Hollywood Producer Plans Initial Coin Offering to Fund Films

Producer Christopher Woodrow (“Birdman,” “Black Mass,” “Hacksaw Ridge”) is about to launch MovieCoin, his own blockchain token, based on his certainty that the cryptocurrency will revolutionize filmmaking. Monies raised in the initial coin offering (ICO) in Q1 2018 will be used to produce a slate of films. Investors, says Woodrow, will benefit because the tokens, which can be traded, will appreciate as the film succeeds. He is currently developing projects that will include top movie stars, directors and producers. Continue reading Hollywood Producer Plans Initial Coin Offering to Fund Films

Consumer Groups Say Next Gen TV Standard Ignores Privacy

The FCC is scheduled to vote today on the long-awaited ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard. On the eve of the vote, privacy advocates have expressed concern that the standard allows broadcasters to harvest data about individual viewing habits so that advertisers can target their pitches, and there are no rules governing how broadcasters handle the data. In its 109-page proposal for the new rule, the FCC does not mention the issue of privacy. Broadcasters perceive the rule as a way to catch up to Facebook, YouTube, Amazon Prime and others. CTA president Gary Shapiro defends the standard and suggests the vote is being politicized due to the Sinclair-Tribune merger proposal. Continue reading Consumer Groups Say Next Gen TV Standard Ignores Privacy

YouTube Now Offers Concert Information, Ticketmaster Links

Google-owned YouTube has announced a new partnership with Ticketmaster that steers music fans to concert tickets and tour info via the YouTube video pages of musical acts. Upcoming North America tour dates and nearest shows for hundreds of artists are now available in the description section of the acts’ posted videos. By clicking on the related “tickets” button for a specific show, YouTube users will be directed to the Ticketmaster site for purchase options. The new feature is available on both web and mobile versions. YouTube is planning international expansion and additional artist-to-fan connections. Continue reading YouTube Now Offers Concert Information, Ticketmaster Links

Elgato 4K60 Pro Unlocks 4K Playback for Prosumer Creators

On November 21, Elgato will launch a new PCIe component that allows a user’s PC to record video at 4K UHD (2160p), 60 frames per second. Priced at $400, this product is aimed at those making gaming-related video who don’t have access to a professional studio. Games with 4K-resolution imagery are becoming more prevalent, especially with Microsoft’s debut of its Xbox One X console. But it currently costs a minimum of $800 for the hardware to capture video at 4K 60 fps, and the hardware that does exist isn’t built for gaming uses. Continue reading Elgato 4K60 Pro Unlocks 4K Playback for Prosumer Creators

Google Debuts Spatial Audio SDK for Immersive Experiences

Google has launched Resonance Audio, a spatial audio software development kit based on technology from the company’s current VR Audio SDK. The latter was introduced with the Cardboard SDK in January 2016 and then integrated into the main Google VR SDK in May of the same year. The goal with Resonance Audio is to make it easier to develop for mobile and desktop platforms. The VR SDK audio engine already supports multiple platforms, but Google recognized that it could be “confusing and time-consuming” to work with various audio tools. Continue reading Google Debuts Spatial Audio SDK for Immersive Experiences

YouTube Aims to Deliver TV Everywhere With Smart TV App

Eight months after launching YouTube TV on smartphones, the company now has an app for smart TVs, set-top boxes, and game consoles, all of which will work with a remote. The idea, says YouTube, is that this TV service will successfully ape the traditional TV experience even as it has a native Internet feel. The focus on live TV will give the viewer something to watch immediately. Instead of icons, the user can browse through content until she finds something she wants to watch — and then start over again if she’s bored. Continue reading YouTube Aims to Deliver TV Everywhere With Smart TV App

YouTube Viewing via Connected TVs Up 70 Percent This Year

During Google’s Q3 earnings call yesterday, CEO Sundar Pichai revealed that YouTube is experiencing more than 100 million hours of watch time via living room devices daily, which represents a 70 percent jump in the last year and about 10 percent of total YouTube watch time. Earlier this year, Google announced more than 1 billion hours of watch time for YouTube across all devices, but this is the first time that smart TVs and living room devices were specified. More than half of YouTube’s viewing now takes place on mobile devices. Alphabet and Google CFO Ruth Porat noted that YouTube has an impressive 90 percent ad viewability rate. Continue reading YouTube Viewing via Connected TVs Up 70 Percent This Year

