Netflix's oddly public peering agreement to connect directly with Comcast has, as many expected, been followed closely by a similar deal. What may surprise some is that this arrangement is with Norway's Telenor and not Verizon or AT&T, although the circumstances are remarkably similar. Filter Magazine points out a report from Dagens Næringsliv (Today's Business), a Norwegian industry paper, revealing an arrangement where Netflix is apparently paying rent to place its servers loaded full of movies inside the telecommunication company's datacenter. Telenor spokesman Jørn Bremtun confirmed a commercial agreement to Filter but could not reveal details, although Netflix's OpenConnect proposal suggested a similar arrangement, without payment.
Telenor has recently dropped sharply in Netflix's ISP speed index (sound familiar?), and like the Comcast announcement, this new deal is drawing scrutiny from supporters of the principles of net neutrality. Telenor is held to the standards of net neutrality as set by the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority (PDF), just like Comcast is under the terms of its agreement to purchase NBC. Also just like Comcast, Telenor claims that charging Netflix is not blocked by those standards, since it isn't providing preferential treatment to any particular traffic on the network. Finn Myrstad of The Consumer Council of Norway echoes statements by US consumer rights groups and our post on the topic, pointing out that the secret nature of such deals is inherently troubling. There's still no word on any other similar agreements with US ISPs, but the trend appears to be firmly in motion.
The latest TV show to become a streaming-exclusive on Amazon Prime's video service is the sci-fi series Orphan Black. Like Amazon's recent deal to pick up streaming rights for FX's The Americans, this agreement with BBC America comes just ahead of the show's return for season two. While Amazon attempts to build up its stable of original series (voting on the current pilot season ends soon), collaborating with broadcasters for a financial and exposure push of returning series seems like a worthwhile strategy. Other shows that viewers won't find on Amazon's competitors include Suits, Falling Skies, Downton Abbey, Justified, Workaholics, and Under the Dome, while this summer CBS' Extant joins the pack. Of course, Netflix has an original sci-fi show of its own, Sense8, on the way later this year from the folks behind The Matrix and Babylon 5. Right now though, US viewers can either recap or become introduced to Tatiana Maslany's Clone Club before the season two premiere April 19th.
As if the revival of Carl Sagan's Cosmos couldn't get any more grandiose, tonight's debut has a pretty special guest. President Barack Obama will intro the episode with a pre-recorded message that'll supposedly urge viewers to explore new frontiers -- like space! -- and to imagine what the future could hold. Regardless of what your politics may be, it sounds like it could be pretty inspiring. Now, if the POTUS could just remind the nation to set its DVRs for 9pm ET tonight we'd be all set.
[Image Credit: Pete Souza for the White House]
Source: Digital Journal
When you're the CEO of the second largest video game publisher in the world, people have a tendency to take what you say seriously. Case in point, Electronic Arts' Andrew Wilson recently revealed his company's plans for virtual reality. At a South by Southwest panel, Wilson said that his company is less focused on the technology of VR, and more interested in exactly how people consume it. As he sees it, we interact with games in three different ways: leaning back, leaning in and looking over -- relating to console, PC and mobile gaming, respectively. With VR, he thinks there will be a fourth: getting in. He says that this could happen either via a headset or even a hologram popping up from your living room floor, and he's pushing his team to explore it.
Think of this along the lines of Amazon (hypothetically) announcing that it'd accept Bitcoin for payment and you're on the right track; that there's another major player in the VR space helps validate the medium. While this could all be taken as pie-in-the-sky speculation, the fact that EA is clearly invested in the virtual reality isn't anything to write off -- just look at what the company's done with mobile gaming.
It's a bittersweet day in Austin, Texas for Aereo. The company's remote DVR service, which allows users to stream or record over-the-air broadcasts, just launched in the city this week against the backdrop of SXSW, making it Aereo's fourth market in the state. But there's a storm cloud hanging over this celebration; a recent legal hiccup with the state of Utah that saw it shutdown service in Denver, CO and Salt Lake City, UT. Aereo, however, is no stranger to this courtroom drama. The company's been engaged in a copyright battle with broadcasters that'll either cement it as content licensee (along the lines of a Netflix), and potentially cripple its business growth, or as provider of cloud DVR storage. It's a fight Aereo's waging all the way to the Supreme Court and has so far been winning, except for today.