Evolution Kit: Samsung to Provide Smart TV Software Updates

Samsung unveiled its new Smart TV Evolution Kit at CES, which will bring software updates to older Samsung Smart TVs including improvements to CPU, GPU, and other software features. Samsung knows rapidly advancing technology can in some cases act as a sales deterrent, and hopes the Evolution Kit will convince consumers to invest in current Smart TVs by promising technology updates to keep the functionality from becoming stale. Continue reading Evolution Kit: Samsung to Provide Smart TV Software Updates

CES 2013: DISH Introduces New Second Screen App for iPads

DISH unveiled a second screen app at CES complete with remote control, discovery and a programming grid. The app will challenge competitors like Zeebox and Peel, and unlike the third party competitors, DISH has the built-in advantage of working as the supplier of both first and second screen content. This eliminates some of the complications third party developers must overcome and could give DISH a leg up. Continue reading CES 2013: DISH Introduces New Second Screen App for iPads

DARPA Developing 100Gbps Wireless Technology with 120-Mile Range

DARPA hopes to improve U.S. military wireless speeds by a factor of 500. The 100 Gb/s RF Backbone project plans to transmit wireless communications at 100 gigabits per second over a 200 kilometer range, writes ExtremeTech. Home wireless networks usually peak at about 100Mbps, so transmitting 100Gbps over 200 kilometers will be extremely difficult, notes the article. Continue reading DARPA Developing 100Gbps Wireless Technology with 120-Mile Range

Nearby Local Search from Facebook is Not Quite a Foursquare Killer

While Facebook’s upgraded Nearby local search feature may threaten Foursquare one day, the current Foursquare product still performs much better than Facebook’s, according to GigaOM. Facebook has a much larger reach (600 million mobile users compared to about 25 million for Foursquare), but offers an inferior search feature. The Facebook feature uses friends’ check-ins, recommendations, and likes to help users find local places, but because most Facebook users do not check in or interact with local businesses on the social network, the feature does not work optimally. This feature could be valuable if Facebook could convince more people to use check-ins and recommendations. Continue reading Nearby Local Search from Facebook is Not Quite a Foursquare Killer

Editor Tim Squyres Talks Challenges of CG Tigers and 3D for Life of Pi

Tim Squyres has worked as director Ang Lee’s editor for two decades, helping Lee to create films such as “Hulk,” “Sense and Sensibility,” “Caution,” “Couching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” and most recently, the 3D spectacle “Life of Pi.” The Academy Award nominated editor spoke to The Verge about the new film as well as technological advances in editing. Squyres says he’s seen the finished “Life of Pi” 30 to 50 times because movies are produced in so many different forms: “3D, 2D, IMAX, film, 2D digital, 2D film, and for audio there are 7.1, 5.1, Dolby Atmos, near-field for TV speakers, and more,” he said. Continue reading Editor Tim Squyres Talks Challenges of CG Tigers and 3D for Life of Pi

Nintendo Activates TVii Media Entertainment Service for Wii U Gamers

Nintendo activated the Wii U’s Nintendo TVii functionality this week. The service will directly integrate Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus, and will upgrade its Netflix and TiVo applications in early 2013. Wii U wants to become not just a gaming device, but a device through which families run all of their entertainment. This includes gaming as well as television and video chatting, explains Steve Moffitt, Nintendo’s executive VP of sales and marketing. Continue reading Nintendo Activates TVii Media Entertainment Service for Wii U Gamers

Crowdsourced Cinema: Tugg.com Borrows a Page from Kickstarter

Kickstarter has helped establish an effective crowdsourcing model for startups, and now Tugg.com has begun to show how filmmakers and exhibitors can benefit from a similar approach. Tugg.com allows people to set up movie screenings where customers pay for reserved tickets, and the screenings only happen after the advanced sales cover expenses. Indie filmmakers are using the online booking site to organize screenings of their projects. Continue reading Crowdsourced Cinema: Tugg.com Borrows a Page from Kickstarter

Royalties for Satellite Radio Companies to Increase Through 2017

The Copyright Royalty Board has ruled to increase royalties for satellite radio services. Sirius XM Radio currently pays 8 percent of its gross revenue in royalties, but this will increase to 11 percent by 2017, reports The New York Times. The satellite radio companies will pay the royalties to nonprofit SoundExchange, which then distributes the royalties to labels and musicians. Continue reading Royalties for Satellite Radio Companies to Increase Through 2017

