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

EPIX Streaming Content Coming to the New Honda Odyssey

MGM-owned pay TV network EPIX is revealing details of its video streaming app being integrated into the 2018 Honda Odyssey, that company’s upgraded fifth-generation minivan. The move is significant because, even as in-car entertainment has become increasingly sophisticated (with Spotify being integrated into many vehicles, for example, and Google developing a version of Android just for cars), mainstream visual entertainment services have not shown up in vehicles until now. Continue reading EPIX Streaming Content Coming to the New Honda Odyssey

PwC Forecast Points to Growth in Gaming, VR and eSports

Consulting firm PwC predicts a 6.3 percent compound annual growth rate for console video games over the next five years in the U.S., with revenue increasing from $21 billion in 2016 to $28.5 billion in 2021. “That doesn’t include PC games microtransaction revenue, which is expected to grow from $3 billion in 2016 to $4.2 billion in 2021,” reports VentureBeat. PwC also predicts social and casual games will surpass console games this year. Meanwhile, the PwC forecast points to significantly faster growth rates for virtual reality and eSports in the U.S. Continue reading PwC Forecast Points to Growth in Gaming, VR and eSports

Mary Meeker Delivers Her Annual State of the Internet Report

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Mary Meeker delivered her annual Internet trends report at last week’s Code Conference in California. This year’s presentation featured 355 slides and a new section on healthcare. Among the key takeaways: global Internet users reached 3.4 billion in 2016 (46 percent of the world’s population, more than double the number from 2009); digital advertising jumped 22 percent to $73 billion; worldwide smartphone growth is slowing; China is the new leading market for interactive gaming; Apple, Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook are collectively worth $2.4 trillion, while seven of the next 16 top tech firms are Chinese companies such as Alibaba and Tencent. Continue reading Mary Meeker Delivers Her Annual State of the Internet Report

Netflix’s Hastings Says Streaming Can Coexist With Theaters

Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings thinks it’s a win-win for movies to play in theaters and stream to the home, comparing the former to going out to dinner, and the latter to cooking at home. Saying it is “inevitable that the current window system breaks down,” Hastings believes that audiences will still pay for the communal experience of a movie theater. He also stated that, although he had argued for net neutrality in the past, he currently believes it is not Netflix’s primary battle anymore. Continue reading Netflix’s Hastings Says Streaming Can Coexist With Theaters

Intel Plans to Live-Stream Free MLB Games in Virtual Reality

Under a three-year deal with Major League Baseball, Intel plans to live-stream one free out-of-market game each Tuesday in virtual reality. Starting next week, the games, on-demand replays and post-game highlights will be made available via the Intel True VR app on Samsung Gear VR headsets. The “Intel True VR Game of the Week” will provide baseball fans with the option of viewing a produced VR broadcast or selecting angles from up to four cameras. The experience will also feature exclusive commentary and live player and team stats. Continue reading Intel Plans to Live-Stream Free MLB Games in Virtual Reality

Intel’s 18-Core PC Chip Designed For 4K, VR, Gaming, More

Intel’s new Core i9 is the first consumer desktop processor with 18 cores and 36 threads in a single chip, ideal for today’s world of 4K video and virtual reality. Cores and threads allow a CPU to accomplish dedicated tasks at the same time, without sacrificing performance, and the Core i9 is progress for creators doing video editing, running virtual reality experiences, compiling code and, especially, for live-streaming video games. Intel is also fighting off Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), a rival in computer processors. Continue reading Intel’s 18-Core PC Chip Designed For 4K, VR, Gaming, More

Screening Room Files Eight Anti-Piracy Patent Applications

Napster co-founder Sean Parker has been working on Screening Room, a controversial project that would bring Hollywood blockbusters into homes on the day of their release, for $50 per movie. J.J. Abrams, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg are shareholders, but industry skeptics are worried that Screening Room will provide pirates with easy pickings. But now Parker’s Screening Room Media has submitted eight patent applications addressing piracy, including a so-called P2P polluter. Continue reading Screening Room Files Eight Anti-Piracy Patent Applications

