Publishers Raise Amazon Kindle E-Book Prices, Sales Plummet

Three big publishers that inked new pacts with Amazon to be able to set prices for their titles are now scratching their heads. The prices went up, but the sales went down. Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group, News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers and CBS Corporation’s Simon & Schuster all reported declining e-book revenues, despite the “win” of setting their own, considerably higher prices. Although the correlation between the two facts might seem obvious, some publishers insist lackluster books are to blame. Continue reading Publishers Raise Amazon Kindle E-Book Prices, Sales Plummet

Roku Announces Refresh for Streaming Box and Updates Search

Roku has updated its Roku 2 streaming box and is introducing platform enhancements that make it easier to find video content across multiple apps. The new Roku Search allows users to search for movies, TV shows, actors and directors across all apps via the interface. Since the company does not produce any of its own content, it does not include any bias when displaying content on its UI, something that cannot be said of rival streaming platforms. This may be appealing to television manufacturers looking for platform partnerhips. Continue reading Roku Announces Refresh for Streaming Box and Updates Search

Report: Copyright Alert System Distributes 1.3 Million Notices

The Center for Copyright Information released official figures on Wednesday regarding the first 10 months of the anti-piracy program initiated by movie studios, record companies and Internet providers. The group reports that it has forwarded 1.3 million copyright alerts thus far to consumers that have been accessing infringing media content. The voluntary industry agreement was designed to educate consumers and curb online copyright infringement. Continue reading Report: Copyright Alert System Distributes 1.3 Million Notices

Researchers Use Algorithm for Computers to Understand Video

Researchers at MIT have developed a method for teaching computers to understand what is happening in video content. The method uses a similar approach to textual analysis, such as natural language processing, by looking at each part of a video to figure out what the whole thing means. The researchers created an algorithm to identify what occurs in individual frames of the video, and then determines what those mean when combined in a certain order. Continue reading Researchers Use Algorithm for Computers to Understand Video

CreativeFuture: Coalition Looks at Solutions to Online Piracy

Independent film executive Ruth Vitale — who has held positions at New Line Cinema, Paramount Classics and First Look Studios — was recently named executive director of CreativeFuture, a coalition of movie and television producers, unions and companies that is aiming to steer Hollywood’s digital future. After tech giants convinced Congress that proposed antipiracy laws were too restrictive of online freedom, the film and television industries remain threatened by online piracy. CreativeFuture hopes to change that. Continue reading CreativeFuture: Coalition Looks at Solutions to Online Piracy

Android Wear: Google’s Move to Become Key Name in Wearables

Google announced its first operating system for wearable technology yesterday. Android Wear will initially be introduced in smartwatches to feature Google Now reminders, fitness trackers, app notifications from smartphones, and voice capabilities that offer interaction with multiple screens. The company is working with Android partners such as Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung. LG’s upcoming G Watch and Motorola’s Moto 360, for example, will be two early smartwatches featuring the OS. Continue reading Android Wear: Google’s Move to Become Key Name in Wearables

Research Suggests Strikes Systems Not Curbing Online Piracy

Several countries have launched “graduated response” initiatives in an effort to reduce online piracy, but new findings from U.S. and French researchers suggest the measures do not have the intended effect. Last year, the U.S. implemented its six-strikes system to warn infringing file-sharers, and then penalize them after multiple warnings. Although the penalties range from a fine to a prolonged Internet disconnection, the study suggests this does not prevent piracy.  Continue reading Research Suggests Strikes Systems Not Curbing Online Piracy

Google Working on Contact Lens to Monitor Glucose Levels

We saw a number of compelling wearable solutions at CES this month. Now Google has a new project in the health realm of wearables, a smart contact lens for diabetics to help monitor their glucose levels. The lens measures those levels with tears, using a tiny wireless chip and glucose sensor embedded in the lens. Prototypes can generate readings every second, and Google is even looking into inserting LED lights that could alert contact lens wearers to glucose levels that are either too high or too low. Continue reading Google Working on Contact Lens to Monitor Glucose Levels

Comcast Announces Major New Partnerships for SEEiT Platform

Twitter is taking another step toward TV integration, as new partners have signed on to leverage the social service and Comcast’s SEEiT platform. Originally available for Comcast Xfinity and networks owned by NBCUniversal, new partnerships will allow subscribers of Time Warner Cable, Charter and Cablevision Optimum to use SEEiT via set-top boxes. Additionally, networks such as ABC, AMC, Fox and FX will use SEEiT to help steer access to their programming. Continue reading Comcast Announces Major New Partnerships for SEEiT Platform

Macy’s is First Major Retailer to Use Apple’s iBeacon Tech

When Apple released iOS 7 in June, the company incorporated a proximity-based service called iBeacon that is now being used in retail stores. Mobile retail app developer Shopkick recently announced a service called ShopBeacon that uses iBeacon technology to track customers when they enter and move around the store, and allows the business itself to interact with the customers as they shop. ShopBeacon’s first official trial partner is Macy’s. Continue reading Macy’s is First Major Retailer to Use Apple’s iBeacon Tech

Field Trip Update Provides Virtual Tours via Google Glass

Google has released a new Google Glass version of its Field Trip app, which will act as a virtual tour guide based on a user’s location. The app alerts users to things and places of interest nearby, such as entertainment events and details on historical sites. The new update could be particularly useful for tourists, although they will have to walk around a city while wearing the Glass device. It has the potential to be used with ads and more Google services. Continue reading Field Trip Update Provides Virtual Tours via Google Glass