Periscope Adds Drone Integration and Ability to Search Video

Twitter, which owns Periscope, is about to debut a way to search via title or topic through the app’s more than 100 years of live video, also offering a list of suggested topics to search. Having launched a year ago, Periscope has accumulated more than 200 million broadcasts — but no way to search them until now. The search function also gives users a list of live streams by people they follow, and allows users to follow videos from a given region. Also new are drone integration and an ability to save live streams. Continue reading Periscope Adds Drone Integration and Ability to Search Video

Twitter Withholds Data, Tensions Rise Between Police, Tech

The battle over encryption is heating up on Capitol Hill where Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said his office hasn’t been able to decrypt 230 iPhones possibly containing important crime-related information. Google general counsel Kent Walker and Microsoft president Brad Smith also visited lawmakers to make the counter-argument that weakened encryption would make their technology less secure. These latest salvos are part of a battle that ignited when Apple refused to decrypt a mass-shooter’s iPhone. Continue reading Twitter Withholds Data, Tensions Rise Between Police, Tech

South Dakota’s New Internet Sales Tax Law Spurs Lawsuits

In March, South Dakota passed a new law requiring many out-of-state online and catalog retailers to collect the state’s sales tax, a challenge to a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Quill v. North Dakota prohibiting states from doing exactly this. The regulation has already resulted in several lawsuits. If the law is not overturned, other states are likely to follow suit, levying similar Internet sales tax rules. The implications would be enormous if numerous states adopt these rules, likely forcing audits and new tax rules in thousands of jurisdictions across the nation. Continue reading South Dakota’s New Internet Sales Tax Law Spurs Lawsuits

Siri Creators Introduce Next Generation Digital Assistant Viv

Siri co-founders Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer are getting ready to debut Viv, a new platform and virtual assistant that represents the latest frontier in artificial intelligence. In development for four years, Viv was recently tested by a group of engineers who were able to place an order for several pizzas — without a Google search, phone call or app — and the pizzas were delivered as requested. That success has been repeated with about 50 partners, and will be publicly demonstrated at a major industry event today. Continue reading Siri Creators Introduce Next Generation Digital Assistant Viv

Battery Material Could Hold Charge for Years, Even Decades

Researchers from the University of California at Irvine have found a new battery material that could possibly hold a charge for decades. While studying fragile nanowires, a PhD candidate on the research team decided on a whim “to switch the liquid electrolyte surrounding the nanowire assembly with a gel version,” reports Smithsonian. To the team’s surprise, the gel capacitor initially ran for 30,000 cycles and kept going for a month. Although still experimenting, the team believes the thick gel reduces the nanowire’s fragility, a solution that could prove revolutionary for commercial batteries. Continue reading Battery Material Could Hold Charge for Years, Even Decades

Millennials Prefer Netflix Programs Over Broadcast TV Series

Symphony Advanced Media reports that Netflix is becoming more popular than broadcast networks among millennials. According to the firm’s latest multiplatform data, the top four series between September 21 and January 31 for viewers 18-24 were all from Netflix: “Making a Murderer,” “Master of None,” “F Is for Family” and “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” (followed by Fox animated comedies “Bob’s Burgers” and “Family Guy”). The research “is a telling indicator of just how popular programming from the streaming world can be relative to that on the broadcast networks,” suggests Variety, “a comparison not easy to make in an era of limited visibility for audience measurement of OTT content.” Continue reading Millennials Prefer Netflix Programs Over Broadcast TV Series

Facebook Credits Mobile Ad Growth for Major Revenue Jump

Following last week’s reports that online advertising revenue in the U.S. reached a record $59.6 billion in 2015, and that Google and Facebook claimed the largest share of the digital advertising pie, social giant Facebook announced yesterday that its ad revenue increased 57 percent in the first quarter to $5.2 billion. Notably, mobile ads represented about four-fifths of the network’s revenue. Facebook’s news countered announcements from other tech companies — including Alphabet, Apple and Twitter — all of which released disappointing first quarter figures. Continue reading Facebook Credits Mobile Ad Growth for Major Revenue Jump

