Disney’s Hotstar: India’s Dominant Video-Streaming Platform

The dominant video-streaming provider in India is Hotstar, which debuted four years ago by media conglomerate Star India. Its 300 million monthly users gravitate to the mobile-first platform to watch cricket, TV shows and movies. Now owned by The Walt Disney Company, Hotstar’s usage is 10 percent larger than that of YouTube, India’s second largest video streaming platform. Only three million of Hotstar’s users are paying subscribers, but that’s still more than those paying for Amazon and twice as many as those subscribed to Netflix. Continue reading Disney’s Hotstar: India’s Dominant Video-Streaming Platform

MPAA Report Details Shifts in Home Entertainment Market

According to the MPAA’s annual Theatrical Home Entertainment Market Environment (THEME) Report, data from DEG and IHS Markit points to a significant reduction in the sales of video discs, including DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and Ultra HD Blu-ray. Global sales of video disc formats dropped from $25.2 billion in 2014 to $13.1 billion in 2018. However, global consumer spending on home entertainment increased 16 percent over 2017, thanks in part to the growing adoption of online subscription services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. The combined theatrical and home entertainment market increased 25 percent from five years ago. Continue reading MPAA Report Details Shifts in Home Entertainment Market

Huawei Introduces its Mate X Single-Screen Foldable Phone

Shortly after Samsung revealed its Galaxy Fold, a foldable smartphone, Huawei Technologies introduced its competing device, Mate X, at MWC Barcelona (Mobile World Congress). Huawei’s foldable phone features one wide screen that folds in half. Similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, Mate X will function both folded and unfolded, run multiple apps simultaneously and be compatible with 5G networks. It also features a high price point: €2,299, or about $2,600, which is more than one-third higher than the $1,980 Galaxy Fold. Continue reading Huawei Introduces its Mate X Single-Screen Foldable Phone

Apple Among Those Impacted by Slowing Chinese Economy

Apple stock slumped 10 percent last Thursday to $142.19, the company’s biggest single-day percentage drop in almost six years, erasing $74.65 billion from its market value. That came after Apple chief executive Tim Cook warned that China’s economic slump is responsible for slowed-down iPhone sales in the past quarter. China’s wobbling consumer confidence is impacting the entire world economy, however, and Apple has problems beyond China. In India, it’s reaping a mere 1 percent of overall smartphone sales. Continue reading Apple Among Those Impacted by Slowing Chinese Economy

Samsung Unveils Galaxy Note 9, Inks Partnership with Spotify

Samsung Electronics has debuted the Galaxy Note 9, which features a 6.4-inch screen, a revamped Bluetooth stylus and an upgraded camera. The company hopes that the Note 9, which is priced between $999.99 and $1,249.99, will revive sales and help it compete with Apple iPhones, especially over the upcoming holiday season. The Note 9’s chief selling point is the S Pen, a new stylus that enables remote camera control, switching between presentation slides, and more accuracy writing and drawing on the device’s screen. The camera also adds enhanced colors and exposure. Continue reading Samsung Unveils Galaxy Note 9, Inks Partnership with Spotify

Capcom Debuts Cloud-Streaming Version of ‘Resident Evil 7’

Japanese game publisher Capcom is introducing a cloud-based streaming service to add high-end games to Nintendo’s Switch. Last month, the company released a cloud version of “Resident Evil 7” for the Switch in Japan, priced at $18 for 180 days of access, compared to as much as $50 for a downloaded version. Up until now, the video game industry hasn’t fully adopted cloud services because — rather than simply streaming a selected song or video – the servers would have to respond without lag to unpredictable game play. Continue reading Capcom Debuts Cloud-Streaming Version of ‘Resident Evil 7’

Google Moves Android Things for Smart Devices Out of Beta

As Google opened its annual developer conference I/O, the company debuted Android Things, a version of its operating system for smart devices, offering SDKs to hardware and software developers. According to Google product management director Venkat Rapaka, with Android Things, such devices can now be built “faster, cheaper and more secure.” Android Things will also provide a consistent interface for users. Until its formal debut, Android Things had been in beta, with several partners already developing IoT products. Continue reading Google Moves Android Things for Smart Devices Out of Beta

