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WarnerMedia reaches deal with Amazon to extend HBO Now availability on Fire TV, more

WarnerMedia and Amazon have come to a last-minute agreement to allow HBO Now subscribers to continue watching content on Fire TV devices, according to a report from Variety. As the two companies negotiate a deal for the new HBO Max streaming service, this interim deal will at least mean that HBO Now subscribers won’t lose access to the service on August 1.

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Sling TV gains Showtime add-on as AT&T bundles HBO with unlimited data plans

Sling TV announced today that it will be begin offering Showtime as an add-on channel for subscribers. The monthly rate when bundled with Sling TV’s live video streaming service is competitive to Showtime’s standalone option. While Sling TV is expanding its channel lineup, AT&T is using free access to HBO to promote its new unlimited data plans.



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HBO Now updated with iOS 9’s picture-in-picture iPad feature

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One of iOS 9’s most useful features on modern iPads is the ability to playback videos from the Home screen or other apps using picture-in-picture. Video services have to opt-in to supporting PIP, though, so it means App Store apps must be updated before the feature works.

HBO has done just that with their iOS 9 update for iPad, supporting picture-in-picture when you leave the HBO Now app while you’re watching a movie or TV show. The feature is only mentioned in the update for the standalone HBO Now service, however, so the HBO Go version which requires a cable subscription may not support it.

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Comcast unveils upcoming live TV streaming package for cord-cutters ahead of rumored Apple’s Web TV service

Comcast Stream iPad

While Apple’s rumored Web TV service is expected to launch with new hardware and software later this year, Comcast has shown its cards on what it describes as an “experiment” to offer live TV streaming to its Internet subscribers without cable packages. Stream, a $15/month Xfinity add-on, will allow Comcast Internet subscribers to view live and on-demand streaming television from “about a dozen networks” including HBO and other major broadcast networks.

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HBO Now earned the most revenue of any iOS app last month following free trial period

HBO NOW iPhone iPad iPod touch 21HBO Now, the standalone subscription service for the premium network, appears to be a hit with iOS users, says new data from analytics service App Annie.

After launching on Apple TV and the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in early April with a 1-month free trial, the new report says the standalone service’s app “debuted at #1 on our Worldwide May iOS revenue charts” showing that the free trial converted users to paid customers.

A month after the trial ended for day one subscribers, App Annie says HBO Now sat at “#2 overall daily grossing rank in the United States” according to its data. Showtime is planning a similar standalone service that will launch next month.

App Annie

It’s also interesting to see where Spotify and Beats Music sit on App Annie’s chart ahead of Apple Music’s launch on Tuesday. Apple Music will offer a 3-month free trial period for users and will be pre-installed, but Beats Music users should convert to Apple Music customers and the company certainly hopes to steal customers from Spotify. HBO Now’s performance is also good news for the revenue outlook of Apple’s rumored web TV service as cord cutters are clearly willing to pay for content.

HBO Now is available on the App Store for $14.99/month.

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Kindle for iOS adds a new font for digital screens, HBO Go now supports HDMI playback

Two interesting app updates out today that make enjoying media from your iOS device even better.

On the reading front, Amazon has updated its Kindle for iOS app to include a font called Bookerly that it says was designed especially for reading on a digital screen. The font, which was first made available on its Kindle Fire devices, is described by Amazon as “warm and contemporary.”

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9to5Toys Last Call: iOttie iPhone 6 Car Mount + Dual USB Car Charger $13, Lexar 128GB microSD $86, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

Last Call Updates:

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iOttie Easy View iPhone 6 Car Mount + RapidVolt Dual USB Car Charger $13 shipped ($24 value)

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Lexar 128GB Micro-SD Card (95MB/s) for 4K video recording, more for $86 shipped

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Samsung’s new SD cards bring faster speeds, larger storage for 4K video and photography

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OtterBox announces new Symmetry Series folio style cases for iPad Air 2 and iPad mini

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Review: iOttie’s Active Edge bike mount safely puts your iPhone front and center, exclusive 30% promo code

More new gear from today:

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Stream Amazon Prime Instant Video movies and TV shows at 30,000-ft in the air w/ no extra fees

