STREAMING SATURDAY: Streaming Services Announce Last-Minute Improvements

A handful of streaming services have announced some improvements in the dwindling days of 2017. Talk about coming in under the wire!

Amazon, DIRECTV NOW, and Hulu know how to go out in style. These three streaming providers recently shared major news. Each already had a strong showing this year. These latest announcements mean that these three streaming service providers will end 2017 on a strong note. If recent streaming trends are any indication, these improvements are the beginning of another year filled with innovation. This could mean that 2018 will be a great year for streaming, too.

Amazon Prime: Streaming in HDR10+ to Begin This Week
Amazon Prime viewers are about to stream some of their favorite shows in super high-quality reception. The service is set to offer 100 TV shows and movies in HDR10+, according to South Korean news source Yonhap News. This new HDR10+ standard is said to offer image quality that’s far superior to standard HDR10.

Shows expected to air in HDR10+ include The Grand Tour, The Tick, and The Man in the High Castle. It’s believed that Amazon will introduce its HDR10+ programming on Samsung smart TVs. This is likely due to Samsung’s partnership to promote HDR10+ with 20th Century Fox and Panasonic Corp.

DIRECTV NOW: Adds Support for Showtime Anytime
DIRECTV NOW customers with Showtime can use their login to get Showtime Anytime. This gives provides access to SHOWTIME original series, movies, and much more. With DIRECTV NOW, you can stream live TV or on-demand programming. It also lets you download movies and more to your mobile devices for offline viewing.

This arrangement with Showtime Anytime comes a bit late for DIRECTV NOW customers. It originally was slated for a September release. Clearly, it took a bit longer than expected. Still, this is good news for the one-year-old streaming service and its many viewers.

Hulu: Disney Purchase and New Features 
Disney is expected to purchase Fox’s 30 percent stake in Hulu’s subscription streaming service provider. This is part of a larger purchase where Disney will acquire 20th Century Fox studios, channels, and regional sports networks. This ultimately gives Disney 60 percent ownership of Hulu, which is a majority control.

What is Hulu’s future as part of the “Magic Kingdom?” Some believe Disney will make Hulu its new streaming service. Others believe Disney might use Hulu’s streaming technology to launch its own, separate service. Since this is all streaming services scuttlebutt, we won’t know anything until an announcement is made. At the rate things have been going, that could come soon.

In addition to the Disney purchase, Hulu is rolling out some new features. The latest list of improvements is for the web version of Hulu’s live TV beta. If this is your streaming service provider, today is your lucky day. Hulu recently announced three of its latest web version improvements:

  1. Picture-in-picture service. This allows viewers to enjoy their favorite programming while browsing the user interface.
  2. My Stuff: Lets viewers add and remove TV shows, movies, etc. Hulu keeps track of the viewing history of everything stored in My Stuff. This includes how much has been viewed and which programs are finished.
  3. Expanded Search Function: This is ideal for those who forget titles of movies or who like to search by genre. Just describe the movie or category and Hulu can find it for you.

That’s It… For Now
These weren’t the only announcements from streaming service providers. What’s shared here is arguably the biggest news in video streaming. Other announcement included Sling TV adding the Hallmark Drama channel, and YouTube TV acquiring 34 new local TV markets. Next week, we plan to share 2017: The Year in Streaming. This annual retrospective will include the highlights – and some low lights – of today’s streaming providers. Until then, Solid Signal remains your No. 1 source for the best streaming news and more.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.