Majority of Entertainment Hardware Not Actually Connected

In a study conducted by NPD Group with over 4,000 participants, only 47 percent of home entertainment devices, such as Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, smart TVs and streaming media devices are connected to the Internet. Results of the study also determined that 40 percent of connected televisions are used to watch Netflix content, with other video sites such as YouTube following at 17 percent, and Hulu at 11 percent. Read More »

Kaleidescape Launches Download Store for HD Movies

Home entertainment server maker Kaleidescape opened its own download store for HD movies this week. This new system lets users download “Blu-ray quality” versions of movies that can then be played through Kaleidescape or on the Web and through mobile devices via UltraViolet. However, there is a concern regarding the amount of data each download will consume, as each movie can average around 50GB. Read More »

Netflix Loses Almost 1,800 Movies from Streaming Catalog

Netflix is clearing nearly 1,800 movies from its library this week. The service is dropping certain titles due to expiring licensing deals with studios MGM, Universal and Warner Bros. The list is largely comprised of lesser known, older titles and is not being viewed as significant as when Netflix lost many newer films after it failed to renew its streaming agreement with Starz. However, the move may still be seen by some as a sign of future change. Read More »

New Titles and EST Boost Home Entertainment Spending

Consumers spent approximately $4.69 billion on home entertainment purchases and rentals during Q1 2013, according to the Digital Entertainment Group. Spending rose more than five percent over the same period in 2012, due to a new slate of titles and growth of electronic sell-through (largely a result of increased access to digital content). Some credit the success of UltraViolet, which may be loosening Apple’s grip on the EST market. Read More »

BYOD: Companies Encourage Employees to Bring Their Own

Many companies plan to lower costs by encouraging employees to bring their own electronic devices to work. Gartner released a study that predicts the number of workers using mobile apps in the workplace will double by 2015. ”BYOD strategies are the most radical change to the economics and the culture of client computing in business in decades,” claims David Willis, VP and analyst at Gartner. “The benefits of BYOD include creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing or avoiding costs.” Read More »

Developer Conducts P2P Experiment: Piracy or Entrapment?

Greenheart Games pulled a switch on gamers this week by providing a crippled version of a game on BitTorrent. The illegal version of “Game Dev Tycoon” will stop at a certain point, indicating that the product has been pirated. While this strategy was initiated as an experiment to draw attention to software piracy, and not to seek out and prosecute offenders, it has raised some interesting and complex legal issues. Read More »

Expect Labs Software Understands Phone Conversations

Mobile carrier Telefónica is testing technology from Expect Labs that listens in on phone calls. The new type of artificial intelligence provides suggestions based on key terms in a phone conversation, by converting the conversation to text and offering instant relevant information. New investments in the San Francisco startup have been made by Telefónica, Samsung and Intel. Google Ventures invested in Expect Labs back in October. Read More »

Rabbit Hops Into the Game with New Video Chat Program

Startup company Rabbit has created a video chat program in which users can share music and videos in real-time while chatting with one another. Users can have multiple conversations with friends, that all appear in circular bubbles to enhance the feeling of being in the same space together. The new approach by Rabbit could possibly provide competition for other successful programs such as Skype, Apple’s FaceTime, and Google+ Hangouts. Read More »

Shift to Mobile Devices Makes Hotels Rethink Entertainment

LodgeNet, which provides television services to hotels, has revamped its video-on-demand and Internet programs after claiming bankruptcy. Hotel video-on-demand programs have been shifting as an increasing amount of travelers have started bringing their entertainment with them. Hotels are now trying to find new ways to keep cable and Internet packages without losing profits and customers. Read More »

Google Joins FIDO Alliance: Hopes to Replace Passwords

Google has joined a consortium of technology companies that plans to make online accounts more secure. The FIDO Alliance, which was founded in part by Lenovo and PayPal, launched a set of technology standards earlier in the year that could reduce reliance on passwords. The group hopes hardware can have more of a role in authenticating users, and has been working on different ideas such as security chips and voice recognition. Read More »

Shapeways Ready to Become the Amazon of 3D Printing?

3D printing company Shapeways, that creates made-to-order products, has raised $30 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures and Lux Capital. With the new financial infusion, the company is planning to build factories and bring on new hires. The investment is also expected to enable more companies and individuals access to high-end 3D printers to create and sell their products. Read More »

Citizen Journalism: Ustream Covers Boston Manhunt Live

The live streaming site Ustream increased its viewership recently with the help of citizen journalism. During the manhunt for Boston bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev, live information was streamed from a police scanner via the free platform. The site drew an audience of 2.5 million, with 265,000 simultaneous viewers at its peak moment. Notably, nearly half tuned in from their mobile devices. Read More »

Sony and OK Go Record Sounds of the Northern Lights

Popular band OK Go traveled to the Arctic Circle in Northern Sweden to capture the “sound” of the Aurora Borealis, better known as the Northern Lights. As part of a new collaboration with Sony, the band used a variety of Sony electronic devices to record the natural phenomenon for a music video and Sony advertising campaign. The video is scheduled to launch in May of this year. Read More »

Hasbro Reaches Out to Fans for New Transformer Character

Hasbro announced its “Fan Built Bot” poll to help kick-off the Transformers 30th anniversary celebration scheduled for 2014. The global poll to create the next Transformer character is open to all age groups and runs until May 5th. The fan designed Transformer will be featured in new comic books and be a part of the “Thrilling 30” special edition collectible action figures from Hasbro. Read More »

Gaming Takes Physical Therapy Program to the Next Level

At the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, doctors are taking a new approach to pain therapy. Patients are encouraged to be active through the use of interactive video gaming consoles such as the Xbox 360. This new type of therapy allows doctors to track data and progress of patients, while the children are physically and mentally stimulated in order to improve their health. Read More »