Oculus Debuts Crescent Bay VR Prototype at LA Conference

Oculus unveiled its latest VR headset, currently named “Crescent Bay,” at a Hollywood event over the weekend. Some 800 developers attended Oculus Connect, the company’s first conference, to check out the new device. While not yet commercially available, the prototype promises a more comfortable, natural experience. Crescent Bay features 360-degree motion tracking, integrated headphones and improved ergonomics. It is not the consumer version, but is “sprinting toward” it, explained chief exec Brendan Iribe. Continue reading Oculus Debuts Crescent Bay VR Prototype at LA Conference

Alibaba Sets World IPO Record After its First Day of Trading

While Apple had a big weekend selling more than 10 million new iPhones, it wasn’t the only tech giant breaking records. Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. closed its first day of trading on Friday at $93.89 per share, a 38 percent increase from its IPO price, and the biggest first-day jump for an IPO of at least $10 billion. The IPO became the largest ever at $25 billion, after underwriters exercised a greenshoe option to increase the deal size by 15 percent based on strong demand. Continue reading Alibaba Sets World IPO Record After its First Day of Trading

End of an Era: Larry Ellison to Step Aside as Oracle’s Chief

Oracle announced yesterday afternoon that Larry Ellison has agreed to step down as chief executive officer, concluding what Businessweek described as “one of the most entertaining and profitable runs for a leader in business history.” Ellison, who turned 70 last month, has run the company since co-founding it in 1977. He will remain chairman of Oracle’s board and will become the chief technology officer. Oracle execs Safra Catz and Mark Hurd will share the CEO responsibilities. Continue reading End of an Era: Larry Ellison to Step Aside as Oracle’s Chief

Alibaba Raises $21.8 Billion in IPO: Ready to Take On Google

The Alibaba Group, China’s leading e-commerce operator, raised nearly $21.8 billion in its initial stock sale yesterday. While not the biggest initial public offering to-date, Alibaba did have one of the strongest stock sales on record, surpassing those for Facebook and General Motors. When it begins trading today on the New York Stock Exchange, it is poised to become one of the world’s most impressive Internet powerhouses, a compelling blend of Amazon, eBay, Google and other tech giants. Continue reading Alibaba Raises $21.8 Billion in IPO: Ready to Take On Google

Nielsen is Finally Going Electronic, Diaries on Their Way Out

Ratings service Nielsen is starting to replace its traditional paper diaries with electronic devices it has developed to measure local TV viewership. Nielsen’s diary-based system, which has been in place in varied formats for at least 60 years, will eventually be retired. To start, the dismantling will affect 14 of the 154 markets in which hand-written viewing diaries are still used to collect data. The new devices will “listen” to the audio portion of shows that are being viewed by consumers. Continue reading Nielsen is Finally Going Electronic, Diaries on Their Way Out

Virtual Reality Helmet Could Redefine In-Flight Entertainment

The United States Patent and Trademark Office granted leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus a patent in August for headrests that include helmets attached to a carrier. The headrests will relieve passenger stress by providing entertainment in addition to “sensorial isolation with regard to the external environment.” They will play immersive multimedia content on glasses with display screens that are capable of “holographic projection mode,” according to the patent. Continue reading Virtual Reality Helmet Could Redefine In-Flight Entertainment

Apple and Amazon Planning Programs for Sharing Digital Media

In what could prove to be a bold move, Amazon and Apple are planning to allow customers to share media purchased from their digital storefronts with family members. Similar language is being used by both companies to describe the programs, and both are launching around the same time. Apple’s “Family Sharing” program will be available via its new iOS 8 software, while Amazon’s “Family Library” is scheduled to join hardware and software updates slated for the end of October. Continue reading Apple and Amazon Planning Programs for Sharing Digital Media

Yelp and TinyCo Face Fines After Violating Children’s Privacy

The Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday that game maker TinyCo agreed to pay $300,000 to settle charges that it violated children’s privacy rules by improperly collecting information. The company was accused of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). In a separate case, Yelp agreed to pay a $450,000 penalty for doing the same through its consumer review app. Both companies were charged with collecting personal info from children under 13 without parental consent. Continue reading Yelp and TinyCo Face Fines After Violating Children’s Privacy

