Google Unveils Pixel Phones, Daydream VR, Chromecast Ultra

Alphabet’s Google unveiled several new products at its annual hardware event in San Francisco yesterday, including a pair of Pixel smartphones; the $79 mobile Daydream VR headset; its Amazon Echo rival, the $129 Google Home; a multi-point network system called Google Wifi; and an upgraded Chromecast streaming dongle. Shipping November 4, Google Home is on sale now, with a free six-month subscription to YouTube Red. Also shipping in November, Chromecast Ultra supports HDR and 4K video streaming. Key to many of Google’s new products is its artificial intelligence software. Continue reading Google Unveils Pixel Phones, Daydream VR, Chromecast Ultra

Netflix, iPic to Simultaneously Offer Movies Online, in Theaters

Netflix is continuing its push into cinema by signing a deal with luxury theater-chain iPic Entertainment. The agreement would allow Netflix original films to screen theatrically the same day they are made available via the streaming service. Ten Netflix movies over the next year will screen in iPic theaters in New York City and Los Angeles, according to Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who indicates the deal could be extended. The agreement also includes the option for films to screen at the chain’s 13 other locations or independent theaters. Continue reading Netflix, iPic to Simultaneously Offer Movies Online, in Theaters

Mi Box: Xiaomi Now Selling its New $69 Android TV Streamer

Chinese CE company Xiaomi introduced its first product geared for U.S. customers yesterday — the $69 streaming Mi Box, an Android TV STB that supports 4K video playback, HDR, and includes a Bluetooth voice remote. The company first unveiled the Mi Box at this year’s Google I/O developer conference. Since it’s based on Google’s Android TV, the device provides access to apps for Hulu, HBO Now, Netflix, Sling TV, YouTube and others. It also supports Google Cast for launching playback from mobile apps and makes recommendations based on a user’s YouTube and Google Play preferences. Continue reading Mi Box: Xiaomi Now Selling its New $69 Android TV Streamer

StubHub Rolls Out First Ticketing App Available for Apple TV

StubHub has become the first ticketing service to be made available on Apple TV. Users of the fourth-gen connected-TV device can now browse, check seating options, and buy tickets to concerts and sporting events through their televisions (although, to make a purchase, explains TechCrunch, “the Apple TV app will redirect users back to your mobile phone to complete the process”). StubHub, which was acquired by eBay in 2007, currently sells tickets via mobile apps for iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch and Android devices. According to Variety, “the company has partnerships with more than 60 teams in the MLB, NBA, NHL, Major League Soccer and NCAA, as well as AEG, AXS and Spectra.” Continue reading StubHub Rolls Out First Ticketing App Available for Apple TV

Drone Industry Is Under Rapid Change in Southern California

Drone operators are beginning to realize the commercial potential of UAVs. In Southern California, for example, drones are being used for film production, sports coverage, wedding photography, map-making and more. According to Los Angeles Daily News, drone operators are also making money with applications such as: “examining the health of agricultural crops,” “monitoring the progress of construction projects,” “documenting the installation of rooftop solar panels in order to claim federal tax credits,” “selling commercial, industrial and residential real estate” and “surveying electric wires, pipelines, railroad tracks, dams and canals for damage.” Meanwhile, companies including Amazon and Google are experimenting with drone delivery services. Continue reading Drone Industry Is Under Rapid Change in Southern California

The U.S. Government Relinquishes its Control of the Internet

As of October 1, an agreement with the Commerce Department expired and the “National Telecommunications and Information Administration no longer exercises control over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which has long been the manager of Internet domain names,” reports Digital Trends. ICANN will now serve as an independent non-profit that will “answer to international stakeholders across the Internet community, including a governmental advisory committee, a technical committee, industry committee, Internet users, and telecommunications experts.” A lawsuit filed by four states to block the plan “failed when a Texas federal judge refused to issue an injunction,” notes Yahoo Tech. Continue reading The U.S. Government Relinquishes its Control of the Internet

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

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