CES 2016: First Public Demo of ATSC 3.0 Standards for UHD

The Advanced Television System Committee’s ATSC 3.0 standards for 4K are expected to be finalized this year, and CES attendees in Las Vegas can get an early look at 4K Ultra HD over broadcast television. LG and Samsung are sponsoring two local TV stations (independent KHMP and NBC-affiliated KSNV, respectively) playing 4K content on display at this week’s conference. This marks the first major public demonstration of the ATSC 3.0 transmission system, designed for improved broadcast signals of 4K Ultra HD TV, mobile TV and interactive content. Continue reading CES 2016: First Public Demo of ATSC 3.0 Standards for UHD

CES 2016: Exhibits Spread Out Across 2.4 Million Square Feet

Wear comfortable shoes and drink plenty of water, reads the advice on the CES media advisory. Navigating the record 2.4 million square feet, the equivalent of 50 football fields, is an endurance event. Much like a marathon, CES is best managed with a plan and a pace. The first 36 hours of the conference are filled with media briefings and product announcements that will add important detail to the geographic layout. Today, ETCentric provides you with a general guide of where to find key exhibits. Continue reading CES 2016: Exhibits Spread Out Across 2.4 Million Square Feet

Boon for 4K: HEVC Advance Lowers Video Licensing Rates

The prospects of 4K video have brightened. That’s because the HEVC Advance group that licenses the H.265/HEVC video format enabling 4K’s higher data rate to traverse through existing pipes just adjusted its royalty rates. Up until now, the group wanted steep rates, even from free outlets, and without a cap. With the new, revamped licensing scheme, HEVC Advance not only cuts rates in half but sets a yearly cap between $2.5 million to $40 million per year, depending on the service or device type. Continue reading Boon for 4K: HEVC Advance Lowers Video Licensing Rates

CES: Keynotes by Netflix, Intel, IBM, YouTube, and Others

CES keynote presentations by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl highlight the increasing importance of entertainment to the vast consumer technology market. The scheduling of Netflix as the opening session, a time slot usually occupied by hardware companies, helps to underscore the Consumer Technology Association’s expanding universe of products and services. So, too, does the presence of two auto manufacturers, GM and VW, and tech giants Intel and IBM. Samsung is the lone hardware keynote. Continue reading CES: Keynotes by Netflix, Intel, IBM, YouTube, and Others

CES: Augmented Reality Getting Ready in the Green Room

While companies prepare to release virtual reality experiences into the consumer market, an increasing flow of money and effort is going toward developing and buying augmented reality (AR) technology and ideas. Augmented reality is any situation where your personal experience with the world around you is enhanced, supplemented, or added to via personally worn technology. The AR space is getting busy and increasingly crowded as companies position themselves to secure a piece of a new media ecosystem that is projected to yield $120B in revenue by 2020. Continue reading CES: Augmented Reality Getting Ready in the Green Room

Startups Offer New Possibilities with Interactive Video Tech

Brands are getting closer to the long-awaited “shoppable video” model that provides consumers with the ability to purchase items directly through their favorite TV show or online music video. Companies are developing interactive video technology that provides direct links to items within video content via a click or touch of the screen. Israeli startup Interlude, founded by musician Yoni Bloch, has raised $18.2 million so far. Cinematique, founded by CEO Randy Ross, has raised $5.4 million and has developed touchable video tech for numerous brand partners. Continue reading Startups Offer New Possibilities with Interactive Video Tech

CES 2016: 4K Displays Tout More Features and Lower Prices

CES 2016 will reflect a year of evolution, not revolution, for TV displays. UHD 4K sets aren’t new at CES, says Paul Gagnon, director of TV research for IHS, but 2016 is “the first breakout year.” What is still on the cutting edge are technologies for improved picture quality and improved dynamic range, with a variety of largely proprietary high dynamic range (HDR) offerings. And lest anyone think that 4K is the end destination, CES 2016 will highlight the 8K offerings of manufacturers doubling down on even higher resolution. Continue reading CES 2016: 4K Displays Tout More Features and Lower Prices

