Internet Service Providers Compete for OTT Video Dominance

Competition in the OTT video market has heated up over this last year, and will likely build over the coming year, say some experts. Currently in online video, the top five online video destinations account for 85 percent of the market share. High-trafficked video destinations include YouTube and Facebook and TV brands such as ESPN, CNN and Fox Sports. But the mid-to-long tail sites have almost no video — which is worth significantly more than display advertising — making it an opportunity that’s been waiting to happen. Continue reading Internet Service Providers Compete for OTT Video Dominance

SEC Greenlights Crowdfunding for Startups, Keeps Watchful Eye

After three years of consideration, the Securities and Exchange Commission now allows ordinary investors to take equity stakes in startups through crowdfunding. The move began with the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS Act, to assist startups and small businesses to raise capital from potential investors. But, until last week, only investors whose net worth was greater than $1 million (excluding their primary residences) or earned more than $200,000 a year were permitted to invest via crowdfunding. Continue reading SEC Greenlights Crowdfunding for Startups, Keeps Watchful Eye

Users Express Concern Over Snapchat’s Updated Privacy Policy

Snapchat has appealed to its fans for a variety of reasons, chief among them the fact that its photo messages disappear once they’ve been opened. That ephemeral nature has now been up-ended with the startup’s new Terms of Service. Whereas, formerly, Snapchat noted that its privacy policy was “delete is our default,” its new terms state that the company has the right, specifically in regards to the ‘Live Story’ feature, to reproduce, modify and republish photos as well as save them to Shapchat’s servers. The update has led to concern and confusion by many users. Continue reading Users Express Concern Over Snapchat’s Updated Privacy Policy

SMPTE 2015: Examining HDR Tech Challenges and Solutions

High dynamic range is lauded for its more vivid colors and life-like imagery. Initially introduced by TV set manufacturers, an increasing number of gear manufacturers have introduced HDR capabilities and SMPTE just released standard specifications. But implementing HDR into production, post production and distribution can also create problems that degrade the image, with artifacts and banding. Several experts talked about the challenges in implementing HDR, and the potential solutions to them. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Examining HDR Tech Challenges and Solutions

SMPTE 2015: Experts Greenlight IP Technology for Broadcast

Television production facilities began incorporating IP, or Internet Protocol, technology several years ago, and an increasing number of broadcast equipment manufacturers are supporting the video/audio signal transport format. But is IP networking mature and robust enough for broadcasters to consider replacing their now-standard SDI networks with “all IP” versions? Broadcasters and broadcast equipment manufacturers have been busy trying to answer that question, and some of their results were presented at SMPTE 2015. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Experts Greenlight IP Technology for Broadcast

SMPTE 2015: Preserving and Archiving for the Next 150 Years

In addition to tackling issues related to new technologies — from Ultra HD to high dynamic range and high frame rates — SMPTE also considers how to preserve film and assets of the past. In a wide-ranging morning of sessions, experts considered the factors required to view archival content on HDR projectors or HDR displays; how the Library of Congress maintains the viability of over 7 million audio-visual assets for a mandated 150 years; and how to restore the original, variable frame rates of silent films for digital projection. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Preserving and Archiving for the Next 150 Years

SMPTE 2015: Hollywood Engineers Examine OTT Deployment

As OTT becomes an increasingly compelling delivery platform, engineers born and bred on over-the-air, cable and satellite technologies are closely examining various schemes for deployment. On SMPTE 2015’s second day, sessions focused on that topic, featuring panelists from Prime Focus Technologies, Comcast and USC Viterbi School of Engineering. The big take-away was that going over-the-top might take some planning but it’s a worthwhile route to take, to engage viewers and provide more data for advertisers. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Hollywood Engineers Examine OTT Deployment

SMPTE 2015: Delineating Ways to Broadcast Ultra HD 4K TV

The future of high dynamic range (HDR), wide color gamut and high frame rate (HFR) are a focus in the industry, so it was no surprise that several presentations at SMPTE 2015 took a closer look at these topics. One panelist made the point that the human visual system doesn’t see resolution, color gamut and frame rate as separate parameters, therefore we can’t treat them as such. Broadcasters working to playback UHD/4K TV are dealing with issues as their plants evolve from SDI-only to SDI/IP hybrid transport. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Delineating Ways to Broadcast Ultra HD 4K TV

