streaming

Twitch will livestream Pokémon TV series and movies, while viewers ‘catch’ badges

Posted by | Gaming, Media, pokemon, streaming, television, tv, Twitch | No Comments

Twitch has teamed up with The Pokémon Company to allow viewers to binge watch the Pokémon: The Series TV show and related movies on its site, and “catch” Pokémon badges along the way. While the former is one of Twitch’s many retro binge watch fests – it’s previously streamed old shows like Bob Ross, Julia Child, Mister Rogers, SNL, and most recently, Knight Rider – the interactive feature it’s debuting is something new.

According to the company, Twitch will launch its own Pokémon extension to accompany the broadcast. This overlay, called “Twitch Presents: Pokémon Badge Collector,” will encourage viewers to collect Pokémon badges that appear on the screen for points, which places them on a leaderboard.

This is only the second time Twitch has added an interactive element like this to one of its viewing events, and its addition could see users watching for longer periods of time, as a result. The first was a “watch and win” extension during a Doctor Who broadcast, but it was different as it focused on collecting contest entries.

Twitch also notes this will be the longest viewing event it’s ever held.

The binge will see 16 movies and 19 TV seasons with 932 episodes streamed across Twitch’s network, starting on August 27, 2018, and spanning until 2019. This will kick off with the first season, Pokémon: Indigo League at 10 AM PDT on the 27ths for audiences in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America, and Australia. The content will air on TwitchPresents and on its companion channels in French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Brazilian Portuguese.

“The Twitch community has a passion for Pokémon based on the warm embrace the series received when we celebrated the brand’s 20th anniversary, as well as the cultural milestone that was set when over a hundred thousand Twitch members played Pokémon together,” said Jane Weedon, Director of Business Development at Twitch, in a statement about the launch.

The viewing event comes at a time when reports claim Twitch is going after a wider audience than just gamers. The company has been wooing creatives like vloggers, cooks, artists, and others to come to its site, instead of only broadcasting on YouTube. And it’s been airing non-esports content through marathon events like this new one with Pokémon. According to Bloomberg, TV show livestreams are one of the two fastest-growing genres on the site, the other being “IRL” (in real life) content.

The Pokémon viewing event, in particular, is aimed at a younger audience who may not have the level of nostalgia for the classic TV shows Twitch previously aired. Instead, Twitch says the livestream is appropriate for fans 13 and up – which means it could attract those whose first real exposure to Pokémon was the mobile game that went viral following its launch in 2016.

The dates and times of the Pokémon series and movies will be on Twitch Presents. The binge fest won’t include newer series, like the Sun & Moon or Sun & Moon Ultra Adventures, however.

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Gaming star Ninja sparks outrage by refusing to stream with women

Posted by | fortnite, Gaming, Ninja, streaming, TC, Twitch | No Comments

At a Samsung event last week, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins explained why he doesn’t stream with female gamers.

“If I have one conversation with one female streamer where we’re playing with one another, and even if there’s a hint of flirting, that is going to be taken and going to be put on every single video and be clickbait forever,” said Ninja, who is married, in an interview with Polygon.

As you might expect, this stance was met with plenty of backlash.

dont it get it why so many ppl defending ninja over not playing females? Imagine going to your work and saying i dont wanna work with females..

— Badman Hendrik (@Handigeharrie23) August 13, 2018

Ninja then doubled down on his stance, clarifying that it comes down to an issue of online harassment.

Please read. pic.twitter.com/egfplBQFYD

— Ninja (@Ninja) August 13, 2018

First and foremost, everyone has the prerogative to make decisions for their own personal life. If Ninja believes that the online harassment suffered (by just about any internet celebrity) is too much for him and his family to deal with, and that playing with women will exacerbate that harassment, then that is his choice.

The problem is that it goes against his usual stance of taking responsibility for his position as a role model.

As Kotaku aptly points out, Ninja has made real moves toward being a role model for his 10 million+ Twitch followers, from cutting down on cursing on stream to giving to charity and other important causes. In fact, Ninja sees his commitment to charities and his role as an activist as one of the most amazing things he’s done in his life.

