This Week’s Headlines From Around The Web

Where the Heck Is Apple TV?

“Another Apple event, another Apple TV no-show.  Apple’s streaming-video box has gone three years without a refresh to a new generation, all while Internet-delivered TV has grown bigger and more accessible than ever. In that span of time, Apple has thrown plenty of splashy events, and each one has come and gone without Apple TV getting serious time in the spotlight. But Monday’s developer conference keynote was supposed to be different.  This year, the Cupertino, Calif.-based consumer electronics titan has been widely reported to be developing a new Apple TV box that it would launch alongside an Internet-delivered television service. In March, Apple cut the price on its current streaming-media box from $99 to $69, a classic signal that a company is clearing out old inventory ahead of a newer version coming down the pipeline.”

5 Reasons Streaming Is Making DVDs Extinct

“Science tells us that the dinosaurs lasted almost 200 million years, though if we look it up their lifespan on the Internet Movie Database, it’s documented thatDinosaurs had just a scant four season run. But thanks to DVDs, fans of this pre-historic sitcom can relive the yucks forever.  Well, not really. DVDs are going the way of both the dinosaurs and Dinosaurs, and no one seems all that upset about it. But how can it be that this once highly-touted technology is on track to become as extinct as the 8-track? Hurtling towards the DVD ecosystem like a meteorite, the growing popularity of streaming video services is killing the video disc.”

Netflix Updates Web Experience with New Interface

“The streaming service has revamped its website. Netflix has launched a new version of its online interface. The updated website now offers improved discovery with more images and faster navigation.  Taking its inspiration from mobile devices, the website is now designed to work more like an app with info appearing in-line rather than on separate pages. Likewise, hovering over a title now prompts a slideshow of images while clicking will bring up more details and episode selections. Scrolling through rows has also been improved and the site has been optimized to work with a mouse, trackpad, or touch screen.  The upgraded Netflix website is rolling out globally now and will be available for all members in about two weeks. A monthly Netflix subscription currently starts at $7.99 for SD streaming, $8.99 for HD streaming, and $11.99 for Ultra HD streaming. The service is available on a variety of smart TVs and media players, including the Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Roku 3, Apple TV and Chromecast.”

Showtime strikes deals with Roku, Playstation for streaming service

“On Monday Showtime’s parent company CBS Corporation announced partnerships with the Roku video streaming box and Playstation’s nascent TV subscription service Vue.  Showtime will be available through both Roku and Vue, as well as Apple TV, the original partner that was announced last week.  More distribution announcements are likely from Showtime before the new service’s early July launch.”

Hulu Officially Drops The “Plus,” But Service Remains The Same

“As promised earlier this spring at the NewFronts, Hulu is now officially dropping the “Plus” branding from its service in order to eliminate consumer confusion about the streaming video service. The change is being communicated to Hulu customers by way of an email message, rolling out now. Nothing else is changing with regard to the Hulu service, however – it will still have a free tier and a subscription-based, paid tier, both of which include ads. But it will all now be known as just “Hulu.”  According to the email Hulu users are receiving, the name change is being referred to as a “retiring:”  Though the company is making the name change official with its announcement, the rebranding itself is expected to be more of a slow transition, we’ve heard. Today, there are still two Hulu apps on the Google Play store, for example: Hulu and Hulu Plus. And the iOS app has yet to be updated as well – it’s still titled “Hulu Plus.”

Brad Pitt comedy coming to Netflix

“Netflix has acquired the satirical comedy “War Machine,” with Brad Pitt set to star as General Stanley McChrystal, adding a major dose of star power to the streaming service’s growing stable of original films.  Netflix, which announced the acquisition Monday, will produce the film, to be directed by Australian filmmaker David Michod (“Animal Kingdom,” ”The Rover”). Shooting is set to begin in August, with the movie scheduled for release on Netflix sometime next year.  “War Machine” is based on Michael Hastings’ book “The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan.” Hastings penned the infamous 2010 Rolling Stone profile of McChrystal that led to his resignation. The book and profile were based on weeks of nearly unfettered access to the general in 2010.  “War Machine is a rip-roaring, behind-the-facade tale of modern war decision-makers, from the corridors of power to the distant regions of America’s ambitions,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix.”

Amazon’s doing THIS in battle with Netflix, Apple

“Amazon will “double down” on its investment in original programs for its video-streaming service, its European head of video told CNBC, amid fierce competition from the likes of Netflix.  E-commerce giant Amazon has released a number of its own television series on itsonline-streaming service, Prime InstantVideo, and even won two Golden Globe awards for its program “Transparent.”  Given the success, Jay Marine, vice president of Amazon Instant Video in Europe, told CNBC the company would invest more in new shows to remain competitive.  “We’re going to continue to double down in that area, invest more to bring our customers worldwide, more originals, more great TV series that they have never been able to see before,” the executive told CNBC at the launch of this year’s London Technology Week.  “The reality is there’s lots of places to get videos, it’s a very competitive market, we need to provide something different,” he added.”

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