Virtual Reality Helmet Could Redefine In-Flight Entertainment

The United States Patent and Trademark Office granted leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus a patent in August for headrests that include helmets attached to a carrier. The headrests will relieve passenger stress by providing entertainment in addition to “sensorial isolation with regard to the external environment.” They will play immersive multimedia content on glasses with display screens that are capable of “holographic projection mode,” according to the patent. Continue reading Virtual Reality Helmet Could Redefine In-Flight Entertainment

Apple and Amazon Planning Programs for Sharing Digital Media

In what could prove to be a bold move, Amazon and Apple are planning to allow customers to share media purchased from their digital storefronts with family members. Similar language is being used by both companies to describe the programs, and both are launching around the same time. Apple’s “Family Sharing” program will be available via its new iOS 8 software, while Amazon’s “Family Library” is scheduled to join hardware and software updates slated for the end of October. Continue reading Apple and Amazon Planning Programs for Sharing Digital Media

Amazon Update Brings Prime Instant Video to Android Phones

Amazon announced yesterday that it plans to make Prime Instant Video available to all Android phones in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. An update to the Amazon app for Android will enable users to stream movies and TV shows available through Prime Instant Video. However, users will first need to install or update the Amazon app, and then use in-app tools to install the Amazon Instant Video player app. Users will also need to enable a phone setting that allows installing of apps from outside the Google Play store. Continue reading Amazon Update Brings Prime Instant Video to Android Phones

Apple Announces Two New iPhones, Smartwatch and Apple Pay

Apple unveiled its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at a press event in Cupertino yesterday. The next-gen smartphones feature higher resolution displays, improved camera capabilities, and a glass that curves around the sides. The iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen, the largest so far for an Apple phone. The company also introduced the long-awaited Apple Watch, its first major new product since the iPad in 2010. The $349 smartwatch will work with iPhone 5 models and the new iPhones. Continue reading Apple Announces Two New iPhones, Smartwatch and Apple Pay

Netflix Users Control What Shows They Share with Privacy Tool

Netflix’s new privacy feature will now allow users to select which shows they want to share with Facebook friends. In the past, people who decided to link their Netflix and Facebook accounts shared their viewed titles to all of their Facebook friends. Now, each user can recommend a TV show or movie to just one or more friends. With this update, Netflix users now have the ability to be more selective about which programs they recommend to others, and which programs they hide. Continue reading Netflix Users Control What Shows They Share with Privacy Tool

VideoDubber Automatically Dubs Video into 30+ Languages

Foreign film fans may have a new reason to get excited. Israeli startup VideoDubber is introducing a new technology that could address complaints of subtitles in media content. The company claims that its TruDub technology can automatically dub films, TV shows and video into more than 30 languages including Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, and four dialects of English. The service uses synthetic voices that it says sound natural since they are based on professional voice talent. Continue reading VideoDubber Automatically Dubs Video into 30+ Languages

Networks Increasingly Releasing Their TV Premieres Online

Major television networks, such as ABC, Fox and NBC, are debuting their new fall shows online weeks ahead of the television premiere dates. The pilot episodes of NBC’s “A to Z,” ABC’s “Selfie,” and Fox’s “Red Band Society” are all available on Hulu before their scheduled television air date. This increasingly common practice gives viewers the chance to sample the new shows earlier and start some online buzz before the flood of other pilots debut during the fall television season. Continue reading Networks Increasingly Releasing Their TV Premieres Online

Simple.tv Users Can Now Share Recorded Content with Friends

Connected DVR maker Simple.tv now provides users with the ability to offer friends and family members access to their recorded television shows and movies. Simple.tv’s DVR for cord cutters now enables guest passes so that others can access DVR recordings over the Internet via Simple.tv’s Web interface, the company’s mobile apps, as well as its Roku app. Guests are restricted to streaming content already recorded; they cannot tune into live TV or schedule additional recordings. Continue reading Simple.tv Users Can Now Share Recorded Content with Friends

Amazon Aims to Make Prime Instant Video a Major Competitor

Amazon Studios, the production arm of Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service, hopes to challenge Netflix with compelling original series. The studio greenlit several shows to debut later this year, and viewers will get the chance to view pilots for another set of prospective shows in the next few weeks, including a drama by Whit Stillman and a comedy produced by Steven Soderbergh. Amazon takes feedback from viewers into consideration when selecting new shows. Continue reading Amazon Aims to Make Prime Instant Video a Major Competitor

Amazon Plans to Make Major Investment in Original Programs

Amazon plans to beef up its investments in original, Web-only, video programming. The company’s CFO Tom Szkutak explained that Amazon is slated to spend about $100 million on “many new pilots” during Q3 2014. Amazon’s Prime Instant Video has been trying to keep up with Netflix, but has yet to reach the success of hits such as “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.” However, $100 million was the amount Netflix gambled on the first two seasons of “House of Cards” alone. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Make Major Investment in Original Programs

Kumo Aims to Break TV Bundle by Offering Specific Channels

Kumo, a startup that hopes to offer consumers access to individual channels rather than entire bundles, has raised $50 million in financing. The company may face significant hurdles, since content creators and owners have historically avoided this type of model, fearing a negative impact to their revenue streams. Unlike Aereo’s failed attempt at pairing an antenna with a cloud storage service, however, Kumo is reportedly working to license content for its a la carte approach. Continue reading Kumo Aims to Break TV Bundle by Offering Specific Channels

Beamly App for Android TV to Offer A Personalized TV Guide

Beamly, a social TV startup known for making second screen apps for iOS, Android and the Web, is now developing a first screen app for the new Android TV platform. The Android TV app will feature a personalized TV channel that will continuously show programming from both live TV channels and online video services. The app will also interact with Beamly’s existing mobile apps to offer interactive experiences such as voting during a competitive reality television show. Continue reading Beamly App for Android TV to Offer A Personalized TV Guide

Time Warner Cable Offers VOD, Streaming, Cable via Fan TV

Time Warner Cable has partnered with startup Fanhattan to offer customers the Fan TV cable set-top box, which enables viewers to watch live TV, cable TV, and streaming video via Internet Protocol. The sleek cable box features a unique viewer guide with an integrated offering of online and live content from television shows to movies through a simple touchpad remote. Pre-orders of Fan TV set-tops, which began Tuesday, are $99, and they will be ready to ship in June. Continue reading Time Warner Cable Offers VOD, Streaming, Cable via Fan TV

Netflix Viewing Activity Is Largely Recommendation Driven

Netflix devotes significant resources in order to develop its rating and recommendation systems, which is a key component of the service. The company employs 800 engineers to operate the service. Netflix estimates that 75 percent of viewing activity is now recommendation driven. The company uses several types of customer data in order to create the personalized recommendations, and uses behavior of similar users to suggest preferences. Continue reading Netflix Viewing Activity Is Largely Recommendation Driven

Another Visual Effects Company Bankrupt: Time for Change?

Rhythm & Hues Studios, which served as the lead visual effects producer on the dazzling “Life of Pi” film, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on February 13 — just days after the film won four prizes at the annual Visual Effects Society Awards and just weeks before it would win the Academy Award for best visual effects. Additionally, the 26-year-old company has laid off 254 of its 718 employees in the LA area. Continue reading Another Visual Effects Company Bankrupt: Time for Change?

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