And he’s well aware of his influence. He often “raids” less popular Twitch streamers’ channels, including some women, to give them exposure.

So why be a role model who doesn’t include women?

Yes, being a celebrity comes with an inordinate amount of online harassment. And that sucks. But it also comes with a level of responsibility. Not everyone has the platform to make an actual difference in this world. And when our Vice President, and other influencers, have decided that being alone in the same room (virtual or otherwise) with women opens them up to too much vulnerability, they make it that much harder for women to achieve the same influence.

Remember, gaming is about as extreme a culture as a woman can find herself in. Not only are women excluded in this male-dominated community, but they’re often sexually and verbally harassed, which isn’t helped much by the fact that games themselves portray women as props moreso than protagonists.

Ninja is the most influential gamer of our generation, the likes of which have never been seen before. The success of female streamers and gamers surely isn’t reliant on him. But he could very well change the hearts and minds of a generation of young men who may stop thinking of women as less, and might start thinking of them as equals.

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Twitch is closing its Communities

Posted by | Amazon, communities, games, Gaming, streaming, streaming service, Twitch | No Comments

Say goodbye to Twitch’s Communities. The game-streaming service says it’s soon killing off this still relatively new addition to its site in favor of implementing a tagging system instead. With the changes, users will be able to filter streams by tags within a directory or across different games on the Browse page, in order to better find the sort of streams they want to watch.

The closure of Communities and addition of tags is being planned for mid-September, says Twitch.

Twitch launched Communities just last year, with the goal of better catering to users’ unique interests. For example, different types of gaming, like retro, or different activities, like speedrunning, could then have their own community. There are also communities centered around titles like Fortnite Battle Royale, PUBG, League of Legends and others, as well as those focused on creative endeavors like music, drawing, cooking, cosplay and more.

But the system has become less helpful as Twitch itself, the number of streamers and the number of communities grew. Today, there’s a lot of overlap between different Communities or between Communities and games, says Twitch.

This is attributable, in part, to the open nature of Communities — there are many with similar names, and no good way to tell what makes them different from one another at first glance.

“Communities were one solution for giving viewers information to help them decide what to watch, but viewers weren’t able to see that information while browsing within a directory they were interested in,” the company noted in an announcement.

It also found that Communities weren’t driving viewers to watch streams — in fact less than 3 percent of Twitch viewership was from users who found streams through the Communities feature. That points to a pretty broad failure of Communities serving as a discovery feature.

Twitch now hopes that the implementation of tags will make things better on that front.

The company says it will add tags to the site in mid-September, and these will be used to identify a stream across Twitch’s directory pages, the homepage, search, channel pages and everywhere else. The main Directory pages and the Browse page will also be able to be filtered by these tags, some of which will be auto-generated.

Twitch says it will automatically add tags like game genres, and some in-game features it can auto-detect — another project it now has in the works. But most of the tags will be selected by the streamer — not user-generated, to be clear, but selected.

Streamers will be able to suggest new tags, however.

The tags will appear alongside the video thumbnail, stream title and the game or category being streamed.

The change is one that speaks to the limitations of portal-like interfaces being used to access a large amount of information — that is, browsing to a particular section to find things you like, then scrolling through those results takes too much time. It isn’t that helpful in the long run. Tagging lets users filter information, paring down, in this case, a large number of Twitch streams to find just those you like.

That being said, not all Twitch users are happy about the changes. But some are happy about it and others are cautiously optimistic about tagging.

So in case you haven’t heard the news, @Twitch is removing Communities because “they werent being used” which means that The Cookout Community page that we’ve built up over this past year wont exist a month from now. We will have to come up with new ways to find each other. pic.twitter.com/95fKSgTwB0

— The Villain. (@DennyVonDoom) August 9, 2018

It is with a heavy heart i must share the sad news,That Twitch Communities will be removed,say goodbye to Communities we are being introduced to Tags. Unsure on how this will work out on twitch. I only have but one thing to say, Everything We Do Will Remain The Same #CESupport pic.twitter.com/OjkGXjoYgP

— Letseuq [CE] (@Letseuqion) August 10, 2018

We feel communities gave streamers a sense of self identity that was much needed

It is worrisome to see tags implemented instead of more freeform communties as it removes agency from the streamers in how they choose to define their stream and themselves.

