Amazon and Google Look to Turn Home Speakers into Phones

Both Amazon and Google are thinking about turning their respective home speakers — Echo and Google Home — into home telephones. Knowledgeable sources say the tech giants could introduce the feature this year, with the goal of gaining yet more control over consumers’ home lives. But the companies are also finding that it’s not so simple, facing issues related to privacy, telecom regulations and emergency services — as well as the potential that consumers will be wary that their conversations are being recorded. Continue reading Amazon and Google Look to Turn Home Speakers into Phones

Hulu Acquires The VGP to Improve Recommendation Options

Hulu just bought the assets of The Video Genome Project (The VGP), whose technology automatically aggregates metadata around video content, classifies it into subgenres and then uses the data to connect titles. The VGP makes connections beyond obvious criteria such as genre, director or cast. Hulu says a “small team” from The VGP will join the company, and, with this technology, Hulu will be able to offer classifications similar to Netflix’s more granular offerings, such as “Action Sci-Fi & Fantasy Based on Books.” Continue reading Hulu Acquires The VGP to Improve Recommendation Options

Rovi Renames Itself TiVo After Buyout, Launches UX Interface

Rovi has completed its $1.1 billion cash and stock deal to acquire DVR pioneer TiVo and, in an unusual move, announced that it would rename itself after the company it just purchased. The company also unveiled TiVo UX, its new on-screen user experience that integrates programming options from multiple platforms for a seamless search and recommendation interface. The new UI — featuring TiVo’s innovative Prediction tech — is designed to access content from TV and mobile sources quicker and easier, in an effort to “allow every device to become a primary screen for video consumption.” Continue reading Rovi Renames Itself TiVo After Buyout, Launches UX Interface

Apple’s New Plan for TV Ecosystem Influence is Digital Guide

Apple is now working on a digital TV guide that shows what’s playing on video apps from HBO, Netflix, ESPN and others, so consumers don’t have to open individual apps to discover content. The TV guide will work on a range of Apple devices, including Apple TV and iPhones. Last year, Apple’s goal was to sell TV programs to consumers, with an interface to make it easy to find content. By focusing on the interface, Apple leaves the financial arrangement to programmers, distributors and consumers. Continue reading Apple’s New Plan for TV Ecosystem Influence is Digital Guide

Facebook Takes Aim at YouTube with Mobile Video Features

Facebook is testing new mobile video features for its Android app, including subscription-based video channels and a dedicated video tab that incorporates video search, which would provide brands with the opportunity to target ads based on keywords. Enhancing the mobile viewing experience is the next step toward making the social platform more video-centric and ramping up competition with YouTube. However, Facebook needs to convince its users to watch video mixed with other content and, especially for advertisers, show successful video completion rates. Continue reading Facebook Takes Aim at YouTube with Mobile Video Features

Networks Use Data From Social Media to Produce New Shows

Entertainment companies are increasingly paying attention to trends on tweets and Facebook posts to create content that will appeal to viewers. The idea is that giving viewers what they want, as judged by their current conversations, is a barometer of success and loyalty. At NBCUniversal Media’s leadership conference last year, the focus was on this topic: how to use big data — as found on a variety of social media platforms — to create content that resonates with today’s viewers. Big data is now becoming a key factor in the development process. Continue reading Networks Use Data From Social Media to Produce New Shows

ETC@USC Tests Production in the Cloud with ‘The Suitcase’

At the London Hotel in West Hollywood, the Entertainment Technology Center @ USC unveiled “The Suitcase,” a 20-minute film that serves as a proof of concept for production in the cloud. “We wanted to examine how we create a common framework for all the different resources you’re dealing with in the IT environment,” said ETC Project Cloud senior project lead Erik Weaver. “This short film was a way to bring those things together — including an end-to-end HDR color workflow and metadata — and test them out.” Continue reading ETC@USC Tests Production in the Cloud with ‘The Suitcase’

‘The Suitcase’: Unpacking Lessons in Cloud-Based Workflows

During the ETC Cloud Innovation Conference at NAB 2016, writer/director Abi Corbin discussed “The Suitcase,” a short film produced in the cloud, about a baggage handler who innocently steals a suitcase that contains terrorist plans. The film was a follow-up to “Luna,” a run-and-gun test on producing in the cloud. Daniel De La Rosa, director of film production technologies at Universal Pictures explained, “The goal was to test next-gen cloud-based workflows as well as the C4 framework which served as the glue.”
Continue reading ‘The Suitcase’: Unpacking Lessons in Cloud-Based Workflows

