Vuzix Blade AR Smart Sunglasses Win Multiple Awards at CES

At CES 2018 in Las Vegas last week, Vuzix debuted the Vuzix Blade, AR smart sunglasses that are the result of years of research and are based on the company’s proprietary waveguide technology. The glasses work via a tiny LED projector in the temple area of the glasses that shoots an image sideways into the lens. The lenses are laser-etched with dots at different depths that “catch” the projected image and illumine it in the wearer’s field of view. When the AR functionality is turned off, the glasses look ordinary. Continue reading Vuzix Blade AR Smart Sunglasses Win Multiple Awards at CES

Spotify Adds Content to Compete With Radio, YouTube, Apple

Popular streaming music service Spotify plans to take on radio and podcasts from Apple and others by introducing news and political coverage to its content offerings. Spotify’s new Spotlight feature will include programming from partners such as BuzzFeed and Refinery29. BuzzFeed, for example, will provide daily newscasts that run four to seven minutes in duration. Spotify’s 70 million users already have access to music and new video and podcast offerings; Spotlight will add news, politics, pop culture and sports coverage. The strategy could position Spotify as a competitor to YouTube and Apple. Continue reading Spotify Adds Content to Compete With Radio, YouTube, Apple

CES 2018: Roku Debuts Licensing Program with OEM Partners

Roku debuted its Roku Whole Home Entertainment Licensing Program, which will partner with original equipment manufacturing (OEM) partners to integrate voice search and other entertainment-related features into smart soundbars and speakers. The options for the new licensing program includes Roku Connect, a free program for its OEM partners that will enable them to build high-end wireless speakers that both connect to the Roku ecosystem and synchronize multi-rooms. A logo will identify the speakers as part of the program. Continue reading CES 2018: Roku Debuts Licensing Program with OEM Partners

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

Music Publisher Files $1.6 Billion Copyright Suit Against Spotify

Wixen Music Publishing filed a $1.6 billion copyright lawsuit in a California federal court against popular music streamer Spotify. Wixen claims that the Stockholm-based service used thousands of songs — including those by the Doors, Tom Petty and Neil Young — without a direct or compulsory license and without compensating the music publisher. According to Reuters: “Wixen also alleged that Spotify outsourced its work to a third party, licensing and royalty services provider the Harry Fox Agency, which was ‘ill-equipped to obtain all the necessary mechanical licenses.’” Spotify, which has grown in value to $19 billion, recently filed IPO documents with the SEC. Continue reading Music Publisher Files $1.6 Billion Copyright Suit Against Spotify

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

Facebook, Universal Music Ink Licensing Deal for User Videos

Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, the world’s largest record company, has licensed its music catalog to Facebook. The deal, which focuses on the music in user-generated videos, covers songs that will be used in the background on videos and so-called social experiences on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Oculus. For Facebook, the deal is aimed at encouraging users to post more videos, key to the company’s current video-centric strategy. A day before this deal was struck, Universal also reached an agreement with YouTube. Continue reading Facebook, Universal Music Ink Licensing Deal for User Videos

YouTube Signs Agreement With Universal, Sony Music Labels

After two years of negotiations, YouTube is finally inking a long-term pact with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, the top two music labels. The new agreement, say the labels, establishes royalty rates for rights holders of professional music videos and user-loaded clips, offers stronger policing of uploads of copyrighted songs, and gives artists more money and flexibility. The deal is also a precursor to YouTube launching a paid music service early in 2018. Continue reading YouTube Signs Agreement With Universal, Sony Music Labels

Samsung and Amazon Join Forces to Stream HDR10+ Video

Amazon and Samsung have partnered to begin streaming videos in the high dynamic range format HDR10+ on the latter’s premium QLED and UHD TVs. Reported by Yonhap News, Samsung said it will be the first time that HDR10+ content will be available via a streaming service. Samsung and Amazon first announced their intent to rely on the HDR10+ open standard in April. Netflix also just announced that it is considering adding support of the HDR10+ standard. Netflix currently supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR standards. Continue reading Samsung and Amazon Join Forces to Stream HDR10+ Video

Verizon Inks Deal for NFL Games on Yahoo, Mobile Platforms

Verizon Communications inked a deal valued at more than $2 billion with the National Football League, to show NFL football games on its mobile network, Yahoo, Yahoo Sports and go90 mobile platforms. The telecommunications giant will make Monday, Thursday and Sunday night national games available on its smartphone apps regardless of carrier, as well as playoffs and Sunday afternoon games from a user’s home market. National games, except Sunday afternoon games, will also be available on tablets. Continue reading Verizon Inks Deal for NFL Games on Yahoo, Mobile Platforms

Overwatch League, NBA 2K League Establish eSports Profile

In November 2016, Blizzard announced it was creating the Overwatch League, the first-ever eSports venture to model itself after professional North American sports, with franchised teams in major cities, salaried athletes and live spectator events. This was in the early days of “Overwatch,” a first-person shooter, team-based game, which had already accrued die-hard fans when it was in beta. The game, an “optimistic” battle between heroes and AI robots, has become a huge hit, with more than 35 million players and more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Continue reading Overwatch League, NBA 2K League Establish eSports Profile

Newzoo Global Games Report Notes Big Uptick in Revenues

Newzoo revealed that the global game market is on track to reach $116 billion in revenues this year, up 10.7 percent from the previous year and more than $7.1 billion than Newzoo’s previous estimate. Mobile gaming revenue is responsible for some of the unexpected increase, revised from $46.1 billion to $50.4 billion. Revenue figures from China and Japan are another bright spot. ESports is another sector showing strength, with total revenues possibly reaching $2.5 billion by 2020, $1 billion more than originally anticipated. Continue reading Newzoo Global Games Report Notes Big Uptick in Revenues

Twitter Rolls Out New API to Increase its Revenue From Data

Twitter’s advertising business is in a slump, and the company is focusing on new ways to sell data to make up for the shortfall. Businesses can pay for “enterprise APIs,” which gives them access to more information about tweets including a searchable archive. Last year, this segment of its revenue comprised 15 percent of the company’s total business, equal to $87 million. For that reason, Twitter unveiled a new version of its “search tweets API,” which is the dataset for those who want a searchable database of user posts. Continue reading Twitter Rolls Out New API to Increase its Revenue From Data

Philo Streaming TV Service Offers Cable Bundle Minus Sports

Philo, the latest streaming TV service to hit the market, has eliminated sports from its line-up of three-dozen cable TV networks. The service will deliver programming to the user’s phone, laptop or connected TV. Because of the lack of sports, the base package will cost $16 per month, compared with YouTube TV’s $35 per month subscription or Hulu’s $40 per month fee. Participating cable networks include A&E, Scripps, Discovery, AMC and Viacom. Venture capital companies have invested $25 million in the new service. Continue reading Philo Streaming TV Service Offers Cable Bundle Minus Sports

Amazon Considering an Ad-Supported Version of Prime Video

Rumors are rife that Amazon is — or is not — developing a free ad-supported version of its Prime streaming video service. Sources say that the company is already talking with media companies on providing content to the service. Current Prime members pay $99 per year for free shipping and access to ad-free TV shows and movies, including original programming. The new service could heat up the competition for eyeballs, as even more streaming services debut. Facebook, for example, launched Watch, a video hub with commercials. Continue reading Amazon Considering an Ad-Supported Version of Prime Video

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