Amazon Hits 100M Prime Subscribers, Inks Deal with Best Buy

For the first time, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos revealed the number of Amazon Prime subscribers: 100 million people. In 2015, the company last hinted about the number, saying there were “tens of millions” of Prime members. With this revelation, Bezos is letting shareholders know that Prime is healthy, and that the large number of subscribers will allow the company to continue to invest in technology and thrive. Bezos also recently announced that Amazon is teaming with Best Buy to sell Amazon Fire TV-powered sets. Continue reading Amazon Hits 100M Prime Subscribers, Inks Deal with Best Buy

Apple Announces Launch Date of Delayed HomePod Speaker

Apple’s wireless smart speaker HomePod will hit shelves February 9, with pre-orders starting this Friday in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. The device was delayed from its intended December launch, costing Apple sales during the recent holiday shopping season. The voice-activated speaker will compete with market leaders Amazon Echo and Google Home devices. At $349, the HomePod is priced more than $200 higher than the current market leaders, but on par with the $400 Google Home Max. Apple is emphasizing the device’s “stunning sound quality” for playing music. Continue reading Apple Announces Launch Date of Delayed HomePod Speaker

Microsoft Releases its Powerful Xbox One X Gaming Console

At the global debut of its Xbox One X, Microsoft described it as the world’s most powerful game console, with 4K resolution, high-dynamic range (HDR) games and 40 percent more performance than other consoles. The new console already has 50+ Xbox One X titles that have been remastered to 4K, a number that will jump to 70 by end of the first week. The company says 160 games are being readied for 4K HDR, among them “Forza Motorsport 7,” “Super Lucky’s Tale,” “Assassin’s Creed Origins,” “Middle-earth: Shadow of War” and “FIFA 18.” Continue reading Microsoft Releases its Powerful Xbox One X Gaming Console

Sony Holds Lead in Console Market, Platform Subs on the Rise

IHS Markit reports that Sony led the gaming hardware, software and service market last year, nearly doubling the share of Microsoft and its Xbox One. Sony is expected to continue its dominance through 2017. According to IHS, Sony captured 57 percent ($19.7 billion) of spending by gamers in 2016, “thanks to growth of digital console games,” notes VentureBeat, adding, however, “that the overall console game market shrank in 2016, and Nintendo is newly competitive this year with the launch of the Switch game console.” Additionally, Microsoft may experience a rebound this year with the launch of its PS4 competitor, Project Scorpio. Continue reading Sony Holds Lead in Console Market, Platform Subs on the Rise

Whole Home Wi-Fi Devices Improve Performance, Connectivity

Wi-Fi devices are improving as part of what’s called “whole home Wi-Fi,” featuring better technology with more effective antennas, more efficient network architecture, and sleeker designs. Among the new Wi-Fi devices recently reviewed are Netgear’s Orbi, Ubiquiti Networks’ AmpliFi, and Linksys’s Velop. The move to improve Wi-Fi comes at a time when the Internet of Things and connected devices in the home grow in importance and market share. Wi-Fi routers that work seamlessly are crucial to their smooth functioning. Continue reading Whole Home Wi-Fi Devices Improve Performance, Connectivity

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

China’s Tencent Pictures Seeking New Hollywood Acquisitions

Alibaba Pictures Group and Dalian Wanda Group have been spending big to acquire Hollywood companies, in their quest to make homegrown movies and capture a bigger portion of that nation’s huge box office. Now, Tencent Pictures, the film unit of China’s biggest Internet company, has joined that fraternity, with chief executive officer Edward Cheng saying acquisition targets could be in Hollywood and include creative and/or production companies. China’s box office is projected to reach $10.4 billion in 2017. Continue reading China’s Tencent Pictures Seeking New Hollywood Acquisitions

Big Tablets Become a Reality in Work and Consumer Spaces

In 2013, Fox News was apparently ahead of the game when it introduced giant touchscreen tablets in its newsroom. What was unusual then is now becoming a trend, as these oversized megatablets are making their way into work and consumer environments. Defined as anything larger than 13-inches, which leaves plenty of room for a range of different sizes, the gigantic tablet has found its way into Carnival Cruise Line ships and McDonald’s fast food restaurants. Continue reading Big Tablets Become a Reality in Work and Consumer Spaces

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