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The entertainment industry already has big plans for self-driving cars

Charmaine Blake

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Just think about how relaxing your commute would be in a world of self-driving cars. You hop into your vehicle, tell the computer your destination, and settle in for a peaceful ride to work. Perhaps you can even take a nap, right?

Not if the entertainment industry has anything to say about it. You’re a captive audience the whole journey, so what better time to bombard you with even more “immersive entertainment experiences”? Companies have seen the future, and they’re already making plans to monetize it.

Intel and Warner Bros. recently announced a partnership to do just that. Referring to the autonomous vehicle (AV) as a new type of “consumer space,” Intel’s CEO writes that “the rise of the AV industry will create one of the greatest expansions of consumer time available for entertainment we’ve seen in a long time.”

With the average American spending more than 300 hours per year behind the wheel, entertainment execs hope that time can now be spent consuming content rather than driving. The Hollywood Reporter notes that some analysts predict that in-car streaming entertainment could result in as much as $200 billion per year in extra revenue. “Can the windshield be the movie screen of tomorrow?” asked Ted Schilowitz of Paramount Pictures.

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Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/12/04/entertainment-industry-already-has-big-plans-for-self-driving-cars.html

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Amazon Prime Video is coming to Comcasts cable boxes

Charmaine Blake

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Comcast and Amazon today announced a new partnership that will see Amazon’s Prime Video service integrated into Comcast’s Xfinity TV set-top boxes. This is the first time that Prime Video content would be added to a cable operator’s platform in the U.S.. It’s also a particularly interesting choice on Comcast’s part,  given that Amazon is directly competing with pay TV providers through its Prime Video Channels a la carte TV subscriptions. And these will be available to Comcast’s customers via the Xfinity X1 set-top box as a result of this deal.

Today, Amazon offers over 160 premium Prime Video channels, including HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax and others that have been previously sold as add-ons to cable TV subscriptions. Being able to access to these channels……………..”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/08/02/amazon-prime-video-is-coming-to-comcasts-cable-boxes/

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Sinemia drops prices for its movie ticket subscriptions, which now start a $3.99 per month

Charmaine Blake

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MoviePass competitor Sinemia is lowering prices on the already low-cost movie ticket subscription plans that it introduced earlier this year.

Its monthly prices are being cut by $1 across-the-board. The cheapest plan now costs $3.99 per month, which gets you one standard movie ticket for that month. The priciest one, which covers three tickets (and includes 3D, 4D and IMAX screens), now costs $13.99 per month.

Sinemia says it’s also offering discounts on its family plans, and on plans in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

You might think that this summer promotion (which ends on September 3) seems timed to take advantage of the negative publicity around MoviePass’ new “peak pricing” for popular movies, and Sinemia’s press release doesn’t exactly deny it — the release literally begins: “At a time when MoviePass is running surge pricing …”

Sinemia subscribers also benefit from being able to purchase tickets in advance. And unlike AMC’s Stubs A-List program, Sinemia isn’t limited to a specific theater chain.

One caveat is that these plans are billed annually, so you’ll be making a bigger commitment upfront. On the bright side, this presumably locks in the lower price for a full year.

“With the release of highly-anticipated summer blockbusters, and with seasonal temperatures hitting record highs, we want to provide moviegoers a more affordable way to see must-watch films and get a break from the heat,” said Sinemia founder and CEO Rifat Oguz in the release.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/07/19/sinemia-summer-sale/

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AT&Ts low-cost TV streaming service WatchTV goes live

Charmaine Blake

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AT&T’s newly announced WatchTV, a low-cost live TV streaming service announced in the wake of the AT&T / Time Warner merger, is now up and running. The company already has one over-the-top streaming service with DirecTV Now, but this one is cheaper, has some restrictions and doesn’t include local channels or sports (to keep costs down).

At $15 per month, the service undercuts the existing low-cost leader Philo by a dollar, but offers a different lineup (Fomopop has a nice channel-by-channel comparison between the two, if you’re in the market).

Both have 25 of the same channels in their packages, including A&E, AMC, Comedy Central, Food Network, Discovery, HGTV, History and others, but AT&T WatchTV is missing MTV, Nickelodeon and Travel Channel.

In total, WatchTV has more than 30 live TV channels, plus 15,000+ TV  shows and movies on demand, and allows you to subscribe by way of updated AT&T Wireless plans. Non-AT&T customers can subscribe for $15 per month directly.

AT&T has been monkeying around with its wireless plans to best take advantage of its Time Warner acquisition. With the new unlimited plans, it removed the previously free HBO perk and raised the entry-level plan by $5 per month, Ars Technica reported, detailing the changes that coincided with the launch of WatchTV. (Existing customers were grandfathered in to free HBO.)

Instead, wireless customers on the top-tier AT&T Unlimited & More Premium plan can choose to add on another option — like HBO — for free. Other services they can opt for instead include Showtime, Starz, Amazon Music Unlimited, Pandora Premium and VRV.

The company also quietly raised its “administrative fee” for postpaid wireless customers from $0.76 to $1.99 per month, Ars noted as well, citing BTIG Research. This will bring in $800 million of incremental service revenue per year, the analyst firm said.

Despite the price hikes and valid concerns over AT&T’s behavior, there’s likely going to be a market for this low-cost live TV service. The company’s DirecTV Now streaming service, launched in December 2016, reached 1.46 million subscribers in April. It’s catching up to longtime leader, Dish’s Sling TV, which debuted at……”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/29/atts-low-cost-tv-streaming-service-watch-tv-goes-live/

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