Kapture Audio Debuts Sensor-Based Recording Tech at CES

In discussing CES 2016 trends, Consumer Technology Association CTO Shawn DuBravac identified “ambient sensing,” or the ability of sensors to monitor and measure data in continuous time. On the stage at CES, he showcased a product that exemplifies some of the innovation possible with ambient sensing. Kapture Audio, a wearable platform and app, enables users to capture 60-seconds of audio and share it with others. DuBravac interviewed co-founder Mike Sarow about the device and its capabilities. Continue reading Kapture Audio Debuts Sensor-Based Recording Tech at CES

CES to Break Records, Showcase Key Tech Trends for 2016

CES 2016 will be the largest in the organization’s 49-year history, says chief economist Shawn DuBravac. With 2.4 million square feet of exhibit space — equal to 50 football fields — the show is expected to welcome 150,000 attendees, including 45,000 international visitors from 150 countries. DuBravac reported that the name of CES producer the Consumer Electronics Association has changed to the Consumer Technology Association, to better reflect its current mix of members including Uber, Lyft, Snapchat and Airbnb. Continue reading CES to Break Records, Showcase Key Tech Trends for 2016

Global CE Industry Impacted by Strong Dollar, China Slowdown

The global economy is getting back on track, says CTA senior director of market research Steve Koenig, but tech spending is down, with growth moderate or negative in key sectors including TV, smartphones, laptops and tablets. The strongest U.S. dollar in 13 years makes it “unfavorable to conversion of global currencies.” “GDP growth is moderate and uneven,” he said. “We see disparate fortunes between advanced markets and developing economies. And everyone is dealing with the slowdown in China. It’s a very, very mixed bag.” Continue reading Global CE Industry Impacted by Strong Dollar, China Slowdown

Pandora Ends Long Fight with ASCAP, BMI Over Royalty Rates

Pandora Media has ended its ongoing legal battles with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) over royalty rights, without disclosing the details of their new licensing agreement. Pandora previously licensed both performing-rights group’s catalogs based on rates that had been determined by the U.S. District Court in Manhattan that sets music royalty fees when the parties can’t agree. ASCAP and BMI currently represent a combined collection of 20 million songs. Continue reading Pandora Ends Long Fight with ASCAP, BMI Over Royalty Rates

SpaceX Closer to Space Travel with Successful Rocket Mission

In a first, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) successfully sent a rocket into space and then back to earth, where it landed, standing and in one piece, near the launch site in Florida. For SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk, the success marks another major step towards the ultimate goal of sending people to Mars. This is the company’s first flight in half a year; its last rocket launch, carrying supplies to the International Space Station, ended in the rocket’s complete destruction. Continue reading SpaceX Closer to Space Travel with Successful Rocket Mission

CES: Ford/Google Partnership Highlights Autonomous Cars

At CES 2016, a record-breaking 464 automotive electronics companies will exhibit a broad range of new developments, with trends from VR/AR interfaces to modular infotainment systems. Going head-to-head with Tier 1 auto suppliers are Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, which are targeted for adoption as native interfaces. From automakers, Ford is expected to announce a partnership with Google to create self-driving vehicles, a synergistic pairing that boosts both companies’ fortunes. Continue reading CES: Ford/Google Partnership Highlights Autonomous Cars

Holiday Season Top Movies Heavily Pirated Before Releases

Shortly after screeners were sent to voters for awards consideration, some of Hollywood’s top movies of the current holiday season — most notably “The Revenant” and “The Hateful Eight” — have been pirated. Within a 24-hour period after being posted by Hive-CM8 and other piracy groups, “The Revenant” was downloaded to over 739,580 unique IP addresses, and “The Hateful Eight,” to 569,153 IP addresses. Both are slated to premiere on Christmas Day. “Creed,” although already released, logged 499,082 illegal downloads. Continue reading Holiday Season Top Movies Heavily Pirated Before Releases

Apple Plans to Leverage Hi-Res Audio Format for Streaming

Apple Music subscribers are poised to enjoy the results of recent Apple development of the new Hi-Res Audio format with an expanded 96kHz, 24-bit sampling rate. The Hi-Res Audio format leverages the high fidelity audio output capability of Apple’s new Lightning ports, which were introduced last year and utilized by Philips, JBL and others for Lightning-equipped headphones. Japanese site Macotakara, with input from inside sources, says Apple Music will debut Hi-Res music streaming next year. Continue reading Apple Plans to Leverage Hi-Res Audio Format for Streaming

