June 25, 2019
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internet television

VLC prepares to add AirPlay support as it crosses 3 billion downloads

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VLC, the hugely popular media playing service, is filling one of its gaps with the addition of AirPlay support as it has just crossed an incredible three billion users.

The new feature was revealed by Jean-Baptiste Kempf, one of the service’s lead developers, in an interview with Variety at CES and it will give users a chance to beam content from their Android or iOS device to an Apple TV. The addition, which is due in the upcoming version 4 of VLC, is the biggest new feature since the service added Chromecast support last summer.

But that’s not all that the dozen or so people on the VLC development team are working on.

In addition, Variety reports that VLC is preparing to enable native support for VR content. Instead of SDKs, the team has reversed engineered popular hardware to offer features that will include the option to watch 2D content in a cinema-style environment. There also are plans to bring the service to more platforms, with VentureBeat reporting that the VLC team is eyeing PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Roku devices.

VLC, which is managed by nonprofit parent VideonLAN, racked up its three millionth download at CES, where it celebrated with the live ticker pictured above. The service reached one billion downloads back in May 2012, which represents incredible growth for a venture that began life as a project from École Centrale Paris students in 1996.

Roku files for $100M IPO

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Roku has filed for an initial public offering and is looking to raise up to $100M. The company will be listed on the NASDAQ appropriately under the ticker of ROKU.

We reported in July that Roku was planning an IPO in 2017. Roku has been able to capitalize on the cord-cutting trend, where many people, especially millennials, have opted not to pay for cable television. Instead, they are accessing content on digital platforms like Roku, Apple TV, Google’s Chromecast, Amazon’s Fire TV and others. Roku is the number one streaming device when measured by total hours streamed.

This has been a long time coming. Roku was founded in 2002 and raised over $200M from various VCs and investment firms. The company was key in helping create the home streaming device market. It was one of the first devices to target general users rather than the technically savy. Roku never left that demographic.

The today company claims to have 15.1M accounts and stream quarterly 3.5 billion hours of content, which is up 60% year-over-year.

Menlo Ventures looks to be the largest shareholder with a 35.3% stake followed by Fidelity with 12.9%, Twenty-First Century Fox at 7% and Globespan Capital Partners at 6.1%.

Roku is states its average revenue per unit is $11.22, up 35%. It reported $199m in revenue in the six month period ending in June 30, 2017, up from the year prior of $162M. Its annual revenue numbers also increased year-over-year up from $319M to $398M.

The company’s primary gross profit source is switching from hardware sales to its platform, mainly around advertising and subscription revenue. In January ’17 hardware sales represented 19% of total gross profit while down 28%. Meanwhile, the platform gross profit represented 81% of the total, up 104% the six months prior.

Roku is looking to go public at the same time as two other hardware startups-turned public companies are struggling. GoPro and FitBit flipped the switch in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and after a brief pop, both company’s stock crashed and have yet to recover. Clearly Roku is looking for a different outcome.

One more thing, we agree with Leslie over at CNBC.

Featured Image: Roku

Hulu adds Live TV to Xbox 360

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Starting today, Xbox 360 will support Hulu’s Live TV service.

Hulu launched the highly anticipated streaming service earlier this May, which provides access to live television as well as Hulu’s library of original and streaming content for just under $40 per month.

The service was originally available on iOS, Android, Chromecast, Apple TV and Xbox One. However, Hulu added Live TV to Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire Stick mid-summer. It seems the content platform has several rollouts in the works, including today’s expansion to Xbox 360.

To access the service on your Xbox, you’ll first need to subscribe to the Hulu Live TV service. From there you’ll enter your ZIP code to see all the channels available in your area. Like the other rollouts, you also can check out Hulu’s original content, exclusive series and movies available in Hulu’s library or choose to add premium channels like SHOWTIME and HBO.

Those already subscribed will get an automatic update to the new user interface on their Xbox 360 device.

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