Magic Leap Reveals AR Headset, Its First Step to End Reality

Magic Leap finally came out with Magic Leap One, its long-anticipated augmented reality headset. The goggles are dubbed Lightwear, powered by the Lightpack, a small computer that the user mounts on her hip. The two-piece AR device is “engineered to be lightweight and comfortable for hours of exploration,” says the company, noting that it combines its Digital Lightfield technology with environment mapping, precision tracking and soundfield audio. Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz adds that the device also has a powerful CPU and GPU. Continue reading Magic Leap Reveals AR Headset, Its First Step to End Reality

Preparing for Targeted Ads and Better Metrics With Smart TVs

The advent of smart TVs connected to the Internet has opened up new ways to gather data about the viewing of TV shows and ads. Three companies — Sorenson Media, Alphonso and Verance — are getting ready to leverage new technologies. The first, which is known for its video compression and coding technology, has a way to detect and analyze what’s on a smart TV screen and play the ad best targeted for a specific household. The company has created deals with smart TV manufacturers to have access to the data necessary to do so. Continue reading Preparing for Targeted Ads and Better Metrics With Smart TVs

Facebook, Universal Music Ink Licensing Deal for User Videos

Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, the world’s largest record company, has licensed its music catalog to Facebook. The deal, which focuses on the music in user-generated videos, covers songs that will be used in the background on videos and so-called social experiences on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Oculus. For Facebook, the deal is aimed at encouraging users to post more videos, key to the company’s current video-centric strategy. A day before this deal was struck, Universal also reached an agreement with YouTube. Continue reading Facebook, Universal Music Ink Licensing Deal for User Videos

VR Gaming Turns to Cryptocurrencies for Buying Virtual Assets

VR games and cryptocurrencies are joining forces. Social virtual reality company High Fidelity, co-founded by “Second Life” creator Philip Rosedale, began developing a blockchain for in-game cryptocurrency and intellectual protection in 2017. Now the company has debuted Avatar Island, a VR shopping center for avatars created by digital artists around the globe, and will accept payment in a new cryptocurrency running on blockchain. Rosedale notes that Linden Dollar for “Second Life” was one of the first digital goods currencies. Continue reading VR Gaming Turns to Cryptocurrencies for Buying Virtual Assets

Apple to Merge Software Development for iOS & macOS Apps

Although apps have been a huge success on Apple’s iPhone and iPad, the same cannot be said for its laptop and desktop computers. Apple hopes to change that by creating apps that work equally well across all its devices, including Macs. Beginning as early as 2018, software developers will have the capability to design a single application that will work with a touchscreen, mouse or trackpad, across the iPhone/iPad operating system or Mac hardware, say sources. Currently, they must design two apps, one for iOS and another for macOS. Continue reading Apple to Merge Software Development for iOS & macOS Apps

BlackBerry Bets on Operating Systems for Self-Driving Vehicles

BlackBerry is now focusing its efforts on QNX, a division to create technology for in-car entertainment and information systems. The Canadian company plans to spend $76 million and double its QNX engineering staff to 1,000 in the next few years. Although BlackBerry competes with major tech companies in autonomous vehicles, it has already inked partnerships with Ford Motor Company and General Motors’ spinoff Aptiv (formerly Delphi Automotive). Deals with Tata Motors and Jaguar Land Rover are also pending. QNX tech will be on display at CES 2018 next month. Continue reading BlackBerry Bets on Operating Systems for Self-Driving Vehicles

CES 2018: Wide Array of Conference Tracks for M&E Industry

CES 2018 features 2.5 million net square feet of exhibit space that sprawls through the Las Vegas Convention Center, Sands Hotel and Casino, Aria Resort, Venetian, Monte Carlo, Renaissance, Westgate Resort, The Palazzo, Vdara and two Wynn properties. If your feet and brain rebel after walking the floor for hours, CES offers a great alternative: over 200 sessions on the industry’s most pressing issues and new technologies, featuring top creatives and executives. The 200 sessions are divided into topic-specific tracks. Continue reading CES 2018: Wide Array of Conference Tracks for M&E Industry

