NAB 2017: Unreal Engine Promotes its Partner Collaborations

Epic’s Unreal Engine is best known as a game engine, but general manager Marc Petit introduced the company’s enterprise division, which focuses on everything but games. This was Unreal Engine’s first-ever NAB, but for Petit, who worked many years at Softimage and attended numerous NABs, the meeting of the digital image and the game engine was more than symbolic. He used the press conference to showcase the work of several media and entertainment partners, including VizRT, The Future Group, House of Moves and Ross Video. Continue reading NAB 2017: Unreal Engine Promotes its Partner Collaborations

NAB 2017: Digital Domain Demos VR Camera and New Tools

Visual effects studio Digital Domain is launching a new suite of platform agnostic “creation, production, and distribution tools for virtual reality experiences — including a VR camera,” which it is demonstrating at NAB this week, reports VentureBeat. Digital Domain’s portable spherical camera features “advanced live-streaming capabilities, new integrations with post-production suites, and a cloud-based VR distribution platform. It enables visual effects production, 360 capture hardware and software, real-time stitching and encoding, livestreaming, application development, and content distribution.” Continue reading NAB 2017: Digital Domain Demos VR Camera and New Tools

NAB 2017: 360 Designs Debuts 4K Live Streaming VR Drone

At NAB 2017, 360 Designs, newly located in Los Angeles, debuted its Flying EYE 4K live streaming VR drone, which links with its Breeze wireless transmission unit. Founder/chief executive Alx Klive reports that the system is available for order now, but will not ship for two months. Priced at $75,000, Flying EYE and Breeze are attracting the attention of aerial photography companies, broadcasters, automotive companies, VR production companies and, interestingly enough, other drone manufacturers. Continue reading NAB 2017: 360 Designs Debuts 4K Live Streaming VR Drone

Twitch to Start Streaming 1080p at 60fps in Upcoming Weeks

Amazon broadcasting site Twitch announced that its support for 1080p video resolution at 60 frames per second will significantly improve video quality when live-streaming via the platform. To accommodate the higher frame rate, Twitch is lifting its 3.5-megabit ingest bitrate restriction. Twitch product manager Noreen McInnis says the company recommends “3-to-6 megabits for most streams, skewing toward the higher end for 1080p broadcasts or faster, more demanding games.” Continue reading Twitch to Start Streaming 1080p at 60fps in Upcoming Weeks

Sony Smartphones Tout Premium Cameras and 4K Displays

Sony’s Xperia series smartphones — the flagship XZ Premium, the smaller XZ, and the large XA1 Ultra — now feature impressive imaging capabilities, including an option to shoot video at 960 frames per second to enhance the phones’ slow motion capture feature. The lens improvements adjust the lighting to better illuminate nighttime scenes and all images are displayed in ultra-high definition 4K. Beyond the camera, Sony struck a deal to stream Amazon content on Xperia phones without the need for clunky third-party apps. Continue reading Sony Smartphones Tout Premium Cameras and 4K Displays

HPA Tech Retreat: Pitfalls and Epiphanies in Cloud Production

Walden Pond CEO and former Warner Bros. exec Wendy Aylsworth led an HPA Tech Retreat panel on how companies are finding benefits working in the cloud due to increased bandwidth and Wi-Fi reliability. Cloud productions aren’t just about collaboration, but also are creating new levels of automation from pre-production through post. Despite the new benefits — and adoption by a host of users — early proponents still have pain points, said Ayslworth, who brought together the panelists to discuss the pros and cons of their experiences. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Pitfalls and Epiphanies in Cloud Production

HPA Tech Retreat: Impact of OTT Video on TV/Film Production

The Digital Production Partnership (DPP), formed and funded by UK broadcasters BBC, ITV and Channel 4 to help broadcast companies maximize the potential benefits of digital TV production, conducted in-depth research into how OTT video is produced. It reports that more audiovisual content is now commissioned for uses other than broadcast distribution, with many production companies now producing entirely for the non-broadcast market. At the HPA Tech Retreat in Indian Wells, DPP managing director Mark Harrison addressed how this is impacting the film/TV production industry. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Impact of OTT Video on TV/Film Production

HPA Tech Retreat: NEC Exec Details Progress of 8K Broadcast

Yesterday during the HPA Tech Retreat, NEC Corporation executive engineer Dr. Masayuki Sugawara, who chairs the digital broadcasting experts group (DiBEG) and is vice president of the Institute of Image Information and Television Engineers (ITE), described the world’s first 8K regular broadcast. In Japan, the broadcast starts at 10:00 am and is transmitted all over the country for seven hours via satellite. “It’s in the test phase, aimed at moving to a commercial phase next year,” said Sugawara, who notes that NHK had its first public demonstration of 8K in 2002.
Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: NEC Exec Details Progress of 8K Broadcast

