Presidential Race Gets Streaming Treatment Across Platforms

Election coverage focused on presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will get a major boost from social media, streaming technology and even virtual reality. Facebook plans to live-stream the upcoming debates with help from ABC News, while a Twitter-Bloomberg partnership will bring live streams of the debates to Twitter. YouTube, meanwhile, is slated to live-stream the debates from PBS, Telemundo and The Washington Post. And starting last night, NBC with AltspaceVR began streaming election coverage in virtual reality. Continue reading Presidential Race Gets Streaming Treatment Across Platforms

Automotive Tech Innovations More Prevalent in New Vehicles

Auto manufacturers are paying special attention to their vehicles’ technology interfaces, from touchscreens in the dashboard to smartphone apps. App developers are also focusing on cars, using voice recognition to offer music streaming and hands-off text messaging. Not all is smooth sailing, however. Government regulators are concerned that technology might become a distraction, and thieves are learning to hack systems to steal cars. Consumer complaints about in-car technology can also hurt a vehicle’s quality ratings. Continue reading Automotive Tech Innovations More Prevalent in New Vehicles

EU to Propose Stricter Regulations Impacting Digital Services

The European Union has unveiled proposed regulations designed to help protect its consumers. The goal is to create a single market out of Europe’s many regions, enabling its 500 million consumers to access the same services. But the EU proposals also create stricter demands for privacy and against copyright infringement, including reforms that would hold streaming services responsible for instituting better anti-piracy methods. From the perspective of Silicon Valley and much of Hollywood, the EU’s efforts are a form of protectionism. Continue reading EU to Propose Stricter Regulations Impacting Digital Services

Twitter to Live-Stream ‘Thursday Night Football’ for First Time

Twitter won a bidding war to live-stream NFL games in a $10 million deal inked in April. Now, this Thursday, the social media company will stream the first such match-up of the 10-game deal, seen as an effort by chief executive Jack Dorsey to revive the company’s dwindling support from advertisers. Viewers can watch the live CBS feed on Twitter’s mobile app and website, with the added value of in-the-moment tweets. Bank of America and Budweiser are two companies that will also stream commercials during the game. Continue reading Twitter to Live-Stream ‘Thursday Night Football’ for First Time

Stream-Ripping, the New Music Piracy, Becoming Problematic

The recording industry is concerned about a burgeoning trend: stream-ripping. Numerous mobile apps and sites now allow users to download MP3 files from songs on YouTube, thus circumventing both advertising and paid streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. The music industry has had reasonable success in fighting the kind of peer-to-peer file sharing that hurt CD sales, but this new kind of piracy is proving much harder to combat because it sources legitimate streaming services. Continue reading Stream-Ripping, the New Music Piracy, Becoming Problematic

Facebook Messenger Unveils Native Bot Payments, Webview

Out of Messenger’s one billion users, 300 million people are now using its audio and video calling features every month. This represents tremendous growth from Facebook’s first trials with VoIP audio for Messenger in 2013, and video calling in mid-2015. More recently, Facebook launched Instant Video for live connections in Messenger and group audio calling, with hints on plans to introduce group video calling. The idea is that multimedia options will always be part of the ongoing conversation. Continue reading Facebook Messenger Unveils Native Bot Payments, Webview

Time Debuts People/Entertainment Weekly Streaming Network

Time is launching its People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN) today — a streaming, ad-supported video service also available as an app, on numerous Web-connected devices and People’s website. The venture, Time’s latest effort to leverage digital advertising, is free and available to watch live and on-demand, with a focus on celebrities, coverage of popular entertainment franchises (such as “Star Wars” and “Game of Thrones”), live events (such as the Emmy Awards) and human interest stories. Continue reading Time Debuts People/Entertainment Weekly Streaming Network

Amazon Said to Be Looking Beyond Video to Streaming Sports

According to unnamed sources, Amazon is actively pursuing the rights to numerous sports, including the French Open tennis championship and professional rugby as well as golf, soccer, auto racing and U.S. sports such as basketball and baseball. Capturing rights in the U.S. will be challenging since CBS, NBCUniversal, Fox, Turner Sports and ESPN have inked long-term contracts for most major sporting events. In talks, Amazon points to the popularity of Amazon Prime, which reaches an estimated 63 million U.S. subscribers. Continue reading Amazon Said to Be Looking Beyond Video to Streaming Sports

