Vrse Envisions a Cinematic Future for Virtual Reality Content

Vrse, a virtual reality content company headquartered in Los Angeles, recently brought on former Rdio chief executive Drew Larner as its chief operating officer. The company has also drawn investment from Andreessen Horowitz, Live Nation, Vice Media and Annapurna Pictures. It’s all about creating content that goes beyond gaming, notes chief executive Chris Milk. To that end, the company plans to produce its own content, through Vrse Works, and distribute its own and others’ through the Vrse app for VR headsets. Continue reading Vrse Envisions a Cinematic Future for Virtual Reality Content

Ad-Blockers Improve Load Times, Battery Life and Phone Bills

While ethical questions can be raised in regards to ad-blocking, the advantages seem obvious. All those ads clutter up the page, slow down load times and eat up battery life, say proponents of ad-blocking software. Over four days, staffers from The New York Times tested ad-blocking apps Crystal, Purify and 1Blocker on their iPhones, and “measured how much the programs cut down on Web page data sizes and improved loading times, and also how much they increased the smartphone’s battery life.” The results favored ad-blockers for mobile devices. Continue reading Ad-Blockers Improve Load Times, Battery Life and Phone Bills

TV Metrics Space Heating Up Between Nielsen and comScore

Nielsen, long the dominant player in audience measurement data for media companies and advertisers, now has competition. Recently, comScore, which measures consumer Web activity, made an all-stock purchase of Rentrak, which monitors set-top box data for information on consumers’ TV viewing habits. Nielsen, however, countered with its “total audience measurement tool,” which is slated to roll out by the end of 2015. Nielsen has been criticized as being slow to address media consumed on digital platforms. Continue reading TV Metrics Space Heating Up Between Nielsen and comScore

Twitter May Lift 140-Character Limit, Aimed at Mainstream Use

In an effort to build its user base, Twitter is thinking about tweaking one of its signature features: the 140-character limit on tweets. Although the new feature is in the planning stages and no Twitter executive would comment on any new plan, the idea of going beyond 140 characters is no surprise, having been debated for many years. In June, the company overrode the 140-character limit on private messages, signaling an openness to new rules. Interim chief executive Jack Dorsey is seen as likely to endorse change. Continue reading Twitter May Lift 140-Character Limit, Aimed at Mainstream Use

Nvidia Introduces GeForce NOW On-Demand Gaming Service

Nvidia has unveiled GeForce NOW, a subscription service that streams PC games from the cloud to SHIELD devices. GeForce NOW was re-architected based on information gained from running the GRID beta, which is ending; SHIELD devices will update to replace the GRID app with GeForce NOW. The service offers two key differentiators: better image quality and instant access. The new cloud-based offering will stream games at up to 1080p resolution at 60 fps, and even massive titles can reportedly begin streaming in less than 30 seconds. Continue reading Nvidia Introduces GeForce NOW On-Demand Gaming Service

Sony to Build Community of 4K Creators with YouTube Channel

Sony Professional Solutions America launched a YouTube channel dedicated to its own 4K camera, the F55, and 4K productions using it. The “Sony 4K” channel — which currently has 177 followers — was introduced by its two creators: channel manager Brett Erlich and director of Sony’s Digital Motion Picture Center Dan Perry. The channel will feature 4K content in three categories: a curated playlist of 4K productions shot with the F55, “tips and tricks” from the filmmakers using the camera, and how-to videos. Continue reading Sony to Build Community of 4K Creators with YouTube Channel

YouTube to Promote Links Between User Videos and Retailers

YouTube is debuting shopping ads that expand the ability to link to retailer’s websites from user-generated videos. The Google-owned company has already let advertisers link from their YouTube videos to their own websites. But now, anyone who shoots a YouTube video can opt in to a program that will create links to retailer websites for products highlighted in videos. The new feature is a response to the growing trend of user-generated product reviews and tutorials, and also adds shopping to the video-centric site. Continue reading YouTube to Promote Links Between User Videos and Retailers

