FCC Reverses Decades-Old Media Cross-Ownership Rules

As expected, the Republican-led FCC voted 3-2 along party lines yesterday to reverse the media cross-ownership ban. Now, an individual company will be permitted to own TV and radio stations and a newspaper in the same town. Changes to the rules, which were originally created to prevent individual entities from holding an unwanted amount of power over local news and information, also makes it possible to increase the number of TV stations that a single company can own in a given market. The deregulation was largely supported by broadband, cable and media companies, while opposed by consumer advocates concerned about the future of local news and diversity of expression. Continue reading FCC Reverses Decades-Old Media Cross-Ownership Rules

Amazon Cancels Plans to Launch a Skinny Bundle TV Service

Amazon has decided to cancel its plans to create an online streaming service that would have bundled broadcast and cable TV networks. The decision was reportedly based on the challenges involving how to generate a profit from the proposed service. The e-commerce giant has also experienced difficulties drawing interest from networks for its Amazon Channels a la carte TV platform. The company has been looking to leverage more television content, especially to attract younger cord cutters who are increasingly viewing media on mobile devices. Continue reading Amazon Cancels Plans to Launch a Skinny Bundle TV Service

YouTube Now Offers Concert Information, Ticketmaster Links

Google-owned YouTube has announced a new partnership with Ticketmaster that steers music fans to concert tickets and tour info via the YouTube video pages of musical acts. Upcoming North America tour dates and nearest shows for hundreds of artists are now available in the description section of the acts’ posted videos. By clicking on the related “tickets” button for a specific show, YouTube users will be directed to the Ticketmaster site for purchase options. The new feature is available on both web and mobile versions. YouTube is planning international expansion and additional artist-to-fan connections. Continue reading YouTube Now Offers Concert Information, Ticketmaster Links

AMD, Intel, Nvidia Race to Build AI Chips for Booming Market

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Intel and Nvidia are racing to develop artificial intelligence chips as the market for AI hardware and software skyrockets. Nvidia, which has specialized in high-end GPUs, and AMD, its chief rival, have found that their products have proven useful in AI applications, an incentive for them to focus on that sector. Growth in the semiconductor industry has been volatile in recent months, leading to consolidation, such as the recently announced $105 billion bid by Broadcom to acquire Qualcomm. Continue reading AMD, Intel, Nvidia Race to Build AI Chips for Booming Market

Elgato 4K60 Pro Unlocks 4K Playback for Prosumer Creators

On November 21, Elgato will launch a new PCIe component that allows a user’s PC to record video at 4K UHD (2160p), 60 frames per second. Priced at $400, this product is aimed at those making gaming-related video who don’t have access to a professional studio. Games with 4K-resolution imagery are becoming more prevalent, especially with Microsoft’s debut of its Xbox One X console. But it currently costs a minimum of $800 for the hardware to capture video at 4K 60 fps, and the hardware that does exist isn’t built for gaming uses. Continue reading Elgato 4K60 Pro Unlocks 4K Playback for Prosumer Creators

Chinese Tech Giant Tencent Buys 12 Percent Stake in Snap

Less than one day after Snap Inc. posted disappointing quarterly results and its stock subsequently plunged, the company revealed that Chinese Internet titan Tencent Holdings recently purchased a 12 percent stake in Snap. Chinese tech companies such as Tencent, Alibaba Group and Baidu have been investing in U.S. firms. According to Morningstar analyst Ali Mogharabi, Snap’s main problems include declining user growth and competition from the more established Instagram. Disappointing ad revenue is reportedly also disappointing investors. Continue reading Chinese Tech Giant Tencent Buys 12 Percent Stake in Snap

Amazon, Facebook, SoftBank Ally for New Transpacific Cable

Amazon, Facebook, Japan’s SoftBank and other technology companies are partnering to build the Jupiter cable system, a new 8,700-mile (14,000 km) transpacific subsea cable that will connect North America with Asia. The Jupiter system will have so-called landing points in two locations in Japan (Maruyama in Chiba prefecture and Shima in Mie prefecture), Daet in the Philippines and another in Los Angeles. Other partners include NTT (SoftBank’s rival), Hong Kong’s PCCW Global, and the Philippines’ PLDT. Continue reading Amazon, Facebook, SoftBank Ally for New Transpacific Cable