EU Proposes Regulations for Online Communication Services

The European Union’s executive arm is poised to propose that online communication services such as Microsoft’s Skype and Facebook’s WhatsApp be regulated similarly to telecoms, a move that telecom executives have long advocated as creating a level playing field. Telecoms would actually prefer that the EU repeal regulations on user privacy among other specifics but, in lieu of that, are content to see their industry-specific regulations extended to online communication services, most of which are currently free. Continue reading EU Proposes Regulations for Online Communication Services

Twitter Launches App That Allows Alexa to Read Your Tweets

Twitter has introduced an app that enables Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa to read users’ Twitter timelines and topics currently trending on the social network. The new app is called Twitter Reader and it connects to Amazon Echo smart speakers and other Alexa-ready devices. Twitter Reader will recite individuals’ main timelines in addition to trending topics based on location. Users can ask for tweets that correspond to specific trends — or even ask if they have recently been mentioned on Twitter or if any of their tweets have been retweeted. Continue reading Twitter Launches App That Allows Alexa to Read Your Tweets

Apple Places Emphasis on Fitness with Series 2 Smartwatch

Two years since its initial launch, the Apple Watch has shifted its focus “from a stylish jack-of-all-trades fashion accessory to a personal trainer” with a new emphasis on sports and fitness, explains The Wall Street Journal. The Apple Watch Series 2, announced last week, is water resistant to 50 meters and features a heart rate sensor and a fitness app with 12 workouts. A new partnership with Nike offers “sports-themed watches along with GPS capability that helps the device track hikes, runs and bicycle rides,” notes WSJ. The Apple Watch Nike+ model includes the Nike running app and offers Nike-inspired faces and bands. Continue reading Apple Places Emphasis on Fitness with Series 2 Smartwatch

Starbucks Unveils ‘Upstanders’ Original Video, Podcast Series

Starbucks launched “Upstanders,” an original multi-platform 10-episode series that tells “stories of compassion, citizenship and civility” through video, podcasts, and text. The content will be distributed in the company’s in-store digital network, online and via its mobile app. Starbucks chairman/chief executive Howard Schultz wrote and produced the series with Starbucks executive producer Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who left his post as senior editor at The Washington Post to establish the production company in Seattle. Continue reading Starbucks Unveils ‘Upstanders’ Original Video, Podcast Series

Google Builds Cast Functionality Directly into Chrome Browser

Google recently integrated full Google Cast capability directly into its Chrome browser, a significant upgrade to its previous Cast extension that allowed streaming from Chrome to supported devices like the company’s popular Chromecast. The Cast icon will appear on all sites that support it, enabling Cast functionality from the Chrome menu, no software download required. Cast is also now available on third party hardware such as TV sets and speakers. More than 38 million casts were sent from Chrome in August alone, representing over 50 million hours of consuming media content. Continue reading Google Builds Cast Functionality Directly into Chrome Browser

Nintendo Bringing its Popular Games to Apple Mobile Devices

At the Apple iPhone 7 launch, Niantic Labs chief executive John Hanke announced that “Pokémon Go” — which has been downloaded 500 million times worldwide — is coming to the Apple Watch. Following the announcement Nintendo shares skyrocketed 20 percent; since that and the debut of “Super Mario Run” (coming to iOS this year), the company’s shares have risen more than 65 percent in the past few months. With the new Pokémon app, the company has improved its safety: players can simply walk without having to constantly look for what Pokémon are nearby. Continue reading Nintendo Bringing its Popular Games to Apple Mobile Devices

FCC Chair Pushes Compromise Plan to Open Set-Top Boxes

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler hasn’t given up on his goal to open up the TV set-top box market, thus breaking the cable industry’s dominance in this arena. Sources say he is preparing a “compromise version” of his proposal by which cable companies would be required to make their feeds available, via apps, to competitive device manufacturers. In today’s market, the set-top box, which once simply translated cable signals for TV sets, can now be used to offer access to cable TV and video-streaming services such as Hulu or Netflix. Continue reading FCC Chair Pushes Compromise Plan to Open Set-Top Boxes

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