What are your thoughts?

— TwitchKittens (@TwitchKittens) August 9, 2018

It’s a shame that @Twitch are removing Communities, but the implementation of tags is a really cool idea, and I look forward to the possibility of seeing a #StreamersConnected tag.

— Lt Zonda [SC] (@LTZONDA) August 9, 2018

I’m happy with it to be honest, 3 communities is extremely limiting anyway especially when the majority of people have more than 3. I dunno how anyone was supposed to find community pages easily, think more traffic came from external sources and game listings than community pages

— OK Sauce (@oksaucedesu) August 10, 2018

Honesty, I don’t see how this’ll hurt anyone. You can still make communities outside of Twitch. Then you can just use a tag instead. Same idea really. What is a community? A bunch of people using the same tag? I’m still not even part of a community.

— Vanilla Bizcotti (@VanBiztheRapper) August 10, 2018

The interesting thing about @Twitch rolling out this tags feature is that they’re gonna eventually include them on mobile….which they never did for Communities. So how can you accurately measure the usefulness of the Communities feature if not everybody had access to it?

— Jae. (@JaeTheTerrible) August 10, 2018

Everyone is getting up in arms about Twitch removing communities. Believe it or not, communities can be used to push away gamers just as much as bring them together.

— Vanilla Bizcotti (@VanBiztheRapper) August 10, 2018

Twitch says tagging will first launch on the web, and the company will then listen to feedback about missing tags before launching the feature on mobile.

The mid-September launch date could change, but is the target for now.

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GameFly to shutter streaming service this month

Posted by | closing, ea, Electronic Arts, Entertainment, gamefly, Gaming, streaming | No Comments

GameFly, the video game rental company, will be shutting down its streaming service at the end of the month, Variety reported earlier this week. This closure comes just over three years after the streaming service launched in 2015.

GameFly, the no-console streaming service for gamers, offered packages for $7 and $10 per month that gave users unlimited access to titles — as long as they had a smart TV like an Amazon Fire or Samsung Smart TV, in addition to a controller and access to the internet. Just as GameFly’s original snail-mail rental service for games mimicked Netflix’s from days of yore, many touted the streaming service as the Netflix of gaming.

Support for the service will be maintained through the end of August and accounts will not be charged for the service after that date, according to Variety. But people can still rent physical games (and movies) from the company for $9.50 per month (one rental at a time) or $13.50 per month (two rentals at a time.)

This news comes about three months after EA acquired the technology and team members from GameFly’s cloud gaming division — a division that helped make it possible to save your progress to the cloud while gaming on the streaming service. But the acquisition did not include GameFly’s streaming service.

“We acquired the team in Israel and the technology they’ve developed, we did not acquire the Gamefly streaming service,” an EA spokesperson told Variety. “We have not been involved in any decisions around the service.”

TechCrunch reached out to GameFly for comment but the company did not respond by the time of publication regarding the reasons behind this closure.

Meanwhile, the world of streaming games appears to be continuing on just fine. Sony’s PlayStation Now continues to add titles to its service, French startup Blade’s streaming service is expanding availability this week in the U.S. and EA itself announced at E3 this summer plans to start work on its own streaming service.

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Twitch launches a ‘how-to’ site for streamers, Twitch Creator Camp

Posted by | games, Gaming, live streaming, streaming, Twitch | No Comments

Twitch wants more people to stream, so it’s going to begin teaching them how. The video game streaming site today announced the launch of Twitch Creator Camp, a new educational resource that helps newcomers learn the basics of streaming, as well as how to build up a channel, connect with fans, and earn rewards.

The launch of the how-to site comes about a week after an article by The Verge detailed the long tail of Twitch streamers, with a focus on those who spend years broadcasting to no one in the hopes of one day gaining a following.

The article raised the question that, in the age of live streaming, where every major social company – including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube – today offers easy streaming tools, there many not be enough of an audience for all the content creators are producing.

Twitch, apparently, believes the issue is one that can be addressed – at least in part – by training new streamers.

