Hulu Launches Ultra HD, YouTube Supports 4K Live Streaming

Hulu has joined Netflix and Amazon in offering select titles in 4K. Subscribers with a Microsoft Xbox One S or Sony PlayStation 4 Pro console (and a minimum connection speed of 13 megabits per second) can now enjoy James Bond films and original Hulu series in the Ultra HD format. Netflix and Amazon also offer select high dynamic range content. Meanwhile, YouTube — which first introduced 4K support to its video-sharing site in 2010 — is now bringing the same capability to live streaming of 4K and 360 videos. The feature should help the site compete with Facebook and Twitter in the live streaming space. Continue reading Hulu Launches Ultra HD, YouTube Supports 4K Live Streaming

It’s Official: Cyber Monday Bigger Than Black Friday This Year

As projected, this week’s Cyber Monday shopping event set a new single-day online sales record, according to Adobe. Following Black Friday’s record of $3.34 billion in online sales, as well as a new record of $1.2 billion in purchases made via mobile devices, Cyber Monday reached a staggering $3.45 billion in sales in the U.S., up 12.1 percent compared to the same day in 2015. Thanksgiving weekend is generally considered the start of the holiday shopping season and an indicator of economic health and consumer confidence. From November 24-28, consumers spent $12.81 billion, a 16.4 percent jump over last year. Continue reading It’s Official: Cyber Monday Bigger Than Black Friday This Year

Black Friday Sets New Records, More Consumers Go Mobile

According to separate research from Adobe and the National Retail Federation, Black Friday set new records for e-commerce with online sales surpassing $3 billion for the first time, while also marking the first day in U.S. retail history to experience more than $1 billion in sales made from mobile devices. Adobe reports $3.34 billion in total online sales, a 21.6 percent jump over last year, with mobile accounting for $1.2 billion, a 33 percent increase. And shoppers were thrifty this time around. While the NRF found that the number of shoppers increased over the weekend compared to 2015, average consumer spending dropped 3.5 percent, including online and offline purchases. Continue reading Black Friday Sets New Records, More Consumers Go Mobile

Mavic Pro Review: DJI’s New Drone Is Compact and Capable

DJI’s Mavic Pro drone is now being reviewed and sold to consumers, and it’s coming up roses. Already sold out or back-ordered in many places, the drone features numerous advanced features in a highly portable package, with a range of 4 miles and a top speed of 40 mph. The Mavic Pro has taken a page from the technology book of the larger Phantom 4, using an array of cameras to see obstacles in 3D and make quick decisions to avoid them. The small controller can hook onto a smartphone, which becomes its main screen. Continue reading Mavic Pro Review: DJI’s New Drone Is Compact and Capable

Sony Pictures, Nokia Partner to Create, Distribute VR Content

Sony Pictures and Nokia have partnered to produce and distribute VR content. In addition to using Nokia’s OZO VR camera to produce videos, Sony will use the OZO’s Live VR broadcast feature to live stream 360-degree video of Sony Pictures events for fans. Sony will also add Nokia’s SDK to its Privilege Plus app, which is only available on Sony mobile phones. Nokia debuted the OZO a little over a year ago for about $60,000; the cost goes up with additional gear required to produce VR films. Continue reading Sony Pictures, Nokia Partner to Create, Distribute VR Content

CTA Predicts Black Friday Will Be a ‘Record Breaker for Tech’

Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association outlined the CTA’s projections for retail holiday sales. Anticipating a 3.1 percent increase over 2015 in consumer holiday spending on tech, top product categories include televisions, laptops and smartphones. Emerging categories such as wearables, drones and VR headsets are also projected to have a strong showing this season. DuBravac noted the top five tech trends to watch for at January’s CES: vocal computing, intelligent systems connecting diverse objects, self-driving cars and driver-assist technologies, artificial intelligence, and VR and AR entertainment. Continue reading CTA Predicts Black Friday Will Be a ‘Record Breaker for Tech’

DJI Debuts New Drone Models and Produces Showcase Film

DJI, whose Phantom drones dominate the nascent market sector, just introduced Inspire 2, an upgrade to its flagship model, and Phantom 4 Pro, an upgrade from last year’s Phantom 4. To showcase its UAV tech, the company has produced a short film using the new Inspire 2. The Phantom 4 Pro introduces multiple crash-avoidance features, including rear and infrared sensors. It can now both fly fast (31 mph) and keep obstacle avoidance engaged; the previous Phantom 4 could only fly that fast in “Sport Mode,” with no obstacle avoidance. Continue reading DJI Debuts New Drone Models and Produces Showcase Film

