Roku expands its free streaming channel with entertainment and live sports

Roku’s ad-supported free streaming channel is expanding. No, not to more platforms – it already did that. But rather, it’s expanding its content lineup. While before the channel offered free-to-stream movies and news, it will now feature live and linear sports and entertainment content, the company says.

As of earlier this year, The Roku Channel added live news from ABC News, Cheddar, Newsmax, Newsy, People TV, Yahoo, and most recently, The Young Turks, from the TYT Network.

It will now add entertainment content from partners including TMZ, AFV, FailArmy, People Are Awesome, Pet Collective and more. As with the channel’s other offerings, none of these streams will require a subscription.

Meanwhile, the channel will also begin to stream live sporting events from the Adventure Sports Network, COMBT GO, EDGEsport, Stadium, and Wham Network, among others.

The additions come on the heels of Roku’s Q3 earnings, which saw the company beat Wall St. expectations on hardware, but saw platform revenue falling short – causing the stock to drop.

The company has been trying to move beyond being only a hardware device maker selling TVs and streaming players, to grow its platform business and advertising revenues. A key part of that strategy is The Roku Channel, which opens up Roku’s platform to a wider audience, and allows the company to sell ads against content.

The plan may work in the long-run, but it’s taking time to ramp up, it seems.

However, Roku did report a growing user base with 23.8 million active users, streaming 6.2 billion hours in the quarter. That was ahead of expectations of 23.1 million users and 5.8 billion hours.

Disney plans new ‘Star Wars’ prequel series for streaming service

A new “Star Wars” prequel series is on its way, this time for Walt Disney Co’s planned streaming service, Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger said on Thursday.

This Wine Advent Calendar Sold Out In Less Than a Day

A wine Advent calendar is an ideal, boozy way to count down the days until the holidays (or, for some, a good way to cope with the imminent stress of the season) — which is why it’s regrettable but hardly surprising that Aldi’s wine Advent calendar sold out within minutes of its first day on the market in America.

The calendars, which have been a confirmed hit for British stores across the pond, contained 24 6.37-ounce bottles of 12 different wines for the sweet price of $69.99, or $2.92 a bottle; the supermarket chain also offered cheese Advent calendars, which like their wine compatriots, sold out immediately.

Unfortunately for holiday wine enthusiasts, Aldi, whose $8 rosé is considered one of the best wines in the world, told USA Today in a statement that “the calendars will not be restocked once they are sold out.” Some are already up for grabs on eBay for a hefty price.

Not to fear, however — those still looking for adult beverage-fueled calendars, can spring for Vinebox’s $129 “Twelve Nights of Wine” or Virgin Wine’s $104.77 behemoth of a wine Advent calendar, which comes with 24 bottles of red, white, rosé, Prosecco, and a Champagne toast.

Stephen Hawking’s thesis and wheelchair sell for $1 million

A motorized wheelchair used by the late British physicist Stephen Hawking sold at auction on Thursday for almost 300,000 pounds ($391,740.00) while a dissertation raised nearly twice that at a sale…

Google hears protesters, changes sexual harassment policies

Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Thursday it would change the way it handles sexual harassment claims, a week after 20,000 of its workers around the world walked off their jobs to protest its response to such issues.

Disney’s new streaming service will be called Disney+

We knew Disney was building its own on-demand streaming service, à la Netflix or HBO GO, but we didn’t know the name.

Now we do. Disney’s new streaming service will be called Disney+.

While there’s been a few rumored names (it was misreported, at one point, to be “Disney Play”), word of this name comes straight from the Mouse House:

Disney+ will launch in “late” 2019 — which makes sense, as that’s right around the time Disney’s remaining contractual ties with Netflix come to an end.

Disney also dropped news about two new series:

  • An as-of-yet unnamed live action Star Wars series about Rogue One’s Cassian Andor, with Diego Luna returning for the role. It is set to take place prior to Rogue One. This, of course, is in addition to The Mandalorian, the series Jon Favreau is making for the service.
  • An unnamed live-action Marvel universe series focusing on Loki. Tom Hiddleston will return to the role.

Trump administration takes step to limit migrants’ asylum claims

The Trump administration took a major step on Thursday to restrict asylum claims by migrants, putting forward a regulation that would make individuals ineligible for asylum if they cross the U.S. southern border illegally.