Samsung, LG, Others Advancing MicroLED TV Screen Tech

Samsung has been demonstrated MicroLED wall-sized TV screens at the last two CES confabs in Las Vegas. Dubbed The Wall, the screen comes in a gigantic version at 219 inches and, now, a smaller one at 75 inches. The latter is only a prototype, but the 146-inch version is for sale, for a price that depends on installation costs. The last new screen technology to be debuted was OLED, on Sony XEL-1 TVs in 2008. OLED now dominates high quality images on TVs and most high-end smartphones, although there are plenty of older LCD screens to be found. Continue reading Samsung, LG, Others Advancing MicroLED TV Screen Tech

Facebook Unveils Tools to Prevent the Spread of Fake News

Facebook is unveiling new tools to prevent the spread of fake news and misinformation, including making more information available about political ads on its platform. The tools will first debut in India next month and then to the European Union in March. Facebook is also tweaking its moderation, announcing plans for an outside group or board to review its content decisions, giving it authority to reverse internal content decisions. The board will be comprised of 40 members worldwide chosen by Facebook. Continue reading Facebook Unveils Tools to Prevent the Spread of Fake News

IBM, Harvard University Develop New Tool for AI Translation

At the IEEE Conference on Visual Analytics Science and Technology in Berlin, IBM and Harvard University researchers presented Seq2Seq-Vis, a tool to debug machine translation tools. Translation tools rely on neural networks, which, because they are opaque, make it difficult to determine how mistakes were made. For that reason, it’s known as the “black box problem.” Seq2Seq-Vis allows deep-learning app creators to visualize AI’s decision-making process as it translates a sequence of words from one language to another. Continue reading IBM, Harvard University Develop New Tool for AI Translation

New Phones, 8K TVs, Alexa Garner the Most Attention at IFA

While the IFA conference in Berlin has traditionally targeted consumers in Europe, the show has recently become a global launching pad for products being readied for the holiday shopping season, one reason IFA has become more significant. According to TechCrunch, this year’s more notable announcements included Alexa routers from Netgear and Huawei; 8K TV sets from LG, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba and others; smartphones such as the Sony Xperia XZ2, LG G7 One and HTC U12 Life; Polaroid’s new instant camera the OneStep+; and Lenovo’s Yoga Book C930 convertible, which features an E Ink display instead of a keyboard. Continue reading New Phones, 8K TVs, Alexa Garner the Most Attention at IFA

Sony, Harman Kardon and JBL Debut New Smart Speakers

At the Berlin trade show IFA this year, manufacturers showed smart speakers that incorporate voice assistants from Amazon and Google. Sony debuted its LF-S50G, one of the first third-party products, including Google Assistant and offering 360-degree sound and a digital clock, due out in December for $200. Another rival is the $250 Harman Kardon Allure, which offers Amazon’s Alexa and features ambient lighting that keeps the music’s beat. In addition, JBL’s new LINK series features three wireless speakers with Google Assistant and Chromecast support. Continue reading Sony, Harman Kardon and JBL Debut New Smart Speakers

HTML5 Instant Games Threaten to Disrupt the App Store Model

The Android and iOS app stores have been dominant in gaming, but the advent of HTML5 may change that up. Developers will be able to create instant games, which they hope will grab the attention of more consumers. Games based on HTML5, which run in a browser and don’t require a download, are already being built into social media platforms and messaging systems. Instant game advocates argue that apps can be hard to find, require heavy advertising, and have to be downloaded and installed in order to play. Continue reading HTML5 Instant Games Threaten to Disrupt the App Store Model

LG Expands Smart Home Strategy with New IoT Partnerships

At IFA 2016 in Berlin, LG is demonstrating smart home technology and its expanding IoT ecosystem with new partnerships and collaborations. In addition to connected smart refrigerators featuring sensors, touchscreens and cameras — as well as a host of new IoT accessories such as light bulbs and motion sensors — LG has announced that its SmartThinQ Hub now includes support for Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa. “To chat with Alexa, you’ll have to press a button on the LG hub, whereupon you’ll be able to ask Alexa to amend your schedule, play your favorite song, or check the forecast,” reports Digital Trends. “You’ll also be able to command Alexa via a remote.” Continue reading LG Expands Smart Home Strategy with New IoT Partnerships

SoundCloud Debuts Subscription Plan in U.S. with 125M Songs

Berlin-based SoundCloud, which began signing licensing deals with major and indie record labels in 2014, just debuted its new subscription plan. The online music service’s 175 million regular users will now have the option of the free version, which features 100 million songs, or the $10/month subscription version, SoundCloud Go, which offers 125 million ad-free songs, and lets users save songs to their phones. In 2014, SoundCloud posted $19.5 million in revenue, but a net loss of almost $44 million. Continue reading SoundCloud Debuts Subscription Plan in U.S. with 125M Songs

