IFPI: Music Streaming Continues its Growth, As Does Piracy

According to an annual report released by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), music streaming is continuing to rise, with 86 percent of respondents ages 16-64 in 20 top global markets opting for streaming. The report notes that 57 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds use a paid audio service. While nearly half of the time consuming on-demand music is via YouTube, the report finds that terrestrial radio is still relevant. And even though popular streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music have brought growth to the industry, piracy still remains a problem. Continue reading IFPI: Music Streaming Continues its Growth, As Does Piracy

Amazon Eyes Video With New Echo Show and Fire TV Recast

Amazon announced plans last week to introduce a range of new devices intended for the automotive, home security, and premium audio markets. The Seattle-based tech giant also unveiled updated versions of its Echo Plus, Dot and Show smart speakers as well as other Alexa-powered devices including a wall clock and microwave oven. In addition to more than a dozen new voice-powered products, the company revealed the Fire TV Recast that enables consumers to view and record live television via a connected digital antenna. The content can be streamed inside and outside the user’s home. Continue reading Amazon Eyes Video With New Echo Show and Fire TV Recast

Apple TV Offers a Turnkey Premium Format With Dolby Atmos

Apple TV 4K, with the launch of tvOS 12, is about to get Dolby Atmos surround sound. Dolby Atmos, initially launched in movie theaters, differs from other cinema surround sound systems by replacing a fixed number of audio channels with the concept of audio “objects.” With Atmos, sound designers and mixers can manipulate each sound as an audio “object” and place it anywhere inside the “virtual” theater. When Atmos is played back in a real theater, the mix is mapped to the speakers to recreate the original intent. Continue reading Apple TV Offers a Turnkey Premium Format With Dolby Atmos

Netflix’s New Logo Program Will Certify Post Production Tools

Netflix launched its Post Technology Alliance logo program last week, with plans to certify post-production products and systems from manufacturers and vendors that meet the streaming service’s technical and content delivery specs. “The Post Technology Alliance will build a more seamless experience from production through post-production,” said Chris Fetner, Netflix director of post partnerships and integrations, noting that certified vendors are “committed to better interoperability and faster innovation cycles.” Adobe, Avid, Blackmagic Design, Canon, Panasonic, RED Digital Cinema and Sony are among those with products already certified. Continue reading Netflix’s New Logo Program Will Certify Post Production Tools

New York Times Takes Multiple Steps to Authenticate Videos

The New York Times, which is now posting information explaining its journalistic practices, recently described how it reviews news-relevant videos from a wide variety of sources, including news agencies; social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat; and eyewitness videos via WhatsApp, witness contacts on the ground or “joining relevant groups.” The actual verification process is broken down into two steps. First, it determines whether a video is “really new.” The second step is to “dissect every frame to draw conclusions about location, date and time, the actors involved and what exactly happened.”  Continue reading New York Times Takes Multiple Steps to Authenticate Videos

Sennheiser Records 3D Audio Thriller with New Smart Headset

Today’s personal video viewing elevates the need for immersive sound. Sennheiser has created a plug-and-play solution with its new prosumer-priced 3D AMBEO Smart Headset, which was recently used for “Final Stop” — a Sennheiser-sponsored short video billed as “a 3D audio thriller.” Shot on an iPhone with a professional crew, “Final Stop” leverages horror soundscapes made affordably possible by the Apogee-fueled headset. Sennheiser introduced the device last year under the AMBEO brand as a personal binaural recording headset. Continue reading Sennheiser Records 3D Audio Thriller with New Smart Headset

Public Radio Distributors to Merge in Push for More Podcasts

PRX and PRI, two of the four U.S. national distributors of programming for public radio stations, are merging to gain more leverage in the podcast/other digital formats marketplace. National Public Radio and American Public Media, the other two distributors, are much larger. PRI (Public Radio International), founded in 1983, produces programs such as “The World” and “The Takeaway” for 700 public radio stations. PRX (Public Radio Exchange) started in audio distribution but now focuses on podcasts. Continue reading Public Radio Distributors to Merge in Push for More Podcasts

Sony Introduces its New Premium OLED and LED Televisions

Sony Electronics revealed its new premium TVs, the Bravia Master Series, with the goal of bringing a professional-level studio monitor into the home. The OLED A9F, which follows the first Bravia OLED set in 2017, and the A8F, launched earlier this year, feature an upgraded version of Sony’s Acoustic Surface, recreating a 3.2 audio set-up. Other new features are object-based HDR remastering and “super resolution.” Sony has also invested in large crystal LED (CLED) screens, “currently targeted at commercial users,” but not hard to imagine ultimately being scaled down for consumers. Continue reading Sony Introduces its New Premium OLED and LED Televisions

