In The News
A lot’s been happening in the world of over-the-top this spring — from new Google TV devices and old TV series coming back from the dead, to rumors that Hulu is about to turn the screws on cord-cutters. So this week, we bring you a recap of some of the current events:
RUMOR MILL: First on the agenda? Rumors that Hulu is planning to require users to have a cable or satellite subscription in order to use the service. It’s not clear whether this would apply only to the free content available through Hulu’s website, or if Hulu Plus subscribers would need to authenticate with a pay TV subscription as well. I’m hoping for the former, since I can’t get cable at my house and rely on my Hulu Plus subscription for a lot of my TV content. It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out, if it does – but keep in mind this move to an authentication model could take years to complete, according to the NY Post.
On a more positive note, Hulu has changed its approach to Facebook’s “frictionless sharing” feature to make it more clear to users what they’re sharing to Facebook. It is now easier to turn “social sharing” on and off, and a popup reminds users that the video they’re watching is being shared to Facebook. Most importantly, Hulu’s social sharing is now opt-in instead of opt-out.
NEW GOOGLE TVS: LG is set to release two new Google TV models in the U.S. later this month, priced at $1,699 for the 47” model and $2,299 for the 55” model. These HDTVs will be the first of the 2nd-generation Google TV devices to be released, and include 3D capability in addition to a motion-sensitive remote control and Google TV’s new ARM-based processor.
DO THE MATH: We may be seeing a $99 Xbox Kinect bundle from Microsoft as early as next week, according to The Verge. This may sound like a steal, considering a 4 GB Xbox 360 with Kinect currently retails for about $300. But there’s a catch: With the $99 bundle, you’re locked into a 2-year contract with the Xbox Live Gold service at $15/month. Over the course of 2 years, you’ll end up paying $459 instead of the $420 you’d pay if you buy the console at full price and sign up for the Xbox Live Gold service separately. Plus, you’ll be charged an early termination fee if you break the 2-year contract.
“ORIGINAL” NOW MEANS “REALITY” TV: Amazon is getting into original programming, like competitors Netflix and Hulu. Amazon Studios is asking viewers to submit ideas for comedy and children’s programming to be offered via Amazon Instant Video. Amazon says it plans to select one project per month, which will be tested with the audience. If a show is chosen for a full-budget series run, the creator will get $55,000 along with other royalties.
REVIVAL SURVIVAL: And finally, Netflix is reportedly in talks with CBS about reviving what would be its second network show, the sci-fi cult favorite “Jericho.” Last month, Netflix announced plans to bring back the sitcom “Arrested Development,” which will return in 2013.
With all 3 of the major OTT service providers now producing original programming, I have to wonder when we’ll start seeing services like Netflix bundled with cable and satellite subscriptions. As with just about everything else, it’s “just” a matter of negotiations…