Amazon takes on YouTube

TechCrunch reports that this week Amazon launched Amazon Video Direct. This service allows creators to upload their own videos to Amazon’s Prime Video and generate royalties based on the hours streamed. Creators must fill out tax information and link a bank account, plus create pages for their series and provide artwork for display. They can choose to include shows in Amazon Prime, streamed free with ads, rented, sold or any combination.

Amazon video is available in Japan, the UK, Austria, Germany and the US. Variety reports Amazon will pay creators 50% of retail, 55% of ad-supported free streaming and 15 cents per hour streamed in on Prime in the US, 6 cents per hours streamed elsewhere, capped at $75,000. The top 100 titles get paid a monthly bonus.

It seems like Amazon is looking to take on the big players in the user generated content services like YouTube.

YouTube Unplugged

Bloomberg reports its sources tell it YouTube is planning another subscription based streaming service called Unplugged that would include network and cable channels.

YouTube has supposedly been working on the product since 2012 and plans to launch in 2017 at around $35 a month with add-ons available. YouTube is in talks with such companies as: Comcast, NBCUniversal, Viacom, Twenty-First Century Fox, and CBS, although it has yet to strike any deals.

Hulu On-Demand

The Wall Street Journal reports that Hulu is planning a new web subscription service that would sell live and on-demand programming from the likes of ESPN, ABC, Fox and FX, for about $40 a month, starting early next year.

Hulu may be trying to compete with other skinny bundle services like the Roku.

Live Streamed Surgery using VR

Medical Realities, a company that uses VR and augmented reality as a medical education tool, is set to host the first live VR stream of surgery on April 14th, using a 360-degree camera to show the entire operating table. You'll only need the company's app and Google Cardboard (or a viable alternative) to tune in. The surgery isn't particularly risky (it's a fairly standard tumor removal), but the company is aware of the dangers -- the feed is delayed by a minute in case something goes awry.

Twitter to stream NFL

Twitter will stream 10 Thursday Night Football games “to a global audience” in 2016 for free without authentication. That’s Huge for the NFL.

-      Twitter paid around $10 million according to Bloomberg’s source (beating out Verizon, Yahoo, Amazon)

-      CBS and NBC paid $225mm for 5 Thursday games each — Verizon has rights to stream to wireless phones

-      Twitter video will be embeddable. Include pregame Periscope streams from players and teams

-      Available on the Twitter PC, phone, and Xbox app

PS4 now streams to PC and Mac

The Verge reports that Sony will released System Software 3.5 for PlayStation 4 Wednesday that allows users to install Remote Play apps on PCs and Macs. Remote Play allows PS4 owners to stream gameplay to their computer at resolutions of 360p, 540p or 720p with frame rates of 30fps or 60fps. You'll need to connect a DualShock 4 controller to the PC or Mac as well.