Tech Firms Test AI Solutions to Combat Inappropriate Content

Digital platforms Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft and Periscope are implementing new ways to fight some of the worst misdeeds of the Internet: hate speech, pornography, graphic and gratuitous violence, threats and trolling. To do so, they are relying on a new range of solutions mainly but not entirely fueled by artificial intelligence. In recent months, all these Internet companies have been the target of lawsuits and harsh criticism for their inability to remove such content in a timely fashion. Continue reading Tech Firms Test AI Solutions to Combat Inappropriate Content

Dish Ships HopperGO, Mobile Video Solution for Hopper Users

The Dish HopperGO, originally announced at CES, is now shipping, and early reviews deem it a good device for specific uses. About half the size of a smartphone, the tiny device is basically a 64GB USB drive with built-in wireless access that connects to the user’s Dish Hopper 3 or Hopper 2 and offers a capacity of up to 100 hours of TV. The user can unplug the device and then watch four hours on one charge through the Dish Anywhere app. The device’s interface consists of an “on” button and a USB port. Continue reading Dish Ships HopperGO, Mobile Video Solution for Hopper Users

Qualcomm Debuts Chips for Broadband, Wi-Fi and Wearables

At the Computex trade show in Taiwan, San Diego-based Qualcomm introduced new chips for connected landlines, wireless Wi-Fi networks and wearables. To expand broadband communications network capacity, the company’s Atheros business unveiled GigaDSL chips that let broadband operators transition away from VDSL technology to Gigabit access. The company is also debuting a three-way radio chip to be used for Wi-Fi wireless data networking as well as a new set of Snapdragon Wear chips for wearable devices. Continue reading Qualcomm Debuts Chips for Broadband, Wi-Fi and Wearables

Google Pushes Phone Makers and Carriers to Update Android

Google has increased its efforts to get cellphone manufacturers and carriers to update to the latest version of Android. That includes speeding up security updates, offering technology workarounds and limiting phone testing requirements. To back up these enticements, Google is also publicly naming the laggards in a ranking intended to shame manufacturers into catching up. At stake are not simply Google’s latest operating system but new offerings such as its Daydream virtual reality system. Continue reading Google Pushes Phone Makers and Carriers to Update Android

Facebook, Microsoft, Telefónica Partner on Trans-Atlantic Link

Facebook and Microsoft have partnered on Marea, a project to build a new fiber optic cable that will run for 4,000 miles under the Atlantic Ocean between Virginia and Spain. Telefónica SA, a Spanish Internet service provider, joins them in the project. The fiber link, composed of eight pairs of strands, will be the highest capacity link across the Atlantic. Marea, the Spanish word for tide, is just the latest such project that Microsoft, Facebook, Alphabet, and Amazon have invested in to lower costs of moving massive amounts of data. Continue reading Facebook, Microsoft, Telefónica Partner on Trans-Atlantic Link

Alamo Drafthouse, Legion M Team Up to Produce Film, TV, VR

In a newly inked deal, Alamo Drafthouse, the indie theater chain/film distributor, will place executives on the advisory board of startup studio Legion M to evaluate scripts and talent for feature films, shorts, and virtual reality experiences among other potential entertainment projects. Alamo and Legion M portray their agreement as a revolutionary way for fans to become key stakeholders in the success; thus far, Legion M has raised $400,000 from accredited investors and nearly $141,000 from fans. Continue reading Alamo Drafthouse, Legion M Team Up to Produce Film, TV, VR

Top Game Console Companies Test Tweaking Release Cycles

At least some game console manufacturers have decided not to wait for long release cycles to upgrade their hardware, but instead will begin to release new capabilities in between generations. Microsoft has said as much with regard to its next Xbox One, code-named Scorpio, and Sony has reportedly made noises that its upcoming releases will have forward and backward compatibility. They are both following the model of devices like PCs and smartphones that operate on a continuous evolution cycle. Continue reading Top Game Console Companies Test Tweaking Release Cycles

