Experts Ponder Implications of IoT Vulnerabilities and Risks

The Internet of Things is now made up of approximately 8.4 billion devices, in cars, voice-activated assistants, home security systems, personal fitness trackers and health-monitoring devices. Much of the “connection” is behind the scenes and involves machine learning-enhanced communication. But an increasing number of IoT products are embedded in the things of daily life, from toothbrushes and dental floss to baby monitors, umbrellas and remote-controlled pet food dispensers. Security and safety issues are now a focus. Continue reading Experts Ponder Implications of IoT Vulnerabilities and Risks

New Amazon Video API Turns Alexa Into a Remote Control

Amazon unveiled its Video Skill API, a new tool set to help content creators turn virtual assistant Alexa into a sophisticated TV remote. With the API, Alexa can search for titles, actors or genres; play or pause media and adjust the volume. Developers can also create their own Alexa commands. It keeps track of enabled services, which means the user won’t need to specify a provider or device or add any extra commands. Alexa already controls Fire TV, but the Video Skill API now opens up those controls to any cable or satellite TV company. Continue reading New Amazon Video API Turns Alexa Into a Remote Control

Facebook Readies TV App for Streaming Video Through STBs

Facebook will soon launch a TV app that will let users stream videos in their News Feed through set-top boxes including Apple TV and Amazon’s Fire TV, and smart TVs from Samsung. The move to a television app is evidence of Facebook’s new directive from chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to become a “video first” company, and positions the social network to compete for TV advertising dollars. Users can employ the TV app to watch Facebook videos on their living room TV sets, and Facebook is in discussions to provide access to other video content. Continue reading Facebook Readies TV App for Streaming Video Through STBs

Mossberg Questions the Direction of Streaming TV Services

Streaming TV is now mainstream, with even cable and satellite subscribers paying for services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. Television networks also make their fare available for streaming via apps or smart TVs. But the typical streaming service model — whereby the subscriber doesn’t pay for a fat bundle of disparate channels and a DVR — is changing. Dish Network’s Sling TV and AT&T’s DirecTV Now, nominally streaming services, offer bundles of TV networks delivered in a linear fashion, just like cable or satellite. Journalist/author Walt Mossberg is concerned by the change.  Continue reading Mossberg Questions the Direction of Streaming TV Services

Samsung Updates Smart Hub with Emphasis on Sports, Music

Searching for and organizing content is a fact of life with smart TVs. Samsung has updated its Smart Hub to make that experience — on the TV and smartphone — much easier, especially with regard to sports and music. The company demonstrated its new Smart Hub “experience” at CES 2017. The user no longer needs to search for where his or her favorite team can be found on OTA channels and streaming services. Instead, the user tells the Hub what teams he follows, and the Smart TV will give him channels, schedules and scores. For music, Samsung’s Hub now offers Shazam. Continue reading Samsung Updates Smart Hub with Emphasis on Sports, Music

Leaders Discuss Multi-Screen Experience and Future of OTT

A Digital Hollywood panel on the “multi-screen OTT experience” took a look at the entire ecosystem in a conversation led by Altman Vilandrie & Company director Jonathan Hurd. “A year ago, the multi-screen experience would have meant something different than today,” he said. “This year, we’ve had a big disruption with the Virtual MVPD (Multichannel Video Programming Distributor) model, including Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and, soon, the introduction of a similar service from Hulu. Where are the pain points for consumers?” Continue reading Leaders Discuss Multi-Screen Experience and Future of OTT

Foxconn to Build Flat Panel Factory and Make Advanced LCDs

Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn Technology Group, announced plans to build an $8.8 billion flat panel TV factory in Guangzhou, China, where the Taiwanese company will manufacture advanced liquid-crystal displays with tech from Sharp Corp. (Foxconn acquired the Japanese electronics brand in 2016). The investment “will be made by Sakai Display Products Corp., which is mostly owned by Gou personally,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Gou has sometimes taken on riskier investments for Foxconn under his personal portfolio, saying it was safer for Foxconn shareholders. The new Guangzhou facility is expected to begin production of 10.5-generation 8K displays, smart TVs and electronic whiteboards in 2019.” Continue reading Foxconn to Build Flat Panel Factory and Make Advanced LCDs

Fandango Brings Movie VOD Service to Xbox Game Consoles

Movie ticketing company Fandango launched its VOD service FandangoNOW on Microsoft’s Xbox One and Xbox One S consoles. FandangoNOW, which is already on Android TV among other platforms, offers 40,000 new-release and catalog movies as well as next-day TV shows for rent and purchase. The move puts Fandango in direct competition with Apple iTunes, Amazon Video and Walmart’s Vudu. Fandango’s end game is to deploy the rebranded FandangoNOW to increase overall revenues via a home entertainment offering. Continue reading Fandango Brings Movie VOD Service to Xbox Game Consoles