More deals still alive:

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Revogi Smart Color Bluetooth LED Bulb $35 Shipped (Orig. $50, CA Tax Only)

New products & more:

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GE’s new lightbulbs have HomeKit compatibility and will help you sleep better

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nexpaq’s iPhone 6 case enables killer features to be added and removed on-the-fly

HBO NOW standalone streaming service debuts on Apple TV, iPhone & iPad with 1-month free trial

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HBO’s new standalone streaming service called HBO NOW has officially launched on Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad. HBO NOW allows subscribers to watch the premium network’s movies and TV shows online. The service is similar to Netflix as it’s delivered over a high-speed Internet connection rather than cable or satellite and doesn’t require long-term committments through contracts. Here’s how to get HBO NOW works:

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Apple reportedly offering viewer data to TV partners to help solidify content deals

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With rumors flying about an Apple television subscription service in the works for release this year, new details have started to emerge about what kinds of deals the tech company will make with its content partners. The NY Post says that these deals will involve Apple turning over certain data about its users to programmers to help solidify its agreements.



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CBS follows HBO in targeting cord-cutters with $5.99/month VOD service via app & web

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Just one day after HBO announced that it would be offering a web-only subscription at some point next year, CBS has played leap-frog by announcing the immediate availability of a $5.99/month web & app subscription offering on-demand access to almost all content.

CBS All Access will offer subscribers thousands of episodes from the current season, previous seasons and classic shows on demand, as well as the ability to stream local CBS Television stations live in 14 of the largest U.S. markets at launch.

CBS All Access is available beginning today at CBS.com and on mobile devices through the CBS App for iOS and Android.

Cable companies have long shied away from offering access to popular, current programming without demanding that you sign-up to cable access first. But broadcasters now seem to be recognizing that it isn’t just cord-cutting that threatens their existing models, it’s also ‘cord nevers’ – young people who simply aren’t signing up for cable subscriptions in the first place, preferring to get their TV fix online … 

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HBO’s upcoming web-only subscription could unlock the full potential for Apple TV

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HBO CEO Richard Plepler shared today that the premium satellite and cable network will begin offering a web-only package sometime in 2015 as it attempts to gain new paid subscribers. A web-only offering for HBO (and other popular networks) is something cable cutters have wanted for years although many argued that the economics of the cable industry wouldn’t make the option feasible for the networks.

Plepler, though, cited “the current ten million broadband-only homes” before announcing that HBO will launch “a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service” next year. Could a version of HBO unbundled from cable providers mean that Apple TV may also become less restrained by required cable subscriptions?



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Amazon Instant Video 2.7 gets free first episodes, new playback controls and HBO

screen480x480 Even though Amazon is investing heavily in its Fire platform including new Fire TV and Fire Phone, it still is showing some chops for iOS. Today’s free update brings the latest features of Amazon’s Video service to its iOS apps.

Amazon upgraded the iPad and iPhone apps today with all new video playback controls, including one-touch play/pause and 10-second skip forward/backward buttons, and a “Next Episode” button to quickly play back the next episode of the TV show you’re watching (requires iOS 6 or later). If you are thinking about buying a season of a TV series, you can now peep out the first episode for free.

The biggest update however is access to HBO shows like The Sopranos (right), The Wire, and Deadwood, plus early seasons of True Blood and Boardwalk Empire. As with any update, this one includes bugfixes and stability improvements including faster playback start times.

Wall Street unimpressed by Beats acquisition: “Not what we want to see”

Wall Street

Judging by a roundup in The Wall Street Journal, analysts and investors appear not to share the enthusiasm for Beats acquisition express by Tim Cook and Eddy Cue. While Cook said he was “excited […] about this new chapter in our history” and Cue believed that “combining the two companies will help [music] grow again,” Wall Street is more skeptical.