New European Proposals Outline Video Streaming Regulations

European officials have proposed new rules for video streaming companies as part of an effort to regulate online services for the region’s 500 million consumers. Part of that effort would be to require streaming companies to not only carry a certain amount of local content, but to chip in to pay for its development, as do national broadcasters. The goal, say officials, is to boost the region’s local economies. Apple, Facebook and Netflix, which dominate the European online space, would be the U.S. companies most impacted. Continue reading New European Proposals Outline Video Streaming Regulations

Open-Source Startups and VCs Craft a New Model for Success

Today’s open-source software startups are trying a new tack to gain adoption, after the first generation mainly failed to successfully launch. That first generation sold services to support technology widely available on the Internet, but very few of them — Red Hat, with its $2 billion in annual revenue is one exception — were able to scale up. The new approach involves providing free software to users, followed by proprietary products that work with that software; VC firm Accel Partners is now funding some of these companies. Continue reading Open-Source Startups and VCs Craft a New Model for Success

Podcast Companies Try Out Subscription Model to Replace Ads

Some podcasts are experimenting with paid subscriptions rather than advertising as the way to generate revenue. Swedish-based podcast app and ad network Acast unveiled a service, Acast+, to enable that, taking a share of the revenue for letting podcast creators set their own prices and sell content directly to listeners without ads. Although current podcasts use the platform to hawk exclusive bonus content, Acast’s plan is to entice social media stars and celebrities to create new podcasts for their fans. Continue reading Podcast Companies Try Out Subscription Model to Replace Ads

Facebook Overlays Live Video with Viewer Comments, Emoji

Facebook now puts viewer comments and reaction emoji as an overlaid graph on Live videos. That enables a user who fast-forwards through a recorded Live clip to identify which parts of the video are worth watching and which can be skipped. The new capability could encourage amateurs to pay more attention to how their videos are shot and paced, ultimately making their content more compelling. Periscope offers a similar ability to leave real-time feedback in the form of “hearts” on live streams. Continue reading Facebook Overlays Live Video with Viewer Comments, Emoji

ELeague Broadcasts Gaming Competitions on TBS and Twitch

Turner and WME|IMG’s new gaming league ELeague, which began showing “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” competitions via online video streaming service Twitch, will now debut the winning teams this Friday at 10 p.m. on national cable TV channel TBS. This is the latest attempt to bring eSports to TV, including one by DirecTV, which failed to gain traction. The trick to make it succeed is to translate eSports “online sensibility” to television, bringing some of its 214 million 18-to-25 year old viewers along for the ride. Continue reading ELeague Broadcasts Gaming Competitions on TBS and Twitch

Google Tweaks AdWords to Boost Value of Mobile Ecosystem

At the Google Performance Summit, the company announced changes to the look and feel of AdWords in an increasingly mobile world. Over half of the trillions of searches it gets annually are from mobile devices, with location-related mobile searches growing 50 percent faster than all others. Among the changes to mobile ads, character limits for text-based mobile ads will increase from two 35-character lines to one 80-character line, and headlines will expand from one to two lines with 30-character limits. Continue reading Google Tweaks AdWords to Boost Value of Mobile Ecosystem

ETC@USC Tests Production in the Cloud with ‘The Suitcase’

At the London Hotel in West Hollywood, the Entertainment Technology Center @ USC unveiled “The Suitcase,” a 20-minute film that serves as a proof of concept for production in the cloud. “We wanted to examine how we create a common framework for all the different resources you’re dealing with in the IT environment,” said ETC Project Cloud senior project lead Erik Weaver. “This short film was a way to bring those things together — including an end-to-end HDR color workflow and metadata — and test them out.” Continue reading ETC@USC Tests Production in the Cloud with ‘The Suitcase’

What Twitter’s NFL Deal Means For Live Sports on TV, Online

Twitter’s acquisition of the rights for “Thursday Night Football” shows that a social media platform can compete with traditional broadcasters for the highest value of all TV rights deals. Although it’s not clear whether the deal indicates that more non-traditional deals are in the offing, one thing is certain: because sports organizations want viewers to be able access their events on any device at any time, they lead other content owners in figuring out what the new viewing ecosystem might look like. Continue reading What Twitter’s NFL Deal Means For Live Sports on TV, Online