Apple Building a Faster Network and Upgrading Data Centers

In an effort to better compete with major players such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft in cloud services, insiders indicate that Apple is developing a high-speed network and changing the way it builds data centers. While Apple has turned to network providers and tech suppliers in the past to support iTunes, iCloud, Siri and more, the company just announced a new streaming music service and is expected to launch an online TV service. Apple’s new initiatives will require faster, more efficient infrastructure to meet the increased demands for content delivery. Continue reading Apple Building a Faster Network and Upgrading Data Centers

TiVo Online Allows Users to Stream DVR Recordings, Live TV

TiVo has confirmed that its new TiVo Online service will allow subscribers to stream DVR recordings in addition to live television programming via a Web browser interface. The site includes recommendations, an online guide, a search feature, and the ability to manage upcoming recordings and track favorites (including content available via streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu). The DVR maker is looking to address the evolving needs of viewers expecting to access TV on any screen by providing a tool that performs more like a modern streaming service. Continue reading TiVo Online Allows Users to Stream DVR Recordings, Live TV

Study: More Streaming of Long-Form Video on Mobile Screens

The Interactive Advertising Bureau conducted a survey across 24 countries regarding smartphone video viewing. According to “Mobile Video Usage: A Global Perspective,” mobile screens are increasingly being used to stream longer-form video. Findings indicate that 36 percent of consumers watch videos daily that are 5 minutes or longer. Full movies and TV shows are also viewed on mobile screens, especially in China. Respondents (including 50 percent in the U.S.) indicate that their video viewing on smartphones has increased year-over-year. Continue reading Study: More Streaming of Long-Form Video on Mobile Screens

Streaming Services Luring Viewers from Ad-Based Television

PwC recently released its annual five-year forecast for entertainment and media, dropping the growth rate for ad spending on TV. Last year’s report projected a 5.5 percent annual increase in ad spending over the next five years. PwC has revised that figure to 4 percent through 2019, as original programming from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon continues to compete with traditional television content. In the U.S., the number is even lower; ad spending on TV has been growing 3 percent annually on average. Continue reading Streaming Services Luring Viewers from Ad-Based Television

Thunderbolt Adopts USB-C, Universal Port of the Near Future

From desktops, laptops and tablets to game consoles and other CE devices, the Universal Serial Bus has been the industry standard for cable and connection interfaces for about 20 years. It has been speculated that USB-C, developed by the USB Implementers Forum, would soon become the successor to the USB standard. Intel announced during Computex in Taiwan last week that Thunderbolt 3 will embrace USB-C functionality, and initially offer data transfer rates twice as fast as Thunderbolt 2 and four times that of USB 3.1. Teaming the two could be a game-changer. Continue reading Thunderbolt Adopts USB-C, Universal Port of the Near Future

Apple Considering Change to iTunes Charge for App Partners

Apple charges app publishers 30 percent of subscription amounts initiated through apps, the same percentage it collects for in-app revenue. Some companies have been working around the charge by not enabling subscriptions through their mobile iOS app or charging consumers more. However, the company is reportedly considering a change to the agreement, but only for subscriptions that are delivered via Apple devices rather than the App Store. Such a revision suggests that only services offered through Apple TV would likely be exempt from the 30 percent fee. Continue reading Apple Considering Change to iTunes Charge for App Partners

Ericsson: 70 Percent of World Will Have Smartphones by 2020

There are currently 2.6 billion smartphone subscriptions worldwide, and while developing markets have been leveling off, less mature markets are starting to experience significant growth. According to the latest annual Mobility Report from Ericsson, we should expect to see 6.1 billion smartphones in circulation by 2020, at which point phones will exceed the number of active fixed line subscriptions globally. Ericsson projects that the total number of mobile subscriptions will reach 9.2 billion in five years, as less developed markets continue their expansion. Continue reading Ericsson: 70 Percent of World Will Have Smartphones by 2020

