NHK is Testing 8K Production of Wimbledon Tennis Matches

Japan broadcaster NHK has chosen the Wimbledon tennis tournament in London to test its Super Hi-Vision 8K system. NHK is using Sony’s high-end F65 4K camera for production and upconverting content to 8K through a Sony processor. The production also includes a a FOR-A FT-ONE camera and two Ikegami SHV8000 Super Hi-Vision cameras. “Japan’s government and NHK are leading an effort to bring Super Hi-Vision — which combines 8K with a 22.2 surround sound system and a high frame rate of 60 frames per second — to Japan,” notes The Hollywood Reporter. “Plans are to start some satellite 8K broadcasting, beginning next June with the Rio Olympics.”

New 4K 360-Degree Camera is Designed for Virtual Reality

Sphericam 2 is a 4K spherical camera launched recently as a Kickstarter project with the intent of providing photographers, cinematographers and consumers with a means of easily capturing high-quality 360-degree video. The developers behind Sphericam see the camera is an ideal solution for producing content for VR hardware including Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard. The camera features six built-in 4K lenses and records 360-degree video at 60fps. With 23 days to go in the campaign, the project has already exceeded its $150,000 goal. Continue reading New 4K 360-Degree Camera is Designed for Virtual Reality

FCC Commissioner Says the Internet is Not a Human Right

Speaking before the Internet Innovation Alliance about the appropriate role of regulators in a growing broadband economy, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly suggested that the Internet is not a necessity or human right, as many tech leaders have suggested. “It is important to note that Internet access is not a necessity in the day-to-day lives of Americans and doesn’t even come close to the threshold to be considered a basic human right,” he said. “I am not in any way trying to diminish the significance of the Internet in our daily lives.” Continue reading FCC Commissioner Says the Internet is Not a Human Right

Next Version of Google Glass Will Likely Be Enterprise Edition

Google Glass may have failed to gain mainstream traction its first time around, but the device managed to generate some significant interest from a range of businesses and organizations. As a result, a new version of Glass is likely going to focus on the enterprise market. According to 9to5Google, the next device is being referred to by Google as “Enterprise Edition” or “Google Glass EE.” Development transitioned from Google X to Tony Fadell’s team at Google’s Nest division earlier this year. Now that a device called “GG1” has passed through the FCC, the company may be closer to making an announcement. Sources say extensive testing is scheduled for later this year.

Next Wearables Could Use Smart Fabric with Conductive Ink

Researchers in Tokyo have developed a way to print electrodes directly onto material, featuring highly conductive elastic ink that could be used to measure heart rates and report vital statistics. If researchers can make the technology robust and washable, then stretchable, sensor-loaded clothing could become a future trend in commercial wearables. Sportswear, for example, is one area that could benefit. Google’s Project Jacquard, NTT DoCoMo and chemical company Toray Industries are among those developing smart fabric technology. Continue reading Next Wearables Could Use Smart Fabric with Conductive Ink

Buy Buttons Bring Mobile Shoppers to Thousands of Retailers

Facebook, Google, Pinterest and Twitter are among those looking to bridge mobile browsing and online purchasing with “buy” buttons that provide shoppers with one-click ordering for products offered by thousands of retailers. Despite increased mobile usage, Americans still order most of their products from desktop and laptop PCs. According to The New York Times, “This may seem like a minor inconvenience in a world where so much information is at our fingertips, but it is a big deal for tech companies whose multibillion-dollar advertising businesses are increasingly mobile yet remain highly tethered to the success of online shopping.”

New Chinese Security Law Raises Concerns by Tech Industry

New language in China’s recently enacted national security law is generating major concern across the global technology industry. The rules call for a “national security review” of networking, tech products and services, and foreign investment. In addition, the rules call for crucial tech sectors to be made “secure and controllable,” which industry groups fear may suggest that back doors for allowing third-party access to systems would be necessary, perhaps even leading to the sharing of encryption keys or source code. Continue reading New Chinese Security Law Raises Concerns by Tech Industry

