Preparing for Targeted Ads and Better Metrics With Smart TVs

The advent of smart TVs connected to the Internet has opened up new ways to gather data about the viewing of TV shows and ads. Three companies — Sorenson Media, Alphonso and Verance — are getting ready to leverage new technologies. The first, which is known for its video compression and coding technology, has a way to detect and analyze what’s on a smart TV screen and play the ad best targeted for a specific household. The company has created deals with smart TV manufacturers to have access to the data necessary to do so. Continue reading Preparing for Targeted Ads and Better Metrics With Smart TVs

Expect Security and Privacy to Emerge as Major CES Topics

As connected devices, big data technologies, and artificial intelligence play an increasingly important role across a growing list of business sectors, new approaches to security and privacy will be necessary to safeguard the lifeblood of these systems — data. We expect to see this manifest itself in a number of different ways next month at CES 2018. Differential privacy and, to a larger extent, blockchain technologies (and the growing attention paid to virtual currency systems) are the topics likely to dominate booths in Las Vegas and conference headlines. Continue reading Expect Security and Privacy to Emerge as Major CES Topics

FCC Votes 3-2 to Roll Back 2015 Net Neutrality Regulations

As anticipated, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 along party lines yesterday to repeal the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules, which were originally introduced to help protect an open Internet. FCC chair Ajit Pai and two other Republicans backed the change. Net neutrality rules were created as a means of regulating how broadband providers treat Internet traffic in an effort to avoid slowing content delivery or providing fast lanes for specific services. Dismantling the rules is seen as a win for cable and wireless providers and will likely result in lawsuits. Continue reading FCC Votes 3-2 to Roll Back 2015 Net Neutrality Regulations

T-Mobile Buys Layer3, Prepares to Debut Streaming Service

T-Mobile US is buying Layer3 TV, a streaming pay-TV distributor, to launch its own pay-TV streaming service. In doing so, T-Mobile, the third largest wireless carrier (by subscribers) in the U.S., joins a growing host of other companies, such as Sony, Dish and YouTube, that aim to lure cord-cutters to their streaming services. Some of those efforts have been successful; AT&T, for example, now has one million subscribers to its DirecTV Now streaming service, which debuted last year and is priced as little as $35 per month. Continue reading T-Mobile Buys Layer3, Prepares to Debut Streaming Service

SoftBank Invests $500M More in Broadband Provider OneWeb

According to a knowledgeable source, Japan’s SoftBank Group plans to invest about $500 million more in satellite broadband provider OneWeb. That brings SoftBank’s total investment in the company to about $1.5 billion. OneWeb is a U.S. startup focused on providing Internet connectivity worldwide that is faster than current space-based or terrestrial systems. OneWeb founder/executive chairman Greg Wyler reports that the company is currently designing and looking for suppliers for its next-generation satellites. Continue reading SoftBank Invests $500M More in Broadband Provider OneWeb

Netflix Users Are Watching a Billion Hours of Video Per Week

While facing increased competition from Amazon Prime, HBO Go, Hulu and others, Netflix revealed that its users collectively watched about one billion hours of content per week in 2017 (that’s more than 140 million hours per day). Despite being an impressive number, the average user may actually be watching less over time. Based on 109 million global subscribers, the math points to about 480 hours per account. According to TechCrunch, “at the end of 2015, Netflix announced that the 74.7 million users it had at the time had watched 42.5 billion hours of content that year. That suggests about 570 hours per year per account.” Continue reading Netflix Users Are Watching a Billion Hours of Video Per Week

Tech Pioneers Submit Open Letter in Support of Net Neutrality

A group of 21 notable Internet pioneers and technology experts have drafted an open letter requesting that the Federal Communications Commission preserve current net neutrality rules. The group — which includes high-profile individuals such as Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee and Steve Wozniak — is asking that the FCC cancel the December 14th vote scheduled by chair Ajit Pai to repeal net neutrality regulation. “It is important to understand that the FCC’s proposed Order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology,” suggests the letter. Continue reading Tech Pioneers Submit Open Letter in Support of Net Neutrality

