Dish, TV networks duel over ad-skipping feature

Dish Network and the major television networks are turning up the volume in their fight over a feature that allows viewers to skip commercials at the touch of a button.

Fox filed a lawsuit today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to stop Dish from transmitting the network's programs in such a way that allows viewers to watch them without commercial interruptions. The lawsuit accuses Dish of copyright infringement and breach of contract.

"We were given no choice but to file suit against one of our largest distributors, Dish Network, because of their surprising move to … Read more

Amazon Prime acquires access to Paramount films

Thanks to a new agreement with Paramount Pictures, subscribers of Amazon's Prime service will now get access to "hundreds" of films, including "Mission: Impossible 3," "Braveheart" and "Mean Girls."

Sure, these are catalog titles that are long in the tooth and many of them have been in Netflix's library for some time. But the point is that Amazon continues to close the gap in regards to the amount and quality of films offered by Netflix, the top video-rental service on the Web.

Amazon Prime is a membership program that costs $… Read more

Stealth startup Airtime raises $25M, buys Erly

Airtime, the video startup founded by Napster duo Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning, announced today that it had closed a second round of funding and had purchased another startup.

The mysterious company raised $25 million, according to a TechCrunch report. The startup also announced the acquisition of Erly, a company founded in 2011 that claims to provide a "new social platform for organizing and sharing your personal content." Terms of the deal were not revealed.

Erly was founded by CEO Eric Feng, a former partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which led Airtime's round of financing. … Read more

YouTube users uploading 72 hours of video each minute

YouTube might not be getting all of the attention Facebook gets nowadays, but that doesn't mean it isn't growing.

The Google-owned online video site announced its seventh birthday in a blog post yesterday, and to help celebrate the milestone, it announced that users now upload 72 hours of video to its service each minute. To put that into perspective, just one year ago, YouTube users were uploading 48 hours to the site every minute.

Just in January, YouTube said that 4 billion videos are viewed on the site each day. At the time, it also said 60 hours … Read more

Hulu unveils lineup of original, exclusive shows

Hulu hopes summer reruns will have viewers tuning in to its Web site for original shows.

The online video site today unveiled a lineup of 10 shows -- three original and seven exclusive to the site -- that begin airing in June.

It's among most aggressive announcement of unique content yet for Hulu, which is hoping the new shows will give viewers extra reason to view online content through Hulu. The site has been focusing more on original content even as its slate of available television shows and movies either shrink or move behind its Hulu Plus pay wall. … Read more

Americans watched 37 billion online videos last month

How much online video did you watch last month?

Across the U.S., 181 million Internet users tracked by ComScore caught a total of 37 billion videos in April. That means 84.5 percent of the U.S. Internet audience viewed an online video, and the average person spent 21.8 hours doing so for the month.

Grabbing 157.7 million viewers, Google was the top site for video watching, thanks mostly to YouTube. Yahoo came in second place with 53.6 million viewers, followed by Vevo with 49.5 million, Facebook with 44.3 million, and Microsoft with 42.… Read more

Lone Anon hater claims responsibility for Pirate Bay attack

A person who claims to be a former member of the Anonymous hacker group has claimed responsibility for knocking The Pirate Bay offline for over a day.

The claim is unconfirmed but a person calling himself "Nyre" left a message on Pastebin yesterday, saying he was the person who launched a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on The Pirate Bay, one of the world's best-known file-sharing services. The site was back up this morning.

As for the reason Nyre claims to have launched the attack: "The Pirate Bay was a press-release Website for Anonymous." … Read more

Netflix's video player gets revamped

Netflix began rolling out a new fandangled video player for PCs today. Besides beefing up the playback with added options, information, and video accessibility, the video service also redesigned the control bar to be more user-friendly.

There are a handful of notable new features to the video playback. First, the control bar has different options that include access to subtitles, previews of the next episode, and previews to the whole season (if users are watching a TV show). If users click on the previews to the whole season, a box will pop-up that lets them watch previews from within the … Read more

Who is behind murky DDoS attack against The Pirate Bay?

There's a good whodunit developing over at The Pirate Bay, the popular BitTorrent file-sharing service.

An unknown entity has launched a large distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) against The Pirate Bay and rendered the site largely inaccessible for more than a day. The Pirate Bay posted a note to its Facebook page confirming the attack. Site operators wrote: "We don't know who's behind it but we have our suspicions."

Suspicions are all anybody seems to have at this point. Here's a list of the top suspects and where they stand on the issue.

The Motion … Read more

Netflix: Disgruntled customers rejoining service

A Netflix executive said today the company has taken its brand hit for pricing changes last year, but a third of new subscribers are former customers who are rejoining the service.

Speaking at the J.P. Morgan Technology Media and Telecom conference, Netflix CFO David Wells talked about churn, customer satisfaction, and the overall vibe around the company's brand. Wells sounded like a person who thinks the worst is over. Netflix showed improvement in the first quarter, but spooked investors with talk about competition.

Netflix is a few months shy of the first anniversary of its price increases, which … Read more