Tech Startups Pitch Innovative New Drone Concepts at CES

The VR, AR and Robotics Pitch Competition at CES in Las Vegas included three drone-related entertainment tech startups. The Fotokite, from Zurich-based Perspective Robotics, is a tethered drone camera system. The $249 consumer version unfolds from an easy-carry tube and flies like a kite, but unlike a kite it works to maintain its position and camera angle relative to the handheld ‘kite’ tether. Dotterel “takes the drone out of drones” with technology that was developed to make it possible to record audio from a drone without the loud background buzz. And Boxfish Research showed a simple-to-operate submarine ROV with two universal camera mounts for capturing 360-degree video. Continue reading Tech Startups Pitch Innovative New Drone Concepts at CES

Under Armour Collects Data for Smart Shoes, Digital Pajamas

In his keynote address at CES 2017, Under Armour founder/chief executive Kevin Plank had a long wind-up to the afternoon’s highlight: multiple gold-medal Olympian Michael Phelps on stage, encouraging everyone in the auditorium to get up and “Jump Around” to the infectious beat of the House of Pain anthem. Phelps was doing more than dancing. All it takes is six jumps for him to activate his brand new Under Armour shoes, connected to the company’s MyFitnessPal app as of February 1. The company also introduced a new focus on sleep. Continue reading Under Armour Collects Data for Smart Shoes, Digital Pajamas

Apparel as Wearables: Fashion Industry Tries On Smart Fabric

Another wearable that is in its infancy is smart fabrics, suggests Digital Trends mobile editor Malarie Gokey, noting that most are currently focused on fitness and sports. During a CES session, Sensoria Inc. co-founder/chief executive Davide Vigano pointed out that one of the draws of smart fabric is “established research on the inaccuracy of wristband devices.” “Also, putting on clothes in the morning is something we all do,” he added. The fashion industry is also beginning to discover smart fabric, making it a rising trend. Continue reading Apparel as Wearables: Fashion Industry Tries On Smart Fabric

Wearables on the Rise: Innovators Show Disruptive Products

As part of the FitnessTech Summit at CES 2017, FitWell founder/chief executive Ted Vickey brought together a small group of “disrupters” in the fitness industry to show applications that can and do make a difference in peoples’ lives. Vickey is bullish on the possibilities. “By far, there are more users of fitness apps than there are members of health clubs,” he said. “And close to 73 percent of users say they feel healthier because of their app.” The disrupters showed a wide array of use cases. Continue reading Wearables on the Rise: Innovators Show Disruptive Products

Wearables For Professional Sports Still Need the ‘Fun’ Factor

The Los Angeles Dodgers are into wearables, says the team’s chief financial officer Tucker Kain. “What I’m most excited about is the data coming off many of these wearables,” he said. “At the Dodgers, we’re thinking about how to capture and analyze data and how that informs our future decisions.” Kain isn’t alone among professional sports teams engaged in the same effort of using digital tools to enhance athletic performance, as described in a CES 2017 session on the “Wearable Tech Playbook.” Continue reading Wearables For Professional Sports Still Need the ‘Fun’ Factor

Comcast Signs Deals with Four Studios to Offer Movie Extras

Comcast inked deals with Universal Pictures (which it owns), Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment for “movie extras” to accompany those studios’ film titles. The cable company, which will offer a free sample of the enhanced extras during the 10 days leading up to Christmas, says it is working on adding more studios and movies in the coming year. With the extra content, Comcast hopes to better compete with other digital movie providers, including Apple, which added extra content two years ago. Continue reading Comcast Signs Deals with Four Studios to Offer Movie Extras

Facebook Pursues Funding, Licensing Original Video Content

Facebook plans to fund original productions and license original video content from media companies and digital celebrities for its platform. To be led by Facebook head of global strategy Ricky Van Veen, the new initiative is still in its nascent stages; a spokesperson only says the company is reaching out to many potential partners. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has steadfastly insisted Facebook is not a media company, but given this decisive move towards content, that will be a difficult position to maintain. Continue reading Facebook Pursues Funding, Licensing Original Video Content

Facing Ad Saturation, Facebook Is Now Forced to Get Creative

Facebook, which is currently ranked second in Internet advertising, is reaching saturation with its ads, prompting chief financial officer David Wehner to declare that the company’s revenue growth will “meaningfully” slow in 2017. That’s forcing Facebook to experiment with more creative ways to boost ad revenue than simply pushing quantity. To that end, the company is experimenting with targeting customized ads based on the Facebook profiles tied to the IP addresses streaming shows to peoples’ Roku or Apple TV boxes. Continue reading Facing Ad Saturation, Facebook Is Now Forced to Get Creative