“To see this kind of money spent for a company that gets most of its revenue from hardware business is not what we want to see,” said Dan Niles, chief investment officer of hedge fund AlphaOne Capital Partners …



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New Steve Jobs email a treasure trove of information about Apple TV, Google ‘holy war,’ and behind-the-scenes strategy

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A new email from Steve Jobs that was published during today’s Samsung lawsuit (via The Verge) has revealed a lot about Apple’s plans for its products in 2011 and beyond. As we’ve previously noted, Jobs referred to 2011 as a year of “holy war” against Google, but this document goes above that and describes how exactly Apple planned to wage this war.

A few choice bits are below, followed by the complete email.



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HBO GO for iOS picks up Chromecast support

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9jA2km9TKM]

Google announced today Chromecast support for the HBO GO apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

This means HBO GO subscribers can now push content from their iOS Devices to their Chromecast-connected HDTVs. HBO GO casting is also available from the website from Chrome browser.

The actual Chromecast hardware is only $35 on Amazon (and if that’s not cheap enough, keep an eye on 9to5Toys for more deals) and offers a comparable experience in many ways to AirPlay on Apple TV. HBO subscribers can download and use the HBO GO apps at no additional charge from the App Store.

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HBO Go appears on Chromecast support page, streaming support likely coming soon

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Just a few weeks ago, Pandora became the latest app to receive support for streaming via the Chromecast, as did Hulu Plus just before that. This left a couple of key holdouts, one of which being HBO Go. HBO Go has been rumored as coming to the Chromecast since the device’s launch, with HBO confirming earlier this summer that it was in talks to support the Chromecast in the “future.” It now looks as if the launch is not very far off.

As first noted by Droid Life, Google’s “Now Casting” support page has been updated to include HBO Go. It’s touted as a “new” app, along with Pandora and Hulu Plus. Oddly, however, there is no HBO icon and the description simply reads “none.” This makes it seem like Google’s support page was updated a bit prematurely, although it does signal that a launch is imminent and that the two are still in talks to work together. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear an official announcement from Google and HBO relatively soon.

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Report: Apple negotiating w/ media companies for pay TV service, working on full-fledged TV set

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A new report from Quartz today offers some details on Apple’s content negotiations for a much rumored revamped Apple TV. Most of the report echoes what we’ve heard several times in the past– Apple is apparently talking with HBO, Disney, MTV and others about a new TV service. According to Quartz, it could include a pay TV service that would see Apple “essentially becoming a cable company itself,” as well as the release of a “full-fledged television set”:

One alternative being considered is that Apple could essentially become a cable company itself. Under that scenario, sources say, Apple would launch what is formally known as a virtual multichannel video programming distributor. Apple is still interested in striking deals with cable companies that would allow people to plug their cable lines into the back of the TV set, bypassing a cable box, sources say. But at least two years of negotiations haven’t progressed very far.

Sources say Apple has concluded that it doesn’t need all, even most, content providers on board before it can release a TV set that people would buy. It just needs enough good programming to distinguish the new product, which will try to simplify the experience of connecting internet video to the TV.

The report doesn’t offer up any details that we didn’t hear around this same time last year (and the year before that), but it appears Apple could be closer to reaching the deals it needs to launch the next-generation of Apple TV. Earlier today we reported that former Hulu SVP Pete Distad has now officially started his new role at Apple as Product Marketing VP and is thought to be leading Apple executives through negotiations with cable and media companies. 

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Apple strikes content deal with CW Network for ad-supported Apple TV app

CW's Xbox app

CW’s Xbox app

During a presentation with advertisers, CW Network president Mark Pedowitz announced that the network would be expanding its content offerings to new multimedia devices. This strategy will include a spot as an app on the Apple TV set-top-box’s home screen.

The network confirmed this to MacRumors:

It’s a dedicated CW app that will work like our Xbox and mobile and tablet apps – no cable authentication required, full episodes of our shows available next day after air, ad-supported.

Notably, as noted in the above quote, the CW content will be ad-supported.

CW currently streams its content to software on Microsoft Windows devices such as the Xbox. Apple recently added Hulu Plus and sports content to the Apple TV, and the current generation Apple set-top-box has sported YouTube and Netflix integration since launch.

Apple is also rumored to be nearing a content deal for Apple TV with HBO.

CW currently hosts various TV episodes in addition to some original content. The network lists its show offerings on its website. 



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