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Tag: Tech (1-10 of 15)

Roku readies its streaming video TVs for launch


For all the binge watching and cable-cutting going on, our actual television sets are kind of late to the streaming video party. That’s not to say they haven’t tried—it’s just that they’re terrible at it. But maybe they’re about to get better.

According to Variety, Roku, the company behind the eponymous set-top streaming box that competes with Apple TV, is prepping to launch a line of TVs with its streaming software baked in. Available in a range of sizes from 32″ to 55″, the TVs will be manufactured by TCL and Hisense USA, and will launch in late August and early September. Prices for TCL’s models will range from $229 to $649. Hisense has not announced price points for its models, as it plans to let retail partners set price points.

The Roku TVs will be preset to take users to their streaming services first (a setting that can be changed to have them function more like a traditional TV), letting users select from options like Netflix, HBO Go, and Hulu Plus. Then, of course, the real challenge begins: deciding what to watch.

CNET reporter quits over CBS editorial interference

Technology reviews by website CNET have long been respected for their thoroughness and integrity, but that reputation has come under scrutiny after a top reporter quit over what he says is editorial interference by its parent company, CBS Corp.

The dispute centers on CNET’s choice of best gadgets from last week’s International CES show in Las Vegas.

CNET voted Dish Network Corp.’s “Hopper with Sling” the best home theater and audio product. Because CBS is in a legal fight with Dish over the Hopper’s ad-skipping capabilities, CBS vetoed the selection, saying the product couldn’t be considered “Best of CES.” Instead, CNET’s official selection was a sound bar from TV maker Vizio. READ FULL STORY

Jack Black-produced web comedy series 'Ghost Ghirls' to debut in the spring

It seems Jack Black can’t get enough ghostbuster-based gags. Last week he filled the shoes of Dan Aykroyd at a live reading of the Ghostbusters script organized by director Jason Reitman at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Now, it has been announced that he’s producing a new web comedy series called Ghost Ghirls that will debut on Yahoo! Screen next spring.


Hulu launches original scripted programming with political drama 'Battleground'

Hulu announced today that the TV and movie streaming website will debut its first original scripted series, the political docudrama Battleground, on Feb. 14. Starring a cast of mostly young unknowns, the show chronicles a hardscrabble primary campaign for the Wisconsin senate. “People hate politics but they love elections,” exec producer J.D. Walsh said in a release. “Campaigns are about good versus evil, our team versus yours, relationships, temptations, power, unimaginable triumphs and heartbreaking defeats. I’m interested in the people behind the people.” You can check out the trailer for the show below:  READ FULL STORY

Jackson Rathbone on his new Facebook series 'Aim High,' and saying goodbye to 'Twilight'

As anyone who has witnessed the mass hysteria of a Twilight premiere or been within the vicinity of one of the wildly popular vampire saga’s cast members can attest, Twihards will do just about anything to get close to the actors from the film. Luckily, for fans of Jackson Rathbone, who plays Jasper in series, they’ll no longer have to claw and scream their way to get to him among the endlessly devoted Twilight faithful. Instead, from now on, they’ll simply need to log into Facebook.

The actor is starring in an interactive new web series called Aim High, in which he plays teenager Nick Green, who is a high schooler by day and a U.S. spy by night. But the twist here isn’t that Rathbone’s character is leading a double life, it’s that viewers will, quite literally, be able to get in on the actionREAD FULL STORY

Amazon Prime to stream CBS TV library

CBS and have announced a non-exclusive licensing agreement that will enable Amazon customers to stream television shows from CBS’s vast library. Amazon Prime customers will now be able to watch thousands of episodes from the CBS library, including full seasons of The Tudors, Numb3rs, Medium, Star Trek, Frasier, and Cheers.  “Amazon has created one of the most popular consumer marketplaces in the world, and we are very pleased to make these titles available to their Instant Video and Prime customers,” said Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS.  “This new agreement represents another meaningful way for us to realize incremental value for CBS’s content.”

Report: Google in talks to buy Hulu

Both Google and Hulu are staying mum concerning reports that the companies are in preliminary talks for Google to buy the online video site.

Following a Los Angeles Times report that Google is among the potential buyers currently meeting with Hulu, a Google spokesperson told EW today, “We don’t comment on rumor or speculation.” A Hulu spokeswoman declined to comment as well. The paper’s unnamed sources also claimed Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo were also among those interested.

The article makes clear that all these sites are looking for a piece of the ever-growing tech pie because of the big-name advertisers attached to the TV shows featured on Hulu and, of course, its millions of users.

Kevin Smith, Adam Carolla, Kevin Pollak launching late-night show on AOL

Image Credit: Jerod Harris/Getty Images; Paul Froggatt/PR Photos; Michael Caulfield/Getty Images

AOL is getting into the late-night game, with Kevin Smith, Adam Carolla, and Kevin Pollak joining forces for a nightly online video series.