Networks Appeal to Stop Dish AutoHop Commercial-Skipping Feature

Fox, CBS, and NBC are continuing legal action in an effort to shut down Dish Network’s DVR service that allows viewers to automatically skip commercials. “The Dish Network litigation concerns the March introduction of what the satellite company calls PrimeTime Anytime, which allows customers to record and store about a week’s worth of prime-time broadcast television,” reports Wired. “A federal judge declined to side immediately with the broadcasters, so they appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.” Continue reading Networks Appeal to Stop Dish AutoHop Commercial-Skipping Feature

Panavision Exec Discusses Truth About 2K and 4K

When people reference the number of pixels on movie cameras, they are not literally saying the number of pixels, but rather the type of camera, explains Panavision senior VP of Advanced Digital Imaging John Galt. For example, 4K means the camera has 4096 red, 4096 green and 4096 blue photo sites. But Galt suggests that not all cameras are marketed accurately and distinguishes between “marketing” pixels and actual pixels. Continue reading Panavision Exec Discusses Truth About 2K and 4K

Hands-On Review: Redesigned Google Maps Finally Available for iOS

Google Maps has returned to iOS, and carries over the redesigned look of Gmail and other Google apps on iOS, writes Engadget. Google Maps for iOS looks mostly like its Android counterpart, but includes a few new features, “such as swiping upwards to expand directions and location details” and “tucking the layer toggles into a menu pulled out from the right,” notes the post. Continue reading Hands-On Review: Redesigned Google Maps Finally Available for iOS

Kajeet Strikes Deal with Clearwire to Launch 4G Mobile for Children

Mobile virtual network operator Kajeet is partnering with WiMAX carrier Clearwire in a move that could sell 4G modems and hotspots to families with children, reports GigaOM. The deal will officially allow Kajeet and Clearwire to resell 4G connections. Kajeet currently sells mobile broadband dongles and hotspots to schools, but may be looking to expand into a broader consumer base. Continue reading Kajeet Strikes Deal with Clearwire to Launch 4G Mobile for Children

Cloud-Based Gaming Service Playcast Plans 2013 Launch in the U.S.

Playcast is a cloud-based gaming service that runs through pay TV, IPTV, or over-the-top TV providers like Google TV and Roku.

“For the end user, the system operates like VOD or an app, while remote servers actually run the games and stream a video feed of the gameplay in real-time,” reports Engadget. “On the back end, one server shelf can serve up to 15 players an HD (read: 720p) feed simultaneously, and graphical artifacting is kept to a minimum because it streams over the operator’s managed network.”

Playcast differentiates itself from OnLive because Playcast can brand its front-end interface to fit specific customers’ desires and does not need additional hardware. Playcast also offers packages of games for subscription use.

The company plans to launch in Q3 of 2013 with 10-15 packages of 20 games each. The packages will likely cost $10-$15 a month. Playcast will alternate 10 percent new games in each month to keep customers engaged.

“It appears that Playcast will provide casual gamers an intriguing option for getting their gaming fix next year,” concludes the post. “But we’re reserving judgment until we see how well the games run on a managed network, what titles are offered, and just how much it’ll cost.”

TV of Tomorrow: Will the iPad Prove to Be the Future of Television?

During the TV of Tomorrow conference in New York, industry executives discussed how tablets, particularly the iPad, could be the future of television. Tablets and iPads have turned into the second screen for television viewing, and served as the focus of many of the talks at the conference. The second screen trend is both promising and troubling for television execs, as it presents new opportunities while also taking eyes away from advertisements.

People spend 22 minutes on second screens during a traditional 30-minute show, and 38 minutes during a 60-minute show, according to TVPlus co-founder Randy Shiozaki.

Dijit CEO Jeremy Toeman points out that second screen viewing works best for reality shows and other light entertainment. The technology does not work as well for more engaging dramas. Some challenges with second screen viewing involve the different technologies on the market, and the assorted apps for the various tablets.

Some executives maintain that while second screen viewing is exciting, television content is still the most important aspect of the television experience. “What’s been left out of the multiscreen conversation is the first screen, and that will come full circle,” said Lawrence Brickman, VP of smart TV app developer Accedo.

“But if Apple can leverage the incredible amount of energy the TV industry has already invested in the iPad, it may not matter if anyone else can do it better — Apple’s platform will hit scale across multiple screens before the industry even knows it’s happening,” suggests The Verge.

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