Smart Speakers Could Become Centers of Retail Ecosystems

Consumers buying smart home and other Internet of Things devices don’t often understand the wider implications of their purchases. The tech companies building these devices are creating ecosystems that could, among other things, determine the future of retail. For example, buying a smart speaker to play music will likely become the consumer’s “access point” for a range of services, including shopping options. Consumers opting into one company’s products may be unknowingly opting out of other companies’ offerings. Continue reading Smart Speakers Could Become Centers of Retail Ecosystems

HPA 2018: RealD’s TrueMotion Finesses HFR Footage in Post

At the HPA Tech Retreat, RealD senior scientist Tony Davis and cinematographer Bill Bennett, ASC shot and mastered imagery in a variety of high frame rates. One of the chief challenges, said Bennett, is achieving a result with a cinematic aesthetic. “As we move towards HDR displays, we’ve discovered that high contrast images tend to judder as they move across the screen,” said Bennett. The two proposed a solution whereby images are acquired at a very high frame rate, but then adjusted in post. Continue reading HPA 2018: RealD’s TrueMotion Finesses HFR Footage in Post

HPA 2018: Update on Tools, Production and Post in the Cloud

For this year’s Super Bowl, The Mill in London produced 25 commercials, relying heavily on the cloud. “There’s no way we could have gotten that done without a burst of rendering in the cloud,” said The Mill group technical director Roy Trosh. “When we know we have a vendor bulge, we used to bring a [server] supplier and it took three days to get ready to render. This time it took 15 minutes.” At this week’s HPA Tech Retreat, manufacturers and users described how the industry has evolved with regard to cloud production and post. Continue reading HPA 2018: Update on Tools, Production and Post in the Cloud

Hulu to Offer High-Quality Live Streaming With 60fps Support

One of the criticisms of Internet-based live television services involves video quality limitations for sports fans. Some of the services support 30fps, a frame rate that leads to problems when streaming live sports. Hulu announced this week that it plans to address this concern with a staggered rollout of support for 60fps for its Live TV service. The streams will initially be available for select channels and devices, to be followed by an expanded rollout. Support for higher-quality streams could attract new customers for Hulu, especially on the eve of the Winter Olympics. Continue reading Hulu to Offer High-Quality Live Streaming With 60fps Support

Two Editors Describe New Model to Reinvigorate Local News

Local news is already in sad shape, and Facebook and Google now aim to cover it rather than national news. But two editors of digital outlets are proposing a different model for invigorating local news, especially in urban areas that where the local press has been destroyed by digital technology. In this model, very good journalists would cover the news that no one else is covering — and ignore everything else that isn’t local news, including the Super Bowl, movie reviews and the stock market report. Continue reading Two Editors Describe New Model to Reinvigorate Local News

Verizon Inks Deal for NFL Games on Yahoo, Mobile Platforms

Verizon Communications inked a deal valued at more than $2 billion with the National Football League, to show NFL football games on its mobile network, Yahoo, Yahoo Sports and go90 mobile platforms. The telecommunications giant will make Monday, Thursday and Sunday night national games available on its smartphone apps regardless of carrier, as well as playoffs and Sunday afternoon games from a user’s home market. National games, except Sunday afternoon games, will also be available on tablets. Continue reading Verizon Inks Deal for NFL Games on Yahoo, Mobile Platforms

Amazon’s NFL Deal Creates New Paradigm for Sports Rights

On September 28, Amazon will live-stream the first of 11 NFL “Thursday Night Football” games to its Prime Video members in over 200 countries and territories (excluding China). The last game, between Pittsburgh and Houston, will live-stream on Christmas Day. The event marks the beginning of an era in which technology titans, including Google and Facebook, vie with traditional broadcasters for the rights to major sports deals. The sports leagues are drawn to the global reach of the major technology companies. Continue reading Amazon’s NFL Deal Creates New Paradigm for Sports Rights

Tencent Signs Deal With NFL to Livestream Games in China

The National Football League and China’s Tencent Holdings have signed a deal to give the latter exclusive rights to livestream games and other NFL content online for three years. Tencent will stream the games and other content for free on its flagship social media app, WeChat, as well as other mobile and desktop platforms. WeChat has more than 960 million monthly active users. The NFL first made a move into China in 2009 when it produced a 16-episode reality TV series in which a Taiwanese pop band explored football culture. Continue reading Tencent Signs Deal With NFL to Livestream Games in China