On Twitch Creator Camp, the company is bringing in successful creators to help educate the would-be streamers on a variety of often-discussed topics. These insights will be shared as articles, videos and live streams.

At launch, the site includes content focused on a variety of streaming best practices, including the basics of setting up a channel, building a brand, leveraging their stats, using Twitch features like emotes, badges and extensions, and more.

Streamers will also learn how to better network with others and engage their audience, as well as how to optimize their channel for monetization through subscriptions, merchandise, ads and sponsorships.

In addition, creators will begin live streaming on Creator Camp, starting on July 31 at 2 PM PT.

At this time, a number of Twitch Partners will answer general questions about streaming. A calendar of upcoming streams is also available on Twitch’s site, as the company aims to host weekly sessions going forward.

“Hosting a good stream isn’t easy. We’ve heard from many of our creators that they spend a lot of time searching for advice on effective tools, features, and techniques in order to make their broadcasts more engaging and to grow their communities,” said Jessica Messinger, Creator Growth Marketing Manager at Twitch, in a statement.

“Twitch Creator Camp makes things simpler by centralizing the most relevant information to a creator’s success, all of which is provided by Twitch and many of our successful Partners. We want to help our creators succeed and this is just the beginning,” she added.

Twitch says the partners it’s working with for Creator Camp are being compensated for their efforts. Currently, those participating include: Jericho, gassymexican, teawrex, JGhosty, pokket, firedragon, venalis, tominationtime, sypherpk, xmiramira, iamBrandon, DeejayKnight, Lobosjr, sacriel, PmsProxy, itmeJP, kaypealol, and Pokimane.

Twitch today has over 2.2 million broadcasters serving up streams on its site every month, which are consumed by 15 million daily active viewers who watch an average of 95 minutes of content daily. However, much of the on-site activity – just like on YouTube and elsewhere – is dominated by top creators.

Meanwhile, many of Twitch’s smaller streamers may already understand the basics and tips that Twitch’s Creator Camp is offering. For them, the issue is not one of following all the steps being laid out, but rather one of discovery.

Twitch has been working to address its discovery issues, too, having last month detailed a number of projects it’s working on across this front which are in various phases of development.

“We don’t believe Twitch should be a popularity contest” the company said at the time.

Twitch Creator Camp is open as of today, with the live streams starting at the end of the month.

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CBS to stream NFL games on mobile

Posted by | CBS, CBS All Access, cord cutting, Football, Media, Mobile, nfl, Sports, streaming | No Comments

CBS today announced an expanded agreement with the NFL which will allow it to stream NFL ON CBS games through its over-the-top service, CBS All Access, through 2022. The deal includes, for the first time, rights to stream the games on mobile devices. The changes will begin this season, and will additionally include the ability for TV Everywhere subscribers (those who have an existing pay TV subscription) to stream the games on mobile, too.

According to the network, the entire 2018 NFL ON CBS season, including Super Bowl LIII, will stream live on CBS All Access across all platforms. This includes not only mobile devices and the web, but also on media streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Android TV, Fire TV, and game consoles like Xbox One and Playstation, plus Samsung Smart TVs.

The games will also be available to those who chose to subscribe to CBS All Access through Amazon’s a la carte TV service, Amazon Channels.

CBS already had streaming rights to NFL games, starting in the 2016 season. But Verizon [disclosure: TC parent by way of Oath] held exclusive mobile streaming rights to games until their deal expired with the 2017 season. That change has broadened access to NFL games on mobile.

For example, Fox’s multi-year deal for Thursday Night Football also included mobile rights, Variety reported. Verizon is now streaming games through Yahoo, Go90 and other properties on mobile. And NBCU and ESPN have Sunday and Monday Night Football deals that involve mobile streaming, the site also noted.

For the NFL, it needs to broaden access to games on mobile devices to address issues with lower ratings that’s, in part, attributed to cord cutting.

And for CBS, access to the games on mobile could give its streaming service a boost in the wake of what may be slowing growth, and the mistake of putting too much pressure on the “Star Trek” prequel to deliver subscribers. “Star Trek: Discovery” has underwhelmed some fans, leaving it with a 4.7 out 10 user score on Metacritic, and a lot of negative reviews on IMDb.