Microsoft Is Developing Cost-Effective Security for IoT Devices

IoT security researchers at Microsoft Research are focused on the near future when microcontrollers, which are small, low-power computers on a single chip, gain connectivity. Microcontrollers are already installed in billions of gadgets, so their eventual connectivity will explode the number of Internet of Things devices, all of which will require greater security. Microsoft Research’s Project Sopris aims to provide cost-effective security for microcontrollers, which currently don’t have enough compute power to offer security. Continue reading Microsoft Is Developing Cost-Effective Security for IoT Devices

CES to Offer New Take on the Future of Ambient Experiences

For 20 years the quest and definition of Ambient Intelligence (AmI) has been the purview of think tanks and device manufacturers. Defined in the 1990’s by Eli Zelkha and a team at Palo Alto Ventures, the pursuit of pervasive presence for humans and responsive connection with the computed environment has been the goal of multinationals and government entities. Most recently, the concept of creating environments that are responsive to the presence of individuals is making its way into the consumer electronics and personal computing space, which we expect will make a compelling splash next month at CES in Las Vegas. Continue reading CES to Offer New Take on the Future of Ambient Experiences

Facebook Lifts Ban on Pre-Roll Ads, in Beta Tests for Watch

Facebook has resisted the practice of pre-roll ads. Now, according to knowledgeable advertisers, in a major shift the company says it plans to test such ads for Watch shows. The ban on pre-roll ads came directly from chief executive Mark Zuckerberg who stressed that users came to the site to look at a feed, not watch one specific piece of content. This year, however, Facebook debuted Watch, where TV studios, publishers and celebrities can try to sell advertising against their shows, an ideal format for pre-roll ads. Continue reading Facebook Lifts Ban on Pre-Roll Ads, in Beta Tests for Watch

TDG: 40 Percent of U.S. Households Will Cut the Cord by 2030

Despite the increasing number of digital streaming services currently available, including Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, about 85 percent of U.S. households continue to subscribe to traditional cable television. However, The Diffusion Group suggests the tide is turning; the market analyst predicts that by 2030 as many as 40 percent of Americans will have cut the cord. TDG Research also expects the percentage of households subscribing to pay TV will drop to 60 percent during the same period. TDG suggests that by 2030, about 30 million households will be “without an MVPD service of any kind.” Continue reading TDG: 40 Percent of U.S. Households Will Cut the Cord by 2030

YouTube Ups its Social Profile with the Debut of Reels Feature

YouTube has debuted Reels, a video feature similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories. Users will find Reels on a new tab in creators’ channels and will be able to adorn videos with filters, text and stickers. Unlike Snapchat and Instagram Stories, a single creator can make many Reels on different topics and the videos will not disappear after 24 hours. With Reels, Google hopes to make YouTube a more social environment and keep users glued to the platform. Google reportedly bid $30 billion to buy Snap last year. Continue reading YouTube Ups its Social Profile with the Debut of Reels Feature

ETCentric Begins CES Coverage with Advance Sector Reports

ETC@USC’s coverage of CES 2018 (formerly the International Consumer Electronics Show) is underway as ETCentric begins its series of preview stories. Between now and the start of CES on January 9 in Las Vegas, our team will explore emerging trends and technologies with a focus on how these innovations may impact or influence media and entertainment. Even with more than 3,900 companies filling 2.5 million square feet with new products, services and technologies that span every industry, we’ve identified three broad segments that will help us organize our coverage: Input, Throughput and Output. Continue reading ETCentric Begins CES Coverage with Advance Sector Reports

Experts Voice Concern About Facebook’s Social App for Kids

Facebook has introduced Messenger Kids, a new messaging app for children aged 6 to 12, in response to safety concerns from parents about Messenger. Some experts, however, are dubious that children that young should have any social media access at all. Messenger Kids is a standalone chat and messaging app that lets children send texts, messages and videos to contacts that have been approved by parents, who download the app on a child’s tablet or smartphone and control it from their own Facebook accounts. Continue reading Experts Voice Concern About Facebook’s Social App for Kids

Mozilla Intros Open-Source Speech Recognition, Voice Dataset

Mozilla unveiled Project DeepSpeech and Project Common Voice to leverage the capabilities of speech recognition. The company says it has just reached “two important milestones” in the project out of its Machine Learning Group. Mozilla is releasing its open source speech recognition model, which it states is nearly as accurate as what humans can perceive from the same recordings, and is also unveiling the world’s second largest publicly available voice dataset, with contributions by almost 20,000 people around the world. Continue reading Mozilla Intros Open-Source Speech Recognition, Voice Dataset

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