New Podcast: D2C Streaming Service Launches, My First Impressions

Thanks to Beamr for having me back on their Video Insiders podcast to share my first impressions on the state of the new D2C video streaming services. With significant M&A activity closed, and press briefings completed, there is a lot to discuss. Today, new services launching are having investor days where before the service goes live, companies are projecting to investors when these services will become profitable. Talk about a shift in our industry. Hear my thoughts on why the stakes are higher than ever for all streaming services.

Amazon Acquires QoE Streaming Tech From Net Insight For $33.5M

As expected, on January 3rd, Net Insight announced they have divested their streaming technology product Sye, by selling the business to Amazon for $33.5M. The Sye technology was already being used by Amazon Prime Video for many of their live streaming events and works to reduce end-to-end latency, sync video across multiple channels and allow instant channel changes. [see my post here: A Detailed Look At How Net Insight Syncs Live Streams Across Devices] The tech also has some dynamic server-side ad insertion, metadata synchronization and time-shift functionality. Sye generated less than $2M in revenue for Net Insight in 2019 and Amazon was their largest customer making up the majority of their revenue. Net Insight disclosed that to date, they had “invested around $22.9M” in the product. About 30 employees and consultants have been transferred to Amazon in the deal. Sye was built on top of Microsoft Azure, so it’s an easy assumption that Amazon will now further integrate the technology into their Amazon Web Services platform.

Announcing the “Streaming Experience”, a New OTT Demo Area at the NAB Show in Las Vegas

I’m very excited to announce the “Streaming Experience“, a new hands-on area at the NAB Show in Las Vegas where you can test out over 50 OTT platforms and devices, in a living room style setting. Taking over the North Hall lobby April 19-22, I will be curating and showcasing the best SVOD, AVOD, live linear and authenticated OTT apps.

From Netflix, Amazon and Hulu to new services by Disney and Apple, consumers now have many choices of where to get their video fix. But what are the REAL differences between these services from a quality, content and cost standpoint? See and compare:

    • Video quality: compression, HDR and 4K
    • Content bundling strategies
    • Video delivery: low-latency and QoS
    • Ad formats: pre/post roll in live and SVOD
    • Connected TV advertising
    • Playback and UI/UX

If you’re interested in sponsoring The Streaming Experience or having your content featured, please contact me directly and check out the website for more details.

The Streaming Experience will feature hardware from Amazon, Apple, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, LG, TCL, and Samsung – all showcasing dozens of streaming apps including: Disney+, Apple TV+, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, CBS All Access, YouTube TV, AT&T TV, Sling TV, ESPN+, HBO Now, Showtime, Epix, Discovery, Fubo TV, Acorn TV, IMDb TV, Tubi, WWE, MLB.TV, NHL.TV, NBA TV, MLS, DAZN, FOX Sports, NBC Sports, The Roku Channel and many others. New services from HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi will also be showcased, depending on their launch dates. We’ll also have many of these companies speaking during the two-day Streaming Summit.

Videos From NAB Show Streaming Summit Now Online: Call For Speakers Open For Vegas

All videos from the October NAB Show Streaming Summit in NYC are now available online including the keynotes, presentations, fireside chats and round-table panels. You can check them out here and are welcome to share as you like. And if you’re interested in being considered for speaking at the next NAB Show Streaming Summit, April 20-21 in Las Vegas, the call for speakers is now open and I am accepting ideas, pitches and proposals.

Thanks to Mobeon for capturing all the content and to Kaltura for their video platform.

Here’s The Best Black Friday Deals on Streaming Devices ($18 Roku/$20 Fire TV Stick)

Black Friday is almost upon us and it’s time for some of the best pricing you will see all year on streaming media devices and this year, with $18 Roku’s and $20 Fire TV Sticks, there’s no reason not to add one to each TV. I’ve looked through all the deals in the market and below are the lowest prices I’ve found on streaming hardware for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick/Cube, Chromecast, Xbox and PS4. I will do a separate post on smart TVs shorty. Note that many of these deals say they will have “limited quantities” and you’ll want to check which of these are being offered online vs. in-store, or both. Some don’t have links live as of yet, so check their websites for when they launch.

Purchase a new Roku device (from any retailer) and upon activation, get 3 months of Hulu and Pandora Premium free.

  • Walmart will have an “exclusive” Roku SE on sale for $18, starting 11/28. [normally $50] The SE model does HD streaming (not 4K) and comes with an HDMI cable.
  • Walmart, and other retailers will have the Roku Ultra on sale for $48, starting 11/28. [normally $100]. The Ultra model does 4K, comes with JBL earbuds and a voice remote.
  • and other retailers will have the Roku Streaming Stick+ on sale for $30, starting 11/24. [normally $50] The Stick+ model does 4K and comes with a voice remote.

Amazon Fire TV Stick/Cube
Amazon is offering their usual discounts on everything in the Fire TV lineup. I’ll cover their Fire TV enabled TV sets in another post.

  • The Fire TV Stick will be on sale for $20, starting 11/28. [normally $35] The model does HD streaming and comes with an Alexa remote.
  • The Fire TV Stick 4K will be on sale for $25, starting 11/28. [normally $48] This is the model you want if 4K is important and comes with an Alexa remote. It also supports for Dolby Vision and HDR, HDR10+
  • The Fire TV Cube will be on sale for $90, starting 11/28. [normally $120] The cube does 4K streaming and has Alexa built so you can use your voice to control compatible soundbars and A/V receivers, and change live cable or satellite channels with your voice. It also supports for Dolby Vision and HDR, HDR10+

Apple TV
There are almost no discounts available on Apple TV devices that have been announced, which seems to be the norm each year. Rarely are Apple TV devices discounted for Black Friday.

  • Meijer is offering a credit of $50 off a future order, if you buy an Apple TV for $150 or more.
  • Your best bet for a discounted Apple TV is to keep checking Apple’s refurbished Apple TV store page, because when they do have inventory, they typically discount them by $30-$50 and comes with the same 1-year warranty.

Most retailers online and in-store will have Chromecast’s discounted by $10-$20.

  • Best Buy and Target will have the Chromecast on sale for $25. [normally $35]
  • Best Buy will be offering the Chromecast Ultra 4K on sale for $50. [normally $70]

Xbox One/PS4
There are a ton of great deals on Xbox and PS4 consoles this year and far too many bundles with extra games and controllers to list. He’s the best pricing I’ve seen so far on some of the more basic bundles for those more interested in the hardware.

If you see any better deals that I missed, please feel free to add them to the comments section.