ETC Ties Suitcase Bingo Game App to NAB Cloud Conference

ETC@USC has launched “The Suitcase Bingo Game” app in conjunction with the NAB Cloud Innovation Conference to encourage NAB participants to explore the latest in cloud production solutions. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices. The technologies were used in production of “The Suitcase,” the second short film to be produced through the Entertainment Technology Center and USC’s School of Cinematic Arts to test prove next generation workflow, use of the innovative C4 Framework, metadata, high dynamic range and 360 camera capture. Continue reading ETC Ties Suitcase Bingo Game App to NAB Cloud Conference

ETC Presents vNAB Cloud Innovation Conference March 2-3

The Entertainment Technology Center@USC will host its second annual vNAB Cloud Innovation Conference on March 2-3, 2016 in the Venice, California offices of Google. This year, the 2-day extension of the April NAB Cloud Innovation Conference presents “Masters of the Media Cloud Lifecycle” with 32 Media & Entertainment (M&E) superstars, panelists and keynotes presenting TED-style talks focused on cloud-related topics designed to keep senior leaders up to date on an ever-changing world. For more information please visit ETC’s vNAB page. Continue reading ETC Presents vNAB Cloud Innovation Conference March 2-3

HPA Tech Retreat: The Production Workflow Incorporating HDR

A panel of cinematographers, a digital imaging technician and a camera manufacturer talked about HDR production workflow issues that begin in pre-production discussions. The panel’s moderator, VFX cinematographer Mark Weingartner, asked the panelists if there were “fundamental differences between the ways we have been shooting and the way we need to shoot” for HDR. Cinematographer Bill Bennett, ASC noted that “since the inception of cinematography, we’ve been recording HDR images with film.” Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: The Production Workflow Incorporating HDR

HPA Tech Retreat: OTT Metadata an Opportunity for Post Houses

The huge quantities of metadata generated by over-the-top programming poses an opportunity for new revenue streams, said Siemens executive Steve Wong and media tech consultant Christy King at an HPA Tech Retreat panel on “Big Data, Big Dollars for Post in an OTT World.” Wong noted that a tremendous amount of data about a production is generated through production, from scriptwriting software through scheduling and budgeting. That’s why it frustrates him that nearly everyone has been served irrelevant ads online. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: OTT Metadata an Opportunity for Post Houses

New TV Technology: More Pixels, Faster Pixels, Better Pixels

In a conversation on new TV technology, Dolby Laboratories executive Pat Griffis described the three major ways that new technologies are improving the television image. “The more pixels we have, we get to the point where our eyes can’t see anymore — and we’re almost there,” he said. “Once we have motion, you get motion blur. We fix that by creating faster pixels with higher temporal resolution. The last and most important is how about making every pixel better?” The answer — no surprise to any CES 2016 attendee — is HDR. Continue reading New TV Technology: More Pixels, Faster Pixels, Better Pixels

Hollywood & Media: No One Owns Customers, Metadata Rules

The argument over who owns customers is over. “The customer will own himself more than ever,” says Ipsos executive Jake Dorn. “Who will own the data/metadata and who will make it actual? That’ll have a huge impact on the experience we see in the future.” TiVo executive Evan Young agrees. “We see people rebelling,” he says. “They’re shifting their habits to the media that suits their need, dropping on and off [outlets].” ICM’s Jonathan Perelman adds, “the consumer doesn’t care where it is or how it’s been made.” Continue reading Hollywood & Media: No One Owns Customers, Metadata Rules

SMPTE 2015: Hollywood Engineers Examine OTT Deployment

As OTT becomes an increasingly compelling delivery platform, engineers born and bred on over-the-air, cable and satellite technologies are closely examining various schemes for deployment. On SMPTE 2015’s second day, sessions focused on that topic, featuring panelists from Prime Focus Technologies, Comcast and USC Viterbi School of Engineering. The big take-away was that going over-the-top might take some planning but it’s a worthwhile route to take, to engage viewers and provide more data for advertisers. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Hollywood Engineers Examine OTT Deployment

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