Microsoft to Pay $2.5 Billion for Mojang, Maker of ‘Minecraft’

Microsoft has agreed to purchase Mojang, the Swedish company responsible for developing the world-building computer game “Minecraft.” The $2.5 billion cash deal, expected to be completed later this year, will bring the immensely popular title — and the Stockholm-based Mojang team — to Microsoft Studios, which publishes blockbuster game series such as “Fable” and “Halo.” “Minecraft” is currently the most popular online game on Xbox, and the top paid app for iOS and Android in the U.S. Continue reading Microsoft to Pay $2.5 Billion for Mojang, Maker of ‘Minecraft’

Viacom Study: Multi-Screen Viewing Promotes Network Loyalty

According to a new study by Viacom, devices that enable consumers to watch television content on multiple screens is leading to increased network loyalty and an audience preference for live viewing. “Getting With the Program: TV’s Funnels, Paths and Hurdles” notes that 78 percent of viewers polled indicated they would not have become fans of some shows if they were not able to watch them on multiple screens. The study also found that multiplatform viewers are more committed to viewing shows live and watching multiple networks. Continue reading Viacom Study: Multi-Screen Viewing Promotes Network Loyalty

RelayTV Targets Millennials with Integrated Social TV Platform

While 73 percent of millennials still watch television content on a traditional TV set, many are turning to alternative platforms for guidance regarding what to watch. A recent Omnibus survey learned that 74 percent also watch content online via computer, smartphone or tablet, and 76 percent say they discover new shows from friends, family and social media. Service providers such as RelayTV are responding by offering platforms that effectively blend social networking with traditional television. Continue reading RelayTV Targets Millennials with Integrated Social TV Platform

Short Form: Brands Enlist Jerome Jarre for Social Advertising

MTV and GE are among the brands that have turned to 23-year old Jerome Jarre and his popular Vine videos and Snapchat messages that reach millions (his Vine account alone touts 7.2 million followers). Brands pay up to $25,000 for his Vines and $35,000 for a single Snapchat message. Jarre’s marketing firm, GrapeStory is helping to shape the contagious appeal of short form media. And his star status is going mainstream. Celebrities such as Robert De Niro, Ashton Kutcher and Aaron Paul have appeared in his Vines. Continue reading Short Form: Brands Enlist Jerome Jarre for Social Advertising

Bigger is Better for New iPhones: Online Orders Top 4 Million

The global trend in smartphones is larger screens, and it looks like consumers are already responding to the larger sizes of the new iPhones. Apple announced yesterday that early orders for the iPhone 6 (4.7 inches diagonally) and iPhone 6 Plus (5.5 inches) have exceeded four million in the first 24 hours of availability via online ordering. That figure is about double the number of early orders the company received online for the 4-inch iPhone 5 two years ago. The new iPhones will hit store shelves this Friday. Continue reading Bigger is Better for New iPhones: Online Orders Top 4 Million

IBC 2014: NextVR Unveils 360-Degree 3D VR Camera System

NextVR, a virtual reality technology and content company, introduced a 360-degree 3D virtual reality rig outfitted with six RED Epic Dragon cameras at IBC in Amsterdam last week. The “NextVR Virtual Reality Digital Cinema Camera System” supports the recording and live streaming of immersive, ultra high definition, stereoscopic content at 60fps and includes spatial audio capture. NextVR also unveiled VR content acquired with the equipment, displaying it on the new Samsung Gear VR headset. Continue reading IBC 2014: NextVR Unveils 360-Degree 3D VR Camera System

IBC 2014: SanDisk Premieres Record-Breaking 512GB SD Card

SanDisk unveiled its new 512GB memory card at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam last week. The $800 Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I card — which SanDisk touts as “the highest capacity SD card on the market” — is designed for professionals that shoot 4K video, Full HD video and high-speed burst mode photography. The new offering marks an increase in SD card capacity by 1,000 times in just over a decade. It was only 2003 when consumers were scrambling for SanDisk’s 512MB cards. Continue reading IBC 2014: SanDisk Premieres Record-Breaking 512GB SD Card

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