Panasonic Intros 4K Blu-ray Player, Ultra HD OLED, LED TVs

During its CES press conference, Panasonic introduced its new Ultra HD products. The company confirmed that it plans to ship an Ultra HD Blu-ray player “later this year,” joining Samsung as the second major manufacturer to introduce a 4K BD player. Panasonic also touted its CZ950 4K Ultra HD OLED TV, originally announced last September at IFA in Berlin, and the first OLED set to receive THX certification. Additionally, Panasonic highlighted its new flagship DX900 LED TV series, one of the first to meet the UHD Alliance’s just announced Ultra HD Premium specification. Continue reading Panasonic Intros 4K Blu-ray Player, Ultra HD OLED, LED TVs

IFA 2015: Samsung is First to Announce 4K UHD Blu-ray Player

As 4K UHD TVs slowly come to market, and streaming services continue to introduce support for 4K and high dynamic range programming, Ultra HD Blu-ray is the next logical step. During its press conference at the IFA trade show in Berlin yesterday, Samsung became the first company to officially announce a 4K UHD Blu-ray player. Samsung’s UBD-K8500 supports HDR, offers 64 times the colors of standard Blu-ray, and plays UHD content at up to 60 frames per second. 20th Century Fox is providing content for the player, and plans to issue all its new releases in 4K Ultra HD with HDR. Continue reading IFA 2015: Samsung is First to Announce 4K UHD Blu-ray Player

Panasonic Joins LG in OLED Market with Curved 4K Offering

During the IFA trade show in Berlin yesterday, Panasonic unveiled its 65CZ950, a curved 4K OLED TV featuring the company’s Studio Master Drive processor. Panasonic claims the 65-inch OLED, slated for an October release in Europe, is the most color-accurate display it has ever produced. It is also the first to achieve THX certification. Panasonic says the CZ950 series brings home entertainment closer to a cinema experience since it is fully HDR compatible and covers more than 90 percent of the DCI color space. Continue reading Panasonic Joins LG in OLED Market with Curved 4K Offering

Microsoft Aims to Upgrade Your World with Windows 10 Launch

Microsoft plans to release Windows 10 as a free upgrade and with new PCs and tablets starting July 29. To celebrate the launch, the company will host fan celebration parties in 13 cities around the world that will feature hands-on demonstrations, live entertainment and interaction with developers from the Windows team. A related global ad campaign will launch next week. The Windows 10 release is also part of Microsoft’s year-long Upgrade Your World initiative “to celebrate those who inspire and empower others.” Continue reading Microsoft Aims to Upgrade Your World with Windows 10 Launch

SoundCloud Signs Warner, Grows Mix of Music and Social Media

SoundCloud, which has mixed music and community for eight years, now boasts 150 million registered users who have uploaded over 100 million tracks and clips. Such artists as Prince, Snoop Dogg, Beyoncé and Drake have used the platform to release special tracks, remixes and promos. But as SoundCloud transitions from a free service with unlicensed content to one that licenses content and shares revenue, it teeters between two different creative models and the potential of a major breakthrough or bust. Continue reading SoundCloud Signs Warner, Grows Mix of Music and Social Media

CES 2015: LG Expected to Unveil its New 55-Inch 8K Display

According to insiders at LG, the company’s new 8K display has been airlifted to Las Vegas for next month’s 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show. LG Display engineers will accompany the prototype to its CES booth. Codenamed “Mabinogion,” the 55-inch display features a resolution of 33.2 million pixels, more than 20 display driver integrated circuits, and a brightness of 500 nits. LG Electronics (LG Display’s largest client) is rumored to be adding an 8K TV to its UHD lineup next year. Continue reading CES 2015: LG Expected to Unveil its New 55-Inch 8K Display

Sony Planning to Debut a Pair of Curved 4K TVs Next Month

Sony will soon join LG and Samsung in offering curved 4K LCD television sets. The Japanese company is expected to unveil two models at 65- and 75-inches during next month’s IFA show in Berlin. While Sony has yet to announce pricing and availability, the curved sets will compete with Samsung’s HU9000 line, which includes a 65-inch model priced at $4,300 and 78-inch model at $8,000. Sony currently sells a 65-inch curved 1080p TV for $2,500. Continue reading Sony Planning to Debut a Pair of Curved 4K TVs Next Month

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