PlayStation TV Launches In North America

The PlayStation TV set-top box has made its first impression in the North American market following a previous release in Japan as PlayStation Vita TV, and it seems as though it will fast be catching on that the new miniature product from Sony may have ‘reverse Xbox syndrome‘ – in that there is much more focus on gaming elements than there is for general entertainment features.

playstation_tvLaunching to the USA and Canada yesterday (14 October) a month ahead of European roll-out (14 November), critics have been quick to jump on its potential as a connected set-top box, albeit with praise for it’s ability to stream PlayStation Vita, PSP, PlayStation One, and some PlayStation 4 games through streaming (with the latter console fully connectable as a functioning ‘second screen’ of the same product).

In the negative column, though, was the fact that Netflix, and a number of other major streaming services such as Hulu Plus and YouTube, do not work on PS TV. It was already established that the service would not be part of the new hardware’s launch abilities, but the issue was primarily with the fact that you can run the likes of Netflix on some of the supporting consoles, but not when you fling said content to a PS TV.

Speaking to Gizmodo, a Netflix representative said of the issue: “We have no current support plans for Netflix on PS TV.”

Sony, meanwhile, played the ‘just starting out’ card, with an launch statement that included of their current and future streaming options for the PS TV: “PS TV plays entertainment content, including popular movies and TV shows that can be downloaded from PlayStation Store. At launch, PS TV has video streaming apps Crackle, Crunchyroll, and Qello. Stay tuned for additional entertainment content we’ll be adding soon to the PS TV lineup.”

Though it now seems less likely that PS TV will be a strong competitor to the likes of Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku this year based on their lack of first or second-screen streaming offerings, reviewers still see plenty of potential in the PS TV for its $99 price, namely in video games as the name should expect, but will it be a strong enough foundation for the new device to build on in other corners of the market?


Hulu Plus iOS App Update Allows For in-App Purchase

The Hulu Plus app for iOS has had an update, and the new v4.0 comes with a re-design and compatibility with the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and also now lets users sign up from within the app.

Hulu-Plus-iOSDue to Apple’s policy toward any app created for their devices, they take a 30% cut of any in-app purchase. This did not go down well with Hulu who refused to play ball, resulting in no-one being able to sign up for a Hulu Plus account from within the app.

This inconvenience meant that potential subscribers had to sign up on a PC and then go back to the app. But Hulu have decided to make the 4.0 update user friendly and give Apple the $2.40 commission from the initial $8 earned for every Hulu Plus sign-up.

The new version 4.0 of Hulu Plus also comes with other improvements that includes a cleaner home screen, a tidier video player screen that has caption controls and a send to Chromecast icon.

The change in Hulu policy for it’s iOS mobile app may be because although they will lose a chunk of cash to Apple, mobile TV is a rapidly growing sector of the streaming market, plus they still insist on showing ads even to paying subscribers, so the more viewers they have, the higher they can charge.

The news also comes shortly after Hulu released an Android app that offers free selected full-length episodes to users as an attempt to turn them into subscribers. Although Hulu’s iPhone app does not currently offer this free content, it will probably be coming soon.

Hulu Confirm Third Run of The Awesomes

Just like LegoHulu recognises awesome and rewards it, as they announce Seth Meyers’ animated comedy superhero creation The Awesomes will be renewed for a third season exclusive to the streaming platform.

the_awesomes_titleCurrently airing a 10-episode second season every Monday until 6 October, the format is to return for another run, likely to start airing in early August as before with another 10-episode selection released weekly on Hulu.

Beatrice Springborn, Hulu’s ‘head of original series’, stated: “When we first premiered season one of The Awesomes two years ago, we knew it was going to be a big success for Hulu. With a growing fan base from season to season and a cast featuring some of the funniest people on television, it was a natural decision for us to renew the show for a third season.”

Following the story of ‘the greatest superhero team in history’ after the departure of their best members, the series has had plenty of success through being one of Hulu’s few original series, with headlining voice cast members such as Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Bobby Lee, Bobby Moynihan, Kenan Thompson, Maya Rudolph, Will Forte, and Meyers himself.

