Samson Reveals Tiny Solution for Smartphone Audio at CES

While smartphones have massively shrunk the size of a credible video camera, sound has lagged behind until now. At CES 2017, New York-based Samson Technologies introduced its soon-to-be-released Go Mic Mobile system, featuring an absolutely tiny onboard professional two-channel wireless microphone receiver that attaches to a smartphone and operates the 2.4GHx band with 100 feet of operable range. It automatically selects the clearest operating channel with uncompressed, low latency audio transmission to avoid audio sync issues. Continue reading Samson Reveals Tiny Solution for Smartphone Audio at CES

Digital Trends Announces its Top Tech of CES 2017 Winners

Tech publication Digital Trends unveiled its Top Tech of CES Award Winners. Best of Show this year went to Samsung’s $449 Chromebook Plus, which will roll out next month. “Designed with cooperation from Google, the Chromebook Plus is the first Chrome OS device built with Android apps in mind,” notes DT. “The 2,400 x 1,600 panel has a digitizer for built-in stylus support, and flips a full 360 degrees for dedicated tablet use.” Additional winners include Sony’s Bravia A1E 4K OLED (home video), Panasonic’s Lumix GH5 mirrorless camera (photography), Nvidia’s PilotNet (automotive), Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 (computing), the HTC Vive tracker (gaming), the Honor 6X budget phone (mobile), Beyerdynamics’ Xelento Remote (headphones), and GoldenEar’s Triton Reference speakers (home audio), among others. Continue reading Digital Trends Announces its Top Tech of CES 2017 Winners

Companies Showcase Next Wave of AR and VR at CES 2017

The primary takeaway from the companies showing in the AR and VR Marketplaces in LVCC South Hall was that many new products look similar to last year’s devices, but they offer significant improvements that will make the experience they deliver more compelling. Mobile VR headsets are finding ways to capture lean-in movement, blurring the difference between new offerings and the high-end VR HMDs such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. AR glasses are getting lighter, clearer and brighter. And startups are exploring opportunities to bring VR and AR experiences into current social media platforms and build on media sharing habits. At CES this week, we learned compelling news from the likes of ODG, Zeiss, Lumus, Vuzix, DTS and others. Continue reading Companies Showcase Next Wave of AR and VR at CES 2017

Industry Vets Discuss Goals of Producing Immersive Content

Niko Chauls, director of emerging technology for the USA Today Network, and David Hamlin, executive producer of the “VRtually There” series, sat with ETC’s Phil Lelyveld for a one-hour conversation at CES. USA Today Network has the largest newsgathering force in the U.S., comprised of 109 local properties plus USA Today. Chauls has a near-term goal of delivering 360-degree segments reliably on a weekly basis. He sees a reliable flow of quality 360-degree content as the key to both growing the audience and attracting advertising sponsors. Hamlin would like to gear his team up to deliver three stories per week. He reiterated that it is good storytelling that builds the audience and attracts advertisers. Continue reading Industry Vets Discuss Goals of Producing Immersive Content

Roku Readies 4K HDR Platform, Announces New TVs at CES

Roku is introducing new hardware at CES this week, including a number of 4K TVs featuring Dolby Vision HDR (high dynamic range). The company, whose app platform is now the basis of 13 percent of smart TVs sold in the U.S., has partnered with Element Electronics on Roku TVs expected to hit shelves later this year. TCL, which uses the Roku TV program for all its smart TVs, is also introducing new Roku-based 4K HDR TVs. And Hisense unveiled its H4 series, the company’s first 4K HDR Roku TVs. Dish, Dolby, Element, Hisense, Hitachi and TCL are among the vendors showcasing Roku TVs in Las Vegas. Continue reading Roku Readies 4K HDR Platform, Announces New TVs at CES

Apple Experiences Strong Holiday Sales Numbers for iPhone 7

Analytics service Mixpanel reports that Apple had a decent holiday season, as more iPhone 7 devices were sold than Google Pixel smartphones. During the first few days following Christmas, iPhone 7 numbers “increased by 12.7 percent, compared with an 8.5 percent increase for Google’s newest flagship,” explains TechCrunch. “And when comparing iOS to Android devices in general — including phones, tablets, and iPods — more new Apple devices were switched on … after Christmas than Android devices.” Apple devices had the most global activations leading up to Christmas, while Samsung came in second. The number of “Apple Watches increased by 8.9 percent … the first three days after Christmas,” but “that’s down from 18.6 percent during the same time last year.” Continue reading Apple Experiences Strong Holiday Sales Numbers for iPhone 7