Netgear Nighthawk Router Ideal for 4K Streaming, VR Gaming

Netgear is launching its $500 Nighthawk X10, which the company claims is the “world’s fastest router.” The X10 features quad-stream Wave 2 Wi-Fi architecture, a 10-gigabit port and a 1.7-gigahertz quad-core processor, the fastest processor found in a home router today. Intended for 4K video streaming, instant backup and VR gaming, the Nighthawk X10 Smart Wi-Fi Router can handle next-gen 802.11ad Wi-Fi and speeds up to 7.2 gigabits per second. “The Nighthawk X10 supports Plex Media Server with transcoding for smooth 4K streaming, even to remote devices,” reports VentureBeat. “It is also the industry’s first router to run Plex Media Server without the need for a computer.” Continue reading Netgear Nighthawk Router Ideal for 4K Streaming, VR Gaming

Plex Media Player System Adds DVR Feature for Broadcast TV

Client-server media player system Plex has debuted beta DVR functionality, enabling users to record broadcast TV programs and stream them to other devices. Recorded content can be watched on TV/mobile devices with Plex apps for Apple TV, Android, iOS, Roku, Chromecast, game consoles and many smart TVs. For now, scheduling shows is only available via Plex’s Web interface. The DVR feature also requires the use of a networked TV tuner to access broadcast TV signals; Plex has partnered first with tuner maker SiliconDust. Continue reading Plex Media Player System Adds DVR Feature for Broadcast TV

YouTube Rolls Out TV App Designed for Living Room Viewing

YouTube just upgraded its TV application to be easier to use on actual television sets, a response to the growing popularity of cord cutting, smart TVs and streaming media players. The company’s latest app will feature a redesigned look and has organized its categories to better reflect how people use YouTube on bigger screen devices in the living room. More specifically, consumers who watch YouTube videos on TV screens rather than mobile devices or desktops, tend to browse for content. Continue reading YouTube Rolls Out TV App Designed for Living Room Viewing

SVOD Service Yuyu Offers Titles from Independent Publishers

New York-based Digital Media Rights is attempting to bridge the gap between cable networks and YouTube with the launch of its new Yuyu streaming service. Yuyu, which joins an increasingly crowded SVOD market, currently features more than 350 titles with an emphasis on content from independent publishers. The video aggregation company, which has more than 8,000 TV shows and movies under license and distribution deals with Hulu and Amazon Prime, plans to launch three more OTT services this year, adding to its portfolio that includes Asian Crush and Midnight Pulp. Continue reading SVOD Service Yuyu Offers Titles from Independent Publishers

Dish and Comcast to Offer NBC’s 4K Rio Olympics Coverage

According to Multichannel News: “Dish Network and Comcast will be joining AT&T in offering access to NBCUniversal’s delayed 4K coverage of the Summer Olympics in Rio.” Comcast will provide content from Rio on demand via its Xfinity in UHD app for Samsung and LG smart TVs, while Dish will offer content on linear channel 146 and on VOD via the Hopper 3 DVR and 4K Joey box. Dish will also include a sports hub on channel 148 for access to NBCU’s coverage and integrate the NBC Olympics app on its Hopper and Joey devices. Dish’s Sling TV will also carry select coverage on its Sling Blue service. Continue reading Dish and Comcast to Offer NBC’s 4K Rio Olympics Coverage

Facebook’s New Videos Feed Poised to Compete with YouTube

Facebook continues to up its game with video, this time with a dedicated Videos tab, which, for now, is only being shown to a handful of users. Experts following Facebook aren’t surprised, since the social media site has been increasing its use of video over several years, currently placing up to 5 billion videos in users’ feeds, among other video-centric features. The increased use of video and its built-in user base may put Facebook on track to become a serious competitor with YouTube. Continue reading Facebook’s New Videos Feed Poised to Compete with YouTube

Simple.tv Plans to Debut ShowDrive Cloud DVR at Next CES

Simple.tv — the company that has been trying to reinvent the DVR since 2012 — is about to launch ShowDrive, which allows users to record and playback up to 1,000 hours of TV programming from the cloud to Internet-connected TVs, streaming devices and mobile phones. Unlike Aereo, whose live TV and time-shifted TV DVR was killed by a Supreme Court ruling that it didn’t substantially differ from a cable operator, Simple.tv’s technology is based on technology that has standing in past legal cases. Continue reading Simple.tv Plans to Debut ShowDrive Cloud DVR at Next CES

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