All three men already have popular online programs or podcasts: Smith — who has had a busy week at Sundance — has his Smodcast Network, Pollak has Chat Show and there’s The Adam Carolla Show. Now AOL is teaming with those existing shows to create a daily video series.

“The first time I ever went online was via AOL,” Smith says.  “That means I’ve been a paying member for over 15 years — all without knowing I was investing in my own future. I look forward to many battles over what’s considered too risque for their family-oriented service.” READ FULL STORY

President Obama challenges MythBusters with solar weapon quest

President Obama’s guest appearance on MythBusters will air on Dec. 8, but a brief video preview is now online, showing the president welcoming the show’s two hosts, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, and challenging them to examine the scientific viability of the Archimedes ancient solar ray, which legend claims set the approaching Roman fleet on fire with only the use of mirrors. “I am a big fan of MythBusters … and so are the girls,” says Obama. “Figure this [ray] out, and report back to me.” Check out our prez geeking out with the MBs. READ FULL STORY slapped with restraining order over streaming TV, a website that has been streaming the signals of television stations without proper consent, has been slapped with a temporary restraining order, according to the Los Angeles Times. The four major television networks protested in court on Monday, saying that was violating copyright laws, and a federal judge in Manhattan issued the order.

Paula Abdul launches new talent-search website

Paula Abdul has launched a new talent-discovery website called AuditionBooth, which bills itself as “the first full-service casting web site where audition videos are sent straight to casting decision-makers for top TV shows, record labels, ad campaigns, theatrical productions and films, along with a wide range of other talent opportunities.” Frank Celli and Greg Brill cofounded the site, which went into public beta this morning.

AuditionBooth allows adult users to upload audition videos of themselves and casting directors to search for talent that meets their criteria. The site itself is free for auditioners, but users who purchase a premium membership get better placement in casting agents’ inboxes and the ability to replace or redo audition videos. [THR]

Read more:
Paula Abdul’s ‘Live to Dance’ will compete with ‘American Idol’
Paula Abdul discusses her new show, the ‘American Idol’ judges, and whether she’ll reunite with Simon on ‘The X-Factor’
Paula Abdul’s ‘Live to Dance’ reveals panel and host

Hulu drops price of Hulu Plus

Hulu has lowered the price of its Hulu Plus subscription service to $7.99 per month — the same price as Netflix’s streaming-only tier. In a post on the company’s blog today, Hulu’s CEO also announced that they’d be offering a free one-week trial of the service for all new subscribers, and a free preview month with the purchase of a new Roku, among other deals. “Hulu Plus is already accounting for a material percentage of Hulu’s overall business,” Jason Kilar wrote, without specifying what exactly that percentage was.

Hulu Plus, which debuted in July, offers more episodes of more shows than the free version, and is supported on a variety of devices, including iPads, iPhones and some web-enabled televisions.

Read more:
Hulu to start charging in 2010
Would you pay for Hulu?'s gay-book debacle: Could a hacker have been behind it all?

Days after authors and readers noticed that had removed sales rankings from thousands of gay- and lesbian-themed books — in a move Amazon chalked up to a "ham-fisted cataloging error" — bloggers began speculating that hackers, not Amazon, were actually the ones responsible for censoring the titles. In fact, a notorious hacker known as Weev has even claimed to be behind the mishap, writing in a livejournal entry that he hired third-world workers to flag the material as objectionable en masse.

But would such an attack even be possible? According to a computer-security expert, yes. John Pironti, the President of IP Architects, LLC, who is familiar with Weev’s work, says it is "possible, plausible, and capable. It actually makes a lot of sense. And it [wouldn’t be] the first time we would have seen it done." (An Amazon rep, however, still maintains it was a cataloging error.) 

But stripper-turned-memoirist Craig Seymour (a former staffer) has a hard time believing a hacker is at fault, since he saw his sales rank removed by Amazon, "the world’s most consumer-centric company," months ago. "It’s not consumer-centric if you’re not allowing people to search for books by title and author from your homepage," says Seymour, who was told by a customer service rep in February that his gay memoir, All I Could Bare, had been booted because it had been classified as an "adult product." "I’m not saying they should have a flash of me stripping across the homepage when you log on. But if somebody specifically looks up [my book], they should be able to find it."

Hacker or no, the company claims the glitch will be fixed "as quickly as possible." Not that spurned authors are quick to forgive. Even though Seymour’s sales rank was restored four weeks after he issued his first complaint, he says the shunning still stings, especially since bookstores were the only outlets to provide homosexual-centric information and entertainment when he was growing up in the 1980s. "Bookstores for me were always sort of a safe place," he says. "And now, of course, Amazon is like a big virtual bookstore, and to feel booted out of that, it’s hurtful in terms of the role that books have played in my life and in the lives of a lot of gay and lesbian people."


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