Internet TV Service From Sony Will Be Ready To Rock This Year

Sony are on course to release their web based TV service before the end of the year it has been revealed. And the streaming TV will be available not just to Playstation users, but anyone with a Sony Vita, Bravia smart TVs and the Xperia range of mobile devices.

Sony-streaming-TVSpeaking to the Wall Street Journal, CEO of Sony’s Playstation unit, Andrew House revealed that the company are in discussions with a number of content providers to bring programming to the online platform.

He said, “A streaming-based approach needs to have a very wide funnel of devices, and that inherently means a broad and manufacturer-agnostic approach.”

Sony have already inked a deal with Viacom, that will bring more than 20 streaming channels to the service that include MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount, Comedy Central, VH1 and Spike.

But the battle to secure top quality content doesn’t stop there, Sony are also rumored to be in discussions with Disney, Time Warner and Showtime tosecuremoreprogramming.

Rising Star Shot Down By ITV

ITV’s planned new Saturday night entertainment show Rising Star is now no longer their planned new Saturday night entertainment show, after the channel chose to cancel their project of adapting the Israeli-created singing contest.

rising_star_wallThe format, which has aired to huge success in its native country, was signed to an adaptation agreement by ITV as a planned replacement in their early-year schedules for celebrity reality contest Dancing on Ice (which aired its final season this year), but will now be looking elsewhere after dropping the show.

One of the reasons for letting Rising Star go was thought to be disappointing reception in the USA when it aired in the summer, along with a decision made on the German version to reduce the series length following “a lack of audience response”.

Originally, this was thought to have made ITV consider their new version of the show as just a one-week episodic special, but instead it will now not exist at all, according to Broadcast.

An ITV statement on the decision read: “Rising Star is an innovative show and we have enjoyed working on the format with the team. However, as a commercial broadcaster, we always need to be as confident as possible about the potential ratings of any new programme format that we have acquired, and we have therefore taken the decision not to proceed with plans to broadcast the series on ITV.”

The format, believed by executives to be a potential future successor to existing singing contest The X Factor, took a set of contestants that would have a single performance on a live stage, with viewers at home able to vote on the singers via an official app during the song, with only acts reaching a 70% positive mark being eligible for progression to the next round of the contest.

Production company Keshet UK, overseeing the project, said during their announcement of ‘obvious disappointment’ at the move: “We would like to extend our thanks to the team at ITV Studios who have worked tirelessly to adapt the format for a UK audience. Rising Star remains an innovative and ground breaking format of which we’re extremely proud.”

BBC Announce Renewal of W1A

While its star Hugh Bonneville will be busy this week promoting the new series of ITV period drama Downton Abbey, he will not have to look too far down his schedule for more confirmed work, with the confirmation that BBC’s BBC-based mockumentary W1A, which he also stars in, is to come back for a second season next year.

bbc_w1a_castThe spin-off of Olympic administrative mockumentary Twenty Twelve, W1A will add to its existing tally of 4 episodes in 2015, with Bonneville at the centre of it all as ‘Head of Values’ Ian Fletcher, facing a frustrating working environment whilst overseeing the renewal of the BBC Charter.

The series has no further casting announcements (such as whether Jessica Hynes and Olivia Coleman will reprise their continuing roles in the overarching story), but has been confirmed to be produced in-house as ever, premiering with a 60-minute special and following up with three more 30-minute episodes, for a total of 8 over 2 brief seasons (in addition to the 13 in 2 slightly longer seasons that Twenty Twelve had). Returning as a writer on the series is creator John Morton.

An official BBC statement on the unofficial behind-the-scenes of the BBC noted of the comedy: “Until the cameras roll, it won’t be known exactly what crisis will be averted or indeed where Ian’s desk will be. With charter renewal in 2016 getting ever closer, Ian’s job as Chair of the Way Ahead Task Force will be even more important than ever”.

