Locast’s Free TV Service Ordered To Shut Down Permanently After Copyright Loss

Locast has been ordered to shut down its online TV service forever in a permanent injunction issued yesterday by a federal judge. From a report: The order came two weeks after the judge gave major broadcast networks a big victory in their copyright case against Locast, a nonprofit organization that provided online access to broadcast TV stations. Locast will have to win on appeal in order to stream broadcast channels again. Locast already suspended operations after the September 1 ruling that said it does not qualify for a copyright-law exemption available to nonprofits, so the permanent injunction doesn’t change the status quo. US District Judge Louis Stanton cited a December 2019 agreement between Locast and the networks that limited the scope of the litigation and said a permanent injunction should be entered if the court determines that Locast does not qualify for the copyright-law exemption.

The deal did not prohibit


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TV Streaming Service Locast Suspends Service After Court Ruling

Locast has announced that it is suspending its TV streaming service starting today, following a court ruling earlier this week in a lawsuit from ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, which jointly sued the nonprofit service shortly after it launched. From a report: “As a non-profit, Locast was designed from the very beginning to operate in accordance with the strict letter of the law, but in response to the court’s recent rulings, with which we respectfully disagree, we are hereby suspending operations, effective immediately,” an email to Locast users sent out this morning reads. Locast was launched in 2019 as an internet-based alternative to over-the-air television, rebroadcasting local, free over-the-air signals over the internet to users in those areas. Unlike Aereo, a similar service that was shut down after a lawsuit ruled it was violating copyright by rebroadcasting over-the-air networks online, Locast relied on a loophole, using its status as a


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FandangoNOW and Vudu merge into a new streaming service with titles to rent, buy or stream free

Last year, movie ticketing and discovery business Fandango, a division of NBCUniversal, bought the on-demand video streaming service Vudu from Walmart, after the retailer had failed to capitalize on the service it had first acquired in 2010 for $100 million. Today, Fandango is taking the next steps with Vudu by merging the service with its existing streaming platform, FandangoNOW. The newly combined service will continue to use the name Vudu and will feature over 200,000 new release and catalog movies and TV shows to rent or buy without a subscription, as well as “thousands” of free-to-stream titles.
The company tells us it chose to stick with “Vudu” as its name because it’s already a popular brand with a loyal following and is significantly larger than the FandangoNOW service.
Despite the changes coming to the service, existing FandangoNOW customers won’t lose access to any of the content they already purchased. Both their movies


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Roku Tops 51 Million Accounts, Becoming the Biggest Smart TV Platform in North America

Roku’s bet on smart TVs is paying off: Seven years after the company first began licensing its operating system to TV manufacturers, it has become a market leader in North America. Roku and its hardware partners sold more smart TVs in the U.S. in 2020 than competitors like Samsung, LG and Vizio, according to data from the NPD Group released by Roku on Friday. From a report: Roku TVs had a 38% market share in the U.S. and a 31% market share in Canada, according to NPD’s data. Roku also announced earlier this week that it had ended 2020 with 51.2 million active accounts, adding around 14 million accounts over the past 12 months. Altogether, consumers streamed 58.7 billion hours of entertainment through their Roku devices in 2020, according to a news release. Both data points demonstrate how much of a force the company has become in North America, giving


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Roku Buys Quibi Content For Less Than $100 Million

phalse phace writes: After days of advanced talks to sell Quibi’s content library to Roku, the companies have finally reached a deal. According to Deadline, Roku will acquire most of Quibi’s content for less than $100 million.

“The acquisition covers most of the Quibi library, but some daily news shows are not part of the package,” reports Deadline. “A key draw for Roku is the talent, a roster including Idris Elba, Kevin Hart, Liam Hemsworth, Anna Kendrick, Nicole Richie, Chrissy Teigen and Lena Waithe. The lineup includes titles like Most Dangerous Game, Dummy and Murder House Flip. The programming will be available for free starting later this year. Shows will have advertising, as they did on the $5-a-month Quibi service, and they will be housed on the Roku Channel.” Earlier today, Roku says it sold more smart TVs in the U.S. in 2020 than competitors like Samsung, LG and Vizio,


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The Expanse S5 review: The show is bigger, bolder, and better than ever

Enlarge / Space is mind-bogglingly big… but what happens there may not stay there.
The science fiction space opera is by now a well-known genre, and yet somehow The Expanse is hard to describe. Let me try to sum it up at its most basic: The Expanse is a show about space. It is a show about society, about resources, about people with passions and problems and desires and—most especially—about what happens when all those things collide.
It is also, in a word, excellent. The Expanse’s fifth season is the best since its first, a long-awaited high-stakes payoff to several seasons’ worth of setup. If you drifted away from the show during earlier seasons, like something accidentally dropped in microgravity, this new season makes it worth finding a way to come back.

The setup
For the first few seasons, The Expanse was concerned entirely with our own solar system. In its vision


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1728912

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Quibi Is Shutting Down

Quibi is considering shutting itself down, WSJ reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter, a move that points to a possible crash landing for a once-highflying entertainment startup that raised $1.75 billion in capital. From the report: The streaming service has been plagued with problems since it launched in April, facing lower-than-expected viewership, disappointing download numbers and a lawsuit from a well-capitalized foe. The service is aimed at mobile viewers, but the coronavirus pandemic forced would-be subscribers away from the kinds of on-the-go situations Quibi executives envisioned for its users. Quibi attracted blue-chip advertisers including Pepsi, Walmart and Anheuser-Busch, securing about $150 million in ad revenue in the run-up to its launch. Those deals came under strain earlier this year amid lower-than-expected viewership for Quibi’s shows, prompting advertisers to defer their payments. In recent weeks, Quibi hired a restructuring firm to evaluate its options, the people said. The firm


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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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