In Wake of Q1 Loss, GoPro Pushes Drone Launch to Holidays

Action cam manufacturer GoPro is delaying the release of its Karma drone from June to the end of the year after the company announced a $107.5 million quarterly loss. “The drone’s success is critical to GoPro’s efforts to attract new users to its devices,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “The drone delay adds to GoPro’s string of problems launching recent products. Last year, GoPro slashed the price by half of its entry-level camera, the Hero 4 Session, to entice consumers.” While revenue dropped 49 percent from the previous year, the numbers weren’t as bad as analysts predicted. CEO Nick Woodman said the company is optimistic about “lessons learned from last year,” and is, “seeing the benefits of our simplified product lineup today.”

Continue reading In Wake of Q1 Loss, GoPro Pushes Drone Launch to Holidays

ETC Panel: AI, Neuroscience & Data Revolution in Hollywood

ETC@USC has scheduled a panel discussion — “Audience Intelligence at the Frontier: AI, Neuroscience & the Data Revolution in Hollywood” — for Tuesday, June 21. Yves Bergquist, co-founder & CEO of Novamente, and director of ETC’s new Data & Analytics Project will moderate. Leading data scientists, neuroscientists and senior studio execs will discuss the application of next-generation cognitive computing to the audience intelligence challenges in Hollywood. Sponsored by Cloudera, the event will take place 2:00–4:00 pm at the USC Ronald Tutor Campus Center, followed by a cocktail reception. For more information and to register, visit the panel’s Eventbrite page. Continue reading ETC Panel: AI, Neuroscience & Data Revolution in Hollywood

Philips Releases 43-Inch, 4K Ultra HD LCD Computer Monitor

Philips launched a new 43-inch, 16:9 computer monitor in the U.S. this week that features a 4K Ultra HD LCD display touting 3840 x 2160 resolution, 178-degree horizontal and vertical viewing angles, and a 5ms response time. Model BDM4350UC touts 10-bit color support (with color reproduction rated at 1.07 billion colors) and a dynamic contrast ratio of 50,000,000:1. The IPS monitor — which also features MultiView functionality, built-in 7-watt speakers, and a four-port USB 3.0 hub — is currently available on Amazon for $800. Continue reading Philips Releases 43-Inch, 4K Ultra HD LCD Computer Monitor

FCC Signs Off on Altice Acquisition of Cablevision Systems

The Federal Communications Commission has approved Altice NV’s proposed $17.7 billion acquisition of Cablevision Systems Corp. As part of the deal, the European telecom group would assume Cablevision debt and invest to upgrade the company’s broadband. According to the FCC, Altice has a record of improving services after investing in broadband companies in Belgium, France, Israel, Luxembourg and Portugal. In December, the FCC approved Altice’s $9.1 billion purchase of Missouri-based cable company Suddenlink Communications. Continue reading FCC Signs Off on Altice Acquisition of Cablevision Systems

Survey: Netflix Subscribers Envision the Service Replacing TV

Netflix continues to invest heavily in its original programming as the company competes with pay TV and rival streaming services. The company has also reduced its U.S. library as licensing costs climb, while adding to its international offerings in markets such as Canada and Great Britain. To get a sense of the brand’s perception in an evolving digital landscape, AllFlicks surveyed 3,000 visitors to its own site and Reddit to learn how the company is faring as compared to pay TV and other entertainment businesses. With this select group, 75.5 percent believe Netflix could replace traditional TV. Continue reading Survey: Netflix Subscribers Envision the Service Replacing TV

Oculus and Valve Have Yet to Open Tracking to Third Parties

A year after going on record that they would open up their tracking systems to third party developers, neither Oculus nor Valve have done so. So called ‘6DOF’ (degrees of freedom) tracking allows for head and body tracking, as well as mapping of physical objects like handheld objects and furniture, into the virtual world. Oculus’ Constellation tracking system uses a collection of IR-LEDs tracked by an external camera. Meanwhile, Valve/HTC’s Lighthouse tracking system uses photodiodes that track lasers from base stations. Continue reading Oculus and Valve Have Yet to Open Tracking to Third Parties

New Apple Music Interface Will Likely Be Unveiled at WWDC

In response to disappointing reviews and the departure of several top executives — in addition to declining iTunes sales and growth of rival Spotify — Apple is reportedly planning significant changes to its $10-per-month music streaming service. According to people familiar with the plans, the year-old Apple Music will soon feature a redesigned user interface. “Apple also plans to better integrate its streaming and download businesses and expand its online radio service,” reports Bloomberg. The company is expected to unveil the redesigned Apple Music and make related announcements at June’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Continue reading New Apple Music Interface Will Likely Be Unveiled at WWDC

