NAB 2017: Unreal Engine Promotes its Partner Collaborations

Epic’s Unreal Engine is best known as a game engine, but general manager Marc Petit introduced the company’s enterprise division, which focuses on everything but games. This was Unreal Engine’s first-ever NAB, but for Petit, who worked many years at Softimage and attended numerous NABs, the meeting of the digital image and the game engine was more than symbolic. He used the press conference to showcase the work of several media and entertainment partners, including VizRT, The Future Group, House of Moves and Ross Video. Continue reading NAB 2017: Unreal Engine Promotes its Partner Collaborations

ETC@USC Posts New vNAB Conference Videos on YouTube

More than 30 videos from the 3rd annual Entertainment Technology Center@USC vNAB Conference are going live for viewing on the ETCenterVideos YouTube channel. This year’s vNAB featured thought leaders and catalysts from the entertainment, consumer electronics, technology, and service industries presenting their insider’s perspective on emerging and disruptive technologies. The talks were recorded March 20-21 at Google’s offices in Venice, California. The vNAB Conference is a prelude to the Next Generation Media Technologies sessions scheduled for the upcoming NAB Show in Las Vegas, April 25-26. Continue reading ETC@USC Posts New vNAB Conference Videos on YouTube

Hulu TV Service Will Likely Offer Simultaneous Streams, Alerts

Hulu’s upcoming live TV service will compete for cord cutters with offerings such as Dish’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Sony’s PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV. While details of the new service have been limited, the company’s marketing site (where it’s currently taking sign-up requests) has teased a few tidbits. The service will likely offer a combination of Hulu’s on-demand content with the option of live TV for a monthly fee below $40. It will also feature a DVR option; a new interface with user profiles, guest profiles, and recommendations; the ability to pause a live TV show for later viewing; real-time custom alerts for events and programs; and support for multiple, simultaneous streams on live TV. Continue reading Hulu TV Service Will Likely Offer Simultaneous Streams, Alerts

Super Bowl 2017: Still an OTA Event, With Uptick in Streaming

Although streaming video has become increasingly popular, the Super Bowl still draws most fans to an over-the-air broadcast. That’s been true in the past and is still true for 2017, for what is expected to be the biggest TV event of 2017. Despite streaming options for the Super Bowl, on February 5, only 16 percent of U.S. viewers will watch the New England Patriots play the Atlanta Falcons this way, according to a survey commissioned by advertising company MGID. Those fans that wish to stream the game can access it through Fox Sports. Continue reading Super Bowl 2017: Still an OTA Event, With Uptick in Streaming

Fox Plans to Live-Stream Super Bowl, Will Include Local Ads

On February 5, the Super Bowl will be available for free online as a live stream (with no need for pay-TV credentials) and will include dynamically-inserted local advertising based on the viewer’s location. More than 170 affiliates will team with Fox Sports to deliver the digital ads. “The national ads will be the same on both TV and online, and the live-stream will include the halftime show featuring Lady Gaga,” reports Variety. Coverage “will be available live on Fox Sports Go, the broadcaster’s streaming platform … on iOS, Android, Windows and Amazon tablets; and through connected devices including Apple TV, Roku, Android TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Microsoft Xbox One.” Continue reading Fox Plans to Live-Stream Super Bowl, Will Include Local Ads

Content Distributors Look at Evolution of 4K UHD, HDR, More

Consumer Reports is scrupulous about buying the products it tests and reviews. It’s fitting then that the organization’s electronics senior editor Jim Willcox brought together a panel to talk about the latest 4K UHD TVs without inviting a single television set manufacturer. After all, he says, they all have booths on the CES 2017 floor. He opened the discussion with a thought that 4K is in fact a Trojan horse, bringing features such as High Dynamic Range (HDR) that are more demonstrable to viewers. Continue reading Content Distributors Look at Evolution of 4K UHD, HDR, More

ABC, ESPN, Fox News to Join Hulu’s Live Streaming Service

Hulu announced it has signed deals with 21st Century Fox and Disney to include the media giants’ broadcast and cable channels in Hulu’s planned live streaming service, expected to launch in early 2017. ABC, ESPN and Fox News will join channels including CNN, TBS and TNT, following an earlier deal with Time Warner. All three companies are part owners of Hulu. The fourth owner, Comcast, has not yet reached an agreement for channels under the NBCUniversal banner. According to The New York Times, “Hulu’s live offering will be the latest cheaper and slimmer television package at a time when more people are canceling traditional — and more expensive — cable subscriptions.” Continue reading ABC, ESPN, Fox News to Join Hulu’s Live Streaming Service

