hulu + Live TV has 3.3


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YouTube TV hikes price to $64.99 per month following new channel additions

YouTube TV is getting another price hike, making its live TV streaming service less competitive with the cable TV services it aims to replace. The company announced today its service would now cost $64.99 per month, starting today, June 30, for new members. The change will also be reflected on the next billing cycle for current members after June 30.
The bump in pricing is now one of several price increases YouTube TV has seen since its debut, starting with a modest $5 per month bump in 2018, followed by a much more substantial price hike last year to $50 per month.
The increases are due to the rising costs of programming for the streaming TV service as the pay TV industry collapses amid a rise in cord cutting — a trend now accelerating at even a faster pace due to the pandemic.
YouTube TV had announced in May it would soon gain


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The News Project’s publishing platform goes live with its first customer, CALmatters

CEO Merrill Brown says he founded The News Project to address one of the big problems in the journalism business: “It costs too much to launch and operate news sites.”
It’s an issue that Brown knows well — he’s a former journalist, journalism executive and educator who served as the founding editor in chief of MNSBC.com. He announced earlier this year that The News Project has raised a six-figure investment from WordPress VIP, and now it’s actually launching with its first customer, the nonprofit site CALmatters, which offers news and analysis around California politics.
Last week, Brown and The News Project’s product lead Miguel Ferrer walked me through what the the company does, both for CALmatters and more generally. The company’s pitch, in a nutshell, is to provide a “news business in box.”
Ferrer explained, “Not only is it what you need for a news business in a box, it’s also understood to


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VideoLAN Announces Dav1d, a New Libre and Open Source AV1 Decoder

Jean-Baptiste Kempf, president of VideoLan and developer of VLC media player, made the following announced Monday: AV1 is a new video codec by the Alliance for Open Media, composed of most of the important Web companies (Google, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft,…). AV1 has the potential to be up to 20% better than the HEVC codec, but the patents license is totally free, while HEVC patents licenses are insanely high and very confusing. The reference decoder for AV1 is great, but it’s a research codebase, so it has a lot to improve. Therefore, the VideoLAN, VLC and FFmpeg communities have started to work on a new decoder, sponsored by the Alliance of Open Media. The goal of this new decoder is: be small, be as fast as possible, be very cross-platform, correctly threaded, libre and (actually) Open Source. Without further due, the code: https://code.videolan.org/videolan/dav1d Recommended: A talk during VDD 2018 conference


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Plex Cloud will shut down November 30 due to technical challenges

Plex today announced it’s shutting down its troubled Plex Cloud service, via a forum post that hasn’t found its way over to the company’s official blog – likely a choice the company made in order to downplay the news, or avoid media scrutiny. Plex Cloud, launched in fall 2016, was meant to serve as a way for Plex customers to save their files to online storage services like OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive, instead of having to host their saved files locally on their own machines or network-attached storage devices.
But now that will no longer be an option, as the service will stop functioning on November 30, 2018, Plex says.
Plex Cloud had struggled from the beginning with technical issues.
Almost immediately, its debut launch partner, Amazon, stopped working with Plex Cloud. Users were complaining that Amazon Drive files couldn’t be accessed and wondered if Amazon was imposing upload limits. There were


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Amazon Prime Video is coming to Comcast’s cable boxes

Comcast and Amazon today announced a new partnership that will see Amazon’s Prime Video service integrated into Comcast’s Xfinity TV set-top boxes. This is the first time that Prime Video content would be added to a cable operator’s platform in the U.S.. It’s also a particularly interesting choice on Comcast’s part,  given that Amazon is directly competing with pay TV providers through its Prime Video Channels a la carte TV subscriptions. And these will be available to Comcast’s customers via the Xfinity X1 set-top box as a result of this deal.
Today, Amazon offers over 160 premium Prime Video channels, including HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax and others that have been previously sold as add-ons to cable TV subscriptions. Being able to access to these channels over-the-top – without a traditional TV subscription – is one of several factors that have convinced some consumers to cut the cord with cable TV entirely.
In other


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Plex adds support for podcasts, debuts personalized mobile apps

At CES in January, TechCrunch broke the news that media software maker Plex was planning to expand its service with the addition of new media content, starting with podcasts. Today, it’s making good on that promise by launching support for podcasts into beta, along with a whole new look and more customization options for its Plex mobile apps.
While Plex got its start as a software application for organizing people’s home media collections, it’s been expanding over the past couple of years to add new features in support of cord cutters who want to watch TV via their antenna, and record those shows. It also acquired the streaming news startup Watchup in order to add a dedicated news hub within its app.
Earlier this year, the company spoke of its ambitions to continue adding more types of content to its media center software, including audio and video podcasts, followed by digital, web-first and


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VLC 3.0 Adds Chromecast Support and More as the Best Free Media Player Gets Even Better

Ian Paul, writing for PCWorld: The best free media player is getting even better. After three years of development, VLC 3.0 ‘Ventari’ is rolling out to all platforms, and it’s packed full of goodies such as Chromecast support. The latest version of VLC contains a lot of great additions, as well as a tweaked UI. Chromecast discovery tops the list. It’s only available on Windows desktop and Android right now, but Videolan says the feature’s coming to VLC’s iOS and the Windows Store apps in the future. […] VLC 3.0’s refreshed UI isn’t a fresh, new look from previous versions, but it is noticeably different. The icons at the bottom of the window are cleaner, and the small icons used within menu items are also new. Version 3.0 also adds support for 360-degree video and 3D audio, readying features for a VR version of VLC slated to roll out in


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Windows 10 Update Removes Windows Media Player

Recently made available Windows 10 update KB4046355 for the Fall Creators Update disables Windows Media Player from the operating system. BetaNews reports: While it could be argued that Windows Media Player is no longer an essential addition to Windows — there are plenty of quality third-party alternatives, such as VLC Media Player, not to mention the Films & TV app in Windows 10 itself — many users still rely on it. The feature’s removal came to light when users installed KB4046355 on devices running Windows 10 version 1709 — the Fall Creators Update. This update, referred to as FeatureOnDemandMediaPlayer, removes Windows Media Player from the OS, although it doesn’t kill access to it entirely. If you want the media player back you can install it via the Add a Feature setting. Open Settings, go to Apps > Apps & Features, and click on Manage optional features.

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