Sony Is the First to Debut 4K TVs with Built-in Google Assistant

According to Sony, its newest 4K TVs have built-in Google Assistant, which will be added later this year via a firmware update. The timing is perfect, as more people have become interested in upgrading to a 4K set, and the market offers variety in feature sets and price points. Samsung touts its quantum dot technology; Vizio offers great prices; LG sports OLED screens; and now Sony, which also has an OLED screen, is marketing itself as the first TV manufacturer to offer Google Assistant. Continue reading Sony Is the First to Debut 4K TVs with Built-in Google Assistant

Nvidia Updates Shield TV to Offer 4K HDR Streaming and More

Nvidia’s new Shield TV features 4K HDR streaming and improved gaming capabilities — and now, many of the new hardware benefits are also available for free on the original Shield TV via an over-the-air software update. Users can access 4K HDR streaming from Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and 4K support from Google Play offerings and additional sources. The update also features “support for upgraded GeForce Now game streaming, and the new Nvidia Games app which centralizes all the various gaming endpoints,” reports TechCrunch. To add Google Assistant interaction, users will need to purchase the new $60 Shield Controller with built-in microphone. Continue reading Nvidia Updates Shield TV to Offer 4K HDR Streaming and More

DirecTV Now Experiences Rocky Start During its Initial Launch

Since AT&T launched DirecTV Now on November 30, the streaming service has experienced its share of difficulties, including missing features, billing issues and interruptions. The streaming service, developed as a replacement for cable/satellite, offers access to about 60 channels for $35/month and about 120 channels for $70/month. The service competes in the same arena as Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. AT&T acknowledges the problems faced during the launch, but chief technology officer Enrique Rodriguez states that most issues have been addressed. Continue reading DirecTV Now Experiences Rocky Start During its Initial Launch

3D Television Gives Way to Rise of 4K and HDR Technology

Support for 3D television has experienced a steady decline and now its demise seems inevitable (unless it is later resurrected). Samsung ceased its 3D support last year and Vizio has not offered 3D since 2013. Hisense, Sharp and TCL were among the companies that did not showcase 3D sets during CES earlier this month. “LG and Sony, the last two major TV makers to support the 3D feature in their TVs, will stop doing so in 2017,” reports CNET. “None of their sets, not even high-end models such as their new OLED TVs, will be able to show 3D movies and TV shows.” DirecTV shuttered its 3D channel in 2012 and ESPN did the same in 2013. Despite affordability of 3D TVs and the success of 3D in theaters, the technology failed to gain traction in the home. Continue reading 3D Television Gives Way to Rise of 4K and HDR Technology

Razer Debuts 3-Screen Project Valerie, Models Stolen at CES

At CES 2017, Razer debuted Project Valerie, an ambitious laptop with three 17-inch 4K displays, two of which slide out from each side, with overlapping bezels at the interlocking edges. Despite the rather large footprint, the system is “surprisingly svelte,” at about one-and-a-half inches thick and 12 pounds, with Razer’s matte black styling and a sturdy unibody enclosure. Project Valerie is based on the Razer Blade Pro, with support of the very powerful Intel Core i7-7700HQ and Nvidia GTX 1080 processors. Continue reading Razer Debuts 3-Screen Project Valerie, Models Stolen at CES

Sony, LG, Panasonic Unveil OLED TVs at Better Price Points

At CES 2017, OLED TVs were more numerous and considerably less expensive than past years. LG, for example, continuously lowered its OLED prices throughout 2016; its cheapest model, the B6, initially was priced at $4,000 and came down to $2,000 by October, with another $200 off for Black Friday (although the price is back up to $2,500). Lowered OLED prices are due, in part, to production increasing by 70 percent last year. OLED TVs are desirable for their thinness, improved contrast ratios and wider viewing angles. Continue reading Sony, LG, Panasonic Unveil OLED TVs at Better Price Points

Dish’s AirTV Box Fuses Streaming, OTA Channels with EPG

At CES, Dish debuted AirTV, a 4K set-top box that features Sling TV, Netflix and Android TV for streaming apps and OTA channels, with the Sling TV guide as an organizer for all of the content. The accompanying remote control, which connects to the box via Bluetooth and offers voice controls, provides dedicated buttons for the streaming libraries. The set-top box is “about the size of an Apple TV or Roku box,” with ports for power, Ethernet, HDMI and USB. AirTV is priced at $100 or $130 for the antenna-compatible version. Continue reading Dish’s AirTV Box Fuses Streaming, OTA Channels with EPG

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