Blockchain at CES: Evaluating the Tech’s Hype and Potential

There were twice as many people as chairs throughout the nearly four-hour “Future of Blockchain” CES conference program this week. The enthusiasm of the program’s attendees mirrored that of exhibitors as well as the general anticipation surrounding blockchain and its applications at the show. The new offerings discussed at CES 2018 ranged from Kodak’s resurgence as a rights management platform to fast food chains asking users to mine tokens by eating chicken wings. A number of entertainment-specific blockchain technologies showed promise beyond an alternative means of purchasing content. Continue reading Blockchain at CES: Evaluating the Tech’s Hype and Potential

Netflix Aims to Bring More In-Flight Entertainment to Travelers

Netflix plans to extend bandwidth-efficient, mobile tech to airlines in an effort to offer passengers low-cost or free Wi-Fi entertainment. The company claims the mobile-encoding tech would allow travelers to “watch Netflix in high quality while airline carriers save up to 75 percent in bandwidth costs,” reports Variety. Netflix already has various deals involving in-flight Wi-Fi with Virgin America, Aeromexico, Qantas and Virgin Australia. On select flights with next-gen Wi-Fi, “such as those equipped with Ka-band and Gogo’s 2Ku Internet access, passengers are able to access Netflix from their carry-on devices and watch the streaming service at no extra charge.” Continue reading Netflix Aims to Bring More In-Flight Entertainment to Travelers

NAB 2017: Digital Domain Demos VR Camera and New Tools

Visual effects studio Digital Domain is launching a new suite of platform agnostic “creation, production, and distribution tools for virtual reality experiences — including a VR camera,” which it is demonstrating at NAB this week, reports VentureBeat. Digital Domain’s portable spherical camera features “advanced live-streaming capabilities, new integrations with post-production suites, and a cloud-based VR distribution platform. It enables visual effects production, 360 capture hardware and software, real-time stitching and encoding, livestreaming, application development, and content distribution.” Continue reading NAB 2017: Digital Domain Demos VR Camera and New Tools

Netflix Develops AI to Help Optimize Video for Mobile Devices

Netflix needed a way to improve video streaming quality for consumers in emerging economies watching movies and TV shows on the go. The company came up with a new method for video encoding called Dynamic Optimizer that reduces the amount of data in the video file without losing image quality. The Netflix team trained an AI to compress the video specifically based on the complexity of a given scene. The Dynamic Optimizer system expected to roll out in the coming months. Continue reading Netflix Develops AI to Help Optimize Video for Mobile Devices

Netflix Video Codec Study Finds x265 More Efficient Than VP9

After comparing 5,000 streaming clips from 500 titles using x264, x265, and libvpx codecs, Netflix found x265′s implementation of HEVC to be the most efficient while offering the highest quality. However, “whether that matters in light of compatibility and licensing issues isn’t so obvious,” notes Streaming Media. The study, which focused on VOD rather than live, compared codecs and not specifications (instead of comparing encoding specs, Netflix compared implementation of the specs). “Netflix’s tests clearly show that x265 is 20 percent more efficient than libvpx when encoding premium content using the most stringent settings, and measuring quality with VMAF.” Continue reading Netflix Video Codec Study Finds x265 More Efficient Than VP9

Kaltura to Offer Cloud-Based TV Services on Microsoft Azure

Video technology provider Kaltura has announced its partnership with Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure to offer a new scalable, end-to-end OTT platform. Kaltura has integrated with Azure to encode, store and deliver OTT TV content via the cloud. According to the company release: “Microsoft Azure enables operators and media companies to leverage Kaltura OTT TV to launch OTT services while quickly scaling, with pay-as-you-go services. Microsoft is committed to protecting subscriber data, enhancing control of premium content and privacy.” Continue reading Kaltura to Offer Cloud-Based TV Services on Microsoft Azure

Google Ramps Up its Cloud Business with Purchase of Anvato

Google announced yesterday that eight-year-old video platform Anvato is joining Google’s cloud division. Anvato’s software “fully automates the encoding, editing, publishing and secure distribution of video content across multiple platforms,” according to the Google Cloud Platform Blog. Anvato’s Media Content Platform, which counts media companies such as NBCUniversal, Fox Sports and Univision among its many customers, is expected to help Google “enable scalable media processing and workflows in the cloud.” Google is looking to compete with Amazon and Microsoft in cloud storage. Its current media clients include Sky News and Spotify. Continue reading Google Ramps Up its Cloud Business with Purchase of Anvato

CES: DTS Demos New Format That Offers Object-Based Audio

At CES, DTS demonstrated its new DTS:X codec that separates audio into objects rather than traditional channels (for example: dialogue or gunshots, instead of left, right, front, rear). The immersive sound technology is similar to Dolby Atmos, but DTS:X keeps dialogue separate, so the volume can be controlled independently during viewing. The company showed how DTS:X works with a television’s built-in speakers by screening a soccer match and switching audio between teams, sideline microphones and broadcast announcers. Continue reading CES: DTS Demos New Format That Offers Object-Based Audio

Deezer Plans to Bring High-Fidelity Elite Music Service to U.S.

Deezer, a French subscription service available in 180 countries, announced its plans for availability in the U.S. In a partnership with Sonos, the company plans for a high-fidelity version called Deezer Elite. Deezer reaches five million paying subscribers in a model similar to Spotify, Rhapsody and Beats Music. However, Deezer plans to offer songs at a faster bit rate in order to create smaller file sizes for computer storing and transferring, and in the process attract a more affluent group of audiophiles.  Continue reading Deezer Plans to Bring High-Fidelity Elite Music Service to U.S.

From the NAB SPROCKIT Stage: Creating Watch ABC Product

Ken Williams, executive director and CEO of ETC@USC, moderated a Disney/ABC Television Group panel at NAB called “Creating the Watch ABC Product.” From the SPROCKIT stage Monday in Las Vegas, the panel included Albert Cheng and Skarpi Hedinsson of the Disney/ABC Television Group, Ralf Jacob of upLynk and Doug Knopper of FreeWheel. The discussion focused on content creation, advertising, distribution workflow, technology integration and vendor relationships. Continue reading From the NAB SPROCKIT Stage: Creating Watch ABC Product

Folded Space Unveils Deep Color Content Encoding for UHD

Video processing company Folded Space announced its deep color content encoding (DCE) and decoding algorithms, which are now available for new HD and Ultra HD displays. The algorithms allow these newest displays to show off more vibrant colors captured by HDR cameras. DCE is a much more efficient process than other similar methods that use a lot of bandwidth, and Folded Space intends to license the encoding algorithm to software partners. Continue reading Folded Space Unveils Deep Color Content Encoding for UHD

Netflix to Reveal 4K Streaming Details at Next Month’s CES

Netflix is making a push for Ultra HD resolution streaming and promises to reveal details on its plans for 4K at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Neil Hunt, the streaming service’s chief product officer indicated Netflix has deals to offer 4K streaming with embedded players on certain UHD TVs (manufacturers will also be announced at CES). The second season of Netflix’s original series “House of Cards” will be the first to stream in 4K in 2014. Continue reading Netflix to Reveal 4K Streaming Details at Next Month’s CES