YouTube Introduces High Dynamic Range Support for Videos

YouTube is rolling out HDR support for videos that offer improved picture quality, higher contrast and more vibrant colors. The launch is limited, since HDR is still entering the mainstream, but the video-sharing site is preparing for its future. TechCrunch reports, “if you happen to own an HDR-enabled TV today, you can view HDR content on select YouTube channels going live with the enhanced content, like MysteryGuitarMan, Jacob + Katie Schwarz, and Abandon Visuals.” HDR videos can also be streamed “through Google’s newer Chromecast Ultra device, which debuted earlier this fall with 4K and HDR support.” Continue reading YouTube Introduces High Dynamic Range Support for Videos

DEG Reports Increase in U.S. Home Entertainment Spending

Consumer spending on home entertainment was up 3.8 percent to $4.2 billion in Q3, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. “Leading the charge was subscription streaming, with sales up 23.9 percent,” reports TWICE. “Electronic sell-through followed with a 9.8 percent gain, while VOD trailed in third place among digital formats with a 4.8 percent increase.” Packaged media took a hit, with combined Blu-ray and DVD sales dropping 8.7 percent, while storefront, kiosk and subscription rentals declined 17.8 percent. DEG notes that 85 percent of U.S. homes now have a 1080p TV, and sales of 4K TVs are approaching 10 million units. Continue reading DEG Reports Increase in U.S. Home Entertainment Spending

Google to Roll Out its Jamboard Digital Whiteboard Next Year

Google just added to its list of new hardware products with the Jamboard, a 55-inch 4K touchscreen that will sell for under $6,000 next year. The company’s other hardware products include the new Pixel phone, Google Home, Chromecast, and Google Wi-Fi, the latter introduced this month. A digital whiteboard, Jamboard is the first hardware product from Google’s so-called G Suite — cloud-based tools that include Gmail, Google Drive and Google Docs. G Suite tools are aimed at long-distance online collaboration. Continue reading Google to Roll Out its Jamboard Digital Whiteboard Next Year

Netgear Nighthawk Router Ideal for 4K Streaming, VR Gaming

Netgear is launching its $500 Nighthawk X10, which the company claims is the “world’s fastest router.” The X10 features quad-stream Wave 2 Wi-Fi architecture, a 10-gigabit port and a 1.7-gigahertz quad-core processor, the fastest processor found in a home router today. Intended for 4K video streaming, instant backup and VR gaming, the Nighthawk X10 Smart Wi-Fi Router can handle next-gen 802.11ad Wi-Fi and speeds up to 7.2 gigabits per second. “The Nighthawk X10 supports Plex Media Server with transcoding for smooth 4K streaming, even to remote devices,” reports VentureBeat. “It is also the industry’s first router to run Plex Media Server without the need for a computer.” Continue reading Netgear Nighthawk Router Ideal for 4K Streaming, VR Gaming

Walmart Debuts Free, Ad-Supported Video Streaming Service

Retail giant Walmart announced the launch of its free, ad-supported streaming video service called Vudu Movies On Us, which offers thousands of titles available for 1080p HD streaming, and supports Dolby Digital sound when available. Vudu has been selling and renting movies and TV shows for almost 10 years. The new service, however, will not feature new releases or current series. Instead, it will focus on older blockbusters and classics. Vudu considered developing a subscription VOD service, but opted for the ad-supported model since the majority of Walmart customers expressed interest in free or discounted video services. Continue reading Walmart Debuts Free, Ad-Supported Video Streaming Service

Sony Doubles Down on VR with ‘Billy Lynn’ and PlayStation VR

At his MIPCOM TV keynote, Sony president/chief executive Kazuo Hirai talked about the importance of virtual reality to the company, singling out its PlayStation VR headset; director Ang Lee’s “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” which was shot in 3D 4K at 120 frames per second; and VR experiences tied to its movies, including “Ghostbusters,” “The Walk” and “Goosebumps.” Kando, the Japanese concept of stimulating emotional response in people, says Hirai, is at the center of what Sony wants to create in all its work. Continue reading Sony Doubles Down on VR with ‘Billy Lynn’ and PlayStation VR

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

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

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