Federal Regulators Need More Time to Vote on Set-Top Boxes

The FCC delayed its vote yesterday on the proposal to unlock cable set-top boxes. FCC members “could not agree on a set-top box proposal that requires cable operators to provide their shows and movies on alternative devices rather than just on a cable box,” reports The New York Times. “The plan was intended to bring more competition to the television industry and liberate consumers from an average of $231 in annual cable box fees.” While the proposal will be considered for a future vote, FCC chair Tom Wheeler said commissioners needed additional discussions. However, with an upcoming change of administration, Wheeler’s window to adopt the regulation may be dwindling. Continue reading Federal Regulators Need More Time to Vote on Set-Top Boxes

Sony PS Vue Offers HBO, Cinemax as Standalones or Bundle

Following Sony’s recent announcement that the company’s PlayStation Vue streaming service would offer HBO and Cinemax, both premium cable channels are now available as standalones for $15 per month or as part of a new bundle. In addition, the HBO Now app launched yesterday on PS3 and PS4 consoles. According to The Verge, “the new Ultra bundle will include all of Vue’s current offerings, including HBO and Showtime, for $64.99 per month in most locations, and $74.99 per month in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, and Miami. PlayStation says Vue is the first streaming service to offer live programming from HBO and Cinemax without a bundle subscription.” Continue reading Sony PS Vue Offers HBO, Cinemax as Standalones or Bundle

Cord Cutting Could Lead to $1 Billion Loss for Pay TV Industry

According to a new study, pay-TV providers stand to lose almost $1 billion as an estimated 800,000 customers are projected to cut the cord over the next year. The results are based on an online survey of U.S. customers by management consulting firm cg42. While some analysts believe that consumers could pay more in the end for standalone Internet and streaming services if they drop cable, the study suggests otherwise, since most people typically do not spend more than about $15 on streaming services. Continue reading Cord Cutting Could Lead to $1 Billion Loss for Pay TV Industry

Top Record Labels File Lawsuit Against YouTube Ripping Site

Sony, Universal, Warner Bros. and other record labels are taking legal action against the German operator of website YouTube-mp3.org, claiming that the industry is being robbed of revenue from streaming, downloads and advertising. BBC notes that the site provides an easy-to-use method of downloading audio from YouTube videos. The labels filed the suit in a federal court in Los Angeles, seeking damages including $150,000 per each alleged act of piracy. According to the labels, “tens, or even hundreds, of millions of tracks are illegally copied and distributed by stream-ripping services each month.” YouTube-mp3.org is described as the “chief offender,” with more than 60 million monthly users. Continue reading Top Record Labels File Lawsuit Against YouTube Ripping Site

Disney Said to Be Considering Possible Bid for Twitter Merger

Following the CNBC report that Google and Salesforce.com were among those being considered for a Twitter takeover, TechCrunch added that Microsoft and Verizon have also expressed interest. Today, headlines indicate that Disney is considering a possible bid. Bloomberg reports that Disney is working with an adviser on a potential deal, in what would be the company’s latest investment in a string of tech-related media businesses including Hulu, Vice and MLB’s BAMTech. The Wall Street Journal suggests that “a Twitter acquisition would be Disney’s biggest technology deal yet” and “could benefit ESPN as cord-cutting becomes more widespread.” Continue reading Disney Said to Be Considering Possible Bid for Twitter Merger

Facing Slow Growth, Twitter Said to Be Considering Takeover

Twitter is reportedly in early discussions with Google, Salesforce.com and others about a possible takeover of the San Francisco-based company. “Twitter is considering divesting itself of … Vine, the mobile six-second video service, and MoPub, a mobile advertising business,” according to The New York Times. Stalled growth has been a challenge for Twitter, which has largely failed to keep up with competitors in recent years. Facebook’s “offerings like Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger continued to outpace Twitter in user growth and profitability, while five-year-old Snapchat has become the newest darling of the social media world.” Continue reading Facing Slow Growth, Twitter Said to Be Considering Takeover

UPS Performs Mock Package Delivery to Test Drive New Drone

UPS has begun testing emergency drone deliveries with Massachusetts-based CyPhy Works, a drone company that the shipping giant invested in last year. The companies tested the 3-mile delivery of an asthma inhaler last week. “The CyPhy-UPS drone, called the Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications drone, or PARC for short, was autonomous during the flight and navigated by GPS,” reports Digital Trends. The drone features “a high-resolution camera with thermal imaging and target tracking abilities, and two GPS units and multiple rotors, antenna and communications systems.” Continue reading UPS Performs Mock Package Delivery to Test Drive New Drone