In other words, CBS can’t count on those core Trek fans to subscribe to All Access just to watch the new show, as it may have hoped.

Bringing in NFL fans could help with sign-ups – as will being available on Amazon Channels, which accounts for some 55% of direct-to-consumer subscriptions, according to reports.

“We are excited to extend our partnership with CBS as it aligns perfectly with our goal of providing NFL fans with greater opportunities to watch NFL games across digital devices,” said Hans Schroeder, Chief Operating Officer of NFL Media and Business, in a statement about the CBS deal. “The 2018 season will mark a new era for NFL fans with unprecedented access to NFL games across digital platforms.”

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AT&T launches a low-cost live TV streaming service, WatchTV

Posted by | AT&T, live tv, Media, Mobile, streaming, streaming service, television, tv | No Comments

AT&T this morning announced the launch of a second TV streaming service, called WatchTV, days after its merger with Time Warner. The lower-cost alternative to AT&T’s DirecTV Now will offer anyone the ability to join WatchTV for only $15 per month, but the service will also be bundled into AT&T wireless plans. This $15 per month price point undercuts newcomer Philo, which in November had introduced the cheapest over-the-top TV service at just $16 per month.

The service will arrive for everyone next week, including both wireless subscribers and the general public.

With WatchTV, customers gain access to over 30 live TV channels from top cable networks including A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, CNN, Discovery, Food Network, Hallmark, HGTV, History, IFC, Lifetime, Sundance TV, TBS, TLC, TNT, VICELAND, and several others. (Full list below).

Shortly after launch, it will add BET, Comedy Central, MTV2, Nicktoons, Teen Nick, and VH1.

There are also over 15,000 TV shows and movies on demand, along with premium channels and music streaming options as add-ons.

While the new WatchTV service is open to anyone, AT&T is also bundling it into two new unlimited plans for no additional cost.

These plans are the AT&T Unlimited & More Premium plan and the AT&T Unlimited & More plan.

The Premium plan customers will have all the same features of the existing AT&T Unlimited Plus Enhanced Plan, including 15 GB of high-speed tethering, high-quality video and a $15 monthly credit towards DirecTV, U-verse TV, or, AT&T’s other streaming service, DirecTV Now. They can also choose to add one other option, like HBO, Showtime, Starz, Amazon Music Unlimited, Pandora Premium and VRV, for no additional fee. Add-ons can only be swapped out once per year.

The regular plan (AT&T Unlimited & More) only offers SD video streams when on AT&T’s network, including when customers are viewing WatchTV. It also includes the $15 monthly credit towards other AT&T video services and up to 4G LTE unlimited data.

The Premium plan costs $80 for a single line after the AutoPay billing credit; or $190 for 4 lines. The regular plan is $70 with the AutoPay billing credit and paperless billing. It’s $5 more per line per month then the current Unlimited Choice Enhanced plan, but when you go up to 4 lines, it works out to the same price as before, $40 per line per month.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson had previously revealed the carrier’s plans for the new low-cost streaming TV service while in court defending the Time Warner merger against anti-trust claims. He used its launch as a point of rebuttal against comments about the ever-higher prices for AT&T’s DirecTV satellite service.

The Justice Department was concerned that following the merger, AT&T would raise prices on Time Warner’s HBO and Turner networks, like TNT, TBS and CNN, in order to prop up its own offerings. For now, it seems AT&T will just come up with a million different ways to generate revenue from its networks, by offering different bundles and packages to AT&T customers and other consumers.

The company also touted the merger, when announcing today’s news:

Our merger brings together the elements to fulfill our vision for the future of media and entertainment. We’ll bring a fresh approach to how media and entertainment works for you—including new offerings that integrate content and connectivity.

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Twitch now lets streamers use multiple Extensions at once

Posted by | Gaming, streaming, Twitch, Video, video gaming | No Comments

Last year, Twitch announced a suite of tools called Extensions, that allow streamers to customize their channel pages with interactive features, including polls, leaderboards, schedules and more. Today, Twitch is making Extensions even more useful by allowing streamers to run up to three of these overlays at the same time on their video, plus three more below the video player, for a total of six that can be active on their channel at any time.

