Mira’s $99 Prism Turns Apple’s iPhone Into an AR Headset

For Apple iPhone users looking forward to augmented reality, there will soon be another option to looking at images on the phone’s screen. Due to launch later this year, the Mira Prism, which looks like a sun visor or welder’s mask that fits over the user’s head, will reflect AR’s 3D images in front of the user’s face — and only costs $99. The visor comes from Los Angeles-based company Mira, founded by students from the inaugural class of USC’s Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. Continue reading Mira’s $99 Prism Turns Apple’s iPhone Into an AR Headset

Disney Plans Immersive ‘Star Wars’ Attraction for Two Parks

At last week’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, The Walt Disney Company unveiled the first look of a 3D model for its new “Star Wars” attraction, “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge,” which was first announced at the same Expo two years ago. The planned exhibitions, to be housed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando and Disneyland in Anaheim, will cost $1 billion each and open in 2019. The exhibitions will be the most immersive the company has offered in a theme park, and will include a themed hotel, allowing guests to have a “Westworld”-like experience. Continue reading Disney Plans Immersive ‘Star Wars’ Attraction for Two Parks

Disney Selects 11 Companies for 2017 Accelerator Program

The Walt Disney Company announced 11 tech and media companies will receive funding and support as part of the Disney Accelerator program, now in its fourth year. The companies will be given access to work space at Disney’s L.A. creative campus and guidance from entertainment and media technology leaders. The 2017 class covers a range of compelling areas such as artificial intelligence, eSports, messaging, online learning, robotics, video games and virtual reality. Among the 11 startups are Epic Games, creator of Unreal Engine tech, and location-based VR firm The VOID. Continue reading Disney Selects 11 Companies for 2017 Accelerator Program

Unity’s Cinemachine Designed for Animation, Games, Movies

At the Unite Europe conference in Amsterdam, more than 1,400 game developers examined tools and innovations from game engine company Unity. Among those was the virtual camera system Cinemachine, which makes it easier for even neophyte content creators to get creative with animation, games, eSports, cinematics and movie pre-visualization. Unity’s Asset Store offers free 3D models and environments, including the Adam character from last year’s impressive tech demo. The engine also offers generic animations that can be applied to characters. Continue reading Unity’s Cinemachine Designed for Animation, Games, Movies

Ad Trade Group Launches New Tool to Blacklist Piracy Apps

Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), an advertising industry alliance, has introduced a tool that will track apps promoting piracy, to alert advertisers not to run ads on such apps. The blacklist, which currently lists 8,000 violators, will be continuously updated with mobile apps that enable dissemination of pirated content, including music, movies, TV shows and games. TAG members and other organizations will help with the continual update. The MPAA and the Recording Industry Association of America both support TAG’s effort. Continue reading Ad Trade Group Launches New Tool to Blacklist Piracy Apps

NBC Sports Targets Younger Viewers With eSports Tourney

Comcast’s NBC Sports announced its plans to televise an eSports tournament this summer, as broadcasters continue to experiment with competitive videogaming to increase viewership. “The cable network hopes a tournament built around a popular quirky game called ‘Rocket League’ will attract hard-to-reach viewers — particularly younger males — who increasingly are ditching cable subscriptions for live-streaming services such as Netflix,” reports The Wall Street Journal. According to Newzoo, the number of viewers for eSports will double this year over 2012 and reach 286 million by 2020. Continue reading NBC Sports Targets Younger Viewers With eSports Tourney

VidAngel Debuts New Service as 9th Circuit Court Mulls Suit

VidAngel, the Utah-based video streaming service that filters out language, nudity and violence from Hollywood movies, launched a new version of its service that it hopes will address concerns about release windows and licensing fees. Disney, Warner Bros. and Fox sued VidAngel for copyright infringement, and in December, U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte issued an injunction against the company, which appealed. While litigation plays out in the 9th Circuit Court, however, VidAngel is back in the game with a new service. Continue reading VidAngel Debuts New Service as 9th Circuit Court Mulls Suit

‘Cars 3′ Released in Experiential 4DX Format, Boosting Trend

“Cars 3” became the first Pixar film to be distributed in the 4DX motion-based “immersive” film format from CJ 4DPlex, one of several formats that give the moviegoer a physical experience, as seats shake, tilt and pivot and the theater emits scents, sprays of water, fog and strobe-lighting, all relevant to what’s on the screen. These experiential formats have focused mainly on superhero and action movies, although 4DX films were released for “Despicable Me” in 2010, as well as “The Jungle Book” and “Kung Fu Panda 3.” Continue reading ‘Cars 3′ Released in Experiential 4DX Format, Boosting Trend

