Tag Archives: Jon Fingas

Cablevision and Viacom settle their lawsuits over channel bundling

photo: Jin Lee/Bloomberg/Getty, Engadget

The two TV giants have settled their antitrust lawsuits with promises that they’re making “mutually beneficial business arrangements.” Neither side is saying what those arrangements are, however, and it’s not clear whether or not Cablevision is getting a better deal than what it had in 2012. This ruckus started because Cablevision didn’t like being forced to carry niche Viacom channels to get the big channels it wanted — this whole exercise would be pointless if the company didn’t get either a discount or more control. – Jon Fingas, Engadget

Sprint thinks its existing wireless spectrum is enough

photo: Engadget

[Sprint] just announced that it’s passing on the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming 600MHz auction after determining that its existing airwaves are “sufficient” for its future needs. […] However, passing on the auction is still a big gamble. Sprint is betting that there won’t be a big spike in demand that requires more spectrum than it has, or that the lack of 600MHz support won’t hobble compatibility or performance down the line. – Jon Fingas, Engadget

Roku’s Dropbox channel puts cloud files on your TV

photo: Roku

Roku has launched a Dropbox channel that lets you browse your photos and videos on its set-tops, including in slideshows. Yes, you now have an easy way to recap your vacation on a big screen without turning to other cloud services. The channel isn’t flawless — TechCrunch notes that you can’t play long videos, so this won’t work if you’re trying to stream full-length movies. – Jon Fingas, Engadget

Netflix schedules loads of new shows, says why ‘Lilyhammer’ died

photo: Netflix

The service has confirmed that it will axe Lilyhammer, its first original (or rather, pseudo-original) show, after its third season. Chief content officer Ted Sarandos claims that Netflix is a fan of the mobster-in-Norway series, but that it has turned into an “economically challenged deal” due to the partnership with Norwegian broadcaster NRK1 . While Netflix wanted to maintain tight control over Lilyhammer and its distribution, that just wasn’t possible under the agreement. Whatever the reasons, it’s a sad day… Netflix’s early experiment with producing content has come to a close. – Jon Fingas, Engadget

NASA shows off the International Space Station in glorious 4K

photo: NASA

NASA’s International Space Station team recently got a big camera upgrade in the form of RED’s Epic Dragon, and it’s more than a little eager to show off what this high-resolution gear can do. The agency has started posting 4K videos (sorry, no 6K yet) that show what life is like in orbit in exceptional detail. You can make out the finer details of clouds on Earth, for instance, or see every last nuance of a zero-gravity water bubble. – Jon Fingas, Engadget

Lawsuit claims Sling tricked viewers by introducing ads

photo: Sling Media

Don’t like that your Slingbox setup is dishing out ads when it wasn’t before? You’re not alone. Two viewers have sued Sling Media for allegedly pulling a “bait and switch” on existing customers, serving them ads that they hadn’t actually agreed to see. It’s tantamount to fraud, according to the lawsuit, and it’s particularly egregious when many viewers paid $300 or more for their set-top boxes. – Jon Fingas, Engadget

Sony Music chief says Apple’s streaming service arrives ‘tomorrow’

Sony Music Entertainment CEO Doug Morris told guests at the Midem Music Industry Festival that Apple’s announcement of the Beats-based service is “happening tomorrow” (that is, at the WWDC keynote). He didn’t confirm any rumors surrounding features or pricing, but he believed that Apple Inc.’s offering would represent a “tipping point” where streaming hits the mainstream. – Jon Fingas, Engadget

Netflix is testing ads surrounding its shows

Netflix has confirmed to Cord Cutters News that it’s publicly testing ads both before and after shows. What you see as a test subject varies in length and whether or not it’s skippable, so it’s not certain just how tolerable these promos would be. However, Netflix is quick to note that a lot of things are up in the air, and that you might not see these clips at all — it warns that many experimental features “never see a rollout,” so your subscription may remain blissfully ad-free. The company isn’t discussing its ultimate aims, to no one’s surprise. However, the ad trial is likely meant to open the door to new pricing options that do more than tweak the number of simultaneous streams. – Jon Fingas, Engadget

FCC vote clears the way for lower-cost mobile data

The FCC has voted in favor of rules that not only make a wide 100MHz slice of 3.5GHz spectrum available for mobile data, but makes that data more accessible. Rather than simply parcel out the airwaves to the highest bidders (which are usually telecoms), the FCC has a “General Authorized Access” tier that lets any device use these frequencies, similar to WiFi’s license-free scheme. The move would still let conventional carriers bolster their networks, but it also paves the way for cheap or free over-the-air broadband. Companies ranging from Google to Verizon are interested, so you should expect an eclectic mix of services once the devices are ready. Jon Fingas, Engadget

Netflix is producing a 4K follow-up to ‘Planet Earth’

Our Planet, with the help of both Silverback Films (which made the original BBC show) and the World Wildlife Fund. The eight-episode series will reportedly venture into “never-before-filmed” corners of the globe, with everything shot in 4K — just like Planet Earth, the new production will serve as a good showcase for your TV. – Jon Fingas, Engadget
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