This update, Twitch says, will allow streamers to better customize their channels in unique ways, while engaging and retaining their fans.

To enable multiple Extensions, streamers will visit their channel dashboard’s redesigned Extensions Manager, where Extensions can now be sorted by category, like Extensions for Games, Music, Streamer Tools, and others. There’s also a “Partner Picks” section here which is where top creators are sharing their favorites.

Alongside the launch, a number of developers have released new and updated Extensions that are designed to work with one another. However, Twitch does note that there will be some exceptions based on the area needed to display the Extension itself. That is, you can’t put overlays on top of one another.

In addition to the better customization options, there’s another reason why streamers may be interested in adding multiple Extensions: monetization.

In April, Twitch introduced a new revenue stream for creators and developers alike with the launch of Bits in Extensions. This allows developers to customize their Extensions with other interactive experiences they can charge for using Bits. That allows viewers to pay using Twitch’s virtual currency to unlock the features, and the streamer gets a portion of the revenue for hosting the Extension on their channel.

By combining multiple Extensions that use Bits on their channel pages, streams and developers will be able to generate additional revenue thanks to this expansion.

Twitch says there are over 250 Extensions live today, over 30 of which can be combined with others, and 35 that offer paid experiences via Bits. There are thousands of Extensions in development, as well.

All channels will be able to use the new customization options starting today.

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Microsoft partners with Lightstream Studio to bring customization tools to Mixer streamers

Posted by | game streaming, Gaming, Microsoft, mixer, streaming | No Comments

Microsoft’s Twitch competitor, Mixer, is giving streamers a new way to customize their channels. The company has entered into a partnership with Lightstream Studio to allow Mixer streamers to add images, overlays, transitions, and text to their streams, or to switch between scenes. The goal is to make it easier for creators to give their streams a more professional look-and-feel, without requiring they have a lot of technical expertise.

Instead, the partnership will allow streamers to route their feed into the web-based Lightstream Studio, which can be accessed via a supported browser on a PC, Mac or tablet. On smartphones, the URL mixer.golightstream.com will allow streamers to use their phone as a remote control for changing their scenes.

For instance, gamers can use the Studio to create status screens like “Starting Soon,” or “Be Right Back,” then quickly rotate through them, as needed.

Streamers can direct their streams to Lightstream Studio from their mobile devices, PC, or their Xbox native broadcast.

Y’all wanted overlays on your native Xbox streams? Boom! Here it is!

Excited to roll this out today and to note you can point your stream from mobile, PC (PS4/Switch with cap card), or your Xbox native broadcast to Lightstream services for seamless overlays and scenes! https://t.co/Bq0a3yWczg

— Josh Stein (@steinekin) April 11, 2018

The support for native Xbox streams is what’s got streamers most excited, however.

Microsoft says the integration will not impact the other third-party services Mixer streamers today use for alerts, like StreamLabs, StreamJar or Tipeeestream, as they can link those accounts within their Lightstream settings.

Microsoft has been rolling out a number of new features for Mixer in recent months, in an effort to bring its service more on par with Amazon-owned Twitch, the leader in game streaming in terms of both concurrent streamers and viewers, as well as rival YouTube Gaming.

This year, for example, Mixer introduced game sales as another means of helping streamers generate revenue from their channels, and it announced support for direct tipping. Many of these features are about Mixer playing catch-up, though, rather than coming out with something new.

Adding overlaid content to a stream to make it look more polished and professional is something that Twitch today supports through its extensions platform. It currently has over 150 different extensions, including things like stream schedules, countdowns, reminders, polls, and more. And some portion of those extensions became available on mobile just last month.

Lightstream Studio is not quite the same, as it a partnership with a third-party rather than a built-in offering, but it will give streamers some similar options thanks to its support of third-party tools for adding stream alerts. 

Lightstream Studio is first being offered in beta to Partners and Pro users to test, before rolling out more broadly.