Entertainment Companies Join Forces to Battle Online Piracy

A group of media and entertainment companies — including Amazon, AMC Networks, CBS, Disney, HBO, Hulu, Lionsgate, MGM, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros. — has formed a new coalition, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), to combat online piracy. “ACE will draw on the anti-piracy resources of the MPAA,” reports Variety. “The group plans to conduct research, work with law enforcement to curtail illegal pirate enterprises and ‘pursue voluntary agreements with responsible parties across the Internet ecosystem.’” The coalition also plans “to file civil litigation in their fight against copyright infringement.” Continue reading Entertainment Companies Join Forces to Battle Online Piracy

Verizon May Use Yahoo-AOL to Test New OTT Video Service

Verizon’s $4.5 billion acquisition of Yahoo’s Internet business is likely to close in mid-June, at which point the combination of Yahoo and AOL (with its 1.3 billion users) could serve as the “platform … to test out an over-the-top service,” according to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam. The OTT offering “would be in addition to the telco’s go90 ad-supported mobile video service,” reports Variety. “Verizon has reportedly been mulling an Internet-delivered skinny bundle offering, akin to AT&T’s DirecTV Now and Dish Network’s Sling TV.” Continue reading Verizon May Use Yahoo-AOL to Test New OTT Video Service

Extortion Hacking On the Rise, But Does Not Always Pay Off

Cyberattacks are on the rise, with major corporations, media companies, the healthcare industry and even the federal government becoming targets of hacking. Recent incidents involved media content as hackers threatened early releases of movies and streaming series if the property owners failed to pay ransoms. Hackers called the Shadow Brokers told the NSA they would release secret espionage tools unless the agency pays up. Security experts suggest that this type of extortion has had mixed results thus far. Continue reading Extortion Hacking On the Rise, But Does Not Always Pay Off

Early Reviews Largely Positive for Hulu’s New Live TV Service

Hulu’s Live TV has rolled out in beta, offering more than 50 channels for just under $40 per month. What makes Hulu stand out from competing services is that it now offers a combination of streaming video plus live television. Among its live content, Hulu offers the four major broadcast networks, ESPN, HGTV and an array of news and animation content. Original content includes “The Handmaid’s Tale” and the service also boasts day-after TV shows and B-list movies, all melded into a single library. Continue reading Early Reviews Largely Positive for Hulu’s New Live TV Service

Amazon Bows Android App for Kid-Friendly FreeTime Service

Amazon rolled out a new Android app for its FreeTime service, which provides curated children’s content and parental controls similar to those found on Amazon’s Fire tablets. The FreeTime Web browser has vetted over 40,000 YouTube videos and websites as kid-friendly. FreeTime Unlimited offers more kid-centric content, including 10,000 books and videos from Disney, Nickelodoen, Amazon Studios, PBS Kids, Harper Collins, Sesame Street, Simon & Schuster and others, priced at $2.99 per month for Prime members and $4.99 for others. Continue reading Amazon Bows Android App for Kid-Friendly FreeTime Service

New Disney Digital Network Connects Advertisers, Millennials

To help advertisers better target millennial and Gen-Z audiences, The Walt Disney Company debuted the Disney Digital Network, a conglomeration of more than 300 social media channels and a wide range of content. Disney says the new Digital Network reaches an audience of more than one billion. The content includes everything from classic Disney characters to the new material emerging from Maker Studios. Disney Co/Op, an in-house branded content service, puts advertisers together with Disney digital creators for customized campaigns. Continue reading New Disney Digital Network Connects Advertisers, Millennials

Netflix Inks Licensing Deal with Chinese Online Video Platform

Streaming video giant Netflix will finally enter the Chinese market, via a newly inked licensing deal with iQIYI, one of that country’s streaming platforms. When Netflix launched its efforts to go global a year ago, it failed to make deals in only a few countries, among them China, Iran and North Korea. Although not many details of the new arrangement have been made public, what is known is that Netflix content will be available on a day-and-date or near-simultaneous basis, as with other global territories. Continue reading Netflix Inks Licensing Deal with Chinese Online Video Platform

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