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Apple Maps may be heading in better direction

CNET Update rounds up the rumors:

In this episode of Update:

- Hold on to hope that Apple Maps will improve in iOS 8.

- Get a warning about the password-free period for in-app purchases on iOS 7.1. (Google is hit with a lawsuit over the same issue.)

- Find new incentives to join Amazon Prime with reports of Amazon's upcoming music-streaming service and a video-streaming box.

- Watch for Google to create a game system after its acquisition of Green Throttle.

CNET Update delivers the tech news you need in under three minutes. Watch Bridget Carey every … Read more

Hulu selling its Japan business

Hulu's Japan business will be acquired by Nippon Television Network Corporation, Hulu announced this evening.

In a blog post Thursday eve, Hulu said that once the deal closes, Nippon TV will take on day-to-day operation of Hulu's Japan site, as well as management of the business. However, "Hulu will be licensing our brand and technology and will continue to provide services to the Japan business -- loyal fans of the service will enjoy the same seamless user experience," Hulu said.

Nippon TV also will be adding some of its content to the site, with details to … Read more

What makes 'Caper' fly? Secrets from the superhero show's creator

There's more to being a great superhero than a crazy costume and an impressive lair. The hero needs to fight not just bad guys, but internal battles. But telling a superhero story without a big special-effects budget in less than 10 minutes per episode? That can prove a bigger struggle than grappling between good and evil.

Veteran TV writer and producer Amy Berg co-created the superhero comedy "Caper" as an online series on the Geek & Sundry Channel -- on both YouTube and Hulu -- to show that not only can superheroes be shown as more than just comic book stereotypes, but the show itself could break the rules set by big networks.

"Caper" tells the story of four disenchanted superheroes who must turn to a life of crime just to pay the bills. It's a show about heists and hijinks with superheroes who don't have the luxury of a Justice League expense account. … Read more

Get a refurbished Roku 2 XS Angry Birds Edition for $49.99

Desktops, Blu-ray players, and the iPod Touch -- people still love 'em! Every time I think the death knell has sounded for certain seemingly outdated products, readers rally to remind me what made those products so great in the first place -- and why they're still highly desirable (especially if there's a deal to be had). I loved reading your iPod Touch mash-notes yesterday, and I'll continue to keep my eyes open for more Touch deals.

On to business. Although the Roku 3 is now the top-of-the-line Roku box, that title previously belonged to the Roku 2 … Read more

HBO blasts NPD study, says TV subscriptions are on the rise

No, streaming video services aren't eating traditional TV's lunch.

That's according to a representative for HBO and Cinemax, who blasted a recent NPD study that claimed TV subscriptions were on the decline over the past two years as streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus were on the rise.

"The research is simply incorrect," said Jeff Cusson, a representative for HBO. Both pay-TV networks are owned by Time Warner.

The Los Angeles Times was the first to report the network's comments, which included similar statements from Showtime (a unit of CBS, … Read more

TV subscriptions drop as video streaming services rise

TV channels must be starting to feel the sting as more subscribers opt for video streaming services. New data from global information company The NPD Group shows that television channel subscriptions fell 6 percent in the last two years, while streaming services grew 4 percent.

It appears that with the ease and relative low cost of TV and movie streaming services, more people are canceling channel subscriptions like HBO and Showtime. According to The NPD Group, 67 percent of all digital video transactions are via subscription video-on-demand, or SVOD. This includes services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus.

"… Read more

Hulu satirizes 'Real Housewives' in new original series

If "Real Housewives" didn't already provide enough fodder for satire, Hulu is adding in Orlando for good measure.

The streaming-video site -- jointly owned by the parent companies of ABC, NBC, and Fox -- unveiled its original and exclusive slate of programming at CES 2014 Wednesday. Don't come looking for any surprises. The 2014 slate is straight out of the company's recent playbook, filled with half-hour comedies and international imports that have been remade for American audiences elsewhere.

The only new true original that wasn't previously known is "The Hotwives of Orlando," … Read more

Hulu in 2013: Sales up nearly half to $1B with 5M paid users

Mike Hopkins, the new chief executive of Hulu, said the next-day TV streaming site saw its revenue rise at least 44 percent to $1 billion in 2013, as its paid subscribers jumped by two-thirds.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Hopkins recounted the highlights of the year but gave few hints about his idea of how Hulu should move forward. He wrote:

As we scale the business in 2014, we will continue to invest in content, technology and people. 2014 will bring even more opportunity as we find new ways to grow the business from the strong foundation we have … Read more

Hulu to partner with pay-TV operators for content bundling?

Hulu could be coming to a cable set-top box near you. According to The Wall Street Journal, the online TV streaming service is said to be in preliminary talks with a handful of pay-TV operators about possible partnerships.

These talks are said to be about Hulu potentially bundling its Hulu Plus subscription service with pay-TV subscriptions. According to the Journal, the streaming service is purportedly in talks with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, AT&T, and Verizon.

Apparently, Hulu hopes that any deal would let cable customers get its service via a set-top box, according to the Journal. … Read more

Netflix, YouTube gobble up half of Internet traffic

Netflix is still the Goliath, and YouTube is only getting bigger.

In general, video and audio streaming continues to eat up the greatest traffic of any category on virtually every network reviewed by Sandvine, which runs fixed and mobile data networks worldwide and reports on what is taking place on them.

In North America, Netflix and YouTube are the main traffic culprits, according to its twice yearly Global Internet Phenomena Report. Combined, they account for 50.31 percent of the downstream traffic during the peak part of the day.

By comparison, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu garnered just 1.61 … Read more