October 27, 1999Construction crew works on the footing of the next phase of the EastCrescent.Photo by: Doctress Neutopia
Nvidia’s Shield TVNvidia unveiled its new Nvidia Shield TV media streamer and gaming device at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last week.The redesigned Android TV-based device will ship with both a remote and a game controller, support 4K high dynamic range images, and in the coming months will be expanded with artificial intelligence capabilities – including hands-free Google Assistant integration on TV.The device will give users access to streaming services like Amazon Video, Netflix, YouTube and Google Play Movies, as well as access to an expanded catalogue of streamed games – including Ubisoft catalogue games like Watch Dogs 2 and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.Shield TV is available to pre-order now and will ship in the United States, Canada and select European regions later this month. Including controller and remote, it will be priced at US$199.99 in the US, £189.99 in the UK and €229.99 in Germany.
CuriosityStream, the factual streaming service launched by Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks, has raised US$140 million to fund the company’s “next phase of growth”.The US-based subscription video-on-demand service said it would use the investment to market the service globally and advance its content discovery technology.It also plans to increase spend on “world-class factual programming”.“This is an important step in a significant effort to connect CuriosityStream with viewers around the world,” said Clint Stinchcomb, president and CEO of CuriosityStream.“Hundreds of millions of people globally are migrating to on-demand television and entertainment. We are in the middle of a seismic shift in consumer behaviour, and this funding will accelerate the dynamic growth we achieved in the last 12 months.”The private placement funding included new investors Blum Capital Ventures and TimesSquare Capital Management. Stifel Investment Banking acted as the agent.CuriosityStream reached the 1 million subscriber mark at the end of 2018, at which point its content library contained more than 2,000 titles. By the end of 2019 it aims to up this to more than 3,000 titles, including more 4K originals.The firm launched a new ad-supported tier, called CuriosityStream Showcase, last August, giving users around the world access to 18-titles for free. This marked CuriosityStream’s shift from a pure subscription offering to a hybrid ad- and subscription model.At the same time CuriosityStream lowered the price of its subscription packages and introduced pre-roll ads into its ‘standard’ package, which is now available for US$2.99 per-month.The company hailed the move as a “paradigm shift” in the economic model of delivering premium on-demand television and stressed that sponsored messages will be limited to 15-second pre-roll ads, offering an uncluttered ad environment.
Catch 22Disney-owned Hulu has reintroduced 4K streaming to the platform.The announcement came quietly in a response to a user concern from the Hulu Support Twitter account. The tweet confirmed that users will be able to watch any of Hulu’s original shows – such as The Handmaid’s Tale, Catch-22 and Castle Rock – in 4K UHD.UHD streaming is only available to Google’s Chromecast Ultra and Apple TV 4K devices, but there will be no support for HDR. 4K was previously a feature of Hulu, before being surreptitiously dropped in 2018 with no explanation. Hulu has been some way behind competitors Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, which both offer support for 4K UHD HDR for a selection of films and TV shows.The streamer was fully acquired by Disney in May, with the company and Comcast entering into a “put/call” agreement regarding NBCUniversal’s 33% ownership stake in the platform. Disney has previously spoken about its intention to make a big push into 4K HDR with Disney+, launching in November, and it is safe to assume this is a mentality that will be carried through to Hulu.