Consumer Groups Say Next Gen TV Standard Ignores Privacy

The FCC is scheduled to vote today on the long-awaited ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard. On the eve of the vote, privacy advocates have expressed concern that the standard allows broadcasters to harvest data about individual viewing habits so that advertisers can target their pitches, and there are no rules governing how broadcasters handle the data. In its 109-page proposal for the new rule, the FCC does not mention the issue of privacy. Broadcasters perceive the rule as a way to catch up to Facebook, YouTube, Amazon Prime and others. CTA president Gary Shapiro defends the standard and suggests the vote is being politicized due to the Sinclair-Tribune merger proposal. Continue reading Consumer Groups Say Next Gen TV Standard Ignores Privacy

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

Netflix Survey Shows Erosion Between Private, Public Viewing

After studying when, where and how people consume its content, Netflix found in its most recent data that 67 percent of U.S. users are now watching content not in their living room, but out in the world. The practice has been dubbed “Netflixing in Public.” In a sense, this isn’t new. In 2015, the Pew Research Center found that 77 percent of Americans thought it was fine for people to use their cellphones while walking down the street and 75 percent also approved of using them on public transportation. Continue reading Netflix Survey Shows Erosion Between Private, Public Viewing

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

AT&T, Verizon and Tillman to Build Hundreds of Cell Towers

AT&T and Verizon announced they are partnering with New York-based Tillman Infrastructure to build hundreds of new cell towers that will be introduced to locations presently in need of additional coverage. The towers will be built to suit AT&T and Verizon. The two telecom leaders plan to lease and co-anchor the towers, and possibly relocate equipment from their current towers. Construction on the first towers is scheduled to begin early in 2018, with installation of equipment and operation to begin shortly after. Continue reading AT&T, Verizon and Tillman to Build Hundreds of Cell Towers

Amazon Imagines Alexa Will Soon Replace Your Smartphone

Amazon is aiming for a future in which its digital assistant Alexa replaces the smartphone. The future Alexa will evolve from speakers to touchscreens and a new, simpler kind of computing based on voice commands rather than apps. The rationale is that the smartphone has become ever-more complicated, with dozens of apps that distract the user. Developers also have an interest in moving off the smartphone, which has also been shown to have negative health effects. Rather than a distraction, Alexa offers specific interactions. Continue reading Amazon Imagines Alexa Will Soon Replace Your Smartphone

ESPN Delivers Twice-Daily ‘SportsCenter’ Show on Snapchat

Following new shows from CNN and NBC News debuting on Snapchat, ESPN will introduce its first episode of “SportsCenter” on the social platform at 5:00 pm Eastern today, hosted by Katie Nolan (formerly of Fox Sports). Starting tomorrow, three- to five-minute episodes of the popular ESPN show will air at 5:00 am and 5:00 pm on weekdays and 5:00 am on weekends. Additional episodes will be reserved for breaking news. The Snapchat version of the show will be hosted by Nolan, sports anchor Elle Duncan, NBA commentator Cassidy Hubbarth, ESPN Radio’s Jason Fitz, reporter Jac Collinsworth and comedian Cy Amundson. Continue reading ESPN Delivers Twice-Daily ‘SportsCenter’ Show on Snapchat

Amazon FreeTime Rolls Out New Feature for Offline Viewing

Amazon is introducing a new feature to its subscription children’s service this week that enables users to download and watch FreeTime Unlimited content without an Internet connection. The new Offline Mode will roll out for free as an over-the-air software update for Fire and Fire Kids Edition tablets. Parents can create Kindle Fire profiles for their kids through FreeTime and specify age, gender, time limits, filters and appropriate content. FreeTime Unlimited features a range of children’s offerings from the likes of Amazon Originals for Kids, DC Comics, Disney, Nickelodeon and PBS. Continue reading Amazon FreeTime Rolls Out New Feature for Offline Viewing

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

Google Debuts Spatial Audio SDK for Immersive Experiences

Google has launched Resonance Audio, a spatial audio software development kit based on technology from the company’s current VR Audio SDK. The latter was introduced with the Cardboard SDK in January 2016 and then integrated into the main Google VR SDK in May of the same year. The goal with Resonance Audio is to make it easier to develop for mobile and desktop platforms. The VR SDK audio engine already supports multiple platforms, but Google recognized that it could be “confusing and time-consuming” to work with various audio tools. Continue reading Google Debuts Spatial Audio SDK for Immersive Experiences

Twitter Doubles the Longstanding Character Limit for Tweets

After more than a decade of limiting tweets to 140 characters, Twitter announced yesterday that the limit has been doubled in most countries. The new 280-character limit has been testing since September in hopes that it would increase engagement. “In addition to more tweeting, people who had more room to tweet received more engagement (likes, retweets, @mentions), got more followers, and spent more time on Twitter,” the company explained in a blog post. Twitter considered expanding character limits in the past, but retreated due to negative response from its community. Continue reading Twitter Doubles the Longstanding Character Limit for Tweets

Signal’s Encryption Features Make It a Choice Messaging App

Messaging has become increasingly confusing, as users pick among Instagram, iMessage, Skype, Snapchat, Twitter and Google’s Hangouts and Allo — not to forget the basic but limited SMS. Notifications pile up and search becomes difficult if not impossible. According to Wired, all that confusion would disappear if users would simply pick a single app, Signal, which is free, has strong encryption and works on every mobile platform. Signal’s developers say they won’t add emojis, ads, stickers or web-tracking, to keep it simple to use and speedy. Continue reading Signal’s Encryption Features Make It a Choice Messaging App

Broadcom Offers $103 Billion in Unsolicited Bid for Qualcomm

Broadcom has made a move to acquire rival Qualcomm, the San Diego-based chipmaker making headlines this year due to its ongoing legal battle with its biggest customer, Apple. In January, Apple filed a federal lawsuit against Qualcomm, claiming the company unfairly blocks rivals and charges steep patent royalties. Qualcomm is now suing Apple for failing to abide by its software license. Broadcom’s unsolicited $103-billion offer marks the largest attempted takeover for the tech industry and is expected to face regulatory hurdles. Continue reading Broadcom Offers $103 Billion in Unsolicited Bid for Qualcomm

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

Apple Looks to Other Chip Suppliers Amid Qualcomm Dispute

In the midst of its legal battle with Qualcomm, Apple is designing next year’s products with modem chips from Intel or MediaTek. According to sources, Apple has taken this step because San Diego-based Qualcomm has not supplied the software necessary to test its chips in the Silicon Valley company’s iPhone and iPad prototypes. However, Qualcomm argues this point and is now suing Apple for failing to abide by the terms of its software license. Apple filed a federal suit against Qualcomm in January, claiming it unfairly blocks rivals and charges excessively steep patent royalties. Continue reading Apple Looks to Other Chip Suppliers Amid Qualcomm Dispute

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