Mobile Gamers Spent Nearly $1 Billion Last Week of December

Marking the biggest week of the year for mobile games, research firm Sensor Tower reports that sales of game apps between Christmas and New Year’s Day jumped 53 percent over the same period last year. “Smartphone and tablet users spent a record $967.6 million on game apps for iOS and Android devices,” notes The Wall Street Journal. “Two factors typically goose spending during the week: mobile devices given as gifts, and people off from work and school who have free time to load up on apps.” Additionally, game developers typically introduce “discounts and special holiday-timed events during the week.” According to Newzoo, mobile is now the largest slice of the $100 billion video game pie. Continue reading Mobile Gamers Spent Nearly $1 Billion Last Week of December

Twitter Debuts Live Video From Mobile Apps, Pares Down Vine

With tighter integration between Twitter and Periscope, updated iOS and Android Twitter apps now feature a “LIVE” button on the screen that activates the camera and starts live video. Since Twitter acquired Periscope early last year, it enabled Periscope broadcasts within the Twitter stream, introduced a way to alert a Twitter user when someone you followed began live streaming, and debuted high-end tools for streaming to Twitter from professional cameras and VR headsets. The company is also introducing a pared down version of its previously shuttered Vine. Continue reading Twitter Debuts Live Video From Mobile Apps, Pares Down Vine

Sling TV to Offer Local Broadcasts, Streaming via AirTV Player

Streaming TV service Sling TV is debuting its own TV tuner box, according to news on the company’s website. The AirTV Player features the ability to receive local over-the-air TV channels via a digital antenna, as well as Sling TV’s standard streaming services, with optional Netflix. EchoStar’s Sling Media subsidiary and Dish’s Sling TV appear to have collaborated on the AirTV box, since “AirTV Player” and its logo are copyrighted by EchoStar. By offering local channels, AirTV might encourage more viewers to cut the cord. Continue reading Sling TV to Offer Local Broadcasts, Streaming via AirTV Player

Facebook Debuts Live Audio with HarperCollins, BBC, Others

Facebook’s Live Audio, a complement to its Facebook Live video streaming, launched with a handful of publishers and authors testing out the ability to deliver news radio, podcasts and other audio-based services. BBC World Service, British talk radio LBC, publisher HarperCollins, and authors Adam Grant and Britt Bennett are the first to use the service, followed next year, says Facebook, by more “publishers and people.” Broadcasters have a limit of four hours, which will allow a wide range of content. Continue reading Facebook Debuts Live Audio with HarperCollins, BBC, Others

Documentarians Entreat Camera Manufacturers for Encryption

Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, who shot the Oscar-winning “Citizenfour” about Edward Snowden, along with 150 other documentary filmmakers, signed an open letter from the nonprofit Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) asking camera manufacturers Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony, Fuji, Kodak and Ricoh to add encryption features. The fear is that thieves, law enforcement or agents of authoritarian governments can access footage by simply taking possession of the camera, and the documentarians want protection. Continue reading Documentarians Entreat Camera Manufacturers for Encryption

Facebook Pursues Funding, Licensing Original Video Content

Facebook plans to fund original productions and license original video content from media companies and digital celebrities for its platform. To be led by Facebook head of global strategy Ricky Van Veen, the new initiative is still in its nascent stages; a spokesperson only says the company is reaching out to many potential partners. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has steadfastly insisted Facebook is not a media company, but given this decisive move towards content, that will be a difficult position to maintain. Continue reading Facebook Pursues Funding, Licensing Original Video Content

Android Things: Google Rolls Out IoT Platform for Developers

Google unveiled Android Things yesterday, currently available as a developer preview. The comprehensive IoT platform was designed to help developers build smart devices to work with Android APIs and Google services. According to TechCrunch, the platform “combines Google’s earlier efforts around Brillo with its Android developer tools like Android Studio, the Android SDK, Google Play Services and Google’s cloud computing services.” A future developer preview will include “support for Weave, Google’s IoT communications platform that (together with Brillo) makes up Google’s answer to Apple’s HomeKit.” Continue reading Android Things: Google Rolls Out IoT Platform for Developers

Google Play Sells Movies in 117 Countries, Launches 4K Titles

Launched less than four years ago, Google Play has become much more than the official Android app store, establishing itself as a top retailer in home entertainment. Users treat it like a digital media store, where they can buy movies or TV shows digitally — often sooner than they can on Netflix or other streaming services. Google is now selling movies in 117 countries. Next, Play Movies & TV will be offering 4K for over 125 movies in its collection, for sale via Web or mobile. Continue reading Google Play Sells Movies in 117 Countries, Launches 4K Titles

Netflix Makes Updates to Improve Visual Quality of Downloads

Last week, Netflix opened the doors to downloaded content for offline viewing on mobile devices. Now, the company is describing some judicious technology adjustments it made to ensure viewers enjoy an improved video image, and that the resulting content doesn’t eat up the mobile device’s storage. The company did that by switching video codecs, although the result favors Android users, as well as improving its already-established method of varying data rates based on the needs of each scene in a movie or TV show. Continue reading Netflix Makes Updates to Improve Visual Quality of Downloads

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