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Google Play Movies & TV becomes a one-stop shop for nearly everything that streams

Posted by | Apps, Google, Google Play, google play movies & tv, Media, Mobile, movies, streaming, streaming services, television, tv | No Comments

With the explosion of streaming services now available, it’s becoming more difficult to figure out not just what movie or TV show to watch next, but where you can actually watch it. Google today is rolling out its solution to this problem with a significant revamp of its Google Play Movies & TV app and an update to the Google Play Store itself that will show you which streaming services have the content available, in addition to whether it’s available for rent or purchase, as before.

The end result is something that’s similar to Apple’s own TV app, which combines users’ own library of movies and TV with the ability to seek out what’s trending and available in the world of online video.

In the updated Google Play Movies & TV app, you’ll now find three tabs in the new bottom navigation bar which will direct you to your Home, Library or your Watchlist. The watchlist is a feature the app recently gained as well, but now it has a much more prominent position.

As you browse through the app, you can click on titles to read more about them, as before, but now you’re also able to see where the item can be streamed.

At launch, Google is working with 28 streaming services whose content libraries are now integrated in Google Play Movies & TV. That’s fewer than Apple’s TV app supports, which is currently over 60.

But it will find content even if it’s an exclusive to the streaming provider, and not necessarily something Google has for rent or sale. That means you can find original programming – like Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle” – and then start watching it on the streaming service that hosts it.

“We deeplink right into playback for that [third-party streaming] app,” explains Ben Serridge, the product manager for the Movies & TV app at Google. “So if I wanted to start watching ‘The Good Doctor’ pilot, I press the play button and it goes into the ABC app and start playback.”

Beyond the big names, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, the app also pulls in content from ABC, CBS, FOX NOW, NBC, HBO NOW, HBO Go, Showtime, Showtime Anytime, Max Go, Starz, Disney Now, HGTV, BET Now, Comedy Central, A&E, Cooking Channel, Crackle, DIY Network, Food Network, History, Lifetime, MTV, The CW, Travel Channel, Tubi TV and VH1.

Notably missing is Netflix, whose content is searchable in Apple’s TV app.

Serridge didn’t comment on why it’s missing, saying only that “we would very much like to have all the apps that distribute this kind of content on Play participating” –  effectively tossing the ball back to Netflix’s court.

Even without Netflix, the feature is useful if not comprehensive. It will show you the services hosting the content, whether it’s freely available to stream, if you need a subscription (as with HBO Now), the associated costs, or if you need to login with pay TV credentials to watch.

This is especially helpful because some of the network TV apps offer a teaser of a show with a few free episodes, but not complete seasons. The Google Play Movies & TV app will help you track down the rest elsewhere, if need be.

The app will also now help you narrow down searches thanks to a robust filtering system that lets you click on tags by genre, mood, decade, and more. For example, you could click on “Family,” “Drama,” Award winning,” Highly rated,” Comedy,” and other filters.

In addition to helping you find content, stream it, or add it to your Watchlist, the app includes personalized recommendations. These will be partly based on items you’ve previously watched, but you can also explicitly signal your interest or distaste as well, by clicking on the thumbs up or thumbs down button. The thumbs down will remove the item from your suggestions entirely.

Outside the app itself, the Play Store is being updated to show you the same information about content availability.

Solutions like the new Google Play Movies & TV app and Apple’s TV app are handy in the cord cutting era where content is spread out across networks, services, and other over-the-top offerings. But even these apps aren’t enough. Not only is Netflix missing from Google’s app, so is its own YouTube original content – and that’s the same company!

Also not addressed by either Apple or Google’s app are which shows may be available to stream or record via live TV services like YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, and Sling TV. (Although, to be fair, that’s not only a different set of services, it’s also a much larger challenge given that broadcast network availability varies by market. A dedicated solution like Suppose.tv or Fomopop’s live TV finder may work better.)

Meanwhile, there are other tools for finding and tracking favorite shows, like Reelgood or TV Time (or a jailbroken Fire TV stick we should admit), but they don’t have the benefit of matching content from a rent-and-buy marketplace like Google Play, or being available across phone, tablet, and desktop web, like Google Play.

Google says the new features will roll out to Android phones and tablets in the U.S. over the next few days.

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