Facebook’s Facial Recognition Features Spur Privacy Debate

Facebook is debuting facial recognition that will automatically notify users when their photo is posted; the feature is part of the social media company’s answer to criticisms from European regulators, the U.S. and elsewhere that it is disseminating fake news and hate speech, as well as not respecting privacy rights. The feature is based on technology already in use to suggest tags for people in posted photos. Although the company hopes it could help combat some abuses, it may raise more privacy issues. Continue reading Facebook’s Facial Recognition Features Spur Privacy Debate

Caavo to Ship Universal Remote Control With Machine Vision

Caavo is a universal TV control system that uses machine vision (which the company dubs Caavo Vision) to navigate behind the scenes of every streaming, cable and satellite box. The company, which first promised to ship units in June, now states that 5,000 units will be on sale for $399 on February 14. The company also raised another $17.5 million in venture capital, bringing the total to $32.5 million. Caavo differs from other universal remotes in that it can create a single search index and watchlist across devices and services. Continue reading Caavo to Ship Universal Remote Control With Machine Vision

YouTube Signs Agreement With Universal, Sony Music Labels

After two years of negotiations, YouTube is finally inking a long-term pact with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, the top two music labels. The new agreement, say the labels, establishes royalty rates for rights holders of professional music videos and user-loaded clips, offers stronger policing of uploads of copyrighted songs, and gives artists more money and flexibility. The deal is also a precursor to YouTube launching a paid music service early in 2018. Continue reading YouTube Signs Agreement With Universal, Sony Music Labels

NBCUniversal Snags Mobile Rights to ‘Sunday Night Football’

NBCUniversal inked a deal with NFL for the rights to stream “Sunday Night Football” to mobile phones, beginning in 2018 and including Super Bowl LII on February 4. The media titan, which will stream the games through its “TV Everywhere” mobile phone offering, has been streaming “Sunday Night Football” to various platforms since 2008, but this is the first time it will be able to stream the No. 1 primetime TV show on all digital platforms. Cable subscribers have had access to the games via apps for tablets and smart TVs. Continue reading NBCUniversal Snags Mobile Rights to ‘Sunday Night Football’

Amazon Lowers Echo Prices to Gain Foothold in Smart Home

It’s a great time to buy a smart speaker, due to Amazon lowering prices of its six Echo devices on Black Friday. Over the Thanksgiving Day weekend, the entry-level Dot — whose price plummeted from $50 to $30 — became the No. 1 seller on Amazon’s website. Amazon, Apple and Google share the same strategy for smart speakers and their virtual assistants: as an entry point to the connected home. But because home speakers’ functionality is limited, consumers don’t see them as necessary and aren’t willing to pay a high price. Continue reading Amazon Lowers Echo Prices to Gain Foothold in Smart Home

Walmart, Target to Compete with Amazon’s Grocery Delivery

Now that Amazon has entered the U.S. grocery market, offering home delivery, other companies selling food are stepping up their operations. Walmart is doing so by experimenting with delivery and, more importantly, launching curbside pickup. Target just acquired startup Shipt, which delivers groceries on the same day an order is placed. Traditional supermarkets are also battling startups such as meal-kit company Blue Apron and organic vendor Thrive Market. Amazon, however, remains the giant to beat. Continue reading Walmart, Target to Compete with Amazon’s Grocery Delivery

Dreamscape Immersive Raises $30M More for VR Attractions

Dreamscape Immersive, a location-based VR startup, is joining forces with Nickelodeon to produce a new intellectual property aimed at children and families. The company, which is headed by former Disney and DreamWorks veterans, just raised $30 million in its Series B round of funding, led by AMC Entertainment with investments from Nickelodeon, 21st Century Fox and Warner Bros. as well as Majid Al Futtaim, VRSense Solutions, and Image Nation Abu Dhabi. Bold Capital Partners, a Series A investor, also joined the second round. Continue reading Dreamscape Immersive Raises $30M More for VR Attractions

Bloomberg to Launch its ‘TicToc’ 24/7 News Service on Twitter

Bloomberg is launching “TicToc by Bloomberg,” the first-ever 24/7 television news stream on Twitter. Rather than financial reporting, “TicToc by Bloomberg” will feature a round-up of news at the top of every hour; the rest of the feed will be a mix of breaking news reported by its staff around the world and video, images and text from Twitter users that have been curated and vetted. About 50 news staffers in New York, London and Hong Kong will lead in producing content, adding to Bloomberg’s global editorial staff. Continue reading Bloomberg to Launch its ‘TicToc’ 24/7 News Service on Twitter

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