Welcome to today's cable and broadband news roundup.
Google Fiber has redesigned its TV app so it will work on any Android device running 4.1 or later and has set to work an iOS version that will become available "soon," according to this blog post from Head of Product Management Larry Yang. Before the latest upgrade and a revamped user interface, the Google Fiber TV app was available only on the Nexus 7 tablet, which is bundled in with the service provider's subscription TV service. Similar to tablet apps offered by major pay-TV providers, the latest version from Google Fiber TV (available via Google Play) lets customers browse and search for TV shows, set DVR recordings, and use their tablets as fancy remote controls. Google Fiber is in the process of building out its 1Gbit/s network in Kansas City, Mo.; and Kansas City, Kan. It recently secured a franchise agreement to extend services to Olathe, Kan., where Comcast Corp. is the incumbent cable operator. (See Google Fiber Makes Another Connection and Google Fiber Bundles TV, Shuns Data Caps .)
Google Fiber's TV app will soon become available on iPads and other iOS devices.
The board of Hulu LLC has approached potential suitors to gauge their interest in buying the Web TV hub, reports Reuters, noting that the board has not received any formal offers and that any such deal will prove difficult unless Hulu can secure long-term deals with content partners. Hulu co-owners News Corp. and Walt Disney Co. are also considering options that would include buying the other out, the report added. Comcast also owns a piece of Hulu, but ceded corporate control as a condition of its acquisition of NBCUniversal LLC. Hulu has previously pursued a sale as well as an IPO in recent years, but pulled back each time. (See Hulu: No Sale.)
HBO could consider offering its shows to non-cable-TV subscribers in the future, chief executive Richard Plepler told Reuters last week. Plepler didn't say the company would pursue a direct-to-consumer model in the U.S., but he did hint at the potential for selling HBO as an add-on to broadband Internet service. Still, such a move is unlikely to happen any time soon given the amount of marketing support and revenues HBO generates from its pay-TV partners, but it's not an unthinkable strategy for the longer term. "We would have to make the math work," said Plepler. The HBO Nordic joint venture, meanwhile, has launched a standalone subscription streaming service to consumers in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway.
Sweden's Magine launched a cloud-based, "virtual" MSO service this week comprising roughly 30 channels of programming from CNN International, BBC World News, and Cartoon Network, among others. Subscribers can stream content to smart TVs, PCs, and mobile devices for about €10 (US$12.86) per month. The service also includes a TV catch-up feature, which stores at least a week's worth of programming for most channels, and a program guide with search and discovery tools. Magine told TechCrunch last week that Sweden remains the only the launch pad for its new television service, though it reportedly aims to expand to other European markets.