Showtime to Debut its Internet Streaming Service This Summer

Showtime is joining HBO in introducing its own Internet streaming service that will offer unlimited on-demand access to original series, movies and sports programming without requiring a traditional TV subscription. In addition, it will include a live feed of Showtime’s broadcasts for both coasts. The cable network announced yesterday that it plans to debut the standalone service in July to coincide with the season premieres of “Masters of Sex” and “Ray Donovan.” The service will initially be available on Apple devices for $11 per month. Continue reading Showtime to Debut its Internet Streaming Service This Summer

Study: Declining Customer Satisfaction with TV, Internet Service

Customer satisfaction with cable TV, Internet and phone service providers has fallen to a seven-year low, according to a study from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. When surveyed about satisfaction involving 43 industries, consumer response placed television and Internet companies tied for last place. Recent merger talks have placed TV and Internet providers under particular scrutiny, while disappointing customer service and rising prices have taken on a different dynamic in an era of streaming options such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Continue reading Study: Declining Customer Satisfaction with TV, Internet Service

Android TV Blends Online Video and Broadcast Programming

At last week’s Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco, Google announced a new initiative to mix online video services with popular television content. Via Android TV Channels, Internet video app publishers have the ability to add linear channels of programming to Google’s Android TV platform on the same program grid used for broadcast TV networks. According to Google, the initial launch partners include AOL, Bloomberg, the Huffington Post, Pluto, TED, Vevo, the Weather Network, and European live streamer Zattoo. Continue reading Android TV Blends Online Video and Broadcast Programming

Microsoft Scheduled to Release its Windows 10 OS on July 29

Microsoft announced yesterday that Windows 10 would launch in 190 countries by the end of July. The upgrade will be free for PC and tablet users running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, while the $119 Home version and $199 Pro version will be available for all others. (The company has yet to announce when Windows 10 will be available for phones.) New features include the personal assistant Cortana, the new Microsoft Edge browser, integration with Microsoft’s Xbox platform, and the return of the iconic Start Menu. Continue reading Microsoft Scheduled to Release its Windows 10 OS on July 29

Netflix Continues to Dominate Internet Traffic in North America

According to a new report by broadband networking company Sandvine, Netflix continues to dominate North American Internet traffic. The streaming service currently accounts for 36.5 percent of downstream fixed network traffic during peak evening hours. YouTube also accounts for a significant share with 15.56 percent of peak downstream traffic. The report notes traffic growth for HBO and Amazon Instant Video, while BitTorrent file-sharing traffic is declining, accounting for 6.3 percent of total traffic in North America. Continue reading Netflix Continues to Dominate Internet Traffic in North America

Google Teams with Director to Create Mobile Spherical Videos

Justin Lin, who directed four films from the “Fast and Furious” franchise, has been collaborating with Google on a mobile movie project. “Help,” Lin’s five-minute short intended for mobile phones, is being released at the Google I/O developer conference this week. The film tells the story of an alien attack on Los Angeles. It is distributed via a mobile app that enables viewers to explore multiple angles by moving the phone around. Google also recently teamed with animation legend Glen Keane on three animated shorts. Continue reading Google Teams with Director to Create Mobile Spherical Videos

Oculus Story Studio Explores Ways to Make VR More Social

Oculus Story Studio, a lab program within Oculus VR dedicated to experimentation with the goal of helping virtual reality grow as a platform, is using “Lost Director’s Cut,” a new version of the studio’s short VR film as the basis for a new social experience that promises to change the paradigm of VR experiences from solitary to shared. The purpose of the new demonstration is to show filmmakers and other creatives how far they can push virtual reality beyond current single-person, isolated experiences. Continue reading Oculus Story Studio Explores Ways to Make VR More Social

Vidity to Enable Download of 4K HDR Movies Across Devices

The Secure Content Storage Association (SCSA), the consortium of entertainment and storage companies, announced the final specifications for its new premium content playback technology and gave it a name: Vidity. The solution supports the secure delivery, storage and consumption of movies, including those mastered in 4K and HDR, across multiple devices. Vidity partners include Fox, Warner Bros., Universal, Samsung and Walmart, but neither Disney nor Apple are involved. Compatible products and services are expected to reach market late 2015. Continue reading Vidity to Enable Download of 4K HDR Movies Across Devices

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