Electronic Arts, NFL Create Tournament for Casual Gamers

Electronic Arts and the National Football League now offer an eSports tournament aimed at the casual user in the living room. Dubbed the Madden NFL Club Championship, the competition is open to players of all skill levels aged 16 or older in North America, the U.K. and Germany, and is based on a pilot program held last spring. It’s also linked to the debut of “Madden NFL 18,” Electronic Art’s newest installment of the annual football game franchise, which has sold more than 100 million units around the world since its 1980s debut. Continue reading Electronic Arts, NFL Create Tournament for Casual Gamers

Intel to Sponsor Olympics, Showcase VR, AI and Drone Tech

Intel has inked a partnership with the International Olympic Committee through 2024 to showcase its virtual reality, 360-degree video, artificial intelligence and drone technologies. Intel has already been using its VR and other technologies for baseball, basketball and football games, and the deal could help heighten its profile in sports. An internal group started exploring deals last fall. Because TV ratings for the Olympics have been falling, a technology sponsor could help the Games reach a younger demographic. Continue reading Intel to Sponsor Olympics, Showcase VR, AI and Drone Tech

Snap Debuts Sponsored AR Lenses, User Growth Is Slowing

The growth of Snapchat’s audience, now at about 166 million daily users, appears to be slowing, and analysts and stockholders have taken note. On its May 10 quarterly report, the first since its March IPO, chief executive Evan Spiegel offered up the idea that his company’s AR Lenses present users with a creative tool they can’t find elsewhere, even though the Lenses have now been copied by Facebook. A new report shows that Snap’s trouble drawing in new users got serious at the start of Q2, even as rival Instagram pulls ahead. Continue reading Snap Debuts Sponsored AR Lenses, User Growth Is Slowing

Historic Super Bowl Marks Firsts and Generates Social Activity

This year’s Super Bowl made a major splash on a number of fronts. It marked the NFL’s first overtime game in Super Bowl history, a fifth ring for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a historic fourth quarter comeback, the first time a squadron of drones were featured during the halftime show, some impressive overall ratings, and a collection of ads that focused on social issues such as gender equality, ethnic diversity and immigration. The game delivered Fox an average viewership of 111.3 million, making it one of the top-five most-watched Super Bowls. Nielsen notes the broadcast generated a 45.3 household rating, while 70 percent of U.S. households turned in. Continue reading Historic Super Bowl Marks Firsts and Generates Social Activity

Super Bowl Halftime Show Offers Glimpse into Future of UAVs

During Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show, about 160 million viewers saw something never seen there before: an army of 300 synchronized drones that morphed from stars to a waving flag above the Houston skyline. That effect was courtesy of the Intel Shooting Star drone system, which also has more serious applications, in search-and-rescue and agriculture among other possibilities. The Shooting Star squad has also performed at Disney World and, last year, set a world record by simultaneously launching 500 UAVs into the sky above Sydney. Continue reading Super Bowl Halftime Show Offers Glimpse into Future of UAVs

IBM’s Watson Joins with H&R Block for Better Tax Preparation

IBM struck a deal with H&R Block to utilize Watson to help the company’s 70,000 tax professionals at 10,000 branch offices file taxes for 11 million customers. The partnership, which was presented in a 60-second Super Bowl ad on Sunday, began last summer when H&R Block chief executive Bill Cobb contacted IBM. His goal was to aid the company’s professionals in increasing tax refunds and reducing tax liabilities for the company’s clients, and make the experience “engaging and interactive.” Continue reading IBM’s Watson Joins with H&R Block for Better Tax Preparation

Fox Plans to Live-Stream Super Bowl, Will Include Local Ads

On February 5, the Super Bowl will be available for free online as a live stream (with no need for pay-TV credentials) and will include dynamically-inserted local advertising based on the viewer’s location. More than 170 affiliates will team with Fox Sports to deliver the digital ads. “The national ads will be the same on both TV and online, and the live-stream will include the halftime show featuring Lady Gaga,” reports Variety. Coverage “will be available live on Fox Sports Go, the broadcaster’s streaming platform … on iOS, Android, Windows and Amazon tablets; and through connected devices including Apple TV, Roku, Android TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Microsoft Xbox One.” Continue reading Fox Plans to Live-Stream Super Bowl, Will Include Local Ads

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