Messaging Service WhatsApp Temporarily Shut Down in Brazil

As the result of a court order, Facebook-owned WhatsApp was shut down in Brazil yesterday. In an effort to obtain user data for a criminal investigation involving drug trafficking, Judge Marcel Maia Montalvão ordered telecoms to suspend the popular messaging service for 72 hours throughout Brazil. In March, Judge Montalvão ordered the arrest of Facebook exec Diego Dzodan, who was briefly taken into custody for refusing to turn over WhatsApp data (a higher court ordered the release of Dzodan after one night). WhatsApp says it has cooperated to the “full extent of [its] ability with local courts.” Continue reading Messaging Service WhatsApp Temporarily Shut Down in Brazil

Battery Material Could Hold Charge for Years, Even Decades

Researchers from the University of California at Irvine have found a new battery material that could possibly hold a charge for decades. While studying fragile nanowires, a PhD candidate on the research team decided on a whim “to switch the liquid electrolyte surrounding the nanowire assembly with a gel version,” reports Smithsonian. To the team’s surprise, the gel capacitor initially ran for 30,000 cycles and kept going for a month. Although still experimenting, the team believes the thick gel reduces the nanowire’s fragility, a solution that could prove revolutionary for commercial batteries. Continue reading Battery Material Could Hold Charge for Years, Even Decades

Popular Payment Service Venmo Under Federal Investigation

According to an SEC filing, PayPal-owned peer-to-peer payment service Venmo is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission to determine whether the company “engaged in deceptive or unfair practices in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act.” PayPal received a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) from the FTC on March 28. “The CID could lead to an enforcement action and/or one or more consent orders,” explains PayPal, “which may result in substantial costs, including legal fees, fines, penalties, and remediation expenses and actions, and could require us to change aspects of the manner in which we operate Venmo.” Continue reading Popular Payment Service Venmo Under Federal Investigation

Millennials Prefer Netflix Programs Over Broadcast TV Series

Symphony Advanced Media reports that Netflix is becoming more popular than broadcast networks among millennials. According to the firm’s latest multiplatform data, the top four series between September 21 and January 31 for viewers 18-24 were all from Netflix: “Making a Murderer,” “Master of None,” “F Is for Family” and “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” (followed by Fox animated comedies “Bob’s Burgers” and “Family Guy”). The research “is a telling indicator of just how popular programming from the streaming world can be relative to that on the broadcast networks,” suggests Variety, “a comparison not easy to make in an era of limited visibility for audience measurement of OTT content.” Continue reading Millennials Prefer Netflix Programs Over Broadcast TV Series

Comcast to Purchase DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

The rumors are true. Comcast announced yesterday that it would acquire DreamWorks Animation SKG in a deal valued at $3.8 billion. The move reflects a significant change in entertainment media as companies seek new ways to address the impact of evolving trends such as streaming video and cord-cutting. Since animation performs well in foreign markets and helps drive consumer product sales, DreamWorks could serve as a vital resource for NBCUniversal. The animation studio could also become a launch pad for the Universal theme parks unit, which is currently planning a new park in Beijing. Continue reading Comcast to Purchase DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

Rovi Agrees to Acquire DVR Pioneer TiVo in $1.1 Billion Deal

Rovi Corporation has agreed to purchase TiVo Inc. for $1.1 billion, in a deal that merges two TV tech patent holders as companies including Apple, Comcast and Google are looking to control the set-top box. The FCC is proposing to allow customers who rent STBs from cable companies to “buy their own boxes or alternatives, which would open up what is now a largely closed market,” reports Bloomberg. “This deal was driven by an increasingly competitive set-top box market,” said analyst Paul Sweeney of Bloomberg Intelligence. “Cable operators such as Comcast are investing serious capital to develop next-generation boxes that are threatening the TiVo and Rovi platforms.” Continue reading Rovi Agrees to Acquire DVR Pioneer TiVo in $1.1 Billion Deal

Amazon Stock Jumps After Q1 Earnings Surpass Expectations

Amazon’s stock jumped more than 12 percent yesterday after the company announced Q1 earnings of $29.1 billion (a 29 percent increase over last year’s revenue for the same period). The company’s $1.07 per share profit easily beat Wall Street expectations of 58 cents per share. AWS cloud computing increased 64 percent over last year, posting revenue of about $2.6 billion. According to Re/code, “The quarterly results mark the first time since 2012 that Amazon has turned a profit in four straight quarters — a scary proposition for competitors who can no longer say that Amazon is completely sacrificing profitability for growth.” Continue reading Amazon Stock Jumps After Q1 Earnings Surpass Expectations

Facebook Credits Mobile Ad Growth for Major Revenue Jump

Following last week’s reports that online advertising revenue in the U.S. reached a record $59.6 billion in 2015, and that Google and Facebook claimed the largest share of the digital advertising pie, social giant Facebook announced yesterday that its ad revenue increased 57 percent in the first quarter to $5.2 billion. Notably, mobile ads represented about four-fifths of the network’s revenue. Facebook’s news countered announcements from other tech companies — including Alphabet, Apple and Twitter — all of which released disappointing first quarter figures. Continue reading Facebook Credits Mobile Ad Growth for Major Revenue Jump

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