More People Shopped Online Than in Stores this Black Friday

Last week’s start to the holiday shopping season marked the most social on record with 1.4 million tweets during the week leading up to Black Friday. However, sales in retail stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday fell about $1.4 billion this year, with more consumers opting to pursue deals online. Black Friday saw a 14 percent increase in online sales over last year, for a total of $2.72 billion, while Thanksgiving online sales jumped 25 percent. Adobe estimates that shoppers spent $4.45 billion online Thursday and Friday combined. Continue reading More People Shopped Online Than in Stores this Black Friday

Facebook Pushes 360 Videos, Both Branded and Independent

Facebook, which has begun to build VR-like 360-degree videos into its site, now allows users to enjoy a true VR experience on the Samsung Gear VR. The company also launched a microsite to provide potential 360 filmmakers with best practices, guidelines and FAQs. VR producers, Vrse’s Chris Milk and Aaron Koplin also show the best way to make immersive video. Facebook has jumped into VR to stay fresh and, while offering users a chance to enjoy VR, also add some juice to its own VmaRketing. Continue reading Facebook Pushes 360 Videos, Both Branded and Independent

Sony Pictures to Release Titles on UHD Blu-ray Disc in 2016

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) will release a slate of films in the Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc format in 2016, becoming the second studio, after Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, to do so. As sales of Ultra HD television sets soar, so does the need for Ultra High Def content making Sony Pictures movies a natural fit. Some experts say that growth in Ultra HD may lead to an uptick in sales of Blu-ray Disc players as the best way to watch UHDTV. Lionsgate also announced plans to remaster its top 100 movies in UHDTV. Continue reading Sony Pictures to Release Titles on UHD Blu-ray Disc in 2016

Vizio Smart TV Tracks Users’ Viewing, Shares with Advertisers

In an October IPO filing, Vizio described its ability to provide “highly specific viewing behavior data on a massive scale with great accuracy.” This refers to Vizio’s Smart TVs ability to track the user’s viewing habits and share that information with advertisers, who use it to connect with that user’s devices. Vizio dubs this “Smart Interactivity” and it is turned on by default for the more than 10 million Smart TVs the company has sold. Users who do not want to be tracked in this fashion must opt-out. Continue reading Vizio Smart TV Tracks Users’ Viewing, Shares with Advertisers

Toyota Invests $1 Billion in Planned Return to Traditional R&D

Facebook, Google and numerous startups are among those actively researching new possibilities with artificial intelligence technology. Japanese automaker Toyota is joining the crusade with a five-year, $1 billion R&D effort. The planned Silicon Valley facility will become one of the largest research labs in the area. Toyota Research Institute will initially open a lab next to Stanford and an additional facility near MIT in Cambridge. Toyota’s plans represent a shift in tech research — a return to a focus on science and engineering rather than a push for tech that would become a specific product or service. Continue reading Toyota Invests $1 Billion in Planned Return to Traditional R&D

Vice Media, Valued at $5 Billion, Keeps Growing, Inking Deals

Vice Media has generated more buzz, media partnerships and revenue than most new media companies. Traditional media companies following young male viewers fleeing TV find the coveted demographic at home at Vice, making it a particularly attractive target for investments, partnerships and, potentially, acquisition. One recent blip, however, is an accounting snafu: whereas Vice says company revenue will hit nearly $1 billion this year, others have said that number is much closer to $500 million. Continue reading Vice Media, Valued at $5 Billion, Keeps Growing, Inking Deals

BlackBerry’s First Android Device Retains Security Technology

BlackBerry has finally done something it said it would never do: ditch its own operating system. Expected to ship by the end of November, Priv is based on the Android operating system but also incorporates BlackBerry’s encryption technology, still considered superior by the government and industry entities that have been central to the company’s success. Whereas BlackBerry phones once dominated usage among bank, law and other professional employment, the Canadian company lost market share to Apple and Android smartphones. Continue reading BlackBerry’s First Android Device Retains Security Technology

SMPTE 2015: VR, AR Open Annual TV/Film Engineering Show

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers opened its annual conference in Hollywood with a day devoted to the technical and artistic challenges of virtual reality and augmented reality, otherwise known as mixed reality. AMD lead architect for VR and advanced rendering Layla Mah gave the keynote address, detailing the technical parameters that will allow VR to become a commercial reality: an untethered device capable of one petaflop (a quadrillion floating point operations per second) among other criteria. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: VR, AR Open Annual TV/Film Engineering Show

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