SMPTE 2015: Post Production Is Moving to the Cloud, Slowly

In the world of UHD/4K, movies and TV programs can require massive amounts of compute power. Take a recent 50-minute UHD natural history documentary that Sundog Media Toolkit worked on. Chief executive Richard Welsh reports it ran for four hours on over 5,000 processors. The necessity for finding huge amounts of compute power is becoming a challenge for productions, he notes.We could have run that job in real time if we had split it up more, and that would have taken us up to more than 20,000 processors for one hour.” Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Post Production Is Moving to the Cloud, Slowly

SMPTE 2015: VR, AR Open Annual TV/Film Engineering Show

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers opened its annual conference in Hollywood with a day devoted to the technical and artistic challenges of virtual reality and augmented reality, otherwise known as mixed reality. AMD lead architect for VR and advanced rendering Layla Mah gave the keynote address, detailing the technical parameters that will allow VR to become a commercial reality: an untethered device capable of one petaflop (a quadrillion floating point operations per second) among other criteria. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: VR, AR Open Annual TV/Film Engineering Show

SMPTE 2015: Challenges of Adding HDR, HFR and Color to 4K

At the SMPTE 2015 annual conference, broadcast consultant Jim DeFilippis, Grass Valley camera executive Klaus Weber, and Panasonic researcher Hiroaki Iwasaki, among others, looked at the challenges involved with adding higher frame rates, higher dynamic range and wider color gamut for 4K resolution and beyond. Baylor University professors Corey Carbonara and Michael Korpi attempted to find the perfect amount of frame rates, exposure times, lighting, and refresh rates to arrive at the best image. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Challenges of Adding HDR, HFR and Color to 4K

SMPTE 2015: Verizon’s Middleton Says Linear TV Is Not Dead

At the Industry Luncheon on SMPTE 2015’s second day, Verizon Digital Media Services chief product officer Ted Middleton delivered the keynote address, which was, in part, a paean to the joys of linear TV. The luncheon also honored Wendy Aylsworth, the first woman to be SMPTE president, and showed a trailer for “Moving Images,” a retrospective of the science and engineering behind the industry’s cinema and television, directed by Howard Lukk and sparked by SMPTE’s upcoming 100th anniversary. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Verizon’s Middleton Says Linear TV Is Not Dead

InVisage Debuts Sensor Coating it Claims is Superior to CMOS

InVisage, a California-based startup, is introducing two new technologies to improve cameras: QuantumFilm is its proprietary nano-coating material that, says the company, results in sharper, higher dynamic range images and more naturalistic motion than silicon-coated CMOS sensors which become less efficient at transmitting light at higher resolution. QuantumCinema uses the nano-coating to replace the silicon-coated COS sensors, to offer “cinema quality” and higher dynamic range imagery for smartphone cameras. Continue reading InVisage Debuts Sensor Coating it Claims is Superior to CMOS

Google Using RankBrain Artificial Intelligence Tech for Search

Google is now relying on artificial intelligence, with a system dubbed RankBrain, for a small but significant part of its search business. Since Google is identified with search, keeping on the bleeding edge of search technology is critical to its dominance, and Google has been researching artificial intelligence — software that learns about the world — for over five years. Prior to launching RankBrain for search, Google has been a big corporate sponsor of AI, invested in it for videos, speech and translation. Continue reading Google Using RankBrain Artificial Intelligence Tech for Search

Fox Innovation Lab to Debut Virtual Reality with ‘The Martian”

For box-office hit “The Martian,” 20th Century Fox and its Fox Innovation Lab developed a VR experience that will debut as a commercial release in the first half of 2016. The VR experience relies on Oculus headsets but will also be available with other devices. The experience is based on the lead character of the movie, putting viewers into the challenges faced by astronaut Mark Watney on Mars. Filmmaker Robert Stromberg said the “thrilling” experience aims to provoke a wide range of emotions including anxiety and success. Continue reading Fox Innovation Lab to Debut Virtual Reality with ‘The Martian”

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