TiVo Introduces Bolt DVR, Ready for Ultra HD and Ad-Skipping

TiVo introduced its new Bolt DVR this week, with features that TiVo customers have requested for years. That includes a new SkipMode that improves the device’s ability to leap over commercials on recorded content, 4K Ultra HD capability, and, with a fall update, an iOS app that allows the creation of a customized “What to Watch” screen built by selecting categories based on hobbies and interests. The new TiVo also offers an iOS app with AirPlay so users can stream content to Apple TV, and the company says it’s working on an app for Amazon Fire TV. Continue reading TiVo Introduces Bolt DVR, Ready for Ultra HD and Ad-Skipping

FCC May Consider New Standard to Open Up Control of STBs

The Federal Communications Commission is deliberating whether cable and satellite TV companies should have exclusive control of the set-top box, an idea applauded by Google and TiVo and vigorously opposed by the cable/satellite TV industry. Increased competition would lower costs and drive improvements in functionality, say Google and TiVo. Among the supporters of this idea is the COMPTEL trade group, whose membership includes Amazon and Netflix. The cable industry, already suffering losses to cord cutting, strenuously opposes the move. Continue reading FCC May Consider New Standard to Open Up Control of STBs

Facebook Unveils Metrics to Lure Traditional TV Advertisers

On the first day of Advertising Week in Manhattan, Facebook and Google both introduced new tools that will allow advertisers to plan and buy ad campaigns on their digital platforms. Facebook unveiled its offering that gives advertisers a more familiar method of buying ads, with metrics and other tools to understand their purchases. Both digital behemoths are aiming to offer advertisers an easier and more powerful path to their platforms, while they benefit by capturing more digital advertising dollars. Continue reading Facebook Unveils Metrics to Lure Traditional TV Advertisers

China and European Union to Create Working Definition for 5G

Although everyone is talking about 5G, no one has defined it — up until now. China and the European Union have agreed to create a working definition for 5G by the end of the year. If they do, their agreement could go far in forcing the issue in an environment in which others are posturing and issuing statements with little detail. Meanwhile, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which defined 3G and 4G, is also working on the standard but is unlikely to choose a technical standard until February 2016. Continue reading China and European Union to Create Working Definition for 5G

Twitter Tweaks TV Timelines, Expanding Pages and Availability

Twitter is now making its TV Timelines feature available to more users in an attempt to draw in more TV fans, networks and advertisers. TV Timelines, which aggregates TV-related content with a dedicated page for each TV show, is accessed via a separate interface within the Twitter app. When Twitter first debuted TV Timelines, it was only available to a select group of users and for a handful of TV shows. After several months of experimentation, Twitter has tweaked the feature, including adding shortcuts to users’ tweets. Continue reading Twitter Tweaks TV Timelines, Expanding Pages and Availability

Vevo, Pandora, Spotify: Defining Musical Tastes of Millennials

Millennials discover and listen to music differently than past generations, spending an average of 25 hours a week on streaming music services including Vevo, Pandora and Spotify. That’s one result reported by Vevo in its “Music Fan Report,” slated for release next week. Another way that millennials differ from past generations is that they generally do not consider themselves fans of any particular genre but rather are interested in finding new music, regardless of its musical category. Continue reading Vevo, Pandora, Spotify: Defining Musical Tastes of Millennials

IBM Targets Silicon Valley Startups with Planned Watson West

In 2016, IBM plans to open a West Coast headquarters for Watson, its artificial-intelligence system, in San Francisco. The company will also unveil new Watson capabilities, including speech, language understanding, image recognition and sentiment analysis, all of which are associated with AI in computing. The East Coast headquarters in downtown Manhattan was established in January 2014 as a separate business. Watson West, expected to employ several hundred people, is aimed at Silicon Valley startups. Continue reading IBM Targets Silicon Valley Startups with Planned Watson West

Netflix to Open its Own Studio, Lessen Reliance on Hollywood

Up until now, Netflix has made its “original” programming by relying on Hollywood studios. In fact, many of the biggest hits associated with Netflix Originals are actually owned by other studios. But, as some studios grumble about the arrangement, Netflix is taking steps to produce its own original programming, most notably by leasing a 200,000 square foot space in Hollywood, which it plans to open in early 2017. The first production under consideration is Chelsea Handler’s new talk show. Continue reading Netflix to Open its Own Studio, Lessen Reliance on Hollywood

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