Twitter and BBC Team to Live-Stream U.K. Election Specials

Twitter has announced its latest live streaming partnership. Marking the first time the company has teamed up with the BBC for streaming video, the deal will focus on the BBC’s U.K. election coverage. “The deal specifically involves five BBC election specials, including debates and election night results, among others,” reports TechCrunch. “The video coverage will be available in the Twitter application on both mobile and web, and will include live tweets that reference related hashtags.” Twitter previously “partnered with Bloomberg to live stream the [U.S.] presidential debates ahead of the November 2016 election.” Twitter already has live streaming deals with BuzzFeed, Live Nation, Viacom, sports leagues and others. Continue reading Twitter and BBC Team to Live-Stream U.K. Election Specials

Nielsen Research Suggests Consumers Still Using Their TVs

According to Nielsen, U.S. consumers may be cutting the pay-TV cord, but they are still using their televisions. “The measurement firm found that 92 percent of all viewing among U.S. adults (those 18 and older) still takes place on the TV screen,” reports TechCrunch. The Q4 2016 data “compares TV screen-based viewing to viewing on PCs, tablets, smartphones, and other TV-connected devices like game consoles and streaming players such as the Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and others.” Time viewing content on TV represented 82.1 percent, while time using TV-connected devices accounted for 10.2 percent. Continue reading Nielsen Research Suggests Consumers Still Using Their TVs

Twitter Debuts First Apple TV App to Support Live 360 Video

Twitter updated its Apple TV app this week, adding support for Periscope’s Global Map and the option of viewing live 360-degree videos. Apple TV owners can now “use the Siri remote to move around the video to view its content from different angles,” reports TechCrunch. Twitter’s TV applications are also available on Fire TV, Roku and Xbox One, with the intent of featuring Twitter’s live video shows, “including those from the WNBA, BuzzFeed, Viacom, Live Nation, and others.” In addition to Twitter’s new premium video, user-generated content is regularly streamed through tweets and the Periscope app. Continue reading Twitter Debuts First Apple TV App to Support Live 360 Video

Facebook Inks Deals With BuzzFeed, Vox for Video Content

Facebook has inked deals with millennial-focused news and entertainment publishers ATTN, BuzzFeed, Group Nine Media, Vox Media and others to produce original programming for its upcoming video service. The social network will pay up to $250,000 per episode for long-form scripted shows, which it will then own, and up to $35,000 for shorter videos, for which creators will receive 55 percent of ad revenue (both formats will carry advertising). The video initiative is expected to position the platform in competition with YouTube Red, Snapchat’s Discover, and even traditional TV networks. Continue reading Facebook Inks Deals With BuzzFeed, Vox for Video Content

Following U.S. Success, Amazon Brings Channels to Europe

For a year-and-a-half, Amazon has been promoting subscriptions to HBO, Starz and other streaming services. Now, it plans to expand Amazon Channels to Austria, Germany and the U.K. with between 25 to 42 live and on-demand channels from its content partners, thus offering the kind of a la carte TV that many viewers want. Apparently, the success of Channels took Amazon by surprise, and it has created two new channels — Anime Strike and Heera for Bollywood fans — while postponing plans for its own live service. Continue reading Following U.S. Success, Amazon Brings Channels to Europe

Verizon May Use Yahoo-AOL to Test New OTT Video Service

Verizon’s $4.5 billion acquisition of Yahoo’s Internet business is likely to close in mid-June, at which point the combination of Yahoo and AOL (with its 1.3 billion users) could serve as the “platform … to test out an over-the-top service,” according to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam. The OTT offering “would be in addition to the telco’s go90 ad-supported mobile video service,” reports Variety. “Verizon has reportedly been mulling an Internet-delivered skinny bundle offering, akin to AT&T’s DirecTV Now and Dish Network’s Sling TV.” Continue reading Verizon May Use Yahoo-AOL to Test New OTT Video Service

Chinese Search Engine Baidu Now Defender of Copyright Law

Since Baidu began creating and licensing content, the Chinese search engine titan has become focused on protecting copyright, a complete U-turn from the days when it was often accused of being a pipeline for pirated content. Among its newly licensed content are original shows from Netflix. Data from China’s Supreme People’s Court reveals that almost 87,000 copyright-related cases were filed in the country in 2016, a figure that is 15-times more than the cases filed ten years previously. Continue reading Chinese Search Engine Baidu Now Defender of Copyright Law

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