VR Companies Learn the Ropes in Broadcasting Live Sports

Sports coverage in virtual reality is gaining momentum. Jaunt VR, NextVR and IM360 have all shown virtual reality applications for professional baseball, basketball, football, soccer and Daytona 500 auto racing. But sports coverage in VR creates new and unique challenges for producers. For example, VR cameras can’t zoom — a common practice in typical sports coverage — meaning the camera has to be as close to the players as possible, easy for boxing but a tougher proposition for, say, football. Continue reading VR Companies Learn the Ropes in Broadcasting Live Sports

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

Sky Opens VR Studio to Produce Virtual Reality Video Content

European pay-TV company Sky launched Sky VR Studio to create immersive video content for VR platforms. The first content will involve sports and, later, entertainment and news. Majority-owned by 21st Century Fox, Sky, which was an early investor in VR startup Jaunt, has 21 million subscribers. Sky’s VR content will first be ported to third party platforms such as Facebook 360, Oculus and YouTube 360, for users with Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. Its ultimate goal is to develop its own VR app and host and stream VR content. Continue reading Sky Opens VR Studio to Produce Virtual Reality Video Content

Twitter Expands Video Ads to 30 Seconds, Adds a Skip Button

Twitter now offers 30-second pre-roll video ads, with an immediate skip option for viewers who don’t want to watch them. The ads run in front of videos that are part of Twitter’s Amplify program, a social television initiative for broadcasters to publish real-time in-tweet video clips accompanied by Twitter’s standard six-second ads. Twitter hopes the longer ads will re-energize the Amplify program, since six-second ads are a hurdle for media partners, which have an inventory of 15-second and 30-second ads. Continue reading Twitter Expands Video Ads to 30 Seconds, Adds a Skip Button

Report Shows YouTube Views Rise as Social TV Gains Traction

The third edition of the Social TV Index Report, from digital services company Ring Digital, reveals that YouTube is quickly increasing as a platform where “consumers vote, post, share or comment about something on TV.” The Social TV Index Report states that 37 percent of adults aged 18 to 24 have engaged in social TV, and 29 percent of the overall U.S. Internet population, up 5 percent from last year. Among those social TV users, 14.5 percent posted TV-related comments to YouTube, more than twice last year’s 6.3 percent. Continue reading Report Shows YouTube Views Rise as Social TV Gains Traction

Internet Service Providers Compete for OTT Video Dominance

Competition in the OTT video market has heated up over this last year, and will likely build over the coming year, say some experts. Currently in online video, the top five online video destinations account for 85 percent of the market share. High-trafficked video destinations include YouTube and Facebook and TV brands such as ESPN, CNN and Fox Sports. But the mid-to-long tail sites have almost no video — which is worth significantly more than display advertising — making it an opportunity that’s been waiting to happen. Continue reading Internet Service Providers Compete for OTT Video Dominance

SMPTE 2015: Delineating Ways to Broadcast Ultra HD 4K TV

The future of high dynamic range (HDR), wide color gamut and high frame rate (HFR) are a focus in the industry, so it was no surprise that several presentations at SMPTE 2015 took a closer look at these topics. One panelist made the point that the human visual system doesn’t see resolution, color gamut and frame rate as separate parameters, therefore we can’t treat them as such. Broadcasters working to playback UHD/4K TV are dealing with issues as their plants evolve from SDI-only to SDI/IP hybrid transport. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Delineating Ways to Broadcast Ultra HD 4K TV

DirecTV Launches First VR App to Promote Big Knockout Boxing

DirecTV just released its first virtual reality app, BKB VR, which stands for Big Knockout Boxing. Not for use with live games, BKB VR will display the event held on June 27 at Las Vegas’s Mandalay Bay, which was recorded in 360-degree video. Available for Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR headsets, BKB VR can be downloaded on Google Play for Android phones and the App Store for iPhones. The fight footage is also available via Samsung’s Milk VR service and the Oculus Store. Continue reading DirecTV Launches First VR App to Promote Big Knockout Boxing

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