CCleaner Malware Is Linked to Attack Against 20 Tech Firms

Security companies Morphisec and Cisco reported the extent of the damage caused by a malware attack on security software CCleaner. Experts say that the software, distributed by Czech company Avast, was targeted not simply to disrupt as many computers as possible, but to conduct espionage. Hackers penetrated the software and added a backdoor, ultimately installing malware on more than 700,000 computers. But hackers also sought to find computers among those infected that resided in networks of 20 leading tech firms. Continue reading CCleaner Malware Is Linked to Attack Against 20 Tech Firms

Apple Inks Deal With Warner Music Group, Sony Pact Next

Apple inked a deal with Warner Music Group, its first with a major label since it launched Apple Music, its streaming music service. According to insiders, Warner will provide Apple with an extensive song catalog for both iTunes and Apple Music. Sources say that Apple will pay a smaller percentage of sales from Apple Music subscribers than it did under its first deal. On-demand streaming is now the dominant model for music sales, and the technology companies and music publishers are creating a framework for doing business. Continue reading Apple Inks Deal With Warner Music Group, Sony Pact Next

Roku Delivers Free, Ad-Supported Movies on New Channel

Owners of Roku streaming players, sticks and TVs will now have access to a new service — “The Roku Channel” — that offers free, ad-supported streaming of movies and TV shows. The channel, which will roll out in phases “over the coming weeks,” features content that Roku has licensed directly from studios including Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount, Sony and Warner Bros. — and movies from other channel publishers currently on the Roku platform such as American Classics, FilmRise, Nosey, OVGuide, Popcornflix, Vidmark and YuYu. Roku expects additional publishers to participate in the future.

Continue reading Roku Delivers Free, Ad-Supported Movies on New Channel

Sony, Harman Kardon and JBL Debut New Smart Speakers

At the Berlin trade show IFA this year, manufacturers showed smart speakers that incorporate voice assistants from Amazon and Google. Sony debuted its LF-S50G, one of the first third-party products, including Google Assistant and offering 360-degree sound and a digital clock, due out in December for $200. Another rival is the $250 Harman Kardon Allure, which offers Amazon’s Alexa and features ambient lighting that keeps the music’s beat. In addition, JBL’s new LINK series features three wireless speakers with Google Assistant and Chromecast support. Continue reading Sony, Harman Kardon and JBL Debut New Smart Speakers

Incoming MPAA Chief Faces Industry Shifts, New Challenges

Entertainment industry veteran Charles Rivkin is replacing Christopher Dodd this week as the MPAA chief. While the position has historically faced numerous challenges, such as managing consensus among the six major Hollywood studios, Rivkin takes the helm as the industry contends with a growing list of new hurdles: the MPAA has yet to take a stance on the debate over net neutrality rules, Silicon Valley is a growing force in Washington, digital platforms and changes in consumer behavior are impacting theater attendance and traditional distribution models, and media continues to battle global piracy. Continue reading Incoming MPAA Chief Faces Industry Shifts, New Challenges

20th Century Fox, Panasonic, Samsung Partner on HDR10+

High dynamic range (HDR) is gaining steam in movies and television even as it divides into different versions, each of which has its supporters. Dolby Vision has attracted Sony and TCL, while Samsung, with its HDR10+ open standard, gathered Amazon Video as a streaming partner. Now, partnered with 20th Century Fox and Panasonic, Samsung plans to begin licensing HDR10+ in January of this coming year. The three companies hope that television, Blu-ray and set-top box manufacturers will adopt the HDR10+ format. Continue reading 20th Century Fox, Panasonic, Samsung Partner on HDR10+

Three Tech Titans Up the Ante in Scripted TV Programming

This year, 500 scripted TV shows will vie for viewers’ attention. Now, some tech leaders are turning up the heat by entering the original programming market: Apple has budgeted more than $1 billion for original content; Google will spend up to $3 million per episode; and Facebook said it is willing to spend $3 million to $4 million per episode. A few cable companies, including A&E and WGN, are withdrawing from scripted content but, with three tech titans in the game, the competition for eyeballs will be fierce. Continue reading Three Tech Titans Up the Ante in Scripted TV Programming