Co-created by Mike Shoemaker (not to be confused with any former German racing drivers), with co-production from Hulu, Broadway Video (Saturday Night Live, Late Night With Seth Meyers), and animators Bento Box Entertainment (Bob’s Burgers), The Awesomes has plenty of structure behind it to carry on for a few seasons yet, but how will they fare starting at the end of this week, when an anthropomorphic horse on Netflix enters the online-exclusive animation industry?

Manhattan Coming To Hulu

Hulu has picked up the streaming rights to WGN America‘s new historical drama, Manhattan. The streaming company revealed that the entire 13 episodes of the first season will be available on the pay-to-view Hulu Plus platform.

MAnhattanManhattan made its debut last Sunday and will become available to stream on Hulu Plus from Monday. Each episode will then become available weekly, and the entire season can be viewed as soon as it finishes airing on TV. For those that do not subscribe, the five most recent episodes will also be available on the free Hulu service, but the latest episode will not be available until 3 days after airing.

Manhattan is set in the 1940’s in WWII America in a town who’s very existence is classified. The federal government has set up a top secret project to research the first atomic weapons, and the military and scientists who inhabit the community keep secrets from each other.

The deal will be the first time that Hulu has secured streaming rights to a TV series before it even airs. Speaking about the deal, Senior Vice President and Head of Content at Hulu, Craig Erwich said, “After seeing the episodes, and enjoying every minute, I knew this series represented the kind of high-quality, addictive programming that we strive to bring to Hulu. That’s why this deal marks the first time that Hulu has committed to a series before a single episode had even aired.”

For Lionsgate, President of Worldwide Television & Digital Distribution, Jim Packer said, “We’re delighted to extend a partnership with Hulu that should help further expand the audience for this deserving show. We believe that this innovative arrangement will be a win/win/win for Lionsgate, our partners and, most of all, our audiences.”

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Hulu Gets South Park Streaming Rights

Fans of South Park can get a little excited as the entire back catalog of shows is coming to Hulu and Hulu Plus. All the 240 plus episodes are available to stream on both Hulu’s with new episodes being made available the day after airing on broadcast TV.

South-Park-HuluBut if you want to watch them free then you had better start watching soon, as Hulu will host the cult cartoon until September 24 after which they head over to subscription only Hulu Plus.

Reported by The New York Times, the deal is said to be worth a reported $80 million+, and was inked by he South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The deal gives Hulu streaming rights to all 17 seasons of the show.

Currently fans can watch all episodes on the official South Park site,  South Park Studios which will still have the full library available until season 18 premieres, then the website will just offer a changing selection of free episodes.

Speaking for Hulu, chief Craig Erwich said of the show which debuted in 1997, “South Park has revolutionized TV and pushed boundaries with unparalleled topicality and daring humor. South Park has been one of the top 10 most popular shows of all time on the platform. We’re thrilled to offer the series to fans in its entirety.”

Matt Stone said of the deal,  “Content came out of its hole, saw its shadow and ran back down the hole for protection. What we do is expensive; it takes a lot of people; and it makes sense to put it through windows in a way that produces a lot of value. We do what we do because we act like we own the stuff and try to surf whatever wave is out there.”

He said that by giving Hulu streaming rights will mean that, “the new stuff is always available to fans”,  and will handily bring in mor revenue as they will now enjoy both, “advertising and subscriptions.”

Australian Soap Neighbours Comes To Hulu

Hulu serves up US TV to a US audience, but in a bid to expand viewers horizons somewhat, the streaming company are launching the Australian soap neighbours.

Neighbours-HuluHulu have signed a deal with FremantleMedia International which gives them exclusive streaming rights for the US to broadcast the current season of the soap opera from down under..

The soap tells of the goings on in the fictional suburb of Erinsborough and concentrates on the residents of Ramsay Street. Launching on Monday, July 14,  a new episode will become available each weekday on both the free, ad-supported Hulu and the Hulu Plus subscription service.

Speaking for FremantleMedia who produce the show, VP of digital distribution and home entertainment, Jeff Siegel said, “Neighbours provides a delicious daily dose of Australian sunshine to soap-opera fans, and thanks to Hulu, we’re coming to the U.S. at a perfect entry point for first-time viewers.”

The Neighbours soap is the longest running Austalian daytime drama having over 6,900 episodes made. It was first broadcast in Australia in 1985, so Hulu have plenty of backdated content if it proves popular.