Intel Selects 2018 Winter Olympics to Showcase 5G Network

Intel will use the upcoming Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea to showcase new wireless networking technologies and super-fast data transfer speeds based on the pending 5G standard. The new wireless standard is expected to mark a new era for Internet connectivity and disrupt wired services such as cable TV, modems and phone lines. “As mobility evolves beyond the smartphone, 5G is becoming one of the most impactful technology transformations we are likely to see in our lifetimes,” wrote Intel exec Sandra Rivera in a blog post. Continue reading Intel Selects 2018 Winter Olympics to Showcase 5G Network

New Meta Headset Offers Promising Tech for AR Developers

The Meta 2 AR headset, priced at $1,495, is still a developer kit, but even in this form, company employees and one lucky reporter are enthused about its chances to succeed at replacing the desktop monitor in the workplace. The Meta 2’s field of view is much larger than that of the HoloLens, and it sports two LCD panels that reflect off the inside of the visors, which results in sharp images and text at close range. The headset uses numerous outward-facing sensors and cameras to map the physical environment. Continue reading New Meta Headset Offers Promising Tech for AR Developers

Viewer Engagement Increasing for Longer Facebook Videos

For years, Facebook counted any video auto-play that lasted three seconds or longer as a view, which resulted in many publishers producing very short clips. Last year, the social media platform tweaked its News Feed algorithm to favor longer videos, and, with the debut of mid-roll ads, publishers had incentive to post clips longer than 90 seconds. Social video publishing specialist Wochit has collected data from over 200 publishers, including CBS, NBC News and USA Today that proves Facebook’s strategy is working. Continue reading Viewer Engagement Increasing for Longer Facebook Videos

YouTube Aims to Deliver TV Everywhere With Smart TV App

Eight months after launching YouTube TV on smartphones, the company now has an app for smart TVs, set-top boxes, and game consoles, all of which will work with a remote. The idea, says YouTube, is that this TV service will successfully ape the traditional TV experience even as it has a native Internet feel. The focus on live TV will give the viewer something to watch immediately. Instead of icons, the user can browse through content until she finds something she wants to watch — and then start over again if she’s bored. Continue reading YouTube Aims to Deliver TV Everywhere With Smart TV App

MIT and Netflix Testing AI-Based Algorithms to Curb Buffering

Waiting for a video to buffer may become an annoyance of the past. Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) are working on streaming algorithms that use AI to improve load rates and, thus, reduce buffering. Dubbed Pensieve, the new technology relies on machine learning to navigate the often-chaotic and ever-changing conditions of networks in real-time, based on a system of rewards (when the video loads smoothly) and penalties (when it’s interrupted). Meanwhile, Netflix is working on its own AI solution to address buffering. Continue reading MIT and Netflix Testing AI-Based Algorithms to Curb Buffering

YouTube Viewing via Connected TVs Up 70 Percent This Year

During Google’s Q3 earnings call yesterday, CEO Sundar Pichai revealed that YouTube is experiencing more than 100 million hours of watch time via living room devices daily, which represents a 70 percent jump in the last year and about 10 percent of total YouTube watch time. Earlier this year, Google announced more than 1 billion hours of watch time for YouTube across all devices, but this is the first time that smart TVs and living room devices were specified. More than half of YouTube’s viewing now takes place on mobile devices. Alphabet and Google CFO Ruth Porat noted that YouTube has an impressive 90 percent ad viewability rate. Continue reading YouTube Viewing via Connected TVs Up 70 Percent This Year

AT&T to Roll Out New Android TV-Based Set-Top Box for OTT

AT&T’s DirecTV is preparing to launch a new TV set-top box based on Google’s Android TV platform. A new FCC filing reveals that the satellite TV company is trying its hand at over-the-top streaming, with the model  number C71KW-400 set-top box, described as the “AT&T/DirecTV Wireless 4K OTT Client.” The accompanying user manual, which defines OTT as delivering video via the Internet to user-connected devices, notes that the device will not be able to interact with DirecTV’s current Genie hardware. Continue reading AT&T to Roll Out New Android TV-Based Set-Top Box for OTT

FCC Reveals Plan to Roll Back Local Media Ownership Rules

The FCC plans to change rules regarding local media ownership, claiming the 42-year old rules are now outdated. FCC chair Ajit Pai revealed yesterday during a congressional hearing that there will be a vote next month to loosen current rules that prevent companies from owning a newspaper and a broadcast station within the same market. The rules originally intended to guarantee diversity of expression while aiming to curb undue influence over public opinion by an individual or single company. Democratic lawmakers voiced opposition during the hearing, but Pai defended the proposed plan and other recent deregulatory moves. Continue reading FCC Reveals Plan to Roll Back Local Media Ownership Rules

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