Municipalities Want Streaming Services to Pay Franchise Fees

As streaming media services increasingly resemble cable bundles, more towns and counties are looking to regulate them. In Georgia for example, three municipalities filed a federal lawsuit against Netflix, Hulu and other services for as much as 5 percent of their gross revenue in an attempt to treat them as cable services. According to the lawsuit, Netflix earned about $103 million over the recent five years from subscribers in Gwinnett County, Georgia. If treated as a cable provider, that would represent $5.15 million in retroactive fees. Continue reading Municipalities Want Streaming Services to Pay Franchise Fees

CES: Rollable Tech Helps Mobile Devices Change Dimensions

During CES 2021, LG provided a peek into its LG Rollable, the company’s first phone that transforms between smartphone and tablet form factors. One company executive said the LG Rollable — positioned as a strong alternative to existing foldable phones — will debut sometime this year. Meanwhile, TCL is developing a device based on the same approach, but the company reported it is only at the conceptual planning stage. But both LG and TCL did leak some information about the upcoming devices’ specifications. Continue reading CES: Rollable Tech Helps Mobile Devices Change Dimensions

CES: The Frame TV From Samsung Can Rotate Its Orientation

During CES 2021, Samsung showed upgrades to The Frame, a so-called “lifestyle TV lineup” first introduced in 2017. The Frame now offers a thinner frame and can rotate to landscape and portrait orientations. Last year, Samsung showcased The Sero, its first rotating television, that was social-media friendly and doubled as a smart art display. A more elegant and slimmer version, The Frame is a 43-inch, top-of-the-line model. Netgear’s popular Meural Canvas smart art frames also swivel to offer both landscape and portrait views. Continue reading CES: The Frame TV From Samsung Can Rotate Its Orientation

Netflix Tops 200 Million Subs in 2020, Lifted by the Pandemic

By the end of 2020, Netflix signed up a record 37 million new subscribers for a total of 203.7 million users, driven by the home-bound people eager for more entertainment during the COVID-19 pandemic. This latest bump in subscriber numbers took place in an increasingly competitive environment with new streaming services, including Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max and Comcast’s Peacock. Unlike other TV networks, Netflix has been able to offer more new content during the pandemic, with 500+ new titles in post production or ready to air. Continue reading Netflix Tops 200 Million Subs in 2020, Lifted by the Pandemic

CES: Panasonic, Illuminarium to Create Immersive Spectacles

During CES 2021, Panasonic System Solutions Company of North America and Atlanta-based Illuminarium Experiences announced a partnership to use the former’s laser projectors to create “massive entertainment spectacles.” Panasonic will be the exclusive provider of native 4K projectors, 4K professional displays and 4K professional camera solutions for Illuminarium Experiences’ custom-designed 360-degree immersive entertainment centers dubbed “Illuminariums.” The spectacles are aimed to create “communal, connective entertainment.” Continue reading CES: Panasonic, Illuminarium to Create Immersive Spectacles

CES: Samsung’s New MicroLED TVs Offer Improved Contrast

Samsung debuted MicroLED TVs during last week’s virtual CES 2021, all offering 4K resolution, in fixed sizes of 110-inches, 99-inches and 88-inches, with the 110-inch version priced at $156,000. That compares to the launch at last year’s CES of the 292-inch MicroLED TV, made up of individual modules and custom-installed. In comparison, Samsung’s 98-inch 8K TV, which uses LCD-based QLED display, is priced at $60,000. MicroLED, the first new screen technology in 10 years, is closer to OLED than LCD and is said to feature improved contrast and response time. Continue reading CES: Samsung’s New MicroLED TVs Offer Improved Contrast

CES: Seoul Robotics, Mobileye Enable Lidar for Smart Cities

During the all-digital CES 2021, lidar (light detection and ranging) technology was presented as a key tool for building autonomous vehicles, smart homes and infrastructure for smart cities. Lidar, which senses what an object is based on its shape, first appeared in the 1970s but, up until now, has been too expensive and complicated for broad industrial use. Seoul Robotics, Intel’s Mobileye and Blickfeld were among the companies at CES showcasing real-world lidar applications. Lidar is predicted to triple to an almost $3 billion market by 2025. Continue reading CES: Seoul Robotics, Mobileye Enable Lidar for Smart Cities

