Spotify, Apple Focus on New Ways to Experience, Create Music

Spotify is acquiring Soundwave and Cord Project, two small startups founded in the last few years and known for their design abilities. Soundwave is a social tool for finding, sharing, and talking about music, and Cord Project is an audio-first messaging app for Android, iOS, and the Apple Watch, with a tap-and-talk voice messaging system. Although Cord might seem to be a puzzling fit for Spotify, its founders Thomas Gayno and Jeff Baxter have launched other companies that focus around providing “an audio experience.” Continue reading Spotify, Apple Focus on New Ways to Experience, Create Music

Advertisers Pay for Users’ Mobile Data in Verizon’s Beta Test

Verizon Wireless does not offer an unlimited data plan, but it’s got another idea on how users can watch mobile content to their heart’s content without racking up data charges: get media firms and advertisers to pay to deliver video and other content. The telco has launched a 1,000-user beta test of its sponsored-data program, FreeBee Data, that lets content providers opt to pay per-click or per-gigabyte fees. Just how many media companies will agree to pay data fees isn’t clear, and Verizon did not announce pricing. Continue reading Advertisers Pay for Users’ Mobile Data in Verizon’s Beta Test

Dolby Partners with Entertainment Companies on 4K Movies

Dolby Laboratories announced new deals with Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and MGM to enhance their 4K movie releases. The Sony deal focuses on the upcoming releases of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs with the Dolby Atmos sound technology. Sony has also agreed to work with Universal Pictures and MGM to release new and catalog titles with Dolby Vision technology, an HDR format that produces greater contrast on screen. The remastered movies will be available via streaming services. Continue reading Dolby Partners with Entertainment Companies on 4K Movies

CES: Virtual Reality Startups Tackling Big Problems (Part 2)

Yesterday, we reported from the Sands Convention Center at CES where a number of innovative startups — including IonVR, The Eye Tribe and Reach Bionics — are demonstrating some compelling solutions for improved VR experiences this week. Today, we’ll be examining three other companies exhibiting at the Sands: Impulsonic and its Phonon ‘sonic architecture’ package; the Freefly VR head-mounted display from Proteus VR, that features a Bluetooth-connected controller; and ImmersiON VRelia, which offers a unique spherical encoding and compression solution with its mobile VR headset. Continue reading CES: Virtual Reality Startups Tackling Big Problems (Part 2)

CES: Amped Demonstrates its Long Range Apollo Wi-Fi Cam

Amped Wireless is showing its extended range, Wi-Fi-enabled HD cameras at CES. The 720p, 110-degree FOV (field of view) Apollo cameras feature amplifiers and a high gain antenna to extend its useful range on any Wi-Fi network up to 200 feet for the $150 base model and 300 feet for the $180 Pro model. (Distances of 50-100 feet are normal for comparable cameras.) The Apollo Pro also features 2-way audio, advanced night vision and a motion-detection trigger. The free mobile app that comes with the Apollo can manage multiple cameras simultaneously. Continue reading CES: Amped Demonstrates its Long Range Apollo Wi-Fi Cam

OrCam Unveils Discrete Digital Assistant for AR Applications

Israel-based technology company OrCam is introducing its compelling take on augmented reality at this year’s CES. The company’s device is similar to Google Glass, but the hardware is more discrete and does not save images or audio, which could help alleviate privacy concerns. The MyMe digital assistant is designed to give the user advice based on the world around them. The assistant speaks through a Bluetooth earpiece and the tiny camera clips to a shirt. All of the data processing is done in real time. Continue reading OrCam Unveils Discrete Digital Assistant for AR Applications

Kapture Audio Debuts Sensor-Based Recording Tech at CES

In discussing CES 2016 trends, Consumer Technology Association CTO Shawn DuBravac identified “ambient sensing,” or the ability of sensors to monitor and measure data in continuous time. On the stage at CES, he showcased a product that exemplifies some of the innovation possible with ambient sensing. Kapture Audio, a wearable platform and app, enables users to capture 60-seconds of audio and share it with others. DuBravac interviewed co-founder Mike Sarow about the device and its capabilities. Continue reading Kapture Audio Debuts Sensor-Based Recording Tech at CES

CES 2016: Exhibits Spread Out Across 2.4 Million Square Feet

Wear comfortable shoes and drink plenty of water, reads the advice on the CES media advisory. Navigating the record 2.4 million square feet, the equivalent of 50 football fields, is an endurance event. Much like a marathon, CES is best managed with a plan and a pace. The first 36 hours of the conference are filled with media briefings and product announcements that will add important detail to the geographic layout. Today, ETCentric provides you with a general guide of where to find key exhibits. Continue reading CES 2016: Exhibits Spread Out Across 2.4 Million Square Feet