‘Star Wars’ Smashes Box Office, Rallies Blockbuster Strategy

On its opening weekend, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” demolished box office records — as well as the trope that crowds no longer throng to movie theaters, even in the first days. The Walt Disney Company’s latest “Star Wars” movie brought in about $517 million globally, a success that is stunning in its size and scope, and that underscores Hollywood studios’ efforts to focus on repurposing the blockbuster, from “Avatar” to “Frozen.” According to Disney, 3D screenings account for 47 percent of the gross. Continue reading ‘Star Wars’ Smashes Box Office, Rallies Blockbuster Strategy

Boon for 4K: HEVC Advance Lowers Video Licensing Rates

The prospects of 4K video have brightened. That’s because the HEVC Advance group that licenses the H.265/HEVC video format enabling 4K’s higher data rate to traverse through existing pipes just adjusted its royalty rates. Up until now, the group wanted steep rates, even from free outlets, and without a cap. With the new, revamped licensing scheme, HEVC Advance not only cuts rates in half but sets a yearly cap between $2.5 million to $40 million per year, depending on the service or device type. Continue reading Boon for 4K: HEVC Advance Lowers Video Licensing Rates

Juniper Networks Backdoor Hack Likely From Foreign Nation

Tech giant Juniper Networks just found unauthorized code — essentially a backdoor — in the operating system running some of its firewalls. The hidden backdoor, found in versions of the company’s ScreenOS software dating back to at least August 2012, enable hackers to take complete control of Juniper NetScreen firewalls as well as decrypt encrypted traffic running through the Virtual Private Networks (VPN) on the firewalls. The FBI is investigating the breach, which appears to be the work of a foreign government. Continue reading Juniper Networks Backdoor Hack Likely From Foreign Nation

Copyright Infringement Ruling: Cox to Pay BMG $25 Million

In a significant victory for BMG and copyright enforcer Rightscorp, a federal jury in Virginia found Cox Communications guilty of ignoring music piracy, directing that it pay BMG $25 million for the violations. Although Rightscorp was not named as a plaintiff, it provided the evidence that made it possible for BMG to go to trial. Rightscorp has been sending out copyright notices asking for $20 to $30 per song for what users believed were pirated songs. Cox was the biggest holdout, making them a target for BMG and Rightscorp. Continue reading Copyright Infringement Ruling: Cox to Pay BMG $25 Million

Google to Spin Off Autonomous Cars as Alphabet Company

In 2016, Google will spin off its driverless car unit, currently part of Google X, as a standalone business under the Alphabet aegis. With more than 1 million miles clocked on public roads, the company already has a hefty lead on competitors, including Uber Technologies, which has raised more than $10 billion towards its own work creating an autonomous car. Google first plans to launch a service, with fleets of large and small vehicles deployed in closed areas such as college campuses, military bases and corporate complexes. Continue reading Google to Spin Off Autonomous Cars as Alphabet Company

FCC Queries Comcast, AT&T and T-Mobile About Data Caps

Comcast, AT&T, and T-Mobile USA received a letter from the FCC asking them to answer questions about their use of “zero rating,” by which some types of content are exempted from a customer’s data cap. Though FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler insisted this doesn’t constitute an investigation, the FCC has previously noted that data cap exemptions can favor the exempted content over content that counts against a customer’s data use. The FCC asked the companies’ technical and business personnel to be available for discussions by January 15. Continue reading FCC Queries Comcast, AT&T and T-Mobile About Data Caps

Disney Partners with Alibaba to Bring OTT Service to China

Having inked a multi-year licensing agreement, Alibaba and The Walt Disney Company will begin pre-sales of DisneyLife, an OTT system aimed to increase sales of movie-related toys and trips to Disneyland. The system’s device will be sold on Alibaba’s online shopping site Tmall starting December 28. Priced at $125, the Mickey Mouse-shaped device comes with a free one-year subscription and lets customers connect to Disney and Pixar movies, cartoon series, e-books, music and games, as well as plan a trip to the Shanghai and Hong Kong Disneyland theme parks.

Continue reading Disney Partners with Alibaba to Bring OTT Service to China

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