Roku May Be Prepping to Stream Video on Third-Party Devices

Roku has taken an important step in its long-time efforts to evolve from a hardware-based to a services-based model. Although the company will not comment, sources say that Roku is preparing to begin streaming videos on third-party devices from rivals Apple and Google. Those same sources say that the initial efforts will likely focus on mobile devices. Most consumers still think of Roku as a hardware company, but Roku recently began licensing its operating system to TV manufacturers and making money on advertising. Continue reading Roku May Be Prepping to Stream Video on Third-Party Devices

AT&T to Roll Out New Android TV-Based Set-Top Box for OTT

AT&T’s DirecTV is preparing to launch a new TV set-top box based on Google’s Android TV platform. A new FCC filing reveals that the satellite TV company is trying its hand at over-the-top streaming, with the model  number C71KW-400 set-top box, described as the “AT&T/DirecTV Wireless 4K OTT Client.” The accompanying user manual, which defines OTT as delivering video via the Internet to user-connected devices, notes that the device will not be able to interact with DirecTV’s current Genie hardware. Continue reading AT&T to Roll Out New Android TV-Based Set-Top Box for OTT

FCC Reveals Plan to Roll Back Local Media Ownership Rules

The FCC plans to change rules regarding local media ownership, claiming the 42-year old rules are now outdated. FCC chair Ajit Pai revealed yesterday during a congressional hearing that there will be a vote next month to loosen current rules that prevent companies from owning a newspaper and a broadcast station within the same market. The rules originally intended to guarantee diversity of expression while aiming to curb undue influence over public opinion by an individual or single company. Democratic lawmakers voiced opposition during the hearing, but Pai defended the proposed plan and other recent deregulatory moves. Continue reading FCC Reveals Plan to Roll Back Local Media Ownership Rules

Google Earmarks $1 Billion for Tech Education via Nonprofits

Google just set aside $1 billion for a new program dubbed “Grow with Google,” which will fund education and professional training nonprofits to help prepare Americans for technology jobs. The program will offer a website that will help people looking for jobs to get training and professional certificates, and for businesses to improve their online presences. Google says the goal is to allow anyone with an Internet connection to become tech-proficient and eligible for jobs from app development to IT support. Continue reading Google Earmarks $1 Billion for Tech Education via Nonprofits

Studies Show Smartphones, Social Media Cause Brain Drain

According to data collected by Apple, the typical iPhone owner uses his or her phone 80 times a day, which equals 30,000 times over the year. Now scientists are researching what happens to our minds when our phone is a constant companion that dominates our perception and cognition. What they’ve discovered is that, as our brains become dependent on the phones, our intellect becomes weaker, an effect that continues even when we aren’t using them. There are some in Silicon Valley that are increasingly concerned by the unintended consequences of smartphone and app use. Continue reading Studies Show Smartphones, Social Media Cause Brain Drain

Discovery and Google Partner on Virtual Reality Travel Series

Discovery and Google are partnering on a 38-episode virtual reality travel series that takes viewers to all seven continents in seven chapters: North and South America, Asia, Australia, Africa, Antarctica, and Europe. Sascha Unseld, who directed the Oculus Story Studio’s “Dear Angelica” VR short, served as creative producer on the series. Discovery has nabbed an exclusive brand sponsor, which will be announced later. VR travel videos are becoming more popular, with immersive videos from airlines, travel agents and others. Continue reading Discovery and Google Partner on Virtual Reality Travel Series

Investigations Into Social Media Accounts With Ties to Russia

Four Russian-linked Facebook accounts that bought ads during the U.S. election period were active, posting divisive messages, as late as this past August. “Secured Borders,” “Blacktivist,” “Heart of Texas” and “Being Patriotic” collectively had almost one million followers, before Facebook removed them for misrepresenting their identities. On “Secured Borders,” which had 133,000 followers, messages included those calling for the killing of Muslims and dubbing illegal immigrants “rapists, murderers and child molesters.” Google, Facebook and Twitter are expected to testify before Congress about Russian ties to ad buying, search manipulation and fake news. Continue reading Investigations Into Social Media Accounts With Ties to Russia

Netflix Makes Major Commitment to Canada With New Studio

Netflix is planning to invest a minimum of 500 million Canadian dollars ($400.8 million U.S.) over the next five years to build a studio in Canada, revealed Canada’s Heritage Minister, Melanie Joly. The studio will create original Canadian productions, some of which will be French-language, in recognition of Canada’s status as a bilingual country. Canada, which was the first foreign country where Netflix launched, is also home to the third most global subscribers. The Canadian studio will be Netflix’s first global content outpost. Continue reading Netflix Makes Major Commitment to Canada With New Studio

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