Hackers Steal Data From Half a Billion Yahoo User Accounts

In what could mark the largest-ever theft of personal data, Yahoo has confirmed that more than 500 million of its user accounts were hacked in late 2014. The Internet company is pointing the blame at state-sponsored hackers who reportedly stole names, email addresses, birth dates, phone numbers and encrypted passwords after breaking into the Yahoo network. The company does not believe the hack impacted unprotected passwords or financial data such as payment card or bank account info. The breach was discovered after Yahoo began investigating a claim by hackers who were attempting to sell 280 million usernames and passwords. Continue reading Hackers Steal Data From Half a Billion Yahoo User Accounts

Presidential Race Gets Streaming Treatment Across Platforms

Election coverage focused on presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will get a major boost from social media, streaming technology and even virtual reality. Facebook plans to live-stream the upcoming debates with help from ABC News, while a Twitter-Bloomberg partnership will bring live streams of the debates to Twitter. YouTube, meanwhile, is slated to live-stream the debates from PBS, Telemundo and The Washington Post. And starting last night, NBC with AltspaceVR began streaming election coverage in virtual reality. Continue reading Presidential Race Gets Streaming Treatment Across Platforms

Chan Zuckerberg Fund Invests $3 Billion in Medical Research

Facebook chief exec Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan announced they plan to invest more than $3 billion over the next 10 years to develop tech focused on research to combat disease. “The first investment by the couple’s for-profit philanthropic arm, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC, will be $600 million to create a research lab of engineers and scientists based in San Francisco,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “This focus on building on tools suggests a road map for how we might go about curing, preventing and managing all diseases this century,” said Zuckerberg. Continue reading Chan Zuckerberg Fund Invests $3 Billion in Medical Research

Netflix CFO Explains Plans to Ramp Up Original Programming

Speaking at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia conference yesterday, Netflix CFO David Wells explained that the streaming service’s goal over the next few years is to offer more original programming. The company is aiming for half of its content to be represented by original productions and the other half licensed movies and TV shows. According to Wells, original programming will continue to be content produced by Netflix in addition to a range of co-productions and acquisitions. Netflix is “one-third to halfway” toward reaching its goal, he said. Continue reading Netflix CFO Explains Plans to Ramp Up Original Programming

Comcast Plans to Launch its Own Wireless Service Next Year

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts confirmed yesterday that the company plans to launch a wireless cell service by mid-2017. Speaking at a Goldman Sachs conference, Roberts said the company would leverage its 15 million Wi-Fi hotspots and use airwaves leased from Verizon to handle much of the traffic. “Comcast has a deal with Verizon dating back to 2011 that allows the cable company to sell wireless service using the telecom carrier’s network at set terms and pricing,” explains The Wall Street Journal. Since “Comcast is essentially renting Verizon’s network,” it will not need to invest in major infrastructure. Continue reading Comcast Plans to Launch its Own Wireless Service Next Year

Equinix Offers AWS Direct Connect Cloud Service via LA Hub

With Amazon Web Services Direct Connect now available in Equinix’s Los Angeles data centers, the company has bumped up its number of metros offering the AWS cloud service to 12 (five of which are located in North America). Direct Connect enables companies to safely integrate their infrastructure with public cloud services to benefit performance, network consistency and overall costs. The Equinix LA campus features four IBX data centers connected via Metro Connect, providing a scalable and secure system for digital content and entertainment companies. Continue reading Equinix Offers AWS Direct Connect Cloud Service via LA Hub

Fandango Tests Selling Movie Tickets Directly via Facebook

Fandango has built a business helping moviegoers purchase tickets online and via a smartphone app. Now the ticket retailer owned by NBCUniversal is partnering with Facebook to sell tickets directly from the social network. It began this past weekend when fans were given the opportunity to buy tickets to “The Magnificent Seven,” “Kevin Hart: What Now?” and “Storks” through each film’s Facebook page. The move is part of a larger strategy to attract millennials; the company’s next step to reach a younger audience is a Snapchat interface. Continue reading Fandango Tests Selling Movie Tickets Directly via Facebook

Samsung Formally Recalls Galaxy Note7 Phones in the U.S.

In response to 92 reports of batteries overheating, in some cases leading to explosions and fires, Samsung and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have issued a formal recall of the Galaxy Note7. “Consumers have the option of a refund or a replacement device with a new battery,” reports Recode. “Samsung is offering customers $25 extra if they stick with either a new Note7 or opt to exchange their phone for a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge.” Replacement devices are expected to be available in retail stores by September 21. Less than 15 percent of the one million Note7 phones sold in the U.S. have been returned since Samsung launched the exchange program two weeks ago. Continue reading Samsung Formally Recalls Galaxy Note7 Phones in the U.S.

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