Reese Witherspoon Stars in ‘Wild’ Experience for the Gear VR

Fox Searchlight has produced a virtual reality experience to promote the film “Wild” starring Reese Witherspoon. The three-minute, 360-degree sequence features Witherspoon as her character in the film as she takes a break from a hike in the woods. Fox Searchlight is planning on showing “Wild – The Experience” at the Consumer Electronics Show and the Sundance Film Festival next month. The immersive experience is compatible with Samsung’s Gear VR. Continue reading Reese Witherspoon Stars in ‘Wild’ Experience for the Gear VR

UHD Displays Expected to Take Center Stage at January’s CES

Ultra HD displays will deliver on last year’s promise at the 2015 International CES next month. Expect to see 4K/UHD sets with very attractive prices. Set manufacturers Vizio and Acer have already launched 4K displays for $1,000 and under, and other manufacturers are likely to unveil similarly low-cost models. Chinese UHD display manufacturers, that have had a strong presence at recent CES events, will continue their efforts to understand the U.S. consumer and break into the U.S. market at lower price points. Continue reading UHD Displays Expected to Take Center Stage at January’s CES

Jaunt Releases New VR Music Experience for Google Cardboard

Virtual reality developer Jaunt has created a new app for Google Cardboard that allows users to experience performances by musician Jack White in a 360-degree, stereoscopic 3D virtual reality experience. The app, called “Jack White: THIRD-D,” is part of Google’s rollout of a new page in its Play store dedicated exclusively to content for Cardboard. Google claims that it has shipped more than 500,000 Cardboard devices as the demand for virtual reality has risen. Continue reading Jaunt Releases New VR Music Experience for Google Cardboard

Connected Televisions in U.S. Households Jump to 168 Million

According to research from Strategy Analytics, the average U.S. home with broadband service now has 1.9 connected TV devices, up 28 percent from Q3 2013, and up 5 percent from the second quarter of 2014. The report indicates there are now 168 million connected smart TVs, Blu-ray players, IP-enabled game consoles and streaming devices such as Apple TV, Roku and Google Chromecast. Samsung maintained a 35 percent share of smart TV shipments during the third quarter. Continue reading Connected Televisions in U.S. Households Jump to 168 Million

Amazon Announces Streaming 4K Content for Prime Members

Amazon Prime members who enjoy free two-day shipping and unlimited streaming of music and video can soon add Ultra HD to their subscription perks. Amazon announced yesterday that it is releasing a catalog of television shows and movies that stream in 4K, joining Netflix in a move that may provide consumers with another reason to consider a UHD TV purchase. Current UHD models offered by LG, Samsung and Sony feature a built-in chip capable of decoding 4K video streamed from Amazon. Continue reading Amazon Announces Streaming 4K Content for Prime Members

Samsung Launches Gear VR Headset, Powered by Galaxy Note

Galaxy Note 4 users interested in virtual reality can spend $199 for the newly launched Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition, available via the Samsung and AT&T sites (a Verizon version is on its way). A variety of VR games and applications are available from the Oculus VR app store and a 16GB microSD card starter kit. Since Gear VR is designed for mobile, there are limitations to the types of games you can play, but Samsung offers a Bluetooth controller with more standard game controls in a $249 bundle. Continue reading Samsung Launches Gear VR Headset, Powered by Galaxy Note

VR Films Are Expected to Make a Splash at Sundance Festival

At the Sundance Film Festival in Park City next month, attendees can expect to watch both great films and virtual reality experiences. Ten of the 13 installations in the festival’s New Frontier program involve VR or other digital interactive technology. These projects use several different brands of headsets, from Oculus Rift to Google Cardboard and Samsung’s Gear VR, and for one of the first times, the content for these devices will be original, not a promotion for an existing movie. Continue reading VR Films Are Expected to Make a Splash at Sundance Festival

Barnes & Noble and Microsoft Conclude Their Nook Partnership

In 2012, Microsoft invested $300 million in Barnes & Noble’s Nook division, a deal which valued the Nook business at $1.7 billion. The plan was for Microsoft to continue investing, while Barnes & Noble would create content for Microsoft products. Since the initial deal, the Nook business has lost more than half its value (revenue fell 41 percent in the most recent quarter compared to last year). Yesterday, the two companies ended the partnership, with Barnes & Noble buying out Microsoft for $120 million. Continue reading Barnes & Noble and Microsoft Conclude Their Nook Partnership