CBS All Access Has Deal to Live-Stream NFL Football Games

CBS recently announced that it signed a deal with the NFL to stream CBS-broadcast football games via the network’s $6-a-month standalone streaming app. “CBS All Access subscribers will be able to stream the game that is being broadcast by their local CBS affiliate, as well as playoff games and several of next year’s Thursday night NFL games,” reports The New York Times. According to CBS, its app currently touts about a million subscribers, which the network predicts will reach 4 million in the next five years. The NFL has been looking for alternatives as it contends with declining ratings for primetime games. The league has already agreed to live stream Thursday Night Football games on Twitter. Continue reading CBS All Access Has Deal to Live-Stream NFL Football Games

December Previews to Launch ETC’s Coverage of CES 2017

Extensive, in-depth coverage of CES 2017 by ETC@USC begins the week of December 5th with a series of preview stories exploring the top CE trends and technologies — and their significance to the entertainment industry. CES, the global gathering place for innovation and tech, is presented by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and runs January 5-8 in Las Vegas. CES 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the conference. Since the first Consumer Electronics Show in 1967, more than 700,000 products have debuted in what CTA calls “the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies.” Continue reading December Previews to Launch ETC’s Coverage of CES 2017

Amazon Reportedly Scouting for Live Sports Rights for Prime

Amazon, looking into the possibility of streaming live sports, has been in conversations with the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Football League, as well as soccer, lacrosse and surfing leagues, say sources. The company’s idea would be to create a premium sports package that would be made available via its Amazon Prime, with the goal of bringing new members to the $99 per year membership program. Amazon could also market a “skinny bundle” of live sports channels. Continue reading Amazon Reportedly Scouting for Live Sports Rights for Prime

Daily Fantasy Sports: FanDuel and DraftKings Agree to Merge

Former rivals DraftKings and FanDuel announced they plan to merge their daily fantasy sports operations into one company, to be run by DraftKings CEO Jason Robins. FanDuel chief exec Nigel Eccles will become chairman. The board will include three directors each from DraftKings and FanDuel, plus an independent director, while headquarters will be divided between New York and Boston offices. The deal, which aims to increase innovation by freeing up money, is expected to close during the second half of next year. Continue reading Daily Fantasy Sports: FanDuel and DraftKings Agree to Merge

Activision Blizzard Plans E-Sports League Around ‘Overwatch’

Activision Blizzard, the biggest videogame company in the U.S. by market value, is taking steps to create an e-sports league that more closely resembles a traditional sports league. The company is in conversation with more than 100 e-sports and traditional sports teams to drum up interest in a league for its game “Overwatch” that would function like the National Football League. Competitive videogaming has gained in popularity and viewership, heading towards an estimated 10 percent of all U.S. sports viewing by 2020. Continue reading Activision Blizzard Plans E-Sports League Around ‘Overwatch’

Intel Eyes Future Beyond PC Chips, Buys VR Company Voke

Intel is acquiring Santa Clara-based Voke, a small company that develops virtual reality tech. While most VR “software is based on animated scenes,” notes The Wall Street Journal, “Voke developed a system called TrueVR that uses sets of paired cameras and software that help capture live images and simulate the sensation of three-dimensional space for viewers with computer displays or virtual-reality headsets.” Voke helps broadcasters capture and stream live events such as sports and fashion shows to provide users with multiple angles. Earlier this year, Intel announced plans to purchase Replay Technologies and its 3D video tech used for sports broadcasting. Continue reading Intel Eyes Future Beyond PC Chips, Buys VR Company Voke

ABC, ESPN, Fox News to Join Hulu’s Live Streaming Service

Hulu announced it has signed deals with 21st Century Fox and Disney to include the media giants’ broadcast and cable channels in Hulu’s planned live streaming service, expected to launch in early 2017. ABC, ESPN and Fox News will join channels including CNN, TBS and TNT, following an earlier deal with Time Warner. All three companies are part owners of Hulu. The fourth owner, Comcast, has not yet reached an agreement for channels under the NBCUniversal banner. According to The New York Times, “Hulu’s live offering will be the latest cheaper and slimmer television package at a time when more people are canceling traditional — and more expensive — cable subscriptions.” Continue reading ABC, ESPN, Fox News to Join Hulu’s Live Streaming Service

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