Clarion to Demo its New Full Digital Car Sound System at CES

Clarion is bringing what it claims to be the first fully digital, in-car audio system to CES this week. The company’s Full Digital Sound (FDS) system also plays high-resolution audio. “This all-digital approach operates on a purely digital audio signal from the source to the speaker voice coils, resulting in pristine sounding audio with zero loss in quality and no added noise from DACs or analog connections,” explained the company. The digital signal travels from the head unit to a processor and then to the speakers; at no point is it converted from digital to analog or passed through an amplifier. Continue reading Clarion to Demo its New Full Digital Car Sound System at CES

Dolby Vision Promises ‘Astonishing’ Brightness, Contrast, Color

Vizio is expected to be the first television manufacturer to showcase Dolby Vision at CES 2016 in Las Vegas. Audio pioneer Dolby is branching into video; the first two Vizio Reference Series sets with Dolby Vision will be demonstrated at this week’s confab. Vizio, which recently announced its affordable D-Series 4K TVs starting at just $600, is stepping away from its traditional low-cost business model to offer Dolby Vision. This month, the company will debut a 65-inch model for $6,000, and the 120-inch version will initially run about $130,000. Continue reading Dolby Vision Promises ‘Astonishing’ Brightness, Contrast, Color

Apple Plans to Leverage Hi-Res Audio Format for Streaming

Apple Music subscribers are poised to enjoy the results of recent Apple development of the new Hi-Res Audio format with an expanded 96kHz, 24-bit sampling rate. The Hi-Res Audio format leverages the high fidelity audio output capability of Apple’s new Lightning ports, which were introduced last year and utilized by Philips, JBL and others for Lightning-equipped headphones. Japanese site Macotakara, with input from inside sources, says Apple Music will debut Hi-Res music streaming next year. Continue reading Apple Plans to Leverage Hi-Res Audio Format for Streaming

CES 2016: Virtual Reality Headgear, Platforms, Ecosystems

Virtual reality began to dominate headlines last year at CES, and that drumbeat will only grow louder this year. Falling at the beginning of the proclaimed release window for two of the flag bearers of the VR renaissance, Oculus and Sony, and accompanied by a bumper crop of hardware and software suppliers, VR is ready to emerge from the shadows of the early adopters and meet the general consumer. We expect to see innovative products in January from companies such as Google, GoPro, HTC, NextVR, Sixense, Yezz and others. Beyond gaming and 360-degree video, we’ll be watching for new approaches to live streaming sports and music events. Continue reading CES 2016: Virtual Reality Headgear, Platforms, Ecosystems

Streaming Video, Notably Netflix, Dominates Internet Traffic

Streaming video now makes up 70 percent of Internet traffic, says Sandvine, a Canadian networking-equipment company that conducted a global study during September/October 2015. The company monitored a slice of global services for home broadband to take a snapshot of online traffic across North America, Africa and the Middle East and found that real-time entertainment now prevails. Furthermore, in North America, Netflix dominates about 35 percent of aggregate peak-period Internet traffic, up from 22 percent in 2011. Continue reading Streaming Video, Notably Netflix, Dominates Internet Traffic

The BBC Experiments with TV Shows That Adapt to Personality

The BBC introduced “Visual Perceptive Media,” an experimental project out of its R&D unit in Salford, UK, which allows video stories to adapt in response to individuals’ personalities and tastes. The British broadcaster earlier created the audio-based Perceptive Media project; a radio drama makes adaptations based on the listener’s location, time of day and other factors such as proximity to the device and background noise. The video-based project begins with a mobile app that conducts a personalization process. Continue reading The BBC Experiments with TV Shows That Adapt to Personality

CTA Predicts Decline in CE Sales Growth This Holiday Season

During last week’s CES Unveiled event in New York, the newly named Consumer Technology Association (former Consumer Electronics Association) released its annual holiday purchase pattern study. According to Shawn DuBravac, CTA’s chief economist and senior research director, consumer electronics will have a strong showing this holiday season, but spending is expected to shift from high-end TVs to less expensive audio devices, mobile electronics and emerging technologies. The shift is expected to result in a drag on industry sales growth. Continue reading CTA Predicts Decline in CE Sales Growth This Holiday Season

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