More U.S. Shoppers Turn to Mobile Devices for Holiday Deals

According to Adobe’s 2014 Digital Index Online Shopping data, 29 percent of online sales on Thanksgiving Day and 27 percent on Black Friday took place via smartphones or tablets (led by iOS shoppers). New online sales records were set for both days, while Singles’ Day also set a new record and could surpass Cyber Monday this time around. Meanwhile, the CEA reports that consumers are purchasing more TVs, thanks in part to more affordable UHD offerings. Continue reading More U.S. Shoppers Turn to Mobile Devices for Holiday Deals

DreamWorks Developing 360-Degree Rendering for VR Films

DreamWorks Animation is working on new technology that will bring its pre-rendered CGI films to virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and Gear VR. To support headtracking, the company has developed “Super Cinema” technology that pre-renders the entire 360-degree image so that no matter which way a user turns his/her head, the frame is already generated. This technology would allow consumers to have an immersive VR experience even on lower-end hardware. Continue reading DreamWorks Developing 360-Degree Rendering for VR Films

Samsung Launches Online Video Service for Galaxy Phones

More than eight months after releasing its Milk streaming music service exclusively for Galaxy devices, Samsung has launched a new online video service in the U.S. Milk Video, a free app available for Galaxy phones via the Google Play Store, is similar to YouTube and Vimeo in that its focus is on short form video. Samsung curates content into category-specific feeds, while users can set up personal feeds and follow brands, users and groups. Favorite videos can also be shared via Facebook and Twitter. Continue reading Samsung Launches Online Video Service for Galaxy Phones

DirecTV is the First Pay TV Provider to Offer 4K Ultra HD VOD

DirecTV has added 19 4K Ultra HD titles to its video-on-demand service. Along with Sony, M-Go, and Netflix, DirecTV is one of the first to offer the new video format, which is nearly four times the resolution as traditional 1080p. The company plans to begin offering Ultra HD television channels next year. So far, just a relatively small group of consumers have the Ultra HD TVs needed to watch the content. While only 800,000 Ultra HD TVs shipped in the U.S. this year, analysts project interest is on the rise. Continue reading DirecTV is the First Pay TV Provider to Offer 4K Ultra HD VOD

Samsung to Ship Gear VR Headset, Oculus Unveils New SDK

Samsung’s plans for mobile virtual reality are now underway. The company recently released details about its ongoing project with Oculus VR. The Gear VR Innovator Edition is a headset powered by Oculus Mobile built for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. The headset plans to launch in December, and Oculus has released its Mobile SDK to foster the creation of apps. As part of an open software license, the SDK includes source code for Oculus Cinema, Oculus 360 Photo and Oculus 360 Videos. Continue reading Samsung to Ship Gear VR Headset, Oculus Unveils New SDK

Microsoft Plans to Debut New Smartwatch in Next Few Weeks

Microsoft is joining Apple, Fitbit, musician will.i.am and others gearing up to offer new smartwatches. Microsoft’s wearable — a smartwatch that will track your heart rate, work across different mobile platforms, and run for more than two days of regular use before needing a charge — is expected to launch in the next few weeks. A name for the device or its retail cost is not yet known. Microsoft joins a growing field as the wearable tech market is forecasted to be worth $7.1 billion as early as next year. Continue reading Microsoft Plans to Debut New Smartwatch in Next Few Weeks

Zeiss Builds a $100 VR Headset That Works with Your Phone

German company Zeiss, known for its optics tech and premium camera lenses, is developing the VR One, a headset that uses a smartphone’s display, accelerometer, and gyroscope to give users a virtual reality experience. It is similar to Samsung’s Gear VR for the Galaxy Note 4 except the VR One is $100 cheaper and is an open project so that developers can help design the product. Currently, the VR One is compatible with the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S5, but more phone tray options are coming soon. Continue reading Zeiss Builds a $100 VR Headset That Works with Your Phone

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