Facebook Plans to Push More Videos and Share Ad Revenue

Videos on Facebook garner 4 billion views a day — 75 percent on smartphones — and the company is increasing its efforts to turn views into profits. Its newly unveiled strategy is to share ad revenue with video creators, both to attract better content and more ads. Facebook will keep 45 percent of the revenue, similar to YouTube’s revenue model, but the two differ in a significant way: Facebook will divide the creators’ 55 percent share of ad revenue among all the videos that appear adjacent to the ad, based on how long users watch each video. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Push More Videos and Share Ad Revenue

Shorts HD to Premiere Three Animated Movies on Facebook

Facebook will exclusively premiere three animated movies from Shorts International’s Shorts HD TV channel. The shorts will run, one week each, for free during July. Since Shorts HD could have turned to a variety of distribution platforms — including YouTube or its own website — the move may be either a vote of confidence, or a toe in the water, for Facebook’s new focus on video. The Shorts videos, however, will not be part of Facebook’s new Suggested Videos feature, which shares revenue with creators, in a move to attract better video content and more ads. Continue reading Shorts HD to Premiere Three Animated Movies on Facebook

Google Amps Up Competition with Free Version of Play Music

A week before Apple was set to unveil its streaming music service, Google came out with a free, albeit limited, version of Play Music, which began as a $9.99-a-month subscription service in 2013. Google is offering the service to lure more listeners to its subscription version, which loses potential customers when they are asked to input credit card information. Whether this strategy pays off is unclear, and some industry analysts wonder if Google is cannibalizing its own services or amping up its music creds in a competitive streaming music environment. Continue reading Google Amps Up Competition with Free Version of Play Music

MasterCard to Test Using Facial Scans for Purchase Approvals

MasterCard plans to test a new program this fall that will experiment with using facial scans to approve online purchases. Consumers will photograph themselves with their smartphones at checkout, an approach MasterCard believes will be easier than remembering passwords. The company also believes it will help combat fraud. While SecureCode was used in 3 billion transactions last year, passwords can still be forgotten, intercepted or stolen. As a result, a number of companies have been turning to biometrics as a solution. Continue reading MasterCard to Test Using Facial Scans for Purchase Approvals

Snapchat Rolls Out Updates to Snaps, Stories and Snapcodes

Messaging app Snapchat announced some significant updates this week, including the introduction of two-factor authentication to improve security, a new way to add a group of friends with Add Nearby, and an upgrade to Snapcode that lets users add selfies and add screenshots of Snapcodes through the Add Friends feature. Perhaps most significantly, Snapchat users should be interested in the new Tap to View function that eliminates the need to press and hold the screen in order to view a Snap or Story, an improvement that Snapchat says, “means no more tired thumbs while watching a several-hundred-second Story.”

Tumblr TV Offers Easy New Way to Discover and Share GIFs

Blogging platform Tumblr recently launched Tumblr TV, a new feature designed to help users discover and share GIFs. The rollout follows the introduction of Tumblr’s GIF search engine in early June. “The addition is a combination of a search and viewing feature for GIFs, which helps you find the animated images housed on Tumblr and then view them in a full-screen mode,” according to TechCrunch. “The ‘TV’ part of the feature’s title refers to the fact that the interface offers player controls, like play, pause, forward and backward.” The Tumblr GIF search engine is only available to logged-in users, while Tumblr TV is open to all. Both are desktop only for now.

Sprint Stops Throttling Speeds as Net Neutrality Takes Effect

The new net neutrality laws had a real-world impact when Sprint announced it would no longer throttle speeds for unlimited data customers. Sprint chief executive Marcelo Claure made the move in reaction to customers disgruntled by the fine print of a new $80/month unlimited text, talk and data plan, noting that video would be delivered at lower speeds. The 600 kilobits/second speed recommended by a consultant to Sprint would have particularly impacted high definition video, which runs at three to four megabits per second. Continue reading Sprint Stops Throttling Speeds as Net Neutrality Takes Effect

YouTube Stars Learn How It’s Done in Hollywood Productions

A growing number of YouTube stars — who are often more popular among teens than mainstream celebs such as Seth Rogen and Jennifer Lawrence — are making their way to Hollywood. By the end of 2015, at least a dozen movies featuring Internet celebrities will be released online and in a handful of theaters. Whether or not this transition works will have its first test in mid-July when “Smosh: The Movie,” “Bad Night” and “The Chosen” — three movies featuring popular YouTube personalities — are released. Continue reading YouTube Stars Learn How It’s Done in Hollywood Productions

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