CES: LG Unveils Transparent OLED Screen for Smart Homes

During CES 2021, LG Display showcased its latest OLED display: a 55-inch screen with 40 percent transparency, up from past transparent LCDs that only reached 10 percent transparency. This OLED display, with built-in Sound Solution technology speakers embedded in the frame, is intended to be placed at the foot of a bed where it can rise up — partially or fully — to show videos while still enabling a view of what’s on the other side. LG is positioning the set as a smart home device, although the company believes the technology has numerous public applications as a next-gen display. Continue reading CES: LG Unveils Transparent OLED Screen for Smart Homes

FAA Greenlights First Automated Commercial Drone Service

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the first fully automated commercial drone flights, giving permission to Marlborough, Massachusetts-based American Robotics. The FAA’s decision limits automated drone operation to rural areas and altitudes below 400 feet. In Israel this June, Pizza Hut will test delivering pies via drones to makeshift “government-approved landing zones,” such as parking lots. From there, delivery drivers will take the pizzas the last mile to customers’ homes. Continue reading FAA Greenlights First Automated Commercial Drone Service

CES: Panasonic Debuts New OLED TV with Surround Sound

Panasonic unveiled its flagship JZ2000 OLED TV, following last year’s HZ2000 4K OLED TV. Both feature support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+ but the JZ2000 now supports “ambient-aware” versions of both formats — Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ Ambient — which adjust HDR brightness in response to light levels around the TV, especially useful for daytime viewing. The Panasonic JZ2000 also features 360° Soundscape Pro, which supports side-firing speakers for Dolby Atmos, resulting in better support of multidirectional sound. Continue reading CES: Panasonic Debuts New OLED TV with Surround Sound

CES: LG Unveils Evo OLED Display with Improved Brightness

During CES 2021, LG Electronics introduced Evo, its high-end OLED TV that features greatly improved light output. OLED TVs offer superior picture quality to LCD TVs, as each pixel can turn on and turn off its own light. But OLED TVs offer half that of the brightest LCD TVs, hobbling the overall picture quality. This year, LG’s Evo and Sony’s new OLED TVs offer more brightness. In addition to LG, only Sony and Vizio sell OLED TVs, all produced by LG Display. During CES, LG also showcased new QNED Mini LED and NanoCell TV models. Continue reading CES: LG Unveils Evo OLED Display with Improved Brightness

CES: Razer and Acer Offer QHD Screens for Gaming Laptops

At the all-digital CES 2021, Razer’s Blade 15 gaming laptop was introduced with the option to add a QHD screen, one of a few manufacturers adding these screens to gaming machines for the first time. Gamers who use desktop computers favor QHD screens for their 1440p resolution, affordable price, multiple features and compatibility with high-end AMD and Nvidia graphics cards. Until now, gamers could opt only for a 1080p or 4K screen (which reduces frame rate to unplayable levels) — or output to a separate 1440p monitor. Continue reading CES: Razer and Acer Offer QHD Screens for Gaming Laptops

CES: Acceleration of Technology, Adoption in 5G’s First Year

During this week’s CES 2021, Deloitte Consulting principal Dan Littman led an inquiry into how the 5G rollout fared in 2020, with AT&T Business chief executive Anne Chow and Qualcomm Technologies senior vice president of engineering Alejandro Holcman. “5G is a new-generation wireless technology filled with complexity of technology, ecosystems and government requirements,” said Littman. “And 2020 made everything a little more challenging.” He asked Chow and Holcman to describe how 5G has been challenged and/or accelerated during the year. Continue reading CES: Acceleration of Technology, Adoption in 5G’s First Year

CES: AT&T and Qualcomm Executives Discuss 5G Use Cases

Deloitte Consulting principal Dan Littman, AT&T Business chief executive Anne Chow and Qualcomm Technologies senior vice president of engineering Alejandro Holcman discussed current and future 5G use cases and obstacles to deployment during a CES 2021 session. Chow noted her group is seeing “the smart factory of the future,” especially due to sensitivities over human contact and proximity during COVID-19. “Education is similar,” she said. “We’re still heavily virtual and we won’t go [all the way] back to the way it was.” Continue reading CES: AT&T and Qualcomm Executives Discuss 5G Use Cases

CES: Advertisers Need Better Measurement to Embrace OTT

Advertising on Connected TV (CTV), otherwise known as Over-the-Top (OTT), is a hot topic for advertisers who want to get their messages on any device, including TVs that can be connected to the Internet. According to eMarketer, upwards of 40 percent of the world’s population are “digital video viewers.” But advertising on CTV has enough pitfalls to discourage marketers from embracing it. During a CES 2021 session, DoubleVerify chief executive Mark Zagorski and chief product officer Jack Smith enumerated the challenges and proposed solutions. Continue reading CES: Advertisers Need Better Measurement to Embrace OTT

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