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

Amazon Expands into Food Sales, Tests New Grocery Stores

Amazon introduced its first brick-and-mortar store that is part of Project Como, aimed at garnering a market share of food sales. The “small format” Amazon Go, one of three different types of grocery stores the company plans for the coming months, will open in early 2017. In the next few weeks, Amazon will also open two prototypes of another format, a drive-through without in-store shopping. Depending on the results of the tests, Amazon plans to open more than 2,000 such brick-and-mortar grocery stores. Continue reading Amazon Expands into Food Sales, Tests New Grocery Stores

AWS Shield Aims to Protect Against Denial-of-Service Attacks

Amazon Web Services just unveiled AWS Shield, a service to protect its customers against distributed denial-of-service attacks, which push websites offline by overwhelming them with junk data. Last month, such cyberattacks made numerous popular websites unavailable. Amazon is offering two levels of service, Standard and Advanced, both of which are available now. The Standard option is a default service to AWS customers at no extra charge, and the Advanced service costs $3,000 per month plus data-related charges. Continue reading AWS Shield Aims to Protect Against Denial-of-Service Attacks

Netflix Now Offers Mobile Download of Many But Not All Titles

Netflix now lets subscribers download shows for offline viewing on iOS and Android devices. But there’s a catch: many of its most popular shows aren’t available for this kind of viewing. Still, there are hundreds of titles that users can download, including “Stranger Things,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “Master of None,” as well as animated titles like “Kung Fu Panda,” and top TV series like “Breaking Bad” and “Cheers.” The company has said more titles will be released in the future, but hasn’t been more specific. Continue reading Netflix Now Offers Mobile Download of Many But Not All Titles

Amazon Expands its A La Carte Offerings with HBO, Cinemax

Prime video members can access premium cable content from HBO and Cinemax now that Amazon has introduced the channels to its add-on packs in Amazon Channels, which now features more than 70 add-ons available to subscribers willing to pay more each month. “HBO is an additional $14.99 per month, and Cinemax is $9.99 monthly, with both offering 30-day free trials,” notes TechCrunch (HBO’s standalone HBO Now also runs $15/month). “The HBO add-on provides access to HBO’s current hits and past hit shows and limited series, as well as their current licensed movies, and news shows. Likewise Cinemax provides access to their original shows, as well as movies.” Continue reading Amazon Expands its A La Carte Offerings with HBO, Cinemax

Amazon Trucks Data to the Cloud and Introduces AI Solutions

Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s powerful cloud-computing network, has been a leader in moving massive amounts of data from customers’ data centers into the cloud, posting more than $12 billion in revenue in 2016. Now, Amazon is proposing a surprisingly low-tech way of moving that data from customers’ data centers: trucks. At its annual customer conference in Las Vegas, Amazon unveiled a big rig with a 45-foot shipping container, dubbed Snowmobile, that holds 100 petabytes of data (a petabyte equals about 1 million gigabytes). Continue reading Amazon Trucks Data to the Cloud and Introduces AI Solutions

Amazon Developing High-End Take on Popular Echo Speaker

Although Amazon declined to comment, sources say that the company is readying a premium Echo-like speaker for release in Q1 2017. The form factor is a break with Amazon’s cylindrical devices controlled by digital assistant Alexa. Instead, the new speaker will feature a seven-inch touchscreen that will tilt upwards, so users can see it when they are standing and looking at the speaker on a countertop. Sources add that, “at least one prototype version of the device places the speakers below and behind the screen.” Continue reading Amazon Developing High-End Take on Popular Echo Speaker

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

Amazon Expands Cloud Offerings, Big Firms Sign On to AWS

Amazon’s fifth cloud computing conference, AWS re:Invent, begins this week in Las Vegas, showcasing the impact of Amazon Web Services on corporate information technology. About 32,000 people are expected to attend. In the five years since its debut, AWS has offered a more price-conscious, subscription services-based alternative to on-site servers, storage, networking and software. As a result, Amazon’s AWS has grown 55 percent in Q3 to $3.2 billion, due in part to some large companies that recently came on board. Continue reading Amazon Expands Cloud Offerings, Big Firms Sign On to AWS

Sony Slated to Release Xperia Ear Wearable Digital Assistant

On December 13, Sony plans to release the Xperia Ear on Amazon in time for holiday gift shopping. Priced at $200, the device, which will also be available eventually at Fry’s Electronics, Abt and B&H, will compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home — but in a form factor that resembles a Bluetooth earpiece. Sony had originally said it would release Xperia Ear in the summer, but then pushed the release date. The earpiece, available in black, is a companion to Xperia smartphones. Continue reading Sony Slated to Release Xperia Ear Wearable Digital Assistant

Amazon Reportedly Scouting for Live Sports Rights for Prime

Amazon, looking into the possibility of streaming live sports, has been in conversations with the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Football League, as well as soccer, lacrosse and surfing leagues, say sources. The company’s idea would be to create a premium sports package that would be made available via its Amazon Prime, with the goal of bringing new members to the $99 per year membership program. Amazon could also market a “skinny bundle” of live sports channels. Continue reading Amazon Reportedly Scouting for Live Sports Rights for Prime

Amazon Readies Launch of Prime Video in 120 More Countries

Amazon is expected to debut its streaming Amazon Prime Video in about 200 countries and territories, say sources close to the matter. Although a launch in India was already announced, Prime is currently only available in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria and Japan. The news was leaked by Jeremy Clarkson, star of the upcoming Amazon automotive show “The Grand Tour,” who tweeted that “Amazon has gone global,” with the show to be available in 200 territories. With a global reach, Amazon will be in direct competition with Netflix. Continue reading Amazon Readies Launch of Prime Video in 120 More Countries

CBS Brings 360-Degree Video to Android TV, Amazon Fire TV

CBS is launching apps for Android TV and Amazon Fire TV that will add 360-degree videos to CBSN’s news coverage. The apps will debut with a show documenting production of a “60 Minutes” episode on searching for gorillas in Africa. The apps, which will also feature a new playlist for 360-degree videos, will offer curated video playlists, a personalized playlist of favorite videos and features for finding related videos. Viewers will be able to use their remote control to navigate the videos. Continue reading CBS Brings 360-Degree Video to Android TV, Amazon Fire TV

Google Offers Formal Response to Two EU Antitrust Charges

Google formally rebutted two antitrust charges made by the European Commission (the European Union’s executive body). The Commission claims that Google has used its search engine to boost Google Shopping, its price comparison service, and AdSense, its ad placement service. A third European Union antitrust suit claims that Google’s mobile OS is a ‘Trojan horse’ to promote its own products and services, injuring potential rivals. The EU says it “cannot at this stage prejudge the final outcome of the investigation.” Continue reading Google Offers Formal Response to Two EU Antitrust Charges

Microsoft Releases its Server Design Early to Jumpstart Cloud

Microsoft is submitting designs for its new server, Project Olympus, to the open source Open Compute Project eight months before it will be completed, in an effort to influence the data center market. By offering open source designs, the company pressures hardware manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard to lower pricing of its own cloud infrastructure products. Among the new server’s key strengths are that it can use different international power standards without a need to tweak the hardware and can run a variety of applications. Continue reading Microsoft Releases its Server Design Early to Jumpstart Cloud

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