APPLE unveiled an all new lineup of iPods yesterday – including revamped shuffles and a new, squarish Nano. The company also released the iPod Touch, which is essentially a phone-less iPhone with WiFi, and announced an unexpected, massive $200 price cut for the iPhone. The iPhone and iPod Touch will be able to purchase songs directly from iTunes over WiFi.
ABC and WARNER BROS. TV GROUP have signed a new agreement laying out the rights for streaming and selling downloads of WBTV shows. ABC will be allowed to stream the shows in the first year, for four weeks after each initial broadcast. ABC will retain ad generated by the streams. In year two of the deal, Warner Brothers TV will be allowed to sell the shows as permanent downloads and DVD box sets. The arrangement was called “experimental” by the network and studio.
VUDU has launched its new set-top box, which allows movie downloads and rentals straight from a TV set. Vudu has signed deals with all the major Hollywood studios, and will offer a wide variety of prices for rentals and purchases. The stylish box sells for $399, and the service currently offers 5,000 movies. Time Warner Cable’s “Movies on Demand” service offers around 1,500 movies.
HEWLETT PACKARD is getting into the IPTV game. Starting in late September, HP will ship Next.TV, a peer-to-peer IPTV system, with its laptop computers. The company will also issue a system update to add the feature to existing computers. Next.TV is currently in beta form, but has signed deals with major content owners (including CBS) and plans to launch with around 50 channels.
MICROSOFT officially launched its Silverlight video player on Wednesday. The software is a free downloadable plug-in capable of playing high-def content. CBS will use the new technology for video on its Emmy Awards micro-site, with Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment, HSN, and a host of others planning to get on board. Major League Baseball has been using Silverlight since July to broadcast game highlights online, and will eventually use it to stream full games on its popular MLB.TV site.
UNIVERSAL MUSIC has filed suit against video-sharing site VEOH for copyright infringement. VEOH says that it is DMCA-compliant and removes copyrighted materiel as necessary. Veoh is a closely-held company, whose financial backers include Time Warner Inc. and Michael Eisner’s Tornante Co.