Netflix Teams With SiriusXM on New Comedy Radio Channel

Streaming video giant Netflix is making a move into satellite radio by launching a commercial-free comedy channel with satellite-radio broadcaster SiriusXM. The two are partnering on a new radio channel dubbed “Netflix Is a Joke Radio” that will draw content from Netflix’s growing library of comedy programs. Netflix also plans to produce original content. The channel will serve as a promotional tool for Netflix’s stand-up specials and ideally drive some of SiriusXM’s 33 million subscribers to the streaming video service. The channel is expected to launch in January 2019. Continue reading Netflix Teams With SiriusXM on New Comedy Radio Channel

Netflix Now Tops Broadcast, Cable, YouTube for TV Viewing

According to a new Cowen & Co. survey of U.S. consumers, subscription-video service Netflix is now the top choice for watching entertainment content on TV. In response to the question, “Which platforms do you use most often to view video content on TV?” — 27 percent of the 2,500 respondents said they prefer Netflix, while 20 percent opt for basic cable, 18 percent for broadcast television, and 11 percent for YouTube. Meanwhile, Netflix is reportedly testing a new Ultra tier that would allow simultaneous streaming of Ultra HD video and audio across four devices. Continue reading Netflix Now Tops Broadcast, Cable, YouTube for TV Viewing

Apple to Roll Out Higher-End AirPods, Other Audio Products

Apple is planning to introduce higher-end AirPods, a next-gen HomePod and studio-quality over-ear headphones as early as 2019, say sources. With regard to the new AirPod, which will likely be priced more than the current earbuds’ $159, Apple is trying to increase the range that it can work away from an iPhone or iPad, and is adding noise-cancellation and water resistance against rain and sweat. A wireless charging case compatible with the upcoming AirPower charger is also in the works. Continue reading Apple to Roll Out Higher-End AirPods, Other Audio Products

Snap Introduces its Second, Enhanced Version of Spectacles

Snap’s first version of its Spectacles was not a big hit, and the company is trying again with its second version, stating its commitment to hardware. Snap began working on this second iteration when the first one launched. The form factor of the second version Specs is slightly different: no more yellow rings around the lenses and much thinner temples. The Specs, priced at $150, also come in new colors with two variations on mirrored lenses. But the big changes address all of the criticisms of the first Spectacles. Continue reading Snap Introduces its Second, Enhanced Version of Spectacles

NAB 2018: IBM Watson on Refining AI for Closed Captioning

Closed captioning isn’t just for the hard-of-hearing anymore. According to Digiday, 85 percent of Facebook video is viewed without sound. That signals a trend of viewers who prefer to watch closed captioning, putting the heat on solutions providers to come up with compliant systems that are also accurate and speedy. With artificial intelligence, says IBM Watson Media senior offering manager David Kulczar, closed captioning can be enhanced to go beyond transcription, and automatically identify background audio descriptions. Continue reading NAB 2018: IBM Watson on Refining AI for Closed Captioning

Snapchat Releasing New Tools: Group Video Chats, Mentions

Snapchat is making moves to become more conversational, more “sticky,” and to keep users engaged for longer periods of time, according to Variety. The social sharing company announced a new chat feature that allows up to 16 users to video chat through its app, and added mentions to its Snapchat Stories, allowing users to easily tag others (much like they would via Twitter). The chat feature will roll out across the globe this week and will come with filters and the ability to join by audio only as desired. Users can also reply via text messages.

Continue reading Snapchat Releasing New Tools: Group Video Chats, Mentions

ESPN Sets April 12 as Launch Date for New Streaming Service

ESPN+ is slated to launch on April 12th. ESPN’s new streaming service will cost $4.99 per month and will include “streaming access to live sports, original content, and on-demand programming delivered [via] a redesigned and personalized ESPN app, as well as ESPN.com,” reports TechCrunch. In August of last year, Disney made key announcements regarding plans for streaming video services: a Disney-branded platform slated for 2019, an ESPN-branded service for early 2018, and a majority stake in streaming tech company BAMTech, founded by MLB Advanced Media.

Continue reading ESPN Sets April 12 as Launch Date for New Streaming Service

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