Whether the series will continue to receive critical acclaim in its new run remains to be seen, but for now it’s confirmed as being back, so that’s all good then:

Bryan Cranston Leads Off Post-Season With One-Man Show

While his headlining work for 2014 includes Godzilla, All The Way, and a special reunion sketch, Emmy award-winning Breaking Bad actor Bryan Cranston can now add ‘baseball superstar’ to his resume of acting work taken on since the AMC series ended, as he participated in a ‘one-man show’ to promote TBS‘ upcoming baseball coverage.

bryan_cranston_one_man_the_showWith the network set to air part of the post-season of Major League Baseball starting 30 September with their coverage of the American League Play-Offs 2014, Cranston has starred in a 6-minute commercial for the cable channel, in which he tries to encapsulate the spirit of baseball and post-season with his lifelong dream performance, getting help along the way with theatrical experts, a former Polo Grounds stadium organist, and former Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez.

Claiming to be inspired by the works of Bugs Bunny, Cranston attempts to convey the emotion of a post-season by playing every position on the field, in the booth, and on every team (presumably, with some of the video’s featured franchises already out of play-off contention).

The video description notes: “Looking for a new challenge in his career, actor Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad puts on a one-man recreation of the MLB Postseason in this new commercial for MLB on TBS. “

Whoever of the 10 play-off teams succeeds the Boston Red Sox as World Series champions, surely they have enough room on their rosters to draft in 58-year-old unsigned prospect Walter “The Heisenberg” White for 2015? Just look at the dramatic passion he can put into “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”:

They just need to play this before every game he plays:

Amazon TV Introduces Spotify Connect

Increasing their range of options on offer through their connected TV platform, Amazon TV have launched support for the Spotify Connect music streaming service.

spotify_connect_logoThe service is one that enables premium subscribers to the overall ad-free version of the streaming brand to direct the tunes to play out of their set-top boxes, with Amazon TV now joining that list of available carriers… at least in America.

Spotify Connect is noted as being able to ‘transmit music’ between one device and another through a WiFi connection regardless of whether or not the receiving product has a Spotify app installed.

An official Spotify blog post on the matter explained: “From today, music lovers in the US can enjoy Spotify on their Amazon Fire TV using their mobile or tablet as a remote. Using Spotify Connect on your Amazon Fire TV allows you to control your music using the Spotify app on your mobile or tablet. You can seamlessly switch your favorite music from your mobile to the TV and continue to make calls, use other smartphone apps and go out of wifi range, all without interrupting the music.”

Joining a selection of ‘Spotify Connect’ hardware partners that includes Denon, Panasonic, Pioneer, Revo, Samsung, Sony, and Yamaha, will Spotify Connect be a much-used service for Amazon TV users, or a one-time niche at best?

Netflix Wraps Up European Launch week With Belgium and Luxembourg

It’s been a busy week for Netflix as they expand around the globe, and in the space of five days they have launched in six European Countries, with began with Belgium and Luxembourg being the final two.

Netflix-EuropeThroughout the week Netflix have launched their streaming service officially in France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland,which now means the service is available in around 40 countries and opens up an extra 63 million potential customers.

Netflix revealed the news in a press release which had CEO Reed Hastings saying, “We’ve received a very warm welcome throughout Europe. Consumers love choice – in series and films and in when and where they watch. We are delighted people are embracing Netflix in our newest territories and, particularly, the incredible viewer enthusiasm for our original series.”

Original Netflix shows will be available in some European countries for the first time including Orange is the New Black and Bojack Horseman. Upcoming Netflix series such as Fargo, From Dusk Till Dawn, and Penny Dreadful, will also be available.

Due to a strange quirk of fate, Netflix’s biggest original show, House of Cards will not be available in all the new countries as Netflix have already sold content rights to local broadcasters.

Netflix also promise local programming as well as dubbed and subtitledcontent for the newmarkets. The service will cost from EUR 7,99 monthly in France, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg and from CHF 11,90 in Switzerland. A one month free trial of Netflix is available on sign-up.