HTC Slashes Cost of its Vive Virtual Reality Headset by $200

Just weeks after Facebook temporarily reduced the price tag for its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, HTC announced it is chopping $200 off the cost of its Vive headset. The HTC Vive now costs $599, which brings it closer to the $499 Rift (currently $399 during its summer sale). Both VR devices require connection to a computer. HTC’s new price point is intended to spark new interest in the device and its accessories such as the Vive Tracker, wireless adapters and a new head strap. The deal also offers access to VR game titles through a one-month free trial to HTC’s Viveport subscription service. Continue reading HTC Slashes Cost of its Vive Virtual Reality Headset by $200

Apple Earmarks $1 Billion to Buy, Produce Original TV Shows

According to sources, Apple has a budget of about $1 billion to acquire and produce original content this next year, an amount that is roughly half of what Time Warner’s HBO spent on content last year and equal to what Amazon spent in 2013. Apple hopes that with its enormous global purview and marketing capabilities, it can be a serious competitor in the original content arena. With this budget, Apple could purchase or produce as many as 10 TV shows, which could be distributed on Apple Music or a video streaming service. Continue reading Apple Earmarks $1 Billion to Buy, Produce Original TV Shows

Enhance Games Brings ‘Rez Infinite’ to HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

Game developer Enhance Games announced the availability of “Rez Infinite” for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR headsets, now accessible via Steam and the Oculus store. The VR version of the popular game debuted on PlayStation VR late last year and was quickly the top-rated VR title on Metacritic. “The game has collected more than 40 awards, including Best VR Game Winner at The Game Awards 2016,” reports VentureBeat. Enhance commissioned indie studios Monstars and Resonair to make the new VR versions of the game. Continue reading Enhance Games Brings ‘Rez Infinite’ to HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

Google’s New YouTube TV App Clocks 2 Million Downloads

According to analytics firms App Annie and Sensor Tower, about 2 million consumers have already installed the YouTube TV app, even though it is not yet available in all regions of the U.S. Installs for Google’s new live TV service were evenly split between Android and iOS devices, reports TechCrunch. While download numbers do not necessarily mirror subscription numbers, early consumer interest should draw the attention of competitors, including telcos. YouTube TV is joining a crowded market of companies offering live TV over the Internet. Others include Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, and Comcast’s upcoming Xfinity Instant TV. Continue reading Google’s New YouTube TV App Clocks 2 Million Downloads

Hulu and YouTube TV Data Now Included in Nielsen Ratings

Television measurement leader Nielsen is adding Hulu and YouTube TV to its ratings, the company’s next step toward including more streaming data. So far, Nielsen’s coverage of streaming viewership has largely involved data from TV networks distributing content via digital platforms, such as CBS shows made available on CBS All Access. “This is the first time the biggest digital-first, TV streaming companies have come into the fold in terms of being included in TV ratings,” said Nielsen president of product leadership Megan Clarken. Continue reading Hulu and YouTube TV Data Now Included in Nielsen Ratings

Sony, National Cable TV Group Ink Deal for PlayStation Vue

Sony Interactive Entertainment America and the non-profit organization National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) inked a deal that will allow local cable companies to offer Sony’s PlayStation Vue’s “cable TV bundle.” NCTC is a programming-and-hardware purchasing group for 850 cable and broadband systems in the U.S., serving more than nine million customers, mainly located in rural areas. In addition to the Sony deal, NCTC also made a deal with fuboTV, a startup that offers streaming sports channels. Continue reading Sony, National Cable TV Group Ink Deal for PlayStation Vue

Google Expands Its YouTube TV Service to 10 New Markets

On Thursday, Google launched its YouTube TV service in 10 new markets, including Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Phoenix and Washington D.C. The company says it is now streaming live local programming to more than a third of the U.S. The $35-per-month Internet TV service offers live local feeds from major broadcast networks ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, in addition to cable networks such as AMC, ESPN, IFC and USA. The new service, which initially launched in April, is now available in 15 U.S. markets. Continue reading Google Expands Its YouTube TV Service to 10 New Markets

Google Play Movies & TV Now Offers High Dynamic Range

For consumers with an HDR-compatible TV and Chromecast Ultra, Google Play Movies & TV has introduced support for high dynamic range video. A number of video services now support HDR in order to provide richer colors and improved contrast, even though the tech has not made its way to many living rooms yet. While top services such as Netflix, Amazon and YouTube offer HDR video, viewers still need an HDR-ready TV from companies including Hisense, LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sony, TCL and Vizio. “People don’t upgrade their television as often as they do other technologies, like smartphones,” notes TechCrunch, “which means broad adoption of HDR in the living room could take years.” Continue reading Google Play Movies & TV Now Offers High Dynamic Range

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