Apple’s Growth Stalls, China Shutdown Could Signal Trouble

Apple’s 13-year run of quarterly revenue growth has come to an end; the company reported that revenue for its second fiscal quarter, ending March, declined 13 percent to $50.6 billion. The reasons are many: its huge size makes sustained momentum difficult; it has suffered setbacks in China, its second largest market; it lacks a hot new product; and, with iPhones accounting for half the smartphones in the U.S., phones have likely reached a saturation point. Sales of iPhones fell 16 percent in Q1 2016 compared to the same quarter last year. Continue reading Apple’s Growth Stalls, China Shutdown Could Signal Trouble

Vox Media to Launch Circuit Breaker Gadget Site on Facebook

Vox Media, parent company of politics site Vox, sports sites SB Nation, and technology site The Verge, is about to launch Circuit Breaker, a blog about gadgets. Circuit Breaker will publish news and gossip about technology products and primarily live as a Facebook page, not a separate website, says The Verge’s editor Nilay Patel. The idea of a blog devoted to gadgets is a throwback to sites like Engadget and Gizmodo that, in the early 2000s, focused on smartphones and then broadened to become culture sites. Continue reading Vox Media to Launch Circuit Breaker Gadget Site on Facebook

ETC’s Virtual Reality Summit on Live Streaming Production

During ETC’s Virtual Reality Summit at NAB in Las Vegas this week, panelists, moderated by Fox Networks Group executive vice president of technology solutions Chris Blandy, considered the challenges in their experiences in producing live streaming VR. Fox Sports Media Group senior vice president of field and technical operations Michael Davies reports that, there are “some things you might think are captivating that aren’t.” “Some things surprise you,” he suggested. For example, “Boxing was great — we got a great camera position.” Continue reading ETC’s Virtual Reality Summit on Live Streaming Production

Assimilate Introduces Client Approval Tool for VR Production

At NAB 2016, at the VR Pavilion in the North Hall, Assimilate introduced new tools for VR production, marking an ongoing maturation of the production workflow. The company’s big news was the introduction of user-friendly review and approval, which up until now has been a cumbersome and complex process. Also new from Assimilate for VR is real-time output to the Oculus Rift, support for mono and stereo footage, to output a secondary monitor in 360-degree mode, and some new VR grading tools. Continue reading Assimilate Introduces Client Approval Tool for VR Production

European Officials Accuse Google of Breaking Antitrust Rules

European officials have charged Google with violating competition rules by favoring Android over rival mobile software. Europe’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager accused the tech giant of unfairly promoting its own mobile search and Chrome browser with phone makers. “We believe that Google’s behavior denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players,” said Vestager. From Brussels, the European Commission issued a release stating that Google has “abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators.” Continue reading European Officials Accuse Google of Breaking Antitrust Rules

YouTube Supports Live Streaming 360 Video and Spatial Audio

YouTube has begun supporting 360-degree live streaming video and spatial audio. Google has supported 360-degree video since last year and spatial audio in the Cardboard since January via the company’s VR platform. This announcement broadens that support to the main YouTube platform. For YouTube creators, all that’s required is a camera that captures 360 video. From the end-user perspective, there’s no extra technology or headsets required to watch 360-degree live streams. The videos will play on any device, including desktop, tablet, iOS and Android. Continue reading YouTube Supports Live Streaming 360 Video and Spatial Audio

Mike Nichols, Played Key Role in TV and Online Development

Digital creative pioneer Mike Nichols, a leader in the transition of television to digital, died suddenly on Friday, April 15 of complications from a health issue. He was 57. It is with great sorrow that we share the sad news of Mike’s passing. The former Disney exec had been a great friend to the ETC over the years and was a creative force behind the development and deployment of ETCentric. We will miss our generous friend and talented colleague. Our thoughts are with the Nichols family and the many industry members Mike worked with over the years. For more on Mike’s impressive contributions to entertainment media, read our full post on ETCentric. Continue reading Mike Nichols, Played Key Role in TV and Online Development

NAB: Immersive Films Present Possibilities, Face Challenges

When Ang Lee was asked about his opinion of VR, at the conclusion of a panel at the NAB Show focused on the technical aspects of making “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” he demurred that he was still very focused on making his way through the highly experimental process of creating a movie that combines 3D stereoscopy with 4K and 120 fps. The result, as seen in an 11-minute clip, is so immersive that some viewers compared it to VR. Lee didn’t dismiss VR, and believes it might eventually encompass theatrical experiences. Continue reading NAB: Immersive Films Present Possibilities, Face Challenges

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